22 December 2008

18,000 marriages on the line

This is a blog post from a poster at Pam's House Blend:

1 of 18,000 Being Attacked This Holiday Season
by: waymonhudson
Sat Dec 20, 2008 at 17:41:24 PM EST

My "homosexual agenda" is pretty much the same everyday. Wake-up, give my husband a kiss on the cheek, give one of our dogs his allergy medicine and make sure there is food in their bowls, decide if I can skip another day of going for a jog as I munch on leftover holiday cookies, eventually make my way over to the computer to check my email and start my work day. Pretty sinister, right?
It's this threat to society as we know it that has kept the "Yes on H8" folks marching forward, now seeking to nullify the over 18,000 marriage that occurred in California, of which me and my husband are part of.

Yes, as I type this sitting on my couch with my dog sleeping in my lap, looking at my Christmas tree that symbolizes the season of giving, my marriage is up for debate and being challenged by people that have nothing to do with it.

Wrap a bow on that gift and put it in your stocking...

I often wonder if the people fighting to strip away our marriage really stop to think of the individuals involved, to really put a face on the news story and the nameless numbers. They are great about putting out press releases, commercials, and emails talking about the dangerous homosexual agenda, but I wonder if they think about the people they are working so hard to take things from.
I wonder how they would feel waking up one day to read a headline in a newspaper that their marriage is not valid and is over. Talk about being breaking news- the two people who are directly affected, whose marriage is being dissolved, have no real say in it.

So once again, our relationship is suddenly making headlines. Our marriage is a "political issue", not the simple expression of love between two people. Talk about redefining marriage...

It's interesting that the people that are quite literally destroying marriages, mine and 18,000 others, are somehow taking the stance of moral authority. I know for certain that part of my day does not include trying to break up other marriages. Can they say the same?

So for now I sit next to my husband, the man I love, and wonder how someone else gets the right to decide if our marriage is valid. I know they can never change how we feel for one another, but it doesn't stop it from stinging as you read a headline about how your marriage is getting dissolved.

Happy Holidays, indeed...

11 December 2008

Argh...1/20/09 can't get here soon enough!

Check out the 'right of conscience' nonsense Bush is trying to sneak through on his way out the door. It starts at about 1 minute 30 secs into this clip:


More Reasons to Love Jon Stewart

Support this Band!

Hi Everyone!

South Cobb High School's Blue Eagle Marching Band was selected from over 350 applicants to be the ONLY band to represent Georgia at the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade. While this is an amazing opportunity for the high school band members, it is extremely expensive to transport a 95 member band and all their equipment to Washington, D.C. These kids and their families just don't have the approximately 700 dollars per student it will cost to fund this trip. Q100's 'The Bert Show' had a fundraiser yesterday, and, along with several other fundraisers at the school and in the community, managed to raise just over 50,000 dollars. They are still about 20,000 dollars short of their anticipated costs for this trip. Please copy this link into your browser and take 2 minutes read about these students, and then if you feel so moved, please donate whatever you feel comfortable with. Even if it's only a dollar or five, every little bit helps, and these students are worth it!

http://www.q100atlanta.com/BertShow/SCobbHSMarchingBandTrip/tabid/281/Default.aspx


25 November 2008

Finally! The state of CA sticks their nose into the business of a group who stuck their nose into someone else's business!




State of California to Investigate Mormon Church Involvement in Prop 8

Finally, someone is questioning the not-so-fine line between church and State!
People are entitled to believe that God doesn't 'condone' marriage between same gender couples. People have every right to believe they should only marry someone of the opposite gender. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but they are NOT entitled to impose those beliefs on others.

I personally believe that if we want to protect the sanctity of marriage, it should be harder for couples to obtain marriage licenses - they should have to take marriage classes, go through a year of pre-marriage counseling with a licensed professional and pass a pre-marriage test before they are issued a license. It should also be more difficult to use divorce as an option to disolve marriages. In fact, since the Bible strictly forbids divorce accept in a few rare circumstances, christians should be banned from divorce altogether, accept for those few circumstances. This is just my opinion, and I am FULLY aware that my beliefs should NEVER be used as a basis to dictate civil law, and I don't even have a 'tax exempt' status to worry about violating, like the Mormon Church does. Most people who are capable of logic and reason can recognize that the personal beliefs of one group cannot infringe upon the civil rights of another group. The Mormon Church should be held to the same degree of logical reasoniong.
I hope the State of California does a VERY thorough job of investigating this religious group, and that it gives other religious groups pause.

20 November 2008

On Coming Out to Your Grandmother




My friend Julia and I were talking the other day, and she shared peices of the following story with me. I was genuinely moved by her words - they illicited memories of my life with my Dad's mom. My grandmother knew I was gay from the get-go, and she supported me fully. I lost her when I was 21. I was so inspired by Julia's story that I asked her to write it down. Here it is, with her permission - enjoy:



"To say that I just came out to my grandmother would be a misnomer since I actually came out to her last week. However, with the onset of dementia and recent change of blood pressure medication, I was certain during our initial conversation that given 20 minutes she would forget that I was gay. And she did. Within 15 minutes she had forgotten that she had already eaten dinner, taken her medicine, and been a very supportive, albeit incoherent, Nana of a lesbian granddaughter. So one can imagine my surprise when watching CNN with her tonight, and having a rather lucid evening, that she mentioned she felt “just plain awful” about that Proposition 8 business. It was clear she didn’t recall our previous dialogue but was certainly ready to discuss the civil rights implications of the bill. In her articulate but soft-spoken manner that I miss incredibly, my Nana sat beside me on the couch and rattled off arguments about civics and equal rights that would make any member of the lgbt community proud. Her main concern was about how a government by the people and for the people could discriminate against so many of the people. God bless you Nana. The truth is, I have never been prouder to be a lesbian, or to be the much loved curly-headed-mater-picker granddaughter of such an intelligent and well-expressed Nana. Consequently, although I could write pages on how amazing this second conversation was and how my grandmother allayed my every fear, I have books to read, papers to write, and literally, miles to go before I sleep, so……….how about a top ten list of things Nana said instead?
Top 10 Comments from Nana when I told her I was a Lesbian

1. You will always be my granddaughter.

2. You can bring any woman you want home with you and don’t worry I will still fix you cornbread, turnip greens, and boiled cabbage.

3. I never could pretend to be anything I wasn’t….so you shouldn’t pretend any longer.

4. Julia, do you think Obama’s wife is pregnant? (Proof positive that sometimes there are more important discussions than whether or not you’re gay!)

5. Everyone deserves the opportunity to spend their lives with the person that makes them happy and treats them kindly. (Why didn’t I come out to her sooner?)

6. But now wait a minute…..how will I get my curly-headed grandbabies?

7. (In answer to #6) Well, I guess you could get invitro fertilized like our cows!

8. Good Lord, he’s got on a black suit, a blue stripped shirt, and a red paisley tie. He looks worse than I do and I didn’t even curl my hair today. (Comment about Bill Clinton’s campaign manager and further proof that somewhere in my DNA is a fashion goddess just trying to get out.)

9. This isn’t about politics. This is about you. (In answer to my question about whether this meant she was a liberal.)

10. Well, you’ve certainly been beat over the head with the Bible enough to know what it says, and honey, it’s up to you because there are a lot more important things to worry about than what other people think.

