Procedure Serves a Purpose

Columnist Bart Hinkle writes that, rather than the Obama administration’s directive, with no review or public comment, that all public school restrooms and locker rooms must be open for use based on gender self-identification—resulting in several legal challenges—that “a normal rule-making procedure would have allowed for thoughtful consideration of such issues.”

As Hinkle notes, both left and right are quite willing to violate procedural rule-making norms meant to restrain the arbitrary use of federal power, if it serves their own agendas to do so. But each will strenuously condemn the other side for violating those same procedural norms on behalf of an agenda they oppose.

Crime and Punishment

A horrific crime against a gay couple, severely scalded with boiling water while they slept. But even though Georgia is one of five states that do not have hate crime statutes, as the Washington Post reports, the perpetrator received a 40-year-prison sentence.

Not sure what a hate crime statute would have added, but support for state hate crime laws is high on the LGBT political priority list. Others point out that it’s better to punish actions, especially heinous actions as in this case, and not prioritize some forms of hate (i.e., group-directed animus) above others in terms of the severity of the punishment imposed.

As I’ve previously noted, hate crime supporters often oppose the death penalty, so in some cases involving first-degree murder in which a life sentence has been handed out, they simultaneously support/oppose the next logical step-up in punishment.

The LGBT Social Warrior Way

No cultural development is beyond the ever-critical eye of our LGBT social justice warriors, who have taken aim at the animated Seth Rogan flick “Sausage Party.” The Wall Street Journal‘s book review editor Bari Weiss explains that:

…a queer website called Autostraddle…ran a lukewarm review from a freelancer who praised the movie for including a gay character—a libidinous lesbian Latina taco voiced by Salma Hayek. The next day the site took down her post and published a 2,600-word apology illustrating in supernova tones the Maoist mind-set of the hard left.

Editor Heather Hogan explained that she heard from readers “who were upset that we labeled the taco a lesbian when it seems more likely that she was bisexual.” Other readers “questioned the consent of the sexual encounter between the taco and the hot dog bun.”

Ms. Hogan saved her harshest self-criticism for having allowed the review to be written by a person whose epidermis was not a sufficient shade of brown: “First and most damning, we allowed a non-Latina writer to cover a story about a caricature of a Latina.”

It sounds as if she would gladly commit seppuku, if only that didn’t require the sin of cultural appropriation: “I am wholly sorry for the pain and anger I caused you,” she wrote. “I offer you no justification. I was blinded by my own whiteness existing inside a system of white supremacy. I must do better. I will do better.”

It’s the sort of apology one might hear from a prisoner in North Korea….

This is par the course on the LGBT progressive left.

More. LGBT activists: “That’s not funny.”

Immigrants and Values

Donald Trump proposed an ideological test that would limit immigrants seeking admission to the U.S. to “those who share our values and respect our people,” saying: “Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country.”

Trump noted that such a test has been used during the Cold War as a basis for allowing immigrants to come to our shores, further inciting those who believe we were on the wrong side of that struggle.

LGBT activists immediately responded with condemnation and mockery.

Russell Roybal, deputy executive director for National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, told The Advocate that Trump’s proposal is a form of “thought-policing.” And, of course, progressives are never in favor of limiting expression and discussion.

The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement claiming that “What’s craziest about this ignorant, incomprehensible plan is that Donald Trump and Mike Pence would fail their own test,” because they met with evangelical Christian leaders who oppose same-sex marriage and favor allowing small business owners with religious objections to abstain from providing expressive services for same-sex marriages.

Whatever the merits of the Trump suggestion, the response highlights what many choose not to see: that a great number of immigrants from Muslim countries are intensely anti-gay (and hostile to Jews, and to women’s equality).

In the U.K., an ICM poll revealed that more than half of Muslims disagree with homosexuality being legal in Britain.

If a political party proposed allowing hundreds of thousands of anti-gay conservative Christians to immigrate to the U.S. from abroad, I suspect the response from LGBT progressives would be far different.

Bruce Bawer observed:

Here in Oslo, a gay couple who were holding hands in the largely Muslim neighborhood of Grønland were physically assaulted by a man who told them: “This is a Muslim neighborhood.” In a follow-up story, Dagbladet interviewed a local man, born in Pakistan but resident in Norway for ten years, who argues that “Grønland is a multicultural environment where there are many people who don’t like homosexuals, so they shouldn’t hold hands.” He says such things are OK in west Oslo, where there are few Muslims, “but here in Grønland they shouldn’t do it. Ideally, it should be forbidden to practice homosexuality in this area.”

There are those who have been quick to dismiss this as an isolated incident. On the contrary, it’s simply an indication that Norway is headed the same way as the rest of Western Europe.

He added, elsewhere:

One familiar response is: “Well, non-Muslims beat up gays, too!” Yep – indeed they do. Yet for a while there, in much of Western Europe, homosexuality was on its way to being a non-issue. In Amsterdam in the late 1990s, I was delightfully surprised to discover that when groups of straight teenage boys passed gay couples in the streets, they just walked past without any reaction whatsoever. The sight of gay people didn’t upset, threaten, amuse, or confuse them; the familiar, insecure urge to respond to open homosexuality with some kind of distancing, disdainful word or gesture – and thereby affirm to one another, and to themselves, their own heterosexual credentials – was simply not part of those kids’ makeup. For me, it was a remarkable experience. Amsterdam then seemed to me the leading edge of a new wave in the progress of human civilization.

Alas, it is now very clearly the opposite. The number of reported gay-bashings in Amsterdam now climbs steadily year by year. Nearly half Muslim, the city is a front in the struggle between democracy and sharia, under which, lest it be forgotten, homosexuality can be a capital offense. Things have gotten so bad there that even on the part of the exceedingly politically correct, there has been a degree of acknowledgment that something has changed, and is still changing.

As Douglas Murray wrote before this latest controversy, The gay community is in denial about Islamism. Or LGBT activists leaders are, at least.

More. An observation from Mallard Fillmore.

Trump and After Trump

The Washington Blade reports Log Cabin continues to mull Trump endorsement, and David Boaz posts, “He’s wholly unfit for the presidency, he traffics in racial and religious scapegoating, but he’s not particularly antigay…. So what’s Log Cabin to do?”

And no, reports like this one, also in the Washington Blade, casting Trump as “anti-LGBT” for meeting with conservative evangelicals, at what must by definition be “an anti-LGBT event,” are engaging in falsification that’s, well, worthy of Donald Trump. LGBT progressives with bylines are just as scurrilous as the Hannity and Limbaugh gang on the other side.

On a more positive note, Rich Tafel and Ted Buerger look forward to how Creative Destruction Will Allow Republicans and Democrats to Rebuild After 2016, and conclude:

The irony is that, in the wake of Trump’s self-destruction, we Republicans may be more motivated to make that change, from which could rise a renewed, inclusive party of Lincoln. That is our opportunity.

If the party loyalists recognize that Ted Cruz opened the door for Donald Trump, than in the wake of Trump’s defeat there is indeed a possibility that the socially moderate message we heard from Jeb Bush and John Kasich could hold sway as the Republicans rebuild their party.

A good sign: Florida Gov. Scott: Same-sex marriage is ‘law of the land.’ “We need to figure out how to come together as a country,” he told Fox News. “[T]he Supreme Court has already made a decision. In my state, we’re focused on jobs.”

And the New York Times reports on Marco Rubio’s addressing Christian conservatives and telling them, “When it comes to our brothers and our sisters, our fellow Americans, our neighbors in the LGBT community, we should recognize,” he said, that American history “has been marred by discrimination against and rejection of gays and lesbians.”

More. Tafel and Buerger write of the two major parties and their presidential campaigns:

But Americans deserve better. Gallup polls now confirm that most Americans are “socially liberal and fiscally conservative.” As hopeful believers in the American dream, most Americans want a sustainable society based on innovation and opportunity, security and trust, private charity and public safety-net, inclusion and religious liberty, personal freedom and human dignity. That aspiration should be at the core of each political party. It is not.

Yes, inclusion and religious liberty are both core American values, although I can see LGBT progressives stamping their feet and shouting that “religious liberty” is nothing but code for discrimination (because, you know, God talk) that seeks to elevate individual conscience above compliance with the will of the state.

Furthermore. Progressives believe taxpayers should be forced to fund late-term abortions but that no taxpayer money should go toward grants allowing low-income students to attend religiously affiliated colleges that don’t support same-sex marriage.

Annals of the One True Party

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, alarmed by signs that suggest GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is seeing a rise in support from the gay community, made the following declaration:

“That’s terrifying,” Booker told the Washington Examiner after the Democratic National Convention. “Donald Trump probably picked one of the most anti-gay vice presidential candidates we’ve had in a long time.”

Booker said Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., has been at the forefront of leading efforts he said unfairly discriminate against members of the LGBT community. The New Jersey senator went on to argue why he believes the Democratic Party is best for the gay community.

“Clearly we are the party of civil rights, worker’s rights, women’s rights and definitely gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights,” Booker said.

“Instanpundit” Glenn Reynolds picked up on this, and his readers share some interesting comments.

I’ve previously explained why, in my view, Mike Pence is being unfairly demonized and why, in America, people should not be compelled by the state to provide expressive services to same-sex weddings when to do so violates their religious convictions. But Booker’s comments are in keeping with the view of LGBT activists and media. This week, the Washington Blade was devoted almost exclusively to a celebration of all things Hillary while it’s been denouncing all things Trump, including commentary deploying the “f” word (as in “fascist”).

There is much to criticize about both presidential candidates, but for all his many bad positions, animus toward gay people is not a Trump hallmark. He is arguably the best GOP presidential nominee on “LGBTQ” issues we’ve seen, and far better than the party as a whole when it comes to LGBT inclusion.

Also this week, the Washington Post reports that Chelsea Clinton, appearing on a panel sponsored by Facebook and Glamour magazine, shared this bit of wisdom:

“I would just say urgently to every young woman, and, yes, every young man, um, every person who may not know their gender yet, or may have no gender identity — whatever you care about is at stake in this election,” she said….

The next day, she was the star guest at a Human Rights Campaign lunch where, the paper recounts, “She received several standing ovations in her nine-minute remarks.”

Recall that, despite no journalistic experience, NBC News paid Chelsea Clinton an annual salary of $600,000 to be a special correspondent, which included interviewing the Geico gecko, until she lost interest in that endeavor. But when you’re party royalty, and it’s the correct party, nothing is good enough.

Semi-related. David Frum, a moderate Republican who opposes Trump, looks at what liberals don’t understand about Trump’s popularity among his supporters. (No, they’re not backing him because they’re “fascists.”) It speaks to the widely shared perception among Trump voters that the system is rigged in favor of wealthy elites and government-entitled minorities—what others have termed the liberal “top-bottom coalition”—and how their daily experiences confirm that view.

Political Expediency

GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and Democratic veep nominee Tim Kaine have both altered their positions, and perhaps cut their consciences, to fit this year’s fashions. For instance, both have been supportive of multinational trade-promotion agreements. No more.

Looking at Kaine, the Washington Times reports that when he ran to be Virginia’s governor in 2005, he was against marriage equality and favored restrictions on abortion:

At the time he was a self-proclaimed pro-life “conservative” who openly quoted the Bible in his ads and checked off nearly every other box on conservatives’ wish list.

“The truth is, I cut taxes as mayor of Richmond. I’ll enforce the death penalty as governor, and I’m against same-sex marriage,” Mr. Kaine said in one of his ads. “I’m conservative on personal responsibility, character, family and the sanctity of life. These are my values, and that’s what I believe.”

And in a radio ad, cited here, Kaine said:

I oppose gay marriage, I support restrictions on abortion — no public funding and parental consent — and I’ve worked to pass a state law banning partial-birth abortion … [My opponent] played politics with abortion and as a result Virginia still has no ban. As governor, I’ll always put principle over politics and you’ll always know where I stand. That’s who I am and what I believe.

Nothing new here, of course, but it’s still interesting to see the gyrations that politicians are willing to make.

Defining himself as “conservative on…family and the sanctity of life” goes further than the positions against same-sex marriage that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama held at the time—they were always progressive on social issues, as a matter of self-branding.

Kaine has also just flip-flopped on the right to work without union membership (for it as Virginia governor, now against it).

Still, as this year’s veepstakes shows, maybe most politicians don’t believe anything except what will further their paths to power. Or they convince themselves that their old views were wrong and now they’re right, which just happens to be politically convenient at the present moment.

A Few GOP Convention Reflections

Donald Trump’s acceptance speech was full of the jingoistic bombast and wrong-headed policies on trade and immigration that prevent me from giving him my vote (I’m for the Johnson-Weld Libertarian party ticket). And the GOP platform, as previously discussed, was given over to hardcore social conservatives and the religious right, and consequently is awful on LGBT issues.

But I contend wholeheartedly that despite the platform committee’s antics on the sidelines, the Republican Convention represented a dramatic change from the past—and for the better—on LGBT issues, and failing to recognize that is simply partisan myopia. A quick recap (along with the consensus liberal and LGBT media assessment):

Ted Cruz: “Whether you are gay or straight, the Bill of Rights protects the rights of all of us to live according to our conscience.”
(media assessment: code for discrimination)

Newt Gingrich: “If our enemies had their way, gays, lesbians and transgender citizens would be put to death as they are today in the Islamic State and Iran.”
(media assessment: absurd fear-mongering)

Peter Thiel: “Every American has a unique identity. I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican, but most of all I am proud to be an American.”
(media assessment: sellout)

Donald Trump: “Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our LGBTQ community. No good. And we’re going to stop it. As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” [applause] “I must say as a Republican it is so nice to hear you cheering. Thank you.”
(media assessment: pandering)

The liberal media and LGBT left-progressive establishment were, of course, dismissive—at best, window-dressing and all that. But Trump’s comments and Thiel’s remarks were a huge departure for the GOP.

The last openly gay Republican convention speaker, then-Rep Jim Kolbe of Arizona in 2000, didn’t mention being gay. Nevertheless, the Texas delegation staged a protest while he spoke, removing their hats, bowing their heads and publicly praying. Nothing like that happened this time, nor is it likely to ever happen again.

More. Donald Trump was never likely to pay much attention to a committee-drafted platform he didn’t control, and letting the social conservatives run riot with it was a sop to the evangelical-right delegates, many of whom (but not all) were initially pledged to Ted Cruz. But Cruz’s convention speech nonendorsement of Trump has made the bad blood between the two men even worse. On reflection, Trump’s outreach to “LGBTQ” voters was like his own nonendorsement of the platform planks opposing LGBT social acceptance and legal equality that the Cruzites had pushed through.

It quite likely, I believe, that if Trump were elected he would sign The Equality Act—the proposed federal law to include LGBT antidiscrimination provisions in the Civil Rights Act—should it reach his desk. I’m no fan of the measure on libertarian grounds, but it’s the top item on the political agenda of progressive LGBT activist groups. However, given their virulence toward Trump, I suspect if he wins they will act to keep that from happening.

Furthermore. Wall Street Journal columnist Holman W. Jenkins Jr., a “Trumpian nonbeliever,” writes that Trump’s acceptance speech:

…was a masterful if lengthy exposition of his nationalist-Peronist viewpoint: America is a nation of lovely people of every creed, ethnicity and sexual orientation best by murderous illegal aliens, Islamic terrorists and the predatory trade practices of other countries.

I think that’s right (which is why I support Johnson-Weld). But it’s also right that the rejection of political gay-bashing by Trump throughout his campaign, and no mention at all of abortion in his convention speech, was a not-so-subtle repudiation of the platform committee’s hard-edged political-social conservatism. If Trump were elected, the platform in 2020, under his control, would likely be very different—especially since, as the Pew Research Center reports, 61% of young Republicans favor same-sex marriage.

Which may be why, at least in part, an extreme social conservative like Paul Mero has announced Trump has chased me from the GOP.

Scott Shackford writes at, GOP’s Overall Message to LGBTs: We Don’t Actually Want You Dead, Okay? While I’m generally a fan of Shackford’s often-astute analysis, I think Trump went beyond that in calling the LGBTQ victims in Orlando “wonderful Americans” and praising the convention audience for applauding that line. True, the GOP has set a low bar when it comes to LGBT equality, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss signs that it’s being raised.

Political Disagreement and Demonization

On Donald Trump’s selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, the Washington Post reports:

Clinton backers criticized Pence as a social warrior. Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights advocacy group, called him “the face of anti-LGBTQ hate in America.”

The governor, Griffin said, “has made attacking the rights and dignity of LGBT people a cornerstone of his political career — not just a part, but a defining part of his career.”

Pence’s gubernatorial tenure has been marked by a law he signed last year that could have allowed businesses to refuse service to gay people — sparking a national firestorm and a backlash from the business and — professional-sports communities that forced Pence to revise the statute.

A bit of perspective here. Griffin is a long-time personal and professional associate of the Clintons, a hyperpartisan who sees his role as funneling LGBT labor, votes and dollars to the Democratic party.

Pence is a social conservative, to be sure. But in Griffin’s view and that of the LGBT establishment, any disagreement with the left-progressive LGBT agenda makes you a ripe target for demonization. This is important, because it suggests that there can be no legitimate disagreement on the competing rights of gay legal equality and individual religious freedom.

The LGBT establishment and liberal media can put all the scare quotes they want around “religious liberty”—the way that social conservatives used to (and sometimes still do) put scare quotes around “gay marriage.” That doesn’t overcome the inconvenient truth that, in America, individuals do (or at least should) have the right not to be compelled by the state to engage in activities that violate their religious faith. And claims by the liberal left that such faith is wrongheaded does not (or should not) rob believers of that right.

Competing rights, in a constitutional system, are not easy to reconcile, and there will always be conflict around them. Demonizing those on the other side—the default position of the progressive left—only makes clear who the haters are, and, increasingly, it’s usually not the social conservatives.

That said, the Indiana religious freedom bill was, in my view, poorly constructed. Legislation to protect the rights of small business owners not to be compelled to provide creative services for same-sex weddings should not single out gay people as a class for whom discrimination is generally permissible. I don’t believe that was the intent of the legislation, but its supporters left themselves vulnerable to that interpretation.

On the wider issue of the 2016 presidential campaign, I’ve made it clear that I’m supporting the Libertarian party ticket of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and his vice presidential running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld—not because I have any illusions that they’ll win, or even because I agree with them on every issue (I don’t), but because I think supporting third parties whose views mostly align with your own may eventually have a constructive effect on the two major parties, if you believe (as I do) that both have gone seriously astray.

I see Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as untenable candidates, for different reasons. And sure, if LGBT rights is your predominant interest and you feel it is absolutely vital to ensure that the government force owners of small bakeries and independent wedding planners to provide their services to same-sex weddings (because, you know, “Jim Crow”), then of course you’ll be behind Clinton.

But while I find Trump’s nativist appeals and economic nationalism wrongheaded, and his style far beneath the dignity of the presidency, I think Clinton’s foreign policy misjudgments as Secretary of State (especially as regards Libya), her grossly misguided handling of classified e-mails and lying about it, her providing favors for Clinton Foundation donations, her pandering to the teachers unions in opposing vitally necessary public education reforms, and now her championing of the worst ideas of Bernie Sanders as regards entitlement expansion, all make her unacceptable.

I’d like the Democratic party to move back to the center on economic issues, and for the GOP to let go of its opposition to gay legal equality. I support reasonable restrictions on late-term abortions, especially partial birth abortion which seems to me little different from infanticide. Also, I don’t think the federal government should be using taxpayer money to pay for abortion, which a great many taxpayers view as the taking of human life.

And I don’t have a problem with allowing independent service providers to turn down gigs involving same-sex weddings if, in their view, to take those assignments would violate their religious faith (civil servants, as government employees, are different).

I’m sure that, in Chad Griffin’s view, that makes me a “hater.”

More. Walter Olson tweets about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Pence backed along with other social conservatives:

Reminder: Indiana RFRA law had fairly moderate content, but sank in part b/c it was seen as pet project of so-con hard-liners around Pence.

It all brings to mind Chris Bull and John Gallagher’s book on the culture wars of the ‘90s, Perfect Enemies, in which they observed: “As some leaders on both sides have discovered, it is easiest to raise money when your opponent is demonized out of all recognition.”

Which, of course, takes us to Everyone I don’t like is Hitler—demonstrated here and elsewhere—and Why everyone we don’t like is not.

GOP Platform Goes Back to the Past

Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo writes:

…the Republican Party passed the most anti-LGBT Platform in the Party’s 162-year history. Opposition to marriage equality, nonsense about bathrooms, an endorsement of the debunked psychological practice of “pray the gay away” — it’s all in there. … When given a chance to follow the lead of our presumptive presidential nominee and reach out to the LGBT community in the wake of the awful terrorist massacre in Orlando on the gay nightclub Pulse, the Platform Committee said NO.

The committee was stacked with social conservatives, a large number of whom were pledged to Ted Cruz. Nevertheless, LCR remains committed to “take back the Party,” and it will happen, but not this year. As Guy Benson tweets, “…that is where the party remains today, even as many GOP-leaning voters now favor SSM, especially among younger demos…”

From The Hill:

The majority of the panel was made up of hard-line social conservatives such as Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. Perkins and other social conservatives on the panel had a strong enough majority to push through the bulk of the measures they sought.

But the Perkins wing was met with vocal opposition from Annie Dickerson, an adviser to billionaire GOP donor Paul Singer, who is a proponent of same-sex marriage and other issues championed by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Dickerson fumed as her socially liberal proposals went down and the socially conservative measures she opposed sailed through the subcommittee.

The Federalist argues that some of the reaction is exaggerated:

Others also reported that Republicans had scrubbed and stripped “LGBT language” from a plank dealing with Islamic terrorism, even though the GOP had stripped any mention of all individual groups, including Christians, Jews, and women. That certainly gives the news a different context.

Some reporters seem to be creating the impression (or maybe they believe) that conservatives are so homophobic they’re unwilling to accept the notion that radical Islam targets gays, even after Orlando. This is absurd and willfully misleading. Most conservatives have gone out of their way to point out that Islamism is genuinely and violently homophobic. It is often liberals who refuse to acknowledge that radical Islamic terrorism has a purpose and that it is what drove someone to specifically target a gay nightclub.

And let’s recall that there is much destructive nonsense of the leftist variety in the Democratic platform as well. Both parties now use these quadrennial declarations to placate their most ideologically hardcore activists, expecting (and hoping) that the general public won’t take much notice. That doesn’t excuse these expressions of extremism, it just explains what’s going on.

A final point. On another issue dealing with sexuality. the GOP platform takes aim at porn. David Boaz writes about the anti-porn plank:

A Republican National Convention platform committee has declared pornography “a public health crisis.” Committee members don’t seem to know what “public health” means.

I’ll just mention than while not all feminists see pornography as a threat to society, anti-porn feminists find themselves oddly aligned with religious right social conservatives on this matter—even though the increased availability of pornography tracks with declining statistics for violent rape.

More. The two-party system:

New York Times: Emerging Republican Platform Goes Far to the Right.

Washington Post: Democrats shift to the left in this past weekend’s platform fight.

Furthermore. Another Washington Post report, While Trump stays out of it, GOP platform tacks to the right on gay rights, has some interesting observations:

Chris Barron, a gay conservative strategist, said the platform is a document with few teeth. …

“Platform fights are like the fourth game of an NFL pre-season — the stars don’t play, the games don’t count, and if you win, it’s irrelevant,” said Barron….

“Every four years the nominees make it clear that they don’t speak for the platform,” he said. “They speak for themselves. We have the most pro-gay nominee of the Republican Party ever in Donald Trump, and that’s what matters.”

Maybe, or maybe a bit of “Who wanted to be invited to your party anyway.”