TC Equality
  | An Investigative Report

 

SPECIAL REPORTS

Anti-Bullying Bills In Michigan Senate and House

Michigan Senate Bill 0045 (2011)
Michigan Senate Bill 0137 (2011)
Michigan House Bill 4163 (2011)
Michigan House Bill 4173 (2011)
Claims Made by Paul Nepote, Bill Wiesner, and Jason Gillman Debunked
Commonly Used Anti-Gay Myths Debunked
The Highly Profitable Antigay Movement

Recent Headlines

Don't take the bait: confronting haters
Hate groups live to inflame; they thrive on goading well-intentioned people into lashing out against them. In mid-February, local resident Bill Wiesner moved his obsessive anti-homosexuality act from cable access television to the street. This time, the sign-toting Wiesner set up near Cherry Knoll Elementary in East Bay Township during school hours. His sign read: "Truth Academy About Homosexuality," and it referenced a video series that dovetails his views. Some parents of Cherry Knoll students didn't take kindly to Wiesner's message, finding it inappropriate for their children. One parent approached Wiesner, grabbed his sign, and Wiesner's vehemently anti-gay fellow traveler Paul Nepote just happened to be there to snap photos of a brutal attack that wasn't. Wiesner and Nepote are old hands at spouting bigotry, then loudly denying it. They launched a gay-bashing tirade against Traverse City Area Public Schools last year when the district prepared to adopt anti-bullying rules, and it's clear they targeted Cherry Knoll children and their parents to press their pointless point.

Right-Wing Christians Who Broke the Same Sexual Rules They Impose on Others
Right-wing Christians have a lot of ridiculous sexual rules to control and direct sexual behavior: Everything from frowning on all nomarital sex to denouncing homosexuality to objecting to divorce. Of course, the problem they run up against is that consenting adults have lives that are complex, emotional and messy, and they’re going to make decisions based on their own circumstances and not the rules. This is so true that the very people espousing these strict rules about sex and marriage can’t even be bothered to follow them.

Traverse City Votes to Keep Non-Discrimination Ordinance
“The people of Traverse City have sent a clear message that they value their LGBT friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members and don’t want to see them left vulnerable to discrimination,” Carey said. “This victory creates a stronger and more welcoming city not only for LGBT people and their families, but for everyone. We were proud to have partnered with Traverse City Equality in the nation’s only LGBT-specific ballot measure campaign this election. This is a victory for Traverse City and for our common humanity.” The vote caps a nearly year long, often contentious battle by social conservatives convinced they were stopping the gay agenda. The anti-ordinance movement was spearheaded by Jason Gilman, a tea party leader and county commissioner, and Paul Nepote. Nepote ran a Facebook page about the battle.

HOUSE BILL No. 5039
After losing to Traverse City voters who supported our existing Non-Discrimination Ordinance, as well as in 19 Michigan cities and counting, House Republicans, with the encouragment and support of Gary Glenn (AFA, Michigan) now are endevoring to make it illegal for our city and other units of local government to pass or enforce local laws. This is a huge attack on Grass Roots Democracy. HB 5039 reads, "A State agency of unit of local government shall not adopt any ordinance, rule, regulation, or policy that includes as a protected class, any classification not specifically included as a proteced class under this act, any existing ordinance, rule, regulation, or policy that includes, as a protected class, any classification no specifically included as a protected class under this act is void." So folks, the culture war rages on. We are going to need all of the good citizens who supported Proposal 1, to push back against, and stop, this insanity which would limit all local governments in the state of Michigan.

Conservative American Pastor to Be Charged With “Crimes Against Humanity”
Popular with the American Family Association and regional hate groups, Lively was brought to Traverse City by Bill Wiesner and Paul Nepote. “Pastor” Scott Lively was a key proponent of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. He traveled around Uganda with key government officials, and literally pushed for the execution of homosexual men and women.

A Christian Plot for Domination
Put simply, Dominionism means that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions. Originating among some of America’s most radical theocrats, it’s long had an influence on religious-right education and political organizing. But because it seems so outré, getting ordinary people to take it seriously can be difficult. Most writers, myself included, who explore it have been called paranoid. In a contemptuous 2006 First Things review of several books, including Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy, and my own Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, conservative columnist Ross Douthat wrote, “the fear of theocracy has become a defining panic of the Bush era.”

