“You can talk about the Holocaust, but the Jews, they own everything!” blared Apostle Kimberly Daniels, who is part of an extreme Christian movement, the New Apostolic Reformation, which believes in a complete takeover of government. Following “7 Mountains” theology, the belief is that Christians must control — and place individuals at the top of — the seven pillars of society, from government and media to the worlds of business and entertainment, including sports. Daniels, an African-American woman, is also thankful for slavery, saying in the same sermon, “If it wasn’t for slavery, I might be somewhere in Africa, worshiping a tree.” The belief regarding the Holocaust and slavery appears to be that only by experiencing these horrors are groups “paid back” or rewarded by God.

This week, in an incredible report, Rachel Tabachnick at Public Research Associates unearthed the New York Giants’ David Tyree’s business and religious connections to Daniels, his “spiritual mother,” and her radical movement. The Giants’ recent hiring of former player Tyree as director of player development came under intense criticism last week, including by the Human Rights Campaign in a strongly worded press release, and by me, because of his past anti-gay advocacy, homophobic statements and belief that gays can be turned straight. Daniels is also at the forefront of the Christian extremists attacking LGBT rights and believes that homosexuals can pray away the gay. Here are excerpts from “Confession to Come Out of Homosexuality/Lesbianism” from her 2009 book, Prayers That Bring Change:

I no longer conform to and subject myself under the words and authority of the homosexual agenda. … I repent for all the people I have recruited to join this army of darkness. … I come against the vision of the rainbow that represented a covenant between the devil and me.

And here are excerpts from “Prayer Against the Homosexual Agenda (or Same-Sex Marriages)” from the same book:

We curse gay pride to the root and declare that is is nothing to be proud of; it is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. … We come against the witchcraft that is working behind the scenes of the homosexual agenda.

The year before Daniels wrote that book, she co-wrote a book with Tyree, then a wide receiver for the Giants, who’d been taken into her fold. That book, More Than Just the Catch: A True Story of Courage, Hope, and Achieving the Impossible, is all about how Tyree’s famous catch at the 2008 Super Bowl, which helped win the game for the Giants, was a gift from God after he’d been “reborn” into Daniels’ radical Christian movement.

Several years later, in 2011, Tyree became a spokesperson for the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM), as I discussed last week, and said that gay marriage would lead to “anarchy” and “lawlessness.” He then claimed that he’d met some of the “many former homosexual men and women,” and that there are “hundreds of former homosexuals.” A year later, in 2012, Tyree spoke to the New York Daily News about his powerful bond with Daniels, revealing that he’d prayed with her the night before the Super Bowl in which he made his famous catch:

She told me four things would happen in that game. The first one was that I would have quick feet. The second was that I would have the feet of a hind, a deer, and I would be able to jump high. The third was that I was going to have glue on my hands and the fourth was the Lord was going to give me the big play. … God was positioning me to do greater things.

Given the way Tyree spoke of Daniels just two years ago, it’s clear that she is someone who may have a grip on his beliefs for the rest of his life.

Last week, after Tyree was named director of player development for the Giants — a job the coach described as helping athletes deal with personal issues and development, which conceivably could be homosexuality — the Giants seemed completely taken aback by the criticism, with General Manager Jerry Reese trying to downplay Tyree’s past and defending the choice.

In came the You Can Play Project, co-founded in 2012 by current president Patrick Burke, a straight ally of gay rights. (His now-deceased brother, an athlete, was gay.) Burke works for the National Hockey League and obviously has many connections and friendships within the world of professional sports. You Can Play basically gave cover to the Giants, with Burke tearing into the Human Rights Campaign on Twitter for criticizing the Giants’ choice to hire Tyree. Openly gay former NFL player Wade Davis, now the executive director of the You Can Play Project, wrote a piece explaining that he’d met Tyree while doing workshops in which he educates teams and management about LGBT people, and that Tyree had reached out to him. He said he’d also spoken with Tyree after the hire, and that Tyree had given him a statement saying that he’d “support a gay player.”

I have a lot of respect for Davis and the work he does educating players and coaches, and I think an inside strategy is vital, but his piece was vague, answering none of the questions, and he acted as a mouthpiece for Tyree, who refuses to give interviews. Davis said that Tyree is evolving, but just two weeks earlier, on Twitter — and Tyree’s Twitter feed has now been shut down, perhaps out of fear that people will dredge up his tweets — Tyree lamented that there are not enough men for “single Christian women” because too many men are “effeminate.”

