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The Virulently Anti-gay, GOP-packed Values Voter Summit Has Begun: WATCH

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Family Research Council's annual Values Voter Summit kicks off in Washington D.C. today and, as always, features a who's who of anti-gay activists, politicians, and media personalities devoting their time and effort towards denying LGBT individuals equal rights.

Confirmed speakers for the 3-day extravaganza include Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Gary Bauer, Glenn Beck, Jason & David Benahm, Gen. William Boykin, Rep. Jim Bridenstien (R-OK), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R-TX), TLC's Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar, Erick Erickson, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Mike Huckabee, Bishop E.W. Jackson, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Sarah Palin, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Tony Perkins, Sandy Rios, Rick Santorum, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Todd Starnes, Mat Staver, Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), and many more. 

SummitThe hate summit is being live-streamed online. You can catch the video feed, AFTER THE JUMP...

And if you missed our exclusive report by People for the American Way's Drew Courtney about the Republican Party's cozy relationship with the hate group-backed summit, check that out HERE. The report details  how the GOP, despite signaling it would "rebrand" after the 2012 election, continues to align itself with extremist fringe groups that "actively seek to put LGBT people back in the closet, quash access to legal abortion, and restrict the free exercise rights of non-Christian religious minorities."

Continue reading "The Virulently Anti-gay, GOP-packed Values Voter Summit Has Begun: WATCH" »


Some Things Never Change: The Values Voter Summit and the Dubious 'Rebranding' of the GOP

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BY DREW COURTNEY

Following the failure of the GOP to recapture the White House in the last presidential election, rebranding was a word that got knocked around a lot within party circles and in the media. In order to shore up the hemorrhaging support of women, ethnic and racial minorities, and young voters, it was agreed that the GOP platform would have to embrace less alienating positions on a variety of policy issues.

Now on the eve of midterm elections almost two years later, it’s become clear that Republican officials aren’t sticking to the plan. This weekend, conservative lawmakers including Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, and Gov. Bobby Jindal are slated to participate in what has become a rite of passage for presidential hopefuls of the GOP: courting the support of the Religious Right at the Family Research Council’s (FRC) annual Values Voter Summit.

VvsLurching in the opposite direction from the rest of the country, Republican officials are aligning themselves with extremist fringe groups that actively seek to put LGBT people back in the closet, quash access to legal abortion, and restrict the free exercise rights of non-Christian religious minorities. The FRC — as well as other primary sponsors of the event including the American Family Association, Liberty Counsel and American Values — has been instrumental in encouraging the GOP’s continued rightward march and carries a great deal of influence over evangelical Tea Party voters who form the core of the far right, a group that presidential contenders in the party increasingly feel the need to cater to.

A look at a few of the speakers scheduled to share the stage with leading Republican figures shows how grievously out of step the party is with the values of the American people AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Some Things Never Change: The Values Voter Summit and the Dubious 'Rebranding' of the GOP" »


LA Governor Bobby Jindal To Award Anti-Gay 'Duck Dynasty' Star Phil Robertson

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Remember Phil Robertson, the reality show star of A&E's Duck Dynasty who compared homosexuals to drunks and terrorists and called gays ”insolent, arrogant god haters”? Yeah, well, Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is going to give him an award for Entrepreneurial Excellence:

The governor has called the Robertson family, whose Duck Commander empire is based in West Monroe, La., “great citizens” of the state.

A&E says the Duck Dynasty season premiere on June 11 will feature an appearance by Jindal, who will present Willie Robertson — CEO of the family’s business — with an award.

In February, Jindal was at Duck Commander headquarters to present the first Governor’s Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence to the Robertson family. The award is aimed at honoring “homegrown Louisiana businesses that grow and provide more opportunity, more jobs and more commerce” for the state…

Sure, Robertson’s business, Duck Commander, reportedly has millions of dollars in annual sales, but the man also thinks black people were happier before civil rights and that it’s okay to marry 15-year-old girls.

Robertson’s other conservative supporters include Sarah Palin and anti-gay Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress.

(via Crooks and Liars)


Bobby Jindal Slams HGTV For Canceling Benham Brothers Show

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Governor Jindal made the remarks during a speech yesterday's commencement for Liberty University, the private Christian college founded by Jerry Falwell. One of the main topics he addressed was his concern about "the war on religious liberties."

Sitting in the front row during the event were anti-gay brothers David and Jason Benham, whose HGTV show was canceled last week and who themselves graduated from Liberty in 1998.

According to KTBS, Jindal defended the brothers:

And the same thing happened again just this week, with another demonstration of intolerance from the entertainment industry. HGTV was working on a new show featuring the Benham brothers, twin brothers who graduated from right here at Liberty University in 1998. But HGTV cancelled the show this week, allegedly because they learned that one of the brothers protested at the Democrat Party Convention, and the other had protested at an abortion clinic. Think about that for a minute. If these guys had protested at the Republican Party Convention, instead of cancelling their show, HGTV would probably have given them a raise.

Aside from the Benham brothers, Jindal's speech also included words of support for Hobby Lobby stores and Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, who he defended during the height of that controversy last year.

Video of the entire commencement ceremony is AFTER THE JUMP. Jindal comes in shortly after the 2 hour and 5 minute mark.

Continue reading "Bobby Jindal Slams HGTV For Canceling Benham Brothers Show" »


Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Releases Statement Supporting 'Duck Dynasty' Star Phil Robertson

JindalLouisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was inspired to release a statement of support for Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson after Robertson was suspended for comparing gay sex to sex with animals, and homosexuals to drunks and terrorists who are going to Hell for their sins.

Jindal's statement:

“Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV.  In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views.  In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended "


Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins Appointed to Louisiana Law Enforcement Commission

6a00d8341c730253ef01901c847424970b-800wiWhen looking to fill a high-profile job opening--say, membership on the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, for example--you might not opt for the virulently homophobic leader of an organization labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.  Or, if you're Bobby Jindal, Louisiana's Republican governor, you might do just that.

According to its website, the commission's mission is "to improve the operations of the criminal justice and juvenile justice system and promote public safety by providing progressive leadership and coordination within the criminal justice community."  (There's a delicious and sad irony in the idea of Perkins being part of a group's 'progressive leadership.')

Slate points out that Perkins's appointment to a body "which awards grants, trains officers, and regulates law enforcement throughout the state" could add to Louisiana's already less-than-stellar record of support for LGBT individuals and "may well drag the state to new, even darker depths of anti-gay enmity."

Just this month, Perkins--who leads the Family Research Council--said that straight solders were facing discrimination from the federal government because of a recent Pentagon policy allowing service members in same-sex relationships living in non-marriage equality states paid leave to travel to states which allow marriage equality.  He also called on his followers to boycott Betty Crocker because the company donated custom cakes to three same-sex couples in Minnesota who wed after the state legislature voted in favor of equal marriage rights.

As we've noted before here on Towleroad, Louisiana is not very friendly to its LGBT citizens.  Earlier this month, the state's National Guard said that it would not comply with orders from the Pentagon to begin approving benefits requests from married same-sex couples, pointing to the state's ban on marriage equality.  This summer, the Baton Rough Advocate published a disturbing exposé revealing that the city's sheriff's office had conducted undercover stings for at least two years arresting gay men for engaging in consensual sex.  In doing so, the sheriff relied on Louisiana's sodomy ban, which was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision but still technically remains on the books in the state.


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