The Daily Caller published a column cheering on Russia's brutal and draconian crackdown on LGBT people, downplaying concerns about state sponsored anti-gay violence and criticizing American activists for meddling in Russia's affairs.
Russia has enacted a number of extreme anti-LGBT measures in the past few months, including laws that prohibit the dissemination of "gay propaganda" to minors and ban the adoption of Russian children by people from countries that allow same-sex marriage.
The vague language of the "gay propaganda" law, which has been condemned by human rights experts for violating international human rights law, makes it especially dangerous - anything from waving a rainbow flag to holdings hands in public could potentially be considered criminal "propaganda" under the measure. The law has already led to the arrests of several openly gay tourists in Russia. Meanwhile, police continue to violently crack down on gay pride celebrations and homophobic murders remain a constant threat to Russia's LGBT community.
On July 25, the Daily Caller published an op-ed titled "Putin is not the gay bogeyman," written by Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) President Austin Ruse. According to Ruse, international concerns about Putin's brutal crackdown on LGBT people are wildly exaggerated. In fact, Ruse argues, America should be learning from Russia's anti-LGBT policies:
Homosexuality and homosexual acts are totally legal in Russia. Homosexuality is quite open in Russia. What the Russians do not want, and this opposition is widespread, is for homosexuality to be taught to school children or otherwise exposed to school children.
Russians understand that homosexuality exists in their society and always has, even when it was illegal under the Soviets and that it exists in all human societies. What is new and what they resist is the political movement to regularize and even celebrate it. They view this as harmful to children and society.
They are appalled, as are many Americans, at how these sexual practices and lifestyles are celebrated in the United States. The state of California now mandates the teaching of homosexuality to school children. Those individuals and institutions in the United States that oppose the homosexual advance are ostracized and in some cases criminalized.
And under the Obama administration this ideology has now become a part of US foreign policy. Openly gay ambassadors are now placed in largely religious countries. Gay celebrations are now held in US embassies even in countries, like Pakistan, where such parties are calculated to deeply offend legitimate religious sensibilities and beliefs. [emphasis added]
Major news outlets have been almost entirely silent on the advancement of one of the most significant pieces of LGBT legislation in U.S. history - the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Nine out of 10 voters believe - incorrectly - that federal law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In reality, it is perfectly legal (and common) to fire, harass, and discriminate against LGBT workers in most states in the U.S.
Part of the reason for the public's continued misconception is that mainstream media outlets have failed to report on the lack of progress on ENDA - a bill that would ban discrimination against LGBT workers. In an April 26article titled "Where is the media on ENDA?," the Columbia Journalism Review noted:
A bill that is crucial to the civil rights of the LGBT community was reintroduced in both houses of Congress on Thursday, and you probably didn't hear a thing about it.
[T]he media barely seems to care. A quick Google search showed that only a handful of mainstream outlets wrote stories about the measure in advance of its introduction.
That trend seems to have continued. On July 10, ENDA passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in a bipartisan 15-7 vote, marking the furthest the bill had advanced in the Senate in 17 years.
According to a Media Matters analysis, however, cable news outlets almost entirely ignored the story, opting instead to fawn obsessively about the upcoming birth of the Prince William and Kate Middleton's baby:
More than 32,000 people have signed a petition asking CNN to stop hosting anti-gay hate group leader Tony Perkins to speak on behalf of America's Christians following Perkins' appearance on the network to discuss the Supreme Court's recent marriage equality decisions.
Just minutes after the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on June 26, CNN invited Perkins - president of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council (FRC) - to peddle lies about the decision's impact on religious liberty. No other Christians were interviewed during the segment, despite the fact that a majority of Christians oppose DOMA:
As Congress prepares to once again consider the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), media outlets should avoid giving platforms to hate mongers who have made careers manufacturing blatant falsehoods about the bill.
On July 10, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will vote on ENDA - a bill that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. ENDA has been introduced in every Congress since 1994 except for the 109th. The measure already has 52 Senate co-sponsors, though its prospects in the House remain to be seen.
An overwhelming majority of Americans support ENDA, including a strong majority of Republicans, Catholics, and senior citizens. Even among people who identify themselves as having unfavorable feelings towards homosexuality, half favor workplace protections for LGBT people. In fact, nine out of ten voters incorrectly believe a federal law like ENDA already exists.
With the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee poised to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on July 10, anti-LGBT activists are ramping up their misinformation campaign against the legislation, which would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees and job applicants based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
After inaccurately predicting that the Supreme Court would uphold California's Proposition 8, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly launched a series of flawed right-wing critiques of the Court's marriage equality decisions.
During the July 1 edition of his show, O'Reilly criticized the Supreme Court for its decisions on California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), suggesting that the Court relied on "loopholes" to override public opinion and defending the merits of both measures:
Fox News' restrained coverage of the Supreme Court's marriage equality decisions regarding Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) reveals how dramatically the network has shifted in its coverage of the marriage equality fight.
Following the Supreme Court's June 26 decisions to strike down Section 3 of DOMA and dismiss the Prop 8 case due to lack of standing, Fox News ran several segments asking guests to weigh in on the historic cases. Rather than giving into right-wing hysterics about marriage equality, however, Fox's coverage seemed to shy away from its typical culture war commentary.
During a segment on Happening Now, Fox's Jenna Lee explicitly asked her guests not to get into a debate about the merits of same-sex marriage:
LEE: We have a lot of issues to work through here. I don't want to start a conversation on the merits of same-sex marriage or not. What I'd like to talk about today is the role of government. Because that is a theme we see in a lot of our big stories, whether it's immigration or health care or anything else. It seems as if the Supreme Court today really made a big statement about that relationship. Sally, you just wrote a piece that just went up on FoxNews.com fits in perfectly with this titled, "What same-sex marriage decision tells us about America and the Constitution." What do you think it tells us?