Cyd Ziegler, a journalist at OutSports whom I’ve always respected, oddly became a mouthpiece for Tyree too. It was a glaring bit of PR promotion from someone we’d expect to have more distance. He said in a video that he spoke with Tyree, and that Tyree doesn’t support conversion therapy and “doesn’t even know what conversion therapy is.” There was no direct quotation from Tyree, and again, Tyree has refused to speak for himself. Ziegler also criticized those of us who aren’t working as insiders in sports, as if criticism from the outside is useless or counterproductive and only he and You Can Play are doing the kind work that gets results. How many times have we heard that before, whether about the Republican Party, Hollywood or any other power structure? It’s pretty condescending to silence people — and as a straight man, Burke shouldn’t be slamming a gay group for speaking out on homophobia — and just plain wrong.

“I am less concerned with Tyree’s evolution on LGBT issues than with what his hiring says to current or future closeted players on the Giants,” Hudson Taylor, another straight ally working with sports teams as the executive director of Athlete Ally, wrote to me in a statement, obviously disagreeing with You Can Play. “Hiring a director of player development with a known history of anti-LGBT beliefs shows that the Giants are not concerned with providing support to gay and straight players equally.”

Given that he’s so close to Kimberly Daniels, who’s made “healing” homosexuals so much a part of her work, it’s impossible to believe that Tyree doesn’t know a lot about “ex-gay” therapy. And how could she, as his zealously anti-gay religious mentor and self-avowed “demon buster,” possibly tolerate his “evolving” on something that is so fundamental to her belief system? But if it’s truly the case that he’s evolved, Tyree can let us all know that he completely disavows her radical views on homosexuality.

In 2011 Daniels narrowly won a seat on the city council of Jacksonville, Florida, where she serves now. She downplayed her extreme views during the political race; when they surfaced, thanks to the group Truth Wins Out, she called it an attack on her faith and denied charges of anti-Semitism, quoting the Bible to defend her statement about Jews. She still runs Kimberly Daniels Ministries, which promotes all the same beliefs it’s always promoted.

What Daniels did by entering politics is part of the 7 Mountains movement’s philosophy: Infiltrate the power structures of society, from government and media to Hollywood and sports, even if it means downplaying views in order to get in. Could that be what David Tyree is doing now? I think Tyree, You Can Play, Ziegler, the New York Giants and the NFL have a lot more explaining to do.

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a sweeping ruling striking down Virginia’s ban on marriage equality. This pivotal decision, which could be applied to Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, is the third appeals court ruling to strike down state marriage bans in just one month.

Not only does this case contribute to the momentum for marriage equality that is sweeping our nation, but one of the plaintiff couples, Mary Townley and Carol Schall, are HRC members just like you.

Before they joined this case, Mary and Carol reached out to HRC and detailed the discrimination they faced when their home state of Virginia refused to recognize their legal California marriage. HRC connected them with the American Foundation for Equal Rights so that they could take their case to federal court alongside the other plaintiffs in this case, Tim Bostic and Tony London. HRC is proud to support the Bostic case and AFER as they work to secure marriage for all Americans.

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A state judge struck down Florida’s gay marriage ban on Friday in the latest in a string of legal gay-rights victories that have nonetheless been put on hold for resolution by higher courts.

Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel in Miami-Dade County said Florida’s ban violated the constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, as well as offended “basic human decency.” Florida’s attorney general quickly said he would appeal.

But Zabel said the slew of recent verdicts showed it is “increasingly obvious” it is not constitutionally permissible to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

“Preventing couples from marrying solely on the basis of their sexual orientation serves no governmental interest,” she wrote.

“It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society.”

Don Price Johnston, a 44-year-old plaintiff in the Miami lawsuit, said he was thrilled with the ruling.

“It’s spectacular … I’m extremely happy,” he said, adding that he did not mind that the decision had been stayed for now.

“It’s not like we’re going to lose. We just have to wait,” Johnston said. “I’ve been waiting for more than 25 years for this right. A few more months won’t kill me.”

Last week a judge whose jurisdiction includes the Florida Keys ordered the Monroe County Clerk of Court to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting on Tuesday.

That ruling was automatically put on hold after Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, a Republican, said she planned to appeal it and that the final decision on the issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court.

