Redefining marriage

Pennsylvania is littered with new billboards that ask questions like “Should Pennsylvania walk out on marriage?” and “Should Pennsylvania kiss marriage goodbye?”

Each time I pass one, I shout out, “Hell no!”

I suspect, however, that I’m interpreting the questions differently than they were intended. They are part of a statewide campaign for a marriage amendment, sponsored by the group Pennsylvania for Marriage. Legislation to put an amendment on the ballot already died in the state house from lack of support from our elected representatives, but the folks at PA4Marriage still think they speak for all Pennsylvanians. They’re intent on passing an amendment to ban marriage and civil unions.

All in the name of “protecting” marriage.

You see, they worry that letting people marry will destroy marriage by redefining.

We decided to do our part to test that theory.

So we got married, and now we’re waiting to see if the world falls apart.

We didn’t take this on lightly. We’ve been considering our options for a long time now.

One choice was to wait until we have full marriage rights at both the state and federal level. I’m often accused of being a “political purist,” but even I realized that this choice hurts no one but us.

Another choice was to go to Canada or New Jersey to have a marriage or civil union. That option carried the weight of some level of official recognition, but it would vanish the moment we returned home.

In the end, we decided that what was most important was to be married before our friends, our family (those who would attend), and our God.

So we had a wedding that means absolutely nothing legally but absolutely everything to us.

The law won’t call us married. Our employers and insurance company won’t call us married. PA4Marriage won’t call us married. But we call ourselves married and I truly believe that God considers us to be married.

We stood before family, friends and vowed to love and honor each other for the rest of our lives, to support and care for each other, and to work together to help those around us.

If that’s redefining marriage, so be it. Let Armageddon begin.

I really need to know

A verse from Rufus Wainwright’s song, “Going to a Town” (the song that gave this blog its title) has been repeating in my head all day after reading the story at Pam’s House Blend about the anti-gay self-proclaimed Christians protesting at the Seven Straight Nights candle-light vigil organized by Soulforce and Atticus Circle.

Tell me

Do you really think you go to hell for having loved?

“Jon and Dawn Kennedy were two of those people at the celebration. Their brother, Sean Kennedy, died May 16, 2007 in Greenville, S.C., after being struck by a man who reportedly called Sean a faggot before striking Sean with such force that it crushed the bones in his face. Sean died from the one fatal blow.

Sean’s mother was present at Seven Straight Nights and was one of the event’s several speakers, including Faith In America Executive Director Jimmy Creech.

When Sean’s brother and sister politely told the leader of the anti-gay protesters that their brother was killed and that their hateful speech promotes violence toward gay and lesbian people, the protester flatly and unemotionally told Jon and Dawn Kennedy that their brother “was burning in hell right now.”

Tell me

and not for thinking every thing that you’ve done is good.

Anti-gay Christian protestors at Seven Straight Nights

I really need to know.

I really need to know how these men have usurped the title Christian.

I need to know how men like these, and the ones who verbally assault and threaten us at Pride every year, see themselves as walking in the footsteps of Jesus with a megaphone in one hand and a hate sign in the other.

I need to know what my parents want to hear from God when they pray to Him about their lost daughter who is condemned to hell.

I need to know what the woman who came by our table at dinner tonight and loudly hissed slurs at us thinks the Cross she was wearing around her neck means.

I need to know why good people stay silent, watching what they know is wrong.

I got a life to lead America
I got a life to lead
I got a soul to feed
I got a dream to heed
And that’s all I need

Making my own way home
Ain’t gonna be alone
I’m going to a town that has already been burned down.

A world without gay

National Coming Out Day

National Coming Out Day logoToday is National Coming Out Day.
But October 11 is not the real holiday for LGBT people. The holiday for each of us is the day we came out for the first time.

Today is the day to share those stories to celebrate, to educate, and most important, to be visible.

HRC has put out a call for coming out story videos on Youtube. Watch them here.

A sample:

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War Stories

I’ve been thinking a lot about war lately. Not on the grand global scale, but on the intimate, personal level of individuals.

I hate the glorification of war, but when I watch something like Ken Burns’ The War, all I can feel is awe at these everyday, ordinary people who have seen and done extraordinary things. I’m amazed at what humans are capable of, both the good and the bad. My life has been so sheltered that I can’t even imagine what I would do in the circumstances these old soldiers recount so calmly. I cannot imagine living with the memories they must have.

And when I look around today at our new generation of veterans, young men and women returning from war today, and regardless of my political views on the war, I can feel nothing but respect, admiration, and a little guilt when I talk with them. They go about their lives looking like every other young person, normal kids in their twenties who should have memories no more harrowing than a bad night of drinking in college. But instead they’ve lived with death. When they tell their stories, I’m amazed that anyone can survive the reality they’ve been through. I’m amazed that these normal, everyday kids have something in them that keeps them going through the horror. I may be a decade or two older than they are, but around them I feel young and naive.

I was thinking about a particular young man I know who is trying to adjust to his new life back home, about how it will never be like the life he had before he went, how the war has changed him, and how he will one day be an old man with distant yet vivid memories of war like the World War II veterans. As I thought about him, over the car radio came this commentary, “A Grandfather’s War Stories.” (Listen here.)

As I listened to the commentator tell about his grandfather’s WWII stories, and then listened to his voice break and the barely suppressed tears as this Navy officer thought about his friends in Iraq and their stories, I couldn’t take it. I had to pull to the side of the road and cry.

Last night on The Daily Show, Lewis Black ranted about our politicians wasting time arguing about the Moveon.org ad and Limbaugh’s “phony soldiers” comment. I think they might do it on purpose. Each day they or the press spend their time talking about Barack Obama’s lapel pin is a day they don’t have to think about the people for whom this war is not a political strategy, but their lives.

ENDA, Jena, and difficult discussions

Pam Spaulding wrote a beautiful post this morning that is one of the best things I’ve read in a long while.  She pulls from discussions of two recent news stories to look at our fear of talking honestly about sensitive issues and the impact of that fear on our national discourse on topics like race, gender identity, etc.

I’m not describing it well, so please read it for yourself.  She’s got my mind swirling and at the same time inspired me to try to make sense of everything I’ve read and learned over the past week.  I’m going to take a stab at making my own contribution to a productive discourse, but that may take a while, so while I’m trying to get my thoughts in order,  read Pam:

The difficult discussions people don’t want to have 

Iran So Far

Did everyone see this from SNL? It’s hilarious.

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United we stand

Despite the propensity for some people to see “The Gay Community” as monolithic, we are a diverse group, which means we have our share of prejudices and discrimination, and can be unaware of our own biases about race, gender, religion. So it’s good to see the community standing united in opposition to attempts to cut transgender people out of ENDA, to leave them behind in a misguided pragmatist attempt to win rights for some at the expense of others.

Today, this letter was sent to the House, signed by over 90 LGBT organizations. (You can add your own voice by signing this petition).

United opposition to sexual-orientation-only nondiscrimination legislation
October 1, 2007

Dear Madam Speaker and Representatives:
The undersigned represent the vast and celebrated diversity of the LGBT community in this country. Some of us are national leaders of organizations with tens of thousands of members and constituents, some of us run the only local organization in our state. But we are united in a common cause: We ask you to keep working with us on an Employment Non-Discrimination Act that protects everyone in our community, and to oppose any substitute legislation that leaves some of us behind.

We ask and hope that in this moment of truth, you will stand for the courage real leadership sometimes demands. You each command enormous respect from all of us and we do appreciate the difficulty of balancing a variety of competing demands. But the correct course in this case and on this legislation is strikingly clear. We oppose legislation that leaves part of our community without protections and basic security that the rest of us are provided.

You told us you supported a fully inclusive ENDA and would bring it up for a vote this year. We expect that you will honor that commitment and we look forward to working together to pass a bill that we can all be proud to support.

Sincerely,

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ENDA Petition

You can sign a petition to keep the original inclusive ENDA language here.

An end to ENDA?

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act didn’t just hit a roadblock. It got into a 10-car pile-up.

This week, Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi decided to split it into two separate bills, one covering sexual orientation, and the other gender identity. They figured, let’s take care of the Ls, Gs, and Bs now, and come back for the Ts later.

Why? Because while Republicans think LGBs are depraved, self-serving, sinful perverts trying to steal their children and destroy the American way of life, they really dislike the Ts. So, in order to appease the fears of people who like to use terms like “she-males,” our Democratic leadership has decided to cut loose the very people who are probably most in need of this legislation.

I have great respect for both Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi, but in this case, I think they are simply wrong.

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Jerry Sanders, Mayor of San Diego, on marriage equality

Republicans often make me angry, indignant, and exasperated, but they rarely make me cry.

This morning, one did.

Yesterday, the Republican mayor of San Diego gave a press conference to explain why he was not going to veto a resolution City Council passed in support of marriage equality.

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Returning home, with a gift

I haven’t posted for a little while due to some personal stuff, but also taking the time this summer to go to the beach, to some good shows, and to take a break from the depressing news that seems to hit us every day. I’ll be back now, and have already been working on some posts, although they may have to wait until the US Open is over.

Since it’s Saturday morning, it’s time for music, so I’ll leave you with this while I dust the spider webs off the blog. Today, this is my favorite song from Rufus’ current album/concert, although it changes everyday. Yesterday, it was “Tulsa.” I don’t think he’s ever written/performed a song I didn’t love. I’m in awe of this man’s talent and love him to bits.

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Sunday morning humor

In my continued efforts to follow Mitt the Flip Romney’s advice to “lighten up a bit,” here’s a laugh from American Dad.  How to spot a gay:

Pants!!!  I guess they were right about Hillary.

I found this on a blog I recently discovered, Bloggernista,  who has the great tagline, “what happens when a gay stops being polite and starts getting real.”

Saturday morning music

Arjan Writes has up a stream of Annie Lennox’s new single from her upcoming album, Songs of Mass Destruction, out in October. The only thing more beautiful than Annie is her voice. I’m looking forward to this CD.

Another album I don’t have to wait as long for is Darren Hayes’ This Delicate Thing We Made, available this week. I already linked to the fab video for the first single, “On the Verge of Something Wonderful.” Here’s another video, for “Who Would Have Thought”:

This is going to be a great CD.

Most

Bill O’Reilly claims his show is a “no-spin” zone.

But what do you call it when you take a research finding that says “28% of Floridians say they are less likely…” and change it to “Most Americans won’t…”

28%=most?

Most?

That’s not just spinning the facts. It’s outright lying about them. I don’t know anyone who would claim that less than a third is most.

Why did Bill lie?

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