Thursday, January 31, 2008
Not Being Silent, and No Whispering Allowed: State of Kentucky's Unjust Act of Denying Benefits to "Domestic Partners"!
And then I read, on www.towleroad.com, that the state of Kentucky's Senate has, once again, denied those of us who are in a "domestic partnered relationship" (what an oxymoronic phrase) and employed by the state of Kentucky, e.g., university personnel and other state employees, benefits, like health care and retirement (click here). While we have children, while we are in relationships with each other that mirror everyday heterosexual relationships and are, according to another study in the last few weeks healthier than heterosexual relationships, we are being denied, in yet one more state (and NC is no better on this matter), benefits that we would get were we heterosexuals and married.
Therefore, after being caught in this avalanche of news, and digging myself out of the snow, I'm doing what Jim DeMint wants me to do: I'm speaking up and out, and whispering no longer. His homophobic rhetoric are signs of a person who needs us to be in conversation with him, in order to demonstrate, in a loving way, that we are people too, who live within the parameters of the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, in which all people are created equal, and are to be treated as such by the government, which is composed of the people of the United States.
This is just wrong: we who are in long term committed relationships, a.k.a., marriage because that's what it really is, and are LGBTQ, are demanding equality in each and every state of the Union. We will no longer be silent.
Can you hear me now?
Teachers Told Not to Assume that All Students Have a Mom and a Dad; and Happy National LGBT History Month (in England)!
In this article from England, there is the story in which teachers are not to assume that everyone has a "mum and dad" when addressing or meeting students for the first time. This is part of the anti-bullying campaign in England. Imagine that: not always assuming everyone has a mom and dad. Click here to read the article.
Also note: February is national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History Month in England! Imagine the United States (under the next President and Congress) have a specific month for celebrating the heroic and thus courageous lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who have helped us, as a nation, make great strides in being a more inclusive society...one can dream, can't he?
Monday, January 28, 2008
A few weeks later, we worked out a date and time for a reading! Tonight, over 50 people showed up for the reading and book signing. After the reading, there were some great questions and responses about raising children, living honestly and openly, and questions of faith. My daughter Adrianne and partner Dean were there to answer and respond to questions as well...a family affair.
Then tonight, I found out that www.towleroad.com picked up on the article in the Asheville Citizen-Times from Sat., Jan. 27th! Though they spelled my name, "Brian Webb-Mitchell," it is clear, once you hit the link it was about the book.
Thank you, Malaprop's! Thank you, Towleroad! Let's continue to talk about good parenting, gay and straight alike!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
In the state of Maryland, the bill allows for civil marriage, but rightly does not expect religious institutions or communities of faith under a legal mandate to provide marriage ceremonies for all, thus securing the separation of "Church and state." Click link here for the Advocate site.
In the state of New Mexico, the House of Representatives have approved a bill for domestic partnership, though it has been voted down in the Senate before. I did like this quote from the Advocate article:
"Is this bill contrary to God, contrary to marriage?" asked Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, an Albuquerque Democrat, as quoted by the Sun-News. "And the answer is no. Not a single married couple in this state will get divorced because of this bill. Not a single couple that is engaged ... will cancel that wedding as a result of this bill. Not a single straight person will become gay as a result of this bill."Click here to the link.
So let's see: those state permitting, allowing, giving rights to gay and lesbian couples domestic partnership benefits, civil unions, or marriage includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey...and we're counting.
The momentum toward justice for those of us who are gay parents in committed relationships is coming quickly, given how long some things change in any society.
Obama and the Church: Which Church and Whose Church Do You Reference in Your Campaign, When Some Churches Aren't Friendly to LGBT Folk?
"The twin developments appeared to encapsulate the tension inherent in Obama’s embrace of what he calls a new style of politics, his belief in forging alliances even with those who hold fundamentally different views.
“We see one report of him saying powerful words. Then he is hanging out with some shady characters. People don’t know what to make of that.”
In this case, he has spoken out against homophobia in front of black audiences while embracing some black religious leaders who are resistant to gay rights.
“People are confused,” said Wayne Besen, a gay activist and founder of Truth Wins Out, a New York organization aimed at countering the “ex-gay” movement.
By Monday, Caldwell’s church, Windsor Village United Methodist in Houston, scrubbed its Web site of any reference to the gay conversion program, Metanoia Ministry."
It will be interesting to see how Sen. Barack Obama appeals to both audiences: both the LGBT community and those churches who see those of us who are LGBT as "an abomination" and "deviant."
Likewise, Dean and I went to a fundraiser/campaign rally for senatorial candidate Jim Neal (D) of NC. While he too is a gay dad of two sons, and lives with a partner, we were never sure where he stood on the issue of gay marriage, the elimination of DOMA, the elimination of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act).
This is the time to ask candidates for national and state offices where they stand on issues that confront us as parents, gay and straight alike.
What is great to read through the reviewer's perspective is that the writer "got" what I was trying to get at: this book is more than about gay parenting or lesbian parenting, but the necessity of good parenting, whether the parents are gay or straight.
I also liked taking the term from the Bush Administration, that this book is a "faith-based approach" to gay parenting! I like that!
I look forward to the reading/signing event around ON BEING A GAY PARENT on Monday, Jan. 28th, at Malaprop's in Asheville! See you all there!
Thank you, Alli Marshall and "Mountain Express"!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Take a good, long, hard, earnest, serious hearing of what Al Gore has to say about gay marriage. He is definitely for gay marriage, and makes no equivocation about it, nor dances around the issue of civil unions. This clip has been on sites from towleroad.com, to andrewsullivan.com. Gore is right: gay marriage is an option that should be made available to those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered. What I love about this clip is he says it so matter of factly, naturally, without hesitation or looking like he is reading it from a script.
Thank you, Al Gore!
Now, if only Hillary, John, Barack, John, Mitt, Mike, Rudy, and Ron please say something equally supportive (and not their spouses, John), what a wonderful country this would be!
Think of it: a country in which all people are treated with respect, and not mere tolerance, or worse yet, hate. Why aren't we there yet, people?
A boy can dream, can't he? And along with dreaming comes action...
Off to read from the book ON BEING A GAY PARENT at North Carolina State University! And thanks, again, to all of you who came to the reading at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill yesterday!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
While the film is, overall, beautiful! The only weakness in the film was the absence of faith communities. The only aside made to religion, e.g., Christianity, was a foster mother of one child who happened to be Pentecostal Christian. That was it! And the mother was won over by the two men in the film. End of case! We learn about the politics of gay adoptions; we know the legal, psychological, and family-system issues of raising children. And we learned about the dynamics of adopting children from different races, e.g., white gay couples adopting young black children. I also appreciated the situation in which one gay couple divorced and yet were still active in the life of their daughter. But we don't know if any of the couples were part of a faith community or not.
Nevertheless, this is one of those "thumbs up" and "rent this film" recommendations. Go to www.daddyandpappa.com!
Let's imagine that heterosexual marriages are a "states-rights issue"? Would straight people like marriage to be okay in some states but not in others? Imagine the chaos and crises this would cause?
It is time to stop the chaos and crisis it causes in all of our lives, gay and straight alike, and give us all the option for either marriage, civil unions, common-law unions...
While I celebrate with my Episcopal kith and kin, let me make it clear: all the institutional churches are doing is coming out of the proverbial "don't ask, don't tell" closet themselves. We who are LGBT have been, are, and will be forever more part of the "scene," part of the fabric of the body of Christ. There are parts of the body of Christ in which we will be called "faggot" and "deviant," which I have experienced recently, but we are still there, still here, even in the most outwardly rabid homophobic churches. Of course, as is usually the case, those who protest a little too much, rallying churches around this single issue, may have something to hide themselves, denying that which is part of who they really are. As my partner would say about those who protest our being part of the body of Christ, "Why are you exerting so much energy against us, giving us rent free space in your everyday thoughts, when there are more crucial issues for us to address, like poverty, injustice and oppression here and abroad, and spreading the love of God?"
My prayers this day are for the Episcopal Church in the United States as they make their way down the pilgrim path toward the inevitable destination of full acceptance of ALL God's people. And prayers for the rest of the members who compose the masterful yet unmanageable body of Christ (to our eyes at least) who struggle with love that calls us to live honestly and transparently. Or as we said in our little children's games of "Hide and Go Seek", "Come out, come out, wherever you are!"
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Will the real Mitt Romney please rise (as they used to say on a certain 1950s and 60s game show)!
More to come!
Monday, January 21, 2008
On this day of commemorating the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is important to understand how far we have grown as a country, but also how much more growing we have in terms of equal respect for all people, focusing on the very character of a person, and not their race, their gender, their economic class, their nationality, their heritage, their age, their ability, or their sexual orientation.