A segment during America Live did feature hate group leader Tony Perkins, but it also included prominent gay rights activist and former Equality Matters president Richard Socarides, who easily debunked Perkins' fear mongering of the Supreme Court's rulings.
Breitbart.com editor-at-large and all-around homophobe Ben Shapiro is convinced that the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will result in the IRS rescinding non-profit tax exemptions from churches across the country - a delusional horror story that has no basis in reality.
In a June 26 post for Breitbart.com, Shapiro warned that the end of DOMA will result in the IRS targeting the non-profit tax exemptions of churches that refuse to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies:
Based on Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling, in which the Court majority determined that the Defense of Marriage Act's federal definition of marriage had to incorporate state-based same-sex marriages, Internal Revenue Service regulations could be modified to remove non-profit status for churches across the country.
The DOMA decision makes clear that marriage is a state-to-state issue, meaning that religious institutions that receive non-profit status on the federal level but do not perform or accept same-sex marriages in states where it is legal could have non-profit status revoked. Furthermore, should the IRS move to revoke federal non-profit status for churches, synagogues and mosques that do not perform same-sex marriage more generally, the Court could easily justify that decision on the basis of "eradicating discrimination" in religious education.
A few things to note here:
1. The DOMA Decision Had Nothing To Do With Tax Exempt Statuses For Churches. The Supreme Court's decision in Windsor v. United States dealt exclusively with whether the federal government should be allowed to deny federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married in their state. Allowing married gay couples to file joint tax returns has nothing at all to do with whether churches are required to perform same-sex weddings to maintain their tax exemptions.
2. Every State With Marriage Equality Already Has Exemptions For Churches. In every single state that's legalized marriage equality, churches are exempt from having to perform same-sex weddings. No church in America has ever been forced to perform a same-sex wedding. Laws like DOMA only deal with the civil definition of marriage, not the religious celebration of weddings.
Still, to support his claim, Shapiro cites two incidents.
The first is the 1983 Supreme Court decision in Bob Jones University v. United States, in which a religious school lost its tax exempt status due to its ban on interracial dating. What Shapiro fails to mention is that the decision explicitly excluded churches from its scope:
We deal here only with religious schools - not with churches or other purely religious institutions.
Shapiro also cites the 2006 case of Boston Catholic Charities, which voluntarily withdrew from adoption services rather than serve same-sex couples. Again, that incident didn't deal with a church, and has been debunked for a number of other reasons.
Shapiro joins a long line of conservative commentators in confusing civil marriage with religious marriage ceremonies, as well as confusing marriage laws with anti-discrimination laws.
In the wake of the Supreme Court's historic decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), anti-gay activists have run out of excuses to explain their ongoing legal defeats in their fight against marriage equality.
Anti-gay activists have a long history of dreaming up wild excuses to explain away embarrassing losses in court:
This rationalization may have bought anti-gay groups time as their cases worked their way up the judicial ladder, but it won't do much to soften the blow of the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor v. United States.
The lead attorney defending DOMA in the Windsor case was Paul Clement, one of the country's most well-known and successful constitutional lawyers. Clement had been dubbed the "LeBron James of law," and his decision to take up DOMA's defense was celebrated by anti-gay groups across the country.
Focus on the Family celebrated Clement's announcement, calling it "really great news":
Ladies and gentlemen, it just doesn't get any better on a Monday than to hear that the House of Representatives has selected Paul Clement as its outside counsel to take on the defense of DOMA after the President and the Department of Justice's rather spectacular failure to do so.
I'm breathing just a little bit easier today. This is really great news. [emphasis added]
Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), was similarly overjoyed:
Paul Clement is one of the ablest litigators in the country, whose seven years acting as solicitor general is the longest period of continuous service since the 19th century. The solicitor general's job is arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Clement has argued more than 50 such cases.
As a friend of mine, himself an able litigator, put it: "He's the best. Boehner could not have made a better choice."
And so, thanks to Boehner, Obama's plan to sabotage DOMA's defense has backfired.
For the first time since Obama became president, we will have a legal eagle in the courtroom defending DOMA who actually wants to win the case. [emphasis added]
And Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, stated that Clement's defense would put the Supreme Court "in the best position" to uphold DOMA:
In the American system, everyone is entitled to have a good lawyer to make the best constitutional arguments. This puts the court in the best position to reach the right result. In the case of DOMA, having very good aggressive lawyers on both sides is what will put the courts in the best position correctly to hold that DOMA is perfectly constitutional. [emphasis added]
Less than an hour after the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), CNN invited anti-gay hate group leader Tony Perkins to comment on the decision and allowed him to promote damaging myths about marriage equality.
During the June 26 edition of CNN Newsroom, host Wolf Blitzer invited Perkins - president of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council (FRC) - to comment on the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor v. United States, which struck down a provision of DOMA that prohibited the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages.
Perkins responded by peddling a number of blatant falsehoods about marriage equality, none of which Blitzer challenged:
PERKINS: What we're going to see happen over time as this plays out in the jurisdictions that have adopted same-sex marriage, you're going to see a loss of parental rights as children are taught in school morals that are contradictory to their parents', religious liberty loss from business owners, bakers, florists and others who are forced to comply with a different view of marriage, as well as even churches - in some places religious organizations losing their tax exemption because they fail to comply with the force of the state in terms of redefining marriage.