LGBT Rights

Mike Pence Spends 20 Minutes Lying To ABC News About His Anti-Gay Discrimination Law

Crooks & Liars

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) on Sunday insisted that people on the Internet had conspired to create a “misunderstanding” that a so-called “religious freedom” law was about denying services to LGBT people. But at the same time, he repeatedly refused to answer if it effectively gave Christians a legal defense for discriminating against same-sex couples.

“I understand that there’s been a tremendous amount of misinformation and misunderstanding around this bill, and I’m just determined — and I appreciate the time on your program — I’m just determined to clarify this,” Pence told ABC’s George Stephanopolous.

“So this is a yes or no question,” the ABC host noted. “Is Advance America right when they say a florist in Indiana can now refuse to serve a gay couple without fear of punishment?”

Pence, however said that the purpose of the bill that he signed was to “empower” religious people.

And this was a pattern that would be repeated over the next 20 minutes: Stephanopolous asking if the bill allowed anti-LGBT discrimination, followed by Pence dodging the question.

“And so yes or no, if a florist in Indiana refuses to serve a gay couple at their wedding, is that legal now in Indiana?” Stephanopolous asked. “Yes or no?”

“This is where this debate has gone, with misinformation,” Pence replied. “There’s been shameless rhetoric about my state and about this law and about its intention all over the Internet. People are trying to make it about one particular issue. And now you’re doing that, as well.”

“That was one of your supporters who was talking about the bill right there,” Stephanopolous pressed. “It said it would protect a Christian florist who — against any kind of punishment. Is that true or not?”

“George, look, the issue here is, you know, is tolerance a two way street or not?” Pence opined. “I mean, you know, there’s a lot of talk about tolerance in this country today having to do with people on the left. But here Indiana, steps forward to protect the constitutional rights and privileges of freedom of religion for people of faith and families of faith in our state and this avalanche of intolerance that’s been poured on our state is just outrageous.”

“So when you say tolerance is a two way street, does that mean that Christians who want to refuse service or people of any other faith who want to refuse service to gays and lesbians, that it’s now legal in the state of Indiana?” the ABC host tried again.

And again, Pence deflected: “I’m telling you, George, it is a red herring and I think it’s deeply troubling to millions of Americans and, frankly, people all across the state of Indiana who feel troubled about government overreach.”

The Indiana governor added that he had no plans to add protections for LGBT people to the state’s civil rights laws. But officials had been “been doing our level best, George, to correct the gross mischaracterization of this law that has been spread all over the country by many in the media.”

“I mean, frankly, some of the media coverage of this has been shameless and reckless,” he insisted. “The online attacks against the people of our state, I’m just not going to stand for it.”

Pence said that he would be open to a bill that “amplifies” the current law, but “we’re not going to change this law.”

“A final question, a final yes or no question, Governor,” Stephanopolous pushed. “Do you think it should be legal in the state of Indiana to discriminate against gays or lesbians?”

“It’s a yes or no question,” the host added.

“Hoosiers don’t believe in discrimination,” Pence insisted. “I mean this is not about discrimination. This is about protecting the religious liberty of every Hoosier of every faith.”

“We’re going to continue to explain it to people that don’t understand it. And in — and if possible, we will find a way to amplify what this bill really is in a legislative process. But I stand by this law,” he concluded. “I’m proud that Indiana has adopted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Client Fires Lobbyist Over Push To Ban Gays From NFL

Jack Burkman

Jack Burkman

Think Progress

A day after Washington lobbyist Jack Burkman announced that he would push for legislation to prohibit the National Football League from employing gay players, one of his clients has severed all ties with him.

DC Solar Solutions, Inc., a California-based green energy company, told ThinkProgress on Tuesday that it would no longer allow Burkman to represent the company because of his comments. The company’s CEO Jeffrey Carpoff and COO Paulette Carpoff released a joint statement saying that the company has “severed ties” with Burkman “effective immediately”:

DC Solar does not condone or support Mr. Burkman’s homophobic views,and since learning about his misguided efforts to write legislation banning gay athletes from the NFL, we have ended our relationship with him. DC Solar values diversity within our company and within our communities, and we do not tolerate discrimination of any sort. As a company working to address issues about our country’s future, we have no intention of working with those who are stuck in the past.

Other Burkman clients told ThinkProgress that they were “flabbergasted” by the anti-LGBT comments — as well as earlier comments by Burkman opposing women in the workplace — and that they wished he would focus on representing their interests rather than his own extreme views.

Chick-fil-A Seeks To Distance Itself From Anti-Gay Owner

Think ProgressChick-fil-A President Dan Cathy

On Monday, a Baptist Press story quoted Chick-fil-A’s president Dan Cathy admitting his company’s anti-gay ideology — a stance the company previously attempted to deny. But after two days of Cathy boasting about the story, the company’s Facebook page now features a message flatly contradicting its head.

In his interview with the Baptist Press, Cathy admitted that the company indeed has an anti-gay political agenda. When asked about reports that the company was against same-sex marriage, he told the paper “Well, guilty as charged,” adding:

We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit… We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.

Cathy reinforced his views in a radio interview, in which he asked “God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.” He continued his anti-LGBT campaign Wednesday on Twitter, twice bragging that the Baptist Press interview had “lit up the gay community.”

Today’s statement on the the Chick-fil-a Facebook page takes the exact opposite view. The company now claims:

The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.

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The Season of Gay Whiplash

The New Yorker Magazine has an excellent article on the recent rash of gay bashing, bullying and assaults…

Between Paladino, the Bronx tortures, and the suicides, are things really getting better?

A few weeks ago, I found myself wondering whether the Logo reality show The A-List—in which a handful of vapidly handsome men make fools of themselves in the playground of Manhattan—would be “bad for the gays.” That this would even occur to me as a concern shows just how blissfully easy it can be to be a gay man in New York.

How embarrassingly silly that worry seems this week, with the news of the torture of three young gay men in the Bronx. That came on the heels of a string of gay-teen suicides nationwide, including one young man at Rutgers who felt so humiliated by his roommate that he jumped off the George Washington Bridge. And in the midst of it all, this state’s Republican nominee for governor declares that homosexuality is not a “valid or successful” option. As we were trying to process all of this, the Washington Post allowed Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, to write a thuggish op-ed inspired by those suicides, as though his bigoted gay-conspiracy theories are legitimate.   Continue reading…

Paladino: I didn’t say gays were ‘dysfunctional’

Carl Paladino  tries to back track his statement about gays…

‘Don’t misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way. That would be a dastardly lie’

The Republican candidate for governor of New York lashed early Monday at reports that he had said “there is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.”

Carl Paladino’s campaign said several media outlets initially reported that the gubernatorial hopeful had made the remarks to Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn on Sunday.

He was said to have added, “That is not how God created us.” However Paladino said in a statement obtained by NBC News that the comment was “not the actual statement I made.”

“I do not agree with this passage, nor did I say it,” he said, saying his hosts at a synagogue in theWilliamsburg neighborhood had handed out what he described as “suggested remarks” after he left.  

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Teachers Unions Pile On DeMint[ed]: ‘Ignorance And Discrimination Go Hand In Hand’

Senator DeMinted (R-SC) is under fire, as well he should be…

Huffington Post

Joining several LGBT and women’s rights organizations, the nation’s two major teachers unions are now coming out and criticizing Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) recent comments that openly gay individuals and unmarried pregnant women should be barred from teaching in public schools.

“We thought these battles had already been fought and won decades ago,” said National Education Association (NEA) Government Relations Director Kim Anderson. “This is one of the reasons why the NEA has fought for civil and human rights ever since its conception 157 years ago, and we want qualified people in the classroom, and it doesn’t matter whether they’re married or what their sexual orientation is.”

When asked whether DeMint should apologize publicly for his remarks, Anderson replied, “I hope that voters will make their minds up clearly and send a message to him about what his policy statements should reflect.”

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is run by Randi Weingarten, who is out as an openly gay woman. “On a personal level, as a gay woman, I am very disappointed that a senator would place more emphasis on who we are as human beings than on what we do as professionals,” said Weingarten in a statement to The Huffington Post. “That is not the UNITED States of America that was on display at last Saturday’s One Nation rally in Washington, D.C. That event better reflected the country that I know and am proud of.”

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