National Review Online blogger Ed Whelan has been trying for more than a year to disqualify the judge who declared California's bar on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Whelan argues that because the judge in question -- Vaughn Walker -- is gay and in a long-term relationship, federal law requires that he be disqualified.
That hasn't stopped Whelan though. Today, he has posted a 1,400 word National Review piece that pleads for "a request by Prop 8 proponents" asking the appellate courts to throw out Walker's ruling on the grounds that he should be disqualified because of his sexual orientation.
Whelan writes that Walker should be disqualified because he is in a long-term relationship with a man and "a reasonable person would expect him to want to have the opportunity to marry his partner," which, according to Walker's own opinion, confers benefits on couples.
Whelan does not break any new ground in his arguments today. So there's not much new for us to add.
However, we'll note again that by Whelan's logic, a straight judge who is married or in a long-term relationship would also have to be disqualified because proponents of Proposition 8 argued that the ban on same-sex marriage was "about preserving marriage" as it has been traditionally defined.
Since marriage as traditionally defined would not be preserved were same-sex marriage to be legalized, straight judges would have an obvious interest in stopping same-sex marriage.
That would be no more ridiculous than believing Walker should be disqualified from the same-sex marriage case.
From the April 19 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the April 19 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the April 19 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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The Washington Times isn't known for carrying open or enlightening views on LGBT issues. Indeed, it could be argued that the Times takes certain delight in painting itself as anti-gay, in reinforcing the homophobic smear that "homosexual orientation is contrary to human nature." From same-sex marriage to DOMA to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Times has consistently hammered this point. But the op-ed it published Tuesday on Perez Hilton lifted the gay-bashing to a disturbing level.
Hilton, the openly gay celebrity blogger who runs top gossip site PerezHilton.com, recently announced that he has written his first children's book. The Boy With Pink Hair is to be published in September by Penguin's Hispanic imprint Celebra. According to its publisher, the book "is a defining story about how believing in yourself and following your aspirations can not only bring out the best in you, but also in those around you."
In a statement about the book posted on his website, Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, says:
I am absolutely elated about this book, which comes from a very dear and genuine place within me. While I can identify in many ways with THE BOY WITH PINK HAIR, he represents so much more. This story is about every kid that's ever had a dream, felt excluded, wanted to belong, and hoped that one day they could do what they loved and make a difference. Today, with this book, that's exactly what I feel I have the opportunity to do. I hope everyone can share in the spirit of a boy that only wants to bring some happiness to the world around him.
But the Times chose to represent Hilton and news of the book deal by insinuating that he is, in essence, a pedophile.
In addition to the other issues making headlines - military conflict, congressional budget fights, and natural disasters - Fox News is soliciting your opinion on another key issue. Pink toenails. No, really.
The J.Crew ad in question is here. It depicts J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons painting her son's toes pink with the caption "Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon." For this, Fox News asks "[D]oes this cross the line?" as if it were their determination to make.
The story seems to flow from this Media Research Center story from this past Friday which goes even further than Fox and charges "J.CREW Pushes Transgendered Child Propaganda":
J.CREW, a popular preppy woman's clothing brand and favorite affordable line of first lady Michelle Obama, is targeting a new demographic - mothers of gender-confused young boys. At least, that's the impression given by a new marketing piece that features blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.
Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow, Jenna's indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future. J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the façade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.
This is just part of MRC's decades-long campaign to demonize and marginalize the LGBT community, it just has the added element of being more absurd than usual. And this time, Fox gave them an assist.
In an April 5 Washington Times column headlined, "Marching in lockstep with homosexual agenda," Robert Knight fearmongered over the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," writing that GOP congressmen asked during a recent hearing "questions that revealed the military is clueless about how much this will hurt readiness, retention, morale and recruitment." Knight further wrote: "What if you don't respect your (male) commander for having sex with other men or wearing a dress and pumps while on leave?"
From Knight's column:
"We used to conform behavior to the military. Now we're conforming the military to behavior."
Rep. Allen B. West, Florida Republican, belled the cat neatly during a hearing last Friday on the military's breakneck pace in implementing the new lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) law.
Mr. West, whose 20-plus years in the U.S. Army included combat commands, noted that he and others at Fort Bragg had to endure "sensitivity training" in the 1990s. It didn't enhance the "warrior ethos," he recalled.
What became clear at the hearing of the House Armed Services Committee's Personnel Subcommittee chaired by Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican, is that the Pentagon is forging into unknown territory, driven by political correctness, not military need.
On the other side, Mr. Wilson, joined by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, Missouri Republican, Rep. Austin Scott, Georgia Republican, Mr. Coffman and Mr. West asked questions that revealed the military is clueless about how much this will hurt readiness, retention, morale and recruitment.
Both Mr. Stanley and Adm. Gortney insisted that chaplains and others troubled by the new policy will face no repercussions. Sure they won't. Adm. Mullen has already invited anyone who disagrees to leave the military.
"We're not asking anyone to change their beliefs, just treat everyone with respect," Adm. Gortney said. What if you don't respect your (male) commander for having sex with other men or wearing a dress and pumps while on leave?
In an April 4 editorial, The Washington Times attacked transgender people seeking the ability to change the gender listed on their birth certificates, writing: "It's fair to ask where all of this is heading. Could Jocelyn Wildenstein -- famously nicknamed 'Catwoman' for the feline appearance she achieved through multiple plastic surgeries -- decide after years of struggling with her identity that she is actually a cat?" The Times went on to further question the sanity of transgender people, suggesting that "perhaps these people are just messed up."
From the Times editorial:
Individuals who claim they're "transgender" are suing the New York City Health Department over what they say is discrimination. These people are upset because the city won't change the sex listed on their birth certificates unless they've had elaborate surgery to refashion their private parts and received subsequent psychiatric evaluations attesting to the permanence of their supposed "transition" to the opposite gender.
Practically speaking, none of the scientific (or pseudo-scientific) mumbo-jumbo matters too much, however, because self-identified transgenders and their allies are finding success for their radical agenda by merely asserting that it's a medical condition and going forward with counseling for "transition" (purportedly becoming the opposite gender) and radical surgery to "correct" their organs and sex characteristics. There is no more debate over the possibility that perhaps these people are just messed up.
It's fair to ask where all of this is heading. Could Jocelyn Wildenstein - famously nicknamed "Catwoman" for the feline appearance she achieved through multiple plastic surgeries - decide after years of struggling with her identity that she is actually a cat? With the precedents set by these new policies, all she would need to do to secure her new cat identity is find a doctor to certify that she was undergoing "appropriate clinical treatment" to secure the right to demand that her official government documents be altered to reflect who she has become. She's already had the surgeries.
The old saying about giving an inch and losing a mile comes to mind. As Sam Berkley, born Samantha, complained in a press conference about the lawsuit, "I don't feel comfortable with the government deciding whether I'm a man or not." Strike "man" and replace with "human" or "sane" and there's not much of a difference. We must then accommodate all departures from cultural norms - which becomes easier as the groups in opposition to the norms successfully erode them to suit their own ideas of how the world should be. This becomes even more tragic - dangerous, even - if we're accommodating mental illness in the name of misplaced sensitivity, inclusiveness or political correctness.
Of all the bigoted arguments the Washington Post promotes via its On Faith microsite, the most consistently infuriating are John Mark Reynolds' disingenuous attempts to co-opt the language of tolerance and to accuse those whose rights he wishes to limit of trying to impose their values on him.
I've previously noted that Reynolds has used the platform granted him by the Post to accuse gays (and those who believe in the legitimacy of gay relationships) of "the deepest form of sexism," to compare gay rights advocates to racists, call them "the hateful," and refer to support for gay rights as "prejudice."
Despite these nonsensical, up-is-down complaints, the Post keeps inflicting Reynolds upon its readers, and endorsing him as a distinguished panelist engaged in "respectful" and "intelligent" conversation. Reynolds' latest post:
Republican voters must find a candidate who would restore to states the right to ban abortion. We should not have a system where the values of some states are imposed on states that reject them.
[S]tates should be allowed to define marriage as they see fit without forcing the entire nation to embrace the values of the other states.
Reynolds never explains why he thinks states are the appropriate level for codifying values, leaving the reader to conclude that it is simply because he believes they are the level at which he can win. In any case, it's dizzyingly absurd for Reynolds to complain about imposing values on others in the course of arguing in favor of states doing exactly that to their residents. Why is it acceptable -- desirable, even -- for people in one county to "impose" their values on residents of a neighboring county, but unacceptable for the same to happen among states? Reynolds doesn't explain; he simply treats it as a self-evident matter of principle.
To be clear: I don't think the problem is that Reynolds has failed to recognize the inconsistency of his position, or to articulate why state government is the level at which values should be codified in law. I think the problem is that John Mark Reynolds is willing to say things he does not actually believe. See, I doubt John Mark Reynolds actually believes that "states should be allowed to define marriage as they see fit." I find it hard, if not impossible, to believe Reynolds would accept a state's decision to define marriage as a union between two men, or two women, but not between a man and a woman. It seems obvious that Reynolds does not really believe "states should be allowed to define marriage as they see fit" -- and that, instead, he believes states should be allowed to define marriage as he sees fit.
The Post's stated desire to host a respectful and intelligent discussion among people of diverse viewpoints is a laudable goal -- but it isn't served by promoting the disingenuous claims of someone who says supporting gay rights is like sexism and that those who seek marriage equality are imposing their values on those who wish to tell gays they cannot marry.
In a March 25 Washington Times column, Robert Knight wrote that the Obama administration "is lobbing nukes into the institution of marriage and the military" by repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and declining to continue defending the Defense of Marriage Act. Knight further suggested that the Obama administration is "trash[ing] marriage and the law."
From Knight's op-ed:
The left is lobbing nukes into the institution of marriage and the military. Obamacare is going forward, complete with funding for abortion and massive increases in the size of the already enormous Department of Health and Human Services. Defunding this increasingly unpopular power grab should be in every budget bill - but it's not.
Despite no promised certification that lifting the military's ban on homosexuality will harm readiness, recruiting or retention, President Obama's Pentagon already has produced materials hatched in a theater of the absurd. As Washington Times correspondent Rowan Scarborough reports, Marine commanders will have to ponder, for example, what to do if two male Marines are seen kissing in a shopping mall.
Now there's a scenario for building respect for the military among the nation's youngsters.
Boy: "Look, mom, those Marines are, uh, making out right there in the food court! I'm not sure I want to be a Marine after all."
Liberal mom: "Well, that's a relief. I didn't want you to be in the military anyway. All those guns give me the creeps. But why do you find this odd? Are you some kind of religious bigot? Honestly, we're going to have to call your school and ask them to step up the tolerance training. You won't even wear that nice polka-dot dress and the pumps I bought you."
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has announced its refusal to defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which a liberal Massachusetts judge found unconstitutional. House Speaker John A. Boehner has questioned the "timing" of this dereliction of duty and has said the House will move to defend the law. Fine, but is there ever a good time to trash marriage and the law?
In a WorldNetDaily piece, Bob Unruh advanced the argument that California legislation aimed at having the history of the LGBT movement taught more extensively in social studies classes is "the worst school sexual indoctrination ever" and "sexual brainwashing." In fact, the bill instructs educators to teach about the "role and contribution of ... lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans."
In a Washington Times piece, Kerry Picket criticized the Department of Justice for saying that its Civil Rights Division is "committed to ending bullying and harassment in schools" and for highlighting its "authority to enforce federal laws that protect students from discrimination and harassment at school because of their race, national origin, disability, religion, and sex, including harassment based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes."
Echoing The Washington Times piece, a National Review Online blog post also attacked the Justice Department's initiative on bullying.
What's wrong with the department's anti-bullying initiative? If harassment rises to the level of a civil rights violation, shouldn't the Department of Justice step in to do something about it?
Not according to Picket. Picket writes that there is a "catch" to what the Department of Justice is doing. It is only targeting some types of bullying, and not dealing with the scenario in which an "overweight straight white male who is verbally and/or physically harassed because of his size."
But here's the thing. If a person is harassed "because of his size," and his size alone, the Justice Department does not have the power to step in. And it's irrelevant whether the victim is straight, gay, or bisexual or white, Asian, black, or Native American. In this context, the Department of Justice enforces civil rights laws, and there is no current civil rights law dealing with discrimination on the basis of weight. On the other hand, if the white male were being bullied because of his race or gender, there may be a role for the Justice Department.
Perhaps law professor David Bernstein at the libertarian Volokh Conspiracy blog put it best: Picket's piece "seems like a cheap rhetorical trick-trying to insinuate that the administration has something against 'straight white males' when the administration is simply staying within the limits of its legal authority."
In a March 18 Washington Times column, Robert Knight attacked anti-bullying legislation, claiming "the federal government is going to whip local schools into line using its vast fiscal powers" and calling the legislation "a politically correct form of bullying. To oppose this abuse of power implies you actually want these poor kids to be harassed."
Knight also used the column to launch anti-gay attacks on Obama administration Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings and columnist Dan Savage:
Ms. Speier's new school-bullying idea mirrors President Obama's recent interest in the subject. On March 10, he held an "anti-bullying" conference at the White House. Besides "safe schools czar" Kevin Jennings, invitees included anti-Christian homosexual activist Dan Savage, who attained some fame in 2000 for claiming to have licked the doorknobs of pro-family Republican candidate Gary Bauer's office in hopes of giving Mr. Bauer the flu. Now that's the kind of participant we should have at every anti-bullying conference, if only as a role model.
The government, under the auspices of three federal agencies, has created a website dedicated to ending bullying. Paraphrasing Mrs. Higgins, here's the site's underlying philosophy: 1) Homosexual behavior is equivalent to race, 2) any kind of sex is morally positive, and 3) expressing any conservative moral beliefs leads to bullying. What a neat formula for suppressing dissent.
Knight further attacked opponents of Rep. Peter King's anti-Muslim "radicalization" hearings:
Speaking of bullying, Ms. Speier was in rare form along with other Democrats on March 10 at Rep. Peter King's Homeland Security Committee's hearing on radicalization of U.S. Muslims.
She rebuked the committee for focusing on Islamic terror instead of expanding it to "Christian" terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or the violent anti-abortion group Army of God, and she assailed some witnesses.
Given Ms. Speier's fiery demeanor toward anyone who conveys the idea that radical Islam is more of a threat than, say, a Baptist ladies knitting club, it's no wonder Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy D. Baca almost fell over himself praising Islam as a religion of peace and unloading nuggets like this:
"The Muslim community is no less or no more important than others, as no one can predict with complete accuracy who and what will pose the next threat against our nation."
As I said, watch out for those ladies and their knitting needles. OK, that's not fair. Ms. Speier and Sheriff Baca were talking about groups that actually commit violence. But given the threat we face, the moral equivalence is still stunning.
|Donny Eugene Mower|
On March 9, the day before the much-hyped Peter King hearings on the radicalization of Muslims in America began in Washington, D.C., federal agents in Washington state arrested an apparent neo-Nazi on charges of planting a bomb on the route of a Martin Luther King Day parade. Two days later, five members of a"sovereign citizen" militia in Alaska were arrested for plotting to murder State Troopers and a federal judge.
Compared to the political theater of the King hearings, these busts of accused right-wing domestic terrorists received scant media attention. Even less publicized was the arrest, also on March 9, of another accused right-wing extremist who allegedly firebombed a Planned Parenthood clinic and vandalized an Islamic center in Madera, California.
The case of Donny Eugene Mower further illustrates the narrow-mindedness of Rep. King and his conservative media cheerleaders for focusing on Muslim domestic terrorists to the exclusion of all other violent extremists, including white supremacists, militia members and anti-abortion radicals.
According to the federal criminal complaint against Mower, he admitted to throwing a Molotov cocktail through the window of the Planned Parenthood clinic in the middle of the night last September 2. No one was injured, but the damage was extensive.
Mower left a note at the scene: "Murder our children? We have a 'choice' too. Let's see if you can burn as well as your victims." The note was signed "ANB," short for American Nationalist Brotherhood. The same entity had claimed responsibility for menacing letters posted outside the Madera Islamic Center.
The first of those messages appeared last August 18: "No temple for the God of terrorism at Ground Zero. ANB." At the time Fox News and others were feverishly manufacturing outrage at the supposed "Ground Zero mosque" in New York City.
Two days later, according to investigators, Mower threw a brick at the Islamic center, causing minor damage, and then returned his focus to the Planned Parenthood clinic, posting another threat: "Murdering children? That is your choice? Reap your reward. ANB."
On August 24, another message appeared at the Islamic center: "Wake up America. The enemy is here. ANB."
There was a lot of talk this morning on Fox & Friends about the Supreme Court's ruling yesterday that the Westboro Baptist Church's anti-gay protests of funerals for dead American soldiers, while monumentally loathsome and antithetical to our progress as a nation and a society, are protected as free speech by the Constitution.
And, as happens most days on Fox & Friends, the hosts solicited viewers to email their opinions, and a few of those emails were selected to be read on the air, including one that counseled against changing the Constitution "because of some far left loons."
Trying to brand the Westboro Baptist Church as "left" or "right" does nothing to explain the sick delusion that motivates them, and serves only to smear by association those whose left-leaning or right-leaning views are not motivated by insane hatred. What's more, it makes little sense -- last I checked, the "far-left" isn't really known for harboring religiously inspired antipathy towards gays.
But that's the viewer email Fox & Friends selected for special attention. Funny how that happened.