Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Back Home...

Well, my body is back home. My mind and spirit are whooshing back to the States as I write this.

It was an amazing pilgrimage.

More to come.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Made it!

I am alive and well in Jerusalem!

Off tomorrow to begin the trek to the Desert!



Friday, November 13, 2009

Melody Barnes: Domestic Policy Advisor in Obama Admin. Pro-Equal Rights in Marriage?

One more thing: Melody Barnes, Domestic Policy Advisor in Obama Admin., may be speaking truth about equal rights to marriage. From the

Barnes responded: “I appreciate your question, and I also belong to United Church of Christ. And I guess I would respond in a couple of different ways. One, I appreciate, I really appreciate your frustration and your disappointment with the president’s position on this issue. He has taken a position, and at the same time, he has also articulated the number of ways that he wants to try and move the ball forward for gay, lesbian and transgendered Americans, including signing the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, and a whole host of other things that we’ve started to do to model as a leader in terms of what the federal government is doing, as well as to encourage changes both in the military, in the workplace, and certainly with regard to hate crimes. I accept that that is very different than what you are talking about. And what you’re talking about is something that is quite fundamental.

“With regard to my own views, those are my own views. And I come to my experience based on what I’ve learned, based on the relationships that I’ve had with friends and their relationships that I respect, the children that they are raising, and that is something that I support. But at the same time, when I walk into the White House, though I work to put all arguments in front of the president, as you say, I also work for the president. And we have very robust policy conversations, very robust constitutional conversations with the White House counsel, and others about these issues, and we’ll see what happens from there. At this point, all I can say to you is that his plans right now are to move the ball forward in the ways that I’ve described. He hasn’t articulated a shift in his position there, and that is something that at this moment I accept as it being, it is what it is, even as we continue to have a national, or we continue to have a conversation with him about it.”

She said.

I believe it.



On Pilgrimage

I will not be adding many, if any, new blog posts for the next 10 days. I am putting on my other hat as the Dir. of the School of the Pilgrim, going on pilgrimage for 10 days in the Sinai desert: part camel, part jeep, part walking. It is going to be an exciting time as I join four other veteran pilgrims who know this land better than I do. It will be time with the desert, the Desert Fathers, and the Desert Mothers.

Quick question/poll: how many of you folks who read this blog would be interested in an LGBTQ and straight allies pilgrimage, 7-10 days, walking to Santiago de Compostela, or in Ireland, in 2010? The hope is to remind us of the spiritual journey we are on, each and every one of us. If there is enough interest, then I will formally work on plans for such a pilgrimage, a pilgrimage of coming out, in 2010.



A Case for Civil Marriage for All

Saw this on, and I think I've seen it posted on other web and blog sites. It is filmed in NY, as a constituent of Sen. Maziarz of NY Senate is asked by Ann (filmed by her wife Beth), about how is going to vote for the marriage equality bill in NY. She is eloquent, rational, logical, and as she states often, she is asking for a vote for CIVIL and not a religious marriage, as guaranteed by the law re: equality of all people under the law.

He, in return, is polite, doesn't answer her question except to say he either believes or feels that marriage is between one man and one woman.

But I don't care about what he feels or believes: I want him to do the serious work of thinking through the implications of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, etc., which guarantees us the right to marry, just like any straight person(s) can. For $40, straight people can get a marriage certificate and have all these laws that protect couples, especially in hard times. Over 1,000 laws. Meanwhile, we in our partnered state get nada; null; nothing; zero; air.

Come on, people: think this one through and let's act on it.



Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catholic Church and DC Same Sex Marriage Law: Stalemate?

In the Washington Post this morning, an article on the Catholic Church threatening to withdraw certain services to D.C. if the same sex marriage law becomes, well, law.

Communities of faith do this all the time. PCUSA, UMC, UCC, ELCA...we ALL have offices in D.C., as well as the NCC and WCC, along with our state agencies and bureaus.

What our offices do is call us to act and work with legislators to bills favorable to the Gospel.

Catholics are doing what all our communities of faith do.

So now we do what we've always done: argue back.

Click here for more.

There are going to be a lot of skirmishes in this long-term war for equal rights.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mormons Support Us?

Everyone on the blogs is wary of the support the Mormon church is showing in Salt Lake City as the city debates employee protection of LGBTQ people in the area of employment and housing. Apparently, as long as it doesn't have to do with marriage, they'll support us. From

As the Salt Lake City Council yesterday debated whether to add sexual orientation to the list of protected classes in housing and employment backed by Mayor Ralph Becker, LDS public affairs managing director Michael Otterson testified that the Church supported the measure "because it is fair and reasonable and does not do violence to the institution of marriage." when do we get to the hard stuff: equal access to marriage?



