Wednesday, July 28, 2010

HRC: "Summer for Marriage" Tour is a Set-Up

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has been conducting a big tour to promote their belief that only heterosexual couples should be allowed to marry. Their plan was to visit twenty-three cities through the summer, traveling in a big, brightly painted bus. They go to a city and set up on a central plaza and give speeches and hold signs, then go to the next city and do it again.

Several web sites have been following the tour - I have been keeping up through coverage at Box Turtle Bulletin but there are others, too. At each city, observers attend the rallies and count the numbers of NOM supporters, and the number of counterdemonstrators. Typical attendance at Summer for Marriage rallies has been two to three dozen NOM supporters and one or two hundred protesters. Their turnout is pathetic, and after each stop they publish press releases exaggerating the numbers, but still, with all the publicity this tour has had, with all the money invested in it, you wonder how they keep going from one humiliating stop to the next.

The Human Rights Campaign has issued a press release, I think they've figured it out.
Washington – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today challenged the National Organization for Marriage's so-called "Summer for Marriage" bus tour, saying it's nothing more than legal and rhetorical posturing in its campaign to keep its donor base secret.

“The bus tour is a total sham, plain and simple,” said Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president of communications. “NOM’s highly-touted bus tour is less about so-called ‘traditional marriage’ and more about creating an elaborate and cynical stunt. NOM rolled out a summer of nationwide events in order to draw lawful protesters, all so that NOM and its allies can pepper ongoing lawsuits challenging public disclosure laws with made-up stories of harassment. This unprecedented victimization crusade is the lowest denominator of political activism, and it won’t fly.”

In events in seven states, NOM has routinely played to crowds reportedly as small as two dozen people including NOM staff members. The organization’s public statements on the bus tour have barely mentioned the content of the programs or the substance of its anti-LGBT message, instead focusing attention on much larger counter-protests that NOM has attacked as intimidation and harassment. NOM issued a press release last Friday saying that LGBT supporters have “approached and threatened children,” engaged in “bullying tactics” and committed acts of harassment. However, NOM’s uncorroborated claims belie legitimate local media reports demonstrating that pro-equality supporters, which have vastly outnumbered NOM’s faithful, have been civil. NOM has yet to document any illegal activity or actual harassment, despite the presence of law enforcement at all the events.

NOM’s efforts to trump up false claims of harassment are part of a radical nationwide plan to evade long-established public disclosure laws and to hide their political activities from legitimate scrutiny and accountability. In doing so, NOM has falsely alleged that their donors have been harassed and intimidated across the country to justify why it shouldn’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else. These tactics have prompted a state ethics investigation in Maine and recent court defeats across the country.

In Washington state, NOM’s lawyers fought the state’s public records law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court – and lost last month. While rejecting their request to shield petition signatures to an anti-LGBT equality measure on the state ballot, the Supreme Court did allow for re-evaluation in cases of clear intimidation or harassment. A federal district court will soon decide if NOM’s unproven allegations of harassment justify hiding the petition signatures that qualified Referendum 71, the unsuccessful effort to overturn Washington’s domestic partnerships law. A federal court in California similarly rejected NOM’s efforts to hide its donors and debunked its claims of harassment and intimidation in the wake of Proposition 8.

Sainz concludes: “The bread crumbs of their deceit are clear. Let’s add it all up: NOM and its allies are making a last-ditch legal stand in Washington and Maine that they should be specially entitled to hide their political activities, and they’re saying that harassment and intimidation should provide them this cover. At the same time, Brian Brown schedules a series of virtually unattended weekday afternoon events hoping for counter-protests that they can then use as evidence of harassment and intimidation. Why else would NOM execute such half-hearted non-events and then completely subjugate its so-called ‘pro-marriage’ message in favor of devoting its energies almost exclusively to condemning lawful protesters?” HRC to National Organization for Marriage: Your Summer Bus Tour is a Sham

We have seen several anti-gay campaigns recently where people seem to believe they should be able to keep their signatures on a petition calling for a referendum, or their donations to a political campaign, secret. So far the courts are not ruling in their favor. In America, generally we have the right to express an opinion and to participate in public political processes, but we have no right to wear hoods over our faces when we do it. People who want to add their name to a hateful campaign or contribute money to it are free to do so, and the public is entitled to know who is behind a campaign that will be voted on.

Their argument has been that they are afraid The Gays will attack them if they find out they have participated in a hate campaign against them. Because you know how scary gay people are. HRC is suggesting that the whole point of this tour is to provoke counterdemonstrators into shoving somebody or yelling at somebody, so they can get it on videotape and exaggerate it in press releases -- which they are already doing on their web site.

These people spend their days trying to figure out ways to make sure that gay couples who love one another are not allowed to marry, to promise themselves to a lifetime together and a home and a family. Their tour is a failure on the face of it, no one in any city they visit supports them, and yet they keep plugging along, videotaping every angry face of someone who is fighting for their right to marry the one they love.

It goes without saying, if you attend one of these travesties, stay cool. Chant, wave signs, don't be afraid to express yourself but remember how it is going to be used. Don't pump fists or yell in someone's face or use foul language. It is important to show support for marriage equality, and important not to let these losers score any cheap points.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"People who want to add their name to a hateful campaign or contribute money to it are free to do so, and the public is entitled to know who is behind a campaign that will be voted on."

Why is that?

This is why we have a secret ballot. So people can make their own judgment about whether they want to be a lightning rod for some lunatic group.

The "public" is entitled to express their own view, not know who to personally attack. There is really no legitimate reason for anyone to feel entitled to this and courts who rule this way are forfeiting a right we have that may be important in future circumstances.

And all to enable lunatic fringe gay advocates to harass people.

July 28, 2010 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so people can hurt other people without being held accountable for their actions.

July 28, 2010 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

words aren't sticks and stones

the idea that opinions are acts of violence is an insidious one that threatens our national discourse and, ultimately, way of life

is the next step to make voting public so we can know who voted to hurt other people and hold them "accountable"?

July 28, 2010 9:37 AM  
Blogger Tish said...

Anon, do you mean to say that you think the US will return to public voting (also known as "open ballot")? Because open ballots were the standard for about a century. Most states converted to the secret ballot in the 1880s, one held on to the open ballot until the 1890s, and one state still has a constitutional provision allowing citizens to use an open ballot.

The conversion to secret ballots was not universally popular. In fact, the conversion from voice votes to ballots of any kind had opponents. Public voice votes couldn't really be contested when everyone heard a man say out loud what his vote was. Proponents of public voice votes believed that they were more secure than ballot votes.

As for me, I do not think a referendum petition drive is the same as the vote. I believe that we have an electoral process that includes public discourse and private decision making. Hearings, editorials, Town Hall meetings, and petitions are a part of the public discourse. Voting is the end result of the private decisions we make based on the public discussion.

July 28, 2010 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday the Senate failed to break a Republican filibuster on the DISCLOSE Act, by a vote of 57-41. Not a single Republican voted for the bill. Not a single Republican was willing to bring greater transparency to our election process.

The bottom line is that right-wing corporate interests don't want any restriction on their efforts to sway elections. Even letting the American people know just who is pouring millions into negative campaign ads is too much accountability for them.

It's disappointing this bill did not pass, but it's become par for the course for a national Republican Party bent solely on blocking anything and everything that might move this country forward.

July 28, 2010 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know Harry Reid voted against the bill and with the Republicans? Wonder why...

The divisive Barack Obama is trying to tear our society in two. Corporations are currently being pitted against the rest of us as a straw man for his cynical style of politics.

This won't help you in the fall, Barry. You'll be getting an ballot box ass-kicking.

Take it like a man.

Reality check: Most Americans own corporate stock and have common interest with corporations.

"One reality of the U.S. Senate is that a united minority can stop bad legislation, and Republicans did precisely that yesterday in preventing a vote on the blatantly partisan effort to limit the free political speech of some Americans but not of others.

Sometimes this filibuster power can be abused, but yesterday’s legislation is the kind it was made for. House and Senate Democrats, egged on by President Obama, want to limit what corporations can spend on political campaigns, while not imposing similar limits on their union friends. Previous campaign finance reforms, however misguided, have at least waited an election cycle to take effect. But Democrats want to give unions a leg up this year, as they scramble to maintain their majorities in the face of rising voter anger against liberal policies."

shameful and why we won't Democratic majorities to kick around much longer

July 28, 2010 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

During the campaign, Barack Obama sought to appeal to the best instincts of the electorate, to a post-partisan sentiment that he said would reinvigorate our democracy. He ran on a platform of reconciliation—of getting beyond "old labels" of right and left, red and blue states, and forging compromises based on shared values.

President Obama's Inaugural was a hopeful day, celebrating the election of America's first African-American president. The level of enthusiasm, the anticipation and the promise of something better could not have been more palpable.

And yet, it has not been realized. Not at all.

Rather than being a unifier, Mr. Obama has divided America on the basis of race, class and partisanship. Moreover, his cynical approach to governance has encouraged his allies to pursue a similar strategy of divisive politics on his behalf.

We saw this divisive approach under Republican president Richard Nixon. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now. By dividing America, Mr. Obama has brought our government to the brink of a crisis of legitimacy, compromising our ability to address our most important policy issues.

The first hint that as president Mr. Obama would be willing to interject race into the political dialogue came last July, when he jumped to conclusions about the confrontation between Harvard Prof. Henry Louis "Skip" Gates and the Cambridge police.

During a press conference, the president said that the "Cambridge police acted stupidly," and he went on to link the arrest with the "long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately."

Sen. Jon Kyl has said the president told him that he would not move to secure the border with Mexico until Congress reached a breakthrough on comprehensive immigration reform.

Add in the lawsuit against the Arizona immigration law and it's clear the Obama administration is willing to run the risk of dividing the American people along racial and ethnic lines to mobilize its supporters—particularly Hispanic voters, whose backing it needs in the fall midterm elections.

Last week, two top White House strategists, speaking on condition of anonymity, indicated that "the White House plans to use the immigration debate to punish the GOP and aggressively seek the Latino vote in 2012."

On an issue that is potentially just as divisive, the Justice Department has refused to prosecute three members of the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation at the polls on Election Day 2008.

It is the job of the Department of Justice to protect all American voters from voter discrimination and voter intimidation. It is unacceptable for the Department of Justice to continue to stonewall on this issue.

During the campaign, Mr. Obama's campaign emphasized repeatedly that his minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was being unfairly stereotyped because of racially incendiary sound bites that allegedly did not reflect the totality of his views. In the Gates incident and others, Mr. Obama has resorted to similar forms of stereotyping.

July 28, 2010 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even the former head of the Civil Rights Commission, Mary Frances Berry, acknowledged that the Obama administration has taken to polarizing America around the issue of race as a means of diverting attention away from other issues, saying: "the charge of racism is proving to be an effective strategy for Democrats. . . . Having one's opponent rebut charges of racism is far better than discussing joblessness."

The president had a unique opportunity to focus on overarching issues of importance to whites and blacks. He has failed to address the critical challenges. He has not used his bully pulpit to emphasize the importance of racial unity and the common interest of poor whites and blacks who need training, job opportunities, and the possibility of realizing the American Dream.

Mr. Obama has also cynically divided the country on class lines. He has taken to playing the populist card time and time again. He bashes Wall Street and insurance companies whenever convenient to advance his programs, yet he has been eager to accept campaign contributions and negotiate with these very same corporations behind closed doors in order to advance his political agenda.

Finally, President Obama also exacerbated partisan division, and he has made it clear that he intends to demonize the Republicans and former President Bush in the fall campaign. In April, the Democratic National Committee released a video in which the president directly addressed his divide-and-conquer campaign strategy, with an appeal to: "young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 [to] stand together once again."

President Obama's divisive approach to governance has weakened us as a people and paralyzed our political culture. We are stronger when we debate issues and purpose, and we are all weaker when we divide by race and class. We will pay a price for this type of politics.

July 28, 2010 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It goes without saying, if you attend one of these travesties, stay cool. Chant, wave signs, don't be afraid to express yourself but remember how it is going to be used. Don't pump fists or yell in someone's face or use foul language."

By "express yourself", I assume you mean lewd displays to shock straights are still OK?

July 29, 2010 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Did you know Harry Reid voted against the bill and with the Republicans? Wonder why..."

It wasn't to feel closer to GOP's big business sycophants and BP apologists, that's for sure.

"Republicans blocked passage of the campaign finance law known as the DISCLOSE Act on a 57 to 41 vote today. Though Democrats officially failed to break the filibuster by three votes, they are really only one vote shy from breaking the filibuster.

Harry Reid voted "no" on procedural grounds so he can bring the bill back up for a vote, and Joe Lieberman was at a funeral and unable to vote yes. The Democrats hopes of passing the bill hinged on getting one Republican, such as Maine's Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins, to vote for cloture."

