Our Common Good


In 1979 and 1980, at the height of the battle to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, Mitt Romney’s father, former Gov. George Romney—the supposedly “liberal” “cool” Republican who was destroyed by Nixon’s dirty tricks—publicly denounced supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment as “moral perverts,” labeling the movement a homosexual conspiracy to destroy the American family.

George Romney is Mitt’s “inspiration” for his campaign, and it has been widely repeated to that point of uncontested truth that Mitt’s father was a “liberal” Republican and “champion” of civil rights. Clearly, the recent history of Mitt Romney’s family needs updating.

First, a little background: In 1979-80, just before Ronald Reagan was elected president, ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution was all but assured. But thanks to an intense and well-organized campaign waged by the Mormon Church leadership, the ERA was stopped in its tracks in Utah and a handful of other states where Mormon influence could make the difference.

As Jon Krakauer observed in his bestseller, Under the Banner of Heaven, “Most political analysts believe that had the LDS Church not taken such an aggressive position against the ERA, it would have been easily ratified by the required thirty-eight states, and would now be part of the U.S. Constitution.”

Indeed, before the Mormon leadership targeted the women’s rights amendment for destruction, support even in Utah ran high—a 1974 poll published in the Deseret News, which is owned by the LDS Church, showed that 63% of Utah residents “approved of the ERA,” according to Krakauer’s book.

The years 1979-80 were crucial in the battle to kill the Equal Rights Amendment and turn the momentum. Mormon feminists like Sonia Johnson—who founded Mormons for ERA—were excommunicated from the LDS Church, and denounced on television by top power-Mormons like Sen. Orrin Hatch.

And that is when George Romney, Mitt’s father and Mitt’s “inspiration” for his presidential campaign—joined the Mormon Church’s campaign vilifying the Equal Rights Amendment and its supporters as “moral perverts.” Romney’s hate-filled attacks on ERA supporters shocked mainstream Americans, who couldn’t quite believe it at first—so Mitt’s father went public a second time equating ERA supporters to homosexuals and moral perverts, who were one and the same according to Mitt’s father.

From “Romney: ERA home for ‘moral perverts’” published by the AP on December 17, 1979:

George Romney says the equal rights movement has attracted ‘moral perverts’ who want to undermine the very family the Mormon Church is striving to enrich.
“At an international women’s year meeting,” said Romney, “lesbians and the homosexuals and moral perverts (cited) this amendment as a means of eliminating any basis of moral criticism.”

…Romney said he supported his church’s decision to excommunicate feminist Sonia Johnson who had campaigned for the ERA.

A week later, the leaders of the Michigan state senate and house, along with 32 other state legislators, called on former Gov. Romney to resign from a post he held in 1979 as governor of Wayne State University. House Speaker Bobby Crim and Senate majority leader William Faust issued a joint statement in December 1979 that Romney’s statements “sadden us deeply. His insinuation that the amendment is being promoted by ‘moral perverts’ is misguided and inaccurate.

The LDS Church’s attitude towards women is more well-known—this past week, the Daily Beast’s Stacey Solie wrote an article calling on zombie-moderator Jim Lehrer to ask Romney about his church’s views on women, and if he agreed with them.

It’s been accepted as a given that the Romneys were never the types to fall in line with the church’s more extreme reactionary politics—and that Mitt’s father and “inspiration,” Gov. George Romney, was a “liberal” and a brave supporter of civil rights.

That of course turned out to be a lie: 12 years later, Mitt’s father took his marching orders from the LDS Church attacking the Equal Rights Amendment as a gay/lesbian plot and its supporters as “moral perverts.”

H/T: AlterNet.org


After insisting that the Republican Party totally digs chicks—and caterpillars—the new election strategy appears to be writing off women entirely so Mitt Romney can instead try to shore up his base by saying “God” a lot and endorsing the wingiest of wingnut politicians and palling around with self-appointed arbiters of whom exactly Jesus hates and how much.

Because the Republican Party still can’t quite bring itself to rally around its candidate—despite the insistence of Mitt and Ann Romney that the party would be united following its convention—the most unlikable presidential candidate ever spent some quality time on Friday with Rep. Steve King and professional Bible-humper Pat Robertson. That would be the same Pat Robertson who thinks feminists caused 9/11, gays cause hurricanes, marriage vows are null and void if your wife gets a disease, and women who don’t want their husbands to cheat on them should make themselves “as attractive as possible and don’t hassle him about it.”

