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04/19/2007


Montana Supreme Court Rejects Case Demanding Equal Benefits for Gay Couples in 4-3 Decision

The Montana Supreme Court has sided with a lower court judge who dismissed a case brought by the ACLU demanding equal benefits for same-sex couples.

MontanaJudge Jeffrey Sherlock dismissed the case in April 2011, saying that an amendment to the Montana Constitution that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman had already settled the question, adding that the question of granting gay couples the benefits, without allowing them to get married, was best left to the legislative process. Sherlock also said that a ruling to force state lawmakers to write new laws would be an inappropriate breach of the separation of powers between the three branches of government.

In November, the ACLU said that Sherlock "abdicated his responsibility" in dismissing the case. They brought their appeal before the Supreme Court in April 2012.

The AP reports on today's decision:

The court wrote in Monday's 4-3 decision the request was "overly broad" and sided with a lower court's decision last year to dismiss the lawsuit. But the Supreme Court left the door open for the couples to modify their request and try again.

The couples are not asking to for the right to marry. Instead, they argue the state is constitutionally required to let them make the same decisions about their families' health care and finances as married couples.

The state has argued that spousal benefits are limited by definition to married couples. It argues that any decision to expand them needs to be made by the Legislature.

Here's the ACLU's information page on the case.


Montana Conservatives Plan 'Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day 2.0'

ChickcardThe Montana Family Foundation, one of the many conservative groups that idolize Chick-fil-A for CEO Dan Cathy's hideously homophobic politics, plans on launching a second "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day".

D Gregory Smith reports:

Calling it an opportunity to support traditional family values the Montana Family Foundation will open a Chick-fil-A drive through in Billings for one day in September. The chicken will be available for one day only in Billings’ west end on Saturday, September 8th from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This one-day drive-thru event is called Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day 2.0.

For a suggested donation of $20 per person the public is invited to attend this fund-raising event where hot Chick-fil-A chicken, coleslaw and chocolate chip cookies will be available to the first 1000 people.

It should be interesting to see if the Montana Family Foundation actually brings in that many chicken loving conservatives.


Missoula, Montana Anti-Gay Hate Crime Was Fabricated: Police - VIDEO

Joseph

An update on the anti-gay assault that was reported to have happened over the weekend in Missoula, Montana.

Joseph Baken, of Billings, had reported to police that he was beaten by three men after spending the evening at the Missoula Club and asking for the location of a gay bar. Now police say they have new information they are following up on and believe that the incident was fabricated.

The Missoula Independent reports:

...the Missoula Independent and MPD obtained video footage that shows Baken doing a backflip on Higgins Avenue and sustaining the injuries, lacerations to his face, that have been depicted on social media sites, during the landing.

Baken will likely be charged for making a false report, according to police. Baken's alleged story spread quickly on the web yesterday after the Wipeout Homophobia Facebook page posted his photo.

Watch the video footage, AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATED. "Joseph Baken pleaded guilty this afternoon in Missoula Municipal Court to charges of filing a false police report. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a $300 fine. The jail time was suspended."

Continue reading "Missoula, Montana Anti-Gay Hate Crime Was Fabricated: Police - VIDEO" »


Gay Man Allegedly Beaten in Homophobic Attack in Missoula, Montana

Joseph

UPDATE: Law enforcement now says the incident was fabricated.

A man identified as "Joseph" was targeted in an anti-gay beating outside a bar in Missoula, Montana in the early hours of Sunday, according to the Wipeout Homophobia page on Facebook, which posted the above set of photos today.

The Missoulian confirms that the man had gone to the Missoula Club to celebrate his 22nd birthday, and it was outside of that establishment that the attack took place:

The man told police he’d asked people about the location of a gay bar, when someone asked him to step outside for a cigarette, Brodie said.

But the man said that when he left the bar, someone hit him, and then two more people joined in, Brodie said. The incident happened at 1:30 a.m. Sunday and the man reported it to police at 4:30 a.m., after he got home, Brodie said.

Missoula Police Lt. Scott Brodie told the paper that the man “indicated he was assaulted because of his sexual preference."

According to KPAX, "Police say they're considering the assault a misdemeanor."


Montana Republican Party Drops Call to Criminalize Homosexuality

At its convention over the weekend (the one at which the "Obama Outhouse" made an appearance, the Montana Republican Party dropped an item from its platform which had received attention in recent years:

Montanagoplogo"We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal."

The AP reports:

The GOP had held the position seeking to criminalize homosexuality since a 1997 Montana Supreme Court case striking down similar state laws. The party had been criticized in recent years for continuing its request to criminalize homosexuality.

But party executive director Bowen Greenwood says the decision to drop the language came as part of a larger effort to simply shorten a 31-page platform. He says there was no specific discussion on the matter.

The Party retained at item making it clear it supports only marriage between a man and a woman. Montana Democrats added marriage equality to their plank this year.


Obama Campaign Manager's Allegedly Homophobic Political Ad: VIDEO

MessinaAd

Jim Messina, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff and current Obama campaign manager, was the subject of a generally friendly profile in this week's Businessweek. But on the profile's fourth page, in reference to Jim Messina's tenure working for Sen. Max Bacaus, of Montana, readers find this:

Messina will go a long way to win, as the two leading stories from his Montana career suggest. Both involve the 2002 Senate race he ran for Baucus, a Democrat seeking reelection in a terrible year for Democrats. To protect Baucus, Messina had him refuse to participate in any debate that didn’t also include a fringe third-party candidate who’d inadvertently dyed his skin blue with homemade antibiotics—a guaranteed distraction.

The other story involved his Republican challenger, a state senator named Mike Taylor, who was the target of an ad so devastating it got national attention. The ad charged Taylor with having embezzled student loans from a cosmetology school he’d owned in the 1980s. But its force lay in the music and imagery. Set to a porn soundtrack, it featured snippets of an old television ad for Taylor’s hair salon that showed the candidate clad in a medallioned, open-shirted disco outfit, massaging lotion into another man’s face, and then appearing to reach toward the man’s crotch, as a narrator intoned, “Not the way we do business in Montana.”

“Jim is tough,” Baucus says. “I’ll never forget when he showed me that ad. We were in Bozeman in a motel. The curtains were drawn. He said, ‘Max, what do you think?’ They were afraid I wasn’t going to like it. I loved it!” Humiliated, Taylor quit the race, and Baucus sailed to victory. “I found out quickly from Messina that there was no honor in politics,” Taylor says in an e-mail.

The facial cream ad is a classic in the annals of political dirty-trickdom, as David Sirota points out at Salon:

... very few spots are so indelible as to be considered iconic, and almost all of those are national presidential ads, like the 1964 Johnson campaign’s “Daisy” spot; the 1988 Bush campaign’s racially charged “Revolving Door”; and the 2004Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on John Kerry’s war record. Arguably the only congressional ad to ever reach such rarefied air was the 2002 Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spot against Montana Republican Senate nominee Mike Taylor.

Renowned in political circles, the ad set porno music to 20-year-old footage of a video from Taylor’s cosmetics business. The video showed Taylor in a leisure suit rubbing cream into another man’s face. As the spot faded to black, it showed Taylor then seeming to reach for the man’s crotch as a voice-over said “Mike Taylor — not the way we do business in Montana.”

Thanks to the deliberate choice of music, the footage of man-on-man physical contact and the voice-over message, the ad is considered the epitome of homophobic demagoguery — a spot ostensibly about Taylor’s Department of Education loans, but really designed to raise questions about Taylor’s sexuality in a culturally conservative state. Summarizing the national uproar over the ad, the Denver Post at the time noted that “only the most naive adult would miss the implication that Taylor is a homosexual” and that clearly “the supposedly inclusive Democrats deftly played on the right’s homophobia.”

... but is that so? The video is so cheese-tastic that it would be insane for a political opponent not to use it in a campaign ad. As to the porn-movie music -- what other music could this video possibly be set to? The moment a political ad features facial hair of this caliber, soundtrack options become somewhat limited.

Note: Joe Solmonese, former HRC president (and current Obama campaign co-chair) emailed Buzzfeed yesterday to defend Messina's LGBT rights cred:

"With the exception of the President himself, the LGBT community has had no greater champion or advocate within the administration than Jim Messina," Joe Solmonese, HRC president and Obama campaign's national co-chair emailed BuzzFeed. "In the fight to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I had the honor of working by Jim's side throughout the entire process. No one that I know was more proud of that accomplishment or more visibly moved on the day of its passage than Jim. I'm proud to call him a friend."

Watch the old Baucus ad AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Obama Campaign Manager's Allegedly Homophobic Political Ad: VIDEO" »


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