Too soon? Republican candidate jokes that gays will behead Christians

Colorado Republican candidate Klingenschmitt

Colorado Republican candidate Klingenschmitt

Thanks to Jonathan Rauch for alerting us to this one.  Klingenschmitt is probably joking.  But this hits too near the mark of how many social conservatives feel to be funny.  From Raw Story:

A Republican nominee for a seat in Colorado’s statehouse accused Democrats of lacking a sense of humor after he said a gay U.S. congressman would soon start beheading Christians.

“This weekend I sent out an email alert to my constituents in which I used hyperbole,” Gordon Klingenschmitt said in a video uploaded to YouTube on Monday. “You know what hyperbole is. It’s a literary device where you exaggerate to make a point. Well, apparently some Democrats do not have a sense of humor and they were offended by some of the things I said using hyperbole this weekend.”

An email alert sent out by Klingenschmitt over the weekend stated that Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) wanted to execute Christians, reported Right Wing Watch.

“The openly homosexual Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced a revised bill to force Christian employers and business owners to hire and promote homosexuals with ZERO RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS for Christians who want to opt out.”

“Polis ‘wants sexual orientation and gender identity treated the same way as race, religion, sex, and national origin, when it comes to employment protections,’ claims the Advocate, under the headline ‘Polis trims ENDA’s religious exemption.’”

David Lampo takes aim at Regnerus’s hack science

PE’s David Lampo recently published a new piece in the Daily Caller in which he exposes the anti-gay “studies” by Mark Regnerus for what they really are:  hack science.  Lampo notes that he’s not the only one catching on these days:

On March 21, federal district court judge Bernard Friedman, a Reagan appointee, overturned Michigan’s ban on gay marriage, writing that it violates gay couples’ constitutional right to equal protection, thus following in the footsteps of eight other federal judges who in recent months have overturned similar bans. But he went a step further: he criticized the “evidence” put forth by the opponents of SSM, especially Dr. Regnerus, writing that his study was “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” and adding that his supporters represent “a fringe viewpoint that is rejected by the vast majority of their colleagues across a variety of social science fields.”

Supreme Court denies cert to Elane Photography

The Supreme Court declined the opportunity to rehear the New Mexican photographer case.  Shucks.  But some of the issues pertinent to this case may be addressed in the Hobby Lobby case.

From the National Review:

Sadly, the U.S. Supreme Court declined today to hear the Elane Photography case, which concerned a New Mexico photographer who declined to shoot a same-sex commitment ceremony because of her beliefs defining marriage as one man and one woman. But it is far from the end of the line for the central issues involved in this case.

Will GOP Voters Get “Finessed” on Gay Marriage?

By Lori Heine

A headline in the March 27 Washington Examiner declares, “Evangelical leader shows how GOP can finesse gay marriage.” Such a prospect is something of an ink-blot test. Straight evangelical Republicans past a certain age may view it with hope, or even excitement. Gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Americans may react with apprehension. They may even be inclined to think, “Not again!”

The article’s author, Byron York, notes that “it’s hard to see a gay-marriage-supporting candidate make it through the GOP primaries.” He asks if it might be possible, however, “to imagine a Republican nominee who finds a softer way to oppose gay marriage without alienating either his party’s older voters, who continue to overwhelmingly disapprove, or the millions of Americans who now support same-sex unions”.

Many polls now indicate that Americans increasingly distrust government in general and politicians in particular. This article is unlikely to rekindle their trust. It is highly possible that by the time they cast their ballots in 2016, they will be in no mood to be “finessed.”

Cynical sports-page-style political reportage may have sufficed in the past. Perhaps once it was enough for us to know who’s up and who’s down, who’s in and who’s out, who’s hot and who’s not. As people – especially the young – leave the churches in droves, articles advising evangelicals on how to fool voters into supporting their pet causes may not play as well as they used to, either.

York shares the latest wisdom from Southern Baptist Convention president Russell Moore. The “finessing” of which Moore speaks involves understanding “the public good of marriage” (for heterosexuals), not being “hostile to evangelical concerns” (at least, not of those who oppose same-sex marriage) and being willing to “protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience” (for those who interpret Scripture the way he does). The religious liberty and freedom of conscience of those who believe they should marry their same-sex partner, instead of merely live with him or her in what they regard as sin, gets no respect from Mr. Moore whatsoever.

But wait – there’s hope! “Missing from Moore’s answer,” says York, “was a firm requirement that a presidential candidate be a vocal opponent of gay marriage.” The article goes on to say that “there’s little doubt [Moore’s] putting new emphasis on liberty and less on manning the barricades against gay marriage.”

It is possible that this – dare I use the word? – evolution will please voters in both camps. It’s also possible that it will alienate everybody. There has never been anything stopping those who disapprove of same-sex marriage from disapproving of same-sex marriage, nor have they ever been required to marry people of the same sex. Indeed, they need nobody else’s permission to go right on the way they have been.

York quotes Tim Carney, another journalist at the Examiner, as he, in turn, quotes theoretical evangelicals: “You guys won your gay marriages, permissive abortion laws, taxpayer-subsidized birth control, and divorce-on-demand; let us just live our lives according to our own consciences.” Totally setting aside the fact that evangelicals are as likely as anybody else to avail themselves of birth control and divorce-on-demand, as nobody ever stopped them from living according to their consciences before, it’s hard to believe they’ll count it as much of a victory that they can go on doing it.

“I don’t think the culture wars are over,” Moore says, “but are moving into a new phase.” York sums up his article by declaring that evangelicals (especially younger ones) “appear no longer likely to require that a political candidate go to war over the issue” of same-sex marriage – “and more likely to insist that leaders protect the faithful’s beliefs.”

Polls also show that Republicans (especially younger ones) are becoming more libertarian in their attitudes toward government. It will be interesting to see if they’ll accept the notion that they need government to “protect” their beliefs. Time will tell whether such silliness, broadcast from the pulpit, will succeed in packing the pews. Whether voters will buy it from candidates for political office is another question entirely.

Unduly harsh criticism of Brandon Ambrosino?

By Stephen Richer

Ezra Klein raised quite the brouhaha when he hired gay, anti-gay apologist Brandon Ambrosino.  I’m not a fan Ambrosino (in part because of his views, but because he’s a professional dancer and writer, basically my dream life, but instead, I’m in law school in cold Hyde Park).  But I don’t think the harsh criticism leveled at him was completely fair.

That’s the gist of my new article on the subject at The Daily Caller (full thing).  Check it out (maybe?):

It seems like the whole online media world hates Brandon Ambrosino. And, by extension, they hate Ezra Klein for asking Ambrosino to join his new team at Vox.

They hate Ambrosino because he’s a 23-year-old, radical anti-homosexual, who is gay himself.

Fortunately, one for three puts you in the hall of fame (in baseball). That his age is not 23 can be established by reading the multiple articles in which he references his age (definitely over 23, at least 27, maybe 28). These are the same articles that Ambrosino’s critics supposedly read and sharply criticized Klein for supposedly not having read.

The radical anti-homosexual claim deserves more scrutiny. Gabriel Arana of the American Prospect claims that Ambrosino is rotten because he might like Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty (“still, Ambrosino says he wouldn’t mind going fishing with the guy”). Yet in his Time article about Robertson, Ambrosino first casts the Pope’s liberalization on gay marriage in a positive light. Then, turning to Robertson, Ambrosino writes, “For the record, I’m undecided on whether or not I think Phil actually is homophobic, although I certainly think his statement was offensive, and not only to the LGBT community.”

Talking AZ’s SB-1062 with Gregory T. Angelo of Log Cabin Republicans

Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans

Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans

By Stephen Richer

You *might* have heard that Arizona almost passed a bill (SB-1062) that would have allowed for-profit businesses to deny services to gay Arizonans. (Actual bill; Wikipedia page on SB-1062).  Republican Governor Jan Brewer ultimately vetoed the bill, but only after it sent the country, and especially the Republican Party, into a dizzy.  Prominent Republicans such as John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Mitt Romney opposed the bill, while, at the same time, the bill passed the Arizona Congress on the backs of state Republicans.  The national Republican party has been just as divided.  And it has been divided even within certain sides.  For instance, libertarian faithfuls such as PE friend Ilya Shapiro and yours truly supported the bill because we’re generally skeptical of legislation that intrudes in the private workplace.  And, of course, groups such as The Heritage Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom marshaled similar language, though their opposition likely stemmed from a general opposition to anything that could be labeled “the homosexual agenda” (yes, ADF really does sell this book).

One of the more active critics of the bill was Gregory T. Angelo (“GA” below), executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR).   During the week of Gov. Brewer’s decision, Angelo appeared on multiple television programs (see, e.g., The Blaze and MSNBC with Chris Hayes), spoke with multiple newspapers (see, e.g., The Washington Blade), and issued multiple LCR press releases.  Greg is a friend of this blog (we regularly report on the activities of our allies, LCR) and kindly agreed to take a few questions about the fallout from SB-1062.

Stephen Richer (SR):  Must be an exciting time to be at the helm of Log Cabin Republicans: Supreme Court decisions (on gay marriage), state legislative action (on gay marriage), highly competitive gay Republican candidates for the U.S. House, ENDA, oh my!  Have you experienced increased interest in Log Cabin Republicans, both in terms of supporters and in terms of inclusion in the conversation about the future of the Republican Party?

Gregory Angelo (GA):  This is an amazing time for anyone to be a part of Log Cabin Republicans! We’re making history across the country right now, and I think common-sense conservatives are coming to the rational conclusion that if full equality is going to be a reality for gay Americans, it’s going to require Republicans to make the case to other Republicans. I continue to be amazed at the numbers of new members who join Log Cabin Republicans every day, and I’m deeply proud of those long-time members who have been a part of this organization for decades whose grassroots work in states like California, Texas, Florida, and elsewhere has led to victories for equal rights and GOP wins at the ballot box. What’s really exciting is the number of people I’ve been hearing from of late in deep red states who want to get a formal Log Cabin Republican Chapter going in their neck of the woods — people who want to make the conservative case for equality at the tip of the spear to those people who need to hear the message of Log Cabin Republicans the most.

SR:  Turning to SB-1062, you successfully opposed the bill.  Do you think there is room for future legislation of this variety?  Or do you think people like Elaine Huguenin of Elane Photography v. Willock should be swept into the historical dustbin just as the law has done with the private business owners who would deny black Americans a seat the diner counter?

GA:  While it may be premature to declare the push for these so-called “religious liberty” bills dead, the momentum that was building for them around the country was checked in a major way with Governor Brewer’s veto of SB-1062. The bills that were moving through state houses elsewhere stopped in their tracks. Part of that is likely political — I believe Republicans do not want to give the left fodder in an election year that should be a slam dunk for us, and the furor around SB-1062 showed that this is not a winning issue for Republicans, election year or not.

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Is Anti-Gay Lunacy A Choice? Re: Ted Cruz’s father

Does Ted Cruz agree with his dad?   Image from:

Does Ted Cruz agree with his dad?
Image from:

By Lori Heine

We’re all familiar with the old canard that “sexual orientation is a choice.” It’s repeated, over and over, by opponents of LGBT rights for the purpose of demonizing gay people. Why does it matter, to the general public, whether being gay is a choice? Though the assumption that “homosexuality” must be objectively wrong is increasingly discredited, the accusation that we choose it puts the blame on us for being “that way.”

Senator Ted Cruz, the rising Republican star from the Lone Star State, has a father famous for saying strange things about LGBT people. Rafael Cruz, a pastor, recently addressed a panel at the National Religious Broadcasters convention. “Sexual orientation is a choice,” he said, “it’s not a civil right.”

Lots of Americans still aren’t totally sure what they think of “homosexuality.” An increasing number support our equality under the law because they realize sexual orientation is not a choice. Those who continue to oppose our equality desperately – even hysterically – hang onto the assertion that it is chosen.

To do their utmost to make our lives miserable – while at the same time implying that we love misery so much, we’d voluntarily choose it – is clearly irrational. It is so irrational that, now that almost everybody knows actual, out-of-the-closet gay men and women, most reasonable and fair-minded people distance themselves from those who claim that we are gay by choice.

But many may still vote for those who refuse to disavow that claim. How is it that a serious contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination can stand silently by when his own father says such a thing? According to Right Wing Watch, the senior Cruz told that same conference that “he opposes gay rights – which he believes are part of a Communist plot and lead to child abuse – because he loves gay people and does not want to ‘prostitute the Gospel.’”

By almost any standard, this is crazy stuff. It’s fair to ask how many of these views the senator shares with his father. Perhaps it’s time for those of us who support LGBT equality to ask: is anti-gay lunacy a choice? And to ask all who plan on voting in the 2016 Republican primary if endorsing such views – even if they are expressed not by the candidate himself, but by his father – is a choice they want to make.

For any voter who considers LGBT equality important, a candidate for our nation’s highest office who holds such extreme views is problematic. Though it was not Senator Cruz who uttered them, it is fair to ask whether he shares them. To anyone who would be embarrassed – or even afraid – to vote for a candidate who believes such things, it can be rightly pointed out that silence does not equal disavowal. Perhaps more often than not, it signals agreement.

In pressing the matter’s importance, we would not be at all overemotional or extreme. It’s fair to ask what sort of Supreme Court appointments a president with such views would make. Not that we need worry that he’d be elected. If our Republican relatives, neighbors, coworkers and friends pull the lever, in the primary, for such foolishness, they can kiss the White House goodbye in 2016, and very likely 2020 too.