We’re Changing Our Name

http://www.rightsequalrights.com
It’s been just two years since a small group of friends and I started Californians Against Hate to draw attention to the mega-donors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign. It’s been a busy 23 months.

We began on July 18, 2008 by helping to assemble a coalition of LGBT organizations and labor in San Diego to boycott Doug Manchester’s three hotels. Doug Manchester had contributed $125,000 in very early money to quality and pass Proposition 8, which took marriage rights away from millions of Californians. Why should we support his three hotels, only to have that money used against us?

The Manchester Hotels boycott exceeded our wildest expectations. According to their own admission, the boycott is costing the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel alone approximately $1 million per month. This is due to dozens of canceled large meetings and conventions at Manchester’s flagship property, and thousands of individuals and businesses who refuse to cross our picket line.

Manchester also sold his Idaho hotel, and now rumors abound that his brand new $400 million Grand del Mar Resort in San Diego is in receivership. It has recently been reported that Global Hyatt Corporation may be buying a majority interest in his Manchester Grand Hyatt. The sale was just approved by the San Diego Port Commission.

We have led three other boycotts against the biggest donors to Proposition 8. We have settled two; one against Bolthouse Farms and another against Garff Automotive Group. Both had family members who contributed $100,000 to pass Prop 8. Now both companies are generous supporters of a variety of LGBT organizations.

Our one remaining boycott is against Terry Caster’s A-1 Self Storage Company. Terry Caster and his family gave a whopping $693,000 to Prop 8. Caster was even quoted in the San Diego Union-Tribune saying that gay marriage “would create a sick society.”

During the summer of 2008, we discovered the active involvement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) in Prop 8. The Mormon Church had taken over virtually every aspect of the Yes on 8 campaign.

Mormon families contributed approximately $30 million of the $40 million raised, the Church produced 27 slick commercials, put up an expensive web site, bussed in thousands of volunteers from Utah, had massive phone banks yet only reported a mere $2078 in non-monetary contributions three days before the election. Two weeks later I filed a sworn complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) against the Mormon Church for not reporting its vast financial involvement in the campaign.

The Commission prosecuted the case, and conducted an unprecedented 19 month investigation of the Salt Lake City based Church’s finances. Three weeks ago the FPPC found the Mormon Church guilty of 13 counts of late reporting and they were fined $5539. That was the first time a religion was found guilty of election irregularities in the 36 year history of the FPPC.

I also have done battle with the Mormon Church’s front group, the infamous National Organization for Marriage (NOM). I have challenged all of their false and misleading actions for the last two years. It was all of their arrogant and illegal campaign activities last fall in Maine that was the final straw.

NOM contributed over $1.9 million to take away that state’s recently passed right to marry for all, and completely disregarded Maine’s long-standing election law in the process. NOM was required to report all its contributor names of $100 and more to election officials. NOM refused, and continues to refuse to turn over their records, even after being ordered to do so by three federal judges and the Attorney General of Maine. I have attended three separate Commission meetings in Maine to make sure they comply with the Maine election law.

As a result of all my efforts, I was subpoenaed by the National Organization for Marriage last September as part of their federal law suit, ProtectMarriage.com v. Bowen. That law suit was filed in California by the official Yes on Prop 8 committee and NOM to invalidate all campaign reporting laws in California. They subpoenaed me strictly to harass me and make me spend a lot of money. Thanks to the generous support of so many of you who contributed to my legal defense fund, Five for Fred, most all of the legal costs have been covered.

Now as we take on new challenges and go in new directions, we have passed a Board resolution to officially change our name. From this day forward, Californians Against Hate will be known as Rights Equal Rights.

Our new name reflects our new direction and makes us more national in scope.

Rest assured, that I have never been more determined and motivated to help lead the LGBTQ community in our fight for full equal rights in this country.

Younger people who begin to realize that they might be lesbian, gay, bi-sexual transgender or queer will soon be afforded all the same rights as their brothers, sisters friends and neighbors.
That is what our founding fathers had in mind when they wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

We will settle for nothing less.

Best regards,

Fred Karger
www.RightsEqualRights.com

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News Coverage: NOM Ordered to Hand Over Donor Information

From the Maine Public Broadcasting Network:

NOM Ordered to Hand Over Donor Information
06/08/2010 12:03 PM ET

The National Organization for Marriage has been fighting the state’s efforts to find out who bankrolled the group’s $2 million contribution to last year’s successful campaign to overturn the Maine’s gay marriage law.

