You’re a best-selling author. Your beloved sci-fi novel that’s been a fan favorite for decades is about to come to the silver screen. You can expect more fame, adulation, money, right? Wait just a second! You dared to speak out against gay marriage? Welcome to the new blacklist.
Orson Scott Card, author of the popular sci-fi fantasy “Ender’s Game,” which was just made into a film set to release this fall, is coming under fire from the left for his pro-traditional-marriage views. According to Huffington Post, an “online protest” broke out to blacklist the new movie based on Card’s book because of his conservative views and opposition to the gay agenda. As HuffPo reported, LGBT activists are taking aim at Card for his “controversial” “anti-gay stance.”
The LGBT group Geeks OUT is spearheading a boycott of the movie called “Skip Ender’s Game.” According to the official website the group wants to “send a clear and serious message to Card” because of his “anti-gay activism – whatever he’s selling, we’re not buying.”
“Do not buy a ticket at the theater,” urged the Geeks OUT group, “do not purchase the DVD, do not watch it on-demand. Ignore all merchandise and toys.” The site went on to insist that the “queer geek community” wants to keep its money away from Card because of his supposed “fear-mongering and religious bullying.”
Card previously ruffled liberal feathers because of his uncompromising stance on gay marriage, and this is certainly not the first time he’s come under fire for it. But despite backlash, Card remained a steadfast supporter of traditional marriage. He joined the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) in 2009 and frequently wrote articles opposing homosexual “marriage.” In response to the boycott, Card suggested that he’s interested to see whether “proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them.”
Alliance Defending Freedom and the Pacific Justice Institute have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that asks the court to review the case of a University of Toledo employee fired simply because she wrote an opinion column in her own personal name with a viewpoint that university officials didn’t like.
The university fired Crystal Dixon, who works in the school’s Human Resources department, after she wrote a short op-ed responding to a local newspaper’s editorial that compared the efforts of homosexual activists to the black civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. As an African-American, Dixon respectfully disagreed with the paper’s editorial. She did not mention her job at the university.
“Universities should be the marketplace of ideas, not environments where officials dictate conformity to their own views even outside of the campus,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker. “Seventy years of legal precedent make it clear that government officials have no authority to rob public employees of their First Amendment freedom of speech outside of work on a non-work-related matter.”
“University officials cannot mandate that all employees, in their personal capacities, have the same opinion as they do. This much is extremely clear in First Amendment law,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot.
After the paper published Dixon’s column, the university wrote its own in opposition to Dixon’s point of view and then terminated her employment.
In 2006, the Supreme Court wrote, “It is well settled that ‘a State cannot condition public employment on a basis that infringes the employee’s constitutionally protected interest in freedom of expression.’” In a different case in 1995, the high court also wrote, “Even though respondents work for the Government, they have not relinquished ‘the First Amendment rights they would otherwise enjoy as citizens to comment on matters of public interest.’”
The brief filed with the Supreme Court in Dixon v. University of Toledo explains that the university “fired Dixon for writing the op-ed, because they deemed it not in ‘accord’ with the ‘values’ of the University of Toledo. They ignored that she wrote as a citizen and it was the university who publicly exposed her as an employee. In [the university’s] view, any public disagreement with the university’s values, even though those values were neither the subject of the original editorial nor Dixon’s op-ed, warranted Dixon’s dismissal from employment.”
When Dixon sued over her termination, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit rejected her First Amendment claim because she was a public employee.
“In doing so, the Sixth Circuit ignored seventy years of precedent establishing that if ‘there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein,’” states the brief, which was filed together with Kevin Snider, chief counsel of Pacific Justice Institute and one of nearly 2,300 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom.
Pre-marital and casual sex have, in many ways, become societal norms. When young people take abstinence pledges, they are seemingly in a minority. As unrestricted sex becomes more prominent or, at the least, more accepted, many argue that its effects are nothing to worry about.
“Times have changed” and “It’s no big deal” are familiar mantras. But a new study may call these dismissals into question, as it found that casual sex may lead to depression and anxiety among college students.
Published in “The Journal of Sex Research,” the study, entitled, “Risky Business: Is There an Association Between Casual Sex and Mental Health Among Emerging Adults?,” found that students who have had casual sex had higher levels of social and general anxiety and depression,reports Science Daily. It was led by Dr. Melina M. Bersamin of California State University, Sacramento.
For the purposes of the study, “casual sex” was defined as having sex with someone that a respondent had known for less than a week. The online survey included 3,907 heterosexual students, ages 18 to 25, from over 30 schools across the U.S. About 11 percent of students reported having such an encounter the month before the survey (and the majority were men).
“For emerging-adult college students, engaging in casual sex may elevate risk for negative psychological outcomes.” the abstract for the study proclaims.
While one research endeavor isn’t the end all, be all, Bersamin claims that the results show that “casual sex was negatively associated with well-being and positively associated with psychological distress.” There were no disparities in gender when it came to the impact of casual sex.
Considering that society continues to loosen up in this arena, the potential results and impact are essential to consider.
Some are angry, others are philosophical, but opponents of same-sex marriage agree on one thing: The battle against gay marriage just got tougher, after twin losses in the Supreme Court that have given pro-gay-marriage forces a burst of momentum.
But social conservatives are ready to press on in the states, in defense of a religiously based definition of marriage that has endured for millennia, even if they don’t expect much help from the Republican establishment.
“The mix of decisions magnifies the fact that people who believe in normal marriage need to fight like crazy at the state level to ensure that they keep the right to define what they want marriage to be in their state,” says Gary Bauer, leader of the group American Values and one-time Republican presidential candidate.
Keeping the traditional-marriage-only wing of the GOP from becoming demoralized will be part of the battle. But after Wednesday’s rulings – which struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and opened the door to a resumption of gay marriages in California – conservative leaders expressed hope that their supporters would be all the more motivated to keep fighting.
Some leaders took a glass-half-full approach to the decisions, applauding the justices for, at least, not establishing a national right to same-sex marriage as the high court did for abortion in the 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade. That, they say, gives them time to get organized and rally their troops, even if, by outward appearances, time is not on their side.
Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington, asserts that, in fact, time is not on the side of those seeking to create a right to same-sex marriage.
“As the American people are given time to experience the actual consequences of redefining marriage, the public debate and opposition to the redefinition of natural marriage will undoubtedly intensify,” Mr. Perkins says.
His ally Ralph Reed, head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, calls for pressure on Congress to pass legislation that will limit the impact of the DOMA ruling. And he goes back to a core focus of religious conservatives -- the selection of judges.
The Supreme Court’s decisions “underscore why people of faith must remain engaged and energetic in seeing genuine conservatives nominated and confirmed to the federal courts,” says Mr. Reed. That requires electing conservative senators who will make judicial confirmation battles a priority.
But especially alarming to some Christian conservative leaders is the culture war within the GOP that makes them feel that party leaders – both in Congress and at the Republican National Committee (RNC) – are abandoning them.
“I would say to Speaker Boehner and [Senate Republican leader] Mitch McConnell and the folks at the RNC, you better wake up soon, because if values voters decide that their investment in the GOP resulted in less than a zero return, the party will find itself without the only group that is saving it from political oblivion,” says Mr. Bauer.
Republican leaders need to spend as much time defending traditional marriage and other conservative values as much as they make the case for not raising taxes on billionaires and calling on Democrats to cut Social Security, Bauer continues, the anger rising in his voice.
“The idea that the Republican economic agenda is popular and is held back by the Republican social agenda is, like everything else in Washington, D.C., exactly upside down,” he says.
But judging by GOP leaders’ responses – or lack thereof -- to the Supreme Court’s gay marriage rulings, the schism between social and economic conservatives doesn’t look set to ease anytime soon. The Republican National Committee and its chairman, Reince Priebus, were silent on the decisions. Speaker Boehner said he was “disappointed” in the rulings, and hoped states would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman. Senator McConnell issued no comment.
