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Archives – October, 2010

VIDEO: “Quote, unquote,” except for both the quote and the unquote parts

Cross-posted at Good As You.

By Jeremy Hooper

Never once in the 69 pages of Iowa Supreme Court’s Varnum opinion is the phrase “evolving standard” used. One can find Iowa For Freedom head Bob Vander Plaats using the phrase to slight what he sees as the court’s unjust marriage equality decision. Conservative news sites like Lifesite News and The Iowa Republican have used the phrase in their stories and commentaries. But not the members of the Iowa high court. Not in determining how equal protection and due process applies to tax-paying gay citizens.

But why should the minot bullet point known as actuality stop the members of the Iowa Judge Bus from putting words in the Supreme Court justices’ mouths? Hit it, Chuck “gay students need to be healed” Hurley:

“A thing of wax that *they* decided to change”? Hmm. Well if by “they,” you mean you and your fellows with Iowa For Freedom, and by “thing of wax,” you mean the reasoned, principled opinion that the unanimous Varnum panel penned and that anti-retention have been misrepresenting ever since. Or if “quote, unquote” is conservative code word for “pulled fresh from the arse.” Otherwise: No, this soundbite is as lacking in merit as the Iowa For Freedom campaign itself.

62 Comments October 29, 2010

Radio station apologizes for anti-gay segment: Will NBC follow?

By Andy Kelley
New Media Organizer, Courage Campaign

As we reported yesterday, an NBC Texas affiliate, KETK, aired an outrageous and offensive segment yesterday asking viewer to call in and discuss if America’s “acceptance of homosexuality could lead to it’s downfall?” This lead to a public outcry and organizations ranging from the Courage Campaign to GLAAD called for swift and immediate action to be taken.

Today, the station manager at radio station where the Talkback segment originated, issued the following statement (thanks to Joe My God for posting):

There are many issues surrounding homosexuality that are fair game for discussion in the media and in opinion journalism. The proper role, if any, for openly gay individuals in the military, the legitimacy of same-sex marriages and the public behavior by some individuals at gay and lesbian events held outdoors in public view are among topics about which reasonable people may disagree. These and other topics surrounding homosexuality are topics that talk radio hosts and opinion journalists may legitimately pose to their respective audiences.

With that said, the way our Talkback question was posed might be seen as asking, “Do homosexuals, by their very existence, threaten to bring down America?” We believe that such a question, posed in such a manner, is likely to generate more heat than light. I understand how those who either heard, or heard about, KTBB’s Talkback question on Wednesday might have been offended. For the offense that was taken, we sincerely apologize.

Joe also reports that KETK has been responsive to requests from GLAAD that they take action to address this segment. Of those efforts GLAAD released the following statement:

General Manager Dave Tillery has also responded to our request that he appear on-camera to speak on behalf of the station. Dave realizes how important it is that the station acknowledge in front of their viewers what they’ve acknowledged to GLAAD over the phone – that a segment like Wednesday’s has no place on the airwaves of a reputable news organization. Furthermore, Dave plans to acknowledge the potential harm that could be caused by Wednesday’s report and will commit, on behalf of the station, to being more careful in the future. Lastly, KETK is rethinking how they will repackage KTBB Talkback content for future newscasts. KETK General Manager Dave Tillery shared with GLAAD that he will be meeting tomorrow with Paul Gleiser, KTBB’s owner/general manager.

I agree with Joe that this is certainly a step in the right direction for a broadcast which should never have been made. Talkback’s General Manager has done the right thing, and it looks like KETK will be joining them shortly. What remains to be seen is what, if anything, NBC will have to say about the actions taken by their Texas affiliate.

104 Comments October 28, 2010

Monkey Man emerges on NOM “Judge Bus” tour: Just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier…

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

Cedar Rapids would have been like any other stop on the Judge Bus Tour — 18 NOM supporters and approximately 11 equality supporters greeted the Judge Bus.

But then we met Randy Crawford.

I’ve interviewed a lot of bigoted NOM supporters over the last four months — Dr. Alveda King in Atlanta, Larry Adams an Indianapolis (the man who carried a sign stating that the “solution for gay marriage” was lynching), and Dave Davidson from Des Moines (who worried that if same-sex was marriage legal, people might marry goats).

But Randy Crawford stands out in my mind as the most memorable.

He seems like he’s straight out of the Westboro Baptist Church. He’s so off the reservation, that it’s difficult to decide whether to laugh or cry. He’s exactly the kind of supporter that NOM doesn’t want you to see. NOM would argue that they didn’t create or condone a man like Randy, which may be true; but they’re also not doing anything to change his mind. This tour only adds fuel to his fire.

He’s Brian Brown’s and Maggie Gallagher’s unpolished advocate, who apparently didn’t receive the NOM talking points about politically-correct hate.

Look in the mirror Brian and Maggie — this is your supporter:


Turns out he’s more than just a NOM supporter. He’s, er, quite active. Check out the reflection in the window on this official “Iowa for Freedom” video:

80 Comments October 28, 2010

Deconstructing Iowa for Freedom’s straw man argument

Cross-posted at Good As You.

