Wednesday, December 4, 2013

NC Law Outlaws Second Parent Adoptions

NC law "outlaws" second parent adoption.

Now, this is not new news.  It is something that has been the norm.  But more LGBTQ couples are challenging the law, which is good. Second parent adoption in the case where a couple is not wed is the issue. And LGBTQ couples cannot be wed.  Therefore, unlike opposite sex couples, same sex couples cannot have the protection for their children if one of the parents were to die or be hurt. It also affects the overall care of the child or children, in terms who is the "parent" or "legal guardian" in legal cases, going to the hospital, schools, etc.

This is from the ACLU:
A second-parent adoption occurs when one partner in an unmarried couple adopts the other partner’s biological or adoptive child; this can occur in both gay and straight relationships. The ACLU is challenging the ban on second parent adoption in North Carolina on behalf of six families. Each family consists of a child or children being raised by two gay or lesbian parents who are in committed, long-term relationships with each other. In each of these loving families, the child has a legally recognized relationship with only one parent (either through birth or adoption), although, in reality, the child is being raised by both parents.
Children denied a legally recognized, second parent are left vulnerable. They may not be covered by their non-legal parent's health insurance plan; or if the child is sick or injured, hospital staff may prevent the non-legal parent from visiting the child in the hospital or from consenting to needed medical care. In some cases, a child may be ripped from the only home he or she has ever known if one legal parent dies.

Here's the link to this article:

There was an interesting debate that went on about this issue today with the ACLU and Equality NC. The link is here:

Justice is moving forward in NC!



Monday, December 2, 2013

I Heart Ron: Young Life, Youth Groups, and Gay Me

From my latest on a teaser:

I "heart" Ron. He was the main reason I went to the local chapter of the evangelical Christian youth group, Young Life. Yes, I went because I loved--and love--Jesus. But the whole truth is that I initially went to Young Life because I fell head-over-heels in love with Ron in an adolescent, puppy-love kind of way. Sadly, I had no one to tell or express it to. Especially Ron.
Ron was the entire package: a young man in his early twenties, a senior at a nearby college, and very easy on the eyes. At almost six feet tall and weighing in at perhaps 175 pounds, Ron had broad, square shoulders, a slender waist and a nice bubble butt. A cleft in his chin, he had a square jaw line and piercing blue eyes framed by soft brown hair that was slightly wavy when it grew out. And then there was his hairy chest. A mat of body fur poked out over his v-neck sweaters. Sometimes I could see his pecs pushing against the fabric of his shirts that were just tight enough to let his nipples show. Aside from his handsome allure he had charisma and charm oozing out of every pore. As a gay boy whose testosterone was starting to surge in his growing, maturing body, I was smitten.

Read the rest of the post here.

Following up: "In the Closet Behind the Pinecone Curtain"...or being gay at Whitworth College.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30 Years of Ordination!

On Nov. 27, 1983, I was ordained a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA).


It has been 30 years of being ordained.

And a LOT has happened in those 30 years...with the possibility along this chronological pilgrimage of being defrocked, censured, or at least reprimanded, for being out and gay as an ordained clergyperson in the Church.  Thankfully, I was spared any kind of punishment because of the protection of my then-Executive Presbyter, and by the grace of God.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Eighteen Year "Anniversary" of Sorts

This is what I posted on Facebook this morning:

18 years together. Wow! Who'd have thought it possible?! No engagement, no wedding, just life with kids, dogs, buying houses, land, dreams, cars, vacations. One day at a time. A kiss. A hug. Time apart and time together, finding balance between this extrovert and that introvert. Spiritual but not doctrinaire. Kicking ass when needed, and moving forward. Speaking out. Dinners together late at night always. Writing our own narrative because America doesn't have one for a relationship like this. We are performing artists, improvising each day. Mazel Tov!

I want to add a little more...

Dean had graduated from Duke Divinity School and I was still a faculty member at the Divinity School, though separated--legally--from my then-wife. Unlike the giddiness that heterosexuals experience in the early days of "falling in love" and attraction to one another in the sunlight of days, we lived in a shadow world.  I knew that I would be "kicked out" of the Divinity School by the faculty or Dean, because I knew where they all stood--where the United Methodist Church stood--on LGBTQ people: love the sinner, hate the sin, and don't hire them or let them be church leaders.  And I feared the Presbyterian Church (USA) that was bringing LGBTQ people and allies before Permanent Judicial Councils to face hearings for simply being out and an ordained.

18 years later: the story about Duke is being written. As for ordination, as of this coming Wed., it will be 30 years since I was ordained. 30. And Dean and I are still together, though we move and live in a very different orbit with one another.  Our relationship has matured with time and experience as we've come closer and drifted apart from time to time. 

The dogs, Lil and Toby (my first dogs) continue to witness our lives together, and even in the most insane days they wag tails and look up for a pet on the head. 

The kids still talk with us.

Pam still talks with us.

Dean's mom and my mom still talk with us, as do our siblings.

More updates to come!

18 years...and 1 day, and counting.



Monday, November 18, 2013

Sunday School taught me that Jesus was straight...My essay

I've begun earnestly working on my memoir, Everyday Superman.  I am going to be taking essays published on,,,, and, and "re-purpose" them for the book, "Everyday Superman."

The first of the new essays was published today: "Sunday school taught me that Jesus was straight." The intro/hook is this line:  There was never any discussion about the married status of these biblical people. It was simply assumed that they were all straight, just like my family: a mom and dad, children, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Please read, hit "like", and please help me in pushing this article out there.

Here's the link.



p.s., the next essay is "I Heart Ron...a love affair with Young Life"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

HI: State #16! Sweet 16!

Beautiful HI is state #16.

It is a marvel.

It is a dream come true.

As everyone else has written, this move toward marriage equality began with HI, and now it has come full circle.

Marriage equality in HI.

Next: NM? OR? CO?



Equality North Carolina Video

At the recent gala banquet of Equality NC in Greensboro, NC, there was a video shown that has a few random bits of an interview that Frank Eaton skillfully did with me a year ago.

Here's the link: password is "Mack."




Tuesday, November 5, 2013

IL is state #15!

Holy Kaboly: 15 states.

More than the 1/3 of the population of US has marriage equality.

Cities with some of the nation's largest population celebrates marriage equality: MA, NY, CA, IL...but not TX, FL, or NC, GA...

Yet no federal law (yet) on employment discrimination.

Congrats, IL!



