Thursday, January 8, 2015

New GOP NE AG taps antigay promoter of discredited Regnerus Study who was affiliated with Focus On The Family, for top staff post

From left: Joshua Shassere, Justin Lavene, Suzanne Gage, John Freudenberg, Attorney General Doug Peterson, James Smith, Abigail Stempson, Dave Bydalek and Jay Bartels

     The rumors that just-elected GOP AG Doug Peterson would pack the Nebraska Attorney General's office with right-to-lifers and anti-gay activists seem to have been correct.
     Newly appointed Chief Deputy Attorney General Bydalek isn't the only ultra right-winger picked by Peterson to serve in his inner circle — Suzanne Gage, his new director of communications, was legislative liaison for Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion legal group.
     Peterson's new chief of staff is Joshua Shassere, most recently executive director of the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Lincoln.
     Bydalek was the policy director of Nebraska's most vehemently anti-gay pressure group, the financially secretive Nebraska Family Alliance, associated with CitizenLink and Focus On The Family.
     In 2013, Bydalek shamelessly misrepresented three adoption-reform bills to KETV.   
     In 2014, Bydalek, testifying before the Unicameral's Judiciary Committee against adoption reform in Nebraska, cited the infamous Regnerus Study as evidence against adoption by gay couples, despite the fact that Mark Regnerus' study was:
  • engineered and funded by right-wing groups to influence SCOTUS gay marriage deliberations
  • discredited by 200 PhDs and MDs
  • excoriated by the prestigious American Sociological Association
  • called "bullshit" by Darren E. Sherkat, an editor of the very journal that published it, after he was assigned to audit the study following the uproar it caused
Nebraska's new attorney general has gathered a cadre that shares his far-right agenda and has put them on the state's payroll. How right-wing is Peterson himself? Here is some of what he told the Lincoln Journal-Star:

On the problem of finding drug dealers in order to score lethal pharmaceuticals for executions:
I would be aggressive in trying to find the appropriate lethal drugs to effectively carry out executions. Currently most drug manufacturers are not willing to provide states with the lethal injection drugs...

The responses below are Peterson's written answers to VoterInformation.org questions during last fall's campaign, for which we have substituted our own snarky introductions. To see the actual questions, go here.

     On ex-alcoholic Glenn Beck's favorite crackpot conspiracy theory:
     "Thank you for bringing Agenda 21 to people's attention."

     On the prudent application of discipline (generally):
     "I believe the death penalty s primary purpose is to serve as a measured punishment..."
     On the prudent application of discipline to some pregnant women who take steps not to be:
     I do believe it is necessary to have the death penalty used on limited occasions based upon the current enhancement factors that we have in the Nebraska statute.
     On the evils of neighboring Colorado:
     "Two immediate educational needs in fighting the drug problem is making young people aware of the high THC factors in marijuana coming out of Colorado"
      On the snotty states surrounding Nebraska (see map) who think they're better than we are just because they let homos marry:
Peterson: "I do believe that Nebraska’s constitutional amendment defining
marriage as being limited to that between a man and a woman is constitutionally
sound."
Lincoln Journal-Star, 10/3/2014
The above statement is probably nonsense, given that in the overwhelming
majority of the above states surrounding Nebraska, marriage equality was
won when courts struck down recently-enacted bans on same sex marriage.
     "Recently, at a meet and greet event, one of those in attendance asked "when is Nebraska going to wake up and allow for same sex marriage?" ...based upon my faith in Christ, I told them I did not think it was a matter that Nebraska needed to wake up on. ...I told them I believe in those values and I am not impressed by those states who seem to think they are superior to us simply because they allow same sex marriage.
     On why civilization would collapse (look at map again, and be very scared) if it acknowledged same sex families:
     "The history of civilization, the knowledge of science, and common sense, all dictate that for a society to sustain itself, the only purposeful recognition by government of a family relationship is that relationship between a man and a woman.
     On the little-known  and pernicious fact that dispensing marriage licenses to same sex couples would bring GOVERNMENT into the most personal part of their lives and cause their SEXUALITY TO BE KNOWN PUBLICLY, also society would collapse, DON'T FORGET THAT:
     If government thought it was necessary to broaden that definition it would significantly effect a society's ability to sustain itself, and would bring government into the most personal part of an individual s life, their sexuality, and create it as part of their identity to be known publicly.
     On why the Voter Information Project questionnaire is insufficiently spacious to accommodate his frustrations with uppity deviants who think they are worthy of protection:
     It is ridiculous to suggest that government now has to identify the 42 different recognized sexual orientations, or individually perceived orientation and conclude that they are all worthy of protection. There is not enough room in this questionnaire to explain my frustration with the sexual identity movement groups.
     On never, in 28 years of living in tolerant, liberal Nebraska, having seen or heard about one single gay person ever having been jerked around:
     I have advised employers on employment law matters for 28 years and not once during that time have I perceived either discrimination based upon sexual identity, or seen a value in identifying it in the work setting. "
     Finally, you should not think that he is a crazy extremist or anything:
     "I ve been endorsed by Coach Tom Osborne and former Governor Kay Orr based upon my experience and integrity."

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