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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
April 29, 2005

Judges are gaybashed in broadcast from megachurch

Louisville, Ky--A TV and radio broadcast from a megachurch bashed gay-friendly judges and beamed its demand for Senate confirmation of anti-gay judicial nominees to 61 million households in 44 states, according to organizers.

The April 24 event, called �Justice Sunday: Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith� was organized by the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family and the Alliance Defense Fund. Held in the 3,500-seat Highland Baprist Church east of Louisville, it was designed to make evangelical Christians feel persecuted and silenced in order to motivate them to lobby for confirmation of ten people nominated by President Bush for federal judgeships.

These ten, of about 200 that have been confirmed, have been labeled extreme by Senate Democrats who threaten a filibuster to stop them. Republican senators, in turn, are threatening to change Senate rules to make it possible to end a filibuster with less than the 60 votes now needed.

New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote of the event, �The judges being verbally tarred and feathered are those who have decriminalized gay sex . . . as they once did abortion, and who countenance marriage rights for same-sex couples.�

�To paraphrase the �Justice Sunday� flier,� wrote Rich, �now it�s the anti-filibuster campaign that is being used to protect bias, this time against gay people.�

�Let�s all be clear,� said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force director Matt Foreman. �There is no difference between the leaders of America�s anti-gay industry and those leading the anti-filibuster campaign. They are one in the same.�

�Sunday night�s speakers repeatedly brought it all back to marriage,� said Forman.

�Despite their best efforts, [they] could not conceal what their campaign to force the Senate to vote on extremists nominated by President Bush to the federal judiciary is really all about--their hysterical fear that gay people will secure equal rights by doing the same thing minorities in the nation have done for more than 200 years: seeking redress through the courts,� he concluded.

Senate Republican leader Bill Frist of Tennessee addressed participants through a taped message in which he championed nominee Pricilla Owen and threatened to void longstanding Senate filibuster rules in order to get her and nine others confirmed.

Owen is currently an associate judge on the Texas Supreme Court and nominee to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is known for bringing her religious ideology into her decisions, even to a public rebuke from now Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, when they served on the same court.

Another nominee pushed during the event was California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown--the only member of the court to rule against gays and lesbians adopting the natural children of their partners, saying it �trivializes family bonds.�

Brown has been nominated to the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, where many Supreme Court justices come from.

Both Owen and Brown were nominated during Bush�s first term and rejected by the Senate, only to be nominated again this time.

Catholic League President Bill Donahue took the stage assailing gay families.

�The most insane idea I�ve ever heard in my whole life of two men getting married,� said Donohue, �I mean, that�s something I expect in the asylum.�

Family Research Council senior director of policy studies Peter Sprigg told participants, �Many of the negative changes in American society over recent decades have been imposed by judges. The removal of prayer from public schools, the creation of a nationwide right to abortion, and the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts were all decisions imposed by activist judges without considering the will of the people and their elected representatives.�

Sprigg is the author of a book, Outrage: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage.

Focus on the Family�s director James Dobson said, �The values that we care about are threatened by the court.�

�[Judges] are unelected and unaccountable, and arrogant, and imperious, and determined to redesign the culture according to their own biases and values and they�re out of control,� said Dobson.

During the event, about 400 religious leaders and Democrats protested against it in a rally across the street.

 

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