[Sayma-Discuss] [Fwd: Conservative consensus crumbling on gay marriage?]

Geeta Jyothi McGahey mcgahey at yancey.main.nc.us
Fri Mar 30 15:01:04 JEST 2012

Hopefully this will be of interest to you all.  Bob, if you think appropriate
forward to the meeting.
In the Light,
Geeta Jyothi
300 Dharma Way
Burnsville, NC 28714

------------------------------ Original Message ------------------------------
Subject: Conservative consensus crumbling on gay marriage?
From:    "Chris Kromm" <chris at southernstudies.org>
Date:    Fri, March 30, 2012 1:59 pm
To:      mcgahey at yancey.main.nc.us

*DATELINE: THE SOUTH - News and trends
SPECIAL REPORT - Conservatives split on gay marriage
INSTITUTE NEWS - New Koch Bros. video features Institute's work
INSTITUTE INDEX - What's at stake in Supreme Court health-law case*

*DATELINE: THE SOUTH - News and trends*

http://www.southernstudies.org/2012/03/frackings-air-pollution-threat.html ]*
As North Carolina considers lifting its ban on the controversial natural-gas
drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," a growing body
of evidence documents serious public-health threats due to air pollution from
such operations, which have already been linked to water contamination.

]* The discussion about the Affordable Care Act has focused on whether the
federal government can compel people to buy insurance, but if the law's
expansion of Medicaid to cover millions of low-income people is upended, the
courts could be flooded with challenges on everything from environmental
protection to civil rights. (3/28/2012)

]* Since the BP disaster, a small but dedicated corps of Gulf residents has
monitored the beaches and shorelines, photographing and documenting the steady
stream of death and oily waste that still washes in. (3/29/2012)

]* Roy Cooper argues that the state Utilities Commission's decision to give
the power giant's shareholders a 10.5 percent return on investment was not
supported by the evidence, and that economic realities faced by consumers must
come before company profits. (3/29/2012)

]* As Florida's tomato pickers turn their attention to grocery chains, they're
training farmworkers to form committees and stand up for themselves on the job
-- and reporting notable success. (3/30/2012)

*SPECIAL REPORT - Is the conservative consensus crumbling over gay marriage?*

"By Chris Kromm"

This week, newly-unearthed internal memos [
http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/27/politics/marriage-group-memos/?hpt=us_c2 ]
revealed that a leading group fighting gay marriage, the National Organization
for Marriage, sought to drive "a wedge between gays and blacks," among other
divide-and-conquer tactics, to stop same-sex unions.

But opponents of gay marriage are facing a rift of their own: the defection of
libertarian conservatives from the cause.

In North Carolina, two leading conservatives in the state made public
statements this week opposing Amendment One, the far-reaching ballot measure
that will be voted on May 8, and another GOP leader admitted the law will
likely be overturned within 20 years.

The cracks in the conservative coalition first emerged on March 26, when John
Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation -- a think tank largely funded by
Republican donor Art Pope [
http://www.southernstudies.org/2010/10/blessed-to-have-a-pope.html ] --
described the amendment [
] as "unwise and unfair."

Responding to the controversy over the Locke Foundation's publishing of an
offensive photo [
] by Locke blogger Tara Servatius, which showed President Obama in apparently
gay drag gear next to a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken [
http://www.artpopeexposed.com/locke_foundation_uses_racist_image ] (Servatius
later resigned [
http://www.artpopeexposed.com/locke_foundation_blogger_resigns_over ],
although she maintained she did nothing wrong [
]), Hood wrote this: I think amending North Carolina's constitution to forbid
gay and lesbian couples from receiving any future legal recognition, including
civil unions, is unwise and unfair. In my opinion the real threat to marriage
is not the *prospect* of gay people getting hitched. It is the *reality* of
straight people too quickly resorting to divorce, or never getting hitched in
the first place.

In covering Hood's statement, reporters turned to another prominent
libertarian-leaning conservative, Bob Orr, a former state Supreme Court
Justice who used to lead another Pope-backed project [
http://www.southernstudies.org/2010/10/blessed-to-have-a-pope.html ], the N.C.
Institute for Constitutional Law.

Orr predicts the amendment won't endure legal scrutiny; as he told reporters [
]: Any provision that has to be put into the "miscellaneous" section of the
constitution immediately raises questions about whether it should be in the
state constitution. It's probably not a provision that ought to be in.

Oddly enough, that sentiment was echoed by none other than N.C. Republican
House Speaker Thom Tillis, who in 2011 led the effort to bring the Amendment
One ballot measure to the house floor and voted in favor of it.

Speaking to a group of students this week, Rep. Tillis predicted [
] Amendment One would pass in May but repealed in 20 years because of changing
views about gay marriage, saying:

It's a generational issue. If it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20

It wasn't a one-time misstatement: Tillis' spokesman later confirmed it
accurately reflected [
] the lawmaker's views.

But supporters of the amendment still have some advantages. Polls still show a
majority of N.C. voters support [
http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/story/10886134/ ] the amendment --
although that appears to be diminishing, especially among independents [
http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/story/10886134/ ], who may or may not
be motivated to vote in the May primaries.

And despite the statements of opposition from John Hood and Bob Orr, the
groups pushing the amendment also still have the financial backing of
millionaire retail magnate Art Pope.

Art Pope's family foundation has given nearly $1 million [
] to the group leading the push for the amendment in North Carolina, the N.C.
Family Policy Council. The group has spearheaded the drive for an anti-gay
marriage amendment in NC since 2004, and Pope's funding has grown in lockstep
] with the Council's involvement with the gay marriage debate.

