Russia's recent crackdown on its LGBT community has been condemned by everyone from President Barack Obama to grassroots gay rights activists. But since Russia passed a series of sweeping laws banning the dissemination of "gay propaganda" and prohibiting the adoption of children by Russian same-sex couples and any foreign couples from nations with marriage equality, many right-wing media figures have instead rallied to the country's defense.
It's not surprising that far-right figures from anti-gay hate groups like the American Family Association (AFA) and Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) have enthusiastically endorsed President Vladimir Putin's draconian crackdown on gays. As the Russian news agency RIA Novosti recently reported, AFTAH President Peter LaBarbera has championed Putin's cause. In a statement on his group's website, LaBarbera said, "Russians do not want to follow America's reckless and decadent promotion of gender confusion, sexual perversion, and anti-biblical ideologies to youth." The AFA's Bryan Fischer praised Putin's anti-gay laws, stating that the country isn't being homophobic but "homorealistic."
But AFTAH and AFA are not alone in endorsing Russia's right to arrest anyone who offers a positive depiction of homosexuality, as the new laws will allow. Outlets and figures within the mainstream of the conservative movement have also jumped on the bandwagon.
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld continued the network's dishonest attempts to portray a California bill to grant transgender students equal access to school facilities and activities as a "bathroom bill," dismissing the legislation as a bill for "gender-confused students."
Filling in for host Bill O'Reilly on the August 9 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Gutfeld ignored the substance of the legislation, which would allow transgender students to use facilities and play on sports teams that correspond to their gender identities. Instead, Gutfeld framed the legislation - which has passed both houses of the legislature and awaits Gov. Jerry Brown's signature - as a "bathroom bill." To back up the right-wing myth that the legislation would lead to inappropriate bathroom behavior, Gutfeld joked that he has long claimed to be gender-confused so he could "sneak into the girls' bathroom":
GUTFELD: As a devious teen growing up, I would tell girls that I'm a girl trapped in a boy's body, just so I could sneak into the girls' bathroom. In fact, I do that now at Fox News. ... Gretchen Carlson threw me out of the bathroom just last week.
Gutfeld's insensitivity toward transgender students is typical of Fox's coverage of transgender issues.The network routinely mocks, demeans, and dismisses transgender individuals, who face disproportionate rates of bullying and harassment. Instead of addressing such problems, however, Fox prefers to peddle baseless myths about bathroom creeps.
Fox News Radio's Todd Starnes, one of the most prominent homophobes in right-wing media, will now also enjoy a platform at The Daily Caller, where he has just been hired as a weekly columnist:
If history is any guide, Starnes will also provide Daily Caller readers with a steady stream of anti-LGBT commentary.
NBC Sports has pledged to expose Russia's anti-gay "propaganda" law during its exclusive coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Since the law's passage on June 10, however, NBC's news programming has almost completely ignored the controversy surrounding the measure, raising concerns about their willingness to report on the law during the event next February.
In June, Russia's parliament passed a draconian law that would prohibit the spreading of pro-gay "propaganda" to minors, raising concerns from human rights activists who fear the measure will be used as a tool of political repression against LGBT. The law poses a special threat to openly gay Olympians and visitors who will be traveling to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Despite the law's domestic and international significance, which received coverage on both CNN and MSNBC, Fox News failed to mention the controversy surrounding the measure.
The Daily Caller clutched its pearls over news that the College of Charleston has assigned a graphic memoir featuring gay and lesbian characters to its incoming freshmen.
In an August 2 post titled "Public college freshmen forced to read comic book starring lesbian, child molester," Daily Caller education editor Eric Owens touted the concerns of the Palmetto Family - a group tied to the anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council - which has raised hackles over the assignment for incoming freshmen at the College of Charleston to read Alison Bechdel's 2006 memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.
Fun Home chronicles Bechdel's troubled relationship with her father and probes issues like identity, self-discovery, and belonging. The New York Times Book Review lauded the memoir as "a pioneering work, pushing two genres (comics and memoir) in multiple new directions." Salon called the book "extraordinary." The Boston Globe called it "brilliant." The Quarterly Conversation declared that Fun Home is "a graphic novel autobiography that easily rivals the best works in the field."
