Thursday, July 31, 2008

Religion + Kids=LGBT Couples Wanting to Wed!

This comes as no surprise since I am living in the middle of it: as an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and because I have performed many weddings (see previous posts), and know full well of the practical and spiritual implications for such rituals (weddings are not a sacrament in our denomination), and because I/we have children in our lives who are always "kind of" struggling to figure out what to call "Brett & Dean," a wedding and marriage gives us a more socially acceptable and knowable name as a "(old) married couple," in which we would be "husband and husband."

Click here to see this story from the Univ. of IL!

Now, the great joy on top of this study is that MA became a state that welcomes those of us from out-of-state to wed! Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill today, which was passed by the MA Legislature the other day.

But don't be expecting any annoncements on this blog soon! The state of NC still permits bullying!



Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Violence Against LGBTQ: Continued

I'm a reluctant pacifist.

I studied with a so-called pacifist theologian when I worked at a certain seminary, and he would gladly tell me how he became a pacifist: "I called myself a pacifist enough to other people that I came to believe it myself."

I'm in the need of saying to myself "I'm a pacifist," because of the violence toward LGBTQ people in recent blog, cable, and major media sources.

For example:

* The Bishop Gene Robinson wears a bullet proof vest and has a personal body guard;

* During Europride in Stockholm, LGBTQ people are being attacked;

* A trans woman was killed recently in CO;

* Police raid a "gay party" in Saudi Arabia;

* The killing of liberal, progressive Christians in Knoxville, TN;

* Ugandan gay activist is arrested in Uganda;

And the list continues.

It is time to stand up against the violence with the greatest enemy: peace.

It is time to change.



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Change in the American Air?

During lunch I was listening and watching MSNBC-Live, and John Harwood of CNBC and of the New York Times was being interviewed by one of the women who hosted the news this afternoon. He was asked something along the lines about whether or not the "gay issue" was going to be a wedge issue in the 2008 presidential race as it was in 2004. "No, not at all...that's what makes this year hard to predict or forecast, based upon what happened in 2004."

What he was referring to was how the "gay marriage" issue was used by Rove/Bush to be a wedge issue, bringing out so-called "social conservatives" who voted for anti-gay marriage amendments to their state constitutions.

We're not going to be a wedge issue like we were in 2004, huh? From the sounds of things in this country, we are not as much a wedge issue. Even CA may vote to sustain the verdict of the CA Supreme Court and allow gay marriages to continue anon. MA is voting to overturn at 1913 law regarding who can marry in that state in regards to people marrying in MA from outside the state...good for the local economy and all.

Is there a change in the air, in the heart, in the minds, in the attitudes of Americans toward those of us who are LGBTQ?




Monday, July 28, 2008

The Killing in TN: A Hate Crime

My previous email was not so far off the mark: the killing was a result of a hate crime. This from the Knoxville News:

Jim D. Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he stated his “hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said. “Liberals in general, as well as gays.” Click here for more.

Bullying and hate crimes: one and the same. Throw in too many guns in this society, and what do you and I get?



Bullying in Schools and Shooting in TN: A Connection

When I was watching the NC Legislature become a coward in the face of bullies of so-called "social conservatives" and certain evangelical pastors, knowing that we were one vote short of getting something done in re: to an anti-bullying bill, I fumed the next week when Newsweek came out with the article on Lawrence King, a 15 year old, gay, young man in California, who was shot as a culmination of being bullied. And we, the citizens of N.C. let an anti-bullying bill die because it names those who are most likely to be bullied?

This is followed up by today's tragic news of the death of two people in a Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, TN. A man came in with a guitar case during a performance of "Annie" when he took a gun out of the guitar case, killing two people. Why? People are pointing to the fact that this church had recently made news in welcoming LGBTQ people, and was a place for kids who were also LGBTQ could hang out as a safe-zone area. In other words, this was a hate-crime.

So if we allow bullies to be bullies today without rehabilitation when they are young, can they become killers tomorrow?

Click here for more.

It is time to change.

Peace, B

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Have you ever performed a same sex union, blessing or wedding?"

The answer is "nope!"

The reason? Probably because I've never been asked.

I am working with a sweet couple on their upcoming wedding ceremony (heterosexual couple), and the bride-to-be asked, "How many weddings have you done?" I responded shyly: "Over one hundred." I lost count after one hundred. I used to do them at the drop of a hat in order to get used to doing them. I was never taught in seminary how to do one...nor was I taught how to do a funeral, a baptism, a foot washing, a confirmation class...go figure! So I started to do them because I needed the experience.

My partner has recently been asked to do a same-sex union of friends. He's not a minister, though he trained to be a United Methodist clergy but gave it up because he chose not to live a lie...or lie for Jesus as he was instructed to do by one closet lesbian who is a United Methodist clergyperson who used to teach at the seminary where I taught.

