On most of the diaries in relation to the race between John Yarmuth and Anne Northup in KY-03, I've been emphasizing the importance of making sure churches--and other 501(c)3 groups--are not allowed to illegally endorse Northup as a candidate.
This comes to its seasonal importance, as it turns out that the American Family Association of Kentucky--and its PAC front Freedom's Heritage Forum--have officially endorsed Northrup as their chosen candidate for the election.
And both groups are run by possibly one of the most notorious homophobes in the nation short of Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps, and a particularly notorious figure in Kentucky politics--none other than the infamous Frank Simon.
For those unfamiliar with Frank Simon--which is to say most of you who have not been following Kentucky local politics for the past decade, and pretty much all you Kossacks outside of KY-03 itself--Simon is easily one of the most infamous figures in local politics.
Simon, by day, is an allergist--but most of his work is with political dominionism. He originally formed a 501(c)3 group called Freedom's Heritage Forum--originally a 501(c)3, then a 501(c)4, and finally reorganising as a PAC after an FEC lawsuit over explicit endorsement of candidates. (To this day, Simon is head and sole officer of the organisation.) In the 90's, Simon became head of the American Family Association of Kentucky and its sole officer there as well; Freedom's Heritage Forum now acts as a PAC lobbying wing of AFA-KY, and most of the frank electioneering is done through AFA-KY. Simon furthermore runs a local association of dominionist doctors--a group called Kentucky Doctors for Life of which Simon is the sole officer.
Simon has been responsible for setting up a large GOTV network in dominionist churches--notably the church I escaped (in fact he is one of the head deacons at the church); the church I escaped in particular has been a hotbed of in-church GOTV, including allowing Simon use of facilities owned by a front company at the church to broadcast his material with full approval of the pastor and allowing him to hand out partisan voter's guides at the church (of course, the church also claimed that all Moslems are demon possessed after 9/11); in fact, a 365Gay article (now dead, and unfortunately not archived anywhere) even notes the specific role of the church I walked away from in organising Simon's mailings in 2004, claiming that "teachers would be forced to give classes in gay sex". Several other dominionist churches in the area--including the home of the first Justice Sunday event and the largest church in the state--have also distributed Freedom's Heritage Forum and AFA-KY guides in churches, with the tax-exempt status of the second megachurch in question having been revoked for six months as a result.
To say that Simon is a virulent homophobe is quite possibly an understatement. Hatecrime.org has a number of Frank Simon's quotes online:
American Family Association of Kentucky's Dr. Frank Simon: "There are hundreds of children in America who are dying of AIDS because they were sexually abused by homosexuals." - People for the American Way Web site, http://www.pfaw.org/...
The above is actually, sadly, typical and even a bit mild for Simon. In Kentucky politics, he's most well known for a particularly vicious form of gay-baiting, especially in regards to opposition of Fairness Ordinances; AFA-KY (and Freedom's Heritage Forum) publications regularly have used "research" by the discredited Paul Cameron
Simon has also attempted frank dead-agenting against a publisher of a local LGBT magazine, publishing a want-ad that would make the editor appear to be a paedophile:
Phoenix Hill Enterprises, Inc., publishers of The Letter, a Louisville-based newspaper serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, filed suit in US District Court October 28 against a local Republican candidate running for Louisville's board of aldermen and an anti-gay activist closely tied to his campaign.
The suit alleges copyright infringement and defamation.
The charges stem from a July 6 fundraising letter sent out on the letterhead of Michael Dickerson, Republican candidate for the 12th ward seat.
It claimed that if a citywide gay civil rights ordinance were passed, there would be "overt Homosexual Activists in All Jefferson County [Louisville] Schools." It also included a marked up copy of the personals pages from the March 1996 edition of The Letter, which it said showed ads from homosexuals seeking sex with children.
. . .
After seeing the letter, David Williams, editor, immediately wrote to Dickerson demanding a retraction and asking that he not photocopy any portion of the paper again without the newspaper's permission. He also wrote to Bill Stone, chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, informing him of the letter. Neither responded.
Last week Dickerson told the Louisville Courier-Journal he didn't know anything about the letter and says the signature is not his. He thought the letter might be a smear tactic by his opponent.
