Saturday, October 25, 2014

Weddings in October 2014


I've had the "honor" of being an officiant for two weddings in the month of October. The first wedding--a highlight of life--was marrying Adrianne and Scott in Massachusetts. The weather was great: it began rainy but at 2:00 the sun started to come out, and by 3:30, the time for the wedding to begin, it was dry and sunny. The father of the bride--moi--did not keep a dry eye as this lovely woman walked down the aisle with Dean and Pam--partner and mom--walking beside her.

The other wedding was yesterday: Janet and Fantasie! They got my name from a former student of mine from the days at Duke Divinity School who works at First Presbyterian Church, Durham. Outside of the Durham County Courthouse (the old one), we signed the papers and I officiated their covenant, with their children from previous relationships in tow.  It was my first legal same sex marriage.

It makes a difference!  While I have conducted over 100 weddings as a Minister, I grew resentful after I came out of the closet, realizing I could no longer wed, and I bestowing 1,300 laws upon this couple I could not enjoy as a gay man with my partner.

NC's laws finally changed, thanks to the Fourth Circuit Court.

A new day in NC!

Now, let's see who else I know who could get married...hmmmm....oh! ME!

Pax!

B

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

NC: Ding D...

Ding, do...

We are waiting for the other shoe to drop in NC as Judge Osteen wants Chris Brook of the NC ACLU to ask the court to more or less file a motion to rule that Amendment 1 is unconstitutional, which has an impact upon the clients/LGBTQ couples of the ACLU who want the right to marry.

We await.

Church bells about to ch...

Pax!

B



Our Noble Child, Toby



This column is about our dog Toby, our noble child!

Enjoy!

An observation: if one person in a marriage or significant partnership dies, sometimes the other spouse or partner soon dies of loneliness within months of the other’s death.
I knew this was true for humans, but I did not expect it to be the same with our dogs.
Sadly, our chocolate Labrador retriever, Toby, died within six months of our yellow Labrador retriever Lil’s death.
Both were adopted at separate times from the Orange County Animal Shelter. Within weeks of living in our house they soon became the latest version of television’s “I Love Lucy” with our dogs becoming Lucy and Ricky, opposites, yet companionable in every way.
While Lil grew into an adult dog, queen of her realm (our house), Toby never grew out of his Labrador adolescence. He became what one friend called our noble child. With boundless energy up to the last few days of his doggy life, Toby ran after his favorite toy with great energy, rarely showing exhaustion, tail wagging happily, while Lil was bemused by his antics and would occasionally grab a large branch and play keep away.
Toby and Lil came into our lives when my partner and I were raising my children from a previous marriage. To my now adult-aged children, the dogs were their link to childhood.
While Lil was the dog a child tells secrets to, Toby was the dog a child went to for a good game of hide-and-go-seek, fetch, and wrestled with on the floor or couch, with licks and paws stretched out, wanting to play some more.

Here's more: http://www.nbc26.tv/story/26738861/judge-lifts-stay-about-to-rule-nc-same-sex-marriage

Pax!

B

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Agony of Defeat and the Thrill of Victory


When I grew up, on ABC Sports, there was a mantra on ABC Sports re: what each athlete or group of athletes faced: the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

I often felt the same re: the marriage equality in NC: the agony of defeat was palpable after the loss on the Amendment 1 movement.

Today, NC (as part of the Fourth Circuit Court region) is on the edge of watching the Amendment 1 come to a crashing defeat, being stripped out of the NC Constitution, much like the anti-interracial marriage amendment was tossed out by the US Supreme Court.  There is a sense of electricity among Facebook and twitter friends and associates as people in VA, CO, UT, and now NV and ID are getting "gay married." I am smiling broadly outside and in.  I cannot believe the roll out of history in my life time.

Will Dean and I get married? Stay tuned!  Will it be in NC? OR? HI? Stay tuned.

But this I know: soon over 30 states will approve of marriage equality with the great majority of this country's population living in those state.

Civilization? Is that you knocking on the door of NC?  Well...

Pax!

B

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Triangle Mom 2 Mom: Meet Brett Webb-Mitchell, a Gay Dad!