On this commemorative day, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, it is important to realize that our current field of presidential contenders have something to say about those of us who are LGBT.
I've downloaded this Youtube example, with a tape of Democratic presidential contender, and United Church of Christ member, Sen. Barack Obama. On the next entry, I will play a Youtube example from the Republican field, Baptist minister the Rev. Mike Huckabee.
Who we vote for in this election--like all election cycles--matters.
In reading up on King and Rustin, what I am struck by is how King's widow, Coretta Scott King, and their children believe fervently that King would've support equality among those of us in the LGBT community, and straight community.
Consider the following quotes:
Kings widow, Coretta Scott King, spoke out last year against a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage.
Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union, she said during a speech in March 2004.
Mrs. King has long been a vocal supporter of gay equality and has said that her husband would have been, too.
As my husband, Martin Luther King Jr., said, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' Like Martin, I don't believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others, she has said.
Kings namesake, son Martin Luther King III, has also said that his father would have supported the push for gay civil rights.
People criticized my father back in 1963 for allowing [openly gay activist] Bayard Rustin to organize the March on Washington, but my father was outspoken in his support, King III told Southern Voice in a 2001 interview.
Rustin, an openly gay African-American man, was the chief organizer of Kings 1963 march. Rustin also founded several civil rights organizations, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
For more of this citation, click here on Thomas Paine's Corner.
Let us celebrate this as a day of equality for all, regardless of one's ethnicity, heritage, race, gender, economic class, age, ability...or sexual orientation. After all, Martin Luther King, Jr. would expect nothing less than equality for ALL of the people of the world.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Lisa is making news--again--with her movement toward ordination. From the way I can figure it out from the wire service, she has made it through the Committee on Preparation for Ministry process, and can now move to being a candidate for being a "Minister at Large," which she will have to be voted upon at the upcoming Presbytery meeting in April 2008. Click here to read the story.
I went through the process differently: I was ordained, and have been ordained for over twenty-four years, before I came out of the closet (finally). While I have served six churches as pastor, pastoring some while working at Duke Divinity School for some of those times, serving the national church in various committees (e.g., Presbyterians for Disabilities Concerns), writing policy regarding the place and presence of people within the Church, as well as representing the church at functions of the National and World Council of Churches, I can still say that "being out" has given me a new energy and drive that I did not have while in the closet all that time. I no longer am putting energy in the act of playing hide-and-don't-seek game in a church that wants those of us who are LGBT to play, a.k.a., "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." There are more than a handful of LGBT folks not only in the Presbyterian Church (USA), but in all the denominations and churches, many of whom are (not) safely in the closet. Like my Catholic clergy friends, I would say a good quarter to a third of the churches may be LGBT folk.
Lisa is showing us that being persistent while moving slowly (not of her choosing) and steady, honestly and lovingly, works. Or as the children's song goes, "Inch by inch, row by row, God's gonna make God's garden grow." The garden of God is growing! LGBT people are slowly coming out of the closet, no longer playing "Don't Ask Don't Tell."
From a growing patch of God's earth,
Friday, January 18, 2008
That seems to about say it all.
The institutional church simply gets in the way of the Spirit of God, in which the Spirit must find other avenues to let that love express itself boldly yet with calm reassurance.
Donald Miller in his book, Blue Like Jazz: Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, writes passionately about the love of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit that, weirdly enough, is able to transcend, ascend, descend--I mean get around--all the obstacles and conditions we put on the love of God. For example, being a man who is gay who has, in the past week, heard myself referred to as "an abomination" and "deviant" because I am a man who is gay. The name-calling that goes on in the name of Jesus is just not helpful to creating a dialogue, in which we can all find the love of God, which is, after all, what we depend upon as "our daily bread."
Miller writes this:
''I felt, once again, that there was this underlying hostility for homosexuals and Democrats and, well, hippie types. I cannot tell you how much I did not want liberal or gay people to be my enemies. I liked them,'' he wrote. ''The real issue in the Christian community was that (love) was conditional ... You were loved in word, but there was, without question, a social commodity that was being withheld from you until you shaped up.''
I am stumped, as one who has exhorted classes of students at Duke Divinity School and many congregations, that we can only know of God, Jesus, and the Spirit through and in the community of Christ. While we may be part of a community or culture of believers who teach us of the presence of God, we also need to be constantly reminded of what Jesus said: that the Spirit of God will blow wherever the Spirit of God wills. Sometimes it is in the institutional church, and sometimes it is simply in relationships that happen "wherever two or three are gathered in Jesus' name," in which, there we are, being "church" with one another.
Click here for the link to the Advocate review.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Click here for the article
Huh! I wonder where they got that idea? Could it be because of how many churches of the Protestant denominations drag their feet on welcoming people who are LGBT as full members in standing? Could it be because of how many Catholic and Orthodox churches drag their feet on welcoming LGBT people?
The frustration is that all of us who are Christians can be "clumped" together as being anti-gay by the mainstream media. Of course, there are some Christians who go around slandering those of us who are Christian and are created by God as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered people, who falsely call us "deviant" and "abomination." Some pastors call those of us who are Christian, and are gay or lesbian part of a "wicked phenomenon." I'm not sure who is hurting whom in this situation.
And then there are those of us who are people who are LGBT who also self-identify as Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu...
Well, you get my point.
In a recent study of relationships at the University of San Diego, there is evidence that gay relationships may be healthier than our heterosexual friends: "It all comes down to greater equality in the relationship," Robert-Jay Green (researcher) said to UPI. "Research shows that lesbian and gay couples have a head start in escaping the traditional gender role divisions that make for power imbalances and dissatisfaction in many heterosexual relationships."
Click here for more information about the study.
Those in the beginning of a committed relationships, and those in larger family structures (e.g., with kids) have always been part of the evolutionary process of being and becoming a family. Families are not static but dynamic, either growing or dying, but never staying the same, day in and day out. For example, one of the latest ways we've understood "family" is from the 1940s/1950s model of the smaller "nuclear" family; before that, families were constructed around the notion of the extended nuclear "household." We who are gay and lesbian are simply encouraging all families to be healthier families by practicing good parenting, which involves good communication skills, which take daily practice. I speak and write not as an expert, but as one who understands the necessity of working on communicating daily. The "institution" of "families" asks for us to work hard, and be creative, in how we communicate with each other.
Monday, January 14, 2008
That is what it felt like when I entered and left the "Ministers in Training" classroom at Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, NC.
Yesterday, I blogged the discussion we had in regards to a difference of interpretation in how we read the texts. I must say, in hindsight, I think I made cracks in the thin veneer of the Rev. Patrick Wooden and touched his very soul, especially when I kept asking him about Jesus, and not the Bible, being "God's love letter to the world." He couldn't disagree with me...or God.
This morning, I went onto Google (something I should've done before I went Sunday morning) to see what I could find about the Church and Patrick Wooden. Pastor Wooden has a history of speaking hate-laced rhetoric of all LGBT people. Lo and behold: the Church has gotten so involved in being against LGBT people that they took a chartered bus of 100 people to Chapel Hill, NC to protest against the Town Council when discussing endorsing marriage rights of LGBT people. They have a history of simply attacking all the advances made by the LGBT community in public places (Click here to see some of his sickness, and the sickness of the church).
What I came to find out while I was there, in his fortress, is how much control Pastor Wooden has of this church community. Sorry to say, but Pastor Wooden acted some times like a bully rather than a gracious host, trying to shout me down, which one never does with a "goy" from Brooklyn, New York. When I got into a discussion with a doctoral graduate from Duke University (who went to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Duke University, both equally conservative), slowly tearing apart how Rev. Wooden reads and interprets Scripture, Wooden tried to break in, but I put him off, staying engaged with the young scholar. He tried some more, but I was starting to crack through the veneer of how to interpret Scripture using historical cultural criticism (a hermeneutic known well within the academy) with the other scholar (besides me) in the room. Patrick Wooden kept pushing his agenda, and I just kept pushing back. I soon came to see that there was really no interest in dialogue but only advocating his position...converting me was his goal.
The most fun was at the very end, when I was trying to pick up my books behind Patrick Wooden. Not knowing what I was doing, Wooden danced lightly upon his feet, hands in the air...even lighter than most drag queens I've seen and known. Hmmm...
