Tuesday, January 31, 2012

And again, NOM loses another court appeal in Maine

From the Associated Press:

An appeals court on Tuesday upheld the state's campaign disclosure law that requires a national anti-gay-marriage group to release its donor list, but the group plans to take the fight to shield the list to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The decision pertains to ballot question committees in Maine and represents a second defeat for the National Organization for Marriage, which previously lost a challenge to the state's political action committee laws and laws governing independent expenditures and advertising attribution and disclaimers.

The latest appeal focused on part of the law that says groups that raise or spend more than $5,000 to influence elections must register and disclose their donors.

The NOM, which says it was founded in 2007 in response to the "growing need for an organized opposition to same-sex marriage in state legislatures," donated $1.9 million to a political action committee that helped repeal Maine's same-sex marriage law. It said it believes that releasing the donor list would stymie free speech.

"We already know that the homosexual lobby has launched a national campaign of harassment and intimidation against supporters of traditional marriage, so there's a good reason to keep these names confidential," said Indiana lawyer James Bopp Jr., who's representing the NOM.

Mary Bonauto, an attorney with Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, said Bopp's claims are an attempt to divert attention from NOM's failure to follow Maine disclosure rules.

NOM has promised to take this case to the Supreme Court. The organization certainly has the money for the process. The problem is it doesn't want to tell anyone where that money is coming from.

Hat tip to Towleroad.

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FRC's Peter Sprigg misrepresents studies in legislative testimony

FRC's Peter Sprigg again gives misleading testimony

Today, the Maryland legislature listened to testimony on a bill which would allow marriage equality in the state.

Of course, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council offered up testimony against the bill. A printed copy of his testimony is on FRC's webpage.

Basically Sprigg said that marriage equality would harm children based on the following points:

Fewer children would be raised by a married mother and father.

More children would grow up fatherless.

Birth rates would fall.

We would teach that adult desires, not the interests of society or the needs of children, should drive the drive the definition of marriage.

I won't refute Sprigg's testimony because he did it himself. Check out the endnotes - i.e. research he used to reach his points:

[1] Cynthia C. Harper and Sara S. McLanahan, "Father Absence and Youth Incarceration," Journal of Research on Adolescence 14(3), 2004, p. 388.

[2] Bruce J. Ellis, John E. Bates, Kenneth A. Dodge, David M. Fergusson, L. John Horwood, Gregory S. Pettit, Lianne Woodward, "Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy?" Child Development Vol. 74, Issue 3, May 2003; abstract online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-8624.00569/abstract.

[3] David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem (New York: BasicBooks, 1995), p. 45.

[4] Joyce A. Martin, Brady E. Hamilton, Paul D. Sutton, Stephanie J. Ventura, T. J. Mathews, Sharon Kirmeyer, and Michell J. K. Osteman, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, "Births: Final Data for 2007," National Vital Statistics Reports Vol. 58, No. 24, August, 2010, Table 11. Rankings calculated by the author.

Have you figure it out yet? Hardly any of those studies have anything to do with marriage equality. Sprigg only uses one - the last study - the make the following claim:

There is already evidence of at least a correlation between low birth rates and the legalization of same-sex "marriage." Four of the first five states to permit same-sex "marriage" rank within the bottom eight out of all fifty states in both birth rate and fertility rate

But based on how he distorts the other three, there should be a serious lack of credibility in terms of if he is being accurate here.

In other words, Sprigg claims that marriage equality will have a negative effect on children by citing studies having nothing to do with marriage equality.

Misrepresenting research is not a new thing for Sprigg. In February of last year, he made the claim that same-sex households are inferior to two-parent heterosexual households by using studies which have nothing to do with same-sex households.

And FRC continues to push his pamphlet, The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality,which not only repeats discredited anti-lgbt accuracies but exposes a bit of trickery on Sprigg's part. He cites only part of pro-lgbt information which talks about diseases and negative behaviors but omits the information which talks about how homophobia plays a part in these diseases and negative behaviors.

It's almost depressing. As long as no one challenges Sprigg on his indiscretions, he will continue to be pushed as an "expert" and will continue to give misleading testimony at legislative hearings like he did today in Maryland.

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'Liberty Counsel bragging about attempt to push junk science in school' and other Tuesday midday news briefs

Liberty Counsel again pushes sham science group; as Jesus would, of course - Unbelievable. Jeremy Hooper from Goodasyou has pointed out that the Liberty Counsel is bragging that the American College of Pediatricians, has sent another one of its letters:

 Today the American College of Pediatricians sent a letter to the Shawano School District Superintendent, Todd Carlson, cautioning him to not react adversely to 15-year-old student Brandon Wegner based on political pressure.

Superintendent Carlson called Brandon ignorant for his views on homosexual adoption presented in an op-ed, point-counter-point article for a student-run newspaper. Brandon, the author of the censored article, was punished and bullied for expressing his support of natural, mother-father adoption. The American College for Pediatricians sent a letter to the superintendent, advising him to “consider all the evidence.” It also included three articles concerning
homosexual adoption and bullying.

American College of Pediatricians Sends Letter of Caution to Shawano Superintendent [LC]

One thing you know about the American College of Pediatricians. It's a phony group. A sham group designed to legitimize religious right junk science. Jeremy also says the following about the incident:

The letter proceeds to direct the school system to FactsAboutYouth.com, a pro-"ex-gay" site that has been so resoundingly criticized, even groups like the Family Research Council have backed off from pushing it.

I wrote about FactsAboutYouth two years ago in the Huffington Post outlining the myriad of errors contained in it, such the following claim it makes about gay men:

Some gay men sexualize human waste, including the medically dangerous practice of coprophilia, which means sexual contact with highly infectious fecal wastes

To read about the other errors, go to Phony Medical Group Attempting to Peddle Anti-Gay Propaganda to Schools

In other news:

Housing Department Introduces Sweeping LGBT Protections
- And of course the religious right is going to lose its collective mind.

Despite Disclosure Lawsuits, NOM Will Pour Money Into Maine - So in spite of the fact that they lose court cases regarding disclosure laws in Maine, the National Organization for Marriage is going back to spending a buttload of money in the state.

Debunking NOM's New "Commonsense" Radio Ad In New Hampshire - And speaking of NOM, they tell a bunch of lies in a New Hampshire radio ad.

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Family Research Council proud of its brazen hypocrisy regarding the military

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council

This portion of an email sent by the Family Research Council underlines the organization's hypocrisy and audacity when it comes to issues of the lgbtq community:

Apart from the Church itself, no institution has a bigger bulls-eye on its back than the U.S. military. "These installations exist to carry out the national defense of our nation," said Congressman (Tim) Huelskamp, "not to facilitate a narrow social agenda." To keep the troops from being distracted by the President's radical social agenda, Rep. Huelskamp has introduced a bill that stops the administration from sneaking around U.S. marriage law and giving its blessing to homosexual unions in the military. His legislation would keep a promise that the administration made but has not kept. Under this bill, military bases would not operate as same-sex "wedding" chapels. "A military installation or other property owned, rented, or otherwise under the jurisdiction or control of the Department of Defense shall not be used to officiate, solemnize, or perform a marriage or marriage-like ceremony involving anything other than the union of one man with one woman."

Also, chaplains, who have been under extraordinary pressure to oversee these ceremonies, would not be "directed, ordered, or required to perform" any service that is contrary to his faith or his church's faith. It's a shame that we have to pass laws like these to protect values that were once considered common place. But the White House leaves us no choice. So help Rep. Huelskamp fight for the troops who are busy fighting for us. Contact your House member and ask him or her to sign on to the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act. 

First of all, no chaplain has been under "extraordinary pressure" to officiate over a same-sex wedding ceremony.  As near as I can tell, there has never been any article about any chaplains complaining about facing this "problem."  The only thing we have heard is hysteria from the Family Research Council and like-minded groups that this sort of thing could happen.

But it couldn't.  According to an article in the Washington Post in September of last year:

The Pentagon will permit military chaplains to perform same-sex marriage as long as such ceremonies are not prohibited in the states where they reside, it said Friday.

Defense Department guidance issued to military chaplains said they may participate in ceremonies on or off military bases in states that recognize gay unions. Chaplains are not required to officiate at same-sex weddings if doing so is counter to their religious or personal beliefs, the guidance said.

But what if a chaplain wanted to officiate a same-sex wedding? Well the FRC can't stop that (and I am sure that the organization probably wants to) but it seeks to make this option more difficult by pushing for a law saying that these weddings can't take place on a military base.

In other words, at the same time FRC is defending the right of military chaplains to not have to officiate same-sex weddings, the organization is undermining the rights of military chaplains to do want to officiate these weddings by making it difficult for them to do it on base.

What's more, the organization is bragging about both of these efforts in the same email.

You have to admit. That's pretty brazen.

Related post:

16 reasons why the Family Research Council is a hate group

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