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INTERFAITH ALLIANCE STATE OF BELIEF

RADIO OCTOBER 31, 2015


RUSH TRANSCRIPT: MARTY ROUSE
Click here for audio
[VIDEO AD AUDIO CLIP]: If Proposition One
passes, you could be fined up to five thousand dollars for declining to
participate in a same-sex wedding... or simply objecting to a man
using a woman's bathroom.
[REV. DR. C. WELTON GADDY, HOST]: Well that's the kind of
rhetoric that Houston voters have been inundated with recently,
complete with video of US currency being flushed down the toilet, as
the nation's fourth biggest city braces for a referendum this Tuesday
on HERO, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.
Business interests are among the voices supporting the ordinance;
far-right religious leaders have been at the forefront of a hate-based
campaign to defeat it. Particularly because faith has gotten dragged
once again into a culture war battle, we need to address it on this
show. And to do that I'm joined by Marty Rouse, national field director
at the Human Rights Campaign - the largest LGBT rights advocacy
organization in the country, and one that has devoted significant
resources to combating faith-based bigotry in general and the antiHERO campaign in particular.
Marty, welcome to State of Belief Radio!
[MARTY ROUSE, GUEST]: Thank you. It's great to be on.

[WG]: HERO has a long and complicated history at this point, but it
would be good if you would start with just a brief timeline of how we
got to where we are.
[MR]: Sure. So Houston is, as I assume many people know,
America's fourth most populous city. In fact, I think it has more
population in the city of Houston than seventeen other states in our
country. So what happens in Houston really has national impact.
Houston is one of the only cities in America - the large cities in
America - that currently has no protections for its LGBT citizens or
visitors. And it has no protection citywide for a class of many
categories as well. There's only federal protections in the city of
Houston.
The city council under Mayor Annise Parkers leadership earlier this
year did finally pass a non-discrimination ordinance, an equal rights
ordinance, that protected fifteen classes of people at the municipal
level - including people based on their sexual orientation and gender
identity - but fifteen classes including race; including religion; military
status; pregnancy; religion; and it passed with a rather large margin
earlier this year. And unfortunately opponents of equality and
opponents of the mayor, actually, petitioned and collected signatures
to put this on the ballot.
The city counted the signatures early this year and ruled that it
appeared that there were not enough valid signatures to actually go
onto the ballot. However - I don't want to go into too many details - but
the state supreme court intervened and said this needs to go onto the
ballot for public affirmation. And so here we are: next Tuesday - and
actually starting on October 19th - the City of Houston, registered
voters of Houston, are actually voting on whether or not the Houston
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Equal Rights Ordinance should be affirmed - should it take effect. And


so we expect about 20% of the registered voters of Houston - that's a
small number, but 20% of the residents of Houston, the registered
voters, are going to be voting on whether or not people are protected
at the municipal level in housing, in employment, and public
accommodations. And that's going to happen next Tuesday. So all
eyes are on Houston right now.
[WG]: It also makes you want to look up at the calendar and see what
year were in, that we're still going to the polls to vote on something
that ought to be a part of every guarantee of the Constitution of our
nation.
Whos screaming the loudest in opposition to the fact that LGBT
persons are included under Houstons Civil Rights Ordinance?
[MR]: Well, that's an interesting question, and unfortunately there are
several conservative Christian clergy members who are screaming
the loudest, and they are the ones who have basically led the charge
to put this on the ballot. And so you have some very conservative
members saying that this should not be in Houston. It's quite
unfortunate, actually, and so the campaign in support of the equal
rights ordinance has made sure that we are finding faith voices to be
public and to speak out as well, and to basically say, We are all
God's children.
[WG]: I understand we're all God's children. What do they want to do
to LGBT people? What rights do they want to deny?
[MR]: Well you know, you're asking a very sane question. But
unfortunately I believe that this all comes down to politics; and so
there are certain people who, for some reason, are politically
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interested in making sure that the LGBT community and people who
support the LGBT community are not successful, let's put it that way.
And so while I do believe that if you actually ask people who are
opposing this equal rights ordinance what exactly are they opposed
to, they end up talking about transgender issues and having
transgender people using public accommodations - mainly restrooms.
That's been the focal point here in Houston about the TV ads, the
radio ads, focused very much on who gets to use which restroom.
And so it's unfortunate that you have an equal rights ordinance that
protects so many people for so many different reasons, and the
opposition are solely focused on scare tactics of basically saying that
a man will dress up like a woman and go into a restroom and attack a
young girl. That is actually the TV ad that our opponents are running
in opposition to this broad-based equal rights ordinance that protects
fifteen classes of Houstonians.
[WG]: Marty, what kind of money has been spent on this issue, and
where's the money coming from?
[MR]: So, the opposition has actually not raised too much money. I
think their last report had them only - in the past thirty days - only
having raised less than $100,000. The supporters of the equal rights
ordinance have raised over two million dollars to support the equal
rights ordinance. Supporters of the equal rights ordinance have over
1,500 donors to the campaign; the opponents have 40 - four zero forty donors. So there are a few individuals with some money - not a
lot of money - who are the ones behind this financially. But as you
probably know, it does not take a lot of money to use scare tactics
that the TV stations cover and sort of fan the flames.