Friday, November 1, 2013

Remembering Saints


They matter to us who are LGBTQI pioneers today, because there was, oh, a whole lot of people before us who paved the way that we're walking today.

All Saints' Day is today.  All Hallows' Eve last night was meant to scare the bejezus out of evil in order to make today an all holy kind of day.

So, let's remember the saints before us, and where they led and are leading us: Harvey Milk was a saint. Mychal Judge of 9/11 fame; Saints Pepetua and Felicity; St. John of the Cross; David Kato; Jeanne Manford; Henri Nouwen; Adrienne Rich; Bayard Rustin; Matthew Shepard; Pauli Murray...

Lord in your mercy...

Hear our prayer...



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Full Hawaiian Senate is Voting on Marriage Equality

From Joe.My.God: The Full Hawaiian Senate is discussing and voting on marriage equality. State #15 is coming into view in terms of marriage equality.

Planning on being in Hawaii in December-January, 2013-14.

Here's the link:


NOM: You'd have to create this group if it didn't already exist

NOM: the National Organization for Marriage.

You'd have to create this group if it didn't already exist.

What they do for us in the pro-equality movement is simply remind us where we were and what we are not.  They are helpful.  They are the proverbial straw person that exists for us to NOT be like them.

Maggie Gallagher is now linking marriage equality to incestuous marriages!  The horrors!  And Maggie Gallagher is sure that the U.S. Supreme Court is going to force the states (all 50) to allow for marriage equality.  That would be refreshing but I doubt it is going to happen any time soon.

 Click here for me:



Friday, October 18, 2013

State Nuymber 14: NJ Welcomes and Invites Civilization Home

Marriage equality came to NJ today.

It is state number 14 (along with DC, that would be 15).

1/3 of the population allows marriage equality, with states like IL and HI coming soon to the table of equality.

I lived in NJ as a young boy, between 1959-1967, and then as a student at Princeton Seminary in 1980-83. It is wonderful to know that such progress was made today, even with a conservative medieval-like Governor.

Here's the link:

Love you, NJ!



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Video of Breaking the Law in Buncombe County, NC!

Here you go: the link.

Mr. Reisinger spells it out well: he swore to uphold the constitution of NC, but he also swore to uphold the constitution of the US, which treats LGBTQ couples as equals, unlike NC law/constitution. Which one wins?

You know.

So do I.


The roller coaster ride begins!

Watch it here:

Times they are a'changing.



Hero in NC's Buncombe County: A Clerk Says Yes

Buncombe County Clerk of Deeds is welcoming LGBTQ/same sex couples' marriage licenses!  This is it!  We found someone who is willing to break the law.

Drew Reisinger of Buncombe County Clerk of Deeds office is now giving out marriage licenses to straight and LGBTQ couples alike.

Let the lawsuits begin!

While our Attorney General Roy Cooper loves us (he really does), because of the law he nonetheless must work with what the law is, and the law (both the law of the state and the constitution) forbid and outlaw and ban LGBTQ couples from marrying (the state has DOMA and the constitution was amended). So he, as the chief law officer of the state has to defend the law, even though personally he is offended by it (did I say he's running for Governor?).

With the breaking of the law, now there is a possible law suit that could go through the court system based on the fact that the federal DOMA has been gutted with abandoning section 3, making us LGBTQ couples equal to straight couples.  And which has more power: state or federal courts?  Federal, of course.

The lawsuit, please, the lawsuit!

Here's the article link: 

Pax, B

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Russian Government Simply Doesn't Like Us

Russia says "nyet" to us.

I understand that one of the people that brought Uganda the "kill the gay bill" has also been playing in Russia.  This is an American evangelical paid for by the same people who brought us "C St." in DC, and the evangelical "Christianist" politics of some Republicans.

So Mr. Putin doesn't like us. The government is not only harassing LGBTQ people, threatening to take children away from LGBTQ parents, but now are stepping in concerning surrogacy. No LGBTQ propaganda, check; harassing LGBTQ people, check; denying us our children, check; now denying surrogacy, check.

When will the IOC/Intl. Olympic Committee wake up and get a spine?

Here's the article from

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

NC Pride and Blue Ridge Pride: Family is "In"!

I had a rare experience of being present in two different Pride events recently: First, there was NC Pride on Duke's East Campus, in which I walked with the group of students and faculty of NC Central University.  The sun was out, we had more students than usual, and the floats were magnificent.  The booths had lots of information or something to buy (especially for dogs) for that person who just needs one more rainbow magic wand.

This last weekend I happened to be in Asheville during Blue Ridge Pride.  If there was a parade, I missed it. But the grounds of Pack Park were packed with booths and small tents all over the green lawn. Again, there were those who had information or offered us something to buy for that person who needed one more rainbow suspenders.

What was striking about both Pride events was FAMILIES. We are "in", the next "big thing" to focus on. While I saw some people with pug dogs in baby carriers in Durham, I was amazed at all the children in strollers with hetero- and lesbian and gay couples pushing the baby.  I kidded friends in Asheville that I saw more lesbian and heterosexual couples pushing baby strollers than gay men.

LGBTQI families, attention please!  This is our time!  Our moment has arrived at Pride!

Families rule!

Pax, Brett

Hospitals and Us

I recently gave a paper on hospital care and LGBTQ people at the annual meeting of TPAS: Texas Alliance on Patient Services (San Antonio, TX, Sept. 26-27, 2013). While I'm aware of the changes brought about by the DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) under President Obama--such as designating others to be our advocates and being there with us--we still have to have papers, "just in case.

One of the discussions points after the talk was the sense of vulnerability that comes in the hospital. She shared that someone's HIV status (positive) was shared in the hospital room with members of this gay man's family WITHOUT his permission.

I was reminded of the sense of freedom I had to come in and out of a hospital room when I was in a heterosexual marriage and dad.  While I could walk in and out of a hospital room with my children, I was always worried I didn't have that kind of privilege with my partner were he in the hospital.

Needing to work on hospital care and LGBTQI people.



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gay Parenting at a United Church of Chapel Hill

Giving a talk on gay parenting today at United Church of Chapel Hill, in which the church is celebrating being an Open and Affirming congregation for 20 years. Come this morning, 9-12.

And on Thursday I'm giving a talk on LGBTQI people and couples and hospitals in San Antonio.



Monday, September 16, 2013

Attack of the County Clerk Offices in NC

A same-sex couple went to Greensboro, NC today.  They went to the Guilford County Clerk's office to ask for a marriage license.  They were turned away.

