Gay marriage opponents are fighting (and, for the most part, losing) the battle to keep their supporters and donors secret from the "homosexual lobby" that seeks to intimidate them.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an application by Protect Marriage Washington to block the names of its supporters from being open to the public.
The case relates to Referendum 71, an unsuccessful attempt in 2009 by opponents of gay marriage to repeal Washington's "everything but marriage" law, which gives domestic partners almost all of the same rights as married couples. Backers of R-71 were able to get the measure on the ballot, but voters upheld the law 53%-47%.
Since the vote, PMW has been fighting the Secretary of State's release of the names of the 137,000 people who signed the R-71 petition, arguing that it violates the signers' First Amendment rights. "A reasonable person would conclude that if he speaks up about traditional marriage in Washington, he risks facing a reasonable probability of threats, harassment, or reprisals and, therefore, his speech is chilled," PMW wrote in an appeal to the 9th Circuit.
The initial filings by PMW in District Court cite alleged threats against supporters of traditional marriage, like in one case where "a militant homosexual group took over a church service while it was in progress, while two women kissed each other near the podium." Another case cites a group called Bash Back!, which allegedly took credit for gluing the doors shut on an LDS Church as a retaliation for Prop 8.
The case has been making its way through the court system over the past year, with the Supreme Court initially ruling in June 2010 that the names should be made public. But SCOTUS kicked the case back down to District Court Judge Benjamin Settle, who was left to determine whether the court could block the names from being released if PMW could prove it warranted an exception to the Public Records Act as "a fringe organization with unpopular or unorthodox beliefs or one that is seeking to further ideas that have been 'historically and pervasively rejected and vilified by both this country's government and its citizens.'" In the past, groups like the NAACP and the Socialist Worker Party have received this type of exemption.
Settle ruled in October that the group did not prove that it needed this exemption. Protect Marriage Washington "has not provided competent evidence that it is in any material way similar to the organizations, groups, or parties who have received the as-applied exemption in the past," he wrote. "Instead, the evidence before the Court logically leads only to the opposite conclusion," and witnesses "only supplied evidence that hurts rather than helps its case," Courthouse News reported.
Among those witnesses was a former Republican candidate for state legislature, Elizabeth Scott, who said she had received death threats after giving an interview in which she backed repealing domestic partnership laws. But Settle determined that "other than speculation, Scott does not attribute to R-71 this death threat or any other incident that she claimed could be considered harassment." Another witness, Gary Randall, head of the Faith and Freedom Network, claimed that a blog made death threats against him, though according to court documents he "finally [conceded] that no actual death threat was made on the website."
Protect Marriage appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is currently reviewing the case. But in the meantime the group has sought an injunction against the state's release of the names, pending the 9th Circuit's ruling on the merits. So far, Settle, the 9th Circuit, and now the Supreme Court have rejected PMW's requests for an injunction.
James Bopp, Jr. argued to TPM that "the lower courts have erroneously said that only fringe groups can get the exception. Actually, any victim of harassment can get it. We expect the appellate court to get this right."
You can currently buy a DVD of the names from the state archives office for $15, and according to Brian Zylstra, deputy communications director for Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, only 34 copies had been sold as of mid-October when the injunction was lifted. "The names of people who donated money to the R-71 campaign have been posted on the PDC's website since 2009 and we are not aware of any threats or harassment in the 2.5 years since those names have been publicly available," Zlystra told TPM. "We are not aware of any reports of threats or harassment due to the release of the petition images."
Referendum 71 is just one of several (so far unsuccessful) efforts by anti-gay marriage groups to keep supporters' anonymity.
In California, U.S. District Judge Morrison England rejected an effort by Prop 8 proponents to keep its members and contributions secret. ProtectMarriage.com and the National Organization for Marriage had presented 58 declarations that alleged Prop 8 supporters had received death threats and were harassed, in violation of their First Amendment rights.
"Absent the prospect of protection in future cases, I think the whole idea here by the homosexual lobby is they now have a threat," Bopp said of the case in California, which he is also spearheading. "They announced months before the (Washington) petitions were submitted that they were going to seek those names and put them on the Internet. So they already know they've got a weapon of intimidation, and without the courts' protection, they'll continue to use it."
Meanwhile in Minnesota, a group called the Minnesota for Marriage coalition is fighting against state rules that require donors to be disclosed, based on the state's new donor disclosure rules signed into law by Tim Pawlenty in 2010. The group is pushing for a 2012 constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman, but it objects to new guidelines put forth by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
Tom Prichard, president of Minnesota Family Council, told the board in June that "the concern is harassment, property damage, a chilling effect. If I know I have to disclose my name, I'm not going to get involved with the Minnesota Family Council."
According to the American Independent, NOM has also mounted unsuccessful challenges to disclosure laws in Iowa, Maine, New York and Rhode Island.
Muse in the MorningTime for a break from poetry...in order to create some art.We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault,[...]
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While we're all distracted, President Obama is getting ready to toss women's reproductive rights overboard. Again.
So it's not about birth control, huh?Women's groups working to save coverage of women's health care under health reform are concerned that President Obama will cave as early as this weekend to demands by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (all 271 men) to eliminate coverage of birth control without a co-pay.
The reason? The President thinks he "owes" the Bishops for help with passage of health reform.
I don't know what the bishops did to "help" pass health care reform unless the president really wanted to ensure that women would have to swallow yet another unpalatable abrogation of their rights. (In fact, the bishops tried as hard as they could to tank the health care bill for purely political reasons --- they support the Republican Party and wanted the president to fail.)But apparently we are supposed to believe he owes them something. I wonder what it is?
Sarah Posner has the full story on this at Religion Dispatches. Nothing surprising. Just another insult to the millions of liberal women who supported the president:David Nolan, a spokesperson for Catholics for Choice, told me today, "Obama's definitely listening to the bishops. The bishops seem to have significant sway over the administration, which can be seen by the fact Archbishop Dolan met with [Obama] last week and came out alleging that he felt much more at ease with what was going on after the meeting. Which seems to suggest that Obama made lots of conciliatory noises to the archbishop." The archbishop, Nolan emphasized, does not represent American Catholics, but rather is "the leader of 271 active bishops, and that's who he represents."
Catholics for Choice has launched a campaign urging its supporters to call the White House and express that "Catholics overwhelmingly reject the bishops' views on contraception" and that it "is discriminatory to deny these women and men access to this important provision simply because the institution where they work or the school they attend is religiously affiliated." The ACLU has launched a similar campaign, arguing that religious freedom "does not mean that we get to impose those beliefs on others."
"There is absolutely no reason to expand this exception," said Sarah Lipton-Lubet, policy counsel for the ACLU. "There's certainly no legal reason for it to be changed. The current rule doesn't infringe on anyone's religious liberty as a matter of law."
Click through to the links above if you want to sign on of the petitions.
I have one question though. Posner says that Democrats for Life are out there touting this with everything they have:The Administration has no intention of forcing Catholic institutions to provide insurance coverage for services that are directly in opposition to their moral beliefs. It does not make any sense from a public policy perspective and it certainly is not smart politically to alienate Catholic voters.
And here I've been told for years that Democrats for Life aren't against birth control and that it's purely about "life". I don't think anyone can say that's true at this point.
Now that the Democrats have welcomed in the anti-choice faction, coddled them and genuflected to their beliefs it was inevitable that their true agenda would eventually reveal itself. Why wouldn't it?
Update: I'm going to post this piece from my friend Debcoop again, just in case some people again feel the need to tell me to "calm down" and stop being hysterical over something that "isn't that important".For women ALL Roads to freedom and equality - economic equality and most particularly the ability to avoid poverty START with control of their bodies. If they can't control how they get pregnant and when they will have a child then poverty is the result.
There is theory about something called the Prime Mover - the first action or the first cause. Well for women it IS reproductive rights. It precedes everything. It really is simple. Without the abilty to control your own body then you are a slave to everything else.
Frankly sexism, the need to control women's lives by controlling their bodies and the things that arise from it, are endemic to any social structure. It is ever enduring and even when it seems to be quashed it returns in another form. That is the story in the modern era of women's rights. One step forward after a long struggle - suffrage and then a step back. (And no way do I say that women are not complicit in their own subjugation. We are.)
I am reading The Reactionary Mind by Corey Robin. In the epilogue he makes a point of saying that the loss of power and control is what the elite and the reactionary fear the most. More than a specific loss itself the fear the rising volcano of submerged anger and power. And for them it is most acutely felt compulsion for control in the "intimate" arena. That is the most vexing and disturbing of all.
It is why they want to control women. And controlling their reproductive lives is the surefire way to control them.
It is why abortion rights are absolutely central to every other kind of freedom.
People are talking about whether the 2% payroll tax cut stays or goes come January. I have a passing interest: "two percent" is not a lot of money to most people. And if it dies, it means the Republicans raised taxes. I'm far more concerned about the doc fix.
Close to 20 years ago, there was a budget bill that was supposed to control spending, didn't work, and didn't get repealed. It's sole remaining piece cuts fees paid to Medicare doctors every January unless Congress institutes what's come to be called the doc fix every December, keeping rates where they are. (And yes, those rates are pretty bad, especially for primary care doctors.) This year's cut will be in the neighborhood of 27%.
Doctors who treat the elderly have a number of options: cease seeing Medicare patients, continue to see existing patients and refuse new patients, or become a concierge doc who doesn't take Medicare, but will charge patients prevailing rates.
People read the numbers of the billions of dollars paid by Medicare, but it pays to look at it in terms of what one doctor receives for seeing one patient for one visit. For an uncomplicated visit, here in my county, the limiting charge (the most a doctor can charge Medicare) is $16.49. For the most complicated visit (as in a full hour visit with a gerontologist who needs to determine the cognitive abilities of a patient, with no decent tests available) tops out at $63.64. Now cut 27% off of that. It becomes difficult for a doctor to actually stay in practice, as those fees need to cover rent, electricity, equipment, salaries and benefits for office staff, infection control, supplies, billing, a bunch of other basic costs, and then let's not forget malpractice insurance.
I could post numbers about what hospitals get paid by Medicare, and it would be equally lacking. Where the Medicare payment scale runs off the rails relates to durable medical equipment and medications. But the bottom line is that what people want to cut is payments to doctors, which is the last thing anyone should cut. With the exception of well patient visits and things one doesn't need a doctor for, like a flu shot, what people go to doctors for is a diagnosis and related treatment plan. That "diagnosis" might be based on examination, test interpretation, and/or conversation. But the idea is, the patient is paying for knowledge. It's the same reason one goes to any other specialist, be he/she an accountant, lawyer, plumber, electrician, car mechanic or hairdresser. They can all do something the patient cannot. And face it, accountants, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, car mechanics and hairdressers earn more than $63.64/hour. (Or $46.45 after the cuts.)
So there you have it, the future of medicine in America. If you think the Medicare rates are bad, you should see the Medicaid rates. They're generally at most half of Medicare rates, and often a third. If the cuts go through, you'll end up seeing a lot fewer doctors accepting Medicare patients, and switching over to those who pay out of pocket. Around here, prices for concierge care for seniors starts at $1,500 - $10,000 per year, plus ancillary charges based on the case. With that, yes, you get house calls, in addition to private phone lines, email responses, and the ability to get an office visit the day you call. I'm sure someone is wondering if the actual care (diagnosis and treatment plans) is better. But that's not the question: the question is whether 5 years from now, people who can't pay can still GET medical care.
There were no reports of major violence yesterday, just the normal election day problems. Some protests continued in Tahir Square, but most focused on the voting yesterday. The early news is good but lots more ahead. Al Jazeera:
Egypt's first free elections for decades have entered a second day, with turnout so far described as "very high".
Logistical problems plagued many polling stations on Monday but the first day of voting passed mostly peacefully.
Egyptians are voting to create the first democratically elected assembly in the country's history.
The queues formed early and quickly at polling stations across Egypt on Monday, as voters cast their ballots in the first parliamentary elections since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February.
In a field laden with ignoramuses, functional illiterates, philanderers, super-philanderers and the dork-a-christ, one man stands apart.[...]
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Source: Advanced Currency Markets | G10 Advancers and Decliners vs USD EUR 0.32 GBP 0.08 JPY -0.02 CHF -0.33 Equity markets have enjoyed an impressive start to the week, with European bourses being the main beneficiaries yesterday of improved risk appetite. The CAC 40 (France?s signature equity index) closed a staggering 5.5% higher on the day, with the DAX up by 4.6% and FTSE 100 up +2.9%. The recovery of sentiment should continue today as Eurozone finance ministers are due to approve the sixth tranche…
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Source: ForexYard USD Falls Despite False IMF Aid Story
The USD came off its highs yesterday versus the majors after reports in the Italian press that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be providing aid to Italy. These reports subsequently proved to be false. Recent price movements in the FX markets have become more and more driven by the headlines and this should continue as reports come from today's 2-day Eurogroup meeting.Economic News USD – USD Down Despite False IMF Aid Story
The USD gave up a portion of last week's gains after reports of an IMF deal for Italy. The story proved false but that did not stop riskier assets from making a comeback at the . . . → Read More: USD Falls Despite False IMF Aid Story
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Well of course they are dishonest. It's all about their precious bonus plans and maintaining their lifestyle. There's no surprise that the bankers want to use scare tactics and avoid being responsible. If they want to remain ignorant to the anger and disgust around them, let them deal with the much more harsh consequences that will really cause them pain. They've played this game for so long but people are finally waking up to just how corrupt and dishonest they are. FT:
Bankers? efforts to water down tougher new regulations by claiming they will harm economic growth are ?intellectually dishonest and potentially damaging? and could inspire an even more robust crackdown, a leading UK regulator has warned.
?A profession which should stand for integrity and prudence now supports a lobbying strategy that exploits misunderstanding and fear,? said Robert Jenkins, who was named in July to the 11-member Financial Policy Committee, a new body charged with protecting financial stability.
Responding to bank executives? warnings that the Basel III capital and liquidity standards could force them to cut lending and raise rates, Mr. Jenkins said the lobbying was ?dishonest because it is untrue?.