Rush Limbaugh's wedding photos have been making the rounds online and while Limbaugh and his new bride look positively happy in each and every shot (why wouldn't they?) one particular photo stood out to me:
Yep, El Rushbo with the Rocket Man himself.
When it was reported earlier this summer, I found myself thinking, "Why on earth would a noted homophobe like Limbaugh invite Elton John -- a gay man -- to play at his wedding?"
Well, according to Zev Chafets -- the Limbaugh biographer who has made a living of late heaping glowing praise on the radio talker – Rush doesn't hate gay people at all, in fact, he even supports "gay civil unions."
Earlier this summer, Chafets wrote in the Wall Street Journal (emphasis added):
A lot of people were unpleasantly surprised to learn that Elton John, one of the world's most proudly prominent gay entertainers, played at Rush Limbaugh's Palm Beach wedding to Kathryn Rogers last Saturday night. Evangelicals voiced dismay that a pious fellow like Rush would give legitimacy to the libertine Sir Elton. Limbaugh-haters jeered at what they considered el Rushbo's hypocrisy.
On some social issues, like abortion, Limbaugh is a conventional conservative. On others he sounds a lot like Barack Obama. In an interview last summer he told me that he regards homosexuality as most likely determined by biology, considers other people's sex lives to be none of his business and supports gay civil unions. I'm pretty sure that Elton John's sexual orientation never even crossed Limbaugh's mind.
Chafets goes on to pin John's hiring on such issues as the age of Limbaugh's latest bride and the radio host's bad hearing.
So, is Chafet's characterization of Limbaugh's views on LGBT people demonstrated by the host's on-air comments?
You tell me.
Would someone who "regards homosexuality as most likely determined by biology, considers other people's sex lives to be none of his business and supports gay civil unions" so regularly gay-bait and demonize LGBT people?
Check out some of the worst from Limbaugh when it comes to the LGBT community after the jump.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger has apologized after launching into a racially charged rant, during which Schlessinger, in her own words, "articulated the 'n' word all the way out -- more than one time." Schlessinger's rant followed her attacks on homosexuality as "deviant" and "dysfunctional behavior," for which she also apologized.
Last night on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Glenn Beck indicated that he doesn't oppose same-sex marriage:
That would be news to anyone who hasn't been watching and listening to Beck over the years when he's said marriage equality was a slippery slope to polyamorous marriage, allowing siblings to marry, and really all about attacking churches:
In an August 11 Washington Times op-ed, Robert Knight wrote that "[p]retending that a brideless or groomless union is a marriage is a fantasy cooked up in hell." Knight added: "The devil is laughing, but not at marriage defenders, who still irk him. He's convulsing with mirth at the lengths to which the intelligentsia will go to deny the obvious."
Knight further compared homosexuality to incest, polygamy, and bestiality, writing: "Marriage as the union of a man and a woman predates all other human institutions. It was not created to annoy homosexuals. Marriage laws exclude all but one man and one unrelated woman. Yet I have not seen any media report the demise of the 'incest ban,' or the 'polygamy ban' or the 'bestiality ban.' "
The Washington Times has frequently featured Knight's anti-gay op-eds as part of its extensive history of promoting anti-gay smears, falsehoods, and distortions.
From Knight's op-ed:
The liberal media are crowing that the death knell of marriage as we know it is a sweet, sweet song. The Washington Post called the Prop. 8 campaign "mean-spirited," and said "It is hard to quarrel with the conclusions of the federal judge" that, as the Post phrases it, traditional marriage serves no "legitimate public policy purpose."
Really? That would be news to millions of voters and legislators in 45 states who have worked hard to strengthen their marriage laws. Or to the 342 congressmen and 85 senators, plus President Clinton, who enacted the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. They all did this out of hatred, according to Post columnist Eugene Robinson, who writes triumphantly: "Bigotry has suffered a grievous blow."
Well, something has suffered a grievous blow. That would be truth itself. Pretending that a brideless or groomless union is a marriage is a fantasy cooked up in hell. The devil is laughing, but not at marriage defenders, who still irk him. He's convulsing with mirth at the lengths to which the intelligentsia will go to deny the obvious.
Marriage as the union of a man and a woman predates all other human institutions. It was not created to annoy homosexuals. Marriage laws exclude all but one man and one unrelated woman. Yet I have not seen any media report the demise of the "incest ban," or the "polygamy ban" or the "bestiality ban." Just because homosexual activists have led the assault is not an excuse to pretend that marriage has only the purpose of excluding them.
