Archive for February, 2009

Mass Anti-Gay Protest in UK Fails

In Basingstoke, England, Queen Mary’s College decided to put on a theatre production of “The Larmie Project,” a show about a man who is killed for his sexual orientation.

The Westboro Baptist Church, based out of Topeka, Kansas decided that this was unacceptable. The church’s website (godhatesfags.com) called for a mass-protest of the play saying, “In merry old England they plan to further enrage the living God by putting on the farce known commonly as The Laramie Project.”

However, all members of the church who attempted to travel to England for the protest, were banned by the UK from entering, including Westboro leader Fred Phelps. As it turns out, only one actual native England-er wasphe1 willing to protest, and he left quickly after seeing pro-gay demonstrators also their for the event.

LDS Church Speaks Out About Buttars

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints released a statement today regarding Senator Chris Buttars’ statements on homosexuality made earlier this year.

temp“From the outset, the Church’s position has always been to engage in civil and respectful dialogue on this issue. Senator Buttars does not speak for the Church.” This came from the Church’s spokesperson, Scott Trotter.

It has been intensely interesting to watch as the strict conservatives, both groups, legislators and individuals have run for cover after Buttars made these statements. They do not say they disagree with him, just in the manner in which he said it.

Why is it, that the Senator’s now infamous “black baby” comments, made almost exactly one year ago warranted an official apology from the Senator himself, and an uproar in the Senate? Well obviously because the words chosen were wrong, insulting, and bigoted (even if unintentionally, which I don’t believe however). But now, Buttars takes even further leaps into hate-speak, claiming homosexuality is the “biggest threat” to America, that all gays do is have pig sex and they’re similar to radical Muslims; and yet what happens? Sure, the Senator is removed from the judicial committee (again), but where is the apology?

I do not expect Buttars, Sen. Waddoups or any of the other staunchbut Republicans on the hill to actually denounce these hateful words, hell, we all know they probably agree with every iota of them. But where is the plain old common decency to say, “you know what, these comments were deliberately insulting, spiteful, and hateful, and we are truly sorry to our fellow Utahns that they were treated so shamefully?” Why does the Senate President Michael Waddoups duck the question when he’s asked to make a statement to the LGBTQ community?

This single thing, I find more telling of Utah’s legislature than anything they have done to this point. We all knew that they believed in and still support Amendment 3, we all knew that so few would actually be in favor of the Common Ground Initiative bills. We know, we get it, they are not in favor of gay-rights or equality among citizens. But… we have now been shown that they also don’t care about us as people and that they place no values in our worth as human beings, and will only ever go so far as to cover their own asses. Sorry for the crassness, but that’s how it is.

Buttars Receives Only a Wrist-Slap……….again.

Senate Leadership in Utah held a press conference this morning addressing the recent inflamatory remarks made by Senator Chris Buttars of West Jordan. Among other things, Buttars claimed that gay people are “the biggest threat” to America right now, and that all they do is engage in immoral practices like “pig-sex.”

Despite hopes that Senate President Michael Waddoups (R) would come down hard on Sen Buttars, Buttars was only removed from the judicial committee, roughly the same thing that happened last year after the infamous “black baby” comments.

Troy Williams, of Radio Active, pressed President Waddoups to make a statement to the LGBTQ community as a whole, hoping perhaps for some kind of apology that one of our own senators made such obviously hurtful, insensitive and hateful remarks on camera to documentarian Reed Cowan. Mr. Waddoups however side-stepped the question, and for the LGBTQ community in Utah, we were again shown that the Republicans in this state only care about getting our votes, and are currently not interested in justice or equality. I wonder how long it will take before they realize that they are actually going against their constituents? And not just the gays…

For more info on the press conference and awesome pictures, visit Misty Fowler’s blog.

Community Shocked During Gay Rights Debate

Tonight, Equality Utah had a full debate with the Sutherland Institute on the validity and correctness of the Common Ground Initiative bills.

For Equality Utah, the panelists were Cliff Rosky, Lee Beckstead, Senator Scott McCoy and Will Carlson. For Sutherland, Paul Mero, LeVar Christensen, Shirley Cox and Bill Duncan.

There isn’t much to say here, it happened almost exactly as so many predicted. Sutherland voiced a call for the importance of civility multiple times during the night, and yet it was their President who made some of the most hateful comments of the night.

“We disagree not only with your views, but with every motivation that goes into those bills” Paul started off with ,talking about the C.G.I. bills and their creators. He went on to state that finding any common ground “is impossible.” The LGBTQ community is apparently living in Neverland, as “Sexual orientation is an illusion…your [the LGBTQ community] idea of rights is an illusion,” Paul said to gasps of shock from the crowd. “You think a piece of paper, will make you a family.. You think that love makes you a family.” According to Mr. Mero, only having generations makes a true family. Anyone else, just doesn’t count.