This is what is happening in NC: some group of LGBTQI couples are going to county clerk offices in the state of NC to find a county clerk who will be willing to "break the law" and give them a marriage license, just like they've done in NM.  If enough clerks do this, then a lawsuit will come about, pushing fast forward a legal case about equality of marriage license.

There are 100 counties in NC.  They've tried this in only a handful of county clerk offices.

Shall we all go?




Saturday, September 14, 2013

In UT, a story of love, and in NM, a story of hate, all in one week.

I found this fun and frustrating.  First, the LGBTQ sites of towleroad, queerty, and got excited over the marriage proposal in the UT Home Depot. It was a beautiful story: (sorry, this was unfinished).  The young couple in the clip were in the process of being engaged with one another.  Here's the clip: They had a crew of people dancing, seemingly "spontaneously," and it was all wonderful and beautiful.

On that same day, in NM, a photographer of weddings and the like, was being taken to court because he would not take photographs of LGBTQI couples. A court was the next step in addressing this wrong. The photographer was "guilty" of dscrimination:

Here's where my head gets all achy: on the one hand, we are zooming toward marriage equality in many states and county clerk offices.  On the other hand, there are businesses that are acting in a "pre-civil rights" way, discriminating against LGBTQI couples, saying that they are not going to bake our cakes, take our photographs, give us flowers, or open their space for our weddings or receptions.  The cognitive dissonance is, like I said, mind numbing.

But that's what justice looks like right now.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

OH, NM, and HI: Round Up for the Day

OH: Looks like the same sex couple have been recognized as "married" (even though they were married in MD), and with the widower (male) actually named "widower". That means that OH officially recognized a marriage of a same sex couple from another state!

More here:

BTW, no ones heterosexual marriage fell apart because the gay couple were recognized as being married.

NM: a seventh county now reports giving out marriage license to a same sex couple, while Republican lawmakers fulminate and breathe out noxious odors.

HI: Gov. Abercrombie is making a move to bring HI to the class of states known as "civilized."



"I'm gay, dad" bullet and the porcelain heart dad

I was offended by the ad.

Unilever (in South Africa) put an ad together, showing a bullet marked "Uhh, Dad, I'm gay" or something like that, coming for a porcelain heart of a dad.  Weird ad. Unilever brings us some of the soaps and lotions we use daily. The idea is that the bullet is going to, of course, break the heart of the dad.


Violence comes with telling the dad "I'm gay"?! Really?!

Here's the article:

Bizarre...and so unhelpful.

Homophobia: alive and well.

Pax, B

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Moving Back to a Day of Paying Joint Taxes

When I was in a "straight" marriage, we filed joint taxes. It was economically smarter than filing individually for both of us.

When I entered a significant relationship, we filed separately.

The IRS now let us know that I can once again file jointly, at least on a federal basis.  This is remarkable. It is only complicated by having to now figure out the TurboTax package we usually use in which we could file jointly on our federal taxes, but file separately on our state taxes (NC, go figure).

This should be fun.

More here:

NM is moving, county by county, to be next civilized state in the US. But conservative lawmakers on the state level are having a hard time with civilization and the conservative ideal of marriage for all.  The state's laws on marriage are gender neutral (bravo), and this has caused a problem for the conservatives.

Here's more on the topic:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Last Post on Q Notes: Lessons From a Sit In

My last column in Q Notes, "Lessons from a Sit In"

Almost hidden from the public behind a main stair case in the large James E. Shepard Library at North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C., is what remains from Durham’s F. W. Woolworth lunch counter. The formica counter top, the bright orange plastic seats, and the chromium spokes that made up the back of the seats look out of date in the modern library building. My Ethics and English’ classes begin at this historic point in the civil-rights movement: the sit-in at Durham’s Woolworth lunch counter on February 8, 1960. Durham’s anti-segregation sit-in followed a similar protest in Greensboro a week earlier. Organized by the NAACP chapter at North Carolina College (now NCCU), students Lacy Streeter, Callis Brown, Robert Kornegay. The sit-in got the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Rev. David Abernathy, who came to visit Durham’s Woolworth’s lunch counter on Feb. 16. The store closed the counter after the sit-in demonstration and the students moved on to protest at other stores. On Feb. 16, Dr. King preached at Durham’s White Rock Baptist Church, delivering the famous “Fill Up the Jails” speech, in which he advocated non-violent confrontation with segregationists for the first time in the South.
The sit-ins of Woolworth lunch counters spread from Greensboro and Durham, N.C., throughout the Southeast. In Lee Daniel’s movie, “The Butler”, one powerful scene took place in a Woolworth building in Tennessee, with the re-enactment of the violent reaction against African American young people simply sitting non-violently in the “white’s only” section of the lunch counter. In his “Letters from a Birmingham Jail,” King himself refers to the power of the simple non-violent sit-in movement as a way to combat racism and racial segregation in Birmingham, Ala., and other cities in the South (April 16, 1963).

More Here:

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Mexico is Rushing Towards Marriage Equality

A district court judge gave Albuquerque, NM permission to issue marriage licenses for one and all, LGBTQ and straight alike! Bernalillo County is opening the door to inclusion.

Sitting and writing in a state that does not welcome inclusion as a norm for society makes this a bit depressing. But we work here for justice.  Our children and grandchildren are watching what we do in the face of adversity. 

From NM: In anticipation of the judge's ruling, the Bernalillo County Clerk's Office printed around 1,000 marriage licenses that could be issued to same-sex couples. The difference? The new licenses say, "spouse and spouse." The old licenses read, "bride and groom."

Here's the article:



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mazel Tov to Harper Estelle, Jenna, and Stephanie

New lesbian parents on the block!  Let us welcome Harper Estelle who was born to Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk of NBC.

This is a very public birth, and the more pics and stories about LGBTQ people having babies, adopting babies, becoming foster parents, the more our being parents will be moot in the face of those who keep on saying that we cannot and shouldn't be allowed to be married "because of the children."


Here's the link:



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

LGBTQ Brain Drain...Or One Foot In, and One Foot LGBTQ Diaspora?

I feel like I'm doing the "Hokey Pokey," with "one foot in and one foot out," and frozen that way.  I'm working hard in NC to right the injustice that I see being executed by the NC General Assembly Republicans. The changes are vast and drastic. This is a time to fight for change.  But I have one foot out of the state, looking at positions in other states.  It is wearying to live in a state where one is denied rights simply because of who one is.  NC--like other states around us--will be suffering from a brain drain, an LGBTQ diaspora.

To fight or not to move or not to move...

This was well articulated in the article from

Face it: Hawaii (thought the price is high in living there) may soon welcome marriage equality!  NC or HI...hmmm...



New Zealand: Destination for Marriage Equality

My friend Jaqui is my soul-mate.  We walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. She lives in Wellington, NZ, and recently experienced the earthquakes of the area, wobbling to an fro as the earth underneath here rocked and rolled---literally.

She celebrated the first 31 couples who recently got married in NZ. 31!  Just like states in the US, there is an excitement, in which LGBTQ couples are willing to wait in line in county offices (or the NZ equivalent) to get married. Married.

State by state in the US, country by country in the rest of the world, the moral arc of justice is bending...



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sour (Wedding) Cakes

What is it about bakers who are discriminating against LGBTQ couples who try to order a wedding cake? From OR, again, a lesbian couple tries to order a wedding cake and are refused by the owners because of "religious beliefs."

Putting this into perspective: IF the same baker refused an African American couple, or mixed race hetero couple because it was against the bakers "religious beliefs," then wouldn't we call that racism? And can private businesses be allowed to practice racism, even in the South?


So why do these bakers in OR keep on doing this? 

And yes, I know NC would be no different.

Link here:

De-fanged DOMA and the Pentagon

Amazing to read this latest from the Pentagon:

"In addition, the official said that service members who are stationed in one of the 37 states where same-sex marriage is illegal will be offered up to 10 days of leave so they can travel to one of the 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, that grant same-sex marriage licenses."

The Pentagon is quickly moving in welcoming LGBTQ couples, and is working hard to make it legal.  The above comment means that an LGBTQ couple in NC, who are part of the armed service, can actually be given 10 days of leave, go to DC, get married, and come back to NC, and while on base, they are treated as legally married LGBTQ couple. But woe if you go OFF grounds!  Outside the bubbles like Ft. Bragg, Camp LeJeune, Cherry Point, and Seymour Johnson AFB, you will be treated like the rest of us in NC: anathema to the NC Constitution.

How much longer can this cognitive dissonance continue?

Here's the rest of the article from towleroad:



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Second/New generation of LGBTQ parents coming onto the stage

My son Parker is almost 21, kidding me about my taking him out ofr his "first" drink. My daughter Adrianne is talking marriage, etc., at the age of 25.  I'm no longer a young gay dad...just a dad who is gay. Not a grandpa yet, but that may be inevitable.

My take on the NEW generation of LGBTQ parents:

In the last two days, I’ve received phone calls from three different casting agents who are “looking for LGBT parents with a unique parenting style. We are starting a new reality-show cable series. Are you a spoiler? An authoritarian? Permissive? Free range? Unschooler? Or, have a style that is all your own? We’re looking for moms and dads with unique perspectives on parenting for a new series on a top-rated national cable network” (read “Bravo,” “TLC,” and “MTV”). They contacted me because of my writings on gay parenting and LGBTQ advocacy, both through my blogs and this column in qnotes. Initially, the inquirer wants to know the age of my children (both are over 20 years old) and whether or not the children are living at home. Because both children are now young adults and are no longer living at home, the inquirer then wants to know if I know any unique lesbian or gay couple who are parenting children under the age of 18 years old and living at home. I take down their phone number and email addresses politely, but that’s where it usually stops. All the lesbian and gay couples I know are not willing to place their families under the constant glare of klieg lights for a reality show that produces an Andy Warhol-type “15 minutes of fame” motif that may leave the family destroyed after the fame is over and the darker side of the family exposed for the world to witness.
gayfamily_sfWhy all the interest in our families? We are the new “rave” item in terms of modern society’s attention. With all the focus on marriage equality in the context of the states here and the world around us, the next logical line of inquiry after we get married is the one which is true for opposite sex couples as well: When are you going to have a baby? With surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, home remedies and adoption as the primary means of bringing children into our LGBTQ lives, having a baby as an LGBTQ individual’s or couple’s life is not far-fetched. Instead, my hunch is that it will soon become the norm — dating, engaged, married, then we welcome children into our lives (though not necessarily in that order, so create your own sequence of events).

Read more here:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

RI and MN: Civilization by any other name.

Can't imagine (though I'm trying to) what it would be like to live in a state with marriage equality.  Today, RI and MN welcome couples who wish to marry, regardless of sexual orientation.  Regardless. Of. Sexual. Orientation.

This both thrills me and depresses me. Thrills: glad to share your happiness.  Depress: not able to imagine a state of being in which you weren't a second class citizen, like we are in NC.



Saturday, July 27, 2013

Iowa: Hurting LGBTQ Families

In Iowa, there is a drive to request more information from LGBTQ families with adopted children, or who want to adopt children, than there is for straight couples who want to adopt.  This is an injustice.  It is done out of spite and malice, because of the sexual orientation of the couple. Period.

In a country with so many children "up" for adoption, let alone in orphanages and foster home placements, why make it harder for children to find love?

Here for more:

Friday, July 26, 2013

LGBTQ Couples: Challenging the (Sad to say) Status Quo on Marriage

In, I've been following all the couples in various states that have amended their state constitution so that marriage is between "a man and woman" (repeat again in the state DOMA laws).  In Pennsylvania, now KY, NC, OH...with the demise of the federal DOMA policy, people are moving quickly to challenge the constitutionality of state laws and constitutions.  This is what democracy looks like: state by state, from my challenges on many sides of these harmful policies.

Here's the latest from

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Scaring Husbands Away from Wives: Beware (says NOM)

NOM's latest salvo in the struggle towards marriage equality: with DOMA no longer (at least, part or section 3), and with Prop 8 gone, and more states moving toward marriage equality, more husbands will be leaving their wives in straight or opposite sex marriages.

You can't make this stuff up.

Here's more from towleroad:

Watch out, you married women/wives: we're out to get your husbands (not).



Monday, July 22, 2013

Protesting at Moral Monday...again...

My heart is so tired of this fight. I attended the 2nd Moral Monday (before it was called Moral Monday) because I thought it was the right thing to do.  It was the right thing to do. 

I'm doing it again because the strictures that this General Assembly are putting on voting is obscene.  They are making voting as difficult as possible.  That was the newest from last week's legislative gatherings.

I'm also doing it because they are putting more strictures on women, those who are poor, the young, the unemployed...etc.

While we will not be able to stop them from passing these current laws, we can start making inroads to the 2014 election. But we must find the candidates to run against these people.  Then in 2016 a new Governor.