When I first heard that Greg Gutfeld wanted to open a gay bar catering to Muslims right next to Park51 (better known in right-wing circles as the "Ground Zero mosque"), I tried to convince myself that the very idea was offensive. But I couldn't, which was strange, since my opinion of Gutfeld is that he's the sort of clown who says needlessly offensive and determinedly unfunny things under the borrowed banner of "satire."
Make no mistake -- Gutfeld's motives are offensive. He thinks the way to justify his own religious intolerance and that of his conservative cohorts is to mock Muslims and gay people. But as for the actual project itself, I'd go so far as to call it an interesting experiment in the sort of tolerance that Gutfeld & co. dismiss as PC thuggery.
To be fair, you may be looking for the "love" part of [Fox News'] "love/hate" relationship in this particular story. It should be noted that Margaret Hoover -- a Fox News contributor and the great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover – is on the advisory board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which spearheaded the legal challenge against Proposition 8 leading to this decision.
Now, Hoover is up with a post on FoxNews.com's Fox Forum in which she pleads with her "fellow conservatives" to "think carefully about [their] opposition to gay marriage." The piece, excerpted after the break, is well worth a read in its entirety.
Hoover is obviously passionate about marriage equality. It's a brave position to take for an avowed conservative -- especially one employed by Fox News, a network that has been antagonistic not only on marriage equality but on virtually every issue of importance to LGBT people fighting for full legal equality.
The Washington Times has an extensive history of promoting anti-gay smears, falsehoods, and distortions. In the latest example, the Times compared Judge Vaughn Walker, who found California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional, to "brutal" Roman Emperor Nero, writing that Nero, "like Judge Vaughn, wanted the community to embrace his unnatural way of life."
Since Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional in a U.S. District Court last week a great deal of the media discussion surrounding the ruling has centered on the purported sexual orientation of Vaughn Walker -- the judge who ruled in the case.
As Media Matters has noted:
Now, not all of the cable news chatter has agreed that Walker should have recused himself because he is purportedly gay and in a same-sex relationship but the discussion in general points to a major media double standard.
Radio host Michelangelo Signorile notes that, despite all of the media attention, no one has actually confirmed that Walker is gay. He then goes on to lambast the media for its glaring double standard when it comes to reporting on the sexual orientation of public figures.
Judge Walker has not ever confirmed to anyone in the media what sexual orientation he may be. And yet most major media organizations, from the New York Times and ABC News to the Washington Post and National Public Radio, have reported on him as gay or had commentators saying it. (Fox was the first out of the gate, not surprisingly, shortly before the ruling came down. Most quoted the San Francisco Chronicle as the source, and often in the context of reporting on the attacks on Walker coming from the right-wing extremists who now claim his sexual orientation biased his decision.
So what exactly did the Chronicle say on the matter back in February? That it was an "open secret" that Walker was gay.
That's it, folks. No sourcing of any kind -- no witnesses, no former or current boyfriend, no person who Walker confided in, no comment from Walker. Just an "open secret." Gee, there are many Hollywood celebrities and Washington politicians -- Senator Lindsay Graham and Senator Mitch McConnell come to mind -- about whom we've always heard about an "open secret," but I don't see the New York Times reporting on them ever.
The Times and most other major news organizations have strict and simple standards for reporting on an individuals' sexual orientation: Basically, if the person doesn't state it himself or herself, they don't report it, no matter what another news organization has reported. That is, obviously, unless right-wing smear artists are claiming someone is "openly gay." Then it appears perfectly okay to report on it.
But the outrageous hypocrisy here on the part of the corporate media -- and one that shows how they are manipulated by the right -- is the fact that, even with proof and evidence, news organizations refuse to report on the secretly gay sexual orientation of conservative, anti-gay politicians and public figures when the argument for their exposure is made from the left. When Kirby Dick's much-discussed documentary Outrage hit theaters in 2009, and later premiered on HBO (for which the film has now been nominated for an Emmy), many media organizations wouldn't report on the conservative Republican politicians who were claimed to be gay in the film, like Florida Governor Charlie Crist or California Congressman David Dreier, though there was a plethora of sources and witnesses in the film -- far beyond just "open secret" reporting.
In early May, National Public Radio, a supposed bastion of liberal media bias, found itself in the crosshairs of the lesbian and gay community over an online review of Outrage, a documentary chronicling the hypocrisy of prominent, purportedly closeted politicians with staunchly anti-gay voting records.