A federal appeals court in Boston has ordered the National Organization for Marriage to hand over information about its donors to the state.

The group, known by its initials “NOM” contributed nearly $2 million to last year’s successful campaign to overturn Maine’s gay marriage law. Opponents say NOM has failed to comply with the state’s financial disclosure law, a claim that is nowunder investigation by the state Ethics Commission.

NOM, meanwhile, has filed its own constitutional challenge of the state law, and Kate Simmons of the Maine Attorney Generals’ office says Monday’s ruling will help the state defend itself.

“NOM must reveal to the state how they raised the money, for what purpose and who it came from,” she says. “They were the largest single contributor to Stand for Marriage Maine, and as a part of Maine’s campaign finance laws, the state is working to find out how they raised that money and for what purpose.”

The court has ordered that any information handed over by NOM would have to remain confidential. Still, NOM president Brian Brown said Tuesday that his group will appeal the latest ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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News Coverage: Magistrate Judge says NOM Should Turn Over Donors’ Names

From The Maine Public Broadcasting Network:

Magistrate Judge says NOM Should
Turn Over Donors’ Names

A federal magistrate judge has ordered the national group that provided most of the funding to repeal Maine’s same-sex marriage law to turn over information about its donors. The magistrate rejected claims by the National Organization for Marriage that the donor names aren’t relevant to the issue before the court, and that releasing them would have a chilling effect on the group’s future fundraising efforts.

(Listen to the audio at the link)

The National Organization for Marriage, or NOM, contributed $1.9 million dollars to last year’s successful campaign to overturn Maine’s gay marriage law. But NOM has refused to comply with demands from state elections’ officials to hand over the names of donors, as required by Maine law.

While challening the Ethics Commission’s case, NOM has issued its own challenge in federal court, claiming Maine’s elections law is uncontitutional. In a preliminary ruling on evidence in that case filed on Sunday, federal Magistrate John H. Rich III ordered NOM to provide the Maine Attorney General’s office with donor information dating back to January 1st of last year.

“And we’re pleased with the federal magistrate’s preliminary decision that as a part of this litigation, NOM must share information about their donors with the Office of the Attorney General,” says AG spokeswoman Kate Simmons.

Simmons says the magistrate rejected NOM’s claim that releasing the names would have a chilling effect upon future fundraising efforts, in large part because of the court’s requirement that the information be kept confidential. “The information about their donors would only be disclosed to this office, and would not be a public document nor able to be shared with the public at large.”

NOM has claimed that the donor information might be used by the Ethics Commission in its case against the group. Simmons says it’s true that the information could be viewed by the Commission, but the magistrate has ruled that it may not be used against NOM in other legal challenges.

That issue, and others are now under appeal in federal court. While the appeals continue to fly, critics of NOM see the latest ruling as a victory.

“This decision is in keeping with every other decision that we’ve seen, in that they are just crying wolf,” says Fred Karger, founder of the group Californians Against Hate, which has been actively challenging NOM’s refusal to disclose the names of its donors. Karger alleges that they are, largely, members of the Mormon Church.

Karger says he applauds the ruling in Maine as another step in forcing NOM to open its books. “The National Organization for Marriage has spent the last three years trying to avoid that; they’ve conducted their business in secrecy,” Karger says. “They’re under investigation now in two states, and possibly a third, for this very action, and so I just commend the judge magistrate for trying to get to the bottom of their financing, which is one of the great mysteries of the world.”

Ethics Commission Executive Director Jonathan Wayne declined comment on the magistrate’s ruling. A spokesman for NOM could not be reached for comment by airtime.

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Open Letter to Maggie Gallagher

Cross-posted from Fred Karger’s article at The Huffington Post:

Open Letter to Maggie Gallagher

Like millions of Americans, I was able to see the absolute joy experienced by hundreds of gay and lesbian couples who are now able to legally marry in Washington, DC. I wept when I saw television reports of couples who have been together, some for decades, finally able to share in the joy and happiness afforded automatically to their straight brothers and sisters.

Hooray for the Washington, DC City Council and Mayor Fenty for allowing all its residents full equality under the law just like our founding fathers intended.

I cried with joy for all the young LGBTQ Americans who can clearly see that they are not inferior, but equal. I am thrilled that kids growing up now know that they can marry the person that they love in five enlightened states, and in our nation’s capitol.