Part of Dickerson's comments may be true. The signature on the letter apparently does not match ones on campaign documents filed earlier. But it appears to have been sent out by someone associated with his campaign. About two weeks after the July 6 letter, an announcement for a Dickerson fundraiser was sent out using the same postal meter employed for the earlier mailing.
Also named in the suit are anti-gay activist Dr. Frank Simon; Freedom's Heritage Forum and the American Family Association of Kentucky, two groups associated with Simon; and Peter Hayes, Dickerson's campaign manager, an associate of Simon's who is running for the 4th ward aldermanic seat.
The marked up copy of the personals ads exactly matches another sent out by one of Simon's groups in March 1997. Simon has used the ads repeatedly since at least September 1996 as part of his efforts at fighting a proposed gay civil rights ordinance.
Two of the ads were placed by adult men seeking, respectively, a "boy toy" and a "nudist boy." The third was from an adult woman seeking a "baby dyke." Simon has claimed on several occasions that the ads are from adults seeking sex with children. But the two male ads clearly show age requirements of 18 and over, and in the female ad, the term "baby dyke" is lesbian slang for a young adult lesbian and not a baby.
. . .
Another clue as to the origin of the July 6 letter is a certain spelling technique common to much of Simon's mailings. Inappropriate capitalizations of such words as "homosexual" and "special rights" appear routinely in Simon's literature, as they do in the July 6 letter.
He also closes his letters with such phrases as "Your Servant in Christ," in much the same way as the July 6 letter ended above Dickerson's signature line. Tantalizing clues that aren't enough in themselves to lead back to his doorstep, but in combination with other information very well could.
People who follow Louisville-area politics are probably most familiar with Simon in that he has a history of sending out flyers that are so
vociferously anti-gay and foul that he has swung voters the other way in favour
of Fairness. One of the first recorded foot-bullets of this sort was in 1999
, when our Fairness Ordinance originally passed:
One thing that hasn't changed is the public opposition, still headed by leading local homophobe Frank Simon of the American Family Association. He told reporters that, "When you promote this kind of bill, you're just slapping God in the face and saying, 'I don't care what you say, God -- I'm going to promote what you say is wrong.... It's like spitting in God's face." Simon, a physician who also has a weekly television show, also called the fairness measures "basically an anti-Christian bill." In fact, all three bills exempt religious organizations. Ads have also been airing on local radio stations targeting an African-American audience, which warn that gays will molest children if the measures pass.
(The TV show in question is run at a television station owned by the dominionist church I escaped; Simon is a deacon at the church.)
Possibly the most infamous instance of this was when Frank Simon literally mailed gay porn to 65,000 households with an anti-Catholic stinger at the end in a fight against renewal of the Fairness Ordinance post city-county merger in 2004:
KENTUCKY -- An attempt to rally opposition to an equality ordinance in Jefferson County backfired this week when the American Family Association of Kentucky mass-mailed gay porn to an estimated 65,000 homes in the area.
The intent to mail gay porn was reportedly the work of a man named Dr. Frank Simon of the AFA urging voters to reject an ordinance that would prohibit discrimination in employment and housing against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.
The letter Simon sent graphically described sex between same-sex partners and condemned Catholic priests involved in pedophilic activities, claiming that sexual orientation is a choice and therefore should not be given special rights.
To say that this ended up counterproductive is an understatement. From Jean's Voice:
One mailing -- from Dr. Frank Simon, the conservative activist and head of the American Family Association of Kentucky -- has raised the hackles of some of the recipients and some council members.
In the past two days, people all over Jefferson County have received mailings from Simon's organization with the words, "Warning: Very Vulgar, Not for Children" on the envelope.
The letter says gays take part in "unhealthy and unnatural acts" that he calls "too vulgar to mention." It does, however, include a page copied from a medical journal that describes the acts in detail.
Many council members said yesterday that they received dozens of calls from constituents on both sides of the issue.
Council President Kelly Downard, who is Roman Catholic, said he was offended by several portions of the letter, especially one part that he called "anti-Catholic."
"Remember what the homosexual priests did to the children?" the letter asks.
Simon said the letters weren't intended to be anti-Catholic.
He said the group sent about 65,000 of them to a number of targeted districts. People in both Republican and Democratic districts said they received them.
Sharon Marx, who lives in the 7th District and has a lesbian stepdaughter, said she herself was offended by the entire letter.
"It's horrible that this man thinks people are not intelligent enough to see through this, but I know some of them will believe this," Marx said.
In fact, Simon succeeded in pissing off two Metro Council members
to the point they voted for Fairness--making it a 19-6 vote for renewal:
Two council members said they probably would have voted against the ordinance had it not been for what have been described as "vulgar" mailings sent out by a group run by conservative activist Frank Simon.
"If I hadn't gotten that letter and those phone calls that were full of hatred and bigotry, I wouldn't have believed it existed in my hometown," Madonna Flood, D-24th, said before the meeting.
Cyril Allgeier, D-10th, who as a Louisville alderman voted against every "fairness amendment" that came up, also said he voted for it this time in protest of Simon's letter.
Simon, of note, doesn't just restrict his ire to LGBT folks. Among other things, he and his groups have been book censorship attempts
In Louisville, the Site-Based Decision-Making Council of Central High School voted 4 - 2 on January 12 to allow English teacher Dee Hawkins to keep three Harris books -- "Invisible Life," "Just As I Am" and "This Too Shall Pass" -- available in her classroom for students to check out with parental permission. Anti-gay crusaders Frank Simon, head of the Freedom's Heritage Forum, and Peter Hayes, head of the American Freedom Coalition of Kentucky, have been leading a campaign for the books' removal for months, objecting to their language and frank portrayals of sex and AIDS as "pornographic." "We censored the Bible...out of the schools," Simon said, "and yet we have this book that is basically a recruitment tool for the homosexual movement."
In addition, Simon has supported literal Holocaust revisionism. AFA and Freedom's Heritage Forum have promoted The Pink Swastika
; for those unfamiliar with this book it is a bit of Holocaust revisionism that claims not only that gays were not murdered en masse by the Nazis but that the gays were, quite literally, not only Nazis but the very architects of the Holocaust (which is a bit of Holocaust revisionism designed specifically to appeal to "Christian Zionists"--the church itself is heavily involved in "Christian Zionism").
Apparently, Simon has a history of trying to help out Anne Northup's past campaigns. This "help" has included literally accused a mere supporter of Fairness ordinances of supporting paedophilia and started an organised harassment campaign--of particular note, Anne Northup's 2002 opponent:
(The Pro-Family Coalition) wanted to let voters know a fund-raiser is being held Friday for Democrat Jack Conway. They also wanted to send a message to Conway not to take any money the group might raise.
The fund-raiser was being held by many supporters of the Fairness Campaign, a group that has been concerned about laws for gays and lesbians.
Somehow, the coalition got ahold of an invitation, and as a result, a newsletter went out to more than 1,500 people from the Freedom's Heritage Forum. The Forum is a group created by Dr. Frank Simon of Louisville, a well-known anti-gay rights activist.
When I came into work Thursday morning, my voice mail was full of messages. Oddly enough, they were all about the same thing. After a simple introduction by the person in the message and sometimes a telephone number, the message went on to say, "I have a copy of an invitation where Carla Wallace and other homosexual activists are having a fund-raiser for Jack Conway. Does this mean that Conway supports: homosexual marriages, homosexual boy scout leaders and the homosexual priests?"
It was obvious after the eighth message that they were all being read for some kind of script. I later found out by checking in the news room that other members of the staff had fielded similar inquires because my voice mailbox was full.
I learned the coalition was holding a news conference at noon.
I called the Conway camp to see if anyone there was aware of what was going on. They were. In fact, Conway's folks were sure his opponent was somehow connected.
"We call on Anne Northup to stand up and talk to Frank Simon and repudiate his vile, bigoted hatred," said Conway campaign manager Mark Riddle.
I asked if Jack Conway is in favor of same sex marriages. "He is not in favor of same sex marriages," Riddle said.
Riddle also showed me a copy of the Simon newsletter, and that's where I learned how my voice mailbox got so full of messages.
The newsletter encouraged whoever read it to call all of the TV stations in Louisville and the Courier-Journal. The letter then asked the reader to say exactly what I have already mentioned about the Conway fund-raiser. The idea was to make all of us in TV news, specifically political reporters, think the community was very concerned about this issue.
. . .
Interestingly enough, the group called a press conference to criticize Conway if he takes money from a gay fund-raiser, but they admitted they had no idea where he stood on any of the issues they were concerned about.
"These are pro family kinds of things that we are desperately concerned with," Stephenson said.
Unfortunately, Simon's effort at dead-agenting was successful
Gay-rights opponents publicly questioned a political fundraiser at the home of two gay businessmen supporting Jack Conway, the Democratic contender for Kentucky's 3rd Congressional District seat. "Obviously, if he's taking money from these people, he supports their agenda," claimed the Rev. Peter Hayes of the Pro-Family Coalition of Jefferson County at a press conference staged outside Conway's campaign headquarters in Louisville. Republican incumbent Rep. Anne Northup denied any involvement with the press conference. Another local gay rights opponent, Dr. Frank Simon of the American Family Association of Kentucky, also sent letters urging constituents to ask whether Conway supported "homosexual marriages, homosexual Boy Scout leaders, and the homosexual priests." Conway's attempt to oust Rep. Northup ultimately failed, garnering just over 48 percent of the vote.
. . .
It's because of this history that I've been so big on making sure that this sort of dead-agenting is not repeated--and preferably that Simon and his group lose tax-exempt status altogether along with the dominionist churches supporting him.
So, imagine my lack of surprise in finding that Simon and his groups are not only distributing partisan voter's guides that endorse Northup but are encouraging these to be handed out in churches:
Call 893-2444 TODAY to get more FREE copies. Distribute Them in Your Church on Sunday, Nov. 5th
and also to your relatives, neighbors, and friends at work.
Take this Voter's Guide to the polls and Vote on Tuesday, November 7th between 6am and 6pm.
This is a composite voter's Guide for all of Jefferson County, therefore all of these candidates will not appear on
your ballot. Also, some races are omitted because the candidates did not return the questionnaire.
Paid for by the American Family Association of Kentucky, 1404 Browns Lane, Suite B, Louisville KY 40207.
Not paid for by any candidate or candidate committee or political party. Not affiliated with any candidate or political party. (The address above also points to Frank Simon's allergists' office and the offices of Freedom's Heritage Forum --dogemperor)
. . .
United States Representative in Congress -3rd District
Anne M Northup Yes Yes No
John Yarmuth No No Yes
(First column is "Endorsed by Forum Pro-Family PAC", second is listed as "Endorsed by Kentucky Right to Life PAC www.krla.org", third is listed as "Endorsed by C-FAIR Homosexual PAC www.fairness.org". First is "Freedom's Heritage Forum" as will be noted below; last is link for KY Fairness Coalition. --dogemperor)
. . .
PAC = Political Action Committee FORUM = Freedoms Heritage FORUM, www.freedomsheritageforum.com
Because of this, it's very important for EVERYONE--both inside and outside of KY-03--to make sure Simon can't pull his dirty tricks for Northup again:
a) Those of you who can, donate and help out the campaign (both by monetary donations, by volunteering to GOTV, and also to monitor to prevent elections fraud by groups supporting Northup)
b) Sunday before Election Tuesday, Louisville-area Kossacks need to monitor churches for potential illegal electioneering (specifically AFA-KY, Freedom's Heritage Forum, or other voter's guides that endorse specific candidates--or, especially, specific endorsements of candidates or political parties in sermons). If you see this, notify the following (and obtain recordings and forms if possible):
1. IRS (use form 3949-A, available here, or call the IRS at (800) 829-0433)
2. Jefferson County Board of Elections ((502) 574-6100 or via email at elections(at)louisvilleky(dot)gov)
3. Jefferson County Clerk's Office ((502) 574-5700)
4. KY State Board of Elections (1-502-573-7100; this is a long distance call from Louisville)
5. KY Democratic Party headquarters (502-695-4828)
Note the church responsible and also note which group was giving out the voter forms.
The three big dominionist megachurches in Louisville will need to be particularly watched in this regard, as they have long histories of illegal electioneering in favour of Republican candidates. (Persons willing to monitor for 501©3 violations in these churches, please contact me privately.)
c) On Election Day (Nov. 7), if you notice AFA-KY or Freedom's Heritage Forum voter's guides in voting booths or experience difficulties in voting (for example, being forced to fill a provisional ballot even though you are known to have registered to vote and confirmed you are registered), notify all the parties in b) above and a precinct officer at your polling place immediately.
You folks not in KY-03 can help out in this--contact the IRS and report AFA-KY for illegal electioneering (Freedom's Heritage Forum effectively is a front for AFA-KY at this point).