Frank Bruni Hub




NYT's Frank Bruni: Gays Are Not A Threat To Your ‘Religious Liberty’

6a00d8341c730253ef017c380c41fb970b-150wiIn a new op-ed published in The New York Times, columnist Frank Bruni delves into the au courant debate on the intersection of same-sex marriage and so-called “religious liberty."

Bruni highlights how foes of marriage equality, having failed to prove why government has a vested interest in discriminating against same-sex couples, have resolved that the best way to defend their advocating for discrimination is to sound the dog whistle of “religious liberty.” In other words, the enemies of equality argue that they must be exempt from treating all people equally under the law because to do so would infringe upon their “religious liberty.” 

Bruni’s searing and insightful piece also directly responds to a statement made by 2016 Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush who, reacting to the on-set of same-sex marriage in Florida, a state he was once governor of, attempted to walk a fine line between his party’s discriminatory views on same-sex marriage and the view held by a majority of Americans that same-sex couples are entitled to the freedom to marry. Said Bush,

Bush"We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue – including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty." 

What’s wrong with invoking religious liberty in a debate on same-sex marriage? Bruni explains:

"For starters, it perpetuates confusion, some of which is cynically engineered, about the consequences of marriage-equality laws. They do not pertain to religious services or what happens in a church, temple or mosque; no clergy member will be compelled to preside over gay nuptials. Civil weddings are covered. That’s it.

But also, “religious liberty” sounds disturbingly like a dog whistle to the crowd that wants specified, codified exemption from anti-discrimination laws; it’s one of the phrases they lean on. If Bush didn’t know that, he should have. If he did, he just sided, for the moment, with religious extremists."

As James Esseks, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U. told Bruni, this new argument that places "religious liberty" at its heart "is the new wave, the new frame" that will be used to try and re-orient the national conversation on same-sex marriage by those hell-bent on stemming the tide of freedom and justice for same-sex couples. 

Read Bruni's full piece here


Human Rights Campaign Going International with Help from Republican Billionaires

New York hedge-fund billionaire Republicans Paul Singer, a major Romney supporter in 2012, and Daniel Loeb are funding a new Human Rights Campaign initiative to further LGBT rights internationally, reports NYT columnist Frank Bruni, who spoke with Singer at his offices in midtown Manhattan.

SingerWrites Bruni:

In this case, he was announcing a new project to be funded, at least at the outset, by him and other conservative donors but to be run by the Human Rights Campaign, an L.G.B.T. advocacy group in Washington, which is much more closely affiliated with Democrats. The initiative will be dedicated to fighting the victimization of gays and lesbians internationally. But it will also show that there are Republicans — not a majority, but an increasingly impassioned minority — who are intent on progress and justice for L.G.B.T. people. They won’t surrender that cause to Democrats, and they believe that Republicans who do so are resisting a future that’s both just and inevitable.

As you may recall, Singer's American Unity PAC assisted efforts to pass marriage equality in New York, Maine, and Maryland. Singer's son is gay.

Adds Bruni:

And the international initiative has a fascinating wrinkle. In addition to training L.G.B.T. advocates outside the United States and publicizing the failings of especially repressive countries, it intends to name and shame American religious zealots who sponsor antigay campaigns abroad. So Republican money may wind up challenging a constituency within the party. (We’re most definitely not in Kansas anymore.)

In Singer’s view, gay rights are consistent with a Republican philosophy of individual liberty, and gay marriage is “an augmenter of social stability, family stability and stability in raising kids.” In other words, it’s conservative.


Frank Bruni: Gay Marriage 'the Harlem Shake of Political Engagement'

Frank Bruni writes, in the NYT, about the "inevitability that hovers over" this moment with regard to LGBT equality:

BruniWhat a difference four years make. In 2008, both Clinton and Barack Obama publicly opposed same-sex marriage. Just a year ago, that was still Obama’s formal stance. But by the summer of 2012, marriage equality had made its way into the party platform. Now it’s woven into the party’s very fiber.

There’s no going back. In an ABC News/Washington Post survey released early last week, respondents nationwide favored marriage equality by a 58-to-36 margin. That’s an exact flip of a similar survey just seven years ago, when the margin was 36-to-58.

And among young Americans, who will obviously make up more and more of the electorate as time goes by, support was stronger still. The ABC/Washington Post survey showed that 81 percent of people in the 18-to-29 age group endorsed marriage equality.