As Rev. Barber said, the actions of the General Assembly hurt us all, gay and straight alike.



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Our Marriages (as LGBTQI People) and states rights and civil rights.

Fox News Bill O'Reilly was on CBS and other channels on mainstream tv waters (don't know why as there was no new book out that I could tell). caught the CBS broadcast, in which O'Reilly is upset with the Supreme Court re: overturning Prop 8, which was decided by the people.  He thinks it was a matter of states rights: the state had the right to make this decision. Period.  Supreme Court could not overrule it. The problem is: CA was given the right to amend the constitution (CA state one) AFTER marriages of LGBTQI and straight people was allowed via a court ruling.

Teaching Ethics this semester, and remembering we are a Republic and not a democracy, in which the rights of the minority are protected and we are given "equal treatment" because we are all created with certain unalienable rights, e.g., life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, don't we as LGBTQI people have the right to marry as a civil right, protected by the Constitution? The idea of putting civil rights "up" for a vote by the populace (democracy) is not helpful but leads to anarchy.  For example, in 1967, Loving v. VA, in which interracial marriage was the law of the land, around 27% of the US approved.  But as a civil right, polls don't matter.

Marriage equality: a civil right.

Here's O'Reilly:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

John Arthur and Jim Obergefell: Heroes and Lovers

Love this story about John Arthur and Jim Obergefell, a couple who wanted to get married before John Arthur dies of ALS, or Lou Gehrig disease. They flew from OH to MD where they can get married, and they will have the federal laws of marriage (hopefully) now cover them with the dismantling of DOMA.

Read more here:

Good parenting is good parenting, regardless of parents' sexual orientation!

Good news!  Good parenting matters more than the parents' sexual orientation.  Good parenting is good parenting!

From, there is a study that shows that adopted children of LGBTQ parents and same sex couples grow in homes where there is a certain harmony in parenting.  While straight couples tend to follow traditional lines of parenting, e.g.,  moms do one set of jobs, dads do another set of jobs, with LGBTQ couples, the roles are all redefined because it isn't attached to gender construction.

What matters most to young children? How harmonious we are as parents.

Here's more:


Friday, July 12, 2013

NC news: Attorney General Roy Cooper to Include Case Against Amendment 1

There is a lawsuit challenging the state of NC on the issue of second parent adoption.  Currently, only one person in a same-sex couple who share a child's life in common, can "claim" or be identified as the adoptive parent. Attorney General Cooper will fold this lawsuit into a lawsuit that also challenges the constitutionality of Amendment 1, part of our state constitution.

Even with the Christianists in control of the NC General Assembly, things are moving forward.

More here:

Prop 8 Supporters: Desperate Times Calls for Desperate Measures

Here they go again: ProtectMarriage, which brought us Prop 8 in California, are trying hard to keep us from the altar or the "I do" moments yet once again, saying that Gov. Brown does not have the authority to rule over Prop 8, nor does the Supreme Court, or any other court or elected official.  They're desperate to stop the "already," which is the marriage of two adults in CA and 12 other states and DC.

More here:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rick Warren Kind of, Sort of, Well, Um, Er...Likes Us LGBTQI People?

Rick Warren is far behind the times.  He just doesn't realize it.  The Spirit of God has--once again--chosen to go beyond the Church to the people of earth to make the agenda clear: God loves ALL the people God created and creates and will create.

News: Rick says that "gays" will go to heaven and just being gay may simply not be a sin.

Shock!  Awe!  Really!?

Rick!  The audacity and sheer arrogance that you think people care what you think about those of us who are LGBTQI shows me that you live in a very little pond, in which you are an enormously big fish.  Pun intended.

Now that I've got that out of my's the reality: the evangelical world or bubble, in which he lives, making these "concessions" is a "biggie." The majority of these people are not leaders on social reforms, or they become like Rob Bell: a pariah.  There will never be quick movement in the minds or attitudes towards social changes among this group of people.  They are, by their very nature, conservative theologically and usually politically (but not always).

Here's more:

Challenging State-wide DOMAs: Pennsylvania, You're First!

Attorney General Kathleen Kane of PA is challenging the constitutionality of the statewide DOMA in PA. This is one of the beginning signs of the fall down or crumbling away of DOMAs throughout the US.  NC and other states--I'm sure OR is one of them--will also start to challeng the statewide DOMAs, and the constitutional of these nasty and evil constitutional amendments that Karl Rover and the Republican candidates like GW Bush put into place.  Remember: George W. Bush advocated for a national amendment to the national constitution against us.  Thanks for nothing, George.

Here's more:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Re-Fighting Amendment 1 in NC

Tammi Fitzgerald of NC, who fought for Amendment 1, is wrong: the "one man, one woman" vote is going to go down, and the amended constitution of NC will change because of the Supreme Court of the US's decision re: DOMA.  Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy argued against DOMA because it put one kind of marriage as more "moral" than another.

Now the ACLU is fighting for marriage equality in NC, and our friends Marcie and Chantelle Fisher-Borne are in the thick of it as two of the six plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Go here for more information:

Things are changing quickly.


Next states for marriage equality

According to, the bet is on Hawaii, NJ, IL and OR for marriage equality.  Currently, 30% of the country celebrates and recognizes marriage equality. Meanwhile, NC is going deeper into the 1950s.

Here's the link to

The Big Mo

From my column in Q Notes:
I am writing this column on Thursday, June 20, 2013. I was going to write about the Supreme Court of the U.S. coming down on the side of justice in terms of throwing both California’s Prop 8 and DOMA to the dustbin of history. Alas, the Supreme Court did not come out with a ruling today. By the time this this column is published, the nine in their black robes will invariably have changed the lay of the cultural landscape until the next set of judicial rulings and new laws are enacted within the country. Regardless of what the Supreme Court rules, it is evident that we who are LGBTQIA have what is called “the Big Mo” with us. “The Big Mo” was an expression from the 1960s, used as a way to explain how a sports team had the momentum in a game that would invariably take them over the finishing line, the final goal, the last basket in the game, the ending homerun. Borrowing from the sports teams, the “Big Mo” may also be used as a way of describing a change in a politician’s campaign, a way of describing economic recovery, or highlighting social transformation.
Almost regardless of what the Supreme Court of the U.S. decides, the die has been cast in terms of modern societies making significant moves in going beyond welcoming to including LGBTQ individuals, couples, and families as part of the fabric of the public square. For example, on a recent trip to Scotland and England, I delighted watching same-sex couples holding hands along the city streets of Edinburgh and London, with no one turning around and noticing such a personal display of affection. For fun, I went into a kilt shop — Howie Nicholsby’s 21st Century Kilts — to get fitted for a kilt if and when I ever get married. I met Howie — a kilt maker extraordinaire — inside the shop to take my measurements for a denim kilt with a fringe on the side with the colors from the Ferguson tartan (my mom’s side of the family).Howie didn’t bat an eye about the purpose of the kilt and regaled me with other stories of gay men who had come in to get kilts for their weddings.