They seemed to be following the playbook outlined in a recent report by an RNC task force that suggested opposition to gay marriage could harm a party trying to grow its appeal among demographic groups that went heavily Democratic last November.
“On messaging, we must change our tone – especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters,” the report read. “In every session with young voters, social issues were at the forefront of the discussion; many see them as the civil rights issues of our time. We must be a party that is welcoming and inclusive for all voters.”
Indeed, given the political standoff in Congress, any Republican efforts to strengthen DOMA are already dead on arrival (and ditto efforts by Democrats to eliminate DOMA altogether). So, by definition, the effort to defend traditional marriage goes to the states.
And in the wake of Wednesday’s rulings, the challenge is likely to get even more difficult in the court of public opinion.
Brian Powell, a sociology professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, cites his research, which shows that when a childless gay couple legally marries, the public is must more likely to view them as a family, compared with a childless gay couple that is only living together.
“What that means,” Mr. Powell says, “is the validation by the Supreme Court that enables more people to be legally married should result in greater acceptance of gay marriage.”
Now that gay couples in California will soon be allowed to marry again, per the instruction of Gov. Jerry Brown (D), following the Prop 8 ruling, more than one-third of Americans will live in jurisdictions with legal gay marriage.
President Bill Clinton released a statement, together with his wife Hillary Clinton, hailing the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, a bill he signed into law in 1996.
"By overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court recognized that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form a more perfect union. We are also encouraged that marriage equality may soon return to California. We applaud the hard work of the advocates who have fought so relentlessly for this day, and congratulate Edie Windsor on her historic victory," the Clintons' statement reads.
The statement makes no mention of their previous support for the law.
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – As the Supreme Court prepares to rule this week on the legality of federal and state bans on same-sex “marriage,” Justice Antonin Scalia has said there is no “right to homosexual conduct” granted by the United States Constitution.
Scalia, 77, told an audience of lawyers and judges at the North Carolina Bar Association Friday that matters of morality should be decided by the public, not unelected judges who set themselves up as “moral arbiters.”
According to Scalia, moral issues such as gay marriage have no “scientifically demonstrable right answer” and thus have no business being decided by the court. Instead, society must determine as a whole what they deem moral and acceptable and make laws that reflect that.
Scalia made his point with humor, joking that as a judge, “I accept for the sake of argument, for example, that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.” But, he quickly added, “Rather, I am questioning the propriety, the sanity of having a value-laden decision such as this made for the entire society by unelected judges.”
Scalia, a 1986 appointee of President Reagan and now the longest-sitting member of the high court, has long maintained a strictly originalist view of the Constitution, insisting that it must be interpreted through the lens of its authors’ intentions. He once told an audience at Southern Methodist University that far from being a “living document,” the Constitution is, “dead, dead, dead.” On Friday, he told the North Carolina lawyers that judges who find rights to “homosexual conduct” or abortion in the Constitution are in error.
“When the Constitution was adopted, all those acts were criminal throughout the United States and remained so for several centuries,” said Scalia. In particular, he cited “laws against private consensual sodomy … that existed in perfect conformity with the Constitution for over 200 years.”
He slammed the Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion as an egregious example of judicial moralizing he believes was rooted in a flawed vision of the Constitution as a living document.
He expressed a similar sentiment in a 2011 interview with California Lawyer, saying “You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law.”
“That’s what democracy is all about,” added Scalia. “It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.”
Monday, June 24, 2013
(CNSNews.com) - On Tuesday, June 25, the U.S. Defense Department will give special recognition to "gay, lesbian and bisexual servicemembers" -- as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civilian workers -- for their "dedicated service to our country."
And this year, "Pride Month" at the Defense Department comes with a poster:
The red, white and blue poster -- designed for the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute located at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida -- includes the followiong quotation from President Barack Obama:
"For more than two centuries, we have worked to extend America's promise to all our citizens. Armed Forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans."