Would I perform a union, a blessing, a marriage of a same sex couple?

Ask me! I'll be only too glad to let you know!

Pace! B

Friday, July 25, 2008

Where DO Gay Dads and Lesbian Moms Hang Out?

Amid the good news of the HIV Travel Ban being lifted by Congress, and television's "Torchwood" John Barrowman's search for what makes us LGBTQ, had this interesting little article about networking options for gay men who are tired of the "party scene," or over the "party scene." While there is a time and place for the "party" or "bar scene," and I'm all for it (including visiting the scene from time to time), those of us with children on weekends and weekdays simply don't have the option of "going out to the bar," let alone sometimes the funds for going out and "partying" too much, thanks to soccer, dance, college tuition, etc.

So where do "us" gay dads, lesbian moms, etc., go to network and hang out, either with children or without children? Our situation in life makes our "discussion topics" slightly different than our "single" or "coupled" friends. Children simply changes life in never-ever-again ways.

Click here for more about the article.

Feel free to share where you "hang out" and network!



Thursday, July 24, 2008


* Today is July 24;
* There are 24 hours to the day;
* 24 is equal to 12 x 2;
* "24" is the name of a television show, starring Kiefer Sutherland as "Jack Brauer" that gave our intelligence community "ideas" about torturing;

* There are 24 countries in this world who accept LGBTQ people as part of their military service. Twenty four; 2-4; 12 +12=24. And those countries include people with big and small military services, e.g., Britain, Israel, Spain, France, etc.

And each of those countries had their "doubters as to if this is going to work." But it did. Hands down. No kidding. Of course, there is always the one outstanding homophobic heterosexual who makes a lot of noise. Lots of noise. Lots.


On the Diane Rehm show on NPR this morning they were discussing the politics of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), after there was a congressional hearing about the issue the other day (this happened in a Democratic controlled congress). People standing up and telling their stories because there is something, oh, sexy about living truthfully connected with living freely.


If only the Church could now look and see what is happening in 24 countries' military services and understand "all will be well."




Wednesday, July 23, 2008

John McCain's Kind of Family: Mom, Dad, and Child...

According to the York Times recently, John McCains espoused that he and Cindy were the kind of "best example" of how to raise an adopted child: with a mom and dad. This, of course, drew the ire of many LGBTQ and straight people, and lots of other people for all kinds of reasons. He more or less flip-flopped after the fuss.

Click here for more.

So is this John McCain's kind of family? Tom Beatie--a transgender man (woman to man)--recently gave birthday to a beautiful daughter, with ABC-TV and People magazine taking plenty of pictures (more than we've seen of Brangelina's twins), and interviewing the happy couple: mom, dad and baby. So what does the Republican presumptive nominee want to make of this little three-some, in which the dad is a trans person?

This is a new way of defining the American family yet once again.



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

No Sex Before Marriage: Tring to Be A Neo-Orthodox Theologian in a Post-Modern Age!

This is what Archbishop Williams said:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has continued his quest for Anglican unity with a strong statement against living in sin and gay sex.

Dr Williams said: "I do not believe that sex outside marriage is as God purposes it."

And he said he remained "committed" to the Church's official stance against gay sex, which aims to preserve Biblical norms.

Click here for more.

On the one hand, there is a way that we could respond to his statement: letting LGBTQ folks be married not only in the public square, e.g., CA and MA, or with civil unions and domestic partnerships, but also in the context of the Church! Marriage before sex? What he is promoting the idea that sex is the ultimate act of intimacy for gays and straights that we should hold off from having sex until we marry in word, and thus in deed. What Archbishop Williams is doing is simply promoting the traditional understanding of marriage, appealing not only to the conservative parts of the Anglican communion, but espousing a tradition, a ritual, that is, well "as old as the Church.

On the other hand, without the "right to marry," is Archbishop Williams saying that we, who are LGBTQ, should not have sex? And this is not appealing to mere traditionalists, but to people who are homophobic...which is a wing of the Anglican communion who are not at the Lambeth gathering.

So what does Archbishop Williams want Anglican Christians to do? Is he trying to have it both ways, appealing to the more liberal American Church and the more conservative African and South American Church at the same time? I do think this is what he is trying to do: appeal to the middle of the Anglican communion.




Monday, July 21, 2008

Self-Inflicted Wound

I was struck today by something that Archbishop Rowan Williams said today:Williams called the absence (of a large number of bishops) a "wound" and asked participants to pray for them. He barred Robinson and a few other problematic bishops from the conference."

