Posts Tagged ‘lgbt’

The Supreme Court Decision that Almost didn’t Happen

Posted: Monday, July 1st, 2013
Justice Anthony Kennedy

Justice Anthony Kennedy

Justice Anthony Kennedy is the person who wrote the majority opinion in the DOMA cast, as well as several other opinions that have been important milestones for LGBT Americans.

Kennedy was appointed to the Supreme Court by a conservative President: Ronald Reagan. He was not the first name submitted by President Reagan, and how different my world would be if the Senate had confirmed the original nominee.

Senate democrats blocked that first one: Robert Bork.



The Elephant Sneaks into My Wheelhouse

Posted: Monday, March 25th, 2013

I’m not a “one issue” person. No, really. Some (read: most) of my friends will chuckle at that. They’d tell you that I’m all over LGBT equality, and that I’ve been that way since the GAY LIB days of the 1960s.

That part is true, but I have lots of things on my agenda. I worry about the broken health care system in the US. I am concerned that Uncle Sam flexes his military fist way too quickly. I fear that too many people remain unemployed even though there are potholes in the streets that are large enough to swallow small children.

Those are all critically important issues, and I’m concerned about each.

But (and this is often a show-stopper)… you don’t get to talk to me about all those other things until we get past LGBT equality. It is my sine qua non issue.

That’s why the recent switch of Sen. Rob Portman on marriage equality is so interesting to me.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

Mr. Portman is a Republican from Ohio. He and I will most likely have a short conversation because I am definitely not a Republican, and Ohio is far too cold for my tender bones. But he is the only elected Republican who doesn’t think my life is a waste of space. He thinks my love for my husband has merit, and that (by my own definition) lets me hear what he has to say on a whole agenda of topics.

My parents started out like most Republicans. They used words like F*g. It was inconvenient for them because I was never “in” the closet. I was out my entire life. They knew my boyfriends in high school and college, and they maintained an uneasy silence. They knew I’d react noisily.

When I was out on my own, invitations to family events would come in addressed to me but not my lover. I’d always ignore those kinds of invitations. When mother asked about that, I told her why. It was an uneasy truce: no verbal barrages, but no real peace.

They finally came around. Before they died, they both accepted my lover/husband as part of the family. I started going to family outings again. My relatives (adopted family, no blood) didn’t like the arrangement, but nobody ever said anything. I can’t ask for more than that. What you think of me isn’t any concern of mine. I don’t care what you or anyone else thinks. You can talk behind my back, and that’s just ducky. We’ll only have problems if you say something impolite within earshot. That usually includes saying things about gay kids who aren’t strong enough to stand up on their own.

My relatives (adopted) finally figured all that out. Peace was at hand.

I think I’m still a Yella-Dog Democrat. That term goes back to when Rep Sam Rayburn (D-TX) was Speaker of the House. When somebody asked him if he’d ever vote for a Republican, Mr Rayburn said he’d rather vote for an old Yella-Dog.

Will and Sen. Rob Portman

Will and Sen. Rob Portman

I think I’m still one of those, but now I will eagerly give Sen Portman a listen.

What’s more, I am so happy to see what came from Will Portman’s coming out. Will is the senator’s son. He’s a student at Yale University. After Will told his father that he’s gay, it started a two year process of evolving into believing that marriage equality ought to be the law of the land.

So, thank you Will. Thanks for being honest about who you are. And thanks to your father for having the guts to go against what has been a rightwing lock on the social policies of the Republican party.


Words Together for the First Time

Posted: Saturday, December 1st, 2012
West Point chapel

Chapel, West Point, New York state

It’s been a great era for the LGBT community in the USA. Nothing’s perfect, but the changes have been amazing.

The chapel at West Point — the US Army college in New York state — is having a wedding of two lesbians.

President Obama, who said that he’d end “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” did just that. The American military didn’t implode. Reenlistment by non-gay soldiers didn’t cave like some homophobes predicted.

More states have approved marriage equality. Hate laws are still on the books in some states, but it is an improving situation. Everything could change in a flash, but it’s good right now.

The big news didn’t make any newscast. I was watching a TV show (Person of Interest on CBS). There was an extortion attempt against one of the episode’s characters: someone threatened to kill “her wife” unless the character did something. Lesbians on prime time television. It’s happened, even in the tightly puckered world of US television plots. This time was different.