Hooray for our courageous leaders who stood up to bigotry and discrimination and did the right thing. They stood up to you and your army of paid henchmen who fight marriage equality tooth and nail every step of the way.

I don’t have words to express my disgust toward you and all those you are fronting for at the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). You have spent at least $25 million in just the past few years to try and undo the happiness of so many people. Hundreds of couples lined up in the cold and rain of Washington last Wednesday in order get a license so they could finally marry the one they love.

Why are you, all your financial backers and all your high-priced attorneys across the country hell-bent on destroying so many lives and hurting so many people, just as they are about to experience the happiest day of their lives?

What is so wrong with your life, that you make your living attempting to hurt so many others?

You preside over two extremely well funded organizations that portend to “protect marriage.” You speak all over the county at marriage rallies. You are on TV all the time defending what you call the “sanctity of marriage.” You have written books on marriage, one of which is even titled, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better-Off Financially, yet NOM’s Executive Director, Brian Brown and you viciously attack anyone who gets in your way.

Are You Even Married, Maggie?

No one has ever seen your husband. You attend countless marriage events, chock full of married couples, celebrating marriage, yet you always, always show up alone.

I had the displeasure of attending your recent presentation at the CATO Institute in Washington, DC. I was amazed to see that you don’t wear a wedding ring. No rings on any fingers. Where is your alleged husband? Why no ring?

No rings on any fingers.

Just last year, NOM proudly said it spent over $8 million in a dozen states in your recently released “Investor’s Report.”

That doesn’t even include the millions more in attorney’s fees and money raised through your 501(c)3 charitable fund.

You fight people’s happiness at the ballot box, state legislatures and through too many law suits to count.

Recently, NOM has lead the effort to undo the Washington, DC law through every means possible, including going to Congress, the courts, all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. Brian Brown’s angry email from Friday states, “Don’t believe the lies. It’s not over in D.C. by any means.”

Where Does All Your Money Come From?

You continually hide where all your millions come from on your extremely late or never reported federal income tax filings. You refuse to cooperate with the California and Maine Ethics Commissions (both of whom are currently investigating your National Organization for Marriage), and when these investigations began into your many campaign irregularities, you sued both states to stop their investigation in an attempt to intimidate those seeking the truth.

Anyone who dares to support equality becomes the victim of your venom and hate.

We will not be intimidated. We refuse to allow you, and all those paying your salary, to hurt any more young people.

We have enlisted our own army to fight NOM and you at every turn. We are dedicated to finding out the truth about you and the front group that you head. And we will not rest until your cover of secrecy and deceit is lifted.

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News Coverage: Campaign Clarity Needed

Check out this excellent Bangor Daily News Editorial (12/26/09) calling out NOM for violating Maine’s election laws. NOM did not report any of its contributor’s names, and it gave $1.9 million (64% of all money raised) to defeat same-sex marriage in last month’s election. Then NOM sued Maine election officials to invalidate all campaign reporting:

Campaign Clarity Needed

By BDN Staff

A lawsuit involving a national group opposed to gay marriage has far-reaching implications for the state’s campaign reporting and financing laws, especially since the National Organization for Marriage said it plans to advocate for supporters of “traditional marriage” in next year’s election.

In October, NOM filed suit in federal court claiming Maine’s referendum campaign finance reporting requirements were overly burdensome and, therefore, unconstitutional. Earlier this month, the group amended its complaint to U.S. District Court to include candidate elections. If its challenge is upheld, it would leave a big hole in the state’s reporting requirements and its Clean Election financing program, which relies on candidates’ reporting of donations to determine whether matching funds are warranted.

The group, based in New Jersey, contributed nearly $2 million to Stand for Marriage Maine, which successfully advocated a repeal of the state law allowing same-sex couples to marry. NOM has refused to disclose to state election officials where its money came from. State law requires groups or individuals that raise more than $5,000 to support or oppose a ballot question to register as a ballot question committee. Anyone who donates more than $100 to the committee must be identified in campaign finance reports.

The Commission on Governmental Ethics and Elections Practices is investigating whether NOM violated state campaign finance laws by refusing to name its donors in connection with Question 1 on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Attorneys for the group have argued that listing donors would discourage contributions because people would be afraid of retaliation.

