Wednesday, February 29, 2012

God Hates Fags, Catholic Version

This has been bouncing around the blogs for a couple of days, made the front page of The Post today:
Deep in grief, Barbara Johnson stood first in the line for Communion at her mother’s funeral Saturday morning. But the priest in front of her immediately made it clear that she would not receive the sacramental bread and wine.

Johnson, an art-studio owner from the District, had come to St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg with her lesbian partner. The Rev. Marcel Guarnizo had learned of their relationship just before the service.

“He put his hand over the body of Christ and looked at me and said, ‘I can’t give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin,’” she recalled Tuesday. D.C. archdiocese: Denying Communion to lesbian at funeral was against ‘policy’

The lady's mother had just died, and the priest chose that opportunity to make a statement that Jesus will not save the souls of lesbians.

Family members said the priest left the altar while Johnson, 51, was delivering a eulogy and did not attend the burial or find another priest to be there.

And here is the classic response:
Archdiocese officials would not comment. Instead, they issued a short statement saying that the priest’s actions were against “policy” and that they would look into it as a personnel issue.

“When questions arise about whether or not an individual should present themselves for communion, it is not the policy of the Archdiocese of Washington to publicly reprimand the person,” the statement said. “Any issues regarding the suitability of an individual to receive communion should be addressed by the priest with that person in a private, pastoral setting.”

Messages for Guarnizo and other parish staff were not returned. Neither he nor other parish leaders were at the church or the rectory Tuesday night.

When the clerk at Best Buy is rude to you, that's a personnel issue, when somebody sleeps on the job or shows up late. Of course the Church has a long sordid history of treating priests' dangerous behaviors as personnel issues. Let's hope there is some transparency here, and some accountability.

You may find the priest's bio interesting -- he's not a new guy or somebody who doesn't understand how the game is played. Here's a write-up at a site called the Conservative Insitute, apparently in Bratislava, Slovakia:
Rev. Marcel Guarnizo (USA) is an American by birth, he is a Catholic diocesan priest belonging to the Archdiocese of Moscow, Russia. Rev. Guarnizo studied theology and philosophy in Rome where he specialized in Metaphysics.

He became one of the first priests ordained in Russia since the fall of the wall. He is the founder and President of Aid to the Church in Russia an organization dedicated to the reconstruction of the Church patrimony destroyed by the communist in Russia.

He is also the founder and Chairman of the Educational Initiative for Central and Eastern Europe (EICEE) a foundation committed to the strengthening and promotion of free, just and democratic societies in Central and Eastern Europe.

Rev. Guarnizo has lectured and taught in many countries of the region and has worked with universities, students, and leaders in the region since 1993. As one of the speakers, Rev. Guarnizo have participated recently in several economic liberal forums, such as [lists several forums] Marcel Guarnizo: Economics, Philosophy and Foundations of Democracy

To have refused this woman communion at a normal Sunday-morning mass would have been a hateful gesture. To deny her the sacrament at her own mother's funeral, and then to abandon the burial, because the priest is personally repulsed by her sexual orientation, is a venomous expression of hate; what could be more hateful that believing it is appropriate to hurt the person when they are at their most vulnerable?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Santorum: Dumb Is Better Than Smart

This blog started in 2004 as a kind of defense of our suburban county's decision to implement a sex-ed curriculum in the public schools that talked about contraception and sexual orientation. At that time, contraception was not really an issue, the Nutty Ones complained about the district's choice of a cucumber to serve as a phallic surrogate in the video but nobody even tried to make the point that there was any problem with preventing sperm cells from traveling towards an ovum. Now, can you believe these guys are complaining about birth control? Man, talk about going backwards!

But of course the really controversial part was where the school district intended to tell students that some people are gay or transgender. Way too much information for some people. They wanted to recall the whole school board over it. The bottom line was that the rebellion in our county was against education itself, against the propagation of knowledge to the community.

The Republican primaries have been the occasion for revelation of the party's core beliefs. And this week, one central message came out, perhaps more explicitly than some strategists would have liked, but if you want to win GOP voters you have to prove you are on target with the message. Speaking to a Tea Party group, Rick Santorum argued that President Obama's attempts to make higher education more available to Americans amounted to snobbery.

The Washington Post blog:
“Not all folks are gifted in the same way,” Santorum told a crowd of more than 1,000 activists at the Americans for Prosperity forum in Troy, Mich. “Some people have incredible gifts with their hands. Some people have incredible gifts and ... want to work out there making things. President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.”

As the crowd applauded, Santorum continued.

“There are good decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them,” he said. “Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.”

Santorum graduated from Penn State with a B.A. in 1980, then earned an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981. In 1986, he earned a J.D. from Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law. Santorum: Obama is ‘a snob’ because he wants ‘everybody in America to go to college’

This is revealing on several levels. First, of course, the obvious, there is the sheer, bald hypocrisy of a person with a doctorate complaining about higher education being for snobs. We are no longer shocked by those kinds of contradictions, though, "pro-family" politicians who have been married a bunch of times and had a bunch of extramarital affairs, small-government politicians who want government to control who you can marry, hypocrisy is sort of the expected standard these days.

The real point has to do with education. Santorum can get applause by complaining that Obama is trying to indoctrinate people into the liberal lifestyle by sending them to college.

Our community's 2004 attack was a response to an attempt to implement a sex education curriculum that was scientifically and medically accurate. The group that became Citizens for Responsible Whatever wanted to overthrow the county's school board when they voted to teach students that some people are gay, some are transgender.

There is no controversy about those facts. Everybody knows there are LGBT people in the world and in our community. The curriculum didn't propose an explanation for why people have different sexual orientations, it just said that there are families with two dads or two moms, and that some people fall in love with someone of their own sex.

There isn't really much to get upset about there. Sexual orientation isn't contagious, it isn't an ideology that you can choose to subscribe to, it is just how people are. But to say it out loud, to teach students that there are gay people, was too much for a certain group of fanatics in our county.

You can look at the history of the human race in terms of the evolution of knowledge. At first, there were preferred ways to chip flint to make arrowheads and knives, and the educated members of the tribe learned those techniques. Knowledge accumulated about the behaviors of animals, the hope-inspiring cycle of the seasons, the lay of the land, and over the millenia the state of human knowledge improved. Early man might not have distinguished crisply between reality and dreams, but over time, through testing hypotheses against outcomes, it was possible to derive something we call knowledge about reality and pass it on to the culture, so everyone could benefit.

But knowledge is fundamentally in competition with tradition. Learning, if it is worth anything, means changing the way you do things. New knowledge is added to existing knowledge, and so facts that are inconsistent with the traditional narrative are troublesome and easily rejected, or else the whole corpus needs to be thrown out. Learning is a challenge, information is uncertainty, knowledge is essentially revolutionary.

The core debate, in our county and elsewhere, is bigger than sexual orientation or marriage or morality, the controversy is about how a society should manage knowledge. One side says, the way we used to think about things was good enough, and the other side says, no, we need to rely on the actual facts as we know them now, whether they support or contradict our customs.

Santorum is making an us-versus-them argument on the basis of knowledge. "They" have knowledge and are snobs, "we" don't need no stinking knowledge, we're smart enough without it. We have seen politicians assert that they would shut down the Department of Education, but that is kind of distant and bureaucratic, it doesn't mean anything to most people, really. But to call a guy a snob because he wants to make it easier for people to go to college, now you're getting close to home, people can relate to that. For Santorum and his Tea Party audience, ignorance is a cherished quality to be maintained carefully.

I understand that there is comfort in tradition, there is pleasure in doing things that we learned from previous generations; I'm an old-fashioned guy in my private life, in many ways. But when we as a society are deciding how we will manage the environment, how the government will treat its citizens, when we are determining our stance in relation to other countries, I am in favor of using the best knowledge that is available to us.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marriage Wins in Maryland

As expected, marriage equality passed the Maryland state Senate. Last week it got through the House of Delegates. The governor supports it.

(CNN) -- The Maryland Senate voted Thursday evening to legalize same-sex marriage, the latest sign of growing national recognition of such unions among gay and lesbian couples.

Gov. Martin O'Malley has pledged to sign the bill into law, which was approved last week by the House of Delegates.

"All children deserve the opportunity to live in a loving, caring, committed, and stable home, protected equally under the law," O'Malley said in a statement after the vote.

The Maryland vote comes less than two weeks after Washington legislators voted to legalize same-sex marriage. That measure will take effect in the summer if it survives a likely court challenge.

Six states and the District of Columbia already issue same-sex marriage licenses -- Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. Five states -- Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island -- allow civil unions that provide rights similar to marriage.

"There's no question that with so many Americans having changed their minds and opened their hearts as they've heard the stories of real couples and thought about why marriage matters, we now have tremendous momentum towards ending marriage discrimination," said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, which favors recognizing a right to marriage for gay couples.

"We could see a nationwide victory as soon as one to two years. It could also take as much as 10 years." Maryland Senate approves same-sex marriage bill

There was a battle in the House and iffy moments right up till the vote, but the Senate was expected to come through. There were a few sort of half-hearted filibusters, Republicans wasting time, but everybody knew the bill would pass once a vote was allowed.

CNN has to report on the Sad Sacks, of course.
Citing the 31 states in which voters have approved measures defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said he doesn't believe polls saying that a majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage.

"The reality is that in these 31 states, everywhere we've had a vote, is that voters have said they believe marriage is an institution between a man and a woman," Brown said.

But Americans feel that way less and less.

Expect the Nutty Ones to push for a referendum, and watch them lose.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gender Rights Bill Passes in Baltimore County

And it includes public accommodations.

Tuesday night, approximately 6 PM:
TOWSON, Md. (WMAR) - Baltimore County Council has passed their human rights bill with a vote of 5 to 2.

The legislation had a series of heated hearings over the last month, but passed through the council tonight.

The bill adds gender identity and sexual orientation to the existing human relations laws. It is designed to prevent discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, education, financing or public accommodations.

The only two council members that voted against the bill were Councilman Todd Huff and Councilman David Marks.

The bill comes about one year after the beating of Chrissy Polis, a transgender woman at a Rosedale McDonald's. Transgender bill passes through Council

Arizona Sheriff Quits Romney Campaign Over Gay Ex-Lover's Charges

I just wanted to be able to post that headline.

Here's the story, from the International Business Times.
Pinal County, Ariz. Sheriff Paul Babeu resigned his post as Mitt Romney's state campaign co-chairman, following the revelation on Saturday that he was involved in a homosexual relationship with a Mexican immigrant who claims he was threatened with deportation if he spoke out about their involvement.

Babeu publicly said he was gay and admitted to being in a relationship with the man, known only as Jose, but denied the allegation that he threatened his former lover, whose legal status remains unclear. Paul Babeu: Arizona Sheriff Quits Romney Campaign Over Gay Ex-Lover's Charges

There's just something about this one that screams Twenty Twelve. It's got everything. Babeu is gearing up a campaign to run for Congress. He is President of the Arizona Sheriffs’ Association and was named the National Sheriff of the Year in 2011 by the National Sheriffs’ Association. He is a conservative who made his reputation with a rabid anti-immigration position, and now we learn his lover was an undocumented immigrant. And that he threatened to deport him if he outted him. He was Arizona co-chairman of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and a friend of John McCain. It's got everything.

An Arizona professor and pollster said, "I don't see how any reasonable person cannot think that this is going to hurt him, particularly with the constituency that he has built, which is a very evangelical, right-wing, family oriented conservative constituency." See what I mean? Everything.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Evangelical Views on Abortion Are New

There has been a rumble in the background for as long as I can remember, religious extremists opposing abortion even for people who are not members of their religion. People claiming to be Christians have been hassling women at abortion clinics for decades, waving their signs with pictures of fetuses on them, bombing clinics, shooting at doctors. They are responsible for a significant portion of American terrorism. I can't remember a time when this background noise -- which moves to the foreground for those women who need abortion services and often have to confront violent crowds -- did not exist. I assumed it has always been that way, at least since abortion became a safe medical procedure, in approximately the 1930s.

Turns out that is not the case. Slacktivist blogger Fred Clark had an informative post this week, noting that evangelicals had no big problem with abortion, not so long ago.
[In 1968] Christianity Today — edited by Harold Lindsell, champion of “inerrancy” and author of The Battle for the Bible — published a special issue devoted to the topics of contraception and abortion. That issue included many articles that today would get their authors, editors — probably even their readers — fired from almost any evangelical institution. For example, one article by a professor from Dallas Theological Seminary criticized the Roman Catholic position on abortion as unbiblical. Jonathan Dudley quotes from the article in his book Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics. Keep in mind that this is from a conservative evangelical seminary professor, writing in Billy Graham’s magazine for editor Harold Lindsell:
God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: “If a man kills any human life he will be put to death” (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22-24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense. … Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.

Christianity Today would not publish that article in 2012. They might not even let you write that in comments on their website. If you applied for a job in 2012 with Christianity Today or Dallas Theological Seminary and they found out that you had written something like that, ever, you would not be hired.

At some point between 1968 and 2012, the Bible began to say something different. The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal

The blogger quotes from Dudley's book. It is surprising, given the furor over abortion that we accept as part of the background noise of our society, to realize that not-so-many years ago these same people believed just the opposite. History is nothing more than memory, and memory can be influenced by events that occur between the moment of encoding and the moment of recall. This is a perfect example of that.

From Dudley:
By the mid-1980s, the evangelical right was so successful with this [anti-abortion] strategy that the popular evangelical community would no longer tolerate any alternative position. Hence, the outrage over a book titled Brave New People published by InterVarsity Press in 1984. In addition to discussing a number of new biotechnologies, including genetic engineering and in vitro fertilization, the author, an evangelical professor living in New Zealand, also devoted a chapter to abortion. His position was similar to that of most evangelicals 15 years prior. Although he did not believe the fetus was a full-fledged person from conception, he did believe that because it was a potential person, it should be treated with respect. Abortion was only permissible to protect the health and well-being of the mother, to preclude a severely deformed child, and in a few other hard cases, such as rape and incest.

Although this would have been an unremarkable book in 1970, the popular evangelical community was outraged. Evangelical magazines and popular leaders across the country decried the book and its author, and evangelicals picketed outside the publisher’s office and urged booksellers to boycott the publisher. One writer called it a “monstrous book.” … The popular response to the book — despite its endorsements from Carl F.H. Henry, the first editor of Christianity Today, and Lew Smedes, an evangelical professor of ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary — was so overwhelmingly hostile that the book became the first ever withdrawn by InterVarsity Press over the course of nearly half a century in business.

The book was republished a year later by Eerdmans Press. In a preface, the author noted, “The heresy of which I appear to be guilty is that I cannot state categorically that human/personal life commences at day one of gestation. This, it seems, is being made a basic affirmation of evangelicalism, from which there can be no deviation. … No longer is it sufficient to hold classic evangelical affirmations on the nature of biblical revelation, the person and work of Christ, or justification by faith alone. In order to be labeled an evangelical, it is now essential to hold a particular view of the status of the embryo and fetus.”

The strange thing is that evangelicals claim to believe in timeless truths embedded in ancient teachings. It comes straight from The Bible, all of it, this is what they believe and it is what Christians have always believed.
By the time of the 1988 elections, everyone in American evangelicalism was wholly opposed to legal abortion and everyone in American evangelicalism was pretending that this had always been the case.

They did not only change their believe about abortion, they also revised their belief about their belief, they revised the history of the belief. Opposition to abortion is now a litmus test for the born-again movement, where one generation ago they felt just the opposite.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Morning: My Open Tabs

I keep tabs open in my web browser. Maybe no individual one is worth posting about, but the array of them may be meaningful. At least, if I write about them I can close them. There is a bit of a pattern here.

The all-male GOP panel to discuss contraception. It's like a bad joke.

It reminds me of this 2009 New Yorker cartoon:

And as contraception was discussed on the news, guess who was invited onto the TV news shows to talk about it? Media Matters paid attention:

Can you see that little bit of green on MSNBC? Look at the statement this makes about a woman's private and personal decisions about whether to become pregnant or not.

Then there is this, a listing from CBS, who will be on the news shows today:
NBC's "Meet the Press" — Reps. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.
CBS' "Face the Nation" — GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum
CNN's "State of the Union" — GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul; Gov. Mitch Daniels, R-Ind.
"Fox News Sunday" — GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich; Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.

Does that seem weird to you, that no show on any network could think of a woman they would want to interview? All men. At least NBC found a Democrat.

Oh, and did you see this video that's going around like wildfire through the rightwing web sites? How Planned Parenthood hooks kids on sex -- Planned Parenthood is creating sex addicts so they can sell contraception and abortions to them. I guess I was the last to know about that, I thought Planned Parenthood provided reproductive health care for women, mostly, and sometimes men. I didn't know they had a hidden agenda of getting children hooked on sex to create a market for their products.

If you Google this video you will see that it is linked from hundreds of conservative web sites. You might watch it and think it is a joke but there are many people believing this stuff.

I don't like the "war on" terminology that is so easy, war on drugs, war on Christmas, war on women. In some of these cases it is clear that the men who are running things want to send a message that it's a boys-only club.

Virginia just passed a new law saying that any woman seeking an abortion in that state will be forcibly penetrated by an ultrasound probe inserted into her vagina. It is not medically necessary, it is just to humiliate her and to coerce her into continuing her pregnancy rather than considering an abortion. Under that state's laws, shoving something into a woman's vagina against her will is considered rape; this is essentially state-mandated rape of women who want abortions. This is not a political abstraction, it is as intimate and personal an invasion as you can have.

On another front they are arguing about whether employers should pay for insurance that covers birth control pills for women. I don't like to call it "the Republican war on women," let's just say they see it from one point of view.

And really, can you believe that we are still debating The Pill?

There is an asymmetry built into biological reproduction. The investment of the sexes in gestation is not equivalent. The female's body is changed in profound ways by pregnancy, the baby growing within her is part of herself, is connected to her nutrition, her emotions, she is aware of it every time she moves. It is deeply disrespectful of women to decide for them whether they will become pregnant or stay pregnant.

I don't like to call it a "war on women" because real wars are physical and bloody, destructive and heartbreaking in a concrete way, there is maiming and death and fear. Every movement against a group is not a war, sometimes it is just an ideological tide that washes through a society. For some reason, right now, at this point in history, it makes sense to a lot of Americans to disregard the needs of women, it makes sense to many people to keep women pregnant as often as possible, whether they want to be or not.

This might be a time of ebbing of the women's movement, or it may be the opposite, the last kick of a dying paternalism. You saw the reaction when Komen cut their funding to Planned Parenthood, the American population was outraged, and personal contributions to Planned Parenthood exceeded what Komen could give them.

I think that to most Americans, the idea of contraception being "dangerous" (as Rick Santorum put it) sounds like crazy talk. I would bet that there are a lot of households where the couple do not share an opinion about abortion, but very few where there is any disagreement about birth control. As someone on Twitter noted, if these Congressmen don't have eighteen kids, their wife is on the pill. So is that it, they find it easy to tell some poor woman she can't go to Planned Parenthood, but can't stand up to the wife when she says enough is enough?

Our society is undergoing a kind of transformation that is, as far as I know, unprecedented in human history. Imagine, a hundred years ago women were not allowed to vote. As our society has moved away from an economy that places the highest value on brute strength toward one that values thinking, the interdependent roles of men and women have shifted in ways that are too fundamental for us to be consciously aware of. There are those who would want to go back to simpler times when everyone knew what was expected of them, but the gender roles that evolved on the farm don't fit the modern office very well.

So what you end up with is a group of men who can understand hypothetical women but have no idea how to deal with real ones. They come up with ideas for making the world a "better place," and then cannot understand when actual women in the real world do not enthusiastically go along with them.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Marriage Bill Passes in Maryland

Yesterday the Maryland House of Delegates voted to permit marriage for same-sex couples. The state Senate is expected to also vote in favor, and the governor has promised to sign the bill.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland House narrowly passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage on Friday, delivering a major victory to Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, who had proposed it. But its implementation remained uncertain as its opponents promised to take it to voters in November.

The bill, known as the Civil Marriage Protection Act, squeaked by in a 72-to-67 vote, drawing loud applause and cheers from proponents in the House. A similar bill failed in the chamber last year.

The measure still faces a vote in the Senate, where it is expected to pass, before Mr. O’Malley can sign it into law. But opponents have pledged to put in on the ballot for a vote on Nov. 6, a prospect that the bill’s supporters acknowledge is practically a foregone conclusion.

The vote, said Anthony O’Donnell, the Republican minority leader, amounted to “beginning a process, not ending a process. The citizens of Maryland will have the final say.” In Maryland, House Passes Bill to Let Gays Wed

In other words, you can expect a referendum, you can expect the shower-nuts to evoke every gay stereotype they can think of, you can bet money that CRW's president Ruth Jacobs is going to use the term "anal sex" in every forum that will have her.

The immediate fight is not over, but the tide of public opinion has turned dramatically. Most people now see that it is a good thing for people who love one another to marry and start a family.

A little more:
The bill’s passage would make Maryland the eighth state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. It comes a day after New Jersey’s legislature passed a similar bill, though it was vetoed on Friday by Gov. Chris Christie. New York State legalized same-sex marriage last year, and this month Washington State did so.

In order to be palatable to delegates who were undecided, the bill was amended so that it would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2013, in order to allow the ballot process to take its course. Though Maryland is heavily Democratic, the party is sharply divided on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Of 98 Democrats in the House, as many as 30 — mostly more-conservative Democrats known as Blue Dogs, and African-Americans from districts where churches are strong — had been undecided.

The bill’s passage was made possible by two Republicans, three Blue Dogs, and two African-American delegates, none of whom were initially supportive. In interviews, several of those delegates said that a key change from last year that won their support was language protecting religious institutions from being forced to perform marriages.

Governor O'Malley has been a strong supporter of marriage equality in the state. On the other hand, one Montgomery County Delegate who ran on promises of supporting it, with strong backing from the gay community, turned around and voted against it. Metro Weekly:
A Democrat opposing the bill both last year and this year is Del. Sam Arora (D-Montgomery), who had run on a platform that included support for marriage equality but enraged activists in 2011 by opposing the bill when it was being considered. Although advocates had been pushing for him to support the bill this year, he voted "nay" tonight.

Sounds like a guy who can look forward to not being re-elected.

OK, people, time to buckle up and brace yourselves for the referendum fight.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cave-In Bill Would Have Opposite Effect

According to this Baltimore Sun article, four of the seven County Council members in Baltimore County are planning to vote for a version of a gender identity nondiscrimination bill that excludes bathrooms and locker rooms. They will make it illegal to discriminate against transgender people except when they need to use a bathroom.

You will remember that Chrissy Lee Polis was videotaped being beaten to the point of having a seizure when she used the ladies room in a Baltimore McDonald's last year. It is a dangerous situation where transgender people really do need the protection of the law.

In response to some false testimony in Baltimore County, Montgomery County's Chief of Police wrote a letter that said, "Since this law has been in effect, we have had no reported rapes committed in restrooms by men dressed in women's clothing." Still the shower-nuts keep talking about the danger of transgender people using public restrooms. This week Montgomery County's Chief Executive wrote a letter to Baltimore County Council saying, "Contrary to all the fear-mongering of the opposition, none of which is or has ever been based in fact, life in Montgomery County has improved for everyone since that time. As County Police Chief Manger pointed out in a letter to Councilmember Quirk last month, the allegations made against the County with respect to assaults perpetrated over the past four years by "cross-dressing men" in women's restrooms are completely without merit." Still the shower-nuts call politicians' offices and tell them that perverted men are going to lurk in ladies rooms if this bill is passed.

If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now, and it hasn't.

Imagine that a bill is passed, prohibiting discrimination against transgender people except when it comes to restrooms and showers. Now let's say a man in a restaurant goes to use the mens room, and the restaurant management won't let him, thinking he is transgender, but he is not. The manager tells him he has to use the ladies room.

Now you do have the case of a man using the ladies room. And can you imagine the lucrative lawsuit he will be able to file after suffering every kind of public humiliation and embarrassment? The women who were in the ladies room at the time will also file lawsuits of their own, since the restaurant has deliberately sent a man into the women's restroom. A restaurant owner does not want to make that mistake, believe me.

Now imagine a transgender man in a restaurant goes to use the mens room. To keep the story good we will say that he has had "bottom surgery," so his genitalia are completely male, but that is not necessary. Maybe he is short and a little curvy, whatever, the manager clocks him as transgender and sends him to the women's restroom. This might be legal under the Baltimore County legislation that is being considered. Now, again, you have a man using the ladies room. The Citizens for Responsible Whatever will claim victory, this is what they want.

Or let's say the transgender man fights back and says, "I am a man, I should use the mens room," and the manager doesn't believe him. Now they are in the bizarre position of having to prove it. How legal to you suppose it is to force your customer to expose their genitals to you in order to use the bathroom? The restaurant manager ends up being tagged as a sex offender, which will follow him through the rest of his life, as his whereabouts are tracked on Internet maps and government listings forever, his neighbors won't speak to him.

The best outcome, if the restaurant manager acts in accordance with this bizarre law and the customer is cooperative, is that a man will be forced to use the ladies room. Under any scenario, the restaurant owner has a legal problem on his hands.

You simply cannot enforce this kind of ordinance in the real world. It solves a problem that does not exist and causes innumerable new ones.

Dan Rodricks, writing in the Baltimore Sun, said:
It sounds like Mr. Olszewski and the other three who support the exemption — Republicans Todd Huff of Lutherville and David Marks of Perry Hall, and Democrat Cathy Bevins ofMiddle River — have given too much weight to the paranoid arguments of the Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government. This is the group that refers to the anti-discrimination measure as a "dangerous Peeping Tom bill" that would open the doors of women's restrooms and locker rooms to cross-dressing perverts who would climb the walls of stalls to watch others do their business or carry out sexual attacks. County Council caving to paranoia

The Citizens for Responsible Whatever should have no impact at all on any policy decision. The Baltimore County Council needs to think this through, the consequences of exempting bathrooms and locker-rooms from the nondiscrimination law would be absurd.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ike Writes to Baltimore

Not much to add to this (transcribed from fuzzy pdf, might have errors)...
Isiah Leggett
County Executive

The Honorable Vicki Almond
Council Chair
Baltimore County Council
400 Washington Avenue
Towson, Maryland 21204

February 8, 2012

Dear Councilmember Almond:

Thank you for your letter concerning Bill 3·12 / Human Relations as it relates with my experiences as Montgomery County Executive.

I had the honor of signing Montgomery County Bill 23·07 on November 21,2007, making my county the second jurisdiction in Maryland to provide comprehensive civil rights protection to the transgender and gender nonconforming communities. Last year we were joined by Howard County last year, bringing the percentage of state residents covered by such protections to 32 percent.

In addition, last December the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, ruled that discrimination against transgender and gender nonconforming individuals is considered sex discrimination, and is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

As you are all responsible for the health and welfare of your county residents, let me state without hesitation that nothing untoward has occurred in Montgomery County over the past four years. Contrary to all the fear-mongering of the opposition, none of which is or has ever been based in fact, life in Montgomery County has improved for everyone since that time. As County Police Chief Manger pointed out in a letter to Councilmember Quirk last month, the allegations made against the County with respect to assaults perpetrated over the past four years by "cross-dressing men" in women's restrooms are completely without merit.

We look forward to the day when all our state's residents are free from discrimination. We are proud to have had our County move closer to that goal, and stand by you in your efforts to do the same for your great county.


Isiah Leggett
County Executive

CC: Baltimore County Councilmembers
Kevin Kamenetz, County Executive

Monday, February 13, 2012

Baltimore Learns About Our Shower Nuts

Folks up in Baltimore have not yet had the pleasure of dealing with our Nutty Ones. But now that they are considering a bill to end gender-identity discrimination up there, our little band of bigots is making the drive and lecturing them on the dangers of treating people fairly.

We call them the Citizens for Responsible Whatever. They began in 2005 or so as the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, when they launched their initial attack on our school system, and a few years later the same cast of characters regrouped as the Citizens for Responsible Government, to fight to make it legal to discriminate against transgender people. They are also fondly known as the "shower-nuts," because of their dedication to the belief that if it became illegal to discriminate against transgender people, perverted sexual predators would start lurking in ladies rooms and womens showers, leering and molesting our wives and daughters.

Dan Rodricks at the Baltimore Sun had a pretty good summary of what it is like to encounter this band of nuts for the first time.
It sounds good, like something all of us would want to join: Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government. But my perusal of the organization's website reveals little more than obsessive concern with transgender people being in society — and having to use, as all of us must at times, public restrooms. The organization suggests that transgender people are just a bunch of perverted, cross-dressing men who want access to women's bathrooms and locker rooms.

Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government has been fighting state and local efforts to outlaw specific discrimination against the transgendered. Its latest fight is with the Baltimore County Council, which appears to be poised to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance. The organization calls Councilman Tom Quirk's bill "Baltimore County's Dangerous Peeping Tom Law." A handout says the new ordinance will "legally protect cross-dressers and transvestite behavior [and] allow cross-dressing men to enter women's bathrooms and dressing rooms even if they are sexually attracted to women."

The handout adds: "Cross-dressing is a mental illness, which can constitute a form of erotic fetish."

Psychiatrists, psychologists and other clinicians would disagree with that characterization. They might also be tempted to speculate about the hangups and prejudices of people who see the transgendered as sex offenders in female camouflage.

Let's keep this simple: Transgender people should be allowed to use the public restrooms according to their gender identity. If they do something wrong while in there, they should be reported to the police. Otherwise, everyone, here's some advice: Go in, do your business, and get out, no eye contact. Oh, and wash your hands. What's this obsession with transgender people and bathrooms?

Sometimes it is hard not to make fun of them, I know. But you have to take them seriously, because they make a lot of noise and can do a lot of damage.

There is no real issue with bathrooms. Montgomery County has not had a single case of anyone taking advantage of our nondiscrimination law to do anything in a ladies room in the years since our bill became law. It is a hypothetical possibility that simply never happens, a vivid distraction from the real purpose of the law, which is to see that people are treated fairly.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Josh, Whitney, Bradley, Ellen, etc.

This is Sunday, and I am going to ramble a little bit.

The Post this week quoted the superintendent of schools in Montgomery County talking about why the schools hand out "reprehensible and deplorable" materials to students. He says they have to, they have no choice.

Is that right? Is that possible? The law requires schools to give students disgusting literature that directly contradicts the knowledge they acquire in health classes?
Superintendent Joshua Starr told a group of high school students Tuesday that he found the actions of a nonprofit group that sent fliers home describing how gay people can change their orientation to be “reprehensible and deplorable.”

The fliers from Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays went home with report cards at several county high schools last week.


“My job is to protect the safety and well being of our students,” Starr said, explaining that PFOX’s message could cause harm. “We are trying to figure out what we can do within a tight legal box,” he said.

Any non-profit organization is allowed to send fliers out to students four times a year, unless it’s considered hate speech, a right that was upheld in a court case several years ago. Starr could not ban the PFOX fliers unless he banned all fliers, something he said the school system is considering. Starr: PFOX fliers saying gays can change ‘reprehensible and deplorable’

PFOX is an organization that uses a cruel hoax -- the fiction that gay people can learn to be not-gay -- to propagate prejudice against LGBT people. By implying that gay people have chosen to be the way they are, and that they can choose not to be, PFOX opens the door to discrimination. And that is their whole reason for existing. There is no evidence that people can change their sexual orientation. The problem is that the president of PFOX has a gay son and wishes he was straight, it's as pathetically simple as that. Well, plus the fact that it is a pretty good fund-raising angle, or used to be.

There were other groups promoting the "ex-gay" idea, but almost all of them have given it up. You might find some bisexual people who bat from either side of the plate, otherwise the only people who say they have stopped being gay seem to be ones who are highly motivated by pay or publicity to say so.

And yet, our school district passes out flyers to students, telling them they can "leave the homosexual lifestyle" if they choose. And the Superintendent of schools shrugs and says they have to do it.

As this article notes, there is an exception for hate speech. Okay, you got it. Stand up and fight. There is a very good case that this is hate speech. It is cleverly veiled, but PFOX talking cheerfully about "ex-gays" is no less hateful than the Klan describing how great white people are -- a nice, positive message, nothing against anybody. You don't have to scowl and stomp your feet to propagate hate, the best propagandists know how to make their message palatable.

We would not expect our Superintendent of Schools to practice civil disobedience, to take a leadership position and make a correct moral decision when his lawyers tell him it might get expensive. His message is that he is forced to give reprehensible and deplorable material to children. What kind of lesson is that for them? Stand up for what you believe -- if the lawyers say it's okay.

The news today is all about Whitney Houston. Man, what a voice, what a beauty. Forty eight years old. It is heartbreaking to see such a soul snuffed out. She denied being an addict, said she was just playing around, and now she's dead. The music business, show business, is a dangerous and destructive monster, and sometimes we lose someone. This was one that hurt.

One story this week did not make the news at all. Bradley Manning has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

This is the moral complement to MCPS's Joshua Starr leading a school district to give reprehensible and deplorable literature to minors. Bradley Manning is (allegedly) a soldier who saw evidence of crimes committed by US personnel in wartime and arranged to let the world find out about it, by passing secret information to Wikileaks. Of course he was breaking the rules of his workplace, and of course he got in trouble, but his treatment has revealed a dark side to our country and our culture. He has been held in prison for over a year without a trial, much of it in solitary, often under "suicide watch," where guards come and wake you up every time you fall asleep. Manning saw reprehensible and deplorable conduct and did something about it, and we can expect him to be crucified for that.

Some members of the Parliament of Iceland nominated him for a Peace Prize, writing:
We have the great honor of nominating Private First Class Bradley Manning for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. Manning is a soldier in the United States army who stands accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, war crimes, and imperialism by the United States government in international dealings. These revelations have fueled democratic uprising around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on our foreign policies, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq.

Bradley Manning has been incarcerated for well over a year by the U.S. government without a trial. He spent over ten months of that time period in solitary confinement, conditions which experts worldwide have criticized as torturous. Juan Mendez, the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, has repeatedly requested and been denied a private meeting with Manning to assess his conditions.

The documents made public by WikiLeaks should never have been kept from public scrutiny. The revelations - including video documentation of an incident in which American soldiers gunned down Reuters journalists in Iraq - have helped to fuel a worldwide discussion about America's overseas engagements, civilian casualties of war, imperialistic manipulations, and rules of engagement. Citizens worldwide owe a great debt to the WikiLeaks whistleblower for shedding light on these issues, and so I urge the Committee to award this prestigious prize to accused whistleblower Bradley Manning.


Birgitta Jónsdóttir

Margrét Tryggvadóttir

Þór Saari

Members of the Icelandic Parliament for The Movement

There is some evidence that Manning is a transgender person who goes by a female name privately, but at this time, officially, the male gender is assigned, and we will refer to him in that way until a transition is announced.

Ah, yes, one other thing. I loved this. There are a few people that you just have to like, and Ellen Degeneres is one of them. She's smart, funny, likes to dance, likes people, what can you say, she is just somebody you'd like to be friends with. JC Penney uses Ellen Degeneres as a spokesperson in their advertising.

Some group called One Million Moms, which actually does not have one million members but that's another story, has put out press releases accusing JC Penney of "jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon."

You know I love this. I love it when The Nutty Ones attack the Girl Scouts, and now they are attacking JC Penney, of all the things. What retailer is more Norman-Rockwell-Americana that Penney's? Can you imagine a place less controversial? Their clothes are not fashionable, they are practical and affordable. Ordinary people shop there. And ordinary people love Ellen Degeneres. But Ellen is a lesbian, and to the One Million Moms that's all that matters.

The CEO of Penney's issued a statement:
One of the great things about America is people can speak their mind. And you know, the organization that believes one thing has spoken and it was great to see Ellen share her views yesterday. And we stand squarely behind Ellen as our spokesperson and that's a great thing. Because she shares the same values that we do in our company. Our company was founded 110 years ago on The Golden Rule, which is about treating people fair and square, just like you would like to be treated yourself. And we think Ellen represents the values of our company and the values that we share.

See, that's what it takes. There was a complaint, criticism, and I'll bet there was a meeting of guys in suits where some of them strongly advocated dumping Ellen and finding a spokesperson that no one would complain about. But the CEO showed leadership, he didn't just wait for the storm to blow over, he went out and faced the cameras and made a strong and clear statement: Ellen's values are his company's values.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

MCPS Bigotry Getting National Attention

I didn't blog about it because this time was no different from all the other times. Readers of this blog know what happens. Our county school district in Montgomery County, Maryland, sends anti-gay flyers home with schoolchildren on report-card days. This month students at Einstein, and I think Blair, got them. The school district says they do it because they have to. They put a disclaimer at the bottom of the flyers, saying that the school district is not responsible, and I guess legally that makes them not responsible.

That is a really great example to set for the kids.

This time, though, for some reason, the media seem to be tuning in to it. FoxDC had it. Then I noticed the other day that Think Progress had something about it, and RightWing Watch. My daughter pointed out to me that Dan Savage had written about the school district's anti-gay propaganda in the Seattle Slog. WAMU had it. The story was even carried by MSNBC.

Here is how MSNBC puts it:
Fliers from a group that claims it can help gay people turn straight were recently distributed at Montgomery County schools, sparking controversy.

The group called Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, known as PFOX, distributed 8,000 of these fliers at five Montgomery County schools, including Albert Einstein High in Kensington.

The flier says students with "unwanted same-sex attractions can seek help."
Karen Yount-Merrell told News4 she was upset to see it come home along with her son's report card last week.

"I was really, really angry," she said. "It is so bad because it targets teens that are questioning their orientation."

PFOX believes homosexuality is a choice that can be changed, writing in its flier that there is not credible evidence that individuals are "born gay." The group also says students are too young to label themselves as homosexuals.

The flier in part reads: "Ex-gays demonstrate that those with unwanted same-sex attractions can seek help and information on overcoming their feelings. All individuals deserve the right to self-determination and happiness based on their own needs, and not the needs of others. PFOX supports tolerance."

Peter Sprigg, a member of the National Board of Directors for PFOX, says there is nothing homophobic about his group's message.

"There is not hate in these fliers," said Peter Sprigg, a member of the National Board of Directors for PFOX. "These fliers are simply designed to give information, particularly to those students who may feel a certain amount of confusion about their sexual feelings." Ex-Gay Flier Distributed at 5 MD Schools

I had not heard that it was five schools, and wish that MSNBC would have said which ones they were.

It is really kind of disheartening to live in one of the most progressive counties in the country, and to have worked so hard to support the school board in developing a curriculum based on respect for differences in human sexuality, and then to see them passing out hateful propaganda from a group of bigots.

Peter Sprigg, by the way, is not just a member of the PFOX board of directors. He is also Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the SPLC-certified hate group Family Research Council.

MSNBC has an update:
UPDATE: Montgomery County Public Schools superintendent Joshua Starr said the fliers sent home from non-profit group PFOX are "reprehensible and deplorable." However, Starr said that Montgomery County Schools are bound by law to send them.

After a 2006 lawsuit, the school system changed its policy on allowing community groups to take home fliers. Now, four times a year, nonprofit organizations may give fliers to the schools, which are then distributed to students.

So the school district passes out flyers to thousands of students, and then the Superintendent of the school district tells the grown-ups who watch the news that the flyers are reprehensible and deplorable.

If they are reprehensible and deplorable, and then why are you giving them to our county's children?

Dan Savage has an idea:
It seems to me that the way to fight this BS is to form a community group dedicated to saving people from the heterosexual lifestyle, one dedicated to promoting diversity for the ex-straight community. If the public schools in Montgomery County refuse to distribute PFOS's flyers—that's "Parents and Friends of Ex-Straights"—we sue the bastards.

Any takers? If you are a registered nonprofit, MCPS will tell the kids anything you want to say, four times a year.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Will the Court Rule on Prop 8 Today?

California Proposition 8, the "Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment" (proponents called it the "California Marriage Protection Act") was passed in 2008, to make same-sex marriage illegal in that state. In 2010 the law was overturned in US District Court based on the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and in September 2011 the California Supreme Court ruled that proponents of the bill had standing to appeal the decision. This is a very compressed version of the story.

It is expected that the court will rule today.

The NPR blog has a summary:
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals plans to release its ruling on the constitutionality of Calfornia's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state, at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday (10 a.m. in California), the court just announced.

As NPR's Richard Gonzales reported in November, Prop 8 was "struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge more than a year ago. Both former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and then attorney general Jerry Brown took the unusual position of declining to appeal, so the sponsors of Prop 8 took it upon themselves to file an appeal before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals."

Richard added that "regardless of the finding, the 9th Circuit is expected by all parties to be just a legal stop before the matter goes to the U.S. Supreme Court." 'Prop 8' Ruling Expected Tuesday; California Measure Banned Gay Marriage

The California court has set up a web site about the case, including this notice, posted yesterday:
February 6, 2012

Advance Notice of Opinion Filing

The Court anticipates filing an opinion tomorrow (Tuesday, February 7) by 10:00 a.m. in Perry v. Brown, case numbers 10-16696 and 11-16577, regarding the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the denial of a motion to vacate the lower court judgement in the case. A summary of the opinion prepared by court staff will be posted along with the opinion.

Ten in the morning in California is one in the afternoon here on the East Coast. This is a big deal. It may turn out to be unconstitutional to prohibit marriages between people of the same sex. And of course it may turn out that states can force couples to meet a government-imposed gender standard before they can marry. We can't guess how the court will rule.

Our own Maryland state legislature is in session, and it has been anticipated that a marriage equality bill will make it to a vote this year. Let's see what they decide in California -- I'm no lawyer but it seems to me that if it is unconstitutional to prohibit marriages between gay people then there is no need for states to struggle to pass bills allowing it. Of course, it will still have to get past the US Supreme Court, not a done deal.

Appeals Court: Prop 8 is No Good

An appeals court has confirmed the ruling that California's Proposition 8, banning marriage between individuals of the same sex, is unconstitutional.

We'll take it from the LA Times:
A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down California's ban on same-sex marriage, clearing the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage as early as next year.

The 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that limited marriage to one man and one woman, violated the U.S. Constitution. The architects of Prop. 8 have vowed to appeal.

The ruling was narrow and likely to be limited to California.


“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.

The ruling upheld a decision by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who struck down the ballot measure in 2010 after holding an unprecedented trial on the nature of sexual orientation and the history of marriage.

In a separate decision, the appeals court refused to invalidate Walker’s ruling on the grounds that he should have disclosed he was in a long term same-sex relationship. Walker, a Republican appointee who is openly gay, said after his ruling that he had been in a relationship with another man for 10 years. He has never said whether he and partner wished to marry. Prop. 8: Gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, court rules

It is certain that those who want the government to regulate citizens' choice of a marriage partner will appeal the ruling. It will end up in the US Supreme Court, and the contest will be intense, as conservative judges will have to reconcile their personal biases with the clear demand of the Constitution. This is a big step in the march forward.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Race to the Right

It is sickening to read the news about the "Race for the Cure" organization being taken over by anti-choice activists and cutting off their funding for Planned Parenthood.

Here is the background, from The Atlantic.
The nation's leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which has spent nearly $2 billion over the past 30 years for breast cancer education, health services, research, and advocacy, has announced that it will end its longtime partnership with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The announcement has sparked bitter debate among representatives from all concerned parties, highlighting the ongoing debate over abortion.

Planned Parenthood, currently the largest provider of reproductive health services in the United States, is widely known for helping women to obtain abortions and contraceptives. But those services, despite their high profile, account for only 38 percent (PDF) of the organization's work. And though Republicans often portray Planned Parenthood as strictly an abortion provider, using the phrase to incite anger among pro-life constituents and gain support for cuts to federal funding -- it comes largely through the Title X and Medicaid programs -- the fact is that the organization devotes most of its money and manpower to screening for breast, cervical, and testicular cancers; treating menopause; testing for sexually transmitted diseases; and more.

The money provided by Susan G. Komen for the Cure went to just a fraction -- about 19 according to one report -- of Planned Parenthood's more than 85 affiliates. And it was all -- roughly $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before that -- used for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services for low-income, uninsured, and under-insured women. Who Is Behind Susan G. Komen's Split From Planned Parenthood?

If you have been conscious at all you are aware that the Nutty Ones hate Planned Parenthood even more than they hate the Girl Scouts. Show a hand here -- how many women reading this got their birth control pills from Planned Parenthood when they were younger, or went to Planned Parenthood for a pap smear or a mastectomy? Yes, that would be almost all of you. Planned Parenthood provides health care for women who can't afford it otherwise. It is not only minority women but young women from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

And yes, they provide reproductive services. And yes, that includes contraception and abortion. Regardless of whether you yourself choose to have one, abortions are a legal medical procedure.

The question though is, why did this organization suddenly decide to cut off Planned Parenthood? The answer is chilling.

Late last year the organization adopted a new policy that said, in part, that any recipient of funding has to prove that it "is not currently under a local, state or federal formal investigation for financial or administrative impropriety or fraud."

That sounds reasonable, and you can imagine it passing through a committee or a vote without much argument. But it turns out that a crazy rightwing Florida Congressman, Cliff Stearns, had launched a kind of investigation in the House to determine whether Planned Parenthood had received federal funds to provide abortions. Remember, abortion is legal, he is not investigating whether they broke the law, but only if the government gave them support that went to abortion services.

So you take the new policy, point to this bogus investigation, and voila, no money for Planned Parenthood. Smooth move, nobody saw that coming.

But then the question is, why did they do that?

The only way to understand this is to say that Susan B. Komen was infiltrated by rightwing operatives. How does that happen? It happens by people not being vigilant.

Last year, Komen hired Karen Handel, an anti-choice conservative who had run for governor of Georgia, endorsed by Sarah Palin, promising as part of her platform to defund Planned Parenthood. She is now Senior Vice President for Policy at Komen.

RHRealitycheck explains further:
She was originally endorsed in her race by and received money from current GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, with whom some sources suggest she remains closely allied. Romney, in turn, has suddently become more anti-choice than thou and has promised a federal personhood amendment as well as to defund Planned Parenthood.The Cancerous Politics and Ideology of the Susan G. Komen Foundation

They have more:
Second, sitting on Komen's Advocacy Alliance Board is Jane Abraham, the General Chairman of the virulently anti-choice and anti-science Susan B. Anthony List and of its Political Action Committee. Among other involvements, Abraham helps direct the Nurturing Network, a global network of crisis pregnancy centers, organizations widely known for spreading ideology, misinformation and lies to women facing unintended pregnancy and to use both intimidation and coercion in the course of doing so. Also on the board of Nurturing Network is Maureen Scalia, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, no hero to women's rights and health.

Again, you wonder, how did people like this rise to the top of an organization that purportedly helps women?

Nationwide, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses provide nearly 750,000 breast cancer screenings annually, offering risk assessments, breast exams, breast health information and education, and diagnostic and surgical referrals. Over the past five years, Planned Parenthood health centers have conducted nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams with funds from Komen, out of a total of more than four million clinical breast exams performed nationwide by Planned Parenthood clinics. Komen grants also supported more than 6,400 out of 70,000 mammogram referrals made by Planned Parenthood. These are affiliate-to-affiliate grants between Komen and Planned Parenthood sister oganizations at the state level.

A large share of the clients served at Planned Parenthood clinics are low-income African-American and Latina women. The National Cancer Institute identifies lack of access to early and effective screening for breast cancer (and hence lack of early treatment) as a primary reason that African-American and Latina women die of breast cancer at higher rates than the general population.

It is not clear how this will affect Planned Parenthood. Maybe it will not be all bad. Here's the Washington Post:
Donors reacting to the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood contributed $650,000 in 24 hours, nearly enough to replace last year’s Komen funding, Planned Parenthood executives said Wednesday.

The organization had raised more than $400,000 from more than 6,000 online donors as of Wednesday afternoon, compared with the 100 to 200 donations it receives on an average day, said Tait Sye, a spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. He said donations were still coming in. Planned Parenthood says Komen decision causes donation spike
If I am reading the news right, Komen donated $680,000 to Planned Parenthood last year and $580,000 the year before. It made nearly that in a couple of days this week, in donations reacting to Komen's move.

I don't know why Komen hired these people and allowed this to happen. They let one monomaniacal fanatic in, and the bad drives out the good. You hate to see it, but the real lesson is that when you see this happening you have to act to stop it. It's too late now. Komen doesn't care about breast cancer, as they have just punished the one organization that does more than anyone to fight breast cancer, especially among poor women.

Komen is dead. Let's see if anyone participates in their races this year.