So while we are outspending our opponents significantly, our


opponents message has still gotten through because it is so scary it's, quite frankly, outrageous and full of lies. But that's not a reason
why it's not going to be on TV. And so we're really faced with this
battle right now that is quite painful to watch. Any LGBT person, in
particular, watching these TV ads - it's extremely painful; it's
extremely infuriating. And to know that voters are going to vote on
whether or not you have the right to a job; whether or not you have
the right to use a public restroom - it's really terrible to see everything
boiled down to a thirty second ad that a lot of people are talking
about.
[WG]: Our listeners on State of Belief know the Human Rights
Campaign because we've done so much work together; but talk
about, if you will, the Human Rights Campaigns involvement in this
particular initiative.
[MR]: Sure. So the Human Rights Campaign worked very closely with
local leaders last year as they were preparing to try to pass the
ordinance to begin with. So politically, we got involved with political
leaders in the city of Houston; our legal team got involved with the
lawyers that were interested in drafting the ordinance; we worked very
closely with our allies on the city council and with the mayor, as well
as with the business leadership of the City of Houston. Houston is a
city that is really driven by business - international business. And so
we worked with the Houston Chamber of Commerce - which is called
the Greater Houston Partnership - we worked very closely with them
in making sure we crafted an ordinance that the business community
felt extremely comfortable with; and politically that we worked to make
sure it was going to cover the broad ranges of people that needed to
be covered, and to make sure that the entire LGBT community was
completely covered in this ordinance.
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Once we worked on crafting the language with our allies in the city
council and working with the mayor and the business community, and
crafting the ordinance everybody could support, we then worked very
hard to make sure there was a grassroots effort in support of the
ordinance: contacting city council members; testifying in from the city
council. So we made sure there was broad and public support - and
diverse support, working closely with the NAACP and other
organizations to make sure there was broad, public, diverse support
for the ordinance.
And then in fact, when it got passed, HRC then worked again with our
allies to prepare for the potential that it might go to the ballot. And so
we have joined with several organizations to form a campaign called
Houston Unites; and Houston Unites is the campaign that we are part
of, helping to defend the ordinance - an HRC has already contributed
over $400,000 in cash. We currently have 20 HRC staff on the ground
in Houston; 14 more are coming this weekend - so we will have 34
full-time HRC staff on the ground working, knocking on doors, making
phone calls, making sure everybody gets out and votes on Tuesday.
We are also donating computers and phones, so that the campaign
has all the technology it needs to reach voters in the most efficient
way.
So from the beginning until the very, very end, the Human Rights
Campaign will be working alongside our allies.
We're also working very closely with the business community:
General Electric, Hewlett Packard, BBVA Compass Bank major,
major corporations and large employers in the City of Houston and
Texas have announced or will be announcing in the next 24 hours
their support for this equal rights ordinance.
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And finally, we're working with congregations and making sure that
we show that there are diverse faith voices that support this. We had
at least 16 congregations talk about HERO on this past Sunday, and
after services they marched to the polling places and voted early in
support of the equal rights ordinance.
We are also mobilizing the Hollywood community as well, so we have
Texas home-grown person Eva Longoria; we have actor Matt Bomer;
Matthew Morrison; former NFL draft person Michael Sam. We are
getting Hollywood and sports figures and other public figures to
announce their support for the equal rights ordinance as well. Last
night we had Sally Field - actress Sally Field - in Houston expressing
her support, and what it means to her as a woman and the mother of
a gay son to have this on the ballot, and urging voters in Houston as
mothers to go out and vote yes on Proposition One. So from top to
bottom, HRC is doing everything we can do to make sure that the
equal rights ordinance gets an affirmative yes vote on Tuesday.
[WG]: I'm really glad that you gave us such a very comprehensive
report on who's offering strength in this campaign. Especially HRC,
over the years, has recognized the importance of progressive people
of faith in advancing an agenda of equality; and I'm delighted that
once again you're finding not just a few negative oppositional people
in the religious community, but you're also seeing the best of what a
religious community can do to advance equality for everybody.
[MR]: Absolutely. And in addition to the Souls to the Polls that
happened on Sunday, the final TV ad of our campaign, the Houston
Unites campaign, features a Latino faith faith leader, and he is the
leading person on this 30 second TV ad that just started running on
Monday - it seems like it was so long ago, time flies but we started
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running it on Monday, and it will run until next Tuesday. So again, we