Nana came out with several other one-liners…it’s nobody’s business, you deserve to be loved, did we get everything for Thanksgiving, just lie if you have to, she might be a preacher but she’s not perfect,…but my favorite three comments were…

a. Now, does this explain why you’ve been in college for seven years and you still can’t sew on a button? (Four quilts Nana, four!)

b. Well your mama never really did care much about you anyhow. (Really, I hadn’t noticed!)
c. What kind of government have we got anyway? That George Bush has just about ruined this country.

Amen Nana…Amen."

19 November 2008

Commentary: National LGBT rights leader says stand firm, move forward

These encouraging words bear repeating...
Standing firm, moving forward
By Rea Carey, Executive Director,National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund


This last weekend, the nation witnessed an outpouring of emotion and determination from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the wake of both a historic and painful Election Day. The outcry by LGBT people at having a fundamental right taken away in California is understandable and our demand to participate fully and equally in society is inspiring.

The LGBT community played a significant role in the election of our first African-American president. According to exit poll data, 69 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual voters cast their votes for President-elect Obama compared to 53 percent of the general electorate. In doing so, we saw how far the nation has come in its struggle to honor the dignity and contributions of all Americans.

Yet in the passage of multiple statewide ballot measures targeting LGBT equality, we experienced firsthand just how far we still have to go.

After Nov. 4, LGBT people juggled a sense of exhilaration in closing a particularly ugly chapter in our nation’s history, while finding ourselves the target of vigorous, well-funded, dehumanizing campaigns.

America voted decisively to break the racial barrier but also drew a line in the sand when it came to the right of LGBT people to marry the person they love and form their families.

During his acceptance speech, we took President-elect Obama’s remarks to heart:
“What we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve for tomorrow. … America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more for us to do.”

Yes, so much more to do.

Despite losses in Florida, Arizona and California on same-sex marriage, the LGBT community can draw strength from how far our struggle has come in just four years. In 2004, same-sex marriage lost on the ballot in 13 states, by margins that ranged from largely the mid-70s to as high as 88 percent. This year the margins were much, much closer: in Florida it was 62 percent to 38 percent, in Arizona it was 56 percent to 44 percent, and in California it was 52 percent to 48 percent. In short, the point spread is bending toward justice.

In California, millions voted against Proposition 8 and tens of thousands gave up their evenings and weekends to canvass their communities or participate in No on 8 phone banks. From grandparents to college students to everyone in-between, Californians worked passionately and tirelessly for LGBT equality because it is a principle they believe in. Proposition 8 passed because it was among the most vitriolic anti-LGBT campaigns in our nation's history. But the progress being made cannot be disputed, and one day, in the not-too-distant future, we know that our families will be accorded the same dignity, respect and recognition as all other families in America.

After coming so close, it’s hard to accept these defeats, to analyze what we did right, what we might have done better, and to roll up our sleeves and get back to the daily work of making a case for LGBT and marriage equality. But, as the president-elect told the crowd in Grant Park:
“This victory alone is not the change we seek; it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.”

We will never go back.

As has always been the case, the simple fact of LGBT people living our lives and contributing to our communities continues to build the support we need to strengthen our partnerships, our families and our case for equality.

In vast numbers on Election Day, Americans expressed great hope in Obama’s life story of rising from humble origins and crossing many cultural and racial divides to form himself and to create both the family and a life’s path he passionately believes in. We are buoyed by his belief in the inherent worth of all Americans, including those who are “gay [and] straight,” as he noted only moments into his acceptance remarks.

It is up to LGBT people and our allies to insist on the recognition of our humanity, to continue to press for the lives we dream of and for the safety and well-being of our families — families we are stretching to support and protect, against all odds — against even the disapproval and disdain of our very neighbors, every day.

We saw this insistence at full force on Nov. 15 in rallies from San Diego to D.C., from Boston to Seattle, and we inspired each other in the process.

I truly believe that one day, and within one generation, we will all look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. We will simply be able to get married and create our families without having to go door to door, asking for permission.

What we’ll remember better, I hope, is that we stood firm despite our grave disappointment, took up the charge President-elect Obama put before us, and quickly got to the business of reshaping this country after a defining moment in American history.

18 November 2008

Melissa Carter at the Join the Impact Rally in Atlanta


The Obama-Biden Agenda for Equal Civil Rights


The fine folks at proudparenting.com have an article about President-Elect Obama's plans for gay rights:

http://www.proudparenting.com/node/2268

You can also find President-Elect Obama's plans to strengthen civil rights at: http://www.change.gov/ (follow the link under 'agenda' to civil rights)

or go directly to the civil rights section here: http://www.change.gov/agenda/civil_rights_agenda/

17 November 2008

Scenes from the National Day of Protest in ATL:

















and just because she is totally cool, and her words describe my true feelings to a 'T', here's Wanda Sykes in Nevada:

14 November 2008

Personal Faith


My faith is a very personal thing. It is my personal relationship with a Higher Power, whom I choose to accept as God. I don't expect people to have the same beliefs I do, and I try not to judge the faith of others. Sometimes this is a hard task when those 'others' are using their faith as an excuse to condemn. If people want to believe that God created earth, then put a man and woman on the planet and followed them around testing them every chance He got, that is fine with me. Just please extend me the same courtesy - don't judge my faith, and don't tell me that I don't have the right answers. God speaks to each of us individually and what God thinks is good for you might not be good for me. I was born with an inquisitive mind - after much prayer and thoughtful study it has led me to accept that while the bible may have been inspired by God, it is not infallible - man put some stories in there to teach lessons, or to try and make sense out of things that had happened in the past. Much of the bible is not based on fact -it's allegory. This thinking has not damaged my relationship with God - in fact, it has made my faith stronger. God does not change...our understanding of God changes, and, with understanding, our relationship with God - you know, that PERSONAL one - grows. Imagine all the good we can do if we were truly witnesses for God - allowing our very lives to be the TRUE testement of God's unconditional love? Imagine if we focused on what God intended for OUR LIVES instead of focusing on what we think God condemns in others. Imagine what could happen if we were truly focused on compassion, love and justice for those who are denied equality.

I think we'd really be doing what Jesus would do.

Why We Protest

11 November 2008

Declare Your Family Equal!

Why I Love my Church

California's Prop 8 passage prompts UCC ad

Written by Staff Reports
November 8, 2008

The United Church of Christ's Cleveland-based national office has purchased full-page ads in three of California's largest gay community publications after voters there approved a constitutional amendment, known as Proposition 8, that halts same-gender marriages in the state.

"We stood with you in saying no to Proposition 8 and we will continue to stand with you, both in disappointment and resolve, until marriage equality is realized," reads the ad, quoting the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president.

The print advertisements will appear in upcoming editions of the Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco, Frontiers in Los Angeles, and Gay & Lesbian News in San Diego.

"We felt it important to offer a pastoral word in support of the LGBT community in California and in solidarity with our two UCC Conferences there," said the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, the UCC's director of communications. "So many of our pastors, members and congregations worked tirelessly to defeat Proposition 8, and we know there is much disappointment, sadness and even anger that followed the outcome of that referendum."

In 2005, the UCC's General Synod approved a resolution that affirmed its support for same-gender marriage equality. The UCC's Southern California – Nevada Conference and Northern California – Nevada Conference were among the earliest advocates for the General Synod action. Both Conferences had actively opposed Proposition 8.