Gay marriage is an emotional issue, but citing fear as a reason to flout the law is an unpersuasive argument, especially when thousands of donors are named — complete with their home or businesses addresses and occupations — on campaign finance reporting forms filed by groups on both sides of Question 1. National groups have been involved in many contentious campaigns since Maine’s reporting requirements have been in place. None has refused to comply with the law.

At the same time, there are varying levels of compliance. Some groups simply list “fund transfer” as a source of funding.

NOM’s argument that it raises money nationally to be used in many different states, rather than for a campaign in a specific state, is more complex. A close look at the group’s fundraising literature will clarify whether it was raising money for the Yes on 1 campaign in Maine. If it was, reporting is necessary, as it should also be for other national groups that contribute to Maine campaigns.

It may be that lawmakers need to reconsider Maine’s ballot committee law to clarify how such national fundraising should be handled, especially since it could influence Clean Election funding next year.

The bottom line is that Maine voters should be able to know who is trying to influence their vote.

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News Release: Mormon Congressman Leads Effort to Overturn DC Gay Marriage Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Fred Karger
December 22, 2009
619-592-2008

Utah Congressman Chaffetz Leads Effort to Dump Recently Enacted Gay Marriage Law in Washington, DC

Salt Lake City, UT — Mormon freshman Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), ranking Republican on the Congressional subcommittee that oversees Washington, DC, is now trying to undue the District’s new law that allows same-sex marriage in our nation’s capitol. Congress has 30 days to overturn that law.

The president of the National Organization for Marriage, which was created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) two years ago to fight gay marriage throughout the country, announced last week that they would go to the ballot and to the courts to overturn marriage equality in Washington, DC. Well, she left out a third avenue, going to the Congress to veto the new law. Maggie Gallagher, NOM’s President said that they would defeat it, and here they go again.

NOM is very effective. They were responsible for Proposition 8 qualifying for the California ballot last year which ended same-sex marriage there. They were successful in overturning Maine’s gay marriage law last month, having contributed 64% of all money raised ($1.9 million of the $3 million) in that state. Now they have set their sights on our most recent victory in Washington, DC.

“We have been tracking NOM from day one, and while effective, they do all this secretly and utilizing highly questionable practices,” said Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate. “Maggie and executive director Brian Brown are single handidly fighting same-sex marriage in 11 sates, and now Washington, DC, all by themselves — truly amazing.”

“That is why we have called for investigations in California and Maine into their fund-raising, which is shrouded in mystery. In Maine they refused to disclose the names of thier contributors even after being ordered to do so by Federal Judge D. Brock Hornby and Maine attorney General Janet T. Mills.

Both California and Maine are investigating NOM right now, and the California investigation has included the Mormon Church. It has been ongoing for the past 13 months (FPPC Case # 08/735).”

“Now we need a Congressional investigation of the National Organization for Marriage as they come charging into out nation’s capitol to attempt to undo marriage equality there. They must no longer go unchecked,” demanded Karger.

Read the story about Rep. Chaffetz from the Mormon Church owned Salt Lake City Deseret News:

Chaffetz, family differ on gay marriage

By Lee Davidson

Published: Monday, Dec. 21, 2009 11:32 p.m. MST
SALT LAKE CITY — Gay rights groups are flabbergasted that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is leading a charge to block gay marriage in the District of Columbia, since his family has some interesting gay and liberal ties.

After all, his father, John Chaffetz, wrote a complimentary book about a gay couple that competed in the “Amazing Race” reality TV show. And liberal, former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis (whose wife, Kitty, was once married to Chaffetz’s father) has been helping the young Chaffetz to pass legislation.

So gay groups are questioning in widespread Internet posts why Chaffetz, with such ties, could do such a thing. They wish aloud that he would listen to his more liberal relations, and stop his pledges to try to overturn a D.C. ordinance signed by its mayor last week to allow gay marriage.

Chaffetz told the Deseret News on Monday that such groups should not hold their breath for that.

“I see my position more as a support of traditional marriage than it is an attack on gay marriage. I think I have a core moral belief in traditional marriage, and I’m willing to stand up and stand tall for traditional marriage,” he said.

Although Chaffetz is a freshman, he is the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversees District of Columbia operations. So he said it is part of that job to announce GOP opposition to the new ordinance, and vow to fight it since federal law gives Congress 30 days to overturn any ordinance passed by the D.C. Council.