By Jeremy Hooper

The Iowa Supreme Court didn’t make law. They didn’t execute law. They most certainly didn’t amend the constitution. In the 2009 marriage equality decision, the unanimous panel of justices did nothing more than determine that the “protect marriage” crowd has no constitutionally kosher reason for denying civil marriage rights to same-sex couples (i.e. they did their jobs):

Iowa Code section 595.2 is unconstitutional because the County has

been unable to identify a constitutionally adequate justification for excluding

plaintiffs from the institution of civil marriage. A new distinction based on

sexual orientation would be equally suspect and difficult to square with the

fundamental principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution.

This record, our independent research, and the appropriate equal protection

analysis do not suggest the existence of a justification for such a legislative

classification that substantially furthers any governmental objective.

Consequently, the language in Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil

marriage to a man and a woman must be stricken from the statute, and the

remaining statutory language must be interpreted and applied in a manner

allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil


VI. Conclusion.

The district court properly granted summary judgment to plaintiffs.

Iowa Code section 595.2 violates the equal protection provision of the Iowa

Constitution. Our decision becomes effective upon issuance of



All justices concur.

Varnum decision [G-A-Y]

The “protect marriage” folks are the ones who are trying to amend the constitution, in order to turn the state’s most precious governing document into a weapon that will bind the court’s gavels and ultimately de-bond the state’s same-sex unions. The “protect marriage” kiddos are the ones trying to declare themselves the judge, jury, and executor of a civil marriage system that’s governed largely by personal faith views. The protect equality (and fear quote usage) team is the one defending minority rights from majority tyranny, fair-minded courts from wrong-headed retribution, and civics from incivility.

But Bob Vander Plaats, the current Iowa For Freedom head and a former high school principal himself, doesn’t want you to realize that his side failed to make winnable arguments in court, or that the same court is continuing the independent judiciary’s long history of ensuring minority rights are upheld in this country. Instead, he wants to continue reducing the Iowa matter to a false “people vs. the courts” meme in a way that confuses adults and middle schoolers alike:

Middle School Civics teaches us that it is the power of the legislature, who represents the people, to make law. The executive authority to execute law belongs to the governor. And, most importantly, it is only the people who are authorized to amend the constitution.

The Iowa Supreme Court is granted none of these powers by our constitution. Yet, this unelected body usurped the powers granted to the legislature, to the governor, and to the people when they ruled Iowa to be a “same sex” marriage state. If judges can redefine marriage, they can redefine who should pay taxes and how much, who can own and carry a gun and whose private property rights get protected – or do not.“


Can judges hear arguments in cases of tax law, gun ownership, or private property rights? Well yea. Duh. But why is that presented as a straw man negative that’s meant to punish evangelical conservatives!? Our courts hear cases on any number of matters. Again: That is the role! But the outcome is determined by legal merit, not some sort of “let’s get ’em” mentality. That vindictive mentality belongs to the team that wants to hurt gay people and their allies in the equality fight, co-equal branches of government be damned!

If we had to choose the most annoying aspect of this current Iowa For Freedom campaign (which is kind of like choosing our favorite to indoctrinate), it has to be this complete removal of merit from the conversation. Vander Plaats and company never talk about the fact that every situation must pass legal muster in order to move forward: Instead, they want the high court jurists to sound like willy nilly rogues who all went to law school at Personal Liberal Whim U.

89 Comments October 28, 2010

Part 2, Tony Perkins edition: The best of the worst NOM “Judge Bus” lowlights from the heartland

Gotta hand it to Arisha — it can’t be fun following NOM’s circus around for the third time in four months. If you missed Part One of the “best of the worst,” read all about it. It doesn’t get much better in Part Two. Apparently, Tony Perkins is no Brian Brown. Who knew? — Eden

By Arisha Michelle Hatch


Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, joined NOM’s Judge Bus tour for the final two stops of the day and made it clear that he has zero desire to be interviewed by me.

In Dubuque, he was joined by Steve King and 14 “no, no, no” supporters and 4 equality supporters for a short whistle stop at a local park.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Dubuque #3

Perkins opened his stump speech with a joke involving an architect, a surgeon and a judge on a plane debating which profession is the oldest.

The joke goes as follows: the surgeon says that his profession is the oldest because in Genesis God said that Eve was created from the rib of Adam. The architect steps in and says no, before a surgeon removed a rib from Adam, a world of chaos was created by an architect – therefore an architect is the oldest profession. The judge then steps in and says, “who do you think created the chaos?”

Insert courtesy laugh from the crowd here.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Dubuque #2

“We cannot capitulate to a rogue court,” Congressman Steve King added.

“Where did you go to law school?” Dan Ernst, a local well-respected lawyer, questioned from the crowd. “I went to the University of Michigan the finest law school in the midwest.”

King didn’t respond.