While that ruling applied to only one county, it was the first decision in several court cases across the state challenging the same-sex marriage ban which was approved by Florida voters in 2008.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler defensive coordinator, NFL head coach, and NBC analyst Tony Dungy is making headlines after saying he wouldn’t have drafted Michael Sam because he is gay, and wouldn’t want to “deal with it.”

Dungy told the Tampa Tribune that he wouldn’t have taken Sam, “Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.”

Michael Sam is a former Missouri linebacker, SEC player of the year, and openly gay.

He was drafted in the 7th round of the NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams.

Dungy told the paper, “It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.”

Tony Dungy was the first African-American coach to ever win a Super Bowl.

Dungy was the defensive coordinator with the Steelers from 1984 to 1988.

Current Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was a defensive backs coach under Dungy.

The NFL Shop says that Michael Sam’s jersey is the 6th most popular selling jersey since April 1st.

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Ban on gay marriage struck down in Monroe County

Posted July 17th, 2014 by pikapp44

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit by Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, who sued Monroe County Clerk Amy Heavilin after the clerk refused to grant the couple a marriage license.

Circuit judge Luis Garcia’s ruling applies only to Monroe County, and does not take affect until Tuesday. If his ruling is enacted, Florida will become the 20th state to allow same-sex marriage.

State attorney general Pam Bondi filed an appeal later in the day. The case will now go to the Third District Court of Appeal.

According to Mary Meeks and Elizabeth Schwartz, two of the attorneys involved in a similar case in Miami-Dade, the attorney general’s appeal means that there will be an automatic stay of the judge’s ruling, which will have to be lifted by the court of appeals or the Florida Supreme Court for gay marriages to occur.

Bernadette Restivo, one of the lawyers for Huntsman and Jones in Key West, said that her team was moving forward.

“We’ll be conferring with attorneys from Equality Florida and finding how to proceed,” she said as she drove to a planned celebration on Duval Street in Key West.

Restivo said that she had a sense her side would win when Garcia asked “a couple of pointed questions of our opponents, and they weren’t explaining their side very well. Florida allows homosexuals to adopt, Florida allows homosexuals to use assisted reproduction to conceive, but it wasn’t allowing these children to be in an intact family. We argued there was no rational relationship there.”

Garcia heard arguments in the case July 7. Weighing on his mind, he wrote, was a 2008 election in which 62 percent of Florida voters approved a statewide ban on gay marriage.

Wrote Garcia, “This court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage, but it is our country’s proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority.

“Whether it’s the NRA protecting our right to bear arms when the City of Chicago attempted to ban handguns within its city limits; or when Nazi supremacists won the right to march in Skokie, Illinois, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood; or when a black woman wanted to marry a white man in Virginia; or when black children wanted to go to an all-white school, the Constitution guarantees and protects ALL of its citizens from government interference with those rights. All laws passed whether by the legislature or by popular support must pass the scrutiny of the United States Constitution, to do otherwise diminishes the Constitution to just a historic piece of paper.”

Today’s decision is just the first of what may become a cascade or Florida court rulings in favor of gay marriage in the coming days.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel heard argument July 2 on the same issue – but involving six same-sex couples who live in that county and want to get married. Her ruling is expected any day.

The same is true in federal court in Tallahassee, where U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle is mulling whether to order Washington County’s clerk of courts to issue two men a marriage license and whether to require Florida to grant the same rights that married couples have to same-sex couples who were wed in other states and Canada.

One of the lawyers involved in that case, Daniel Tilley of the Americal Civil Liberties Union of Florida, issued a statement today that read, “This is the beginning of the end of the marriage ban and of marriage discrimination in Florida.”

Additionally, a lawsuit against Florida Atlantic University in Palm Beach Couty asking the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states is already in the appeals stage.

“County courts aren’t statewide. We need one of these appellate decisions, either mine or this one, to come forward and create a statewide effect,” George Castrataro, the lawyer in that case, said. “I think that’s the most important next step.”

Reaction from national pro-gay-marriage organizations came swiftly.

“Judge Garcia did the right thing in affirming that committed same-sex couples share in the precious constitutional freedom to marry the person we love,” wrote Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry.

“Today’s court ruling in Florida is further proof that America is ready for marriage equality nationwide, “said Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow.

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A regional accrediting agency has placed Gordon College, a Christian school in Boston, under review as the institution seeks the legal ability to discriminate in hiring against members of the LGBT community, the Boston Business Journal reported.