Thanks to Stacy Chandler for the chance to be interviewed about being a gay dad in the Research Triangle:

A little from the article:

Q: What town do you live in, and what brought you here?

A: I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and during my childhood I lived in New Jersey and Oregon.  After living in many states, as well as living in London, England, for a year, my former wife, my children, and I moved to Chapel Hill when I was invited to teach at Duke University in 1993. 

Q: Tell us a little about yourself, and about your family. 

A: I wear many hats at the same time: I am a speaker and writer on a wide variety of topics, from working with people living with disabilities and faith communities and LGBTQ parenting to leading actual pilgrimages here and abroad. While I currently teach Ethics, Religions and the World, and English composition courses at NCCU, I've also been ordained and worked as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) for over 30 years. So I am a scholar-activist-pastor-pilgrim.

I was married to my best friend in my early 20s, and we are proud parents of two amazing young adults who live in Asheville and Wilmington. Currently, I've been in a partnered relationship for almost 19 years, and we live in Chapel Hill.
  
Q: Why did you decide to write the book “On Being a Gay Parent,” and why do you continue to maintain a blog of the same name now?

A: I wrote “On Being a Gay Parent” and maintain the blog because I was looking for such a book and blog when I came out of my big gay closet. I wanted a book that not only spoke to the issues of LGBTQ parenting, but also spoke respectively of faith communities. It should come as no surprise that since many churches have treated LGBTQ people as second-class citizens in God's realm, many LGBTQ continue to stay away from a church, though they may be people of deep faith.


Here's the link here: http://www.trianglemom2mom.com/2014/09/03/4114328/meet-brett-webb-mitchell.html

Enjoy!

Pax!

B

Monday, August 18, 2014

Standing in the middle, not knowing what's coming next...







The best way of describing what is coming next for LGBTQ concerns/issues may be by describing what I once heard an ethicist observe in the middle of change: you don't know where you are in terms of the progress you've made, because you are standing in the middle of the change itself, without a read on where you've been necessarily, and not knowing necessarily what is the next step, or what is just over the horizon.  You are simply in the middle of it all, trying to figure it out, day by day, hoping that you are making progress, but never really knowing.

I am "there" with the ethicist, not knowing if I'm making progress or not in terms of LGBTQ issues re: parenting, marriage, and job discrimination. I am striving to go forward, but it is daily questioning and wondering and discerning where we've been, where we are, and where we are headed.

It is a pilgrimage.

Pax!

Brett

Saturday, August 9, 2014

At the intersection of love and justice with Moral March and Equality NC.



I like intersection/intersectionality.

So I saw it "happen"--almost--when the Moral Monday March to the Polls and Equality NC celebrated the Fourth Circuit Court decision in Durham recently.

Enjoyed!

From the article:

Last month, I stood on the edge of a large crowd listening to the Rev. William Barber at the Moral March to the Polls rally, gathered at the CCB Plaza in downtown Durham. Even though parking was not convenient, a large throng had gathered together that late afternoon to renounce “VIVA” – North Carolina’s Voter Information Verification Act – and the other parts of HB 589 passed last year by the N.C. General Assembly.
Young and old, black and white, gay and straight, women and men, religious folks and nonreligious folks alike gathered as North Carolinians to say that the new laws crafted by state Republicans would suppress the vote from among the African-American and Hispanic-American community, the elderly and people living with disabilities, a Democratic voting constituency.

As the Moral March rally was drawing to a close, a crowd assembled down the street from the CCB Plaza at the nightspot Motorco. They were celebrating the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling that Virginia’s (and essentially North Carolina’s) constitutional amendment outlawing marriage equality by stating that marriage is solely between one man and one woman was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.
Many of us were veterans from the Amendment 1 struggle and couldn’t believe what we were hearing: After spending countless hours and millions of dollars, after canvassing the state with walks and talks, after creating radio ads and television commercials, this law that many had pointed to as hateful fell apart after two years and two months. But then again, the reason it fell apart was because of the power of love.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/08/4059868/an-nc-pastor-stands-at-the-intersection.html?sp=/99/108//#storylink=cpy

Pax!




Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/08/4059868/an-nc-pastor-stands-at-the-intersection.html?sp=/99/108//#storylink=cpy