are recognizing the importance of faith voices, and how positive a
voice they have in the community; and it's very, very important to this
campaign.
[WG]: Marty, we've seen this kind of scaremongering in other places
where transgender persons are portrayed as nothing more than
potential sexual predators. It's particularly disgusting that selfprofessed religious figures have promoted these hateful ideas. What
is it going to finally take to blunt the power of this kind of propaganda?
Because they wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't an effective tactic with
certain audiences.
[MR]: You really ask a very, very important question. And I would say
the answer - it's a longer answer, but one thing I want to make sure
your listeners are aware of - there is a time to have this conversation,
and a time to strategize and a time to educate people on how we do
this. There's also how you win a campaign. And sometimes those are
two different things. So right now we are focused on winning this
campaign and getting a yes vote on Tuesday.
The larger question about how you do this: first off, I would say that
we are winning. And as days go by, as months go by, as years go by,
the opposition to people that are transgendered is diminishing. And a
lot of that is because there are transgender voices speaking up and
being identified: from mainstream media to your local community. And
so the most important thing is to find transgender voices and find
ways to make people feel comfortable about talking about their lives.
And you cannot underestimate the personalizing of this, and how
important it is to actually find people who are transgender or affected
by people who are transgender - other family members - and have
them talk about, personally, what this means to them. It's not just a
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personal transition; it's a family transition, and a workplace transition.


And so it's very important
We're working in another city - in Jacksonville, Florida - where one of
the city council members that we helped elect because she was
supportive of adding gender identity that city's non-discrimination law
- she talked about what it was like for her, as a manager in a large
corporation, having a top employee go through the physical transition
on the job. And she saw the difficulty that she had; and she said.
Why, when this person is going through her own difficulty on her own
personal transition, her place of employment should not be a place
where she has problems. And she she should be safe and supported
in that place of employment. And that helped the city council member
be such a strong advocate for gender identity in the city council's law.
And so I think the personalization of this, and finding people who are
transgender, making them feel comfortable to come forward and then
helping them be the type of spokesperson they can be and feel safe
and secure in doing that - that is what's going to win this in the long
run.
[WG]: Marty Rouse is the national field director at the Human Rights
Campaign. HRC is well known for its national policy work; but as farright extremists increasingly do some of their worst damage at the
state and local levels, it's incredibly encouraging to see the campaign
perform effective advocacy work on behalf of LGBT Americans in
those same places.
Marty, I have to tell you that you are a superb spokesperson for this
issue - and this is an issue in which we need the best of
spokespersons. Thank you for being with us on State of Belief Radio.

[MR]: It's my absolute pleasure, and thank you for talking about this
really important topic at this very important time.

Marty Rouse
As National Field Director, Marty Rouse is tasked with mobilizing the
Human Rights Campaign's more than one and a half million
members and supporters to effect change at the federal, state and
local level.
Over the past several years, Marty and his team of field organizers
have been on the ground mobilizing support for marriage equality and
nondiscrimination protections. Across the country, from Maine to
Hawaii, the HRC field team helped make history by building and
implementing strategic campaigns.
In 2014, Marty and his team partnered with national, statewide, and
local organizations to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance in Houston,
TX Americas 4th largest city. They are now working to pass needed
protections in Jacksonville, FL, Americas most populous city without
protections for their LGBT residents.
This year the anti-marriage backlash has manifested itself with over
100 anti-LGBT bills popping up in 29 states. The HRC field team has
been on-the-ground working to beat back attempts to pass these
harmful bills in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, North
Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah.

