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.


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.

HRC Names New Leader: Griffin the Mastermind Behind Prop 8 Fight

The nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization has named the strategist behind the fight to overturn California’s Proposition 8 as it’s new President.

According to an email Friday from the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin, one the founders of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, “spent his career taking on the toughest fights against entrenched, well-financed interests. He’s passionate about our equality and more importantly, has a proven track record of consistently delivering results. Already, the fight to overturn Prop. 8 has prevailed in two federal court rooms.”

Griffin writes,”I’m honored by the board’s confidence in my ability to lead HRC. While there’s no doubt that we’ve made tremendous progress on the road to equality, we must not forget that millions of LGBT Americans still lack basic legal protections and suffer the consequences of discrimination every day. Today’s generation of young people, and each generation hereafter, must grow up with the full and equal protection of our laws, and finally be free to participate in the American dream. As HRC president, I’ll approach our work with a great sense of urgency because there are real life consequences to inaction.”

Griffin takes over from long time president Joe Solmonese who announced that he was stepping down from the post  last fall.

Chris Geidner over at Metro Weekly writes,”[Solmonese] helmed the organization during historic successes like passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009 and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011 but also during one of the most divisive moments of the organization’s history — its support in 2007 for a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that was not inclusive of gender identity.”

Besides being a leader in the fight against Prop 8, Griffin is also a veteran of the Clinton White House communications team, and a native of Arkansas.

Founded in 1980,”HRC consists of two separate non-profit organizations: the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on research, advocacy and education and the Human Rights Campaign, a 501(c)(4) organization that focuses on lobbying Congress, state and local officials for support of pro-LGBT bills, and mobilizing grassroots action amongst its members. The combined annual budget of both organizations was approximately $40 million in 2011.”

HRC Releases Tips To Help Make Insurance Plans Transgender Inclusive

The HRC Workplace Project has released a new white paper to help employers and companies better understand the needs of their transgender employees.

According to the HRC, the paper is, “full of information on transgender-inclusive health care coverage, including relevant concepts and vocabulary as well as specific guidance on meeting the CEI, (Corporate Equality Index) criteria.”

“Transgender people face many forms of discrimination in the provision of health insurance. Employers, as consumers of group health insurance products, can advocate on behalf of the transgender people insured on their group health insurance plans. Employers should work with their insurance carriers or administrators to remove transgender exclusions and provide comprehensive transgender-inclusive insurance coverage,” says the HRC website.

The report helps employers navigate through such questions as,”Does your health insurance discriminate?” It also details common misconceptions regarding transgender healthcare and offers solutions on how to help insurance plans become more inclusive.

The HRC’s Corporate Equality Index is a national benchmarking survey on policies and benefits for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees.

Read the full white paper HERE.

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