Thursday, September 29, 2011

Via JMG: MONTANA: Leading Anti-Gay Activist Charged With Six Felony Fraud Counts

Pastor Harris Himes (above, at the microphone), the most well-known anti-gay activist in Montana, has been charged with six felony counts of theft and fraud related to a business scheme he allegedly orchestrated with another pastor.
Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman said Harris Himes turned himself in Wednesday morning after learning that there was a warrant for his arrest. District Judge James Haynes issued bench warrants on Tuesday for Himes and James "Jeb" Bryant after attorneys for the state Office of the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance filed six felony charges against the two. The charges included theft, fraud, conspiracy to commit both, failure to register a security and failure to register as a salesman of same. According to court records, Himes and Bryant claimed to own a business, Duratherm Building Systems, and promised at least one investor a large return on his $150,000. But the investor claimed to have never received any returns or confirmation of sale, nor could he get his money back.
According to the above-linked story, Harris frequently testified and campaigned against proposed pro-gay legislation. We know him here on JMG as part of the Not In My Bathroom anti-transgender rights group.

In February of this year I posted video of Himes testifying that homosexuality was a "sin worth of death" and therefore gay people should not be allowed to rent homes in Montana. Thanks to Himes and others, Montana's state legislature then passed a bill outlawing all LGBT rights laws, at any level in the entire state.

RELATED: Himes is also the president of the far fringe-right Montana Eagle Forum and in his dual role as pastor/lawyer he performs pro bono work on behalf of the anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund. He blogs at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government site.

UNRELATED: Two nutjob anti-gay whackos taken down on the same day! I am chortling until my chortler is sore! O frabjous day, indeed!

(Tipped by JMG reader and Montana activist D. Gregory Smith, who often battled Himes. Read Smith's account of today's news.)

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Ellen & Rep. Nancy Pelosi Discuss DADT And GOP Booing Of Gay Soldier

Via AmericablogGay: Bigots now claiming that civil rights impedes their religious right to oppress you

Does bigotry trump civil rights?  Should a clerk in NY state be permitted to say her religion won't permit her to sign marriage licenses for gay couples?  What if her religion isn't too thrilled about blacks marrying whites, or Jews (they did kill Christ, you know), and let's not even start with the Muslims.  And why stop there?  Fundamentalists think Catholics worship Satan.  Are we really going to force a fundamentalist clerk to sign off on a Satanic wedding? 

As far as I'm concerned, the woman should find another job.  She took a job that entails signing off on weddings.  She can't pick and choose which ones she likes and claim her religion as a defense.  Why stop there.  Why not let accountants, and doctors, and ambulance drivers, and pilots, and waitresses refuse to serve gay couples?  Where does it stop? 

Of course, the bigots want this very outcome.  They made the same argument about slavery, you know - the Bible says it's a good thing.  Yeah, we all know how that ended.  And the Mormons discriminated against blacks until the 1970s.  So what if a Mormon still believes in the traditional teachings about blacks evil spawn, can clerks refuse to marry black people now too? 

This is just another example of how the Republican party, and its spawn, are destroying civil society in America.  They're tearing this country apart, town by town.  It's very sad.

Via AmericaBlogGay: Obama on bullying and DOMA

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 28, 2011

Map Room
11:40 A.M. EDT

... MR. SIADE: This question comes from Florida: Since bullying is increasing in an alarming way in the U.S., what can be done to avoid further discrimination or bullying within various racial groups, particularly for Hispanic kids in school?

THE PRESIDENT: I think it's a really important question. We actually had the first-ever conference on bullying here in the White House -- because for young people it's hard enough growing up without also then being subject to constant harassment. And the kind of bullying that we're seeing now, including using the Internet and new media, can be very oppressive on young people. So what we've tried to do is to provide information and tools to parents, to schools, to communities to push back and fight against these kinds of trends. And a lot of the best work has actually been done by young people themselves who start anti-bullying campaigns in their schools, showing how you have to respect everyone, regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of sexual orientation. And when you get a school environment in which that's not accepted by young people themselves, where they say we?re not going to tolerate that kind of bullying, that usually ends up making the biggest difference, because kids react to their peer group more than sometimes they do adults. And what we need to do is make sure that we're providing tools to schools and to young people to help combat against bullying, and it's something that we'll continue to work on with local communities and local school districts as well.

MR. LERNER: So you're going to have a conference on bullying in the White House?

THE PRESIDENT: We already did. We had it -- it was probably four or five months ago. And we brought in non-profit groups, religious leadership, schools, students themselves. And they have now organized conferences regionally, around the country, so that we can prevent this kind of bullying from taking place. ...

MR. LERNER: Mr. President, on the Defense of Marriage Act, also called DOMA, this comes from Kevin in North Carolina. He says: I'm a gay American who fell in love with a foreigner. As you know, due to DOMA, I'm not permitted to sponsor my foreign-born partner for residency. And as a result, we are stuck between a rock and an impossible situation. How do you intend to fix this? Waiting for DOMA to be repealed or struck down in the courts will potentially take years. What do binational couples do in the meantime?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we made a decision that was a very significant decision, based on my assessment of the Constitution, that this administration would not defend DOMA in the federal courts. It's not going to be years before this issue is settled. This is going to be settled fairly soon, because right now we have cases pending in the federal courts. Administratively, we can't ignore the law. DOMA is still on the books. What we have said is even as we enforce it, we don't support it, we think it's unconstitutional. The position that my administration has taken I think will have a significant influence on the court as it examines the constitutionality of this law. And once that law is struck down -- and I don't know what the ruling will be -- then addressing these binational issues could flow from that decision, potentially. I can't comment on where the case is going to go. I can only say what I believe, and that is that DOMA doesn't make sense; it's unfair; I don't think that it meets the demands of our Constitution. And in the meantime, if -- I've already said that I'm also supportive of Congress repealing DOMA on its own and not waiting for the courts. The likelihood of us being able to get the votes in the House of Representatives for DOMA repeal are very low at this point so, truthfully, the recourse to the courts is probably going to be the best approach.

Via AmericaBlogGay: Log Cabin lawyer: The government should be ashamed

They have a point. Why is the Obama administration still defending DADT in court? We need to strike DADT down so that President Perry can't bring it back in the future.  My guess is that DOD is the bad guy here (if we strike it down, they may want their back benefits), along with DOJ (wouldn't want to limit the President's future prerogatives, would we?).  The President needs to stop listening to the Pentagon and the lawyers and do the right thing to make DADT go away now, or it's going to keep haunting him up until the election. 

Today the Log Cabin Republicans filed a response to the government's motion to vacate the federal district court judgment in the case Log Cabin Republicans vs. United States. The motion is attached, and the government will have seven days to respond. 

Dan Woods, White & Case partner who is representing Log Cabin Republicans, said: 

"On September 20, 2011, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, became effective. On that very day, the government filed a motion to erase the 9th Circuit's decision that by the government's own admission prompted and accelerated the repeal. The government should be ashamed to take this step. 

While President Obama, Defense Secretary Panetta and other leaders proclaim the benefits of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the government is inviting the Court to rule that the case never existed. Government policies may come and go, but our Constitution endures. So should the district court's declaratory judgment that Don't Ask, Don't Tell was unconstitutional. We are filing this brief to explain to the court of the important reasons why it should not dismiss the appeal as moot and should not vacate the judgment."
Francine Minadeo
Media Relations Manager
White & Case LLP