D. Michael Lindsay made Gordon the lone higher education institution to sign onto a letter from roughly a dozen faith-based organizations petitioning the Obama administration for exemptions on the basis of religion from an executive order banning discrimination in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation. The order would apply to Gordon as an institution taking federal funding.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ Commission on Institutions of Higher Education will review whether the college is violating a policy requiring its members to adhere to “non-discriminatory policies and practices in recruitment, admissions, employment, evaluation, disciplinary action, and advancement,” and whether it has an atmosphere respecting and supporting “people of diverse characteristics and backgrounds.”

“There’s considerable publicity about the whole issue, and it’s been getting a lot of attention,” commission director Barbara E. Brittingham told the Boston Globe. “It’s a matter of looking at the information we have and deciding if the institution is meeting our standards.”

The ultimate punishment — though rare — would be for the commission to revoke Gordon’s accreditation, which would set off challenges with the school’s access to federal funding and potential downgrades by credit rating agencies.

The move by Gordon’s administration sparked a backlash among its own students and alumni, with some 3,500 people signing an online petition calling on Lindsay to rescind his request.

Lindsay responded earlier this month in a letter to the community stating that although it wants the legal freedom on the basis of religion to not hire someone because they are gay or lesbian, “We have never barred categories of individuals from our campus and have no intention to do so now.”

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When openly gay police chief Crystal Moore was fired by a mayor who condemned her lifestyle as “questionable,” she feared her two decade career in law enforcement in this town was over.

Then, this conservative, small town rebelled.

The people of Latta, who voted overwhelmingly for a state amendment banning gay marriage eight years ago, turned against the mayor, stripped him of his powers and the town council rehired Moore. They said her dedication to the town mattered more than her sexual orientation.

Residents remembered Moore’s civic spirit from as far back as 1989, when Hurricane Hugo tore through Latta. She was a high school student working part time as a police dispatcher, and helped cut downed tree limbs to clean up the debris. This February, when an ice storm crippled the town and left it without power for days, Moore piled her officers in her SUV and checked on as many people as she could.

“That’s Crystal. All she does is help people. I don’t get why he fired her. Maybe it’s the ignorant people who talk the loudest. She was the same great Crystal yesterday as she is today, and she’ll be the same person tomorrow,” said lifelong Latta resident Dottie Walters.

Mayor Earl Bullard vehemently denied that he fired Moore because she was gay. Instead, he said she was dismissed for “sheer insubordination” during the three months he was her boss.

Moore said she hadn’t received a single reprimand during her career until Bullard presented her with seven the day she was fired in April. Word of her termination spread fast in this tobacco hub of about 1,400 people, just off Interstate 95. About two dozen people gathered at her office in support on the day she was let go.

The support for Moore grew when Town Councilman Jarett Taylor started secretly recording his conversations with the mayor, which is legal in South Carolina. Taylor said he learned not to trust the mayor because he would tell him something, and later deny he ever said it.

In a conversation released to reporters after Moore was fired, the mayor said: “I’d much rather have somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children, because that ain’t the damn way it’s supposed to be.”

Bullard, who has avoided reporters for much of the past three months, told The Associated Press that was him on the tape. He offered no apologies.

“I don’t like the homosexual ways portrayed in front of children,” Bullard told AP by telephone Thursday. “You can’t explain to a 5-year-old why another child has two mommies or two daddies.”

Since the story made headlines, Bullard said he had received a stack of hate mail that was “probably an inch-and-a-half thick.”

Within days of Moore’s termination, the town council passed a vote of confidence in her. They also set up an election that would strip the mayor of his power and give them more authority, including the ability to hire the police chief.

Moore, who played softball at Latta High School, walked up and down the streets for days before the vote, explaining her side of the story and calling for change. Last month, 69 percent of 475 voters approved of taking the mayor’s power away. Now essentially a figurehead, it’s not clear what he is going to do next. He ran unopposed in 2013 and still has three years left on his term.

When Moore returned to work June 30, people honked their car horns and gave her thumbs up as she drove around in her police SUV, according to television reports. When an AP reporter rode around with her recently, nearly everyone waved as she drove by.

“Crystal is a good chief and she loves this town,” said Taylor, the councilman. “It made me proud of my town to see everybody come out for her the way they did.”

Latta is a blink-and-you-miss-it town that started as a train depot and grew into a tobacco hub. Many people pass it on their way to Myrtle Beach, which is about 50 miles away. The only rainbow in town is on the Carolina Kidz daycare center.

Moore’s firing turned her into an unlikely activist. Before, she would bring her partner to civic festivals, but avoided gay pride events because she didn’t want to draw attention to herself.

Now she travels about once a week to talk to gay groups and encourage laws to stop discrimination against homosexuals. South Carolina does not have a statewide ban on firing people because of their sexual orientation.

“I think things are going to change, like they did in the civil rights movement,” Moore said.

State unemployment officials sided with Moore, voting she was fired without cause and eligible for back pay and benefits for the two months she didn’t have a job.

The fight left Moore with nearly $20,000 in legal bills. About $8,000 has been pledged from people through a Facebook site, but that still leaves a lot of debt for someone who makes less than $40,000 a year running a 10-officer department.

So the town is arranging a yet-to-be determined fundraiser, Moore said.

“It’s just remarkable,” she said. “I can’t ever thank this place enough.”

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A pair of Ohio-based moms are crying foul after reportedly being turned down for a family swimming pool pass in their community.

WBNS Channel 10 reports that Melody Mohn and her partner, Hela Young, attempted to buy a family pass at Galion’s Heise Park that included Young, she was told that a city ordinance defined a family as a mother, father and up to three children.

“We’re not the only same-sex couple, and we’re not the only non-traditional family, either,” Mohn, who said she had purchased a family pass for herself and her three children for the past nine years, told NBC 4.

Without the family pass, Mohn noted, she and her children will not be able to visit the pool as often as they’d like. “It costs about $16 each time and that adds up quick,” she told the Coshocton Tribune.

Meanwhile, members of the Galion City Council have vowed to update the ordinance and re-evaluate the wording surrounding the definition of “family,” but since the pool closes next month, it’s likely Mohn and Young won’t be able to obtain a family pass until 2015.

“We certainly don’t want to do anything to prevent children and parents to go swimming in our pool,” Carl Watt, Galion City Council president, told NBC 4.

He went on to add, “I mean, 20 years ago, it probably fit the scene, but not today. Not today’s lifestyle.”

In 2012, a Virginia-based fitness club began offering “household” memberships in lieu of “family” memberships after two gay men were stripped of the latter when management discovered they were a same-sex couple. In the meantime, the couple’s two-year-old son was reportedly denied access to a swimming pool.

At the time, Will Trinkle described to ABC 13 as being akin to “someone [punching] us in the stomach.”

“It’s from a place we couldn’t imagine that there would be this kind of discrimination and this kind of attack,” he added. “We have come a long way but this shows we still have a long way to go.”

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A Boulder County clerk who has been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of Colorado’s gay-marriage ban can continue, a judge ruled Thursday.

Boulder County Judge Andrew Hartman decided county clerk Hillary Hall can ignore a federal stay on a ruling from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver that states cannot set gender requirements for marriage.

The judge said gay marriage is still technically illegal in Colorado but that Hall’s behavior was not harming anyone. But he said all who receive a license should be warned that they could still be invalid if a judge finds after trial that Hall didn’t have the authority to issue them.

Hartman also noted that every judge — including one in Colorado the previous afternoon — in the past year has ruled that gay marriage bans are unconstitutional and that Colorado’s prohibition is “hanging by a thread.”

Hall has issued more than 100 same-sex marriage licenses since that ruling on June 25. Republican state Attorney General John Suthers sued Hall, the only clerk in Colorado who defied the federal stay.

Hall argued that despite the stay, Colorado’s gay-marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution.

Suthers said Hall’s behavior was causing “legal chaos” while the issue works its way through the courts.

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When discussing gay rights on Fox News, who better to consult than the network’s reliable source Dr. Keith Ablow?

“Fox & Friends” asked Ablow on Wednesday for his thoughts on a new California bill that replaces the words “husband” and “wife” with “spouse” under state laws. The new bill has been described as a “milestone in the journey towards full equality” and an end to the last barrier to same-sex marriage in California.

“Nuts,” Ablow said of the new bill. “There’s no way that the state of California can deny a marriage license to four spouses now. Eight spouses, or I would say three human spouses and the canine they absolutely love because if love is the foundation of marriage, they can love their dog, too.”

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