So you can see why Romney would want Robertson’s endorsement to help him with his own party. And don’t expect Romney to suddenly distance himself from his new best friend, just because Robertson had some not-very-friendly-to-women advice for a caller who’s at his wit’s end about his uppity wife, whom he can’t just divorce because, you know, “Scripture”:

Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her. […] This man’s got to stand up to her and he can’t let her get away with this stuff. I don’t think we condone wife-beating these days but something has got to be done.

Mitt Romney should condemn such remarks and distance himself from Pat Robertson. He should, but he won’t. He needs the support of the Republicans who nod along enthusiastically to this kind of garbage, and since polling has shown for months and months and months that Republicans are notgoing to get the lady voters demographic, no matter how many times Ann Romney says she loves women, the Romney campaign has apparently calculated that it’s better off forgetting about women entirely, instead embracing Pat Robertson and his extremism in the hopes it will bring out all the misogynists and racists and homophobes to make up the difference.

Not that it will help; as Sen. Lindsey Graham observed in August, the Republican Party isn’t “generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

Oh well. Even as Republicans acknowledge they don’t have enough angry white dudes to make up for all the demographics the party has written off, that won’t stop them from continuing to appeal to angry white dudes. Because that dwindling demographic really is all they have left.


Caleb Douglas Hesse, a teacher for the Morongo Unified School District since 1987 (most recently, he was teaching first grade at Friendly Hills Elementary School in Joshua Tree) and a longtime youth volunteer with the virulently homophobic Evangelical Free Church of Yucca Valley, has confessed to sexually abusing “numerous underage boys,” with authorities believe the crimes occurred between the early 1980’s and as recently as a week ago.” Investigators say Hesse met the majority of the victims during overnight outings with a youth group at the Evangelical Free Church

A homophobic Maryland lawmaker has admitted to being drunk when he accidentally crashed his boat into a boat full of children.

Maryland delegate Don H. Dwyer Jr was drinking with another man on his boat on the Magothy River in Pasadena around 7pm when his boat struck a smaller vessel with five children on board.

Four of the children were injured with one, a five year old girl, taken by helicopter to Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Two adults on the boat were unharmed.


In fact, Ryan has a voting record to reflectevery anti-LGBT position that Romney has taken. Here’s a recap:

  • Banning state-level same-sex marriage. Just as Romney opposed same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, Ryan supported the 2006 banon same-sex marriage in Wisconsin.
  • Supporting a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Romney has promised to campaign on a federal marriage amendment, but Ryan has already voted for one — twice, in 2004 and in 2006.
  • Defending discrimination against same-sex couples. President Obama announced last year he would no longer defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, a decision Romney has characterized as an “assault on religion.” Ryan voted to limit funding to the Justice Department that might be used to oppose DOMA by the Obama administration.
  • Opposing federal non-discrimination protections. Romney believes that states should get to decide whether LGBT people are protected from employment discrimination, and similarly, Ryan voted to kill the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007, though heultimately voted for it. His refusal to include sexual orientation and gender identity in his Congressional office’s nondiscrimination policy demonstrates where he stands.
  • Opposing repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Though Romney has said he would not reinstate the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, he did oppose repealing it until “conflict was over” (i.e. the never-ending “War on Terror“).  In 2010, Ryan voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • Opposing hate crimes protections. Just as Romney vetoed a bill funding hate crimes prevention in Massachusetts in 2003, Ryan voted against expanding the federal hate crimes law to protect the LGBT community.

Ryan is perhaps best known for his budget, and that too would devastate LGBT families by eliminating many of the public services they depend upon because of the economic inequities they face. 

h/t: Zach Ford at Think Progress LGBT


ABC again invited CNN contributor and conservative pundit Dana Loesch to be part of its This Week roundtable, even though she has promoted a conspiracy theory that her CNN co-workers described as “McCarthy-like.”

On her radio show earlier this week, Loesch promoted the fringe idea that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin “is essentially a member of the female version of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Sisterhood.” The comment was the subject of a letter circulated by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) attacking Abedin.

Similarly, Loesch attacked a caller to her show this week who said she opposed Chick-Fil-A management’s stance against gay marriage, telling her that “I know you hate Christ.” Loesch claimed that as a supporter of marriage equality, the woman could not be a Christian. Polls over the last decades have shown declining opposition to same-sex marriage among evangelicals, and among Americans in general.

From the 07.29.2012 edition of ABC’s This Week:

But Loesch nevertheless repeated the claim on This Week, saying, “obviously the CEO is a Christian, people are shocked that he’s for traditional marriage? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading, and several boys made comments such as, “That’s disgusting.” We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him. The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.“But,” I continued. “As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.” The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked. “So think about that the next time you hit on a girl. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to.”

Homophobia: The fear that another man will treat you like you treat women. Andrew Sullivan.

(via babanees)

This, this, 100 times this.

(via elytra)

Family Research Institute’s Paul Cameron attacks Obama and the gay community (by RWWBlog)

The Meck Deck, an official blog of the Art Pope-funded conservative John Locke Foundation, this week published racially-charged and homophobic imagery of President Obama in a piece this on the president’s opposition to North Carolina’s proposed anti-gay marriage amendment. The post, which claims Obama is merely pandering to gay voters, is accompanied by an image of Obama in apparent drag while sitting next to a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The Meck Deck’s slogan is “Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte.” The blog’s “About Us” link takes readers to site of The John Locke Foundation, and the blog appears under the Locke Foundation banner.

The piece itself, which shows a datestamp of Monday, March 19, 2012, is written by *. Servatius, a former right-wing radio commentator for Charlotte’s WBT AM, is a regular contributor to the Meck Deck. (UPDATE: Servatius also runs the MeckDeck Twitter account, and authors a good share of their posts.)

The John Locke Foundation is one of the leading groups in Art Pope’s conservative network in North Carolina. According to IRS tax records, since 1994 Locke has received more than $24 million from Art Pope’s family foundation, making Pope by far the largest funder of the group, and making the Locke Foundation far and away the Pope Foundation’s biggest grantee. Pope also sits on the Locke Foundation board.

The picture is included at the link, but no way am I going to republish it.


American Family Association president Tim Wildmon yesterday hosted conservative writer Neil Mammen on Today’s Issues, where Wildmon warned that “if President Obama is re-elected again” he will “threaten our religious freedoms” by making hate speech laws to “shut you down if you have anything critical to say about homosexuality.” Conservatives have been warningdishonestly, of impending hate speech laws for years now, with groups warning of churches being closed and pastors getting arrestedand going to prison. While their nightmare vision never seems to come true, Religious Right leaders like Wildmon never fail to make such claims in order to rile up their supporters and stoke fears of equal rights for gays and lesbians.

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW


From the PBS show “Frontline,” originally aired in 1995, on Rush Limbaugh’s views of the gay community. [Frontline/WGBH]


Greenwell Springs Baptist Church pastor Dennis Terry introduced presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins tonight with a rousing speech railing against liberals and non-Christians and condemning abortion rights, “sexual perversion,” same-sex marriage and secular government. Terry said that America “was founded as a Christian nation” and those that disagree with him should “get out! We don’t worship Buddha, we don’t worship Mohammad, we don’t worship Allah!” Terry, who has a long history of attacks against the gay community, went on to criticize marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and said that the economy can only recover when we “put God back” in government.

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Watch this interview with Scott Lively from Current TV, broadcast May 26, 2011.


An LGBT rights group in Uganda on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against an American Christian evangelical leader alleging that he conspired to persecute people on the basis of their sexual identity.

Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Pamela Spees, who is representing Sexual Minorities Uganda, told Raw Story that group is asking a federal court for punitive damages from Scott Lively, but more importantly they would like to see his actions legally classified as persecution.

“Best case scenario, the client, Sexual Minorities Uganda, gets a judgement that what this man has done is in violation of international law,” she explained. “That it recognizes that [LGBT Ugandans] are subject to the same rights as anybody else, and when somebody tries to systematically deprive you of those, they are committing persecution.”

One of Lively’s alleged contacts in Uganda, Parliamentarian David Bahati, in February reintroduced the so-called “kill the gays” bill that he had first introduced in 2009.

(via Uganda LGBT rights group sues U.S. evangelist for ‘persecution’ | The Raw Story)