“It has led to a whole series of very aggressive personal attacks, but go ahead, I don’t care. It doesn’t phase me much,” Chaffetz said. Many of the attacks draw attention to how his father wrote the book “Gay Reality” about the gay couple of Bill Bartek and Joe Baldassare who gained attention as reality show contestants. And attacks point out Chaffetz’s ties to Dukakis.

But Chaffetz explains, “I am the only member of my family who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a convert.” He joined the church two months after he graduated from Brigham Young University, where he had been recruited as a football placekicker.

Because of that church background, Chaffetz said he is more conservative than many in his extended family, although he said it does include both Republicans and Democrats.

“My younger brother Alex is about as conservative as it gets, other than maybe Attila the Hun,” he joked. “My older half-brother (John Dukakis — who changed his last name from Chaffetz to match that of his famous stepfather, Michael Dukakis) is about as liberal as it gets.”

That doesn’t mean that Chaffetz hasn’t sought out the opinion of his half-brother, a former actor who had roles in such films as “Jaws 2” and in such TV series as “Family Ties” and “Taxi.”

“I showed my brother John a draft of a campaign piece we prepared. And he said, ‘I disagree with everything you say here.’ And I thought, ‘We have success. We must be on to something,'” Chaffetz said.

In contrast, Chaffetz said his father is a “very conservative person,” his book about the gay couple notwithstanding. “I’ve talked to him about some things, but not about this (gay marriage).”

While Chaffetz is not biologically related to Michael Dukakis, Chaffetz said they became well acquainted and spent time together because John Dukakis would spend the school year with Dukakis and John’s mother, Kitty, and the summers with his father and his half-brothers, Jason and Alex, and their mother.

Rep. Chaffetz even headed the Dukakis campaign at BYU in 1988, before his conversions to be a Republican and a Mormon. He said he and Dukakis still keep in close contact, and the former Massachusetts governor has helped him make some Democratic contacts needed to do such things as pass House legislation to ban use of “whole-body imaging” machines at airports.

“One of the interesting phenomena is that Michael Dukakis has been very helpful in opening a lot of doors that wouldn’t have been opened otherwise. Some very liberal Democrats have given me the time of day that wouldn’t normally have done so, particularly some of the people from Massachusetts,” Chaffetz said.

“He (Dukakis) is a passionate believer in good public service, and considers party secondary. He wants to do some things that I could never support, but I respect him,” Chaffetz said. “I talked to him the day before yesterday. We keep in contact.”

But, again, Chaffetz said he believes strongly in defending traditional marriage, and no one should expect differently even if he has some liberal friends and family. “I’m my own guy on this one,” he said.

Still, the Utah Log Cabin Republicans on Monday called for him to change, issuing a statement that it wants him to “get back to tending the issues we sent him to Washington to represent, and stop trying to force others to adhere to his misguided interpretation of what makes a real marriage.”

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News Release: I am starting a legal defense fund

ACTION ALERT
December 2, 2009
Contact: Fred Karger
619-592-2008

I am starting a legal defense fund

Please Get out Your MasterCard – I Need Your Help!

www.FiveforFred.com

It’s been three months since I was subpoenaed by the National Organization for Marriage and Protect Marriage, the official Yes on 8 campaign committee that raised $40 million last year.  They served me with a subpoena on Labor Day weekend as part of their federal law suit to end disclosure of all campaign contributions in California.

In one fell swoop, these rabid opponents of LGBT civil rights want to forever hide the identity of all their donors, and stop me from my pursuit of truth and transparency. They want to continue to raise millions and millions of dollars to ban same-sex marriage while keeping their donors’ names secret.

They want to silence me by dragging me through our costly legal system. They are clearly doing this to harass me and hurt me.  They don’t like the fact that two states, California and Maine, are investigating the National Organization for Marriage due to the complaints that I filed.

www.FiveforFred.com

I have retained a highly regarded California law firm, Stevens, O’Connell and Jacobs to represent me.  I am very fortunate to get such excellent attorneys to go up against the well funded and powerful lawyers on the other side, James Bopp and the Alliance Defense Fund.

I will not be intimidated, but I cannot fight these huge national organizations and their lawyers myself.  I need your help.

www.FiveforFred.com

I am truly a citizen activist.  It is just my laptop and me. I am more committed than ever to gathering and publishing information that is essential to a full and fair debate over Proposition 8 and the forces behind it. But those forces are trying to silence me by making my First Amendment rights too costly to exercise I cannot cover all of the legal bills that will be necessary to fight these mega organizations with unlimited resources.

Some friends and I have set up Five for Fred to help cover my legal expenses in dealing with the subpoena and matters related to it.

I have received a huge outpouring of support these past two months.  Many of you have asked what you could do to help me.

So I am asking you to contribute a minimum of $5.00.  If enough people donate the price of a latte (with tip), it will be a HUGE help.

Please ask your friends and family members to support Five for Fred, too.  Post a link on your Facebook page, tweet, forward to your friends and please send whatever you can to help right now.

www.FiveforFred.com

My hometown City Council of Laguna Beach recently presented me with a Proclamation from the city supporting me, a copy of which is below.  And Cindy Frazier, the editor of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot wrote a beautiful and moving front page column detailing my plight, From Canyon to Cove: NOM Calls out Karger.

I am incredibly appreciative of the support I have received, and truly, it has helped me get through this tough time.

Please take a moment to donate to Five for Fred, and remember to forward this request to your friends, family and co-workers.

I am more motivated than ever before. I will continue to fight for our rights, and to draw attention to those organizations, religions, corporations and individuals whose goal is to stop us from attaining full civil rights.

Thank you very much for your help!

Best personal regards,

Fred Karger
Founder
Californians Against Hate
Five for Fred

City of Laguna Beach Proclamation Recognizing Fred Karger

proclamation_425

Click to enlarge

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News Release: Extremists’ Declaration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 24, 2009
Contact: Fred Karger
619-592-2008

Manhattan Declaration —
Who Are They Kidding?

MANHATTAN, New York — NOM head, Maggie Gallagher, as she puts it, “likes fairy tales.”  This sure sounds like a fairy tale to me, a very scary one.

Once upon a time there were 152 – how should I say it – extremists, all meeting in Manhattan (crazy place for this group to meet).  These 152 zealots drafted, approved and signed their Declaration of War on full civil rights for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans last week.  They threw in some other societal beefs, just to try and mask the overriding issue, their fervent opposition to same-sex marriage.

One major leader of their movement is missing from the 152 names.

There are NO MORMONS on the list, and several of us read it very carefully.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) has been leading the anti-gay marriage movement in this country for the past 14 years.  They have spent tens of millions of dollars in practically every state ($30 million in California alone last year) to fight equality and to pass constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.

So where are the Mormon representatives on this illustrious list?  Are they truly backing off their longstanding opposition to gay civil rights?

To their credit, Michael Otterson, a high ranking Mormon Church official recently testified in support of the Salt Lake City ordinance that would no longer allow discrimination in employment and housing against LGBT people in Utah’s largest city.  While a small step, it has been broadcast around the world.  That’s because the Church, through its Public Affairs Department, got the word out – big time.

Let’s hope the Mormon leadership is truly softening its position on this issue.  It has been a huge PR nightmare for the Church, and one that divides so many Mormon families.  Maybe they will redirect all that time, talent and money to other causes, real problems.

There are plenty of Catholics on this list, however, and some very prominent ones. Two Cardinals and lots of Bishops.  Catholics appear to be the new Mormons in the fight against same-sex marriage.

The Catholic Church has become much more visible as the Mormons have backed off.  Maine Bishop Richard J. Malone and his sidekick, Marc Mutty ran and heavily funded the recent campaign in Maine to take away same-sex marriage in that state. The Roman Catholic Dioceses of Portland (ME) even set up a Political Action Committee (PAC), and gave and raised $553,000 to pass Question #1.  That’s a lot of money, especially when they recently closed 5 churches in Maine.

Now, last week in Washington D.C., the Catholic Church there threatened to stop feeding the homeless if the City Council passes a same-sex marriage bill. Yes, the Catholic Church will stop feeding the hungry!

Here’s what the New York Times editorial said about that yesterday.

National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Chairman Robert P. George authored their new manifesto, along with former Watergate felon Chuck Colson.  They hired a PR firm to publicize the Manhattan Declaration, the Mark DeMoss PR Group in Atlanta.  Their web site identifies them as “the first and largest PR firm exclusively representing faith-based leaders, organizations and causes.” The DeMoss Group promotes itself on www.ManhattanDeclaration.org web site almost as much as its client. Take a look:

The DeMoss PR Group even has a bible covering an American Flag on their web site’s home page:

DeMossNews_425

DeMoss PR Group website

And please read this great story on the Manhattan Declaration by Carlos Santoscoy, Editor of On Top Magazine: Click here

Religious Leaders Unite Against Gay Marriage, Rights

One-hundred and fifty-two evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders have signed a declaration saying they oppose laws that would compel them to recognize gay unions or marriages, among other social issues.

