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Entries in Homosexuality (13)

Thursday
Apr182013

Scalia Discusses Race, Homosexuality, Boredom

Paul Morigi/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia showed a lighter side while joking with students from the University of California Washington Center.

At the event Monday, held to publicize his new book, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, Scalia answered students’ questions on a range of issues and offered insight into the perspective from the other side of the bench.

Scalia said most times justices ask questions in order to make colleagues understand which way they are leaning a certain way on a case.

“Sometimes I ask questions just because I’m bored, just to stay awake,” he joked. “Very often the questioning is done to convey your point of view to your colleagues.”

Scalia also touched on topics as varied as his viewpoint on the Constitution and opposition of Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The section requires that states and regions that have previously discriminated against minority voters such as African Americans gain federal approval when they want to change voting regulations in their states.

Scalia called the act one of “racial preferment,” which would continue to be reauthorized by Congress unless the high court took action.

Congress last reauthorized the act for another 25 years in 2006. The Supreme Court decision on the act’s constitutionality is expected in late June.

In February, when the act was last brought before the Supreme Court, Scalia had said Congressional support was based in part on what he called “racial entitlement.”

“I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about,” Scalia said. “Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”

Scalia shot down a question on homosexuality when a student asked about the interpretation of the constitution’s 14th Amendment regarding same-sex relationships, something the student suggested was a “new technical phenomena.”

“There was homosexuality in the time of the 14th Amendment. Every state had laws against it. It was criminal in every state,” he said. “I don’t consider homosexuality a new technical phenomena...people didn’t come forward and demand a constitutional right to homosexual marriage before (in the time of the 14th Amendment).”

Scalia agreed when questioned by a student as to whether fellow Justice Clarence Thomas pushed him to the right when Thomas came on to the court in 1991 or if it was the other way around.

“What had happened was I had followed Clarence’s lead, he knew that,” he said. “Clarence is his own man, he’s not going to follow me just to follow me. You know he’s a very stubborn man too, which is why he won’t ask questions. The more the press is on him for not asking questions the less likely he is to ask questions.”

Thomas broke his silence for the first time in seven years earlier this year when he made a joke during an oral argument.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May102012

Romney Offers Apology for High School Pranks

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(OMAHA, Neb) -- Mitt Romney on Thursday offered an apology after a Washington Post piece alleged pranks the candidate pulled during his years at an all-boys high school in Michigan targeted his gay peers.

Romney admitted during a radio interview that he did some “dumb things,” but that “homosexuality was the furthest thing from his mind” when it came to the jokes he played on classmates.

“I’m not going to be too concerned about their piece they talk about the fact that I played a lot of pranks in high school and they describe some that well you just say to yourself, back in high school well I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended obviously I apologize but overall high school years were a long time ago,” said Romney about his years at the Cranbook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Asked specifically as to whether he remembered an anecdote in the Washington Post story that describes Romney cutting the hair of one of his classmates who was “presumed” to be gay because the candidate did not like his long hairstyle, Romney responded, “You know, I don’t.”

“I don’t remember that incident,” Romney said, laughing, before adding that whether someone was “homosexual, that was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s, so that was not the case.”

The Washington Post report quotes four students who do recall the incident.

“As for pranks that were played back then, I don’t remember them all, but again you know, [in my] high school days I did a lot of stupid things. I’m afraid I gotta say sorry for it,” Romney said.

Romney asserted several times during the radio interview that the Washington Post article noted that the students who reported having pranks played on them “didn’t come out of the closet until years later,” suggesting that the pranks could not have been targeted at gay students.

“As for the teasing and the taunts that go on in high school, that’s a long time ago, for me that’s about what 48 years ago, if there’s anything I said that was offensive to somebody I’m certainly sorry about that, very deeply sorry about that,” Romney said.

The Washington Post story about Romney’s high school years posted just a day after the issue of same-sex marriage was catapulted to the forefront of the election, with President Obama saying he now supports gay marriage while Romney reaffirmed that he does not.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

OMAHA, Neb.Mitt Romney on Thursday offered an apology after a Washington Post piece alleged pranks the candidate pulled during his years at an all-boys high school in Michigan targeted his gay peers.

Romney admitted during a radio interview that he did some “dumb things” but that “homosexuality was the furthest thing from his mind” when it came to the jokes he played on classmates.

“I’m not going to be too concerned about their piece they talk about the fact that I played a lot of pranks in high school and they describe some that well you just say to yourself, back in high school well I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended obviously I apologize but overall high school years were a long time ago,” said Romney about his years at the Cranbook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Asked specifically as to whether he remembered an anecdote in the Washington Post story that describes Romney cutting the hair of one of his classmates who was “presumed” to be gay because the candidate did not like his long hairstyle, Romney responded, “You know, I don’t.”

“I don’t remember that incident,” Romney said, laughing, before adding that whether someone was “homosexual, that was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s, so that was not the case.”

The Washington Post report quotes four students who do recall the incident.

“As for pranks that were played back then, I don’t remember them all, but again you know, [in my] high school days I did of stupid things. I’m afraid I gotta say sorry for it,” Romney said.

Romney asserted several times during the radio interview that the Washington Post article noted that the students who reported having pranks played on them “didn’t come out of the closet until years later,” suggesting that the pranks could not have been targeted at gay students.

“As for the teasing and the taunts that go on in high school, that’s a long time ago, for me that’s about what 48 years ago, if there’s anything I said that was offensive to somebody I’m certainly sorry about that, very deeply sorry about that,” Romney said.

The Washington Post story about Romney’s high school years posted just a day after the issue of same-sex marriage was catapulted to the forefront of the election, with President Obama saying he now supports gay marriage while Romney reaffirmed that he does not.

Monday
Dec122011

Newt’s Gay Sister ‘Cordial,' But Backing Obama

Stephen Rose/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ask Candace Gingrich-Jones what people don’t know about her older brother, and she’ll tell you about his lighter side.

“Like a lot of folks, Newt has a public and a private persona,” she said in an interview with ABC News. “He can be a pretty fun person with a fun sense of humor, and the ability to be irreverent.”

But when it comes to politics, Gingrich-Jones -- a gay rights activist -- isn’t laughing.

“We’re not that different from most families in that we have widely different opinions on a variety of topics,” Gingrich-Jones, 45, said. “But I don’t support my brother’s qualities when it comes to LGBT equality issues. I could not support the campaign of somebody who doesn’t think I deserve the same rights as other people.”

Gingrich, who is 23 years his sister’s senior, opposes same-sex marriage and gay adoption, favors the reinstatement of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” for the military, and supports the federal Defense of Marriage Act. They’re all positions his sister finds surprising, particularly in light of their longstanding personal relationship, which she characterized as “uncle-niece-like.”

“People talk about the LGBT rights movement and they talk about what’s had the biggest impact on its progress being more people coming out, and most people who know somebody gay ‘get it,’” said Gingrich-Jones. “But no one has asked him about why he doesn’t ‘get it.’”

The two, who never lived in the same house together, have had regular encounters over the years, joining the extended family at holiday gatherings or on summer trips to the beach or amusement parks with the kids. While they are technically “half” brother and sister sharing the same mother, Gingrich-Jones said the family never uses the word.

They were most recently together several weeks ago in Washington when the family gathered to hear Gingrich’s wife Calista sing in the choir at the Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. “We exchanged some chit chat. It was cordial,” Gingrich-Jones said.

The elephant in the living room at most of the gatherings, according to Gingrich-Jones, is the fact that she is married to her wife, Rebecca Jones, contrary to the views of her brother.

“He said, ‘It’s your life and you live the way you want to,’” said Gingrich-Jones, describing Newt’s reaction to her coming out at age 21 in 1987. But she soon learned there were caveats.

“Watching his rise as Speaker and learning more about his views and anti-gay opinions, I became much more disappointed,” Gingrich-Jones said.

When she wed Jones in 2009 at a ceremony to which her brother was invited, he did not attend because he was traveling abroad.

“I don’t know whether the trip was planned before or after the invitation,” she said. “But I’ve known since the 1990s, he’s said if I ever had a wedding and married a woman he wouldn’t come.”  She said he did send a card and shower gift, however.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told ABC News,  “Newt loves his sister very much. They have a good relationship.”

“A brother and sister bond can handle a difference in political views,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean Gingrich-Jones is going to spend the 2012 campaign sitting on the sidelines. She is planning to take an active role campaigning for President Obama.

“The things we saw happen in the last four years of the Obama administration would all, or many of them, go away under a President Gingrich. It would be a huge setback,” she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec072011

Perry’s New Ad Tackles Obama’s ‘War on Religion,’ Gays in Military

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an attempt to appeal to conservatives who disagree with the progressive social policies adopted by the Obama administration, Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s latest TV ad accuses President Obama of launching a “war on religion” and criticizes the policy of gay men and women serving openly in the military.

“I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,” Perry, wearing a tan jacket and blue shirt while walking and looking directly toward the camera, says in the ad. “As president, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion, and I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.”

The 30-second ad, called “Strong,” is the Perry campaign’s second effort in the past week to play up its candidate’s conservative credentials. In a move to court social conservatives and evangelicals in Iowa last week, Perry released an ad called “Faith,” that touted his religious commitment by proclaiming, “I’m not ashamed to talk about my faith.”

Bill Burton, senior strategist for Priorities USA, called Perry’s latest ad, “astonishingly intolerant” and termed the TV spot a, “war on gays.”

In an ABC News/Yahoo interview last month, Perry said he would be “comfortable” returning to the military policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”

“I think ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ worked very well,” Perry said in an ABC News/Yahoo interview with Christiane Amanpour. “I think the idea that the president of the United States wanted to make a political statement using our men and women in the military as the tool for that was irresponsible.”

It is not known at this time when or where this ad will begin running.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec022011

Student Challenges Bachmann on Gay Rights

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- A 16-year-old high school student confronted GOP presidential contender Michele Bachmann on same-sex marriage and gay rights at a campaign event in Iowa, leading the congresswoman to suggest that if gay people want to get married they should marry people of opposite gender.

In a video posted to YouTube, Jane Schmidt, who identifies herself as the head of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at her high school in Waverly, Iowa, asked the candidate on Wednesday: “What would you do to help protect GSAs in high schools and support the LGBT community?”

LGBT is shorthand for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Bachmann told Schmidt it was the government’s role to treat all people equally, and not give preference to any group based on sexuality.

“As Americans we all have the same civil rights,” she said. “That’s really what government’s role is, to protect our civil rights. There shouldn’t be any special rights or special set of criteria based on people preferences. We all have the same civil rights.”

“Then why can’t same sex couples get married?” asked Schmidt.

“They can get married, [if] they abide by the same laws as everyone else. They can marry a man, if they’re a woman, and can marry a woman if they’re man,” Bachmann said.

Same sex marriage has been legal in Iowa since 2009, the result of a court ruling.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul202011

Senate Holds Landmark Hearing on Repealing DOMA

BananaStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate has held the first-ever hearing on the Respect of Marriage Act, which would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and extend to legally married same-sex couples the same benefits and protections provided to heterosexual married couples.

“I’m concerned that DOMA has served to create a tier of second-class families in states like Vermont.  This runs counter to the values upon which America is founded, to the proud tradition we have in this country of moving toward a more inclusive society,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chmn. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said.

Testifying before the Senate Committee, Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, equated DOMA to racism and his personal experiences with discrimination.

“As a child, I tasted the bitter fruits of racism and discrimination, and I did not like it.  And in 1996, when Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, the taste of that old bitter fruit filled my mouth once again,” Lewis said.  “The Defense of Marriage Act is a stain on our democracy.  We must do away with this unjust, discriminatory law once and for all. It reminds me of another dark time in our nation's history, in many years when states passed laws banning blacks and whites from marrying. We look back on that time now with disbelief.  And one day we will look back on this period with that same sense of disbelief.”

But Republicans pounced on the Respect for Marriage Act and defended the constitutionality of DOMA. “Traditional marriage is a sacred institution and serves as the cornerstone of our society. We cannot afford to devalue it with legislation like S. 598, and we must oppose any effort that would diminish the definition of marriage,” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said. “The other side argues that you can't choose who you love and that a union between two men or two women is equal to that of one man and one woman.  But these are the same arguments that could be used to promote marriage between fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, or even polygamist relationships.”

President Obama supports the repeal of DOMA. “The president has long called for a legislative repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which continues to have a real impact on the lives of real people -- our families, friends and neighbors,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at Tuesday’s press briefing.

“He is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act, introduced by Senator Feinstein and Congressman Nadler, which would take DOMA off the books once and for all," said Carney. "This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul112011

Michele Bachmann Clinic: Where You Can Pray Away the Gay?

Republican presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her husband Marcus Bachmann wave as they march in a Fourth of July parade in Clear Lake, Iowa. Steve Pope/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- A former patient who sought help from the Christian counseling clinic owned by GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, told ABC News he was advised that prayer could rid him of his homosexual urges and he could eventually be "re-oriented."

"[One counselor's] path for my therapy would be to read the Bible, pray to God that I would no longer be gay," said Andrew Ramirez, who was 17 years old at the time he sought help from Bachmann & Associates in suburban Minneapolis in 2004. "And God would forgive me if I were straight."

In the past, Marcus Bachmann has disputed the clinic has treated gay patients this way. But Ramirez's account, which was first reported by The Nation, is similar to the counseling session that appears on new undercover video shot by a gay rights advocacy group last month. That footage shows another counselor at the Bachmann clinic telling a gay man posing as a patient that, with prayer and effort, he could eventually learn to be attracted to women and rid himself of his gay urges.

The disclosures have provided fresh insight into what Michele Bachmann has called her family business -- the primary source of income for her family as she left her law practice to move into politics. The counseling center has factored into Bachmann's campaign narrative as well -- evidence, she said, of her ability to understand what it takes to create jobs and run a small business.

"We're very proud of our business and all job creators in the U.S.," Michele Bachmann told a reporter when asked about the clinic Monday.

The Bachmann & Associates counseling centers appear to offer a wide range of services to people in emotional distress and are clearly billed on the clinic's website as a religious-based approach to mental health treatment. ABC News sought to interview Marcus Bachmann and his wife about the clinic and its practices, but a campaign spokeswoman declined to make them available. The campaign did not respond to written questions, instead sending a statement that says they cannot answer questions about specific treatments provided to patients.

"Those matters are protected by patient-client confidentiality," the statement says. "The Bachmann's are in no position ethically, legally, or morally to discuss specific courses of treatment concerning the clinic's patients."

Questions about how the counselors at Bachmann's clinic respond to patients who arrive seeking help with the tension between their sexual urges and their religious believes have long swirled in Minnesota. Marcus Bachmann was asked if his clinic tried to convert patients from gay to straight in an interview with a local newspaper in 2006, and said, "That's a false statement."

"If someone is interested in talking to us about their homosexuality, we are open to talking about that," he is reported to have said. "But if someone comes in a homosexual and they want to stay homosexual, I don't have a problem with that."

The controversial practice of trying to change someone's sexual orientation was roundly discredited by the American Psychological Association in 2009 as ineffective and potentially harmful. The first-hand accounts and video evidence surfacing Monday have rekindled questions about the Bachmann family business.

Clinton Anderson, who heads the association's Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns, told ABC News that his organization did an exhaustive review and found no evidence that efforts to convert someone from gay to straight could succeed.

"The harm is that when people are already in distress, and feeling conflict about their religion and their sexuality, to tell them they can change if they work hard enough, when in fact they can't do that … just makes their distress and their shame -- their depression -- even worse," Anderson said.

Marcus Bachmann describes a gentle approach to counseling on his website, saying he believes "my call is to minister to the needs of people in a practical, caring and sensitive way." In a talk radio interview, however, he does not deny a tougher approach when it comes to dealing with behavior considered to be sinful.

