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July 19, 2008

It's A Sad Day For The Radio Hall Of Fame

According to a press release from TruthWinsOut.org the Museum of Broadcast Communications announced that they would induct right wing extremist James Dobson into its Radio Hall of Fame.

Because voting was open to the general public (see my July 9th posting), clearly he got enough of his fanatical supporters to go to the website and vote for him. Unfortunately, there seems to have been a little deception going on there also.

When I went to the Radio Hall Of Fame website to check the list of inductees myself, I noticed what I think is a pretty important variance in the way they listed their winners and the way the ballot listed them. When I voted, the listing for James Dobson was under his own name but on the final list of winners, it was recorded as "Focus on the Family."

This may not seem like such a big deal but when you consider that most of the people (not counting Dobson's Dogs) who took the time to seek out the site and cast their votes, did so because they wanted to support one or two of their personal favorites and wouldn't necessarily have known much about the other nominees. So, when they see a name they recognize but don't really know anything about and don't have time to do research, they'll usually vote for that person solely because they recognize that name and it doesn't ring any negative bells in their minds. James Dobson is a name that would fall into that catagory. Most open-minded, non-judgemental people who don't know him or anything about his history wouldn't think to question his credentials.

"Focus On The Family" however is pretty well known for its extremist views and outrageous statements and would, in all likelihood, ring all kinds of bells in the minds of a lot of those people. If that organization was, in fact, the winner then why wasn't it listed by its name on the ballot so people would have known that they were voting for an organization and not an individual?

Conversely, Art Bell is another inductee who was listed by his own name on both the ballot and the winners list. The program he started and nurtured into the most listened to late night broadcast in the history of radio, "Coast To Coast AM," was not named as the winner, only Art was.

That being said, I would suggest that there are a few things we can do to show our revulsion at a hate-monger being honored by the Museum of Broadcast Communications.

Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out (TWO), has vowed to protest the annual awards dinner that will be held in Chicago on Saturday, November 8, 2008. If you live in or will be in the Chicago area at that time, contact TWO and find out how you can participate.

Another way is to send a quick email to the Museum's Founder/President & CEO, Bruce Dumont.

If you want to write a letter, phone or fax the Museum, here's their info:

The Museum of Broadcast Communications
400 North State St., Suite 240
Chicago, IL 60610
Tel: 312-245-8200
Fax: 312-245-8207

To read TWO's full press release go to: TruthWinsOut.org

July 18, 2008

Latest Poll Shows Majority Opposed To Proposition 8

According to The Field Poll survey conducted in English and Spanish between July 8 and July 15th, 51% of likely California voters oppose a ban on gay marriage.

The Field Poll surveyed 672 Californians who are likely to vote in the November election. Only 42% support the ban.

According to The Field Poll itself;

"Democratic and Republican voter sentiments are poles apart on this issue. Sixty-three percent of
Democrats intend to vote No, while 68% of Republicans are ready to vote Yes. Non-partisans are
overwhelmingly on the No side – 66% to 27%.

There are also big differences in voting preferences by region. Voters living in California’s coastal
counties, which represents 69% of all likely voters, oppose Prop. 8 56% to 37%. Opinions are
almost reversed among Californians living in inland counties, where supporters outnumber
opponents 54% to 40%.

The strongest opposition to Prop. 8 is found in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, where
voters oppose Prop. 8 by a two and one-half to one margin (67% to 26%). They are joined by
voters in Los Angeles County who are also on the No side, 51% to 41%.

By contrast, voters in the Central Valley and in other parts of Northern California outside of the Bay
Area are opposed on the order of five to four. In Southern California areas outside Los Angeles
County, preferences are more evenly split (50% No and 45% Yes).

Women voters are lining up on the No side of Prop. 8 to a greater extent than men – 54% No and
40% Yes among women vs. 49% No and 45% Yes among men.

By age, opposition to Prop. 8 is greatest among younger voters under age 30, as well as among
"baby boomers" in the 50 – 64 age bracket. Voters in other age groups are more evenly divided.
White non-Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians are lining up on the No side by five to four
margins. This contrasts with the voting preferences of Latinos, who are supporting Prop. 8 five to

There are also big differences by religion. Protestants favor Prop. 8 56% to 40%, while Catholics
are evenly divided. By contrast, voters affiliated with other religions or who have no religious
preference are opposing Prop. 8 by wide margins.

Evangelical Christians favor the amendment better than two to one, 66% to 31%. However, non-
evangelicals are on the No side 59% to 34%.