Dummy Guide to BullyingMichigan Senate Passes Pro-Bullying Bill
November 3, 2011—“We should be protecting public policy that protects kids — all kids, from bullies — all bullies. But instead you have set us back further by creating a blueprint for bullying.” CLICK HERE: READ AN ANALYSIS OF SB-137

What Kind of America Do These Radicals Want?
Dominionism is the idea that conservative Christians have the right – and the responsibility – to take dominion over all aspects of life, including the government. Rick Perry, as Texas governor initiated “The Response” and then turned to the American Family Association and a host of Pentecostal religious leaders associated with something called the “New Apostolic Reformation,” a Pentecostal movement that features end-times prophecy, spiritual warfare and a religious-political agenda that seeks to gain dominion over government and other centers of influence; arguing for a harsh application of Old Testament law to modern-day America, including the death penalty for 17 different offenses ranging from blasphemy, witchcraft, worshipping false gods and propagating false doctrine to sodomy, juvenile delinquency and adultery.


“Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ—to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness. But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice. It is dominion we are after. Not just influence. It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time. It is dominion we are after. World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less... Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land—of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments...” George Grant, from The Changing of the Guard, Biblical Principles for Political Action (pp.50-51).


Discrimination is Bad Business Model
Having lived through the ’50s and ’60s, I can reflect back to the civil rights lunch counter sit-ins – the most memorable taking place at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. The struggle of the Greensboro Four – the four black students who sat down for coffee and, when refused service, remained sitting all day, spurring dozens of others to join their peaceful protest – was both noble and necessary. But I have often pondered, what was the management at Woolworth’s thinking? What corporation would implement a business plan that refuses to sell its product to those sitting at its lunch counter? Suffice it to say, segregating customers proved to be a poor business model ... CLICK HERE: READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE

All Children Matter
There are 2 million children being raised by LGBT parents--children from all walks of life, living in almost every U.S. county--who have become collateral damage of ideology and laws designed to hurt LGBT people. All Children Matter is the most comprehensive look to date at these children; how they are failed by society, government and the law; and how simple changes to unfair laws can begin to ensure we are giving all children the chance to reach their full potential. Coalition partners include includes the Movement Advancement Project, the Family Equality Council, the Center for American Progress, the National Association of Social Workers, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, COLAGE and the Child Welfare League of America.

Gay-tolerant societies prosper economically
If you object to homosexuality on moral grounds, as Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., recently did in an interview, you may not be swayed by economic arguments. But if you are a fan of entrepreneurship and business growth, you should know the economic price of intolerance. The key to understanding America's technological and economic vibrancy lies in our openness to new people and ideas. Tolerance of immigrants, gays and other minorities is much more important to sustained economic growth and the high-paying jobs than the tax cut President Bush has in mind.

Equality and the Good Life
New research shows that, among developed countries, the healthiest and happiest are those with the most equality. Inequality is a reflection of how strong hierarchies are, how much we share or how much we don't. It shows us which part of our potential we're developing. What game do I play? Have I got to fend for myself? Or have I got to get people to trust me and cooperate with me? Is my survival dependent on good relationships? Are you my rival? Have I got to keep what I've got, defend it? Or can we share? We've lived in the most egalitarian and the most awful, hierarchical, tyrannical societies.

2010 Michigan Same Sex Couples Survey
2010 Census data released today shows 247,283 unmarried partner households and 21,782 households led by gay and lesbian couples in Michigan (at least 287,000 gay and transgender adults live in Michigan). “This is a reminder that gay and lesbian citizens make up a significant portion of Michigan’s population,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, Equality Michigan’s Executive Director. “Gay and lesbian residents live in every region of our state. Many of these couples live in fear of losing a job for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance, or losing access to health care because of anti-gay activists, or being targeted by hate violence. Lawmakers have a responsibility to address these problems and ensure that gay, lesbian and transgender citizens can safely participate in Michigan’s civic and economic life.”

