3.15.2012

Vote For Marriage NC: Protecting Marriage From 'The Whims Of Radical Activists'

Vote For Marriage NC is the deceitful, Bible-thumping, bigoted organization rallying 'marriage supporters' to pass the harmful amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the NC state constitution.

I get their emails. As a straight, married father living and working in North Carolina, Vote For Marriage NC comes across as, well, pathetic. They have nothing. It doesn't matter how you look at it, Amendment One is completely unnecessary, discriminatory, bigoted, shortsighted, bad for business, and just really lousy legislation.

We hate gay people, and this family is a stock photo
Their latest email is a flaccid attempt to rally 'marriage supporters' to stand up and be counted, as they can't seem to rally quite like the anti-amendment folks.
Dear Marriage Supporter,

Recent reports claim that “several thousand” of our opponents will be marching on our State Capitol today in protest of our efforts to preserve marriage through the Marriage Protection Amendment that is on the ballot on May 8th.

These activists have an agenda, and we must act now in order to put a stop to it. Will you stand by while activists seek to redefine marriage in our state, or will you join our efforts to protect marriage? Please donate $20, $60, or $100 now if you want to preserve marriage in North Carolina!

By passing the Marriage Protection Amendment on May 8th, we can protect marriage from the whims of radical activists who are working to redefine marriage against the will of the people. But we can only make our voices heard with your support.

In December 2011, a court case was filed in Guilford County challenging our state’s marriage laws. The threat to marriage is real in North Carolina, and our opposition’s organized and highly funded campaign is using deceptive messaging to confuse voters about what the Marriage Protection Amendment accomplishes. Thankfully, we know the truth: The Amendment simply elevates our current marriage laws to a constitutional amendment where it can only be changed by another vote of the people of North Carolina. Protecting marriage in our Constitution will prevent the court in Guilford County or any other state court, for that matter, from re-defining marriage for the rest of us.

How do we make our voices heard above the roar of activists and our oppositions’ deceptive messaging? Volunteer or donate today! May 8th is rapidly approaching, and we need your support to bring us to victory.

With your support, we can make sure marriage stays between only a man and a woman on May 8th.

Sincerely,

Rachel Lee
Communications Director, Vote FOR Marriage NC

There's something incredibly telling in the email. Vote For Marriage NC can't seem to come up with actual reasons why same-sex marriage is such a threat.

Let's see. Well, for starters, they want to 'protect marriage from the whims of radical activists who are working to redefine marriage against the will of the people.' Hm. Do they mean radical activists like myself? A married, lifetime North Carolinian, father of three, who lives in the suburbs? God forbid a pasty, overweight, lawn-mowing, soccer dad destroy marriage with one of his crazy whims. Am I not part of the will of the people? Are the thousands of gay and lesbian citizens not part of the will of the people? And really, do we want to put the rights of human beings up for a vote? Do you know how that might have went in certain southern states during the civil rights era?

If you believe marriage to be a union between a man and a woman, you are working with a definition of marriage completely different to what actually occurred in, say, 500 BCE or 54 CE. Marriage has been redefined over and over and over again, and it will continue to be until the earth is swallowed by the sun (or until humans are extinct, whichever comes first).

The email mentions that 'these activists have an agenda.' Well, of course we have an agenda. We have an agenda to allow citizens of our great state to be treated equally -- just as civil rights activists had an agenda to allow human beings with different skin color to be treated equally.

Hey Vote For Marriage NC, have you ever thought that maybe you are the radical activists? As I mentioned, I'm not gay. I'm happily married. I contribute to the state economy. I vote. I mow the lawn. I attend parent-teacher conferences. I volunteer at the food bank. I grill out. And I think you are radical. You are actively working to deny rights to other human beings based on their natural traits. That's radical. Jesus would ask you to kindly chill the fuck out.

Which group more resembles the radical Taliban? The people who want equal treatment for all, regardless of natural traits? Or the ones who are hell-bent on oppressing an entire group of citizens because they do not meet your definition of holy?

The only fact in your email, Vote For Marriage NC, is your opening salutation.  You're absolutely right. I am a 'marriage supporter.' For everyone.





Hi, I'm Randall Terry And I'm Insane

Randall Terry, anti-choice activist and founder of Operation Save America (formerly Operation Rescue), is a freaking lunatic.
Randall Terry, unhinged man

You probably know the guy from his outlandish anti-choice stunts, which have included blockading the entrances to abortion clinics, his protest of Barack Obama's commencement visit to the University of Notre Dame, or his statement that abortion provider Dr. George Tiller 'reaped what he sowed' when he was assassinated in 2009.

You also may know that Randall Terry is actually running for president of the United States. Kind of. Terry's presidency has been more about getting graphic anti-choice ads on television than anything.

Regardless, Randall Terry is on the ballot in 6 Democratic primaries, and on March 6 in Oklahoma, actually managed to swipe a delegate from President Obama, a 'child-killer,' according to Terry.

Terry wasted no time gloating over his Oklahoma feat, releasing the below video, in which he taunts his adversaries (including Obama, Slate, and Jezebel).

What a lunatic, this guy.









Pat Robertson: Oral Sex Is Just Alright With Him

Pat Robertson wowed everyone last week with his assertion that marijuana should be legal.

He may actually be smoking it, because I don't quite know how else to explain this painfully awkward exchange about oral sex.

Watch:




Women Who Sing Santorum's Praises

Yesterday, I asked my female Twitter followers and Facebook friends who might support Rick Santorum to explain why they would do such a thing.

Haley & Camille Harris, Santorum girls
After all, this is the man who said he has concerns about women in front line combat because they are too emotional. This is the man who opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest (Make the best out of a bad situation, he says). This is the man who said using contraception is not okay. This is the man who said that single mothers are creating more criminals. This is the man who accuses “radical feminists” of undermining families and convincing women that they could find fulfillment in the workplace.

Rick Santorum, despite what he may say, is not looking out for women's best interest. Rick Santorum prefers a Biblical view of women, and anyone who has read the Old Testament knows women didn't fare too well in that book.

I did not receive an answer from any Santorum supporters, which probably says more about my followers than anything. I'm still waiting for a response.

My feeling is that women supporters of Rick Santorum are responding to a few things which trump any view he has on their abilities, or their autonomy. They are likely responding to his pro-life, Biblical views, which, as many believe, eclipse this business of women's rights.

Perhaps two home-schooled daughters of an Oklahoma pastor can shed some light on the appeal.

Haley, 18, and Camille Harris, 20 have penned a song for Ssantorum's campaign. The video for the "Game On!" has become a viral sensation with nearly 1 million views as of this writing.

The girls sing: "Game on, join the fight/We've finally got a man who will stand for what is right/There is hope for our nation again/Maybe the first time since we had Ronald Reagan/There will be justice for the unborn, factories back on our shores/Where the Constitution rules our land/Yes, I believe Rick Santorum is our man."

Via Today:
Daughters of a pastor in a family of eight, the girls live on four acres with 47 pecan trees. All of the Harris children have been home-schooled, much like Santorum’s kids. The girls say they are best friends, love coffee (though Haley prefers hot chocolate), have never bought a magazine and have never had cable (according to the girls, “Mom and Dad didn’t want to raise hoodlums :)”).
Camille, 20, said she has no desire to watch TV. "Even now, if I had the opportunity, I don’t choose to because they go against my value system. My dad’s like, 'You’re over 18. You can do whatever you want to do.’”

Camille had tried to write a theme song for Santorum before “Game On,” but nothing came. “I couldn’t get anything good or catchy,” she said. “But all of a sudden on Sunday night when someone said, 'Write a song for Super Tuesday,' I said 'I’m gonna write it.' We just prayed and asked God to give us the words and that song came really fast.”
So, there you have it. Perhaps the secret to Santorum's women supporters is the fact that there are way more families like the Harrises than we thought. Those home-schooling, media-avoiding, miracle-seeking, anti-contraceptive families tend to be large, and cut off from other world views. They simply don't know any better.

I realize that sounds awfully simplistic, elitist, condescending, and crass. I also realize that it is a gross generalization.

But I think there's something to it.

Take this comment from a New Yorker reader:
About women supporting Santorum: I too find this baffling, and can only attribute it to some form of Stockholm Syndrome. As someone who grew up among born-again and evangelical Christians in Appalachia, I would hypothesize that women who have accommodated themselves to living an evangelical lifestyle have nothing to gain from questioning the premises of Christian patriarchy. Their lives are more comfortable, less fraught with domestic conflict, if they simply decide to be happy and make the most of their assigned roles. Although to a feminist the trajectory of their lives seems constrained, on a day-to-day basis evangelical women feel productive and empowered by playing a dynamic role in their churches and schools, from which they derive a potent sense of community. Nor are they necessarily barred from having a job. They have avenues for self-expression such as crafts, baking, or book clubs. (If your first reaction is to disdain these, then unless you’re a professional artist you probably have too high an opinion of your own creative outlets.) In fact, when I recall the women I grew up under, they didn’t think men were superior at all; they took the patronizing attitude that men were to be indulged in their masculine delusions. It would be elitist/snobby/condescending/wrong to view such women as passive or merely subservient. How many of us want to challenge the social constructs within which we have created active lives that are reckoned as meaningful? At any rate, this is my best effort to make sense of the women’s vote, which is otherwise unfathomable and preposterous to me.
Let's hope the Harris girls don't go off to public school, or *gasp* an indoctrination mill. They might have a change of heart not unlike another young misguided blond duo.