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Going on the offensive, the field team is working with other groups to
pass statewide protections in Arizona, Florida, Michigan and
Pennsylvania. HRCs field team is preparing an unprecedented voter
mobilization plan that will impact key states in the 2016 elections.
Before joining HRC in 2006, Rouse led MassEquality, the statewide
group in Massachusetts that successfully defended marriage equality,
making Massachusetts the first marriage equality state in the country.
Under Rouse's leadership, MassEquality became a national
advocacy model that combined grassroots organizing with strategic
electoral focus.
Rouse, a Maryland resident, is the proud parent of two sons who are
growing too fast, Sasha and David.

Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy


Author of more than 20 books, including First Freedom First: A
Citizens Guide to Protecting Religious Liberty and the Separation of
Church and State, the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy led the national nonpartisan grassroots and educational organization Interfaith Alliance
for 16 years, retiring in 2014. Dr. Gaddy continues his work with the
Alliance as President Emeritus and Senior Advisor. He serves as
Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in
Monroe, Louisiana.
In addition to being a prolific writer, Dr. Gaddy hosts the weekly State
of Belief radio program, where he explores the role of religion in the
life of the nation by illustrating the vast diversity of beliefs in America,

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while exposing and critiquing both the political manipulation of religion


for partisan purposes and the religious manipulation of government
for sectarian purposes.
Dr. Gaddy provides regular commentary to the national media on
issues relating to religion and politics. He has appeared on MSNBCs
The Rachel Maddow Show and Hardball, NBCs Nightly News and
Dateline, PBSs Religion and Ethics Newsweekly and The Newshour
with Jim Lehrer, C-SPANs Washington Journal, ABCs World News,
and CNNs American Morning. Former host of Morally Speaking on
NBC affiliate KTVE in Monroe, Louisiana, Dr. Gaddy is a regular
contributor to mainstream and religious news outlets.
While ministering to churches with a message of inclusion, Dr. Gaddy
emerged as a leader among progressive and moderate Baptists.
Among his many leadership roles, he is a past president of the
Alliance of Baptists and has been a 20-year member of the
Commission of Christian Ethics of the Baptist World Alliance. His past
leadership roles include serving as a member of the General Council
of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, President of Americans United
for Separation of Church and State, Chair of the Pastoral Leadership
Commission of the Baptist World Alliance and member of the World
Economic Forums Council of 100. Rev. Gaddy currently serves on
the White House task force on the reform of the Office of Faith Based
and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Prior to the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist
Convention (SBC), Dr. Gaddy served in many SBC leadership roles
including as a member of the conventions Executive Committee from
1980-84 and Director of Christian Citizenship Development of the
Christian Life Commission from 1973-77.

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Dr. Gaddy received his undergraduate degree from Union University


in Jackson, Tennessee and his doctoral degree and divinity training
from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville,
Kentucky.

State of Belief Radio


State of Belief is based on the proposition that religion has a positive
and healing role to play in the life of the nation. The show explains
and explores that role by illustrating the vast diversity of beliefs in
America the most religiously diverse country in the world while
exposing and critiquing both the political manipulation of religion for
partisan purposes and the religious manipulation of government for
sectarian purposes.
Each week, the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy offers listeners critical
analysis of the news of religion and politics, and seeks to provide
listeners with an understanding and appreciation of religious liberty.
Rev. Gaddy tackles politics with the firm belief that the best way to
secure freedom for religion in America is to secure freedom from
religion. State of Belief illustrates how the Religious Right is wrong
wrong for America and bad for religion.
Through interviews with celebrities and newsmakers and field reports
from around the country, State of Belief explores the intersection of
religion with politics, culture, media, and activism, and promotes
diverse religious voices in a religiously pluralistic world.
State of Belief Radio is a production of the Interfaith Alliance

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Foundation, a 501c(3) charitable organization, and relies on listener


donations to amplify important voices in our national discussion on
religion, government and politics. Please visit www.stateofbelief.com
for information on making a tax-deductible contribution.
Since 2005, State of Belief has been broadcasting weekly across the
country. If the show is not available where you live, please let your
local stations know the program is available to them free of charge.
Complete information is available at http://stateofbelief.com/affiliatestation-page/

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