Being Who You Are | Record Eagle Editorial
I wanted to write this column should my children ever ask if I did anything to stand against the unfair and unjust laws around gay and lesbian rights. I wanted to write it to stand in opposition of any ideology or educational programs that teach hate. Shouldn’t we be teaching tolerance? And the importance of loving one another? With the many economic and environmental struggles we must overcome as a nation, how could devoting energy to telling people who they should and shouldn’t love be an effective use of our government’s time?

Paul NepoteWith All My Hate | a glimpse into the life and mind of Traverse City anti-equality cruisader Paul Nepote
In filings in the 13th Circuit Court, Paul Nepote’s ex-wife depicts the antihomosexuality crusader as an unstable, abusive and potentially violent person. “We have been married 31 years and our relationship has always been volatile,” she wrote about her marriage with Nepote, who is 66 years old. Nepote allegedly threatened physical harm to his wife, attempted to break down a door as his wife was getting dressed, and threatened to use a firearm, according to a personal protection order filed against him in August, 2004. She wrote that Nepote had been verbally abusive and intimidating for the entire marriage, according to the file. “I believe he would follow through with these threats,” she wrote in a letter to the court that accompanied her petition for the protective order. “For example, when I told him I was getting a PPO yesterday, he said, ‘you don’t think I can shoot you from 300’ away?’” Nepote’s sister-in-law also filed for court protection from Nepote. His wife’s sister filed in 2005. “He has made no secret of his hatred toward me,” the woman wrote in her petition. The PPO is no longer in place. At the time, the woman alleged Nepote made threats and hostile and vulgar statements to her. Copies of emails Nepote allegedly sent to the woman are included in the court file. The email ends ominously: “I do mean ANYTHING,” Nepote allegedly wrote, “with all my hate.”

RELATED STORIES

Inside the Mind of People Who Hate Gays | a forensic psychologists study
Bias-related violence against homosexuals is believed to be widespread in the United States. Victim accounts suggest that assailants possess tremendous rage and hatred; indeed, documentation of horrific levels of brutality has led the gay and lesbian community to characterize the violence as political terrorism aimed at all gay men and lesbians . Other motives for antigay violence suggested in the literature include male bonding, proving heterosexuality, and purging secret homosexual desires. From this perspective, assaults on homosexuals and other individuals who deviate from sex role norms are viewed as a learned form of social control of deviance rather than a defensive response to personal threat.

Vote YesRECORD EAGLE NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL
Traverse City Voters Have a Chance to Vote NO to Bigotry and Intolerance [November 8, 2011]
Traverse City voters should welcome the opportunity to weigh in on a matter of public import when the Nov. 8 general election rolls around. City residents can decisively reject a ballot measure forced upon them by a fractional, yet fractious segment of the community. City officials rightly backed shored-up protection efforts unanimously because it was fair and reasonable, and because commissioners view Traverse City as a community that’s willing to embrace people of all walks. City resident Paul Nepote leads the anti-antidiscrimination charge. He’s a usual suspect in such matters. In a way, Nepote and his followers indeed are fighting an agenda; more to the point, they’re fighting for their own agenda, one that’s borne of bigotry and meant to foster exclusion and division. But the sense here is that there isn’t much blood left in that turnip. Traverse City has its flaws, but generally it’s moved beyond such archaic thinking and understands well the benefits of inclusion.

Non-discrimination "equal opportunity" ordinance headed for ballot by Traverse City Mayor Chris Bzdok
June 29, 2011—A group led by TC resident Paul Nepote has turned in signatures to put the city’s non-discrimination ordinance on the November ballot. I supported the non-discrimination ordinance at the city commission and I will support it with my vote as a city resident in November.

Religious Groups Try to Make Gays and Lesbians Straight
Thanks to the unscientific, unregulated underworld of ex-gay therapy, frauds and hacks of all stripes are getting away with any kind of therapy they can think up. For more than 30 years, the ex-gay movement has gotten away with its bizarre and harmful therapy techniques. It’s long past time for these unlicensed, unprofessional quacks to be held accountable for the harm they have caused.