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Daily Wrap

Andrew Sullivan does this:
A daily wrap:
* Rep. Barney Frank is pushing the idea of ending DADT in the 2011 (2010) budget for the military;
* NY state is debating access to marriage for all;
* Gov. of RI denies LGBTQ people being part of funeral plans.

What a day!



Maggie Gallgher, Maine, and NOM's Success: Part II

Reading, and then going to Pam's House Blend today, I followed the trail of discovering that Maggie Gallagher--she of NOM and against equal access to marriage--has had a child out of wedlock.


And where does this fall in the Bible?

Click here for Pam's House Blend.

The hypocrisy is, again, evident.



Monday, November 9, 2009

Maggie Gallgher, Maine, and NOM's Success

This is from

It is Maggie Gallagher of NOM, and she is write: our message isn't work. It didn't work in CA, and it didn't work in ME.

Let us listen carefully. Our enemy is our friend here. She is telling us what we need to know and hear.

And let us realize it is love versus fear. That easy. They tap into people's fear while we can tap into people's need to love and be loved.



Sunday, November 8, 2009

NY State is Next! And Timing is Everything

In NY state, there is a push to get the legislature to vote on marriage equality in front of the state Senate for a vote. Why? Because the timing is good now. Next year, with all the mid-term elections, not as good.

The other bit of timing is this: ME did not help the movement in terms of people's confidence in the vote in the Senate sticking.

Read here for more:

In New York, Democrats hold a shaky 32-to-30 majority in the Senate, and some senators oppose allowing the legislation to come to the floor for a vote.

Those who favor the bill say they realize they are risking another significant defeat but are determined to get legislators on record on the issue. They also say that now may be the best time to push lawmakers to take up the bill, given that next year all 212 members of the Legislature will face re-election.

Estimates vary, but supporters of the bill believe they can count on about 25 votes for the legislation at this time.

“The stakes are much higher now, following Maine, and it would be an enormous boost to the movement to prevail in New York,” said Matt Foreman, a gay rights advocate who has served as the head of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York’s leading gay rights group.

But, he added, “if we don’t win marriage in New York in this special session, it’s going to be a very hard lift next year.”

What is slightly daffy about all the issues of voting is that it reminds us of how crazy it is to be reminded that some of the rights we all enjoy would not hold up in a general election...including tax write offs of all shapes and sizes.

Click here for more.



Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fighting Back with Love

Found this sad in the article about the equal marriage vote that lost in ME:

Schubert said he had an ah-ha moment in California when a focus group watched a campaign commercial featuring a Massachusetts couple who described how their 7-year-old son came home from school and explained that a man can marry another man, something he learned in a children's book.

One of the members of the focus group shook his head, and Schubert asked the moderator to inquire. The participant said he would be angry if something like that that happened to his kids.

"So that was sort of a light-bulb moment, that this education issue was really going to be a powerful one for us," said Schubert, who with Flint was named the "public affairs team of the year" for 2009 by the American Association of Political Consultants.

In California and Maine, gay marriage supporters countered the claims with spots featuring prominent elected officials such as California's chief of public instruction and Maine's attorney general, who both insisted that same-sex marriage had nothing to do with schools.

But the issue persisted, according to advocates on both sides, in part because gay marriage supporters failed to discuss a key fact: Many public schools already have lessons that refer to gay families in the younger grades and confront anti-gay discrimination for older students.

Although the topics usually are broached in the context of appreciating diversity and tolerance, for some parents any discussion of gay people is too close to talking about gay sex.

Here's the reality: this is fear baiting. The same people who find it repugnant that two men or two women love each other tend to be peopl who find inter-racial marriage repugnant.

Click here for more.

So the answer? I'm working on the article called "A Call to Arms...of Love". Love will trump fear.



Friday, November 6, 2009

A Love Letter

I found or was directed to this "love letter" on, sent by a Californian lesbiancouple to those couples in Maine who lost the right to marry, thus perpetuating second class citizenship of LGBTQ people.

What I liked about this love letter was the silver lining statement, which they discovered after Californians who are LGBTQ are forced to live a second class citizenship:

When Prop 8 passed, we couldn't go anywhere—not to our local coffee shop or sandwich stand, to the bank or to the market—without looking at every single face and wondering "Did you vote against our marriage?" You too will wake up tomorrow with this same vulnerable distrust for your neighbors; you too will wake up tomorrow knowing that the majority of your state deems you unworthy of first-class citizenship. It is a weight heavier than any shoulders are meant to bear.

But here's the very fine silver lining: You will also wake up in the coming days to a support group you may not have known you had. Many of your neighbors, coworkers, family and friends will stand up to rally behind you. They will hold candles at vigils and wave signs in protest; they will say they never thought that Question 1 would pass; they will say they wish they had done more, and they will be ready to do so. Much of the country will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you, as they have done for us in California, to say that discrimination will not stand and that you do not stand alone. Maine will wake up to a new state of disharmony, where it is crystal clear that not all citizens are equal under the law.

