Tag Archives: Kevin Jennings

Obama openly supports gay marriage: 48 hours after top gay donors cut off funding

Earlier this week, the liberal Washington Post had this story up. (H/T Free Beacon via ECM)

Excerpt: (links removed)

A review of Obama’s top bundlers, who have brought in $500,000 or more for the campaign, shows that about one in six publicly identify themselves as gay. His overall list of bundlers also includes a number of gay couples who have wed in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage was legal.

“It’s a very important constituency,” said Los Angeles attorney Dana Perlman, a top Obama bundler who is helping organize a 700-person LGBT fundraiser for the president on June 6. “The community for the most part is wholeheartedly behind this man.”

But that relationship was put to the test this week after Vice President Joe Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex unions. The remarks led to mounting pressure on Obama to also shift his position on gay marriage, which he had previously characterized as “evolving.”

[…]Some liberal gay donors had threatened to withhold contributions over Obama’s stance on gay marriage as well as his administration’s decision to shelve an executive order banning sexual-identity discrimination by federal contractors.

[…]The Obama campaign’s list of bundlers includes a number of prominent names in the gay community. Rainmakers at the top $500,000-and-up level include Perlman; interior designer Michael S. Smith and HBO executive James Costos; Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts, a board member of the Lambda Legal gay rights group; and Colorado political activist Tim Gill and his husband, Scott Miller.

The Advocate, a publication focused on the gay community, assembled a list of “Obama’s Power Gays” last year that included many of his biggest fundraisers. In addition to Perlman and others, the Advocate list included Pfizer executive Sally Susman ($500,000-plus); activist Kevin Jennings ($50,000 to $100,000); and Texas philanthropist Eugene Sepulveda ($500,000-plus).

Chad Griffin, the incoming president of the Human Rights Campaign, which has at times criticized Obama’s stance on gay issues, has raised between $100,00 to $200,000 for the president’s re-election campaign.

Griffin was the person who asked Biden at a recent closed meeting with gay activists, “How do you feel about us?” Biden recounted the question, and his emotional answer supportive of gay marriage, during his interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Griffin said in an interview with the Washington Post earlier this week that he had repeatedly pressed Obama in private to support marriage equality.

And on Monday, a liberal columnist wrote this at the Washington Post: (H/T Free Beacon via ECM)

Some leading gay and progressive donors are so angry over President Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order barring same sex discrimination by federal contractors that they are refusing to give any more money to the pro-Obama super PAC, a top gay fundraiser’s office tells me. In some cases, I’m told, big donations are being withheld.

Jonathan Lewis, the gay philanthropist and leading Democratic fundraiser, is one of many gay advocates who has been working behind the scenes to pressure Obama to change his mind. When Obama decided against the executive order last month, arguing that he would pursue a legislative solution instead, advocates were furious — such a solution will never pass Congress, the executive order has been a priority for advocates for years, and the move smacked of a political cave to conservatives who will not support Obama no matter what he does.

Now these and other donors are beginning to withold money from Priorities USA, the main pro-Obama super PAC, out of dismay over the president’s decision. (Some of these donors have already maxed out to the Obama campaign, I’m told.) It’s the first indication that areas in which Obama is at odds with gay advocates — and in fairness, his record on gay rights has been very good — could dampen overall fundraising.

Paul Yandura, a political adviser to Lewis, emails me a statement:

A number of gay and progressive donors, unsolicited, have indicated to us that they aren’t considering requests to donate to the Obama SuperPac because of the president’s refusal to the sign the order. And those are high-dollar asks, some in the seven digits. We have heard from at least half a dozen major gay and progressive donors that they stand united with us. There is still time for the President to do the right thing and sign this executive order, our great hope is that he does so immediately.

So it’s no surprise, then, that Obama announced his support for gay marriage:

President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president.

In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this decision, based on conversations with his staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and his wife and daughters.

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told Roberts in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.

Let me be clear. If you voted for Barack Obama, then you voted for a pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage leftist.

Click here for an explanation of the non-religious reasons why people oppose same-sex marriage.

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Obama administration invents federal anti-bullying law

From Minding the Campus. (H/T Hans Bader)


There’s no federal law against bullying or homophobia.  So the Department of Education recently decided to invent one.  On October 26, it sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to the nation’s school districts arguing that many forms of homophobia and bullying violate federal laws against sexual harassment and discrimination.  But those laws only ban discrimination based on sex or race – not sexual orientation, or bullying in general.  The letter from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights twisted those laws, interpreting them so broadly as to cover not only bullying, but also a vast range of constitutionally protected speech, as well as conduct that the Supreme Court has held does not constitute harassment.  In so doing, it menaced academic freedom and student privacy rights, and thumbed its nose at the federal courts.

[…]The Education Department’s letter, from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali, flouts the Supreme Court’s harassment definition, claiming that “Harassment does not have to . . . involve repeated incidents” to be actionable, but rather need only be “severe, pervasive, or persistent” enough to detract from a student’s educational benefits or activities.  The letter goes out of its way to emphasize that harassment includes speech, such as “graphic and written statements” and on the “Internet.”

The letter falsely implies that anti-gay harassment is generally discrimination based on sex.  It cites as an example of illegal “gender-based harassment” a case in which “a gay high school student was called names (including anti-gay slurs and sexual comments) both to his face and on social networking sites.”  This is exactly what most federal appeals courts have said does not constitute gender-based harassment.  It is not clear whether this case is merely a hypothetical example, or – more disturbingly — a finding by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in an actual case.  The letter says that “each of these hypothetical examples contains elements taken from actual cases.”