What sparked the controversy was not the documentary itself, but the fact that NPR's review failed to name names. In fact, while Nathan Lee, the review's initial author, had included the identities of those fingered in the film, NPR editors took it upon themselves to censor the review prior to publication.
Would a review of a film exposing the hypocrisy of politicians on any other subject fail to identify the politicians in question? Not likely.
Of course, when it comes to the Proposition 8 decision, it doesn't matter if Walker is gay. By the same warped standard used by the conservative media and its allies, heterosexual judges should be barred from ever hearing cases related to LGBT people lest their own personal bias as heterosexuals rear its ugly head.
The argument is bonkers just like the media double standard when it comes to outing.
Since Fox News has such disdain for science in general I thought it perfectly acceptable to point to this unscientific online poll from Fox News that shows more than 70 percent of those responding agreeing with last week's U.S. District Court decision that ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.
With pleasure, I direct you to this interesting Fox News online poll in which at the time of this posting 300,499 votes had been cast.
The poll poses the following issue and question:
A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Prop. 8, California's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. Do you agree with the judge's decision?
Kudos to Fox for asking this important question straightforwardly.
Although Fox notes that this is not a scientific poll, the response thus far strongly affirms the decision by Judge Vaughn Walker to strike down the California anti-same sex marriage Proposition 8.
Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has now filed a brief with the courts calling for gay marriages to immediately resume.
Here are the current responses to the Fox poll:
Yes -- Prop. 8 violates the Constitution. 71.1% (213,547 votes)
No -- Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. I don't care what the judge thinks about the Constitution. 24.8% (74,455 votes)
I'm not sure but shouldn't the voters views count for something? 3.6% (10,812 votes)
Other (leave a comment). 0.6% (1,685 votes)
Total Votes: 300,499
I've received a link to this poll from many friends so I seriously doubt that the Fox News audience actually feels this way -- especially when you consider the anti-gay coverage they are exposed to so frequently. However, it's always nice to highlight an online Fox News poll when it contradicts the prevailing talking points of the right-wing network.
This weekend Ted Olson -- the Republican attorney who represented President Bush in Bush v. Gore and later served as Bush's solicitor general -- appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss last week's U.S. District Court ruling that overturned California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.
As Think Progress' Wonk Room blog notes:
Wallace asked Olson to identify the right to same-sex marriage in the constitution and wondered why "seven million Californians" "don't get to say that marriage is between a man and a woman." Olson replied that the Supreme Court has ruled that marriage was a fundamental right and pointed out that the constitution made no explicit mention of interracial marriage either. He stressed that under our system of government, voters can't deprive minority groups of their constitutionally guaranteed protections and reminded Wallace that in the 1960s, "Californians voted to change their constitution to say that you could discriminate on the basis of race in the sale of your home; the United States Supreme Court struck that down."
When Wallace pressed the point further, likening same-sex marriage to abortion and noting that "the political process in the case of same-sex marriage was working" since states had been deciding the issue on a "state-by-state basis," Olson asked Wallace how he would like it if Fox News' right to free speech was decided in such a manner:
OLSON: Well, would you like your right to free speech? Would you like Fox's right to free press put up to a vote and say well, if five states approved it, let's wait till the other 45 states do? These are fundament constitutional rights. The Bill of Rights guarantees Fox News and you, Chris Wallace, the right to speak. It's in the constitution. And the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the denial of our citizens of the equal rights to equal access to justice under the law, is a violation of our fundamental rights. Yes, it's encouraging that many states are moving towards equality on the basis of sexual orientation, and I'm very, very pleased about that. … We can't wait for the voters to decide that that immeasurable harm, that is unconstitutional, must be eliminated.
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat tries to explain his opposition to the legal marriage of two loving adults:
If this newer order completely vanquishes the older marital ideal, then gay marriage will become not only acceptable but morally necessary. The lifelong commitment of a gay couple is more impressive than the serial monogamy of straights. And a culture in which weddings are optional celebrations of romantic love, only tangentially connected to procreation, has no business discriminating against the love of homosexuals.
But if we just accept this shift, we're giving up on one of the great ideas of Western civilization: the celebration of lifelong heterosexual monogamy as a unique and indispensable estate. That ideal is still worth honoring, and still worth striving to preserve. And preserving it ultimately requires some public acknowledgment that heterosexual unions and gay relationships are different: similar in emotional commitment, but distinct both in their challenges and their potential fruit.