"In this moment of profound spiritual pain and struggle, the UCC, more than ever, sets its resolve toward a not-distant future where justice and fairness will prevail in the full embrace of marriage equality," said the Rev. Felix Carrion, coordinator of the Stillspeaking Ministry, the UCC's marketing and identity campaign. "Our pastoral and prophetic conscience leads us to proclaim in these ads our ultimate bonds of friendship with the LGBT family and our conviction in an undefeatable ideal."

Guess said that the UCC is considering the possibility of purchasing additional ads in national publications, if financial support becomes available. Contributions to the UCC's Tell Our Story Fund enable the national UCC to respond in pivotal moments with advertising messages, Guess said.

Why I Love my Girlfriend


My normally stoic-faced, doesn't-ever-wear-her-heart-on-her-sleeve, only-shares-when-she-thinks-it's-REALLY-REALLY-important girlfriend wrote this in an email to a local morning show:

Hi Bert!
First, I want to say that I love the show. I moved here from Tennessee a year ago and was wondering what I would do for morning radio... and was SO glad to find your show! I really do enjoy it. Second, let me say that I don't want to come across as someone who takes themselves and life too seriously. I try to maintain a sense of humor about things, and try not to be one of "those" people who get all riled up about things they hear on the radio.

But in light of recent events around the election, namely the passing of Prop 8 in California, along with the other measures passed against Marriage Equality, I just have to say something about some of the story lines you were talking about this morning.

I can't get married, legally, to my partner. My partner, the love of my life, whose ring I would be proud to wear no matter where, when or what, and I can't have the same legal protection under the law that Vegas Amy has. Or that Superbowl whoever would have if her $3 million dollar effort finds a man for her. And the reason that I keep hearing over and over and over again is that allowing gay people to be legally married would somehow denigrate the sanctity of the institution of marriage.

The same institution that Vegas Amy is seemingly so willing to shrug off for a weekend. The same institution that Superbowl ad woman thinks she can buy her way into. The same institution that Trey is making a "game" out of trying to find a partner for.

And I wonder how many people that you feature on your show that play so fast and loose with the sanctity of this institution would also cast a vote to deny my partner and I the right to participate in the same institution... All the while screaming about the sanctity of marriage.

I understand having a girls' night out or a whole weekend, I honestly do. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that at all! And I remember how depressing and scary the dating scene can be. But to take off your rings and present yourself as something that you aren't is, at best, offensive, and at worst is lying. I know some people who would consider it cheating to openly and purposefully flirt with people as if you were single. Even if your intentions are to not do anything beyond flirting, it is not respectful to your marriage vows or to your partner. And shows like 'The Bachelor' and this attempt to put a Superbowl ad up to find a partner do nothing but make relationships seem more like a commodity that can be bought, consumed, and tossed aside like any other disposable item in our lives than the attempt to find someone with whom you can build a serious relationship.

As Melissa stated earlier, if Vegas Amy was Vegas Andy, there is no slack or sympathy that would be afforded to him. And any double standard is wrong, wouldn't you agree? And yet these same people think there is nothing wrong with what they do, while at the same time they believe or would actively work to prevent my partner and I from having equal protection for our relationship under the law. Double standard? Hypocrisy?

Like I said, I love your show and usually find the humor in all story lines you present for our enjoyment, but the wounds from Prop 8 are apparently more raw than I even realized, and today it was just too much to hear this sacred institution of marriage being treated so lightly and with such disrespect by some of your listeners. Seriously, people, if you don't want gay people to get legally married, come up with a better argument than this whole concept of the sanctity of the institution.

Wow... I feel better. Thanks for letting me vent some of my frustration. Like I said, I really do love your show and will keep listening.
Thanks,
Angie


I'm so totally in love with her. Do you see why?

10 November 2008

Step One of my New Found Out-Loud Activism

http://www.jointheimpact.com/

Join me this Saturday, November 15th, 2008 for the National Protest/March for Equality. Wherever you are, there is a protest near you. Check out the link above for more information, and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE share this with everyone you know.

Thanks!

07 November 2008

How the Helpless Become the Helpful


I consider myself an 'armchair activist.' I tend to be fairly out-spoken about my beliefs. In fact, on any given day, unapologetically and with much passion, I can be found:

- reading about equal civil rights
- studying up on legislation involving my rights
- sharing my beliefs regarding the fight for equal rights for LGBTQ Americans
- having heated, philosophical debates with anyone who will argue back about the parallels between the the women's rights movement, civil rights movement and today's LGBTQ rights movement
- emailing all the contacts in my address book about civil rights violations and what we can do about them, and
- posting blogs and blog comments about equal rights for ALL Americans, not just the ones we are comfortable with.

It's just my way...it's who I am - a grown woman with an opinion who has a vested interest in equal civil rights for ALL Americans.

Rarely; however, have I stepped up to the plate and done anything more than that, save for the occasional donation of a few dollars in support of equality.

My most recent financial donation was to the 'No on 8' campaign in California. Although I couldn't vote there, as a native Californian I felt the desire to do SOMETHING to help. It wasn't as much as I would have liked, just what Angie and I could afford at the time, and clearly, it wasn't enough.

As I watched the election results, the joy in my heart over electing our nation's next President was tempered with the heartbreaking and somber reality of the passing of Prop 8, a serious setback to marriage equality for Californians, and a blow to civil equality in the democratic republic that is America. Never before in American history have 'we the people' eliminated an ALREADY EXISTING civil right. Sure, we've denied rights - women couldn't vote, blacks couldn't marry whites, gays could get arrested for expressing their love in the privacy of their own home - but once a right has been established, America has NEVER taken it back.

Never. Not even once.
Until now.

It is truly a sad state of affairs for our Nation.

With an ache in my heart, I watch the various news reports of mostly peaceful protests by 'No on 8' supporters, and I wish I could be there to be a part of it, to add my voice to the thousands of Californians who are taking to the streets for equal rights. I feel helpless, because I am so far away.

This feeling of helplessness is unacceptable to me. It brings to mind the feeling of being a victim of circumstance, like I don't have control over my own life, my own future, the future of my family. I don't want to feel like a victim - I am NOT a second class citizen, and I won't allow myself to feel like that. For me, out of helplessness is borne a sense of duty to others, and a desire to make a difference. I want to help. I want to put my talents, whatever they may be, to good use. Today, I signed up to volunteer for Georgia Equality. I'm also considering volunteering for YouthPride, to help GLBTQ youth. I don't know what types of activities volunteering will involve, but I do know this...I want to take back my PRIDE and DO SOMETHING.

Re-open Proposition 8 for California Petition

Re-open Proposition 8 for California Petition

06 November 2008

This is heartening...

Protests over the passing of Prop 8:

I'm speechless...



Okay, not really. There are PLENTY of things I could say about the narrow passing of California's Prop 8. I could, and probably will before the night is through, fill this page and several more with angry and sorrowful words, but for now, just right now, at this moment, I'll just say this:

Regardless of your personal feelings about marriage, regardless of how you feel about gay people in general, it is WRONG to eliminate a person's basic fundamental rights, even if that right has only recently been granted in your state. Shame on the voters in California who voted for change with one hand and voted to enshrine discrimination into California's constitution with the other hand.