As a Presbyterian in relationship with a Methodist, we are aware that the "wound" that was being suffered by the Anglican communion was not only the absence of some bishops, but the wound that Archbishop Williams himself inflicted upon the Church in denying Bishop Gene Robinson an invitation to partake in the Lambeth Conference. This is a self-inflicted wound!

And how many other churches in denominations and those outside of a denomination also inflict wounds in the body of Christ by ignoring the place and presence of people who don't fit or look or act or think or "have sex" like the others.

Click here for more.

God, forgive us your people for bringing self-inflicted wounds upon the body of Christ!



Sunday, July 20, 2008

One Step At a Time

In an article on, there is moving essay by Deb Price about Meg Sneed, a 25 year old lesbian with cancer who lives in Arizona. She went with Soulforce last year, a bus-tour of young LGBTQ youth visiting evangelical college campuses, based upon the non-violent movement for change practiced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. She came to understand the power of sharing personal stories while working with Soulforce, as this group of young people who are LGBT visited evangelical colleges to enter into dialogue with those who are anti-LGBTQ. Some times the reception of the bus was, um, less than Christian, shall we say.

Meg has cancer, and she walked 60 miles against cancer last year. Now she is walking 96 miles in Arizona to commemorate the 96 years that Arizonan LGBTQ people have not had legal rights. She is walking against the anti-gay marriage amendment that is up for a vote this fall.
She understand the power of pilgrimage.

Walking matters!

Click here for more.

Sharing our stories matters!



Newsweek Cover: King Story...or Why NC Legislators Just Don't Get It

The cover story on is on an 8th grader's death because he was gay. Larry King, an 8th grader in CA, 15 years old, was bullied and subsequently killed because he was gay.

Click here for more.

And the NC Legislators showed themselves easily bullied by conservative pastors who were upset because the anti-bullying bill specifically protected LGBT students.

Give me a break.

Peace, B

Saturday, July 19, 2008

LGBT in the Military: Wider Acceptance? DADT About Over? Could It Be?

One of my most memorable summers as a young person was at a Civil Air Patrol "camp" outside of Spokane, Washington. I was a cadet rather than a scout in those days. And one of the unexpected unspoken experiences was an incredibly memorable--in a good way--love-making session with another cadet...and yes, same sex. We did it all "under the sheets," not wanting to be caught. Perhaps because it was so stealthy, with both of us holding our respective sheets up to our necks while our hands did all the exploring in the darkness of night made the sex that much hotter.

Most of the cadets went into military service, usually the Air Force, while I went right to college, include the cadet I made love with that night.

It was good to read in that there is a movement toward letting LGBT people openly serve in the military. Why not? Other countries to it just fine. Click here for more.

Now, about the Church...

Pace, B

Friday, July 18, 2008

Anit-Bullying Bill HB1366 (NC) Dies: A Quiet, Disturbing Death

Buried in the back pages of the revised "Triangle and Co." Section B of the Raleigh News and Observer newspaper this morning was the news of the Anti-Bullying Bill, HB1366. It died! Gone for the rest of this legislative session. After being on page one, above the fold, front and first section on Wed., it died...and the news was buried in the pages of the paper.

And who killed it? Bullies! The so-called "social conservatives" and "religious right" in the State called and canvased legislators and killed it. Why? Because it listed gay teens are targets of being bullied. Simple as that.

Bullies killed an anti-bullying bill.

Absolutely amazing.

Politics matters, and sitting on the side-lines doesn't help.

It is time to change!

Peace, Brett

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gay Marriage=Good Economics!

In an article in today's, columnist Gail Collins writes about Massachusetts latest move to throw-out the law that stopped gay marriages for other citizens from other States, e.g., N.C.! Looking at how much CA is making with LGBT weddings, MA wanted the same opportunity to "rake in the dough" with LBTG weddings! Then-Governor Mitt Romney made sure that the law would stay in place, not wanting MA to become the "Las Vegas of gay marriages": "He grabbed hold of an antique law barring marriages of out-of-state couples whose own states would not let them be wed to make sure that nobody gay snuck over the state line in search of matrimony."

Gail Collins is partially correct: "But the forces of history are only on one side here. There’s going to be a long-term happy ending. Although I’m afraid we’ll never get those giant cupolas." However, it is not the force of history but love that is going to make these marriages as common as heterosexual marriages! And even though we will not be covered in the 2010 census statistics, the rest of the country knows that "we're here, we're queer, get over it."

Click here for more.

It is time to change!

Pace! B

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Healthy Families!

I'm all for healthy families. As I wend through all the dysfunctional parts of my upbringing, which is made ever-so-clear in raising our children, trying to change destructive behaviors and habits by intervening and changing my actions with some fore-thought, I'm amazed at how much "healthier" our family seems to be in terms of communicating and loving one another.

I was delighted to read this article on, in which LGBTQ families are seemingly healthier than many (heterosexuals) once thought, um, possible. Even with John McCain believing (mistakenly) that he and Cindy are the "right kind" of people to adopt children (see last Sunday's NY Times, though he is now flip flopping on that comment), evidence suggests that we who are LGBTQ do a fine job of raising children.

Click here for more!

What was troubling was the future of North Carolina House Bill 1366 (HB1366), an anti-bullying bill, in which young people who are LGBT are cited specifically, along with a long list of others who are bullied, e.g., children with disabilities, etc. Social conservatives (a term that needs to be unpacked) called and emailed their legislators, and Republicans are now holding the bill up because of the listing of "gay teens." This is more than "kids will be kids." Children who are LGBTQ, along with my children are bullied because of someone in their family being LGBTQ. Click here for more. What healthy family promotes bullying of anyone else?

BTW: Parker comes back from OR tomorrow after spending three days with my mom, and two weeks prior to that with extended family while Adrianne has already returned. We all like being family with one another...a lot.

Pace, B

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back from Costa Rica!

It is morning here in North Carolina. We arrived late last night into Raleigh-Durham Intl. Airport after 6 days in Costa Rica, staying in Playa El Coco, where we slept, swam, walked the beaches, read books, ate, slept, swam, walked got the point. It was great to get away and vacate.

On the way down and back, getting near Costa Rica the flight attendants give out the custom forms, either for Costa Rica when going down or the States in coming back, and the question was asked both ways: I'm traveling with my family. Do I have to fill out a separate one for each person in my family? The response? One form per family!

Guess what!? Because we are not considered a "family," even though we've been together for 13 years+, we have to fill out separate forms.

It is but one small reminder that, in the eyes of America we are not a couple or a family: we are two individuals who live together, held together by all the financial responsibilities we've tied ourselves together with over the years.

Good to be back.

It is time to change.



Monday, July 7, 2008

The Late Senator No: U.S. Senator Jesse Helms and the State of NC

Receiving the news that Jesse Helms died, I remember that I felt relief and release. Being in a state in which I was told to write letters of support for federal programs by adopting another state's U.S. Senator because Jesse was going to say "No" to any "liberal" or "progressive" idea, watching his racist campaign commercials, remembering how he denied people with HIV benefits and such, putting up a ban that halts any fruitful relationship with Cuba, objecting to most modern art...the list goes on.

I read this today on
Michael Signorile on Arthur Finkelstein, the gay Republican behind Jesse Helms: "Conservative, then-closeted, Republican political operative Arthur Finkelstein helped engineer Helms' racist campaign against African-American Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt in 1990, as Helms was vilifying gay sexuality, blocking AIDS funding, stalling prevention and attacking queer artists. (See the ad below that was aired at the height of the campaign and which resulted in Gantt going from a a lead in the polls to defeat on Election Day). Had Jesse Helms not had the handiwork of Finkelstein, who worked for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and various right-wing senators, he might have lost that race. Instead, we had another decade of his antigay grip on the Republican Party, as he blocked HIV prevention measures and thousands more died."

Wherever Jesse may be right now, I hope he is (like us all) having a good, heart-felt conversation as he remembers what he has said and done to millions of people.



Friday, July 4, 2008

The State of Our Union: There's Work to Do....

I got on the airplane this morning from Portland to Seattle for my cross-country trip. The nice young man who was sitting next to me opened his copy of the Oregonian about the same time I opened my copy of the newspaper, with the news of Tom Beatie giving birth to a baby girl. My acquaintance sitting next to me simply said, "I pity that baby," while my reaction was "a baby girl!"

Tom Beatie is transgender (female to male), who lives in Bend, OR, along with his wife and new child. He has been on the cover of several blogs and web sites, along with an appearance on "Oprah." The rage was covering the first pregnant man, though they usually put the word "man" in quotes, the implication being that he was or was not considered a "real man." After all, I never see quotes around my gender or sex when describing who I am.

To Tom and family: congrats! Enjoy the new life that will do amazing things with us and in spite of us. Well done!

To America: we have some work to do...

Peace on July 4th!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gay Parenting! It's All in the Family

Today my former wife and I continued a tradition in our children's lives that we've done since they were born (20 and 15 years old respectively): the passing off of the kids. Every year we go on "vacation" to Oregon from NC, and every year (since the separation and divorce) we have a ritual of "passing off the kids."

What was amazing in doing this today was the incredible maturity my kids are showing as they balance grandparents who are rock solid Republicans, heterosexuals, and evangelicals, with parents and partner who are "Blue"or "Yellow Dog Democrats" and Christian and gay. It is awesome to watch them negotiate and navigate between expectations and assumptions of these different clusters of cultural ideology and theology.

Mazel Tov!

Pace, B