3.12.2012

Sorry, But Amendment 1 Is Very Much About Religion

Religion is the third rail of the Amendment 1 debate. Organizations from both sides of the debate have been reluctant to state explicitly that, to many North Carolinians, this really is about religion.

While it's true that it isn't (and doesn't have to be) about religion (at its core it is about codifying discrimination in the NC state constitution), both sides of the debate know the importance of religion in getting out the vote.

Those fighting against the amendment, such as The Coalition to Protect All American Families, are very vocal about pro-equality allies in the faith community, proving that it is possible to reconcile marriage equality with faith.

On the other hand, those in favor of the constitutional same-sex marriage ban (such as Vote For Marriage NC) have not been shy about religion's role in their anti-equality stance.

Take this email sent from Vote For Marriage last week, replete with (groundless) cries of religious persecution, and several flat-out lies intended to invoke fear in the religious:
Preserving marriage is vital for protecting religious liberty in North Carolina. If activists were to redefine marriage for society, citizens, small businesses and religious organizations whose own beliefs are at odds with the new definition of marriage will find themselves subjected to legal consequences if they do not comply with the new definition of marriage. That’s why we need your support to pass the Marriage Protection Amendment on May 8th.

Legal experts on both sides of the marriage debate agree that redefining marriage has profound impacts on society. Scholars from some of the nation’s most respected law schools have written that the issue implicates a host of issues ranging from religious liberty and individual expression of faith, to education and licensed professions. Here are a few recent examples:

• Religious groups who have refused to make their facilities available for same-sex couples
have lost their state tax exemption.

• Religious groups like Catholic Charities in Boston and Washington, D.C. have had to
choose between fulfilling their social mission based on their religious beliefs, or yielding to
this new definition of marriage.

• In Massachusetts, kids as young as second grade were taught about gay marriage in
class. The courts ruled that parents had no right to prior notice, or to opt their children out
of such instruction.

• Christian innkeepers in Vermont and Illinois are being sued over their refusal to make their facilities available for same-sex weddings.

• Doctors, lawyers, accountants and other licensed professionals risk their state licensure if they act on their belief that a same-sex couple cannot really be married.

One of the very reasons our country was founded was to protect religious liberty. Now, the freedom to practice our religious beliefs is under attack. We urge you to join us in protecting religious liberty by donating to this battle to keep marriage between one man and one woman.

As a reminder, you are also invited to join us as we rally for marriage across North Carolina with the Heritage Foundation and the Family Research Council on the Values Bus Tour.

For more information about how you can help defend marriage in North Carolina, visit VoteForMarriageNC.com. Campaigns cost money, and this campaign is in its most critical time for mobilizing our forces. Making a generous donation to protect marriage from radical re-definition is the best way you can help. I hope you will!

Sincerely,

Tami L. Fitzgerald
Chairwoman, Vote FOR Marriage NC

Another Vote For Marriage NC email from late February was written by the president of NC Baptists, and invited recipients to join National Pray For Marriage Day:
Dear Marriage Supporter,

The sanctity of marriage is being threatened not only here in North Carolina but throughout our nation. Most recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling in the federal challenge to California’s Proposition 8, striking down the expressed will of over 7 million Californians who voted to define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman.

As many of you know, the Alliance Defense Fund has led the charge on defending marriage, not only in California but throughout the nation. We would like to invite you to join them this Sunday, February 26th for a day to pray for marriage – praying that marriages across our land will be strengthened, and that God’s design for marriage will be upheld and honored. We also ask that you take this time to pray for marriage in our own state, and that on May 8th voters throughout the state of North Carolina choose to protect the definition of marriage in the Constitution as the union of one man and one woman.

Please click here to find a prayer guide that you can use and pass along to others to inform them about this special day. Also, please consider sharing this with your pastor, Bible study, friends and family, so that as many believers as possible will know and participate in this day of unified, focused prayer.

The future of marriage, both in North Carolina and the nation, is far from decided, and what is happening in California is just another battle in the ongoing war over marriage. Nevertheless, the need for prayer has never been more urgent, for without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5). We are thankful for the Alliance Defense Fund and its tireless effort to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

We are working diligently to pass the Marriage Protection Amendment on May 8th so that marriage will be preserved in our state Constitution. We cannot sit back while activists redefine marriage for all of us. We need your support to win this fight.

Please visit www.VoteFORMarriageNC.com to donate, volunteer and get involved.

With your support, we can protect marriage in North Carolina.

Sincerely,
Dr. Mark Harris
Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Charlotte
President, NC Baptists
The email containsa link to a PDF "prayer guide" featuring the following text:
The institution of Marriage is under severe attack in our culture today. Will you join in a nationwide day of unified, focused prayer for Marriage in America? 
There are many ways you can be in prayer for marriage on this special day. This is merely a guide to help you, and your church, as you go before the Lord in prayer for marriage.

Praise God for the impact of Marriage:  
• Thank Him for how marriage refines our character, creates stable community for the birth and nurture of children, and unites men & women in an enduring whole-life union.
• Thank Him for giving the distinct, irreplaceable gifts a mom and a dad each uniquely bring to children, through marriage.

 Pray for the marriages in your community:
• For healing, restoration, and divine protection over the relationships between husbands and wives in your church, neighborhood, and among your friends and family.
• That Christians will hold fast to the Biblical truth about marriage and boldly stand up for children, who are most protected and impacted by marriage.

Pray for the future of Marriage:
• For the nation to uphold the truth that marriage between one man and one woman is the foundation of society and the best environment for raising children.
• For Americans to remember the damage already done to marriage in our society, and how that has hurt children.

Pray for God’s design for sex and sexuality in Marriage:
• Pray for sexual purity; that sex will be reserved for marriage, and celebrated in marriage.
• Pray for those hurting and suffering from going outside of God’s plan for sexuality.
• Pray for sexual fidelity and faithfulness between husbands and wives.
• Pray for children’s innocence to be protected from false sexual indoctrination in schools.

Pray for victory in the lawsuits and legislation that threatens to undermine Marriage:
• Perry v. Brown – a lawsuit to redefine marriage by creating same-sex “marriage.”
• Bishop v. United States – a lawsuit to overturn our nation’s highest law about marriage.
• Brown v. Utah – a lawsuit to legally recognize polygamy.

Whether we like it or not, it's about religion, folks. And while people take their faith very seriously, it's not necessarily a bad thing that religion is playing such an important role here.

A few points:

The purpose of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution is "to prohibit 1) the establishment of a national religion by Congress, or 2) the preference by the U.S. government of one religion over another." It's quite clear from the language used by Amendment 1 supporters that their beliefs are deeply rooted in a specific brand of religion. I certainly don't share their views, nor do many other North Carolinians who either are not religious, or whose faith may not endorse discrimination. While the legislation itself steers clear of religious language, it's important that we are aware of the religious roots of anti-LGBT sentiment, and the fact that so many organizations and individuals are openly citing religious belief as the source of their beliefs on marriage.

The word 'sanctity' which is so often used by supporters of the amendment is at its core a signifier of religious belief: "the state of being holy (perceived by religious individuals as associated with the divine) or sacred (considered worthy of spiritual respect or devotion; or inspiring awe or reverence among believers in a given set of spiritual ideas). In other contexts, objects are often considered 'holy' or 'sacred' if used for spiritual purposes, such as the worship or service of gods."

Our constitution should never be a place to a) enshrine discrimination against any group of citizens, or b) codify religious beliefs in the public sphere. Constitutions should protect us from these very things -- anything else is not quite a democracy, and a far cry from the wall of separation envisioned by America's founders.

While I understand the reluctance for the anti-Amendment 1 groups to turn this into a religious debate, ignoring it doesn't make it go away. We need to lift up the hood and really understand why we feel the way we do about Amendment 1. If we are honest with ourselves, and if our faith is keeping us from voting against the Amendment on May 8, we are very likely validating our own prejudices and feelings with scripture that is not being appreciated in the appropriate context, and we are most definitely proposing legislation that is not in keeping with the intent of our constitution.

We need to remember, and remind others, that the definition of marriage has changed over the course of human history. The institution itself is older than any of the three Abrahamic religions.  Enshrining the current snapshot of the Judeo-Christian definition of marriage in our state constitution is indeed a permanent endorsement of very specific religious ideology in our state's supreme legal document.

No matter what your faith, it should be easy to admit that this is a rotten idea.