05 November 2008

President-Elect


Cautiously optimistic, I watch with trepidation that slowly turns to disbelief and then finally to wonder and excitement. The American People have spoken! He has done it! He's the President-Elect! Words cannot describe what I am feeling, but the tears do...they are streaming from my eyes in a way I can't seem to control. I wasn't expecting to have this kind of reaction - so emotional. I knew I had strong feelings, but I thought they were more about getting rid of the stain and stench of the last 8 years.

Listening to President-Elect Obama speak tonight, my heart swells with renewed pride in my country, and I feel...well, hopeful. I know things won't change overnight, but for the first time in my life, I truly believe that the man in office has the best interests of the American people, AND my best interests, at heart. There is an LGBT friendly White House...even more so than the Clinton years. I know they can't undo the harms against LGBT Americans wrought by the Bush Administration immediately, but I'm optimistic, cautiously again, that over time, wrongs will be righted, and fewer harmful legislative acts towards LGBT Americans will be tolerated.

My joy over the election results isn't without some disappointment. At this time, with a majority of precincts reporting, it looks like the marriage amendments in Florida and Arizona are going to pass, and with around 22% of precints reporting, the marriage amendment in California is up by about 8 points. Arkansas Initiative 1, which bans gay couples from adopting kids, looks likely to pass, as well. I guess the American people are ready for change...just not too much change at one time.


***UPDATE*** With 24% of precincts reporting, California's Prop 8 is up by only 6 points. It needs 51% to pass, and has dropped to 53% in favor of. It's 1am in Georgia. I desperately need to go to bed. California, don't let me down!

***UPDATE*** With a majority of precincts reporting, Yes on 8 maintains it's lead by around 6 points. I'm disappointed, and angry with myself for not doing more to support No on 8.

31 October 2008

Ignorance is Bliss

Those darned 'Activist Judges' are 'Legislating from the Bench'

While having a discussion with a proponent of California's Prop 8, I asked why they were in support of this obviously unconstitutional proposition. This is their reply:

'Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court of California did not have a right to redefine marriage, even Justice Baxter of the California Supreme Court said the majority of the court was not within its rights when it changed the meaning of marriage. If people are scared about losing rights, they should be worried about courts changing the meaning of words and redefining social institutions. California already had very inclusive domestic partnership laws and those rights would be preserved if Proposition 8 passes next week. It is not tyranny from religious organizations the people ought to fear. They can only recommend their members support/oppose certain causes. California's Supreme Court was legislating in May; something it is not allowed to do. Now, that is something all Californians and Americans should fear.'

There are so many things wrong with this...starting with the complete inability to understand the function of the Supreme Court. Supreme Court does not 'redifine' or 'change the meaning of' anything. The role of the Supreme Court is to ensure a stable and predictable system of justice by serving as the final arbiter of disputes involving the state's constitution and laws. They can't CHANGE the constitution... they just assure that laws aren't VIOLATING the constitution, which is exactly what they did in overturning the ban on marriage between same gender partners. They determined, after hearing the evidence presented by BOTH sides of this issue, that there is no compelling reason to deny same gender partners their right to marry the person of their choice, and denying marriage to same gender couples was unconstitutional. That's all.

There are more than 1000 federal rights, benefits and privileges associated with marriage...this isn't an exaggeration, it comes directly from the General Accounting Office of the Federal Government. Domestic partnerships and civil unions, while a step in the right direction, don't even come close to conveying those rights, and will NEVER be equal to marriage. No matter how many times people say it, it still won't make it true, my friend. Separate but equal will never work.

California's Prop 8 (along with PROP 102 in Arizona and PROP 2 in Florida) absolutely IS tyranny by religious organizations. The majority of the support, financial and otherwise, for this mean spirited and discriminitory proposition is coming from religious organizations, and mostly from OTHER states. They have fired up religious conservatives by intentionally blurring the line between religious marriage, or the 'RITE' of holy matrimony, and civil marriage, which the Supreme Court has determined is a 'basic, fundamental RIGHT' of American citizens. Their ad campaign contains nothing but fear mongering based on complete and utter lies. We know it, and the sad thing is, they know it too.

I'd like to point out that the Supreme Court doesn't legislate...as anyone who paid attention in 8th grade civics class will tell you. The California General Assembly, who were elected by Californians, DOES legislate. In fact, they twice passed legislation in support of marriage equality, and both times it was vetoed by the governor. THAT is where the legislating takes place...not the courtroom. That's the difference between 'legislating' and being the final 'arbiter' of justice.

29 October 2008

The 'Rite' of Marriage vs. the 'Right' of Marriage

Beginning June 17th, county clerks in California began issuing marriage licenses and performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, thanks to the recent California Supreme Court ruling that struck down a ban on same-sex marriage, making California the second state in the US where marriage is legally recognized for same sex couples. In addition, the California Supreme Court refused requests to stay the decision pending the outcome of the November elections, specifically, before the voters cast their ballots for or against Prop 8. This is important to me for a number of reasons:
  • I am a native Californian, and it makes me feel proud that my home state is taking steps to eradicate discrimination against g/l/b/t/q people.
  • California is a trend setting state. By this I mean that historically speaking, what happens in California in regards to civil law tends to have a far-reaching impact; it spreads across the rest of the United States, not necessarily quickly, but consistently, and occassionally with the help of the United States Supreme Court.
  • Thanks to dubious efforts by religious conservative groups, California voters are going to the polls to vote on a proposed amendment to the constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman only. This is happening in Florida and Arizona, as well. Because the Supreme Court refused to stay their decision, Californians will have the opportunity to see the results of same-sex marriage (or as I like to call it - marriage - calling it anything other than what it is contributes to the notion that it isn't equality for a basic civil right we are asking for, but a special right or privilege in addition to the rights we already have, and that is a lie) and recognize that, just like Massachussetts has shown, marriage equality will have absolutely no negative impact on society. In fact, the positive economic impact on the state of California is expected to exceed 600 million dollars over the course of the next 3 years.
  • Anyone from any state can get married in California, and perhaps as a result, Massachussetts took steps to open their doors to out of state couples as well. Starting in a couple of weeks, Connecticutt will be the third state to practice true Marriage Equality. It might not be recognized in their own state, but lack of current state recognition does not make the marriage any less meaningful or valid in the eyes of the couple, their friends and family, or to God, for that matter.

I admit that I have not always been much of a marriage equality activist in my lifetime. It was never really that important to me, as I never thought I would truly want to be with someone for the rest of my life. My view of relationships was this - people come into your life for a variety of reasons, stay awhile and then leave when there is nothing more you have to offer each other. Why would you want to muddy the water with marriage, making it more of a hassle to make a clean break? This is how I used to think, until I met Angie, and we started dating. Now, two years later, we own a house together, we share our lives together - and suddenly I find myself looking at her sometimes and thinking things like 'This is the woman I'm going to be with for the rest of my life' and 'What would happen to her if something bad happened to me?' I imagine this is how many people who are considering marriage think - gay or straight. I want her to be protected, the same way I want to be protected. When we bought our house, we made the decision to go ahead and have a lawyer draw up our wills, powers of attorney for healthcare and general decisions, etc...$1200 for some documents that provide us about 1/4 of the rights and protections a straight couple gets just as soon as they sign on the dotted line of their $35 marriage license. When I forked over that money, I recognized what g/l/b/t/q people have been fighting for...equal protection under the law...and I deserve it just as much as my straight counterparts. I'm going to marry Angie next year. We are planning a religious ceremony (the 'Rite' of Holy Matrimony) in Georgia through the United Church of Christ, which is open and affirming, and recognizes marriage equality, even thought the state does not. Then we plan to exercise our Constitutionally guaranteed, basic, fundamental civil 'Right' to Marriage by having a civil ceremony in one of the states that respects our right to marry. Once again, lack of recognition on my state's part does not make my marriage any less meaningful or valid to me or to Angie, and we feel confident that it will be recognized in all states in our lifetime.

03 October 2008

Internalizing Shame

I've been communicating with a lesbian mother in Texas through a couple of online sites, and lately, we've been talking a lot about families, and shame. That was what inspired my last post, and now this one as well.
I felt that way (shameful) for a long time, and it was a large part of my distancing myself from family. When everyone in the world - family, media, people at school, people at work - is telling you one thing, even when you know deep down in your soul that the truth is something else, it's hard not to buy into shame, to actually think that there is something wrong with you, even though you didn't do anything wrong. I think with me, the thing that got me past that point of feeling shameful about my life and believing I had to keep secrets and hide who I truly am (and I am by no means an expert, because it's still hard and uncomfortable for me to be so open with them about my life) is my passion for equality. Shame causes the oppressed to buy into their oppression, to just accept that somehow one deserves to have less rights than others. Somewhere along the line I figured out that I am no different than any other American, and I deserve every single right every other American has. Once I accepted that, I became very focused and driven to just live my life as openly as possible, no matter how uncomfortable it made others. I do this for primarily two reasons:
1. I'm happier, less stressed and more successful when I live openly; and
2. The people around me, including my family, see that my life is no different than theirs, regardless of the gender of my partner.

I also talk about real things with them - things like my fear of what will happen if Angie or I get sick, and the steps we have had to take (and the money we've had to spend, to the tune of $1200, so far) to protect our rights, the difficulties we have faced in our relationship because we are unable to get married legally in our state, like not being able to add our partner on the deed to our home because the loan is only in one of our names and we aren't related by blood or marriage, and like having to wait an entire year for 'domestic partner benefits' when if we were legally married, there would be no such waiting period. I think if I live unashamedly and family members and other people get to see the actual affects of discrimination, it at least makes them think about things a bit more. It might not change their minds, but maybe, just maybe, they will think of me, and feel a little guilty inside the next time they proclaim 'marriage is only for a man and woman.' I feel a little guilty myself for saying this, because normally I would never wish negative feelings on another person, but actually, I hope they do.

30 September 2008

Long, Long Ago...In a Not-So-Far-Away Land


I grew up in California, but not the cool, progressive, equal-rights-for-all part of California. Do you remember back in May, when The California Supreme Court determined that gays and lesbians couldn't be denied the right to marry, and 3 counties decided that instead of following the law and marrying straight AND gay couples, they just weren't gonna marry any couples at all? I'm from one of THOSE counties, as conservative as any southern state.

I was 15 years old when I came out to my parents. In fact, it wasn't that long - maybe a matter of months - after acknowledging my orientation to myself. I never was a very good liar or keeper of secrets. I didn't actually 'come out' so much as get 'found out' after my mom or my dad, I'm not even sure which one, found some letters I had received from a girl. Needless to say, that evening's conversation was NOT the pleasant after-dinner banter I was accustomed to and expecting.


Imagine a 15 year old child, who has always known she was different than the other girls her age, finally discovering what it was that made her different. I'm sure many would agree that feeling is a combination of excitement, relief and fear of the unknown. Now add to that the response of parents who are working from the assumption that homosexuality is a choice, and not a very good one at that. I was constantly reminded that 'we didn't raise you that way' and 'you'll go to hell if you live that way.' At one point my father actually told me that I had picked the worst possible thing to do to him and did it 'just to spite him.' I was forbidden from my friends because of course I had decided I was gay because of 'THEIR influence.' I was removed from one high school and placed in another in an effort to remove this 'influence.' That didn't work out so well, since I met my first actual girlfriend, Shane, at the second school. (Yes, her name was actually 'Shane,' and this was long before 'Shane' was a cool lesbian name.) When my parents learned I was seeing someone, and that it wasn't the high school quarterback, I was told I had a choice between being straight and staying at home or 'living that lifestyle' and moving out of the house. I already knew that if this was some choice I had made, I was helpless to do anything about it, so I moved out, and in with a family from church. Yes, church. Fortunately, this church family was inclusive, and they were very supportive of me during that time.


My radar for other gays had developed quickly by that time, so I was able to corner a teacher and talk to her about it as well. This teacher was instrumental in mediating between my parents and I which ultimately resulted in my return home after a few months. I also have a gay aunt, so I was fortunate to get at least SOME positive encouragement during that time.


Mostly what I felt was shame, though. Shame is kind of a worthless emotion, in my book. It's like walking around with the belief that 'I am a mistake, my whole life is just one big error.' I spent a long time feeling like this awful, evil person with bad blood flowing through my veins, all because of something I had no control over, something as innate as my eye color and right-handedness. When society and those closest to you are telling you that you are sick and going to hell, not even the few voices of reason who try to tell you you're okay just the way you are can counter it. It wasn't until later in my life that I started actually doing some research and learning about the continuum of sexual orientation that I became unwilling to hide my true self.


I've spent most of my adult life out in the open, with the belief that the more willing I am to share my life with others, the more they will recognize that we bleed the same blood - my life is no different than theirs. This has mostly served me well, but I haven't always been able to apply it to my hopelessly conservative Mom & Dad. With them, ever since I returned home after being kicked out, it has been 'out of sight, out of mind.' In an effort to...I don't know...shield them, I guess...from having to know anything about the 'gayer' parts of my life, I pretty much cut myself off from them. We still talked, spent holidays together, that sort of thing, but my relationships have been off limits for discussion. There have been a few notable exceptions, mostly involving my mom, over the years. Once, when I was about 29 or 30, my mom decided to share with me that God had told her to talk to me about my 'lifestyle' and how it wasn't part of God's plan for me. She actually said to me that 'living this way' I must not know God. It was very hurtful; anyone who knows me knows of my deep spirituality and strong faith in God. I spend a lot of my time sharing with other's my belief that a loving God would NEVER condemn someone for their innate sexual orientation. There was a serious wedge between my mother and I for a couple of years after that.


Several years later, she mentioned to me that she would never be able to support marriage between same sex couples because it was 'just wrong.' Because I had spent so long shielding her from the 'gay part' of my life, I had no response, even though her words hurt.


A couple of years ago, I met my current girlfriend, Angie. After we had dated a few months, we both kind of recognized that this relationship was different than the others, and that it was probably going to stand the test of time. One way I knew this was something my sister told me. My parents had met Angie at my nephew's birthday party. They told my sister that there was something different about me, and that it seemed that I was a completely changed person with Angie in my life - calmer, more content and relaxed, and happier than they had ever seen me. They actually RECOGNIZED the positive affect a good relationship was having on my life, and for once, they didn't care about of the gender of my partner, focusing their attention on my happiness instead. To this day, the conclusion of every phone call to my mom is 'give Angie our love.' This translates to 'we approve, and we want you to be happy.'


Earlier this year, I was able to have a long discussion with my mom about marriage equality, and share with her how inequality actually makes maintaining my relationship a little harder and a little less safe than other people's relationships. We talked about the ridiculous reasons given for denying the fundamental right of marriage to gay people, and I was able to counter every claim with reasoned, rational responses. We also discussed using religion as an excuse to justify bigotry, which is a pretty sticky subject between us, if you recall. Even though I doubt I changed her mind, she was willing to listen, and it felt really good to talk about it with her. It finally feels like I don't have to hide a piece of myself from her.


A couple months ago, fully expecting her to say no, and preparing myself for it by putting on my emotionally defensive 'I don't care if she's there or not, I'm just asking so she knows she's invited' mask, I asked my mom if she would come to my wedding next May. She said "I'll give it some thought.' Instead of taking it personally, and because it really is all about baby steps, I talked about it with her for awhile longer. As I got up to leave, she told me 'I'll be there.' Maybe that conversation we had a while back had more of an affect than I thought it did.


And there you have it - 23 years of baby steps.


After the wedding, I'm gonna start teaching my dad to walk. ;-)


11 September 2008

My Gay Agenda

I have grown tired of hearing this mythical term 'the gay agenda' that certain groups like to repeat over and over, implying that in some way, gay and lesbian people have created this 'master plan.' According to James Dobson, the founder of the violently anti-gay 'Focus on the Family,' these goals are:

1. universal acceptance of the 'gay lifestyle'
2. discrediting of scriptures that condemn homosexuality
3. muzzling of the clergy and Christian media
4. granting of special privileges and rights in the law
5. overturning laws prohibiting pedophilia,
6. indoctrinating children and future generations through public education, and
7. securing all the legal benefits of marriage for any two or more people who claim to have homosexual tendencies.

I'm not kidding. He and his followers actually believe this crap. Well, let me address these claims:
1. There is no 'gay lifestyle.' My innate sexual orientation is no more a 'lifestyle' than is James Dobson's innate sexual orientation. Lifestyle is largely determined by socioeconomic status. My 'lifestyle' includes working my full time job every day to help my family pay the mortgage and bills, taking care of our home, going to the grocery store, going to weight watchers meetings, watching DVD's on the weekends, occasionally going out to eat, when we can afford it, going to church on Sundays and participating in various church activities throughout the week. What part of this lifestyle is gay, besides the gender of my partner? Incidently, I could care less if some people 'accept' me for who I am, but I will definitely fight back if their lack of acceptance infringes upon my right to peacefully co-exist.
2. When people truly study the scriptures with an open heart and mind, there is very little evidence to support condemnation, and nothing, absolutely nothing, is said about loving, committed same-sex relationships. Out of more than 30,000 verses in the bible, only six contain any possible reference to same sex behavior, and this is usually in reference to a heterosexual person participating in behavior that is contrary to their true nature. I personally feel that if people want to believe their choice of religious belief condemns homosexual behavior, more power to them. My religious beliefs, and many others, do not. The point is that it doesn't really matter what religion has to say about it when it comes to equal rights. Religion does not get to dictate civil law.
3. When Dobson says 'muzzling clergy and christian media' he means 'any confrontation of the religious rights' attempts to legislate based on their perceived notion of morality and trying to force religious dogma on people who may or may not believe the way he does is considered muzzling.' The truth is clergy and christian media are not interfered with, except when they attempt to encourage the passage of laws that discriminate against gay people.
4. I don't want special rights. I want the same rights as everyone else. What's special about that?
5. Overturning laws for child sexual abuse? On what planet are gay people trying to do this? Utter and comeplete bullshit. This is just fear mongering at it's worst.
6. Teaching children about tolerance and diversity - letting them know that most people are straight, but some people are gay - telling them that it's not okay to call someone a fag or a dyke - it's not okay to beat on or shoot someone because they are perceived to be gay - holding them accountable when they participate in homophobic behavior like this - is NOT indoctrination. It's the right thing to do. Schools should be a safe place for children, regardless of their sexual orientation, and fostering a climate of hatred for perceived differences is clearly wrong.
7. I want the right to marry the person of my choice, regardless of their gender, and have that marriage be recognized just like my heterosexual counterparts. Anything less is not equal. Throwing in the 'wanting to secure the legal benefits for any two 'or more' people' is just more fear mongering. Allowing me to marry my partner will not lead to polygamy, which is illegal for good reason. It has historically been found to be harmful to women and children. My marriage, and every other same sex marriage, harms no one.

In a nutshell:

I want to enjoy the same legal rights as everyone else, including the right to serve, fight and even die on behalf of my country in the military; the right to earn a living by working hard and being judged wholly on the quality of my work; the right to be free of fear that I may lose my job because I'm gay, the right for children and teenagers to attend high school without being shoved, punched or otherwise attacked because they are perceived to be different; and yes, the right to express not only love for another person, but a willingness to be legally, as well as morally, responsible for his or her well-being.

If there really is a gay agenda...that is it.

10 July 2008

Anything But Straight: The Pro Family Scheme...by Wayne Besen

Anything But Straight: The Pro-Family Scheme


Written by Wayne Besen
Wednesday, 09 July 2008 20:39
The last few weeks have shown that so-called pro-family organizations are some of the most useless, money-sucking scams in the world. With real families suffering from economic hardship in America, a declining birthrate in Europe and Google doubling the price of daycare for employees, the only thing right wing family groups want to discuss is their bizarre and all-encompassing fagela fetish.
Recently, The Brooklyn Paper, had a huge headline, "SPLITSVILLE: Brooklyn divorces up 30%." The article cited a number of reasons including, "when the economy tanks, so do many marriages."
One would think this would alarm so-called pro-family organizations and they would be out in force repairing marriages - or at least looking for economic solutions to take the stress off couples. Unfortunately, as I walked around my Brooklyn neighborhood, I saw not one representative from the American Family Association.
Well, I take that back. I did encounter one of the group's representatives on CNN Headline News as we debated a Heinz mayonnaise ad in the United Kingdom that featured two men kissing. I'm sure the children of these broken marriages in Brooklyn will feel much better knowing Heinz pulled the ad and they can have gay-free mayonnaise at both mommy and daddy's separate houses.
A new study by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University showed that in 2006, for the first time in U.S. history, a majority of births to women under 30 - 50.4 percent - were out of wedlock. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert points out that, "By comparison, when John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960, just 6 percent of all births were to unmarried women under 30.
One imagines that this report might have startled "pro-family" organizations and they would have put their millions of dollars towards stopping this trend. No such luck. Instead, they are investing huge piles of money and manpower to pass anti-gay marriage amendments in Florida, Arizona and California. The upshot for "pro-family" groups is that if heterosexuals keep screwing up marriage, by the time gay people finally win the right nationally, we won't want to use it.
"Evangelicals of the older generation have become obsessed in almost a technical psychological sense in opposing gay rights," David Weddle, a professor of religion at Colorado College told the Colorado Springs Gazette. "The irony is that homosexuality is not a biblical theme."
Right wing organizations and their flocks want to be taken seriously, but their priorities and actions are reprehensible. For example, a middle school teacher was fired in Mount Vernon, Ohio last month after preaching in the classroom, refusing to remove his Bible and burning crosses onto the arms of pupils. You read that correctly - he seared crosses on the body parts of impressionable students, as if it were a gang ritual.
Surely, reasonable people can agree that such behavior is inappropriate in the classroom. But, oh no, some of the yahoos in Mount Vernon believe their religion places them above the Constitution - so they are holding demonstrations in the town square. I wonder if these zealots would have the same reaction if a teacher were burning a Stars of David or Muslim crescents on the forearms of students?
A recent New York Times magazine article, "Childless Europe," explored why certain countries in Europe are losing population. The hopelessly out of touch Pope Benedict chimed in with his typically sunny advice. "Europe is infected by a strange lack of desire for the future," the Pontiff said. "Children, our future, are perceived as a threat to the present."
Instead of selfishness, as the Pope implied, it was the traditional values of the Pope that contributed to the problem. In societies that either offered a safety net or where men shared the burdens of child rearing, women were having more babies. However, when educated women were stuck at home and forced to do all the work - such as in Italy - they chose to have less children. Will the Pope now call on men to help out more at home or for countries to ensure daycare for families?
Finally, the Wall Street Wonder, Google, plans to raise the amount it charged for in-house day care by 75 percent. Under the revised plan, parents with two children in Google day care could see their yearly bill increase to more than $57,000 from around $33,000. This crushing blow to the family drove a few employees to tears.
Was the American Family Association in Silicon Valley raising hell and standing up for families? No, they ignored grimacing parents, so they could punish Ronald and Grimace by launching a boycott against McDonalds for supposedly having a gay agenda. Maybe the delusional scolds at the AFA thought they saw rainbow color fries, in much the same way they once accused the cartoon character Mighty Mouse of snorting cocaine.
Right wing organizations can be considered many things - but certainly not advocates for the family. They inhale money, exhale anti-gay pollution and have done absolutely nothing for the traditional families they claim to represent. It seems the more such groups proliferate, the more the family deteriorates.

26 June 2008

New Me


I have struggled with weight gain for many years. I haven't seen hide nor hair of my 'ideal weight' since about age 22 or so. With each year that has passed, I've gotten older, more sedentary, more careless with what I put in my body. The results of this have culminated in a myriad of problems in my life...high blood pressure, low energy, frequent minor illnesses that my body just can't seem to avoid or fight off, not to mention the endless cycle of binge eating, and the complete feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that has come with watching my body turn into something that can only be described as a circus freakshow attraction, and believing that I am too far gone to do anything about it. Looking at pictures of myself, I have cringed inside. I'm fairly certain that the majority of my low self esteem in the last couple of years has been a result of my negative body image issues. Going to the doctor has been torture, because, while she is an excellent doctor with a wonderful bedside manner who is very thorough, she tells the truth...my weight is causing health problems I can no longer ignore. I feel humiliated.


I have struggled with attempts to change my lifestyle in the past - dieting, trying to eat better and excercise more, using weight control products. All those attempts have failed, probably because I truly believed that I couldn't change it, no matter what I did.


Back in April, Angie and I decided to get married. As the excitement began to build, so did the anxiety. It might be a bit selfish and shallow, but I truly don't want to be this heavy when I get married. I know it's a sad reason, but I want to be at a healthy weight, basically so the pictures of our nuptials don't look crappy. Sad, huh?


It might be a sad reason, but it is a POWERFUL motivator. I joined Weight Watchers in May. I go to a meeting every week, plus I use their online tools to track my points and activity.


Then, three weeks later, I joined Curves for Women. I work out at least 3 times a week.


My initial weeks in Weight Watchers were difficult, although the program makes it ridiculously easy to change your lifestyle. I was used to eating enough food at each meal to feed probably 3 people, if they were eating correct portions. Also, I'm addicted to sweet stuff...ice cream, chocolate, whatever it is, I can't get enough. When I started following the points system, and measuring my food for correct portions, I thought I was going to starve. The group leader pointed out that I probably wasn't following the healthy eating guidelines, because if I was, I wouldn't feel hungry. She was right. I've been working really hard at it, and it's getting easier. At first, even though my weekly weigh-in's reflected weight loss, I didn't feel any different. I joined Curves in an effort to increase the efficacy of my new healthy lifestyle (translated - lose weight and look and feel better faster.) It has been 8 weeks since I started. I've lost 12.6 pounds to date, an average of about 1-2 pounds a week, give or take.

A couple weeks ago, I went to Six Flags with a friend, and got some pictures taken. It was the first time in I don't know how long that I didn't want to cry when I saw a picture of myself.


Last week I had a little pulled muscle in my arm, and when flexing it to see exactly where the pain was, I noticed a muscle...I'm gaining muscle definition. I can't even begin to describe how excited I was when I realized this.
Also last week, in what used to be a weekly event and is now a rare treat, Angie & I ordered chinese take out. Being a creature of habit, I always order the sweet & sour chicken with fried rice & an eggroll combo. The difference this time was this...before, I would eat the entire thing without a second thought. This time, I barely got through half of it before I was full, and more importantly - I recognized that I was full - and I stopped eating. Amazing.


This week, I went to put on a pair of my pants just out of the laundry..usually when I put them on they are a bit tight for awhile, but not now. This week, ALL my pants are fitting just a bit more loosely.


Yesterday, a couple of agents in my office gave me positive feedback...telling me they could really see a difference. Few things are more motivating than other people telling you how great you look.


I'm starting to see results, and I feel so good, like I have taken control of my body. I no longer feel helpless, no longer feel hopeless. Plus, now that I'm beginning to see small results, it has motivated me to continue. Suddenly, although it's still a long way off and will require discipline and commitment, my goal of returning to my ideal healthy body weight doesn't seem so out of reach. As long as I remain committed, as long as I maintain these changes in my life, I will get there...and come May of next year, dressing up won't be such an anxiety filled event...





12 June 2008

Marriage Equality, California Style


Beginning June 17th, county clerks in California can begin issuing marriage licenses and performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, thanks to the recent California Supreme Court ruling that struck down a ban on same-sex marriage, making California the second state in the US where marriage is legally recognized for same sex couples. In addition, the California Supreme Court refused requests to stay the decision pending the outcome of the November elections. This is important to me for a number of reasons:
First, I am a native Californian, and it makes me feel proud that my home state is taking steps to eradicate discrimination against g/l/b/t/q people.
Second, California is a trend setting state. By this I mean that historically speaking, what happens in California in regards to civil law tends to have a far-reaching impact; it spreads across the rest of the United States, not necessarily quickly, but consistently, and occassionally with the help of the United States Supreme Court.
Third, in November, thanks to dubious efforts by religious conservative groups, California voters will go to the polls and vote on a proposed amendment to the constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman only. Because the Supreme Court refused to stay their decision, Californians will have the opportunity to see the results of same-sex marriage (or as I like to call it - marriage - calling it anything other than what it is contributes to the notion that it isn't equality for a basic civil right we are asking for, but a special right or privilege in addition to the rights we already have, and that is a lie) and recognize that, just like Massachussetts, marriage equality will have absolutely no negative impact on society. In fact, the positive economic impact on the state of California is expected to exceed 600 million dollars over the course of the next 3 years. I feel fairly confident that the amendment will be defeated.
Fourth, unlike Massachusetts, anyone from any state can get married in California. It might not be recognized in their own state, but lack of current state recognition does not make the marriage any less meaningful or valid in the eyes of the couple, their friends and family, or to God, for that matter.
I admit that I have not always been much of a marriage equality activist in my lifetime. It was never really that important to me, as I never thought I would truly want to be with someone for the rest of my life. My view of relationships was this - people come into your life for a variety of reasons, stay awhile and then leave when there is nothing more you have to offer each other. Why would you want to muddy the water with marriage, making it more of a hassle to make a clean break? This is how I used to think, until I met Angie, and we started dating. Now, a year and a half later, we own a house together and suddenly I find myself looking at her sometimes and thinking things like 'This is the woman I'm going to be with for the rest of my life' and 'What would happen to her if something bad happened to me?' I want her to be protected, the same way I want to be protected. When we bought our house, we made the decision to go ahead and have a lawyer draw up our wills, powers of attorney for healthcare and general decisions, etc...$1200 for some documents that provide us about 1/4 of the rights and protections a straight couple gets just as soon as they sign on the dotted line of their $35 marriage license. When I forked over that money, I recognized what g/l/b/t/q people have been fighting for...equal protection under the law...and I deserve it just as much as my straight counterparts.
I'm going to marry Angie next year. We are planning a religious ceremony in Georgia through the United Church of Christ, which is open and affirming, and recognizes marriage equality, even thought the state does not. Then we plan to have a civil wedding in either British Columbia, Canada or California, so we will have legal recognition of our marriage, at least in those states who currently recognize it. Once again, lack of recognition on my state's part does not make my marriage any less meaningful or valid to me or to Angie, and we feel confident that it will be recognized in all states in our lifetime.