But not a single member of the Grand Obstructionist Party voted for it because they all march in lockstep to prevent the changes Americans voted for in Obama's landslide election.

"It goes without saying, if you attend one of these travesties, stay cool. Chant, wave signs, don't be afraid to express yourself but remember how it is going to be used. Don't pump fists or yell in someone's face or use foul language."

Tea baggers would do well to remember this advice. And their leaders should suggest they leave the racist imagery off their protest signs too.

Obama's Plan: White Slavery

July 29, 2010 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"they all march in lockstep to prevent the changes Americans voted for in Obama's landslide election"

Americans voted for a unified America where we try to work together.

Instead we got a divisive President who incessantly tries to pit groups of Americans against each other for cynical political purposes.

He'll be a lame duck in a hundred days.

July 29, 2010 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Republicans blocked passage of the campaign finance law known as the DISCLOSE Act on a 57 to 41 vote today."

Why should there be limits on corporation political spending but not union political spending?

Sounds like a socialist ageda.

July 29, 2010 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sounds like a socialist ageda."

Now THAT is really FUNNY,"Anonymous"!

July 30, 2010 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Americans voted for a unified America where we try to work together.

That's right, except the GOP only sits on their hands. Congressional members of the GOP refuse to govern and instead vote NO on every blessed bill, even the bills they help to write. Anyone who thinks that people "work together" when one side constantly says, "HELL NO YOU CAN'T!" is sadly mistaken. Saying no to everything is not how people "work together."

On Friday, Salon reported an example of this failure of the GOP to "work together": Thursday "night, House Republicans blocked a bill providing billions of dollars for healthcare for first responders and others suffering due to breathing toxins on 9/11. They were able to do so because Democrats used a procedural maneuver to prevent Republicans from adding pointless, partisan amendments, but that maneuver meant the bill needed a two-thirds super-majority to pass. One hundred and fifty-nine Republicans then voted against the bill, even though most of those Republicans say they support helping the heroes of 9/11.

And here's another example of the GOP refusing to "work together" reported Thursday in the Washington Monthy: "As the job market continues to struggle, Democrats have proposed a package to aid small businesses, including tax breaks, new incentives, and an attempt to expand credit through a lending program that utilizes local banks.

Today on the Senate floor, it had 59 supporters and 41 opponents, which means it failed, and the entire effort is in jeopardy.

'Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) failed to break a weeks-long GOP filibuster of small-business jobs legislation and was forced to scramble to figure out his next move after Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) bitterly attacked his handling of the bill Thursday. [...]'

But Snowe's attack on the Senate floor -- in which she accused Reid of performing "political theater. It's not about legislating anymore" -- clearly caught Reid and other Democrats off guard and forced the Democratic leader to make a last-ditch effort to salvage the bill.

(For the record, the final vote was technically 58-42, but only because Reid had to switch his vote for procedural reasons. Every member of the Democratic caucus opposed the GOP filibuster, and every Republican voted to kill the bill.)

In a display that can best be described as insane, Senate Republicans demanded all week that the chamber act on the small-business-incentives measure, and not waste time with measures like campaign-finance reform. But this morning, when the small-business package was ready to move, Republicans balked.

To hear them tell it, GOP senators aren't against helping small businesses -- at least not explicitly -- but they're filibustering to get more time for more votes on more amendments to the bill.

In other words, Republicans have gone from complaining about the bill not coming up sooner to trying to drag out the process out."

What a bunch of GOP jerks! They have not worked with the majority party toward unity, but instead have impeded every piece of legislation, even those they claim to support, for political theater.

Shame on the party of NO!

August 01, 2010 8:57 AM  
Blogger Joy kumar saha SEO expert said...

Hey , Writer

Your blog published on '' Affordable Tour'' that I followed your blog . I gained more tips by this your blog . Completely , I chosen your blog .The offshore is a must do for many Cairns guests, and though you can be a aspect of the viewers of many others and take a guest vessel out for a day of snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling diving, you can also get involved in some actual SCUBA snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling jump snorkeling diving. Choices broad variety from personal day for Tours Cairns to several day live-aboard trips such as start water and evening goes.

Thank you for your Excellent Blog .

September 07, 2013 5:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home