The buildup to the Supreme Court hearings has demonstrated the breadth of diversity of support for it. There have been amicus briefs signed, or proclamations of solidarity issued, by dozens of professional athletes and by the American Academy of Pediatrics, by tech giants and accounting firms and retailers and airlines. Somewhere along the way, standing up for gay marriage went from nervy to trendy. It’s the Harlem Shake of political engagement.

Marriage and the Supremes [nyt]


Frank Bruni To Pope Francis: Stop Talking About Sex

Pope-Francis-on-the-busLike many people, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni sees the ascension of Jorge Mario Bergoglio from simply Argentine cardinal to Pope Francis as a time for the church to transition as well. The church has become too mired in sexual policing, something of which Francis too is guilty, and that mission derailed the church by shining the light on its own misconduct.

To get back on track, Bruni says, the church must first ignore Salt 'N' Pepa and stop talking about sex.

It's time for the church to stop talking so much about sex. It's the perfect time, in fact.

It's on matters of sexual morality that the church has lost much of its authority. And it's on matters of sexual morality that it largely wastes its breath. By insisting on mandatory celibacy for a priesthood winnowed and sometimes warped by that, by opposing the use of contraceptives for birth control, by casting judgment on homosexuals and by decrying divorce while running something of an annulment mill, the church's leaders have enraged and alienated Catholics whose common sense and whose experience of the real world tell them that none of that is wise, kind or necessary.

The church's leaders have also set themselves up to be dismissed as hypocrites, unable to uphold the very virtues they promulgate.

If Francis lives up to his reputation and truly embodies the spirit of the saint after which he's named, a humble servant of the poor, he must start rebuilding the church's outreach to the world's least fortunate, the 1.3 billion people living in poverty. That number, Bruni points out, is more than the 1.2 billion of people who identify as Catholic.


Frank Bruni Discovers How His Dad, Long Silent, Accepted A Gay Son

FrankbruniAt least four people emailed over the course of the evening to pass along Frank Bruni's latest New York Times column, "A Father's Journey on Gay Marriage."

I thought, "Well, this better be good..." It was better than good; it was great.

After years of skirting the issue of his sexuality with his father, a father who stayed silent after Bruni's late mother told him then-younger Frank's secret, Bruni recently had lunch with his dad to find out how he came to accept him.

Here is an excerpt from a piece worth reading twice. The scene picks up with Bruni's father explaining why, even after knowing the truth, he said nothing:

"It was just so unusual to me," he recalled, groping for the right word.

He’d heard it said that gay people were somehow stunted, maybe even ill. But that made no sense to him, because he was confident that I was neither of those things.

He’d heard it said that peculiar upbringings turned children gay. “I thought about it a lot,” he said, “and I came to the conclusion that it had to be in your genes, in you, because I couldn’t think how the environment for you was any different than it was for your two brothers.”

He said he worried that I was in for a more difficult, less complete life than they and my sister were. I asked him why he’d never broached that with me. He said that it would have been an insult — that I was obviously smart enough to have assessed the terrain and figured out for myself how I was going to navigate it.

It's a touching and telling people, particularly the elder Bruni's hypothesis on why some American remain hesitant to accept gay people. "I’m convinced that people who don’t accept gays just don’t really know any of them." Smart man.


I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012

2012

2012: GAYEST YEAR EVER

"The fact is, I'm gay." Anderson Cooper's long-awaited announcement sums what it meant to come out in 2012. Again and again we heard the same sentiment — from pop singer Mika's equally anticipated confirmation, "If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah," to actor Andrew Rannells casually remarking about relating to a gay character, "I am gay in real life, so I definitely get it." —  proving that coming out today is in many cases a non-event, and certainly secondary to other achievements.

Yes, a lot has changed in the 15 years since Time magazine ran that cover of Ellen DeGeneres declaring, "Yep, I'm Gay," and even in the six since Lance Bass told People, "I'm Gay." Entertainment Weekly published a cover story this summer called "The New Art Of Coming Out," concluding, "The current vibe for discussing one’s sexuality is almost defiantly mellow."

Yet most of this positive change has happened in familiar territory.

Former NFL star Wade Davis' coming out was a first, as was current professional boxer Orlando Cruz's. And Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo helped broaden the overall discussion about LGBT people. But there are a few people on this list who were less valiant, like Republican Sheriff Paul Babeu, and still others who remained quiet about their sexuality to the day they died. The debate over balance between privacy and responsibility is still one worth having, and clearly there are more arenas where LGBT people need space to shine.

All in all, though, 2012 shows that gay people who break down that closet can have it all.

Who had the 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012?

Find out (in alphabetical order), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012" »


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