07 May 2008

I freely admit I stole this from Dan Savage...

...but he took the words RIGHT out of my mouth:
'And speaking of the so totally holy and super-sacred institution of marriage...
When two dudes marry, the marriage-is-between-one-man-and-one-woman brigades crap their collective pants, vomit up ten thousand press releases, and run in circles screaming about all the hurricanes and earthquakes and unattractive haircuts that Our Loving Father™ is gonna rain down on our heads if we don't pry Adam off Steve right fucking now.
Well, the one-man-and-one-woman crowd has been strangely silent about this polygamist sect in Texas that's been all over the news. It appears that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been organizing marriages/statutory rapes between one man and dozens or more women and/or girls. "Where's the outrage?" writes a reader, which prompted me to go looking for some outrage at the website of Concerned Women for America (
http://www.cwfa.org/). There are more anti-gay-marriage press releases packed onto CWFA's website than there is fudge packed into all the homos in all the Sodoms in all of North America. But there's not one single word that I could find about these straight men in Texas violating the holy and sacred one-man-and-one-woman rule. What gives?

30 April 2008

The Truth


On April 25th, thousands of students had the opportunity to voluntarily participate in an annual 'Day of Silence' in support of their GLBTQ classmates who have suffered bullying and violence as a result of homophobia. In response to this successful annual event, the Alliance Defense Fund, one of those anti-gay conservative groups hosted their 'Day of Truth' protest which apparently was not as successful, since virtually all references to it online ceased about 2 days before the event.










A supporter of ADF responded to this article by saying this:


Joe wrote:
"The truth is that being gay is wrong and immoral.Personally I don't care if you are gay or not, but when groups like GLSEN start to infiltrate our schools and try to indoctrinate our Children I draw the line.The reason that the ADF doesn't have more support is that most parents don't know that GLSEN had infiltrated our public schools starting at the Kidder Garden level.As more and more are being made aware of this, ADF is gaining support. "






You know me, I can't resist telling the truth. Here's my response:


No, it isn't. That isn't truth...it's conjecture on your part.

The truth is there is nothing immoral or wrong about the ability to love another human being, gay or straight.

The truth is there is no 'infiltration' and no 'indoctrination' of children in schools.

The truth is fundamentalists coined these phrases as part of the 'dumbing down' of their followers(read 'voters.')

The truth is that instead of accepting the opinions of thousands upon thousands of medical, psychological, psychiatric, sociologic and pediatric professionals who all say the same thing, fundamentalists expect you to follow along with their hate filled agenda like good little sheep, voting for discriminitory laws and supporting legislation that deprives good, honest, tax paying citizens of their basic fundamental rights based solely on the gender of their partners. They do this by insulting your intelligence through the use of these typical inflammatory buzzwords designed to engender strong negative feelings in people in an effort to illicit the response they want.

The truth is that children need education regarding diversity and tolerance. Tolerance does not mean acceptance...it just means 'live and let live.' Have your beliefs, believe in them with all your heart if you choose to, but don't force them onto people who have a different truth than you, especially when their truth is backed up by thousands of professionals, and yours comes only from your choice of religion.

The truth is diversity and tolerance education makes the world a safer place to be - from people just like you.




Oh, and 'kidder garden?' Lol...dumbing down, indeed.

29 April 2008

I chose to be gay the same day you chose to be straight...


'Show me irrefutable, scientic proof that being gay is a gene that you are born with. Show me how you equate homosexuality with the color of one's skin. Show me where it says in the Bible that God created Adam to be with Steve or Dave, and that homosexuality is not wrong. Show me that changing the definition of marriage to include homoseuxality won't encourage other "alternate" lifestyles to have the definition changed to fit their wims. Don't tell me that there is all kinds of research going on.....I know that, I follow the news. Show me that you are BORN gay.'

-pa resident post commenting on a letter to the editor regarding the proposed legislation banning marriage equality


Oh great..another 'christian' demanding proof of a gay gene. How fascinating that those who profess a belief in a supernatural God, for which no scientific proof exists, demand that same scientific proof when it comes to a person's sexual orientation. There's no specific gene that has been isolated for left handedness either, but you don't hear people running around saying 'being left handed is a choice' anymore. If they did, they would be laughed right out of the room. Homosexuality is no more a choice than heterosexuality. Some people are born gay, just like some people are born black, or left handed or with blue eyes. Marriage traditions in the bible included polygamy, a widow having to marry her dead husband's brother, a rape victim having to marry her rapist, among other atrocities that obviously would not be acceptable in this day and age. It's interesting how some christians will overlook these bible examples, but still believe that their idea of 'traditional marriage' is the only one that God condones. Nowhere in the bible are loving, committed same sex relationships looked upon in a negative light. Nowhere. Two women or two men falling in love and choosing to express that love through marriage would cause not one single bit of harm to you, to your marriage, nor to the 'sacred institution' of marriage.

01 April 2008

"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."


That quote is credited to Anne Lamott. It's one of my favorites.
There is a growing and hotly contested debate amongst progressive and more conservative Christians regarding what God and the Bible really say about homosexuality. On the one side are Christians who believe it is a 'sin' to be homosexual, and that God condemns all acts, including acts between same-gender couples, even if they are married. On the other side, there are a growing number of christians and biblical scholars, gay and straight alike, who don't see it the same way.

I'm not going to waste my time debating scripture, since I'm sure most people have already heard and either accepted or dismissed anything anyone has to say about it. All it proves is that different people can get very different messages from God and from the same bible, and not a single one of us can know which message is 'right.' Personally, I don't even think it's about who's right or wrong, because all we really know is the truth that God has placed on each of our hearts.
I know for a fact that MY God - the one who created me just as I am, loves me, redeems and sustains me - would NEVER condemn me for my sexual orientation, which is as innate and God-given as my eye color and right handedness.
This is God's truth to me...and I share it with as many people as I can in hopes that they can wade through the negative and judgemental messages that so many 'christians' feel the need to share. The only thing these 'christians' are really doing is driving gay and lesbian people, who KNOW that their sexual orientation is not a choice, away from God. Why put your faith in a God who would condemn you for something you can't change about yourself? Driving people away from God is not a Christian's job. Yet it is what countless 'christians' have done when they spread this message.
I have to ask, are you really serving God when this is the outcome of your words? I think not.