Equality Utah posed the question, “Why discriminate against jobs and housing?” Ex-Rep LaVar Christensen thought he had the answer. “No one is trying to discriminate. As a society, we license what we approve, because we come from a set of beliefs,” he tried to explain. “Employers don’t ask about marriage during an interview, they don’t ask personal details.” Many people muttered to this, including myself. I can recall several job interviews where I was asked personal questions, or the employer looked up my personal information on places like Myspace or Facebook pre-job offer. Moving into adoption and Gay/Transgender families, he says, “The natural birthright of kids, is to be raised by a mother and father, that is their right.”

Sutherland posed the question as to what scientific evidence supported the claim that homosexuality and/or children of same-sex parents is healthy. Lee Beckstead quoted several specific accredited studies, including by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  These studies, which started with no agenda either way, showed that the results “demonstrate that there is no difference between having gay or non-gay parents to children…in both physical health, and mental health.” According to these respected studies, children who grow up with same-sex parents are the same when it comes to “likelihoods.” Meaning they are just as likely to be physically healthy, mentally healthy, college graduates etc.. as children who grow up with heterosexual parents.

To compare Mr. Beckstead’s answer, Shirley Cox made some pretty wild claims but was unable to quote a single specific study. “Studies show that kids in homes with homosexual parents are more likely to have poor mental health, abuse drugs and have poor school performance” she claimed (without mentioning where these supposed studies came from). She also mentioned that “these types of homosexual relationships should not be permitted due [in part] to the fact that on average homosexual relationships do not last as long as heterosexual ones, there’s no longevity.” However, she apparently failed to recognize the obvious contradiction in her argument. How can you fault homosexual relationships for not having the longevity of heterosexual relationships when you fight against their existence at every turn?

Overall, Team Equality Utah had amazing points. From Senator McCoy showing that creating stable families through these rights is incredibly beneficial to society as a whole, to Cliff Rosky responding to an audience question showing that it is the governments responsibility to protect it’s people.

The most shocking moments of the night? The audience member who shouted out that “gays” should want to go to prison because they would get more action, or the other audience member who compared same-sex marriage to a man having sex with his horse.

My favorite quote overall? Will Carlson [in reponse to Mr. Mero who said that same-sex relations are wrong because they have the highest risk of disease} said to Mr. Mero, “You know, lesbians have the lowest disease rate of any relationship. So if that [having the lowest disease rate] is the goal, only lesbians should be allowed to be intimate!”

PROOF THAT BUTTARS LIED ON HIS BLOG

The information in this blog post was provided by Reed Cowan. All current copywrites apply and are in place. Content posted with written consent from Reed Cowan.

The following audio clip is from Reed Cowan’s documentary, prior to the start of the interview. It, along with the accompanying signed release from the Senator is proof that Mr. Buttars lied on his blog. Among other things, at no point did Mr. Cowan assert that the Senator would be able to review the footage before release, either in the release form, or the footage. Good luck keeping your job Senator.

BUTTARS BLOG POST READS:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Position on Traditional Marriage

By Chris Buttars
State Senator: District 10
Sometime in January, I talked with Reed Cowan for over an hour. I felt it was a friendly interview and we covered a lot of ground.

Reed assured me that he would treat both sides of the issue fairly and that I would be treated fairly. He told me the interview would be public in about a year and I would be allowed to see his work and approve my part before he released it.

I took Reed at his word and am disappointed.

I believe traditional marriage is the foundation of our civilization and I’ll continue to support public policy that strengthens traditional marriage. I will also continue to oppose policy that undermines that foundation.

posted by The Senate Site at 3:17 PM

You can see that post on the Utah Senate’s Site.

AND IF THAT ISN’T ENOUGH, HERE IS THE ACTUAL RELEASE FORM, SIGNED BY THE SENATOR HIMSELF:

buttarsreleaseform

Update: A good point was made by Curtis in the comments. I want to clarify that this post shows that Reed Cowen did not agree on the record to letting the Senator review the tape prior to release. I also would like to point out however that there are at least 2 eye-witnesses who can verify that no such promise was made verbally either prior to filming.

BIG UPDATE!!

One of my very good friends followed up on one of the Senator’s claims he made during the interview. Big surprise, another huge lie! See the email below:

Hello,

I live in Utah, and one of our state Senators (Chris Buttars) claims that The Boy Scouts of Canada has lost membership due to the allowance of gay leaders. I am a Gay Rights ally, and am appalled at his claim. Could you send me some information about this?

Thank you so much,

Rebecca H*******
*** South *** East
SLC UT 84105

********@yahoo.com

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Susie Mackie <smackie@scouts.ca>
To: ********@yahoo.com
Cc: Paul Johnsen <pjohnsen@scouts.ca>
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 7:40:07 AM
Subject: question

Good morning. There is absolutely no evidence to support this and I’m amazed the senator would make such a claim. Scouts Canada does not discriminate against potential members for reasons of sexual orientation. People of any race, culture, faith or sexual orientation are equally welcome to apply for membership.

Hope this answers your question.

Best wishes

Susie Mackie

Internal Communications Specialist
Executive Editor, Scouting Life Magazine

613-224-5131 ext. 259

smackie@scouts.ca

Common Ground Ignored. Now what?

me1Today, the most prominent, and likely to pass of the Common Ground Initiative Bills was defeated in a motion 8-5, the Fair Workplace and Housing Bill.

Testimony was beautiful, Rep. Christine Johnson was (as always), eloquent, funny and moving.  Members of the Utah community spoke: from a transgender minister, to a local (straight) business owner, to a gay member of the LDS church. Stories were told of an LDS man, who is married to his wife and has 5 children but was fired from his job after over a decade of work on suspicion (because of his feminine voice) of being gay. Rep. Hansen gave a beautiful speech about how bills tend to be either against people or for people, and let’s do something for people. Rep. Johnson gave a beautiful summary stating that voting for this bill did not mean that you were pro-equal marriage, or even pro-homosexuality/transgenderism; but voting against this bill did mean that you were pro-discrimination.

And still, the nay vote came.

So now what? I’ve had 14 emails, 9 texts and 8 voicemails today asking if it’s over, asking if that’s all she wrote. My answer? Never.

What we are at is the beginning. This is the beginning of the rise to equality in Utah, this is the rise of equality in our country. One by one, states have seen the innate evil of refusing to protect their citizens, of denying people what is “inherently” theirs. And Utah will be no different.

We all know what kind of state we live in, of the raging ultra-conservatism that guides us. And yet we do not stop. We do not give in just because some nobody like Gayle Ruzicka says so. We do not stop fighting because the Sutherland Institute or the Utah Eagle Forum claims to have won do we?

I say never. I say that I will never stop fighting for my rights, and the rights of all Utahns and Americans who are oppressed or and beaten down for being themselves. I will never stop fighting for myself, for you and for all the “rest of us,” who they think don’t matter. Our voices will be heard. Our faces will be known, our memories shall be cherished. And long after you and I have turned to dust, our children’s children will thank us for the stand we make today.

I make no apologies for who I am. I make no apologies for who and what I believe in. I believe that I will be fully recognized and protected under the law as my straight brothers and sisters. I believe that I will no longer worry from day to day about losing my job or my home. I believe (yes, I’ll say it) that someday I will have the option of marrying another man legally in this state. But these changes will never come if I do nothing, and I will NEVER do nothing. Who stands with me? Who believes with me that we shall see these changes in our lives? Who stands with me?

TRANSGENDER JANITOR FACES COMMUNITY WRATH

The American Family Association is up in arms about an elementary school janitor in Massachusetts who is undergoing the transition process from male to female. Below is a copy of their latest article on the issue.

“A pro-family advocate says parents in one Massachusetts town were perplexed when they received a letter from the school district explaining changes the janitor made over the summer break.

At the beginning of the 2008-09 school year, parents at the Clara Barton Elementary School in Oxford, Massachusetts, received a letter from the principal and superintendent, informing them that one of the school custodians had “changed his gender role” and is now a woman.

The school officials then informed parents that if their children, whose ages range from five-to-ten years old, ask school employees any questions concerning the custodian, they believe that “the best thing to tell them is that our custodian used to be a man. She has changed her gender and is now a woman.”

Brian Camenker with MassResistance is appalled. “Whether parents like that idea or not, [the school] decided that they were going to introduce this to kids if there were any questions. That’s extremely outrageous,” he contends. “The whole idea that someone like this should be in the public schools, of course, is beyond belief.”

He says his organization was made aware of the situation when the uncle of a student gave him a copy of the letter. “From what I understand, everybody is afraid to speak out because they are afraid that their kids will be treated badly [and be subject to] retribution by the school officials,” he notes.

Camenker believes parents are also fearful of liberals in the community and finds it troubling there is a climate of fear against speaking out. He adds that on the reverse side of the letter, school officials listed radical homosexual websites in order for parents to get more information on “transgender issues.” “

I went digging deeper into this story but the farther you went, the more awful and sickening it became. This poor woman is just doing her job and yet people don’t even want her in the school! But I must say that I felt SOOO bad for these student’s parents feel some form of shame or guilt at raising their bigoted voices, and setting that example for their kids.

As for the school, 5 – extremely big – stars for speaking out in a very positive manner, that both made no apologies for their janitor, but also recognized the inevitable concerns of some parents. The original letter, including the list of “radical homosexual websites” can be found here.