Clinton, Iowa was not only the last stop of the day on Thursday, but more importantly, marked a relief from
Perkins’ surgeon-architect-judge “joke” for at least 16 hours.

And in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t any funnier the second time we heard it, although the courtesy laugh/applause from the audience of 24 (plus 6 children) was the same.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Clinton #1

Thank God for Clinton.

We also got to hear King’s anecdote about Pres. Reagan’s handling of the 1981 Air Traffic Controller’s Strike for the ump-teenth time.

In an attempt to ease voter-concerns about any public safety concerns related to removing three judges from
the Iowa courts, King has taken to citing the anecdote.

For our under-30 Trial Trackers, a brief refresher in history.

In 1981, 13,000 of our country’s 17,500 air traffic controllers seeking higher-wages walked-off the job despite a no-strike clause for federal employees claiming that the strike would threaten public safety and shutdown air transportation. In a White House Rose Garden press conference, The Great Communicator (Reagan) said that if controllers went through with the strike they would be fired. They did. Reagan fired them and no planes crashed.

Because the country survived that fiasco, removing three judges should not result in chaos for Iowans, King surmised – over and over again.

Although the analogy is tangental, at best, it did allow Judge Bus organizers to express another party-talking point – in addition to the now stereotypical “party of no, no, no” refrain – we got to hear Reagan, Reagan, Reagan.

55 Comments October 28, 2010

The best of the worst: 24 hours of NOM “Judge Bus” lowlights in the heartland

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

It was such a crazy day on the bigotry news front — from Clint McCance to that Texas NBC station — that we delayed our NOM “Judge Bus” tour roundup until tonight.

Enjoy these lowlights from the heartland…


As the weather gets colder, it seems as if each “Judge Bus” whistle stop gets a little bit shorter. Yesterday in Carroll, we stayed 15 minutes after NOM’s Judge Bus left to interview NOM supporters causing us to miss the apparently brief stop in Fort Dodge where Rick Santorum spoke to a small gathering.

After a two-hour drive to Mason City, the Judge Bus arrived 10 minutes late to its scheduled stop at Central Park and stayed on the ground for approximately eight minutes before repacking the sound-equipment and getting back in the bus. I’m not even sure that they turned off their engine.

Connie Mackey, a Judge Bus regular and President of FRC Action –- a project of the Family Research Council — quickly introduced Iowa State Senator Merlin Bartz, who spoke briefly to the crowd about the Iowa court’s “infringement of civil liberties” leading the audience to repeat the phrase “justice delayed is justice denied” several times throughout the speech. It does not appear that anyone picked up on the irony of the statement despite Bartz’s repetitiveness.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Mason City #4

A crowd of 45 NOM supporters, various media outlets and a small group of silent counter-protestors stood waiting in the cold for the brief encounter. Two small billboards boasting the equation of “ring = man plus woman” lined the streets in an apparent attempt to introduce some form of New Math, which obviously doesn’t hold up under algebraic scrutiny. By this failed logic, ring minus man equals woman, but I digress.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Mason City #2

There was no sign of Rick Santorum -– who joined the tour for an earlier stop in Fort Dodge -– or Steve King. Four NOM supporters who were expecting Santorum and King’s presence approached tour organizers at the conclusion of the event to find out why the two were not there and were told that they had other engagements and that they would be a various whistle stops throughout the week, but not all of them.

Approximately 47 equality supporters organized by One Iowa and the Homegrown Justice Tour held a counter-rally 30 minutes after the event in the lobby of a mall across the street, urging Iowans to vote “yes, yes, yes” to retain the three justices.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Mason City #6

We’re not quite sure why the Judge Bus tour was in such a rush at its final stop of the day in Mason City, we can only speculate but it appears that with Brown no longer present, discipline has gone out the roof. We all know what mice do when the cat’s away.


In Waterloo, local police prohibited Judge Bus organizers from setting up their sound system after they failed to secure a permit; and they certainly needed it because a large contingent of vocal equality supporters were there to meet them.

Fifty-seven equality supporters of the Homegrown Justice tour held a counter-rally arrived early — holding handmade signs and waving rainbow flags — to confront the out-of-state Judge Bus tour, outnumbering the 23 attendees who came to support NOM and its allies. Here are the equality supporters and their colorful signs:

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Waterloo #1

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Waterloo #6

Congressman Steve King and Connie Mackie from the Family Research Council addressed the crowd with their usual talking points.


In Marshalltown, the Judge Bus only had the wind to contend with as King, Bob Vander Plaats (failed Iowa gubernatorial candidate) and one other local state representative addressed a crowd of 36.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Waterloo #4

Judge Bus spokespeople have taken to using a quote from the Iowa court decision referring to “unimagined rights.” So I asked Vander Plaats about this point — about how as a black woman I should feel about rights unimagined by the founders.

I know, I know — that was an unfair question.

Tomorrow morning, look out for Part 2 from Dubuque and Clinton…

41 Comments October 27, 2010

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