"We have to understand, barbarians need to be educated," he said during a 2010 appearance on the program Point of View.

Questions about the clinic's approach to counseling gay patients prompted the Vermont-based advocacy group Truth Wins Out to send a gay man undercover, with a camera, to seek guidance from a Bachmann associate.

"I told my therapist that I was struggling with attraction to the same sex, and that my attractions were overwhelmingly, predominately, exclusively homosexual," said John Becker, the man who visited the clinic five times in late June.

Treatment notes and bills that Becker provided to ABC said the counselor's goal was to "increase ability to manage and decrease feelings and actions."

Becker said he was told more explicitly that the goal of his treatment was to end his homosexual urges entirely, and he was provided scriptural mantras to repeat to himself in order to stay on track.

"He seemed to believe genuinely in his heart of hearts that, somehow, my homosexuality could be cured and could be eliminated," Becker said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

Jon Stewart Revives Rick Santorum's 'Google Problem'

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, who turned 53 on Tuesday, is trending high in the Google-sphere, but not for the reasons he’d like.

Daily Show host Jon Stewart revived Santorum’s so-called “Google problem” Monday night on his show, encouraging viewers to search ‘Rick Santorum’ and see what they find.

The top results are a less than flattering mix of links to web sites that associate his name with a sex act.

“Santorum might as well change his last name to lemon party,” joked Stewart.

The search results have been the fixation of gay rights advocates since 2003, when blogger Dan Savage mobilized online supporters to create a new definition for Santorum after he publicly compared gay sex to pedophilia and bestiality.

Using a network of cross links and by driving up “clicks,” the activists have succeeded in keeping their definition at the top of search returns.

“There's no better way to memorialize the Santorum scandal than by attaching his name to a sex act that would make his big, white teeth fall out of his big, empty head,” Savage said at the time.

Santorum, who has said he believes homosexuality will “undermine the fabric of our society,” has acknowledged the controversy but sought to downplay its significance.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr012011

DADT Repeal on Track for Mid-Summer Certification

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A House Armed Services subcommittee heard from top Pentagon officials on Friday that the process for implementing the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is on track and that the process to certify the full repeal could occur in mid-summer.

Friday’s hearing was the first time officials publically mentioned a potential target date for when certification of the repeal could occur.

The repeal law signed into effect last December requires President Obama, Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mullen to certify that operational readiness has not been affected by implementing the repeal. In the meantime, the DADT policy remains in place. When Obama, Gates and Mullen sign the certification, it will begin a 60-day countdown that will result in the full repeal of DADT and allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

Each of the services have their own training timetables: the Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard say they’ll finish by the end of June, and the Navy at the end  of July. The Army thinks it will finish training its active duty soldiers in mid-July and its Guard and Reservist by mid-August.

Appearing before the Military Personnel Subcommittee, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Cliff Stanley and Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, director of the Joint Staff, both said mid-summer looked like the target date for that certification to occur.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb012011

Barbara Bush Campaigns for Same-Sex Marriage Rights

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Barbara Bush, the daughter of former President George W. Bush, has joined her mother and a growing number of former administration officials in publicly expressing support for same-sex marriage.

Bush, who has never commented publicly on the issue, appears in a new online PSA video for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group.

"I'm Barbara Bush and I'm a New Yorker for marriage equality," she says. "New York is about fairness and equality and everyone should have the right to marry the person that they love. Join us."

The video, part of a series featuring high-profile New Yorkers, comes as rights advocates make a renewed push to legalize same-sex marriage in the Empire State, after the legislature blocked such a step in December 2009.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, former first lady Laura Bush, former Solicitor General Ted Olson and 2004 Bush campaign manager and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman all support same-sex marriage.

Their views -- and advocacy on the issue -- are significant given that opposition to gay marriage and a constitutional amendment banning it were key elements of Bush's 2004 reelection campaign.

The most recent ABC News-Washington Post poll showed a narrow divide on legalization of gay marriage, with 47 percent in favor and roughly 50 percent opposed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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