While it is good to be out of the den of Daniels, I think it is important to go into that context and preach a Gospel of love and grace, leaning upon the "everlasting arms of God" at times, who stood with me throughout the 90 minutes. I saw some people questioning the pastor, and listening intently as I picked apart the pastor's blatantly anti-LGBT message with the young scholar's intellect. I saw the dawning sense of hypocrisy come upon one woman's face as I pointed out to her that Paul would be horrified to see her, a) being trained as a leader and, b) wearing gold necklaces, earrings, and braided hair (Read 1 Timothy). Yet she could rationalize a way of being in that room and being trained. I asked for hands of those divorced, and while at first there were none, I asked again: a good 10% of the class were divorced. And we all clearly know what the Bible says about divorce (Thou shall not, according to Jesus in all four Gospels), but still they found a rationalization for being in that class.
And trust me, 10-15% of the class members were part of the "club," the "family, "the community" known as LGBT, though they held their head's down low and asked no questions. But my "gaydar" went "ping" with many in the room.
Would I go back? Yes. It is important to keep engaging with those whose hearts and minds may be filled with hate or wish to express hurt and resentment toward those of us who are LGBT, because God's grace is stronger than any human wall we may build up to hide from God's grace. What is most important is to meet such resistance with grace and love. After all, it is all about embodying Christly gestures (a previous book I wrote).
Dean's wish is this: that one day, pink halos will descend from the heavens and alight upon the LGBTQ people in congregations and parishes, identifying who we are. It will be more than 10-15% of the Church.
Look up! Watch out! Here they come! Halos galore!
Sunday, January 13, 2008
My experience of this tension came to life this morning when I met with a Ministers-In-Training class at the Upper Room Church of God in Christ congregation in Raleigh, NC. After reading from the book, I opened up the time for questions and responses, and the first questioner came forth reading from Genesis 4, in which Adam and Eve gave birth to a son. From that question onward, we had a discussion on the issue of how we read Scripture. Church of God in Christ: inerrancy; Presbyterian Church (USA): historical cultural criticism. And from that time onward, we did not agree with or on much of anything, except that Jesus is Lord, and that Jesus is the Son of God.
The issue is this: how people interpret the Scriptures matters. The issue of the authority of Scripture in a person's and community's life is a debatable point, in which there is neither right nor wrong, only we read it differently. But that different reading also shapes how we live our lives as Christians. And we read Scripture, and are taught the story of Scripture in the context of a community, and read Scripture through and with the aid of community, e.g., relationships, in which the Spirit of God thrives and is made known.
So, to my brothers and sisters who read this blog, Jesus is the living Word of God (John 1). The Bible is not the Word of God. We live in the living Word of God, God's love letter to the world, in human form, e.g., John 3:16a: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son" (New Revised Standard Version).
Or as the song goes: "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus love s me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so."
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Stu Maddux is a six-time Emmy Winner, and with more films coming along that address the issues facing us in the LGBT community, we look forward to some thoughtful documentaries in the future.
As two people who have been in relationship for now over 12 years, we were intrigued with some of the same feelings that Bob and Jack experienced in the serendipitous nature of all relationships. We laughed at their witty banter and smiled at their love that, they said, has intensified over the years. We appreciated that Bob and Jack live in a state (California) with some domestic provisions for each other, though struggle to understand their lack of enthusiasm to embrace marriage equality. Jack has also struggled to keep relationship with his two daughters, who were married in the 1960s, and he did not attend their weddings because of the kind of uproar it would've caused to have their dad and "Uncle Bob" at the ceremonies.
For more information about the film, click here!
Thanks Stu, NC Equality, and Galaxy Cinema, for a great movie!
We had an opportunity to talk with him afterwards, and discussed the harassment/bullying that children of LGBT parents also face in this country. There is no denial that the harassment that my children have faced is similar to the bullying that LGBT youth face, which leads to this question: what is going on in our families, churches, synagogues, and media that promotes bullying and harassment of LGBT as normative and appropriate behavior? As Mitchell reminded us all, many politicians use language such as "traditional family" as code language of letting us know that we who are LGBT are not part of the "traditional family," even though the very definition and description is constantly in transition, and is different in every culture.
Thanks, Mitchell, for speaking out!
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Exodus, which literally means going out, a departure, or emigration, is--for those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender folks--the courageous act of leaving the closet, the church's own "don't ask, don't tell" unspoken but living policy. Exodus is not denying the reality of who God made us, and living openly, honestly, and without guilt or a sense or hint of embarrassment. Exodus is not the embrace of the sentence "If I were only straight, then life would be so much easier" spoken by too many LGBT folks who are lured by the glittering falseness of the American dream (as well as a symptom of a gay person's own homophobia).