More here:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Vladimir Putin Really Doesn't Like Us, or Get Us!

Russia's Vladimir Putin really does not feel the "love" of the LGBTQ community.  He has recently signed a law that, well, outlaws a chance for LGBTQ individuals or couples from adopting children from Russia.  It isn't because there are suddenly a lot of homes in Russia for orphans. It is simply because he, and the legislators don't like us, trust us, or want us to be parents...even though every social study shows we're really quite good at it.  For more information, click here:

Something New

Dear Readers,

Happy (almost) Fourth of July!

I'm working with Nathan at Rings of Equality to boost the exposure of  For example, you will see the new logo on the right hand corner of the site; the new description of the site (focused on faith, family, and LGBTQ issues), and will see more opportunities for other people to add on their blog entries on this site.  In other words, I hope this site becomes more of a community venture rather than Brett posting his thoughts and ideas and comments about this or that.

I'll also be posting more about our families, faith, and culture in the coming months and hopefully years from blogging with

 More to come!



p.s., if you like the logo, I'm about to make some t-shirts with this design. $20 per shirt! 

Redefining Family Membership: How YMCAs and Other Clubs Discriminate Against Our LGBTQ Families

Recently, the local YMCA—of which I am a member—has been considering merging with another larger YMCA in the area. One of the stumbling blocks in the talks about merging has been the “family membership”.  Why “family membership”? Because many “family memberships,” which offer a great discount to a family, who are usually strapped for money, have determined that a “family” is one man and one woman, with no variation. I was surprised that there were no other options for my family of two men and children. “Name of wife/mother” and “Name of husband/father” were the only blanks offered on the form. After a series of discussions over a period of months, the YMCAs reached a compromise, simply putting the words “Parent” where gender language was used before.
            My family is not the only one confronted by this legal form of discrimination. The “Hands On Children’s Museum” in Jacksonville, FL used a similar form that specified that a family was one mom and one dad.  There was no space for “partner,” “moms” or “dads,” let alone a place for aunts, uncles, grandparents, or godparents.  If the one mom included the other same sex partner as a “friend” there was an additional cost to the family membership.
            YMCAs and the “Hands on Children’s Museum” are not the only ones with this practice of specifying that family include one man and one woman.  It usually isn’t until we start joining groups and organizations that offer family membership that we discover whether or not our families are considered a “family.” Slowly, but surely, we will change the small and large obstacles that stop us from our same sex parents being accepted as one of the models for being qualified as a “family membership.”

When a House is Not a Home: Housing Discrimination among LGBTQ Families

One of the keys to keeping a balanced life is knowing where your home is.  This is especially true in the middle of days of our life when there is angst and a general sense of unsettledness. For my children, in the middle of their mom and I separating and divorcing, the children suddenly were welcome to two homes, one where their mom lived, and one where I lived with my partners. What was key throughout my years of parenting my young children was making sure that they knew they had a home, a bed, that was safe, warm, and comfortable, where they were loved.  This meant that we worked on making a house a home, which is easier said than done.  But with grit, determination, and practicing love against all kinds of odds, I think we were successful.
            Our family is not like all other families. The U.S. Department o Housing and Urban Development recently released a study finding that same couples have a difficult time discovering a place to rent together than do opposite couples.  In the study “An Estimate of Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples,” 7000 inquiries were made in fifty cities across the country from June-October 2011. Two inquiries were sent to one rental unit, with the only difference being the messages as to if the couple was a same-sex or opposite sex couple. The results? Opposite sex couples were favored over gay male couples 15.9% of the time, and over lesbian female couples 15.6% of the time. What was even more amazing was that there was more discrimination where it is prohibited by law than those places not protected by such laws under the Fair Housing Act (see Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2013).
            In a country that is pushing forward with marriage equality, with more same sex parents and children coming out of their closets in this country, this housing study is illustrative of the work still to be done.  While there are laws in some states that protect those of us who are same sex parents, it is obvious that we are still being discriminated against in housing, in employment opportunities, and in our opportunities to simply wed one another or be in civil union. The struggle continues until all parents—same sex and opposite sex parents alike, and our children—have the right to seek and obtain affordable housing and not being turned away from it simply because of who one loves.  After all, what parents are trying to do is locate that special house that will soon become home for a special family.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Interviewed yesterday on ABC-TV11 here in the RDU-Chapel Hill-Carrboro area.

"Overwhelmed" is what I said to Joel Brown.

Here is more on my reaction to today's incredible news.

And, yes, NC is going to change its amended state constitution because it will be found to be unconstitutional.  It is a moral rather than legal amendment.

Enjoy, Brett

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Immigration, Binationals, and a Whole Lot of Mess with Our Lives

While I was in Scotland and England, I relished the opportunity to be out and gay.  There was no sense of shame, hate, guilt, fear...nothing.  Couples of men and women with their husband, wives, significant others, sauntered down the street, kissed in public.

What I'm aware is that the immigration laws of other countries--where being LGBTQ is just all right--welcome binational couples, unlike the US.

Things have got to change.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Getting Gay Married and Gay Divorced

One of my last blogs from

On my Facebook page, a friend posted a picture of two polished gold rings in a black velvet jewelry box, with the message: “Wedding bands are here. Only three months till the big day.”
The two friends who are getting married have lived with one another for about a year now, and they are also in the process of bringing a child into their lives and the world through a surrogacy program. They’ve bought a house in the suburbs together, are enjoying life with a new dog; two individual lives are merging to become a family.

The next day, I was surprised to see a friend who, without earlier notice, moved from New York City to Durham, NC. He had recently moved back after getting a divorce from his husband. They were married for over a decade. Though it was a long-distance relationship for most of their married lives, they recently moved together into a wonderful apartment in Manhattan. All was going well for this prosperous and fun-loving couple — or so we all thought. Sadly, like many people in married relationships — same-sex and opposite-sex alike — they grew apart from one another. Differences emerged in their lives that made their being together a nightmare rather than a dream. My friend is a father of two adult sons, and they were pulled into their dad’s divorce. Both men hired lawyers. Court dates were set. There was talk of alimony. A once-romantic relationship came to a bitter end. Each of the men is picking up the fragments of what “once was,” and both are moving on with their individual lives.

