Friday, October 23, 2009

Raid on Atlanta gay bar: Why isn't this bigger news?

Decades after the Stonewall Riots, police are still raiding gay bars and victimizing patrons.  On September 10 a swat team raided the Atlanta Eagle and searched customers without probable cause or a search warrant.  Police officers threw the patrons (some of whom were elderly) to the floor and subjected them to racist and homophobic slurs.  Until everyone sees events like this as threatening to ALL Americans, not just GLBT folk, they will continue to happen.  Perhaps they won't be as dramatic as this  raid, but variations on this theme will still occur.  It is up to us -- and thank you, blogactive. com -- to spread the word of these events to people outside Atlanta.  A more detailed account can be found at and

Ten New Ways to Undermine Traditional Marriage

Because I have so effectively (yet inadvertently) undermined the institution of marriage in the United States by marrying my partner, I decided to list ways I could be even more successful if I put my mind to it.

1. I will write to my Congressman urging him to oppose any health care reform, especially if it has a public option. How better to split a couple up than to burden them with a massive amount of debt that will cause unbearable stress?

2. I will support increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan. We all know that tours of duty in the military are tremendously difficult for military families.

3. I will call my school board to vehemently oppose any sexuality education in our classrooms. How many teenage couples that marry because of an unexpected pregnancy actually stay together?

4. I will deny the existence of global warming. Once the earth goes, so go the marriages.

5. I will oppose any government attempt to create jobs. A jobless family is an unhappy family.

6. I will oppose stem cell research. There can be no marriage if a spouse dies from lack of scientific research that might cure his/her disease.

7. I will call into talk radio, urging the listeners to support sending undocumented workers back to their native countries, especially if the spouse of that worker is in the United States legally. Easy way to split couples!

8. I will oppose with all my heart any attempt to increase education funding. Research shows that less educated Americans are more likely to live in poverty -- a perfect condition for enormous stress, anxiety, and depression. Welcome divorce!

9. Needless to say, I will oppose prison reform. The more spouses in jail, the greater the divorce rate.

10. I will tune in to FOX news for more ideas like the above....but only occasionally. I'm committed to the cause, but I still have my limits.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wonderful Short Video from Ireland about Same-Sex Marriage

Why Gay Really Isn't the New Black: Part One

“Gay is the new black.”  I heard this over and over again during the Proposition 8 debate in California.  While I can understand some of the reasoning behind these words, I can’t really agree with it.  Perhaps most  troublesome for me is the suggestion that bigotry against GLBT folks has replaced bigotry against African Americans.  Clearly, this isn’t the case.  Just take a look at some of the resistance to Barack Obama. And no, I’m not talking policy differences here.  I’m talking cartoons and right wing commentators saying that he hates whites.  I’m talking town hall meetings where folks with guns show up.  To suggest that prejudice against African Americans has taken a back seat to homophobia is misleading, at best.

The great Audrey Lorde, who was both African American and a lesbian, tells us that “there is no hierarchy of oppression.”  I believe she is right.  And this is exactly why we in the GLBT community shouldn’t put ourselves in some sort of competition with communities of color.  We can learn a great deal from the Black Civil Rights Movement.  That's the work we need to do.  Simply declaring ourselves "the new black" undermines our own movement and alienates people with whom we should be in dialog.

To be continued……

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Must See Video: A Maine WWII Vet Talks About Marriage

Bonding Over Prejudice?

"The Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion.”  So stated the Vatican yesterday when it announced that it would allow members of the Anglican Church to be in communion with the Pope.  And in response, the archbishops of Canterbury (Anglican) and Westminster (Catholic) said that both groups have a "substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality and will continue to hold official dialogues.” 

What, exactly, is this overlap?  Many of these overlaps have existed for centuries.  So why the invitation from Rome now?  It’s actually quite simple: a gay bishop in New Hampshire was ordained as a bishop in the Episcopal Church (the Anglican Church in the England) a few years ago.  On top of this, the Episcopal Church had the audacity to sanction gay unions.

When will we learn that uniting behind a common bigotry is the flimsiest of reasons to come together?  Strong institutions last because the common beliefs and tenets aren’t against something.  They are for something.  And the fact that the issue of homosexuality in both the Anglican and Catholic Churches was not even mentioned in their statements makes the invitation not only disingenuous, but also misleading.  Or maybe the Catholic Church is a little embarrassed that it is extending a hand of friendship over a prejudice?

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Patience is a virtue....

There has been a great deal of media coverage of late about the gay community’s disappointment in Barack Obama for not following through on some of his campaign promises, such as repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and “The Defense of Marriage Act.”  I can’t deny that I have shared this frustration, especially after the selection of Rick Warren to deliver the opening prayer at the inauguration in January.  But I’m also not ready to give up on Obama.  Nine months into a term is hardly the time to say, “too little, too late,” nor am I ready to change that “hope” to “nope.”  Still, we need to keep the pressure on the administration.  No group has ever won civil rights without fighting for them personally and persistently.  We can't sit back and assume President Obama will do what's right without some pressure.  He may be an ally, but that is different -- and has always been different -- from belonging to the community seeking justice for itself.

Obama has it in his heart.  I also believe that in his heart he supports same sex marriage: not many folks know that he actually supported it in the 1990's, when it was risky to do so.  I can say without question that as a gay man I feel safer and more of a citizen with Obama at the helm than I did during the Bush years.  By the end of his first term, however, I sure do want to be able to say a whole lot more.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Speaking of Maine...

Last night I was surfing the web for information about the November referendum in Maine to take away marriage rights from same-sex couples.  I came across some pieces on the website of my Alma mater, including an interview of a former professor of mine who is also a Bowdoin alum.  In the interview he explains why Olympia Snowe is such a respected political figure in Maine.  His view is that Maine voters don't elect ideologues but instead are drawn to practical problem solvers, politicians who can get things done.  Snowe's recent support of the health care compromise, according to Professor Potholm, is a perfect example of what Mainers expect from their elected officials.  (Bill Cohen, a Republican Senator from Maine, ended up in the Clinton administration after his tenure in Congress.)  Now, I don't happen to agree with Snowe's support of the compromise bill; I'm a supporter of the public option.  Still, the independent streak in Maine voters and their respect for the individual gives me hope that our marriage rights will be upheld and that we won't see a repeat of California's Proposition 8.  And as they say, as Maine goes, so goes the nation.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

As Maine Goes...

This week the newspaper from Bangor urged its readers to vote AGAINST the referendum that would make unconstitutional same sex marriage. Bravo! I went to Bowdoin College in Maine and while there learned that Mainers deeply respect difference and the individual. After all, the last stop in the underground railroad was in Maine. And Harriet Beecher Stowe was also from Maine.

Here’s hoping that Maine honor its history and not follow in the footsteps of California.

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