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:


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.

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

10 November 2008

Step One of my New Found Out-Loud Activism


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.


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


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.