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.


Leaked Memos show Organization uses Homophobia, Race in Fight against Equality

If you have been following the fight for LGBT equality at all the past few years, you have no doubt ran across a group called the National Organization for Marriage.

The radical right-wing group, famous for such classics as the prop 8 “Gathering Storm” TV spot,  has long been known for its tactics of using fear and homophobia as weapons in their attempt to stop marriage equality.



Thanks to a series of  internal memos released by The Human Rights Campaign this week, we can get a sense of just how low the organization will stoop in order to stop equality supporters.

Think Progress reports NOM’s tactics include race-baiting by driving,”a wedge between gays and blacks” by convincing them to fight over the language of “civil rights”, baiting,”Latino voters to oppose marriage equality as “a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation” and by developing, “side issues to weaken pro-gay marriage political leaders” like pornography, “protection of children” and religious liberty at the federal level.”

HRC Campaign Media Director Kevin Nix tells the Daily KOS, “Nothing beats hearing from the horse’s mouth exactly how callous and extremist this group really is.

In the memos, the group also discusses seeking out celebrities and the like who would be sympathetic to  their cause.

Fortunately, as The Washington Blade points out,”the only celebrity known to work directly with NOM as a spokesperson is former Miss California, Carrie Prejean, who made national headlines when she responded to a question by Perez Hilton about same-sex marriage by saying she opposed extending rights to gay couples.”

The release of the memos came on the same exact day that Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner  appointed NOM’s  co-founder and former Chairman Dr. Robert George to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Click HERE to read the memos for yourself.

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.”

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