When Moses and the people left the imprisonment of the Egyptian, when Jesus went on his exodus from Mt. Tabor to Jerusalem, it was a bold act of leaving the oppressive systems of this world and claiming the radical nature of what God is doing: creating a new heaven and new earth. Staying in the closet, as promoted by groups like "Exodus" is oxymoronic.
It is time to reclaim the true meaning of the word "exodus," moving forward and away from the tyranny of homophobic American Christians.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
And so 2008 is a Presidential year. And one of the ones to bring out voters is by being sure that an anti-gay marriage ban is on the ballot (Click here). In 2004, I was silent about this strategy. In 2008, I am no longer going to be silent.
It is time to speak out and stop this quadrennial event! And it is time to take all those amendments out of state constitutions, "Defense of Marriage Acts" (a.k.a., DOMAs), and support efforts for civil unions, or better yet: marriage.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
My children know MySpace and other chat-room-like websites well, or too well, as the case may be with um, one son of mine. Nevertheless, it crossed my mind: why not create a MySpace group for gay dads and lesbian moms? Why not create a MySpace group for gay and lesbian clergypersons? This is where the websites and blogspots become more than ruminations and see-what-we've-done postings, but can actually create a virtual community and network of folks who can be supportive of one another.
Write your thoughts, comments, opinions, and interest in the "Comment" section for this entry.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Of course, we in the weird purple-ish state of NC (Democratic state government, Republican senators), have no such laws to be argued before any court in the state. As a couple, we file everything separately, because according to the laws of the state of North Carolina we are two individuals living together under the same roof.
But states like California, New Hampshire with its new laws permitting civil unions (along with New Jersey, etc.) are providing us with a road-map for our pilgrimage for full and total equality with heterosexuals in this country.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
"Mitt Romney adviser Jim Talent appeared on Hardball and Chris Matthew asked him about his flip-flopping on various issues, including gay rights.
Matthews: What do you make of his claim...he claimed he was more pro-gay than Ted Kennedy. He wouldn't be saying that in Iowa because it's not a popular position, but hasn't he changed on a number of issues?
Talent: He’s always had the same position as to regards to the gay agenda. Look, he wants to know people to know he values gay people as people, okay? But he doesn’t want the militant gays to be able to change the cultural institutions of the country."
As I state in the book ON BEING A GAY PARENT, the very concept of "marriage" and "families" have always been influx; "marriage" and "family" are what I would consider "context dependent terms," by which I mean they are defined or perceived dependent upon the larger cultural context in which they are part of. Heck: there are eleven or more different definitions of the word "family" in the many editions of Webster and Oxford dictionaries, let alone "marriage." So when the words "traditional marriage" or "traditional families" are being used by politicians like the former Sen. Rick Santorum (PA), or in the Church, e.g., James Dobson, we should boldly ask: "Which definition of marriage are you using when using the word 'traditional?' And whose definition or description of family are you referring to?" According to the former Senator from MO, Jim Talent, I am a militant gay because I have a mind and use it when questioning and promoting marriage-rights for those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered people. Or perhaps I am just a dad who cares about his family...who happens to also be gay. This much I know: on the issue of family and marriage among those of us in the LGBT community, I am an uppity gay!Peace, Brett
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
But in what can only be called an unusual but apparently legal ruling, a federal judge stopped a new law in Oregon, in which lesbians and gays could enter into a civil partnership, being granted many of the same tax and legal benefits that heterosexuals enjoy in heterosexual marriages, all because of the question of the way signatures are verified in the state.
Again, as I have written in my book On Being a Gay Parent, given the modern construction of lesbian and gay relationships, we are aiming for the same benefits as married heterosexual couples, which, in terms of our families with children, give our children and us a "handle" or way of calling or addressing our otherwise "long term significant relationships," a.k.a., "a couple." While "same-sex union" and "civil unions" are nice cliches and get close giving us the tax and legal benefits of marriage (as an aside, what gay or straight relationship is always a civil union if it is a relationship that is alive and kicking?) it just isn't the same thing. Sometimes, language does matter. This is more than a game of euphemisms between "same sex unions" and "marriage." Click here to the link.
However, Oregon is instituting what we in North Carolina can only dream of : a state law banning discrimination in the workplace and housing based upon sexual orientation. This would have been a very helpful law in my latter days at Duke University.
Happy new year to one and all! May 2008 find us more blessed and in a slightly more progressive country than where we were in 2007!