More recently, a conference held by the Civitas Institute -- which receives
most of its money from Pope's foundation [
http://www.southernstudies.org/2010/10/blessed-to-have-a-pope.html ] -- was
the launching ground for a "Values Bus" tour [
] aiming to rally amendment supporters across the state.

The "Values Bus" tour was organized by the national Family Research Council,
which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center [
], and the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation -- both of which receive
support from Pope's foundation [

Art Pope has yet to personally weigh in on the amendment, but his money is
doing the talking.

"(To comment on this story, click here [

*INSTITUTE NEWS - New video on Koch Brothers features Institute's coverage*

This week Brave New Foundation hosted the world premiere of its documentary
film "Koch Brothers Exposed," [ http://www.kochbrothersexposed.com/ ] which
shows how the billionaire brothers who head the Koch Industries oil and
chemical conglomerate have built their wealth by using their money to
manipulate the political process.

Among the experts who appear in the film [
http://www.kochbrothersexposed.com/meet_the_experts ] is Sue Sturgis,
editorial director of the nonprofit Institute for Southern Studies, publisher
of Facing South. Sturgis is interviewed about the Kochs' involvement in school
privatization and resegregation, focusing on the role the Koch-founded and
-funded advocacy group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) played in a local school
board battle over diversity policy in Wake County, N.C.

Sturgis has reported for Facing South [
http://www.southernstudies.org/search/node/koch%20pope%20wake%20county ] on
the connections between the Kochs, AFP, and North Carolina conservative
benefactor and AFP director Art Pope. She examined their efforts to end the
Wake County school system's nationally lauded desegregation policy, which
focused on socioeconomic status rather than race and used a mix of busing and
magnet programs to avoid concentrated poverty in any one school.

Robert Greenwald, the documentarian behind Brave New Foundation, screened an
excerpt of the film at a March 29 luncheon in New York City hosted by The
Common Good, the New York Observer reports [
http://www.politicker.com/2012/03/29/greenwald/ ]: The portion of the film he
showed at the screening focused on the Koch brothers' support for local school
board members in Wake County, North Carolina who fought a busing program aimed
at promoting diversity [
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/02/23/21wake_ep.h30.html ] in 2010. Mr.
Greenwald described the push to end the busing program as "resegregation."

Following the uproar over the Wake County school board's effort to scrap the
diversity policy, voters rejected the Pope-backed candidates in the 2011
election and returned the board to Democratic control. While the new board has
not reinstated the previous policy, members have expressed willingness to
monitor whether the new assignment plan now being finalized leads to
concentrated poverty in any school.

Greenwald, who has also directed documentaries about Fox News and Walmart,
discussed the way the Koch Brothers operate at the luncheon premiere.

"They fund ideas, which are think tanks, then they fund pundits who go out and
talk about those ideas, then they fund grassroots groups," he said [
http://www.politicker.com/2012/03/29/greenwald/ ]. "And then and only then,
they begin to fund the politicians who will impose their ideas from their
scripts. It's a very different model and a very important idea, I think, in
terms of how they work. And to their credit, I don't agree with them, but to
their credit, very smart use of their dollars and a thoughtful use of their
dollars that has resulted in significant impact."

Watch the trailer for the film by clicking here:

 [ http://www.artpopeexposed.com/new_video_released_on_koch_brothers ]

For more information about the film, including how to host or attend a
screening in your community, click here [ http://www.kochbrothersexposed.com/

"(To comment on this story, click here [
http://www.artpopeexposed.com/new_video_released_on_koch_brothers ].)"

*INSTITUTE INDEX - What's at stake in the Supreme Court's health-law case*

Number of days this week the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the
constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the 2010 health-insurance
reform law also known as "Obamacare": *3 [

Number of Americans who are currently uninsured, a problem ACA addresses in
multiple ways: *50 million [

Number of states that have challenged ACA's expansion of Medicaid, the joint
federal-state health care program for the poor and disabled, arguing that the
largely federally-financed expansion is somehow coercive: *26 [

Of those 26 states, number in the South: *7 [ http://www.healthcarelawsuit.us/

Rank of the South among U.S. regions with the highest percentage of uninsured
adult residents: *1 [
http://www.gallup.com/poll/145661/adults-uninsured-2010.aspx ]*

Percentage by which the rate of uninsured adults in the South exceeds that of
the East: *190 [ http://www.gallup.com/poll/145661/adults-uninsured-2010.aspx

Estimated number of Americans who have already used ACA provisions to get free
preventative care through their insurance plans that previously would have
been subject to co-pays or deductibles: *86 million [

Amount saved by senior citizens because of prescription drug discounts
included in the law: *$1.5 billion [

Number of small businesses that can now claim tax deductions for providing
health insurance to employees: *4 million [

Number of people who have been able to receive health care because of the
Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan created by ACA: *50,000 [

Year in which that provision will apply to all adults, ensuring that people
with existing medical conditions have access to care: *2014 [

If the Supreme Court strikes down the law's individual mandate to purchase
health insurance, estimated percentage increase in premiums for individuals
who don't get insurance through their job: *2.4 to 40 [

Number fewer people who would have insurance coverage without the mandate:
*12.5 million to 24 million [

Amount by which repealing ACA would increase the federal deficit: *$210
billion [

Month in which the Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision on the
law: *6/2012 [

"* Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas"

"(Click on figure to go to source. Photo from SEIU's Flickr photostream [
http://www.flickr.com/photos/seiu/6875459430/ ].)"
- - - - -
email: chris at southernstudies.org
web: http://www.southernstudies.org
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