The American Psychological Association assembled a task force to study the effectiveness of faith based ex-gay therapy. After spending two years sifting through the available research—it evaluated eighty-three studies dating back to 1960—the APA concluded that there was scant evidence that sexual orientation could be changed. What’s more, it found that attempting to do so could cause depression and suicidal tendencies among patients. Based on these findings, in 2009 the APA voted to repudiate reparative therapy by a margin of 125 to 4. WEBSITE


Rudy Giuliani: Republican Party Should 'Get The Heck Out Of People's Bedrooms'
“I don't know what the heck the Republican Party wants to do getting involved in people's sexual lives and personal lives so much for,” Giuliani continued. “Stay out of it. And I think we'd be a much more successful political party if we stuck to our economic, conservative roots and our idea of a strong, assertive America that is not embarrassed to be the leader of the world.”

The Highly Profitable Anti-Gay Movement
While conservative Christians have led historic crusades against a number of "evils" in America — witchcraft, alcohol, communism, feminism and abortion, among others — homosexuality was never more than a minor concern. The first stirrings of anti-gay organizing came, according to historian Susan Fort Wiltshire, ambitious small-town preachers in the Northwest Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church began to exploit anti-gay sentiment. These preachers realized that virulent anti-gay rhetoric could "fill football stadiums for revivals. This idea that being gay is a choice is a key concept in the anti-gay movement. If homosexuality is genetic, as most scientists believe, the movement to deny equality to LGBT people is just as discriminatory as Jim Crow segregatio [Editor: It's about the money.]

The far-right’s obsession with the Gays
The far-right wing of the Republican Party is held together by the 3G network—God, Guns and Gays. And as we’re finding out once again nothing throws these conservatives into a tizzy more than the Gays.

Columbia University Study Links Conservative Social Environment to High Suicide Attempt Rates
18-April 2011—The results of this study are pretty compelling. The risk of attempted suicide by all young people drops when communities support their gay young people, and schools adopt anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies that specifically protect lesbian, gay, and bisexual students.

The American Psychological Association Finds That Homophobia is Associated With Repressed Homosexual Urges
Psychoanalytic theory holds that homophobia -- the fear, anxiety, anger, discomfort and aversion that some ostensibly heterosexual people hold for gay individuals -- is the result of repressed homosexual urges that the person is either unaware of or denies. A study appearing in the August issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), provides new empirical evidence...

Homophobia: a challenge | National Library of Medicine
In 1975, the American Psychological Association stated that homosexuality was not a disorder and that homophobia was a form of prejudice based on stereotypes. Because homophobia, like racism or sexism, is learned, it can be unlearned. People who feel homosexuality is a choice hold more negative attitudes toward individuals who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. Homophobia not only damages individuals who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, but also limits heterosexuals by locking them into rigid gender-based roles.

I Was a Right-Wing Evangelical Pastor — Until I Saw the Light
May 21, 2011 | I was a Liberty University-trained evangelical pastor. I was sure that I was right and that every other person not of my faith was going to burn in hell forever. I want you to know that the fundamentalist political movement is the beginning of a cultural revolution that will take our nation to a very dark place. You have to understand that this has been methodically planned and is being carried out with the utmost vigilance. My old friends do not in the least care about democracy, and they are seeking to end the rule of the majority in our great country. The consequences of not acting are dire. We are not just fighting for ourselves. We are struggling to protect the future generations of Americans who will suffer from these ruthless actions of the far right.

United Church of Christ supports international LGBT rights
Synod 28 delegates on Tuesday passed a resolution to raise awareness of international instances of systematic discrimination, violence and abuse targeting persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The resolution, titled “Supporting International Human Rights Related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,” centers on instances in which such abuse is not prohibited by law but rather legally, politically, socially or even religiously sanctioned. Ninety-eight percent of delegates voted in favor of the resolution.

Methodist Ministers Pledge to Marry Gay Couples
During their annual conference in St. Cloud, about 40 Minnesota United Methodist clergy have signed a statement saying they would marry any couple who came to them, including same-sex couples. Reverend Bruce Robbins of theHennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis read the statement (Wednesday) afternoon.

Phoebe Prince's mother lashes out at daughter's tormentors
May 04, 2011—Wednesday, two teens accepted responsibility for their involvement in the bullying of Phoebe Prince, leading to her death.

The 12 Worst (and Most Powerful) Christian Right Groups
May 2, 2011—The Religious Right in America is lavishly funded and politically well connected. While the men who lead the fundamentalist Christian political movement hold different opinions about theology, they share a deep and abiding hostility to the separation of church and state. They seek to inject religion into public schools, obtain taxpayer funding for religious schools and other ministries, roll back reproductive choice and deny civil rights to gay people. And they enjoy extraordinary influence in Washington, D.C., and in many state legislatures. What follows is a survey of some of the nation’s leading Religious Right organizations. Collectively, these groups raise more than three-quarters of a billion dollars annually, the bulk of it tax-exempt.

Anti-gay Conference: strategy for fighting against societies acceptance of gays | VIDEO
22-April—"The first step for Christian conservatives to win the war against the gay movement is to re-brand the terms we use," said Ryan Sorba at last weekend’s, The Awakening Conference at Liberty University (founded as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971 by Jerry Falwell). Sorba proposed using more offensive pejorative alternatives to the word “Gay”, such as “same-sex attraction, same-sex intercourse, dangerous homosexual behavior, sodomy, unnatural vice” etc. [Editor: They are already calling our gay neighbors and friends in Traverse City nasty names. One wonders how low they will go?]

FBI Hate Crimes GraphFBI: Hate Crime Information
Crimes of hatred and prejudice—from lynchings to cross burnings to vandalism of synagogues—are a sad fact of American history, but the term "hate crime" did not enter the nation's vocabulary until the 1980s, when emerging hate groups like the Skinheads launched a wave of bias-related crime. | Hate Crime Guidelines | FBI: Incident Report Form

Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a hate crime based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the FBI may be able to help you. This new law is the first significant expansion of federal criminal civil rights law since the mid-1990s—giving the federal government the authority to prosecute violent hate crimes, including violence and attempted violence directed at the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, to the fullest extent of its jurisdiction. The first FBI report containing GLBT biased Hate Crimes is scheduled to be released by the FBI November 2011. In NW Michigan contact the FBI at Phone: (231) 946-7201 or Fax: (231) 946-1311

Anti-Bullying Law Opposed by Michigan Senate
15-April—Michigan is one of only five states without an anti-bullying law, but that's not for trying. Since 2005 the the state house has passed anti-bullying legislation , and in the Republican-controlled Senate it has failed. Since 2001 there have been at least 10 known incidents of Michigan teens committing suicide after being bullied.

H.R.3827 - Every Child Deserves a Family Act
To prohibit discrimination in adoption or foster care placements based on the sexual orientation, gender identification, or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster parent.




Support
 

In Support of the Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance
City of Traverse City

FacebookOctober 04, 2010—At the regular City Commission meeting Mary Van Valin grew emotional as she stood at a podium to address the Traverse City Commission. "I have a dream that this community will stand on the side of love, not fear," Valin said Monday night.

Van Valin got her wish when the City Commissioners unanimously approved the Equal Opportunity Ordinance.

Equal Opportunity for the residents of Traverse City will be decided at the ballot box on November 8, 2011. Please vote.

READ MORE>>>

 

Oppose
 

Opposing the Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance
Paul Nepote, et all

October 05, 2010—Paul Nepote filed notice of a Referendum Petition that he circulated for signatures, which reads: We, the undersigned registered voters of the City of Traverse City, under and by virtue of the authority granted by Chapter XV of the Traverse City Charter, do hereby protest against the following ordinance taking effect and petition your submission of said ordinance to the registered voters of the City of Traverse City, County of Grand Traverse, State of Michigan.

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Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance

No person shall adopt, enforce or employ any policy or requirement which has the effect of creating unequal opportunities according to actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, family status, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disability, or gender identity, for a person to obtain housing, employment or public accommodation.

Equal Opportunity for the residents of Traverse City will be decided at the ballot box on November 8, 2011. Please vote.

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Protect Liberty and Justice for All

October 06, 2010—The “TC Equality” group and this web site came into being more than a year ago for the purpose of preserving and protecting equal opportunity and equal protection in Traverse City. We appreciate your assistance.

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