OutServe-SLDN, an advocacy group for LGBT military personnel, called it "appropriate and gratifying" that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is following the precedent set in 2012 when then-Secretary Leon Panetta hosted the Pentagon's first LGBT Pride Month.
But the group isn't happy that the DOD memorandum announcing Tuesday's Pride event for gays, lesbians and bisexuals did not mention transgenders in uniform:
"While acknowledging transgender civilian DOD employees, the memorandum notably omits any mention of the contributions of transgender people in uniform -– presumably because transgender people remain barred from service by outdated and obsolete medical regulations.
“Transgender people have served this nation with pride, honor, and distinction –- and continue to do so in the hundreds, if not thousands. It’s past time to honor them for their service and sacrifice, and past time to end the discredited and obsolete practice of forcing them to serve in silence and fear,” said Army veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson in a news release issued earlier this month.
LGBT Pride Month is celebrated each June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City that erupted after a police raid on a gay bar.
Tomorrow, the Defense Department will celebrate the December 22, 2010 repeal of the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Homosexuals have been allowed to openly serve in the U.S. military since September 20, 2011.
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2013 (Family Research Council) - With the Supreme Court due to rule on two cases seeking the redefinition of marriage next week, the media have been reporting widely on polls that claim a majority of Americans now support such a redefinition to include homosexual couples. The implication left by some of these stories is that a majority would therefore be happy to have the Supreme Court rule that the U.S. Constitution requires changing the definition of marriage and forbids any state from defining it as the union of a man and a woman.
One national poll released two weeks ago proves, through an analysis of its findings, that this is not true. Here are the two questions on marriage asked in a poll taken by Selzer & Company for Bloomberg News between May 31 and June 3:
The Supreme Court may also decide on the constitutionality of a prohibition on gay marriage in California. Do you support or oppose allowing same-sex couples to get married?
Support - 52% Oppose - 41% Not Sure - 7%
Do you think there should be a national law allowing same-sex marriage, or should it be state-by-state? (Asked of those who support allowing same-sex couples to get married; n=506.)
National law - 61% Determined state-by-state - 37% Not Sure - 2%
The question about “a national law allowing same-sex marriage” is an awkward and oddly-worded one. The redefinition of marriage in all 50 states is hardly “inevitable,” as its advocates like to claim. But if it ever does become a reality, it will be because a) the Supreme Court orders it; b) the states individually adopt it; or c) the Constitution is amended to require it. But none of these involves Congress passing “a national law” (that is, a statute) to require it, since the statutory regulation of marriage has always been the responsibility of the states. (The federal Defense of Marriage Act only regulates the definition of marriage under federal law—it has no control over state marriage laws.)
Nevertheless, if we treat a possible Supreme Court ruling that the U.S. Constitution requires recognition of same-sex “marriages” as “a national law allowing same-sex marriage,” then the percent favoring that outcome is only 61% of the 52% who support redefining marriage at all. That works out to only 32% of the total sample—in contrast to the 60% who either oppose redefining marriage at all (41%) or support doing it state by state (52% X 37% = 19%).
So, if the Supreme Court does force a redefinition of marriage on every state next week, they will be doing so not as a reflection of public opinion, but in defiance of it.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
June 20, 2013 - 4:52 AM
By Fred Lucas
(CNSNews.com) – The Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual advocacy group, will not say who provided it with a confidential list of donors to the National Organization for Marriage, although NOM’s chairman believes someone at the Internal Revenue Service leaked the information. The IRS also is silent on the question.
Providing such donor information is a felony, John C. Eastman, chairman of the board for the National Organization for Marriage, told CNSNews.com. The Justice Department deferred the matter to the Treasury Department, but Eastman said the probe by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration seems to have stalled.
Nevertheless, Eastman told CNSNews.com, “We’re going to keep pressing until we get criminal indictments brought against the people responsible.”
NOM, which advocates traditional marriage, and HRC are on opposite sides in the national political battle over same-sex marriage.
The willful disclosure of donor information carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Human Rights Campaign spokesman Charlie Joughin did not respond to numerous phone and e-mail inquiries from CNSNews.com on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday asking who provided the list that was posted on the HRC website in March 2012. The HRC advocates for same-sex marriage and other homosexual issues.
For its part, an IRS spokesman told CNSNews.com that “federal law prohibits discussion of any taxpayers’ information,” whether it’s an organization or an individual.
Eastman said there is no doubt that the document came from the IRS.
“I suppose it’s theoretically possible that that someone fraudulently claiming to be an officer from the National Organization for Marriage got a copy of the tax return from the IRS, [in which case], the person that committed the felony would not have been the IRS agent who succumbed to that fraud, but the person who obtained it,” Eastman said. “But, there is no doubt that the document came from within the IRS itself.”
Shortly after the HRC posted the list on its website, the Huffington Post did the same. The Human Rights Campaign has not yet stated publicly where it obtained the list, Eastman said.
“They took it down from their website after our demand letter was sent over to them pointing out that it was a felony,” Eastman said of the HRC. “Huffington Post has not taken it down from their website.”
Eastman, a constitutional attorney, is also the chairman of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and serves on the board of directors for the Act Right Legal Foundation.
The IRS 990 form that non-profit organizations must fill out each year is available to the public. However, the Schedule B portion of the form that lists the donors is confidential for all non-profit groups.
While the names of donors were seen on the PDF document linked on the HRC site, one portion of the document was redacted. NOM says computer forensic analysts were able to remove the redaction, discovering a stamp that proves the document originated from within the IRS. The number 100560209 was stamped across the middle of the leaked tax return. This is the marking that is placed on documents that are e-filed with the IRS by the IRS’s Central Information System. Further, the stamp said, “THIS IS A COPY OF A LIVE RETURN FROM SMIPS. OFFICIAL USE ONLY.”
“Our computer forensic people were able to unlayer the redactions from that PDF file and discovered that the original document that was posted there had originated from within the IRS,” Eastman told the House Ways and Means Committee during his June 4 testimony. “It had internal IRS stamps that are placed on every document the IRS receives that are electronically filed with the IRS and placed on those documents by that computer system.
“We don't have a copy of the document with those -- with those IRS stamps on them. Those only exist within the IRS, and yet this was posted on the website of the Human Rights Campaign. You can imagine our shock and disgust over this,” Eastland told the committee. “We jealously guard our donors as almost every other nonprofit does, particularly on the issues that we deal with, which are so contentious that our donors, once they are identified, are harassed and intimidated and tried to be chilled away from supporting the cause that we advance.”
In addition to seeking criminal indictments, NOM could also take civil action against the government that is available to organizations or individuals whose tax information was improperly disclosed that provides for either actual damages or $1,000.
NOM contacted both the Justice Department and the Treasury Department’s IG on April 11, 2012. The Justice Department deferred, telling NOM in a letter “they weren’t going to do it (investigate), because it was a tax issue, so it should be done by the inspector general,” Eastman told CNSNews.com.
“We pointed out that it was a felony. It was supposed to be done by the Department of Justice, but they haven’t done anything.”
The Treasury IG did launch an investigation, but more than a year later, NOM does not know where that stands.
“There was an investigation launched by the IG,” Eastman said. “We got an investigation number. And then they conducted a lot of interviews of our people. It was only after we were able to demonstrate that it didn’t come from within our ranks that the investigation went radio silent on us.”
The willful disclosure of NOM’s confidential tax information would violate 26 U.S.C. Section 6103, which states, “Returns and return information shall be confidential.” It also says: “no officer or employee of the United States,” “no officer or employee of any State, any local law enforcement agency,” “any local child support enforcement agency, or any local agency administering a program,” “no other person (or officer or employee thereof) who has or had access to returns or return information,” “shall disclose any return or return information obtained by him in any manner in connection with his service as such an officer or an employee or otherwise or under the provisions of this section.”