More here:

Friday, June 21, 2013

From Column/Blog: "Going to the Chapel...Just Not Quite Yet

Here you go!

I like weddings. I'm also very knowledgeable about weddings, which comes from various first-hand experiences. I've played the role of guest; relative to bride or groom; groomsman; best man; was a groom; wedding coordinator; and organist or pianist. I am most often the celebrant of weddings as a Presbyterian minister. My parents were married for over 50 years. Like them, I married my best friend from high school days. We celebrated 21 years together, welcoming two wonderful children into our lives. As a pastor and seminary professor I taught people about the importance of the rituals of weddings, in which we embody the blessings of God while recognizing the blessings are themselves discovered in the rituals.
All that changed when I came out of my gay closet. Our marriage soon came to an end when I gathered up the courage to live honestly. Soon after, my partner Dean and I bought a house. We've lived together for 17 years. Over time, my children, Dean, their mom, and I have spent years celebrating holidays, birthdays, and graduation. This was all done without a wedding or being married. We cannot wed because North Carolina's constitution defines marriage as between a man and woman.
Living outside of marriage yet being in a significant long-term relationship is like being a visitor in an unknown country with a strange language: are we partners or lovers? We're not husbands. On top of that, an unexpected offshoot of living outside marriage is that my children are hesitant about getting married. Recent studies show that many children of LGBTQ parents are finding themselves reluctant to get married. In an article by Alexis Coe in The Atlantic Monthly, she cited research by Abbie Goldberg of Clark University showing that many young straight adults had "complicated" feelings and reactions about getting married overall, all of them sensitive towards their same-sex parents' inability to marry.

For more, here's the link: Blogger Now!

Making a move here: I'm now going to be blogging on LGBTQ parent material/issues and religion/issues of faith on as one of their bloggers rather than  I'm still a columnist with Q Notes of the Carolinas.

More to come!



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Coming Out" and "Closets": Historic Phrases with a Modern Punch

Coming out started with debutante balls from the 19th century, and "closets" was bantered about LGBTQ community since the 60's:

The terms “coming out” and “closet” are bandied about in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) circles and among straight allies, without thought as to where these terms come from. I know that I use the metaphor of “the gay closet” in my writing when I explain the process that I went through in claiming the person I am. What’s funny is I don’t remember where I got the language for talking about it. Yet, I knew full well the process of slowly coming out, keeping one foot in the gay closet, and the other foot outside of the gay closet. And as I “came out” of the “gay closet,” I was not only re-orientating my life as an out gay man, but the lives of those around me. At first, I took it for granted that I would understand myself differently as a man who is a dad, pastor, and writer who is gay. I had not taken into account the rest of my family and friends, who would also experience a change in how they viewed me and how they, in turn, viewed themselves.
In the process of coming out of the closet, I first had to experience the re-orientation of myself with myself. I actually would look at my face some mornings and quietly say “I’m Brett, and I’m gay,” hoping no one else, especially my then-wife, heard me say those words. In dialogue with a good therapist, and growing more comfortable and resolute that this was a necessary step in my life as I tried to live truthfully, I then focused on coming out to my then-wife. This was necessary because she was my first and most significant relationship. Next, along with my then-wife, we both sat down with our children who were very young at the time. (My daughter was 7 and my son was 4 years old.)

More here:

Family Memberships that INCLUDE Our Families

Recently, the local YMCA — of which I am a member — has been considering merging with another larger YMCA in the area. One of the stumbling blocks in the talks about merging has been family membership. Why family membership? Because many family memberships, which offer a great discount to cash-strapped families, are based on the idea that a family is one man and one woman, with no variation. I was surprised that there were no other options for my family of two men and children. “Name of wife/mother” and “name of husband/father” were the only blanks offered on the form. After a series of discussions over a period of months, the YMCAs reached a compromise, simply putting the words “parent” where gender language was used before.
My family is not the only one confronted by this legal form of discrimination. The Hands-on Children’s Museum in Jacksonville, Fla. used a similar form that specified that a family was one mom and one dad. There was no space for “partner,” “moms,” or “dads,” let alone a place for aunts, uncles, grandparents, or godparents. If the one mom included the other same-sex partner as a “friend,” there was an additional cost.

More here:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hospital Visits Made Easier for LGBTQ Couples/Parents

From column I write:
Roger Gorley and Allen Mansell’s loving, normal life as a same-sex couple was radically changed in the past few weeks when Allen went into the Kansas City, Missouri’s Research Medical Center to deal with his depression. Roger and Allen went into the hospital with all the legal papers — otherwise known as power of attorney — needed for a same-sex couple when one of the individuals in the relationship goes into a hospital.
Unlike straight couples, same-sex couples need to have paper to prove who has power to decide on the medical care of the other person, when he or she is not capable of making a medical decision. Allen’s brother, Lee Mansell, did not care about the papers that the couple had signed, giving each other the power to make the decisions in the hospital. Instead, Lee had Roger forcibly removed from the hospital, because Allen’s family is disapproving of Allen and Roger’s relationship. Roger fought back against the personnel of the hospital and Allen’s brother as he struggled to stay by his partner Allen’s side. Roger then was told that he was not to step foot into the hospital again. A lawsuit has now been filed against the Medical Center, with a fund being raised for attorney’s costs.

More here:

Fathers' Day cards come into vogue!

From my website blog:
I will never forget my first Father’s Day as an out, gay dad looking for a card that would fit my new identity. The year was 1999, and my first foray into my local Hallmark card store proved, well, fruitless. Granted, they had plenty of Father’s Day cards. There was a card with a picture of a dad washing the car with sons; some cards had a dad fishing with sons and daughters; and there were other cards that had dads getting a tie in a gift box from his wife with some kind of comic line when you opened the card.
Venturing forth to other card shops, looking among all the cards from various companies that stocked these shops, I found no card that appropriately captured the theme of how normal it is for children to have two gay dads celebrating Father’s Day in modern American society. The card industry — along with newspapers, magazines, movies, television, music, creative visual arts, and other cultural venues that feed the American psyche — had established that heterosexuality was the norm, the gold standard of parenting, and all other forms were an aberration, if not deviant. After all, Mother’s and Father’s Day cards with two lesbian moms and two gay dads simply didn’t make card companies money. Feeling alone and dejected, again, I simply went home and made my partner Dean a “Dads’ Day” card.

Link to article

The Hoax of Converion or Reparative Therapy

From column I write:

“Would anyone choose to be gay in this homophobic society?” It is a line that I’ve heard muttered in dead seriousness, as well as a comic opening line by more than one lesbian or gay comedian. Regardless of who said it, the truth should be self-evident: no one would choose to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQ) in this modern society, which — while making fast changes — has a history of discriminating against us. Underneath this question, the not-so-subtle proposition is raised: that being LGBTQ is a nurtured lifestyle that can be changed, since it is learned consciously or unconsciously, rather than a lifestyle that one inherits at birth. And if being LGBTQ is learned behavior, then LGBTQ can also be un-learned; in other words, a person can be made straight if he or she tries hard enough to change.
This debate of “nature versus nurture” is something I know well personally. When I was first aware of being gay, attracted to other young men my age — even prior to taking up my closet and later when living in it for 30 years — I tried aversive measures upon myself. For example, I would say a string of prayers, asking for God’s forgiveness if I looked at a man sexually. Or I would write out 100 times on lined paper: “I am not gay.” I knew other people who actually practiced cutting their forearm skin with razors, trying to link the pain of the cut with actually looking at a man. What many of us did was try to talk ourselves into not looking at other men or relate to men in any other way than friendship, with simple handshakes but no close body embraces or hugs. Counseling, prayer, perhaps some other aversive techniques could push the inner urge to be with men out of my life. Underneath it all was the assumption that if I didn’t act on my impulses to be with a man, then I was not gay. My desire to be with a man intellectually, spiritually, and physically — as other men are with the opposite sex — was simply something that I could grow out of or “un-learn,” if I tried hard enough.

More here:

The Gay Prom Date that Went Viral

From column:
An over-hyped rite of passage in modern American society is the high school prom pics. Proms—or promenades—began in the 18th century among the elite classes or British society, in which people would more or less “come out” as mature men and women in society. Through the decades, proms transformed and morphed into an egalitarian middle-class teenage ritual among the high schools across this country.  Being a pretty good dancer and an extrovert, I found myself going to proms all of my three years of high school.  I bought the corsage, showed up on time at my date’s house, and then there was the obligatory pic by the parents of the cute couple in gown and tux. I never dated any of the girls. We simply went as friends.  My children also went to their proms, with the obligatory pictures taken, having fun in dating late into the night, going to a 24-hour diner for breakfast at 1 in the morning.
Because I know this ritual so well—both having participated in it, and watching my grown children go through the same thing rituals—I was caught by the picture of the so-called “cutest couple” who showed up at the Carmel High School (California) prom. Dylan Meehan and Brad Taylor were not only at the prom, but were voted the cutest couple in their high school. Their friend Chelsea Blaney posted their pics from the year book and their prom photos on Tumblr, and the pics went viral. Both Dylan and Brad met when they were visiting Brown University as high school juniors. They came out soon after to their respective parents, and have been dating ever since.  Both young men, who currently have a 4.0 GPA, are going to New York University in the fall, studying theater.

More here:

Forward Together, Not One Step Back!


After a great pilgrimage in the UK, I'm back to catch up on the LGBTQ parenting news front.  Here's my essay from Q Notes about the rallies in Raleigh against the policies of the NC General Assembly.

“Freedom, freedom, freedom in the morning, freedom in the evening,” sang the impromptu chorus of women and men outside of the golden doors of the North Carolina House of Representatives in Raleigh’s Legislative Building for three Mondays in a row. “Forward, Together, Not One Step Back!” we shouted between those who would be arrested and the many who supported them. Seventeen people placed themselves in front of the golden doors, holding banners and posters like “Expand Medicaid!” “Freedom!” “Justice!” on April 29. The next week 27 people obstructed entry into the N.C. House of Representatives room. On May 13, 49 people were booked for violating the law. To date, almost 100 people were arrested, with more Mondays of protest coming. All those who practiced civil disobedience, e.g., to get arrested, went to a 3:30 p.m. training event at Davie St. Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, to learn what to do in terms of being arrested. Doctors, lawyers, professors, clergy, seminary leaders, Raging Grannies; able-bodied and those with disabilities; black, white and Hispanic; old and young; gay, lesbian and straight; rich and poor; grandparents and young parents; and college and high school educated. All held their heads high as they were cuffed and led off the premises by the authorities. Each group of people proudly stood their ground. I was part of the chorus of support. I came to witness this proud American tradition of civil disobedience that goes back to the writings of none other than Henry David Thoreau of “Walden Pond” fame. I also witnessed the massive show of force of State Troopers and Capitol Police. The police took pictures of us as we witnessed our sisters and brothers soon being arrested, taken one by one by large State Troopers and Capitol Police to a waiting bus outside. Plastic handcuffs were placed upon all of those who would not move out of the doorway. “But this is the people’s house!” objected Rev. Vernon Tyson in his 80s.
What is behind all this? The General Assembly has awakened the silent majority concerned about the legislative agenda of the Republicans who are now in power of all branches of government for the first time since the Civil War. There have been cuts in Medicaid, affecting 500,000 people and their families; cuts in unemployment compensation; cuts in educational programs from pre-K to universities; and laws loosening gun control and smoking policies on college campuses. One legislator wanted to make N.C. a “Christian state.” These changes in policy affect all of us regardless of race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic background; sex, gender, sexual orientation; individuals, couples or families. Why Mondays? This is the first day and hours of the opening of the General Assembly for the week. The Rev. William Barber and the N.C. NAACP calls these planned acts of civil disobedience “Moral Mondays,” in which those of us who object, on moral grounds, the actions of this General Assembly, are making it clear that we are not consenting to their draconian laws silently. We are voicing and practicing our constitutional right to say “No. We disagree and demand to be heard and have our opinion taken seriously.” What Rev. Barber did was take a moribund and dispirited, alienated group of Democrats, progressive voices and independents, and give a sense of urgency that was previously missing. As an out gay parent, standing alongside, witnessing and chanting support for justice with the broad spectrum of Carolinians, I am buoyed at the new sense of esprit de corps. The day before, as I was driving to Raleigh, a moment of hope in the future was sparked hearing that Minnesota is now a state where marriage equality rules. As I chanted later that evening, I believe that we North Carolinians will one day soon be a state just like Minnesota, with the support of this diverse, marvelous community gathered together in one voice: “Forward, Together, Not One Step Back!” : :

Here's the link: