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Fox's Erick Erickson: Countries With Marriage Equality Are "Bent On Suicide"

August 08, 2014 10:27 am ET by Luke Brinker

Fox News contributor Erick Erickson continued his pattern of championing anti-LGBT discrimination, warning that gay rights and Christianity are incompatible and asserting that a society that affirms LGBT equality "is a society bent on suicide."

In an August 7 Townhall.com column titled "Tolerate or Be Stamped Out," Erickson lamented the growing marginalization of anti-LGBT attitudes, charging that pro-equality activists are determined to purge Christians from American society:

In fact, enormous energy is being expended by the left in America to make Christianity and Christians unacceptable. A New York Times writer wants to stamp out those views "ruthlessly." He describes those with orthodox Christian views on marriage as unworthy of civility. Anonymous groups expose the home addresses of mostly Christians and subject them to harassment. This is not happening to orthodox Jews or Muslims, but to Christians.

It raises a serious question Americans must confront -- are gay rights and Christianity compatible? The answer appears to be no. As gay rights activists use the tactics of Bull Connor to push for what they declare civil rights, they are targeting churches, religiously affiliated groups and Christian businesses for harassment and lawsuits.

Across the country, the left has decided our sexual preference is something we are born with, but our gender is something we get to decide. Anyone who thinks otherwise is threatened and harassed. Several thousand-year-old pillars of society are being shoved aside in the name of tolerance. Those who speak up for sanity, tradition and faith are treated scornfully.

This will not end well for any of us. Despite surveys designed to show the contrary, children tend to do best with mothers and fathers. A society that willfully undermines perpetuating itself is a society bent on suicide. One thing is for sure -- a faith that survived its followers being used as torches to light the streets of Rome will survive a modern age hell bent on ruthlessly stamping it out. [emphasis added]

Erickson's latest apoplectic screed is par for the course from the Fox News commentator. Last month, he endorsed a Georgia congressional candidate's view that "the homosexual movement ... is destroying America." Previously, Erickson has written that gay people are on the "road to hell" and warned businesses that serve gay couples that they are "aiding and abetting" sin. Moreover, Erickson is a prominent supporter of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a right-wing legal group working internationally to help criminalize homosexuality.

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Megyn Kelly’s Cozy Relationship With An Anti-Gay Hate Group Leader

August 07, 2014 10:14 am ET by Luke Brinker

Anti-gay hate group leader Tony Perkins has appeared on Megyn Kelly’s shows more than all other Fox News programs combined over the past two years.

Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council (FRC), an organization that was labeled an anti-gay “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010. He has called pedophilia “a homosexual problem,” claimed that gay men “recruit” children into homosexuality, and endorsed a Uganda law that would have imposed the death penalty for homosexuality. His organization regularly produces anti-gay propaganda depicting gay people as abnormalunnatural, and destined for “eternal damnation.”

He’s also one of Megyn Kelly’s most frequent guests on Fox News. Kelly – who was once hailed as a harbinger of a “gay rights revolution” at Fox – has hosted Perkins more than all other Fox News programs combined in the past two years, according to an Equality Matters analysis. Hailed by Kelly as “a captain of the Religious Right,” Perkins has become a familiar face to viewers of Kelly’s shows:

Between America Live – Kelly’s former Fox program – and The Kelly File, Kelly’s shows account for 17 of Perkins’ 30 Fox News appearances since the conclusion of the 2012 GOP primary season, when his cable news influence peaked:

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How A Hate Group Lost Influence On (Most Of) Cable News

July 30, 2014 4:01 pm ET by Luke Brinker

Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins has all but ceased to appear as a guest on CNN and MSNBC. It’s a dramatic change for the anti-gay hate group leader, whose constant appearances on cable news during the 2012 GOP primary cycle drew criticism from progressive faith groups.

Since becoming president of the Family Research Council in 2003, Perkins has used his position as a leader among social conservatives to command significant media attention. FRC hosts the annual Values Voters Summit, making Perkins an easy choice for networks looking for a prominent voice to comment on social conservatism and GOP politics.

Over time, networks also began turning to Perkins for commentary on LGBT issues like the fight over marriage equality and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Perkins was happy to oblige – he has a history of making incendiary comments about LGBT people, and FRC has turned the production of anti-gay propaganda into an art form.   

In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled FRC an anti-gay “hate group,” citing the organization’s propagation of known falsehoods about LGBT people.

That label, unfortunately, didn’t stop cable news networks from continuing to invite Perkins on national television on behalf of social conservatives. During the 2012 Republican presidential primary season, Perkins appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News a total of 56 times. MSNBC was particularly friendly to Perkins, with Hardball host Chris Matthews praising Perkins as an “honest conservative” who always tried “to find the truth” during a November 2011 interview:

Perkins’ platform on cable news didn’t sit well with audiences familiar with his long and sordid history of bigoted anti-LGBT rhetoric.  Faithful America, a progressive Christian group dedicated to “reclaiming Christianity from the religious right,” launched a petition in February 2012 asking the network to stop inviting Perkins on air. The petition garnered 20,000 signatures, which were delivered to MSNBC’s headquarters.

Perkins’ platform at MSNBC created an awkward situation for Hardball host Chris Matthews. At a March 2012 book event, Matthews was asked about his willingness to invite Perkins on his show and admitted that his critics “may be right.” At a book signing a few weeks later, Matthews told Faithful America members that the group had “a good argument” for no longer hosting Perkins.” Perkins did appear on Hardball once more, in a joint appearance with gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA. But rather than offer the warm welcome Perkins had come to expect, Matthews grilled Perkins on his anti-LGBT extremism.

In the summer of 2013, Faithful America launched a similar petition targeting CNN after the network hosted Perkins to discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling on Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The petition urged CNN not to let Perkins “speak on behalf of America’s Christians” and quickly gathered more than 32,000 signatures.

A new Equality Matters analysis finds that both MSNBC and CNN have largely ended their practice of hosting Perkins in the months since the end of the 2012 GOP primary. Perkins hasn’t appeared on MSNBC since March 2013, when the Supreme Court heard arguments in two marriage equality cases. Meanwhile, Perkins’ appearances on CNN have steadily declined in the last year, and he hasn’t been on the network since February: At Fox News, on the other hand, Perkins’ appearances have held steady and actually increased in the past year:

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BarbWire.com: When A Hate Group Creates Its Own Conservative "News" Site

July 28, 2014 1:33 pm ET by Luke Brinker

The vice president of a notorious right-wing legal organization has spent much of 2014 developing one of the most extreme anti-LGBT “news” sites on the internet. Now he’s using the site to hawk a treasure trove of right-wing merchandise and souvenirs.

In January of 2014, Liberty Counsel vice president Matt Barber launched BarbWire.com, a website that claims to offer news and opinion “from a decidedly biblical worldview.”

Though BarbWire isn’t exclusively an anti-LGBT website – the site spares some vitriol for immigrantsMuslimsreproductive choice, and President Barack Obama – LGBT topics have dominated its content since its inception. BarbWire’s first post championed Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson for his comments comparing gay people to murderers and equating homosexuality with bestiality. 

In its short existence, the site has featured commentary some of America’s most notorious homophobes; Scott Lively, an American pastor closely linked to anti-LGBT persecution in Uganda and Russia; the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who blames gay men for the HolocaustLaurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute, another anti-LGBT hate group; and Robert Oscar Lopez, an anti-gay activist who has made a second career of publishing bizarre gay erotica novels.

Unsurprisingly, BarbWire has become a hub for the kind of anti-LGBT propaganda that even many conservative news sites shy away from:

Hucksterism

But BarbWire is more than just a platform for publishing the Right’s more unsavory anti-LGBT sentiments – it’s also a money-making scheme for Liberty Counsel’s Barber.

In July, subscribers to BarbWire’s mailing list began receiving emails peddling products from Patriot Depot, a website that offers “supplies for the conservative revolution.”

There’s the “’Say Hello To My Little Friend’ Garden Gnome,” available for $18.95: 

A tin “Don’t Tread On Me” sign could be yours for $14.95:

You could purchase an “Obama’s Last Day Countdown Clock” for $12.95:

And nothing will stick it to liberals quite like Rise, Kill, & Eat, a paean to “edible wildlife” from “Genesis to Revelation” featuring a foreword by Ted Nugent:

Both BarbWire.com and Patriot Depot are part of Liberty Alliance, a network of conservative web sites and web stores. 

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Conservative Site: Homosexuality, Game Of Thrones Are Creating A “Slippery Slope” To Incest

July 24, 2014 4:44 pm ET by Carlos Maza

An article published in WorldNetDaily blames the acceptance of homosexuality for creating a “slippery slope” to the popularization of incest, citing the popular HBO series Game Of Thrones as evidence.

In a July 23 post titled “Next Stop On Slippery Slope: Incest,” notorious anti-LGBT activist Michael Brown warned that the acceptance of homosexuality had created a “slippery slope” towards “sexual anarchy” and the normalization of incest:

Gay activists constantly tell us that there’s no such thing as a slippery moral slope and that the acceptance of homosexuality will not lead to the acceptance of other sexual practices, such as incest. The facts prove otherwise, and it is clear that we are rapidly sliding down the very slope whose existence they deny.

As I continually chart our society’s moral free fall, the term that best describes our current condition is sexual anarchy, where men can have sex with men just as well with women, where sex outside of wedlock is just as acceptable as sex within wedlock, where marriage doesn’t necessarily mean monogamy and where longstanding social taboos are cast off.

[…]

In their zeal to justify homosexual practice, these misguided teachers have opened the door wide to incest as well, removing the primary biblical texts that prohibit these sexual unions.

Society as a whole needs to take heed as well. If we don’t reverse our slide down this slippery moral slope, we will soon crash and burn.

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Fox’s Erickson Agrees That “The Homosexual Movement Is … Destroying America”

July 23, 2014 4:17 pm ET by Luke Brinker

Fox News contributor Erick Erickson endorsed a congressional candidate's assertion that "the homosexual movement" is "destroying America." 

On July 22, Georgia Republican Jody Hice won the Republican primary to succeed Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) in the state's 10th congressional district. In the wake of Hice's victory, BuzzFeed's Andrew Kacynski highlighted 11 examples of Hice's history of inflammatory commentary on LGBT issues.

Erickson, who has endorsed Hice, responded to Kaczynski's post by tweeting that "most every conservatives [sic]" would agree with items "1, 5, 9, and maybe 10":

The passages Erickson endorsed included Hice's claim that "the homosexual movement is ... destroying America by aggressively seeking to destroy traditional families, religion, and marriages for the purpose of removing all societal moral boundaries":

The item Erickson thought most conservatives would "maybe" agree with concerned Hice's suggestion that gay people can change their sexual orientation:

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Fox & Friends: Michael Sam Will Be Just As Distracting As Michael Vick

July 23, 2014 3:38 pm ET by Ellie Sandmeyer

Fox News compared openly gay NFL player Michael Sam to convicted dog fighter Michael Vick, suggesting that Sam’s sexual orientation would be equally as distracting as Vick’s criminal conviction.

On July 21, NBC sports analyst Tony Dungy and former NFL coach said that if he were still coaching, he wouldn’t have drafted Sam because the media attention on Sam’s sexual orientation would “be a distraction” to the team. 

Fox & Friends defended Dungy’s comments on July 23, comparing the attention given to Sam’s sexual orientation to the coverage of former NFL player Michael Vick, who was convicted of participating in an illegal dog fighting ring in 2007:

DOOCY: On the Twitterverse, they’re saying he’s a hyprocite. When you look, for instance, at Michael Vick. He completely rehabbed himself, right, via Tony Dungy.

HASSELBECK: You know, 32 teams had seven chances to say yes or no to Michael Sam, right? And all but one time in those seven rounds of the draft, teams said no. They said exactly the same thing that Tony Dungy said when asked by Tampa Bay.

KILMEADE: And Michael Sam said I’m a fan of Tony Dungy and I’m glad the Rams don’t feel like he did. But Steve, to your point, Michael Vick coming out of prison, he was a distraction in the locker room because that’s a major story every time you walk in. 

DOOCY: Absolutely. [emphasis added]

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National Review Online Editor Endorses “Ex-Gay” Therapy

July 23, 2014 10:46 am ET by Luke Brinker

National Review Online editor-at-large Kathryn Jean Lopez praised an organization that practices discredited “ex-gay” therapy techniques, urging gay men and lesbians to choose the path of “conversion and renewal.”

In a July 22 review for NRO, Lopez lauded Desire of the Everlasting Hills, a documentary about three Roman Catholics who left gay relationships to pursue lives of celibacy. As Lopez noted, the documentary was a project of Courage, a Catholic organization that aims to help people with “homosexual desires” to lead “chaste lives.”

Hailing the documentary as a potential “game changer,” Lopez wrote that Desire of the Everlasting Hills could help viewers “make sense” of our “fallen world” and point audiences in the direction of “alternative conversions” (emphasis added):

Desire of the Everlasting Hills is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. In no small part, it’s about conversion and renewal, and knowing oneself and what one truly wants, for life and eternity. To watch it is to know that you cannot caricature it. It’s about living and learning; it reveals the truth of our lives, as discovered by three individuals who today are overflowing with a grace-filled, transparent joy — a joy deepened by redemptive suffering. All three leave regrets about the past to God’s mercy and entrust their future to His Providence, always acknowledging that the Way of the Cross is a rough road, but believing it to be the one with eternal rewards.

[…]

I wish you could have felt the peace and seen the joy at the premiere of Desire of the Everlasting Hills. At the annual Courage conference, it drew a crowd that knows and sees some of the most heartbreaking crosses of life; many people there would have a lot to teach us about courage. For anyone who feels in a fog, Desire of the Everlasting Hills is a light. To watch it is to see that people who have attractions different than yours are not all that different from you. They are people living in a fallen world — our universal condition. We can work to make sense of it together.

[…]

Watch Desire of the Everlasting Hills and know that you are not alone; watch and never let anyone feel alone. Our politics can make things seem intractable, but our lives with one another can be a balm; and this movie can be a catalyst for hope and for alternative conversations filled with honesty and compassion and love for life, living as we were made.

The journey to the Everlasting Hills is one for us to take together, joined by a shared desire for the good and the beautiful — for God. Desire of the Everlasting Hills will inspire you to give to another the true look of love we crave.

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Right-Wing Media Pretend Religious Liberty Protects Anti-LGBT Employment Discrimination

July 22, 2014 4:10 pm ET by Luke Brinker & Meagan Hatcher-Mays

Conservative media are condemning President Barack Obama's executive order prohibiting federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT discrimination, framing the order as an assault on religious liberty, pushing discredited arguments to claim this discrimination is legally insignificant and asserting that anti-LGBT workplace bias isn't a real problem.

On July 21, President Obama signed an executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against their employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite pressure from some conservatives, the order did not include a broad exemption for religiously-affiliated organizations to engage in such discrimination, instead re-affirming a Bush II-era exemption that will allow a contracted "religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society" to continue to limit its hires to employees of their preferred religion. Prior to the issuing of the order, Executive Order 11246, more than 100 faith leaders signed a letter warning that the rejected religious exemptions would "open a Pandora's box inviting other forms of discrimination."

In a July 22 editorial, National Review Online complained that the order was unnecessary due to "changing social attitudes and the pressure of market competition" and argued that "the order addresses a small and shrinking problem of discrimination at a cost to religious liberty." 

Ryan T. Anderson, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation and a writer for the Daily Signal, Heritage's news site, echoed NRO's objections. Anderson flatly rejected any comparison between anti-gay discrimination and that based on sex or race and referred to sexual orientation and gender identity as "voluntary behaviors":

Federal policy on government contracts should not seek to enforce monolithic liberal secularism. Today's order undermines our nation's commitment to reasonable pluralism and reasonable diversity. All citizens and the groups they form should be free to exist and participate in relevant government programs according to their reasonable beliefs. The federal government should not use the tax-code and government contracting to reshape civil society on controversial moral issues that have nothing to do with the federal contract at stake.

[...]

[S]exual orientation and gender identity are unclear, ambiguous terms. They can refer to voluntary behaviors as well as thoughts and inclinations, and it is reasonable for employers to make distinctions based on actions. By contrast, "race" and "sex" clearly refer to traits, and in the overwhelming majority of cases, these traits (unlike voluntary behaviors) do not affect fitness for any job.

Today's executive order bans decisions based on moral views common to the Abrahamic faith traditions and to great thinkers from Plato to Kant as unjust discrimination. Whether by religion, reason, or experience, many people of goodwill believe that our bodies are an essential part of who we are. On this view, maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human to be valued and affirmed, not rejected or altered. Thus, our sexual embodiment as male and female goes to the heart of what marriage is: a union of sexually complementary spouses. Today's order deems such judgments irrational and unlawful.

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Fox News Correspondent Has A Meltdown Over Obama’s LGBT Non-Discrimination Order

July 21, 2014 4:47 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes attacked an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees, accusing the Obama administration of being “hell-bent on forcing Christians to assimilate to the militant LGBT agenda.”

On July 21, President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating LGBT employees. The order amends existing non-discrimination executive orders to include sexual orientation and gender identity. As BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner reported, the order “contains no additional religious exemptions … beyond those already contained in existing executive orders.”

Fox’s Starnes attacked the executive order in a July 21 post on FoxNews.com, accusing the Obama administration of endangering religious liberty and “bullying religious groups that hold viewpoints it deems inappropriate”:

The executive order would prevent Christian and other religious organizations with federal contracts from requiring workers to adhere to the tenets of their religious beliefs. And that includes religious Christian colleges and universities that provide financial aid to students.

[…]

“If religious organizations cannot require that their employees conduct themselves in ways consistent with the teachings of their faith – then, essentially, those organizations are unable to operate in accordance with their faith,” Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council, told me.

[…]

“The mask is coming off of the homosexual movement’s agenda. They really do not believe in religious liberty. They want forced affirmation of homosexual and transgender conduct to trump every other consideration in the workplace – including religious liberty.”

[…]

The Obama administration seems hell-bent on forcing Christians to assimilate to the militant LGBT agenda. Resistance is futile.

Starnes’ commentary is typical of the Fox News personality, who’s made a career acting as the network’s mouthpiece for some of the country’s most extreme anti-LGBT hate groups. The Family Research Council’s (FRC) Sprigg, for example, has called for the exporting of gay people out of the U.S. and endorsed the criminalization of homosexuality. Pastor Robert Jeffress, another critic cited in Starnes’ post, is notorious for his extreme comments about LGBT people and Muslims.

Starnes’ fear-mongering about the executive order’s lack of religious exemptions grossly mischaracterizes the scope of the directive, which merely extends existing non-discrimination protections to include LGBT employees of federal contractors. As the New York Times editorial board recently explained:

This is not a question of religious freedom. It is a question of whether to allow religion to be used as an excuse to discriminate in employment against a particular group of people… [T]he presidential order … would extend those rules to companies that receive federal contracts in states without those kinds of anti-bias laws, protecting millions more people.

Mr. Obama’s resolve is being tested. There is no good reason to give religious employers a special privilege to inflict undeserved pain by, for example, refusing to hire someone to work on a government-backed project just because she happens to be a lesbian, or firing a capable employee who marries someone of the same sex.

Previously:

“God Less America”: An Ugly Look At What Still Motivates The Right’s Culture Warriors

Fox's Starnes Embarrasses Himself With Another Bogus Culture War Horror Story

Fox News Contributor Calls Out Todd Starnes' Anti-Gay Bigotry

Media Yawns At Landmark Study On Same-Sex Parenting

July 10, 2014 3:59 pm ET by Luke Brinker

A landmark new study finds that children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than children raised by heterosexual parents – a finding that major media outlets have largely ignored despite its potential significance in the legal fight for marriage equality.

On July 4, researchers at the University of Melbourne unveiled the results of a study that looked at how children of same-sex and heterosexual couples fare on a variety of health and wellness measures. The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS) is the largest study of its kind to date. Controlling for factors like socioeconomic status and parental education, researchers examined 500 children of 315 same-sex parents. An estimated 80 percent of the children were raised by female parents, with 18 percent raised by male parents. The Guardian summarized the researchers’ findings:

The children raised by same-sex partners scored an average of 6% higher than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion. They were equivalent to those from the general population on measures of temperament and mood, behavior, mental health and self-esteem.

Researchers did identify one hurdle often confronted by children of same-sex parents: anti-LGBT stigma, which about two-thirds of the children reported experiencing.

The Australian study is noteworthy not only given its unprecedented size and scope, but also because of its potential significance in the ongoing legal fight for marriage equality.

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Fox News Defends Hate Speech With Misinterpretation Of The First Amendment

July 10, 2014 1:27 pm ET by Michelle Leung

Fox News suggested HGTV ran afoul of the First Amendment when it canceled an upcoming reality show following reports of the hosts' extreme anti-gay and Islamophobic activism.

HGTV cancelled its forthcoming reality show Flip It Forward following revelations that the hosts, Jason and David Benham, had an extensive history of anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Muslim activism. Examples of the brothers' reported hate speech include David Benham likening the fight against gay marriage to that against Nazi Germany, and participation in protests against "homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation." Benham has publicly highlighted Leviticus' punishment of death for gay sex and protested in front of mosquesshouting "Jesus Hates Muslims."

After rushing to defend the brothers by claiming they were being punished for their Christian views, Fox News is now suggesting HGTV's decision to cancel the show violated the Benhams' First Amendment right to free speech.

On July 10, Fox News host Steve Doocy interviewed Jason and David Benham while an on-screen graphic declared they had been "fired for faith." Doocy argued, "You were fired for having an opinion. I mean, there's this thing called the First Amendment where people are entitled to their opinion and their Christian beliefs as well." 

But the First Amendment does not protect individuals from being fired by private employers, as it does not limit the actions that private employers may take based on employees' speech. The First Amendment Center explained:

The First Amendment does not limit private employers. The Bill of Rights -- and the First Amendment -- limit only government actors, not private actors. This means that private employers can restrict employee speech in the workplace without running afoul of the First Amendment.

HGTV did not violate the First Amendment rights of the Benhams by dropping their show. As Columbia Law's Suzanne Goldberg pointed out in an interview with CNN, it was most likely a decision to protect the business' brand following widespread outcry against the Benhams' comments. Even David Benham told CNN that he does not hold a grudge against the network, telling Erin Burnett, "It was too much for them to bear and they had to make a business decision."

Previously:

How Fox News Is Helping Homophobes Hijack Christianity

Jason Benham: Christians Have A Duty To "Destroy" Ideas God Doesn't Like, Including Marriage Equality

Fox News’ Defense Of Anti-Gay Discrimination At NYC’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Watch A Child Dismantle Fox's Panic Over Gender-Neutral Restrooms

July 10, 2014 12:49 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Fox & Friends continued its bizarre attack on Illinois State University for designating gender-neutral restrooms, but even a group of “Fox fans” didn’t seem fazed by the school’s attempt to accommodate LGBT students. 

Illinois State University recently announced that it would be relabeling several of its single-stall “family” restrooms on campus as “all-gender” restrooms. Though the decision won’t alter the functionality of any of the restrooms, the move is meant to accommodate transgender and gender-variant students, who often face harassment and even violence in public restrooms. All-gender restrooms will be identified by a new sign that “will include a symbol of a half of a man and half of a woman.”

On July 9, the cast of Fox & Friends mocked the decision, calling the new sign confusing and blaming the change on the “P.C. police.”

On July 10, Fox & Friends continued its criticism of the university’s decision. Co-host Steve Doocy produced a massive mock-up of an “all-gender” sign and asked a group of “Fox fans” outside the studio what they thought the sign meant.

But none of the fans, including a young boy, seemed to share Doocy’s confusion or outrage over the sign:

The exchange was an awkward moment for Doocy, who was seemingly hoping to get a more negative reaction from the “Fox fans.” One chyron during the segment read “Bathroom Boondoggle: Are New Gender Signs Just Too Confusing?”:

Doocy’s co-hosts seemed equally surprised at the “Fox fans” unfazed reaction. Brian Kilmeade admitted “they’re better people than us. I could not figure it out and we had the story in front of us. It makes no sense.”

Designating gender-neutral bathrooms is not an unusual practice. Many colleges and universities have adopted gender-neutral facilities in order to better accommodate the demands of growing LGBT student populations. Such basic adjustments might cause havoc and confusion on the set of Fox & Friends, but in the outside world, even “Fox fans” can’t figure out what the big deal is. 

Previously:

Fox & Friends Laughs At University's Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

Fox & Friends Blames The “P.C. Police” For Gay-Inclusive Federal Forms

Fox News Has A Meltdown Over Gender-Neutral Marriage Licenses In WA

Fox & Friends Laughs At University's Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

July 09, 2014 1:44 pm ET by Carlos Maza

The hosts of Fox & Friends mocked Illinois State University’s decision to accommodate LGBT students by designating certain campus restrooms as gender-neutral.

During the July 9 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox’s Heather Nauert reported on Illinois State University’s decision to re-label a number of single stall restrooms on campus, designating them “all-gender” restrooms rather than “family” restrooms.  The change is expected to affect approximately 10 restrooms and won’t affect the functionality of any of the facilities. Designating gender-neutral restrooms on campus is a common practice aimed at accommodating growing populations of transgender and gender-variant students, who often face harassment and even violence in public restrooms.

Nauert, who incorrectly identified the university as Indiana State University, attributed the decision to the “P.C. police.” Members of the Fox & Friends crew could be heard laughing throughout the segment, and Nauert concluded by stating “we’re all a little confused by it”:

Fox & Friends has a habit of ridiculing gender-neutral accommodations as ridiculous or unnecessary. The show has mocked gender-neutral passports, passport applications, college housing policies, student financial aid forms, and marriage licenses. In all of these cases, the changes were minor adjustments made to acknowledge members of the LGBT community. And in all of these cases, Fox & Friends jumped at the opportunity to turn gender-neutral accommodations into an early morning punch lines.

Previously:

Fox & Friends Blames The “P.C. Police” For Gay-Inclusive Federal Forms

Fox News Has A Meltdown Over Gender-Neutral Marriage Licenses In WA

Fox & Friends Mocks, Criticizes Gender-Neutral Housing Policy

How Houston Media Can Fix Its Coverage Of The City's Non-Discrimination Fight

July 08, 2014 1:33 pm ET by Luke Brinker

As Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) faces a repeal effort at the ballot box, Houston media outlets need to do a better job of correcting right-wing misinformation about the ordinance, holding its opponents accountable, and ensuring that LGBT advocates are no longer pushed to the sidelines of the debate.

HERO is likely headed to the November ballot after a coalition fighting to repeal the measure announced that it had collected 50,000 signatures to place HERO up for a repeal vote.

On May 28, the Houston City Council voted 11 to six to approve HERO, which prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. A coalition dubbing itself "No Unequal Rights" immediately launched a repeal drive, and the campaign's July 3 announcement that it had collected nearly three times the required signatures sets the stage for a divisive four-month slog. The repeal fight is likely to be especially damaging for Houston's LGBT community; scholars note that public referenda on LGBT rights can easily become dominated by misinformation campaigns.