Let's say you think, as I suspect Ross Douthat might, that Christianity is "one of the great ideas of Western civilization." Are we "giving up on" Christianity by allowing people to practice Judaism and Hinduism and Buddhism and Islam and Atheism? Repeal the First Amendment! Or let's say that you think democratic elections are "one of the great ideas of Western civilization." Does it follow that it should be illegal to decide not to vote? Teachers are pretty important to Western civilization, too -- so perhaps we should make it illegal to be a police officer, bank teller, florist or ditch-digger?
Douthat is essentially arguing that if X is important, Y should not be allowed. For some values of X and Y (say, "Life" and "Murder") that makes sense. For others ("Teachers" and "Firefighters"; "Christianity" and "Judaism") it does not. Douthat makes no effort to explain why the marriage of two gay people belongs in the former category rather than the latter. And it seems not to have occurred to Douthat that his effort to preserve the "sexual ideal" of "lifelong fidelity and support by two sexually different human beings" actually demeans that which he seeks to protect, by suggesting that heterosexual marriage is so tenuous a concept that it cannot survive the extension of marriage rights to gay couples.
The American Prospect's Adam Serwer writes: "Ross Douthat's column this morning reads like a column from someone whose religious and cultural views lead them to oppose marriage equality but can't think of a very good reason for the state to prevent recognition of same-sex marriages." That sounds just about right.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins dubiously claimed that "there is not conclusive evidence" that the children of same-sex couples "fare as well as children who grow up with a mom and a dad." In fact, the consensus among medical, and child-welfare groups is that children of same-sex couples do fare as well as children of heterosexual parents.
Right-wing author and noted homophobe Ann Coulter is slated to headline "Homocon 2010" on September 25 in New York City benefiting the gay Republican group GOProud. On the event's invitation, GOProud refers to Coulter as, "the right wing Judy Garland!"
Now is as good a time as any to note Coulter's long history of homophobia, gay baiting, and name-calling when it comes to the LGBT community:
Now that's what I call strange bedfellows. Who knows how many slurs she'll direct at members of the organization?
I'm actually surprised the group hasn't invited Michael Savage (née Weiner) to headline an event given his anti-gay history.
From the August 7 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:
Loading the player reg...
Back in April, I wrote about News Corp and Fox News' love/hate relationship with the LGBT community:
It's no secret that Fox News doesn't live up to its "fair and balanced" slogan, especially when one considers its coverage of the LGBT community. In fact, much of its coverage is openly antagonistic and downright homophobic. On issue after issue of importance, the network, its hosts, anchors, contributors, and guests offer up lies, misinformation, and right-wing spin that only further stigmatizes the gay and lesbian community.
A review of Fox News' employment practices however, reveals a network at odds with its own homophobic public image.
According to an examination of the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) employer database, News Corp. (Fox News' parent company) has had a policy protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation since at least 2005 and has offered health care benefits to same-sex partners since at least 1999. Time Warner (CNN's parent company) and General Electric (NBC/MSNBC's parent company) offer not only these basic protections to gay and lesbian employees, they appear to go even further.
The HRC's Corporate Equality Index rates Time Warner and General Electric with 100 percent and 80 percent, respectively, while News Corp. has yet to complete the survey that HRC uses to establish its index. News Corp. would give us a better understanding of how it treats LGBT employees on a variety of other important issues by completing the survey, but the media company does deserve credit for at least offering some very basic protections and benefits for gay and lesbian employees.
Lack of a Corporate Equality Index rating notwithstanding, News Corp. has taken its support for LGBT employees a step further by sponsoring the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) which describes itself on its website as "an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues." In fact, the program from the organization's annual conference last fall in Montréal included an ad from News Corp. stating: "The networks of Fox News honor NLGJA for its commitment to fair and balanced reporting. From your friends at Fox News Channel, Fox Business, News Corporation."
That ultimately is what's truly sad about News Corp.'s relationship with its LGBT "friends." The media company gives its employees decent protections and benefits while making the lives of the very same employees more difficult in the long-run by broadcasting homophobia and misinformation that harden anti-LGBT views and slow the movement for full equality under the law.
Evidence of this love/hate relationship couldn't be clearer of late, especially for those watching the right-wing network in the days following Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
As Media Matters noted this week:
What must the LGBT employees at News Corp and Fox News think of their employer's attacks on the landmark, detailed, 136 page ruling?
To be fair, you may be looking for the "love" part of the "love/hate" relationship in this particular story. It should be noted that Margaret Hoover -- a Fox News contributor and the great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover – is on the advisory board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which spearheaded the legal challenge against Proposition 8 leading to this decision.
Read the entire ruling after the jump.