Frank VanderSloot files lawsuit against Mother Jones

Vandersloot

The Post-Falls Register is reporting today that the CEO of Melaleuca, Inc., has filed a lawsuit against the magazine for “depicting him as a ‘gay-basher’.

According to the article, republished by the Idaho Statesman, VanderSloot, who  served as national finance co-chair of the Mitt Romney presidential campaign,  is asking for, “up to $74,999 in damages”.

“The lawsuit targets portions of the article that describe VanderSloot as anti-gay, as well as Twitter posts promoting the article by author Stephanie Mencimer and magazine Co-Editor in Chief Monika Bauerlein,” reports Zack Kyle of the Post Falls Register.

You might recall that last February the Idaho Agenda received a  “take down notice” from Melaleuca attorneys for an article that attempted to draw attention to VanderSloot’s activities pertaining to Idaho’s LGBT community. The Agenda chose to comply with the notice.

That incident and others became the subject of dozens of articles that included the Mother Jones piece, one published by Slate.com’s Glenn Greenwald and coverage by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.  The Obama campaign also included VanderSloot  on its “Truth Team” website.

VanderSloot publicly responded to the criticism, which included a written response to the Greenwald article, as well as multiple appearances on Fox News.

While the term “gay bashing” does not appear in the Mother Jones article, the Post Register reports,’court documents point to Bauerlein’s Feb. 6 tweet that read: “Romney’s gay-bashing buddy runs a company that targets stay-at-home moms for misleading marketing scheme. Charming!”

VanderSloot tells Kyle,” I’ve never taken shots like this before,” and goes on to say “I think it’s particularly egregious to accuse somebody of a hate crime.”

Daily Kos features May-Chang/VanderSloot Saga

Daily Kos blogger laserhaas has written a great post summarizing the ongoing story involving Romney finance co-chair and Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot.

You might recall that independent journalist Jody May-Chang, this blog and others were recipients of takedown notices earlier this year by attorneys working for VanderSloot’s Melaleuca company.

laserhaas does an excellent job bringing readers up to speed on the saga that includes the article by Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, an eight-minute piece by MSNBC”s Rachel Maddow as well as articles posted by Forbes and Mother Jones.

Now that Romney is clearly the GOP presidential candidate nominee, it will be interesting to see just how his campaign handles the publicity.

For his part, VanderSloot has created a website dedicated to responding to his critics. www.frankvanderslootresponse.com includes his original response to the Greenwald article, a letter from the Idaho State Attorney General’s office as well as an excerpt from blog comments made by Post-Register publisher Roger Plothow.

In March, the Human Rights Campaign started a petition calling on the GOP frontrunner to remove VanderSloot from his campaign. In a letter to its supporters, the HRC called VanderSloot, “one of the most ruthlessly anti-LGBT bullies in our nation. He’s funneled money to causes that demonize LGBT people and damage our families. His lack of a moral compass includes outing an Idaho man and leading a relentless character assault against him.”

So far, there has been no response from the Romney campaign.

Click HERE to read the full post over at Daily Kos.

Same-Sex Bi-national Couples Sue for Marriage Equality

A lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of five gay and lesbian couples could prove to the downfall of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.

According to the Washington Blade,”The lawsuit, known as Blesch v. Holder, targets the inability of these spouses to secure residency in the United States through the marriage-based green card application process.”

The suit was filed by Immigration Equality, an LGBT advocacy group and New York law firm Paul, Weiss.

“The five couples represented in the lawsuit are Edwin Blesch and his South African spouse, Tim Smulian, who reside in Orient, N.Y.; Frances Herbert and her Japanese-born spouse, Takako Ueda, who reside in Dummerston, Vt.; Heather Morgan and her Spanish-born spouse, Maria del Mar Verdugo, who live in New York City; Santiago Ortiz and his Venezuelan-born spouse, Pablo Garcia, who live in Elmhurst, N.Y.; and Kelli Ryan and her British-born spouse, Lucy Truman, who reside in Sandy Hook, Conn,” reports the Blade.

Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald, who is himself involved in a Bi-national relationship, writes,” [The] blatantly discriminatory law has produced a serious injustice and substantial hardship: thousands of U.S. citizens are barred from living in their own country with their same-sex spouse. The “luckiest” among them are able to move to their spouse’s country, but that’s a choice available to only a small percentage: for that to work, the foreign spouse’s nation must grant immigration rights to same-sex couples (only a minority of countries do) and the American partner must be able to find work while living outside the U.S.”

“Each time I’ve written about this issue, I receive emails or comments from Americans in this predicament, and they illustrate how severe is the hardship even for those who are relatively lucky in finding some minimally workable solution,” wrote Greenwald in 2010.

DOMA, which prevents the Federal Government from recognizing same-sex couples, was enacted by a Congressional majority in both parties in 1996 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

As The Washington Blade reports,”Immigration Equality’s lawsuit is one of about a dozen pending lawsuits challenging DOMA. This week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals was set to hear oral arguments for two cases, marking the first time an appellate court has held a hearing on DOMA.”

Click HERE to learn more about the suit.

BuzzFeed Picks Up Frank VanderSloot Story

BuzzFeed, a national website known for its ability to cover “the viral web in realtime,” interviewed Jody May-Chang and myself for an article published on Friday regarding  Mitt Romney’s ties to Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot.

For those not familiar with the backstory, the article titled Get To Know Mitt Romney’s Most Controversial Backer, Frank VanderSloot, provides a great snapshot.

VanderSloot was thrown into the national spotlight after last month’s Salon article by columnist Glenn Greenwald. The story, which includes threats made against the Idaho Agenda, Jody May-Chang and others has since exploded into a potential campaign issue.

As we reported last week, the HRC has started a petition calling for Mitt Romney to “fire” VanderSloot as his  national finance co-chairman.

“HRC spokesman Dan Rafter tells BuzzFeed that “Mitt Romney can’t have it both ways – saying repeatedly he opposes discrimination against gay Americans but then employing Frank VanderSloot, whose harsh anti-gay views are quite clear. The Republican hopeful should immediately fire VanderSloot to show the country he means what he says,” writes BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray.

Click HERE to read the full article.

You can read Vandersloot’s response to the Greenwald Article HERE.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow also covered the story HERE.

You can read filmmaker Debra Chasnof’s thoughts on the controversy HERE. 

You can read my response and challenge to Vandersloot HERE.

HRC Calls on Romney to Drop Frank VanderSloot

Image: Human Rights Campaign

The nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization is calling on GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to fire his campaign’s national finance co-chair.

In a petition sent out by the Human Rights Campaign last week, the organization told supporters,”VanderSloot helped bankroll the Prop 8 campaign, and has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-LGBT causes. He spearheaded a heinous billboard campaign against Idaho Public Television for airing content that “promote[s] the homosexual lifestyle.”

The Idaho businessman’s activities were thrown into the national spotlight after last month’s Salon article by columnist Glenn Greenwald. The story, which includes threats made against the Idaho Agenda, Jody May-Chang and others,has since exploded into a potential campaign issue.

HRC spokesman Fred Sainz tells The Advocate,”Romney’s relationship with VanderSloot “speaks volumes about how Mitt Romney truly feels about LGBT people. He added that the candidate “can no longer get away with saying he opposes discrimination against LGBT Americans while simultaneously working with someone as viciously anti-LGBT as Frank VanderSloot.”

“Your [Romney’s] campaign reflects your values — this is your moment to state once and for all that you will not tolerate discrimination against LGBT people. Fire Frank VanderSloot immediately and return the money he has donated to your campaign,” says the HRC letter.

Read the full letter and sign the petition HERE.

You can read Vandersloot’s response to the Greenwald Article HERE.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow also covered the story HERE.

You can read my response and challenge to Vandersloot HERE.

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