In the coming months, Houston media outlets have the opportunity to correct their frequently problematic and misleading coverage of HERO . Here's how:

Debunk Anti-LGBT Myths

HERO opponents have focused particularly on the measure's protections for transgender people, asserting that affording transgender individuals equal access to gender-appropriate facilities will make it easier for sexual predators to assault women and children. But the transgender bathroom myth is completely baseless. Independent experts in states and cities that have already adopted transgender protections report no problems stemming from the laws, with one sexual assault victims' advocate calling the myth "beyond specious."

Still, in the month after HERO passed, local media outlets in Houston gave significant play to the transgender bathroom myth.

Don't Buy Into HERO Opponents' Framing

The coalition leading the repeal crusade might be called "No Unequal Rights" - ostensibly because the ordinance grants "special rights" to the LGBT community. But the ordinance establishes the same non-discrimination protections that already exist in several Texas cities.

Outlets should note that HERO isn't just an LGBT ordinance. It bans discrimination based not only on sexual orientation or gender identity, but also sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, genetic information, or pregnancy. 

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Gay Pride Parades Are Still Funny On The O’Reilly Factor

July 08, 2014 11:23 am ET by Carlos Maza

The O’Reilly Factor aired a segment mocking San Francisco’s LGBT pride parade, playing on a number of tired and disparaging tropes about gay people.

The July 7 edition of The O’Reilly Factor featured a recurring segment dubbed “Watters’ World” during which O’Reilly producer Jesse Watters attended San Francisco’s annual LGBT pride parade.  During the segment, Watters interview a number of parade attendees and often paired their comments with sound effects and movie clips meant to poke fun at their responses:

 
The segment touched on a number of typical right-wing stereotypes about gay people and pride parades; Gay people are promiscuous and predatory (and wear tight pants)! Why are there no straight pride parades? Gay pride parades shove homosexuality down people’s throats!

At the end of the segment, Watters assured O’Reilly that none of the parade attendees had “assaulted” him.

Fox Nation picked up the segment, spotlighting one attendee who told Watters she wanted a “gay world”:

 This isn’t the first time the Factor has used the “Watters’ World” segment to mock an LGBT-inclusive parade. Last July, Watters ridiculed Brooklyn’s historic Mermaid Parade, opining that gay people “like parades! They’re into pageantry, they like to show off their wares.”

The right-wing impulse to use pride parades to ridicule and poke fun at gay people is as old as pride parades themselves. Nowadays, though, the practice of trolling pride parades is typically left to fringe anti-gay activists who still aren’t comfortable with the idea of LGBT people being proud in public. And Fox News, apparently.

Previously:

Fox News' O'Reilly And Watters Ridicule "Transvestites," "Gays" At Mermaid Parade

O'Reilly: Why Were School Children Laughing At "Gay Apparel"?

O’Reilly Jokes About “Gay” Penguins: “They Wear Tight T-Shirts”

No, JPMorgan Chase Doesn't Have An "LGBT Loyalty Test" For Employees

July 07, 2014 1:25 pm ET by Luke Brinker

The conservative media is falsely accusing JPMorgan Chase of giving its employees an "LGBT loyalty test" thanks to dishonest reporting by a number of anti-LGBT activists.

In a June 29 blog post, National Organization for Marriage (NOM) co-founder Robert George shared a message from an employee at JPMorgan Chase, who alleged that an internal employee survey had included a question asking employees to indicate whether they were any of the following:

1) A person with disabilities;

2) A person with children with disabilities;

3) A person with a spouse/domestic partner with disabilities;

4) A member of the LGBT community.

5) An ally of the LGBT community, but not personally identifying as LGBT.

George baselessly asserted that the survey was a warning to anti-LGBT employees:

The message to all employees is perfectly clear:  You are expected to fall into line with the approved and required thinking.  Nothing short of assent is acceptable. Silent dissent will no longer be permitted.

Breitbart.com's resident anti-LGBT extremist Austin Ruse picked the story up shortly thereafter, accusing Chase of giving its employees an "LGBT loyalty test":

Ruse also reported that a second source had confirmed the existence of the Chase survey after questions were raised about the authenticity of George's original report.

In a July 4 blog post for Crisis, Ruse brought his characteristic paranoia to bear, declaring that the workplace is now "hostile territory" for anti-gay conservatives and warning that "the dominant sexually correct mafia" was coming for their jobs:

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NRO’s Dennis Prager: Heterosexual AIDS Is An “Entirely Manufactured” Myth

July 02, 2014 4:32 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Conservative columnist Dennis Prager claimed that “heterosexual AIDS” is a crisis “entirely manufactured by the Left,” continuing his years-long campaign of peddling dangerous and inaccurate AIDS denialism.

Prager’s July 1 syndicated column featured a defense of the Washington Redskins’ name. Prager accused the “American Left” of being preoccupied with “manufactured” controversies and crises, including “heterosexual AIDS”: 

The great majority of American Indians understandably just don’t care. Like heterosexual AIDS and so many other crises, this has been entirely manufactured by the Left. Since 1947, there has been a movie theater, the Redskin Theatre (with the same logo as the football team), in Anadarko, Okla., a city whose population is divided evenly between Indians and whites and that calls itself the “Indian Capital of the Nation.” Why, in 67 years, have the Indian populations of Anadarko and Oklahoma not changed this theater’s name? Because the Left hadn’t made it an issue. It’s not an Indian issue; it’s a left-wing issue. [emphasis added]

Prager’s comparison is the latest in his long and bizarre history of falsely asserting that HIV and AIDS aren’t issues for heterosexuals. As Adam Serwer wrote for The American Prospect in 2008, Prager exemplifies a strain of “AIDS denialism” that suggests that “AIDS is a ‘gay’ problem, and so heterosexuals don’t have to worry about it.”

In a 2007 column titled “Does the Left Value Truth?,” Prager wrote:

The homeless, heterosexual AIDS and rape. For years, mainstream liberal news media purveyed false information supplied by Mitch Snyder, the major liberal activist on behalf of the homeless. Likewise, we were told by gay and AIDS activist groups that AIDS "doesn't discriminate," meaning that heterosexuals in America were as likely to contract the HIV virus as homosexuals. It was never true in America (Africa may be another story for other reasons). [emphasis added]

According to Prager, AIDS activists invented the myth of heterosexual AIDS in order to generate hysteria about the disease. During a June 2008 edition of his radio show, he equated heterosexual AIDS with other purportedly exaggerated threats, including climate change and secondhand smoke:

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How The Hobby Lobby Decision Could Undermine The Fight Against HIV/AIDS

July 01, 2014 3:53 pm ET by Carlos Maza

The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision might make it harder for millions of LGBT Americans to access treatment that could revolutionize the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. has sparked debate over whether the court’s opinion grants business owners the right to discriminate against LGBT customers and employees on religious grounds. The decision is already being celebrated by a number of anti-LGBT activists who see it as a license to ignore non-discrimination laws, while some commentators have argued that the decision was tailored to avoid creating a blank check for homophobic business owners.

But the Hobby Lobby decision’s most significant implication for the LGBT community may be its impact on Truvada, a controversial “miracle drug” that blocks HIV infection and may revolutionize the battle against HIV/AIDS.

In May 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed Truvada, which is a pre-expsure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment combining two different antiviral drugs, for use by patients deemed at risk for HIV/AIDS. When taken properly, Truvada reduces the risk of HIV by more than 99 percent effective.

Despite its effectiveness, Truvada remains a hotly debated topic in the LGBT community, with critics warning (incorrectly) that Truvada users are more likely to engage in unsafe sex and deriding users as promiscuous and irresponsible.

In April, USA Today noted the similarities between the controversy surrounding Truvada and conservative opposition to birth control:

Demetre Daskalakis, the Mount Sinai doctor, said the Truvada debate recalls the way birth control was viewed in some quarters in the 1960s — as an accessory to promiscuity.

"Anyone who takes Truvada, someone is looking at them and saying they're licentious," Daskalakis said. "When this becomes more normalized, we'll be fine."

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Houston Media Helped Spread Lies About The City’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance

June 30, 2014 12:01 pm ET by Luke Brinker

Houston media outlets helped spread misinformation about the city’s newly enacted non-discrimination ordinance, parroting the talking points of anti-LGBT groups working to repeal the measure.

On May 28, the Houston City Council voted 11 to six to approve the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which prohibits discrimination based on categories including race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Opponents of the ordinance, led by the Houston Area Pastors Council, immediately announced a repeal drive and have spent the month of June attempting to collect the 17,000 valid signatures needed to put the measure up for a vote in November.

Anti-LGBT activists, like Texas Values’ Jonathan Saenz and Fox News’ Mike Huckabee, focused particularly on the measure’s protections for transgender people, asserting that the protections will make it easier for sexual predators to sneak into women’s restrooms. That myth has been extensively debunked by independent experts in states and cities that have already adopted similar protections.

But the transgender bathroom myth played a prominent role in local media coverage of the ordinance. During the month that HERO opponents collected signatures for a repeal effort, Houston news outlets repeatedly cited the myth without attempting to debunk it according to an Equality Matters analysis:

What’s especially disconcerting is how local reporters themselves often appeared to buy in to the transgender bathroom smear. A June 26 report from Fox affiliate KRIV’s Andrea Watkins illustrated this kind of problematic coverage:

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