Made opposition to LGBT rights central focus of 2012 campaign for Republican presidential nomination
While speaking to hundreds of Boys Scouts gathered in the Texas State House of Representatives as part of the Scout’s 64th annual report to the state, Governor Rick Perry urged the Boy Scouts of America to stick to its policy of banning gays.
“Remain loyal to your beliefs,” Perry said. “Without such values, morality becomes an abstract concept.”
In other words: Accepting gays would be immoral and erode the organization’s values?
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By WILL WEISSERT
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said emphatically Saturday that the Boy Scouts of America shouldn’t soften its strict no-gays membership policy, and dismissed the idea of bending the organization to the whims of “popular culture.” Perry is an Eagle Scout and in 2008 he authored the book “On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.” It detailed the governor’s deep love for the organization and explained why it should continue to embrace traditional, conservative values — including excluding openly gay members and Scout leaders.
America’s longest-serving governor addressed the Texas Scouts’ 64th annual Report to State, where hundreds of Scouts from around Texas filled the state House of Representatives to announce their delegation’s recent accomplishments. Perry has addressed the gathering several times before, most recently in 2010, but not since the announcement that the Scouts’ national leadership is mulling scrapping the mandatory exclusion of gay members. Instead, the group could allow different religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units to decide for themselves how to address the issue — either maintaining the exclusion or opening up their membership.
Even though the Boy Scouts reaffirmed the no-gays policy just seven months ago, the proposal is expected to be discussed, and possibly voted on, at the meeting of the Scouts’ national executive board, which begins Monday in Irving, outside Dallas. Perry told the youngsters that the Scouts was a key reason he joined the U.S. Air Force and later sought public office, and that society’s failure to adhere to the organization’s core values was a cause for high rates of teen pregnancy and wayward youth who grow up to be “men joining their fathers in prison.”
Speaking to reporters afterward, Perry said: “Hopefully the board will follow their historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make Scouting this very important and impactful organization.”
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Based on this week’s episode of the YouTube series “Teens React,” not too many young viewers of Rick Perry’s "Stronger" ad see the Texas governor as a viable candidate for president after such an antigay spot.
The webisode features interviews with several teenagers, who, after watching the ad, say they wouldn’t vote for him, even if they were old enough to cast a ballot.
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Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart has called out Rick Perry for not seeming “Christ-like” in his response to a bisexual teenager who confronted the presidential candidate about his antigay television commercial this week.
"How what Perry proposes is Christ-like escapes me," writes Capehart, who is gay, of Perry’s reasoning for wanting to reinstate the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which forces gay and lesbian troops to hide their sexuality.
Rebecka Green, 14, had asked Perry “why you want to deny them that freedom when they’re fighting and dying for your right to run for president.”
"This is about my faith," Perry readily admitted.
"There are a whole hosts of sins, homosexuality being one of them," he told the girl, who is bisexual and attended the campaign event with her father. "I’m a sinner, and so I’m not going to be the first one to throw a stone."
But Capehart sees a stone in the policy proposal itself.
"Perry hates the sin so much that he would use his power as president to harm ‘the sinner’ because it is about his faith?" Capehart asks. "We’re electing a president next year, not a Pope."
But Capehart says it’s the whole GOP — which he renames as “the Gay-Obsessed Party” — that is in a “tizzy” about gay people. And he suggests Republicans pay closer attention to two scriptures, courtesy of Brent Childers from Faith in America.
Romans 14:13 — Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another….
Ephesians 4:2 — Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
by Evan Hurst
Joshua Green at the Boston Globe argues that he did, with his silly Brokeback Mountain jacket-wearing “I am victim, hear me roar!” ad, which garnered hundreds of thousands of dislikes on YouTube:
[The ad] put him back in the headlines, but not in the way he intended. The response was swift and dramatic. On YouTube, where political ads are judged and debated, sentiment was startlingly negative: People hated the ad, and in record numbers. In just a few days, “Strong’’ registered 6 million views and more than 650,000 “dislikes’’ – four times the number prompted by the latest Justin Bieber video. A YouTube spokesman told the website Talking Points Memo that the ad was the “most viewed video in America.’’
Obviously, this is bad news for Perry. But it could be a blessing in disguise for the legions outraged by his remarks. In the process of killing off his own campaign, Perry may have brought an end to the use of explicitly anti-gay rhetoric as a political tactic, at least for any candidate with national ambitions.
Perry’s mistake was twofold. First, public opinion has been moving rapidly toward greater acceptance of gays and lesbians. In September, the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ policy was lifted with bipartisan support. A CBS News poll the next month showed that only 15 percent of Americans “strongly oppose’’ allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. National polls also now routinely show majority support for same-sex marriage. Furthermore, it is legal in the key early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and efforts to overturn it have failed. Perry may motivate some voters, but their number is shrinking fast.
I think Green is partially right. The response to Perry’s ad was pretty much across-the-board ridicule and condemnation. That being said, it’s useful to remember that GOP primary voters and their candidates don’t live in the normal world with the rest of us. Religious Right leaders are still clinging to outdated poll numbers from not so long ago, when a majority of Americans opposed marriage equality. There is a general feeling among these sorts of people that if the polls don’t say what they want them to say, that they must be wrong or biased. Even when every single mainstream poll is now showing majority support for marriage equality, they will continue to believe otherwise, and they’ll moreover use that to shore up their continued victim status. Everybody is out to get them, everybody is against Real Americans, etc.
So I doubt that this is the end of the overt gay-baiting in the GOP primaries. Now, when the general election comes? That’s where you might see a shift in tone, and that, as Green says, would be good news indeed.
By Joshua Green
EVERY PRESIDENTIAL election features at least one candidate who turns out to be a tremendous disappointment. Last time, Rudy Giuliani went from national icon to electoral afterthought in a span of just months. This time, Texas Governor Rick Perry looks poised to take the honors.
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(TRIGGER WARNING: ableist language)
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To Republican presidential aspirant Rick Perry, using U.S. foreign aid to prevent persecution and even execution of LGBT people amounts to “promoting special rights for gays.” To Rick Santorum, another member of the GOP field, it’s promoting an agenda.
Perry issued a statement on his campaign website denouncing the landmark program unveiled by President Obama’s administration today, under which the U.S. will not withhold aid from countries that persecute gays but will assist LGBT rights organizations in those nations in fighting back.
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Robert Morrow isn’t the only one willing to pay for details of Rick Perry’s sex life. Hustler magazine porn king Larry Flynt has just taken a full page ad in the latest issue of The Austin Chronicle offering $1,000,000 to anyone who has “documented evidence of illicit, sexual, or intimate relations with the governor”—gay or straight.
Margaret Cho might have some evidence, Mr. Flynt.
Pam Olsen, John Stemberger
To help win him the Republican nomination, Rick Perry is joining forces in Florida with the evangelical leader who ushered in a same-sex marriage ban in that state in 2008.
John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, which claims about 65,000 Floridians as its followers, is now part of Perry’s “leadership team” and will serve as cochairman of his effort to win a straw poll in the state. Perry also named Pam Olsen to the team. She is on record as warning that same-sex marriage and ordination of gay priests could lead to floods, fires, and tornadoes.
Stemberger’s endorsement has been featured in a mailer to voters. As the former state chairman of the Florida4Marriage.org campaign for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, Stemberger argued that gay parents are inferior to straight ones.
"A super majority of Floridians believe, and the research clearly indicates, that children do best when raised by a mom and a dad," he said in 2007, spreading false information that was most recently debunked quite publicly by Sen. Al Franken during a Senate hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act.
Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, which works with the Florida Family Policy Council, had claimed during his testimony that a 2010 government study proved opposite-sex parents offer the best environment for raising children.
“Isn’t it true, Mr. Minnery, that a married, same-sex couple that has had or adopted kids would fall under the definition of a ‘nuclear family’ in the study that you cite?” asked Franken.
“I would think that the study, when it cites a nuclear families, would mean a family headed by a husband and wife,” Minnery replied.
“It doesn’t,” Franken replied flatly, to laughs. “The study defines a nuclear family as one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another, and are each biological or adoptive parents to all the children in the family. And I frankly don’t really know how we can trust the rest of your testimony if you’re reading studies these ways.”
Stemberger toldTheMiami Herald that he’d opted to endorse Perry over Michele Bachmann after trying to “determine who’s viable.”
"Perry is not a perfect candidate," he said. "We only had one perfect candidate and we crucified him 2,000 years ago."
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A small investment that Texas governor Rick Perry once made in a business that rented porn videos puts him at odds with the same antigay organization that he just partnered with for a prayer rally.
The American Family Association rejoiced when Movie Gallery, a once-massive video rental chain, filed for bankruptcy in 2010. It was the culmination of a long campaign against the video stores, which had been among the country’s top distributors of porn. But the company also owned Hollywood Video and was a major competitor to Blockbuster in home rentals.
What AFA didn’t know (and neither did anyone else until a blogger uncovered the news in 2006) is that Perry had put somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 of his own money into the business while serving as the Texas agriculture commissioner. It was one of 32 companies he owned stock in, according to a 1995 financial statement.
The old realization has been spreading online once again in the wake of Perry announcing his run for president. The Perry campaign said the allegation is overblown.
"It was a regional video chain just like a Blockbuster or any other," Salonquotes a Perry spokesman as saying.
A list of titles from Movie Gallery, though, included at least one with a gay ingredient: Bisexual Barebacking Vol. 1.
This past Saturday in Houston, several thousand people gathered for a day of prayer. From the stage, radical leaders led the audience in sometimes wild chants calling for God to intervene on the alleged moral crises facing the traditional family; while others called for prayer to break out in every classroom across the country.
Most disturbing of all, the event was organized and keynoted by Governor Rick Perry – who was elected to represent all Texans and is rumored to announce his candidacy for the presidency in the next few days. He partnered with some of the most viciously anti-gay groups in the country on The Response, including the American Family Association (AFA) – who footed the bill for the day of prayer.
Despite this, Governor Perry thanked the hate group directly, saying:
"I want to thank those people who worked so hard to make this day a reality, including Mr. Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, Louis Cataldo, yea, Doug Stringer of Turning Point Ministries."
Watch video of Governor Perry thanking his anti-gay associates, and then sign our petition telling Governor Perry: your extremism is not becoming of any elected official, particularly one who has ambitions to represent all Americans as President of the United States.
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