The Daily Caller, on the other hand, was appalled at the book's sexual content and the presence of openly gay characters:
Right-wing media outlets have smeared a proposed measure in San Antonio to expand the city's non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity, falsely claiming that the revised measure would limit free speech and religious liberty.
As marriage equality took effect in Minnesota on August 1, the state's largest newspaper granted a platform to anti-equality individuals voicing their concerns about a "deteriorating society," failing to mention the extreme anti-gay animus that motivated many of the state's most influential anti-equality groups and activists.
In an article posted on July 31, the Star Tribune examined the "ordinary" Minnesotans who were "quietly mourning" their state's marriage equality law. The article offered a sympathetic portrayal of several residents - including a senior couple estranged from their gay son - who, the paper suggested, are the victims of being "caught in the undertow of a wave of social change":
In the midst of the celebration about same-sex marriage, some Minnesotans are quietly mourning.
They are ordinary parishioners, neighbors down the street, co-workers in the elevator who steadfastly believe that marriage is meant solely for a man and a woman.
"I can't say we're bitter," said Tom O'Neill of Eagan. "We're disappointed. It's people saying, 'If it's good for me, I don't care about anyone else.' There's nothing that's intrinsically evil anymore."
"To me, the moral compass is disintegrating," added his wife, Mary. "Not just changing -- disintegrating."
Many in the group said they are angry with legislators who voted same-sex marriage into law. But they feel utterly betrayed by those politicians who, during the run-up to the November election, downplayed the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as redundant because of the existing state law against such unions.
USA Today published an opinion piece defending the discredited, degrading, and ineffective practice of "conversion therapy" for gays.
In a July 30 op-ed column, Nicholas Cummings, who led the American Psychological Association (APA) from 1979 to 1980, criticized the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for filing a consumer fraud lawsuit in New Jersey against the "ex-gay" therapy organization Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH). Cummings asserted that many gays and lesbians have been "successful" in changing their sexual orientation through therapy:
When I was chief psychologist for Kaiser Permanente from 1959 to 1979, San Francisco's gay and lesbian population burgeoned. I personally saw more than 2,000 patients with same-sex attraction, and my staff saw thousands more. We worked hard to develop approaches to meeting the needs of these patients.
They generally sought therapy for one of three reasons: to come to grips with their gay identity, to resolve relationship issues or to change their sexual orientation. We would always inform patients in the third group that change was not easily accomplished. With clinical experience, my staff and I learned to assess the probability of change in those who wished to become heterosexual.
Of the roughly 18,000 gay and lesbian patients whom we treated over 25 years through Kaiser, I believe that most had satisfactory outcomes. The majority were able to attain a happier and more stable homosexual lifestyle. Of the patients I oversaw who sought to change their orientation, hundreds were successful.
The Washington Times falsely asserted that a proposed ordinance protecting LGBT workers from discrimination in San Antonio endangers free speech.
The First Amendment took a hit in San Antonio last week, but the Constitution is still breathing. The San Antonio City Council voted to consider a city ordinance disqualifying anyone who believes homosexual conduct is wrong from serving, ever, on a municipal board. The ban is to be applied "if the City Council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed" against various protected classes, and for the first time to include sexual orientation and "gender identity."
Such bigots, for bigots is what they are, have no qualms about using such power as they have to bully anyone who holds views rooted in tradition or religion. The first draft of the San Antonio proposal would also have forbidden the city from doing business with anyone who fails to espouse politically correct views, and could, theoretically be used to remove anyone from office with a traditional view, or even a view not believed fervently enough, for "malfeasance." Such discrimination is proposed under the cloak of a "non-discrimination" ordinance. George Orwell is alive and hiding in Texas.
The Times proceeded to cite the concerns of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an extremist anti-gay group that is currently working vigorously to criminalize gay sex in Belize. The ADF, according to the Times, "says it has never before encountered such an expansive ordinance." Critics of the ordinance seize on the clause pertaining to discrimination or bias demonstrated "by word or deed" to depict the proposal as a sweeping assault on free speech - or even, as the Times has previously suggested, as an effort to ban Christians from holding public office in the city. Such conspiracy-minded fears are unfounded.