As a North Carolinian, living in a second class citizenship status, I found this silver lining heartening.

Click here for more.



Thursday, November 5, 2009

WA stays "Yes" to Domestic Partnership

In everything but name only, WA staters approved the domestic partnership rights of LGBT and straight couples that is the same in marriage. The only thing that is different is the language: marriage vs. domestic partnership.

So in WA state, domestic partnership=marriage.

And straight couples can have domestic partnership rights too!

Strange, but true.

Click here for more.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gay Apartheid

David Mixner has a fantastic response to last night's vote in ME, and the dithering of politicians in D.C.: call it part of the process he dubs Gay Apartheid

Second, call this campaign against us what it is - Gay Apartheid.

Refuse to allow any of our fellow Americans, President Obama or our allies to view this as a political issue who time hasn't quite come. America is in the process of creating a system of Gay Apartheid. We will not quietly sit and accept it. All over the place, this nation is creating one set of laws for LGBT Americans and another set for all other Americans. That is the classic definition of Apartheid. Either our political allies are for Gay Apartheid or against it. If they are against it, they must fight with us and no longer duck like President Obama did in Maine and Washington. There is no half way in fighting Apartheid.

Today many will claim that we must surrender the word marriage or accept some sort of separate but equal arrangement. It didn't work in the African-American struggle for freedom and it doesn't work for us. We want full equality with the same rights, benefits and privileges as all other Americans now. We say to those friends, allies and even in our own community who want to accept that second class citizenship, "Oh No You Don't!" We will accept no compromises, time-lines, incremental approaches with our freedom. Don't counsel patience as if this is a new issue. We have been fighting these ballot box bigots for over three decades. Enough.

Click here for more.



Brown Vs. Board of Education & Marriage Equality

Reading a lot of blogs this morning re: Maine, Kalamazoo, WA, DC, etc.

So this idea of voting to allow for equal marriage: If we had put up for a vote Brown Vs. Board of Education, in which a people would be allowed to vote on the Supreme Court decision of the 1950s AFTER the Supreme Court voted, how do you think the vote would've turned out?

My hunch? Continued segregation of schools (as if that still didn't happen with the mass production of private schools).

So do we not have to argue the merits of equal treatment under the law in re: to marriage before a court, or the Supreme Court?



Marriage Equality: Yes in WA (Sort of) and No in ME

Well, that was a night...not the best of nights for many of us. In WA, the domestic partner bill that anti-equality of marriage proponents tried to topple, won, but equality of marriage loss in ME. While CA turned equality of marriage and court ordered by popular vote, the loss in ME was one where the state legislature voted for equality of marriage and the popular vote overturned it.

However, the margin of loss is narrow, and narrowing.

So will we have to go through more of these nail biters?


OR is already beginning the process of overturning its state amendment banning equality of marriage. And NJ and NY are lining up for equality of marriage.

WA: a win; ME: a loss.

Good Morning, America!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mark Kleinschmidt: Mayor of Chapel Hill, NC!

It was a squeaker, but Mark won by 100+ votes.


Very close.



Go Mark Kleinschmidt, Mayor of Chapel Hill, NC!

Here's hoping that my friend Mark Kleinschmidt, openly gay politician and Town Councilman in Chapel Hill, NC, is voted mayor tonight.

It is a close race in terms of the percentages going into the race.

Fingers crossed, prayers said, Go Mark!


Voting Heavy in Maine=A Good for Passing/Keeping Marriage Equality and are registering high voter turn out in Maine. This bodes well for the marriage equality bill. The hope? That the same tactics used in CA in overturning equal marriage doesn't work in every state of the union, and the forces of bigotry are confronted with honesty and truthfulness, which bigotry detests.



Monday, November 2, 2009

It is a matter of rights...right?

Click here for what is going on tomorrow in terms of the next step for our rights in ME, WA, and DC.

It is a matter of rights, or in this case the right to marry, the right to live and breathe without being second class citizens.

Click here for more.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints' Day

In the tradition of the Christian Church, yesterday was All Hallow's Eve, and today is All Saints' Day. It is a day that those of us who are Christian remember the saints around us in our world today, and those who have gone before us.

Today, I remember Bob, a youth group leader at a local Presbyterian Church who died of AIDS several decades ago;
I remember Harvey Milk, whose political skill-artistry has provided many of us a role model;
I remember Gerry Studds, who came out of the closet as a politician, bravely;
I remember Mychal Judge, the gay priest who died in 9/11;
I remember Mark Bingham, who died on a plane on 9/11 on Flight 93;
I remember Del Martin, a lesbian pioneer in CA;
I remember Bayard Rustin, who worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr.

We remember.