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C Street “Family” behind Uganda’s death penalty for gays?

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Jeff SharletInterviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air, Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, discussed the connection between the Family and Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, which prescribes the death penalty for acts of “aggravated homosexuality.”

Mr. SHARLET: Well, the legislator that introduces the bill, a guy named David Bahati, is a member of The Family. He appears to be a core member of The Family. He works, he organizes their Uganda National Prayer Breakfast and oversees a African sort of student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which The Family has poured millions of dollars working through a very convoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to Uganda.

GROSS: So you’re reporting the story for the first time today, and you found this story – this direct connection between The Family and the proposed legislation by following the money?

Mr. SHARLET: Yes, it’s – I always say that the family is secretive, but not secret. You can go and look at 990s, tax forms and follow the money through these organizations that The Family describe as invisible. But you go and you look. You follow that money. You look at their archives. You do interviews where you can. It’s not so invisible anymore. So that’s how working with some research colleagues we discovered that David Bahati, the man behind this legislation, is really deeply, deeply involved in The Family’s work in Uganda, that the ethics minister of Uganda, Museveni’s kind of right hand man, a guy named Nsaba Buturo, is also helping to organize The Family’s National Prayer Breakfast. And here’s a guy who has been the main force for this Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda’s executive office and has been very vocal about what he’s doing, and in a rather extreme and hateful way. But these guys are not so much under the influence of The Family. They are, in Uganda, The Family.

You can listen to the interview in its entirety below:

Senator Claire McCaskill suggested gun law would open door to gay marriage

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Senator Claire McCaskillSenator Claire McCaskill suggested yesterday if a concealed weapons law she had voted against had actually passed, it could have set a precedent for forcing states, like her home state of Missouri, to recognize another state’s gay marriage laws.

Sen. McCaskill says she was not against letting people carry concealed weapons. But she is against requiring one state to accept another state’s laws that might differ from its own. She says it would be a foot in the door that could allow Vermont’s laws on gay marriage to be enforced in Missouri, which has a constitutional provision against gay marriage.

McCaskill says many of the supporters of the proposal are advocates for states’ rights, but they want to override states’ rights on carrying concealed weapons.

McCaskill audio available here:


Senator McCaskill has since attempted to clarify her position via email.
(via Pam’s House Blend)

“In talking about my recent vote against the gun provision offered in the Senate, I wasn’t clear when I stated that my vote against that provision was because it came down to a states’ rights. I was expressing my frustration in that some who argue that states shouldn’t respect the laws, certificates, or permits from other states when it’s convenient, like with gay marriage, but then argue that they should when it’s convenient on another issue, like gun rights. They can’t have it both ways,” McCaskill said.

While it is true that Republicans are demonstrating hypocrisy with regards to state’s rights on this issue, based on McCaskill’s original statement, it really sounds like she thinks DOMA is a “good” idea.

PROMO, The Missouri LGBT advocacy group has responded to McCaskill’s comments today:

In a statement defending her opposition to this bill, she [McCaskill] stated: “This is a foot in the door that would require, for example, the laws in Vermont on gay marriage to be enforced in Missouri.”

This is a problem. A state’s rights argument is valid in this situation, however it is inconceivable that an ally can support Hate Crimes legislation- which recognizes the LGBT community is a target of increased abuse, intolerance and aggressive force- but uses a touchstone issue for the community as a shield rather than stand alone on an anti-gun sentiment.

In a time when we have seen incredible strides on a state by state basis, we have turned a corner and will not tolerate being used as a shield. Please reach out to Sen. McCaskill’s office and let her know while she is an ally, you won’t tolerate being used as a shield. The numbers listed are below for local and DC offices.

Gay Republicans have also expressed particular outrage over McCaskill’s comments, an outrage likely fueled more by the fact that McCaskill is a Democrat and their strong support of the concealed weapons law, than anything about gay marriage.

McCain re-affirms DADT support in interview, not a “civil rights” issue

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John McCain on DADTIn an interview with Air America’s Ana Marie Cox, Senator John McCain  re-affirmed his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). When Cox compared DADT to Truman’s forced de-segregation of the armed forces as a civil rights issue, a testy John McCain replied: “Well, you are entitled to your opinion. But I don’t think so.”

An excerpt from the interview below:

MCCAIN: My opinion is shaped by the view of the leaders of the military. The reason why I supported the policy to start with is because General Colin Powell, who was then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the one that strongly recommended we adopt this policy in the Clinton administration. I have not heard General Powell or any of the other military leaders reverse their position, just like when on other issues, that people are expert and knowledgeable of, I rely on their opinion. But this is unique. These military leaders are responsible for the very lives of the men and women under their command, and that’s why I am especially guided, to a large degree, by their views.

COX: Now, you know that Truman de-segregated the military through executive order. And he did it against the wishes of some people in the military. There were some studies that had been shown and some panels that suggested that integration was actually good for the forces.

MCCAIN: Let me tell you again. Colin Powell was asked exactly that question, as an African-American. He was asked that question exactly, and he answered it hundreds of times. And he said, “I do not equate ethnicity with sexual orientation.” I agree with him.

COX: Well, actually, there’s something to that, because obviously, right now there’s no segregation at all of gay people and straight people because we don’t know who is gay. So I guess I have to ask…

MCCAIN: But the two issues are not comparable. So I’m not sure why you’d bring that up.

COX: I think they’re comparable in that they are both civil rights issues.

MCCAIN: Well, you are entitled to your opinion. But I don’t think so.

The full interview will air on Saturday 9am. An audio clip is available on the Air America website.

NY Senator Diaz calls marriage equality an insult to people of faith

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diazNew York State Senator and evangelical minister Ruben Diaz has come out strongly against NY Governor Patterson’s support for gay marriage, asking the governor to step down.

From Senator’s website:

“The Governor is also being disrespectful to the new Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan and to every Catholic in New York City by pushing a gay marriage bill the same week that Catholics are celebrating welcoming ceremonies for his arrival; If I were Governor Paterson, I would abstain from going to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the welcoming ceremony and to celebrate Mass.”

Senator Diaz will also be organizing a rally in May to ask the governor to step down. Audio from

Here’s hoping the response from the gay community is swift and unrelenting. This is New York we’re talking about.