There is greater opposition to Prop. 8 among voters who personally know or work with gays or
lesbians. This group, which includes nearly three in four voters statewide, opposes Prop. 8 54% to
40%. On the other hand, those who have no personal familiarity with gays or lesbians favor the
amendment by a narrow margin."

Let's hope that margin not only holds but increases between now and the election. In the meantime, I'm also going to research any polls taken here in Arizona for our own discriminatory anti-gay marriage ballot proposition. I'll keep you posted on both.

To see the entire poll results, go to: The Field Poll

July 17, 2008

Public And Political Attitudes Changing On Gay Marriage

I ran across an excellent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times this morning. In it, Gail Collins outlines the evolution of attitudes towards gay marriages since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize those unions.

I'm sure we all remember the intensity of the right-wing hoopla surrounding the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision and the consequent legislation that followed. There were petitions, news articles and talk radio programs that screamed about the demise of the institution of marriage and painstakingly detailed the false perceptions of the supposed immoral "lifestyle" of the "mentally disturbed" and "anti-christian" homosexuals. And, much like the rantings in California today, impassioned attempts at constitutional amendments which, as we all know, failed.

Even after it became the law of the state, the then Governor Mitt Romney, in a complete political turn around and desperate attempt to appease the right-wingers prior to his Presidential run, dug out the obscure law of 1913 to prevent Massachusetts from becoming “the Las Vegas of same-sex marriages.”

This week, the Massachusetts Senate voted to repeal even that law (see my July 15th posting "Breaking News"). So what changed?

According to Gail Collins:

"Well, with the economy the way it is, becoming the Las Vegas of anything whatsoever began to sound like a good deal. California has been raking in money from weddings of out-of-state gay couples since a court made same-sex marriage legal there.

In Massachusetts, a study commissioned by the state, with the optimism of such studies everywhere, predicted that getting rid of that old law could create hundreds of jobs, millions in tax revenue and tons and tons of local business for hotels and restaurants and party planners. As an advocate predicted reasonably, when a gay person decides to come to Massachusetts and get married, “most won’t come alone.”"

Of course the fact that four years later heterosexual marriage wasn't destroyed, God didn't smote the Godless citizens and most people in that state hardly ever even talk about it anymore. It has become, for them, a regular part of their daily lives and, in effect, a non-issue.

Ms Collins' piece is also an excellent, in-depth analysis of the changing views on social justice with a little precognitive irony thrown in. After the 1970 Supreme Court ruling that people of different races had a constitutional right to wed, someone suggested to President Nixon that same-sex marriages would be next. He responded, “I can’t go that far; that’s the year 2000.”

To read the full opinion piece, go to: New York Times Opinion

Update To Flagstaff Gay Bashing

This is an update to Gay Bashing In Flagstaff Arizona posted on June 23rd.

According to a press release from Equality Arizona, the Coconino County Attorney's Office has charged Travis Reiner with a felony assault in the June 22, 2008, anti-gay attack on Michel Brown. If found guilty on the felony assault charge, Reiner could receive an enhanced sentence under Arizona's hate crime statute.

Reiner was one of four men arrested after allegedly shouting anti-gay slurs and attacking several people gathered at a street corner during Flagstaff's Pride in the Pines weekend festivities. The incident involved staff and volunteers of Equality Arizona and resulted in at least two individuals being treated for injuries at a local hospital.

I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

July 16, 2008

Christian Fanatics Same Hypocrites All Over

I ran across an article at pinknews.co.uk that shows that christian fanatics are the same double-talking hypocrites no matter where they may live.

Lillian Ladele is a 47 old, born and raised in Nigeria, who claimed that she was discriminated against by the Islington Council. Ms. Ladele is a Registrar who refused to perform gay civil partnerships (legal in England) based on her strongly held religious beliefs. She told her superiors: "I would not be able to conduct civil partnerships because it states in the Bible that marriage occurs between a man and a woman, not people of the same sex, and, as a Christian, I try to follow what the Bible teaches." She was however, directed by the Islington Council to carry out the partnerships. She appealed to an Employment Tribunal and their judgment in her favor read, in part:

"Ms Ladele is a Christian. Her unchallenged evidence was that she holds the orthodox Christian view that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others and that marriage is the God-ordained place for sexual relations.

"She could not reconcile her faith with taking an active part in enabling same-sex unions to be formed.

"She told us that she believed this to be contrary to God's instructions that sexual relations belong exclusively between a man and a woman within marriage."

The problem is that the Tribunal failed to question her on the depth of her beliefs because it has since come to light that she is a single mother who had her child out of wedlock.

She was also quoted as saying "I’m not homophobic. I’ve never had a problem with gay people or their lifestyle. My issue was purely that I did not want to be the one to facilitate same-sex civil partnerships because I do not agree with them."

If she isn't the epitome of blatant hypocrisy, what is?

To read the full story go to: pinknews.co.uk

July 15, 2008

Breaking News...

The Massachusetts Senate has just voted to repeal the 1913 law used to bar out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts.

The repeal has the support of Gov. Deval Patrick, whose 18-year-old daughter announced publicly last month she is a lesbian.

The House is also expected to pass the repeal and a vote there is anticipated for later this week.

An analysis found repealing the law could draw thousands of couples to Massachusetts, boosting the economy by $111 million over three years.

AFA Again Shows Their Hysterical, Hypocritical Homophobia

According to an article by Daniel Gonzales posted today at BoxTurtle.com, the AFA (American Family Association) sent him an urgent email "alert" from AFA's "One Million Dads" campaign. The "alert" warned of the grave dangers awaiting young children at public libraries that stock gay and lesbian books as well as at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore chain.

It seems that in a Collierville, Tennessee Barnes & Nobel, a young 11 year old boy was walking through the store (followed closely by his father) when he came across a book titled “Ultimate Gay Sex” lying open on one of the reading area's tables. According to the boy's father, Brannon Howse, the boy saw graphic pictures of two men engaged in sex.

The email railed on saying:

"...this is a serious problem in Barnes & Noble stores across the country. Many parents have written to say they have had the same type of heart wrenching experiences with their children as Barnes & Noble does not place the homosexual pornography behind the counter or even in a restricted area not open to minors. Anyone can go in and find it on the shelf."

Mr. Gonzales looked the book up on Amazon.com and found "that it is nothing more than a sex guide, a sex guide that happens to be written for gay people."

Of course, the hysterical "alert" made no mention of the fact there were also books readily available, and just as explicit, in the same bookstore but written for heterosexuals. Why aren't they calling for those books to be sequestered away also? It seems that the AFA is oddly fixated on male gay sex. I would be willing to bet that a fairly substantial majority of AFA's male members wouldn't be quite as quick to object if they saw girl on girl books laying open on a table. Especially if they weren't with their wives. Can you say "hypocrite?"

See The Full Story at: BoxTurtle.com

July 14, 2008

Boycott Of San Diego Hyatt Called For

According to an article posted on signonsandiego.com, a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego has been called for. Apparently the owner, Doug Manchester, donated $125,000 to the Anti-Gay Marriage amendment (Proposition 8) in California.

Fred Karger, who is one of the organizers of the boycott, said he is also urging the public to boycott Manchester's other hotel, the Grand Del Mar. “This is someone who is giving an exorbitant amount of money to write discrimination into the constitution for the very first time,” Karger said. “Our goal is to create a business loss for people who contribute. We want to make it a little uncomfortable," he added.

Andrew Pugno, an attorney for protectmarriage.com, which supports Proposition 8 said “Support for traditional marriage is a mainstream view. I can't imagine that efforts to boycott businesses with mainstream views are going to be successful.”

However, in May of this year, after the court ruling legalizing gay marriage in California, the non-partisan Field Poll found a majority of California voters opposed a constitutional ban and by a slimmer majority for the first time supported same-sex marriage. Also, two gay rights organizations, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and PlanetOut Inc., moved events they had scheduled at the Manchester Grand Hyatt to another location. So, it seems that Mr. Pugno's comments about mainstream views and that the boycott wouldn't be successful are turning out to be wrong on both counts.

Mr. Manchester, by the way, said that his hotel doesn't discriminate and that he welcomes the GLBT community. If that isn't the height of crass hypocrisy I don't know what is. He's happy to take our money but doesn't want us to have the same rights that he and his family has. What's wrong with that picture?

If you're planning a trip to San Diego, I would urge you not to stay at either the Manchester Grand Hyatt or the Grand Del Mar.
Staying at any other Hyatt is actually recommended since the Hyatt Corporation itself is a very strong supporter of our community and has scored very highly for their non-discrimination policies. Hopefully, the corporate office will bring a lot of pressure down on Manchester. After all, most people will only recognize the name Hyatt and wouldn't necessarily make the distinction between the whole chain and a single hotel.

You can read the full story at: signonsandiego.com