Kevin Jennings has a message for the people who tried to destroy him: "I'd like you to know that you completely failed."
I'd reached Jennings last week as he was cleaning out his office on his final day as the head of the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools -- a position from which anti-gay activists and conservative media outlets had tried unsuccessfully to oust him.
Now that Jennings is leaving on his own terms -- next month he'll become president and CEO of the national nonprofit group Be the Change -- he wants to make sure his detractors understand that they didn't keep him from carrying out his job.
"Despite all of your lies, despite all of your attacks, we managed to galvanize a national campaign against bullying that culminated with the president himself convening a summit on it in the East Room of the White House, which he personally keynoted," he says. "So despite your best efforts to derail what I was brought here to do, we were able to bring an unprecedented level of attention and energy to fighting bullying in a way never before done in this country.
"So, in the end, anybody looking back over the last two years would have to conclude that it is a complete and total victory for us and a complete and total defeat for our opponents, because they tried to derail -- and they used defamation to try and derail the work I was brought here to do, and they completely failed to do so. They completely and totally failed. And I want them to know that."
Jennings isn't exaggerating when he refers to "defamation."
Throughout the fall of 2009, Jennings -- who had spent the previous 19 years running the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) -- was the target of what he calls a "completely stunning" campaign of character assassination. Years-old lies, many of which had been recycled from an obscure Massachusetts hate group, were suddenly blasted out to the country by Fox News, The Washington Times, Andrew Breitbart's blog empire, and the rest of the conservative media.
Jennings was falsely accused of "encouraging" and "covering up" statutory rape. He was falsely accused of being a "pedophile." He was falsely accused of having "personally pushed books that encouraged children to meet adults at gay bars for sex." Karl Rove falsely claimed Jennings had engaged in "high-profile, in-your-face advocacy of things like NAMBLA."
From the June 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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From the June 14 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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In a June 13 Washington Times column, Frank Gaffney wrote that there is "much evidence that the military is not ready for the adverse effects that would flow from" repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and that "[o]f principal concern is the intractable nature of many of the problems with accommodating not just homosexuals, but the radical Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) agenda in an institution like the U.S. military, in which mutual trust, unit cohesion and the effects of protracted forced intimacy may determine esprit de corps and combat readiness."
From Gaffney's column:
The issue has arisen thanks to a shameful abuse of power perpetrated in the lame-duck session late last year. Mr. Obama rammed through a Congress repudiated at the polls legislation repealing the law that had since 1993 prohibited avowed homosexuals from serving in the armed services. Mr. Gates and the also-soon-to-depart chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, played decisive roles in allaying concerns about and otherwise justifying this step. The repeal was conditioned, however, on the defense secretary, the chairman and the president all certifying to Congress that the military was prepared for this change.
An honest certification to that effect would not be possible at this time in light of much evidence that the military is not ready for the adverse effects that would flow from such a repeal. Of principal concern is the intractable nature of many of the problems with accommodating not just homosexuals, but the radical Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) agenda in an institution like the U.S. military, in which mutual trust, unit cohesion and the effects of protracted forced intimacy may determine esprit de corps and combat readiness.
If Mr. Gates is as serious as he seems to be regarding the future of the U.S. military, he has one last opportunity to prove it by allowing his successor to make the decision about whether to certify that avowed homosexuals can be imposed on the military without breaking it, a decision that will hopefully be approached only after a fresh, independent and rigorous appraisal of the true costs and real risks such a social experiment entail for America's armed forces.
From the June 13 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money:
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From the June 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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In a June 8 op-ed in The Washington Examiner, columnist Gregory Kane mocked the designation of June as LBGT Pride Month and attacked the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). He wrote that the repeal will "create a problem in the barracks" because it is equivalent to "mak[ing] training and barracks living coed." Kane also attacked the Shepard-Byrd Act, which was signed into law in October 2009 and makes it a federal crime to attack someone for his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. While Kane claimed that "[n]either Obama nor his minions" can "point to one 'hate crime' the Shepard-Byrd Act has prevented," the bill, as a New York Times article explained at the time, "expands the definition of violent federal hate crimes to those committed because of a victim's sexual orientation." Previously, the Times article said, hate crimes were defined as "those motivated by the victim's race, color, religion or national origin."
From the op-ed:
In an America where everyone, every group and everything gets a commemorative month, you had to figure gays and lesbians would get theirs.
Oh, pardon me: Make that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. Actually, the preferred term is probably Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender -- LGBT for short -- because that's how President Obama referred to them in his June 1 proclamation.
The bride month is now LGBT month.
Obama wants to end discrimination against the LGBT community in federal housing programs and federal jobs. Fine. He appoints qualified people from the LGBT community to positions in the executive and judicial branch of government. Even better.
But he crowed about signing the bill to end the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. Frankly, I'd feel more comfortable with Obama's crowing if it came from a president who actually served in our armed forces. While "don't ask, don't tell" and excluding gays and lesbians from the military seem wrong on the surface, there was a certain logic to it.
When I was in the military, men and women were kept in separate barracks. We trained separately. I suspect the reasoning had something to do with one gender being attracted to another.
Gay men are, by definition, attracted to other men. Wouldn't that create a problem in the barracks? Obama would have done better to simply make training and barracks living coed. That's what his ending "don't ask, don't tell" amounts to.
Where Obama really drove me nuts was with this line:
"At home, we are working to address and eliminate violence against LGBT individuals through our endorsement and implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act."
Oh, are you now?
Neither Obama nor his minions who support "hate crimes" legislation can point to one "hate crime" that the Shepard-Byrd Act has prevented. Any gay or lesbian (or bisexual or transgender person, for that matter) who feels big, bad Obama is going to protect him or her from gay bashers is sadly mistaken. [The Washington Examiner, 6/8/11]
Last night, Sean Hannity devoted a segment of his show to a discussion of how Sesame Street is guilty of liberal indoctrination. Conservative columnist and talk show host Ben Shapiro joked that he would like to "cap" Elmo and decried the show's supposed liberal bias, including its advocacy of letting boys play with dolls and girls play with fire trucks. Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell then jumped in, saying that allowing children to play with different toys "set[s] up a problem" in that it can lead to boys being crowned prom queen later in life. No, really:
So, Sesame Street, by encouraging children to play with different toys, is teaching children to be so open and tolerant of gays and lesbians that they will one day be able to openly enjoy their proms. And that is apparently a "direct assault on this country's moral foundation." However, Blackwell never mentioned the assault on our country's moral foundation from openly gay children who aren't even allowed to go to their proms, or those who are bullied and tormented by their peers.
Fox hosted and supported this rhetoric, and Hannity even announced that they had a "great panel" discussion. Sadly, this kind of rhetoric that attacks the very idea of LGBT people being allowed to live as they are is all too common on Fox.
That's the kind of discussion that Fox News thinks is appropriate, and the kind of rhetoric that companies that advertise on Fox are sponsoring.
For more, keep up with DropFox.
Adding to their already impressive list of groundbreaking scoops, the Daily Caller has an exclusive report today on the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria sponsoring a gay film festival. In keeping with the Daily Caller house style, the article stretches to several hundred words without coming near anything resembling a point. They instead list all the movies to be screened and note that the U.S. Embassy will show the Oscar-winning film Milk, starring Sean Penn. Shocking stuff.
The final line of the piece perhaps hints at a point: "The U.S. Embassy did not immediately reply to an email asking how much public money is being spent to sponsor the festival." Left unexplained is why this information would be noteworthy or scandalous. U.S. embassies sponsor film festivals all over the world without much notice or controversy.
Strange that the Daily Caller would single out this particular film festival for scrutiny...
In a May 25 Rolling Stone article on the "Fox News Fear Factory," Tim Dickinson reported that Fox News chairman Roger Ailes "has a personal paranoia about people who are Muslim -- which is consistent with the ideology of his network" and that Ailes "lived in fear that gay activists would try to attack him in retaliation over his hostility to gay rights." Indeed, Ailes' reported "personal paranoia" has been mirrored on Fox, which has a long history of smearing and attacking Muslims and the LGBT community.
From the May 26 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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National Review Online blogger Ed Whelan is still arguing that the decision by Judge Vaughn Walker to strike down California's ban on same-sex marriage must be thrown out because Walker is a gay man in a long-term relationship.
Last week, I documented Whelan's incredible admission that, if his argument is correct, a gay judge assigned to hear a same-sex marriage case must either disclose "intimate details" about his or her personal life or "[ask] the court clerk to reassign the case" to another judge.
As detailed by the lawyers opposed to the California ban on same-sex marriage, if Whelan's theory were correct, a gay judge who did not silently reassign the case would have to answer questions about "how long term, or how serious" the relationship was and "the judge's interest in marriage." The person who is in a relationship with a judge might have to answer similar questions.
But even more astoundingly, the defenders of California's ban on same-sex marriage are making the same argument in their brief (which, according to Whelan, "systematically dismantles" the other side's argument). Here is the relevant excerpt from the brief:
Plaintiffs argue that the statutory disclosure duty "would require federal judges to publicly disclose intimate details of their private lives," Doc # 779 at 23, but of course any judge who does not wish to make "a full disclosure on the record," 28 U.S.C. § 455(e), of personal facts that bear on his ability to sit in a case always has the option of simply asking the clerk to reassign it to another judge.
As I've previously detailed, this argument is odious on its own, but it's not even correct on the law. As the opponents of the same-sex marriage ban say: "Judges have a duty to sit and decide cases unless there is a legitimate reason to recuse." Thus, if Whelan and the defenders of the ban are correct, a gay judge assigned to hear a same-sex marriage case who does not believe he or she should be disqualified must preside over the case and must disclose the intimate details of his or her sexual orientation, relationship status, length of the relationship, seriousness of the relationship, and personal views on marriage.
Common sense suggests that this cannot be the law. And judicial ethics experts agree that this is not the law.
In a May 23 post on Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft reacted to news that Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings is leaving the Education Department to head the "Be The Change" campaign by reviving false, anti-gay smears against him. In the post titled "No More Fi$ting Tips? ... Obama's Porn-Pushing Safe School's Czar Is Stepping Down in July", Hoft unleashed a litany of old smears against Jennings, who was the former head of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). From the Gateway Pundit:
In March 2000 the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) organization of Massachusetts held its 10 Year Anniversary GLSEN/Boston conference at Tufts University. This conference was fully supported by the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Safe Schools Program, the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, and some of the presenters even received federal money. During the 2000 conference, workshop leaders led a "youth only, ages 14-21″ session that offered lessons in "fisting" a dangerous sexual practice. During the same workshop an activist asked 14 year-old students, "Spit or swallow?... Is it rude?" The unbelievable audio clip is posted here.
Barack Obama's "Safe Schools Czar" was the keynote speaker at the GLSEN/Boston Conference at Tufts University in 2000. High school students at the conference learned about fisting and watersports from the GLSEN activists. Jennings is seen here holding the conference program. (Via Mass Resistance)
Unfortunately for GLSEN, undercover journalists with Mass Resistance recorded these outrageous sessions at Tufts University. The audio was later leaked to a local radio station. This created such an uproar that GLSEN leaders were forced to apologize for their disgusting behavior.
Mass Resistance reported today that Kevin Jennings would step down as Safe School's czar in July.
As we've documented, National Review Online blogger Ed Whelan and other supporters of California's ban on same-sex marriage seek to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling striking down that ban on the grounds that Walker is gay. At the same time, Whelan continues to pretend that Walker's sexual orientation is not the issue. The real problem, Whelan says, is that Walker is in a long-term same-sex relationship and therefore may want to marry his partner.
He makes this distinction because, as legal ethicists nearly universally agree, as numerous newspaper editorials and commentators have argued, and as Whelan himself acknowledges, it would be problematic to say a judge must be disqualified from the case simply because of his or her sexual orientation.
Now, in response to a brief filed by opponents of California's same-sex marriage ban, Whelan has sunk to a new low, defending his position by saying that a gay judge assigned to a case on same-sex marriage must either disclose "intimate details" about his or her personal life or silently reassign the case to another judge.