“We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on Earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence,” says the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience.

The manifesto was unveiled Friday at the National Press Club. The document outlines the group’s three most pressing issues, two of which deal with gay rights: abortion, marriage and religious liberties.

“We argue that there is a hierarchy of issues,” Chuck Colson, a prominent evangelical who founded Prison Fellowship and co-authored the document, told the New York Times. “A lot of younger evangelicals say they’re all alike. We’re hoping to educate them that these are the three most important issues.”

Among the signatories are Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. and Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Wuerl and Jackson are the chief opponents of a gay marriage law expected to be approved by the D.C. City Council on December 1. Wuerl has threatened to pull the plug on D.C. social programs, including serving the homeless and providing health care for the poor, unless the law includes language that allows individuals and private business owners to refuse to provide goods and services related to the nuptials of gay couples.

Jackson founded the Christian-backed group Stand4MarriageDC.com after city leaders approved a gay marriage-recognition law in the spring. His group is currently fighting for the right to put a gay marriage question on the ballot.

The document says, “We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other antilife act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent.”

The document’s language also takes aim at other gay rights laws, including a recently approved law that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of federally recognized hate crimes and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would ban workplace discrimination against gay men, lesbians and transgender people.

Social conservatives have argued that such measures would have a chilling effect on religious liberties.

Signers to the document include prominent opponents of gay rights, including Frank Schubert, who headed the campaign to reverse gay marriage in California, Alan Sears, president and general counsel of the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, David Welch, the Houston-area pastor leading the charge against mayoral candidate Annise Parker because she is openly lesbian, James Dobson, founder of the anti-gay group Focus on the Family, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a leading opponent of gay rights.

A surprising omission is the Rev. Rick Warren, the evangelical minister whose prayer at the inauguration of President Obama drew heated protest because of his support for Proposition 8, California’s gay marriage ban.

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News Release: Maine’s Election Ethics Commission “Eager” to Continue Investigation into NOM’s Role

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2009
CONTACT: Fred Karger
(619) 592-2008

Maine’s Election Ethics Commission “Eager” to Continue Investigation into the National Organization for Marriage’s Role in Referendum Campaign against Marriage Equality

Augusta, Maine, November 19, 2009 — Californians Against Hate was pleased to learn this morning, at a hearing in Augusta, Maine, that Jonathan Wayne, Executive Director of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, is “eager” to proceed with the commission’s investigation into the role played by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) in the state’s election held November 3, 2009.

The investigation is the result of allegations of election irregularities leveled by Californians Against Hate founder Fred Karger. The Washington D.C.-based NOM contributed $1.6 million to eliminate marriage equality in Maine — an amount well in excess of the allowable $5,000 “for the purpose of initiating [or] promoting” the people’s veto referendum on same-sex marriage in Maine.

The scope of the investigation, to be conducted by the commission’s staff and Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills, will include:

  • What fundraising methods did NOM employ to solicit the money that it has contributed to Stand for Mariage Maine PAC?
  • What was NOM’s purpose in soliciting or receiving these funds?
  • What did NOM communicate to the individuals and organizations it solicited?
  • Did NOM receive any contributions within the categories set forth in §1056-B(2-A)? If so, how much was received in these categories?
  • Of the fundraising methods that are presently known (e.g., e-mail solicitations, newsletter), how much did NOM receive in response to these solicitations?

The inquiry may also extend to investigating whether NOM made any expenditures to initiate or to promote the referendum other than by contribution to Stand for Marriage Maine PAC.

Reacting to the commission’s decision, Californians Against Hate Founder Fred Karger, who attended the hearing in Augusta today, said, “I am extremely pleased that the State of Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Elections Practices has decided to pursue its investigation with such vigor into potential improprieties on the part of the National Organization for Marriage during the recent campaign in Maine.” In addition, Karger offered his help with the investigation as someone who has been tracking NOM for the past 17 months.

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Californians Against Hate is the new political watchdog for the LGBT community, and closely monitors all who oppose our civil rights. Individuals and organizations who give millions of dollars to deny LGBT full equality will be held accountable.

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