If it actually found a school district guilty of harassment over this, then the Education Department has flagrantly disregarded court rulings, not just about what harassment is, but about how officials are supposed to respond to harassment.  In this example of anti-gay harassment, the Education Department says the school district is liable for harassment even though “the school responded to complaints from the student by reprimanding the perpetrators,” which stopped “harassment by those individuals,” because such discipline “did not, however, stop others from undertaking similar harassment of the student.”

That totally contradicts the Supreme Court’s Davis decision, which said school districts are not liable for harassment just because it continues, and are only liable if they are “deliberately indifferent” to harassment once they learn of it; they need not actually succeed in “purging schools of actionable peer harassment” or ensuring that all “students conform their conduct to” rules against harassment.

Even in the workplace, where institutions are liable for mere “negligence” regarding harassment, they are not liable for harassment that continues after steps “reasonably calculated” to prevent harassment – such as when employees stubbornly engage in harassment for which other employees have already been properly disciplined, as a federal appeals court ruled in Adler v. Wal-Mart (1998).  Indeed, an institution may sometimes avoid liability even where there was no discipline at all, if it was unclear whether the accused employee was guilty, given due-process concerns.

Essentially, the Education Department has turned harassment law upside down, making schools more liable for harassment than employers, when the Supreme Court intended that they be less subject to liability.  (The Education Department letter also suggests racial “sensitivity” training – never mind that this often backfires on institutions.  In Fitzgerald v. Mountain States Tel & Tel. Co. (1995), where adverse employee reactions to diversity training spawned a discrimination lawsuit, the appeals court noted that “diversity training sessions generate conflict and emotion” and that “diversity training is perhaps a tyranny of virtue.”)

The letter also implies that it does not matter whether speech is “aimed at a specific target” in considering whether the speech is “harassment.”  This stretches harassment law well beyond its existing reach even in the workplace, effectively prohibiting a vast range of speech that a listener overhears and objects to.  Employees have tended to lose lawsuits alleging harassment over speech not aimed at them (the California Supreme Court’s 2006 Lyle decision being a classic example), although there are occasional exceptions to this rule.  The courts reason that “the impact of such ‘second-hand’ harassment is obviously not as great as harassment directed toward” the complainant herself.

Banning such speech also raises serious First Amendment issues.  Recently a federal appeals court cited the First Amendment in dismissing a racial harassment lawsuit by a university’s Hispanic employees against a white professor over his racially-charged  anti-immigration messages.   In its decision in Rodriguez v. Maricopa County Community College (2010), the court noted that the messages were not “directed at particular individuals” but rather aimed at “the college community” as a whole.

So the state has basically decided to use the government-run school system, which is funded through compulsory taxation, to potentially criminalize speech critical of certain Democrat special interest groups.

All sensible people are opposed to “bullying” and “harassment” – when someone hits someone else in a school or workplace, that should be stopped. Because schools are a place of learning, just as businesses are a place of working. But this administration is going beyond the punishment of actual crimes to punish thoughts that disagree with their their thoughts. This is just fascism – the imposition of moral values and beliefs by the state onto individuals through the use of threats, coercion and force. And you can bet that conservative groups – like the pro-life groups who are regularly banned from speaking – will not be the beneficiaries of these laws.

To learn more about Kevin Jennings, the man Obama has appointed to spearhead this efforts, read this post at Gateway Pundit. And this post at Gateway Pundit.

Obama has appointed a record number of gay officials

Fox News reports on Obama’s decision to appoint a record number of gay officials.


Less than halfway through his first term, President Barack Obama has appointed more openly gay officials than any other president in history.

Gay activists say the estimate of more than 150 appointments so far — from agency heads and commission members to policy officials and senior staffers — surpasses the previous high of about 140 reached during two full terms under President Bill Clinton.

[…]Gay activists, among Obama’s strongest supporters, had hoped he would be the first to appoint an openly gay Cabinet secretary. While that hasn’t happened — yet — Obama did appoint the highest-ranking gay official ever when he named John Berry as director of the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the nation’s 1.9 million federal workers.

Other prominent names include Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Fred Hochberg, chairman of the Export-Import Bank. Obama also named Amanda Simpson, the first openly transgender appointee, as a senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department.

[…]One Obama nominee who met some opposition was Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown University law professor nominated to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Concerned Women for America accused Feldblum of playing “a major role in pushing the homosexual and transsexual agenda on Americans.” Other conservative groups blasted her role in drafting the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, a bill that would ban employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Obama is a strong supporter of that legislation.

Obama made Feldblum a recess appointment in March after an anonymous hold in the Senate held up her confirmation for months.

Another target for conservatives was Kevin Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, who was named to oversee the Education Department’s Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools. More than 50 House Republicans asked Obama to remove Jennings from the post after reports surfaced about advice he gave more than 20 years earlier after learning a gay student had sex with an older man.

Jennings conceded that he should have consulted medical or legal authorities instead of telling the 15-year-old boy that he hoped he had used a condom. The Obama administration defended Jennings and declined to remove him.

Comments to this post will be strictly filtered in accordance with Obama’s policies on acceptable speech.