“Her wife” was mentioned without comment. The fact that the characters were LGBT was just an accepted incidental. There was no subplot relating to their gayness. Nothing in the storyline was augmented or diminished because we had a lesbian couple. That’s just who they were.

I noticed because it was so matter-of-fact. Words that are put together today are combinations I never thought I’d see —

  • her wife
  • his husband
  • military same-sex wedding

There’s lots more work to do, of course:

“I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.”
— Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, August 27, 2003 (Fox News interview)



St. Thomas Aquinas would be Ashamed of this Roman Church

Posted: Friday, October 19th, 2012
Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

The pope’s gang of hyper-dressed thugs are being called out as being the biggest contributor to homophobic political groups. The all-male (and allegedly all-hetero) bishops of the Roman church don’t like the idea of gay marriage. In addition to the Roman Catholic church itself, big anti-gay expenditures are reported from the Knights of Columbus, the church’s beer-drinking bingo-playing men’s fraternity.

The pope doesn’t like queers. The Knights of Columbus doesn’t like queers. I get all that. I think it’s silly, but I get it. I think it would be tragic to grow up in a family of Roman… wait: I did grow up in that kind of family. It is hard on kids, but most survive with a few scars.

Where the Romans cross the line is when they say that everybody has to march in lock step with their code of conduct. How Counter-Reformation of them. Right?

What’s interesting is that they’ve conveniently forgotten the teachings of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). He would be dead-set against all this meddling in secular law. The Roman Catholics say he’s one of their greatest teachers, and he would tell today’s bishops to stay out of non-church legislation.

Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican priest from Naples, Italy. The Roman Catholics call this guy Doctor Angelicus (Angelic Doctor). They call him their Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis (Universal Doctor). This is the scholastic doctor, not a medical term. The Roman church reserves the term for their biggest of big-deal-thinkers. In other words, whatever Thomas Aquinas said is something you can basically take to the bank.

Back in seminary, I had to read his works until I was almost cross-eyed. One of the cool things he did was bring the logic of Aristotle forward. The Dark Ages were so dark that the only intellectual activity was in the east. Thomas Aquinas did his best to change that. (Mazel tov!)

Why is all this relevant to his church’s activity in gay rights? He wouldn’t approve. That’s why.

This Angelic Doctor said, for example, that governments should never make prostitution illegal. [gasp]

He wrote that the church is right to teach that prostitution is a sin. Maybe it is a serious sin, but the whole point to having a thoughtful church is to encourage individuals to overcome sinful things. He said that people who don’t tie themselves to the church’s teachings shouldn’t be forced to follow those teachings.

It would be like Jews trying to get Kosher laws written into criminal statutes.

Pope Pius V (1504-1572), also considered a saint, said St. Thomas Aquinas was “the most brilliant light of the Church.” And yet the modern Romans ignore his teaching.

Bishops of the Roman Rite studied the same Thomas Aquinas that I studied. They know this stuff, but they have a selective memory. Getting homophobic laws on the books fits their current map of reality. They want Roman adherents to be anti-gay. They want to expand that teaching to Jews and atheists and even Methodists. It tells me that they are so inept in their ability to control their own flock that they have to call for a lifeline. Rather than press the flock, they need to hire the government to do their enforcement.

I wish I could believe that they are singling out gay people, leaving the rest of humanity in peace. That isn’t the case if you consider their action on contraceptives. The Spanish Inquisition. The Crusades.

It’s a long history, and it is quite un-Christian.



I’m a godless heathen, and I approve this ad

Posted: Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Gov Deep ThroatRick Perry is the guy who barely pulled off a C average at Texas A&M University and battles “Ma” Ferguson as the worst governor of Texas. He brags about how stupid he is, and he does this were others can see. The is happy to tell you he hates at least 10% of the population of the state he’s supposed to be leading. The same brain that can’t remember things he’s said, now thinks it’s a dandy idea to run for President of the United States.

The folks at Second City TV think otherwise. They have a spoof of one Rick Perry TV advertisement that’s been running in Iowa. Perry’s ad supposedly stirs up evangelicals to hate LGBTs. Perry thinks nervous natives will somehow translate into votes. I pray that Perry is wrong. Somebody who can’t even pull off a C report card in a fairly simple college program isn’t to be trusted with nuclear bombs.

Second City is hilarious and spot-on: