After a week long pilgrimage across this magnificent nation--it really is stunning--stopping in Asheville, Jefferson City, Blue Springs, MO and Rawlins, WY, we made it to the land of "milk and honey" in Portland, OR. Yesterday, I preached my first sermon as interim Head of Staff at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR.
What was unique was the introduction: Jeremy, our Assoc. Pastor, introduced Dean as my partner, along with my mom Liz Mitchell, before 225 people. That was a "first": in no other church has my partner ever been recognized. Ever.
OK: Catholic time: Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
I'm moving to Portland, OR to be the new interim head of staff at St. Andrew's Presby. Church, Portland, OR.
Dean is going to stay here in NC, taking care of our abode and land in Chapel Hill. Adrianne and Scott are happily wedded and moving to Weaverville, NC outside of Asheville, while Parker completes his work in Wilmington, hopefully graduating in 2015! There will be lots of trips back to NC.
Meanwhile, I will be finding a place to rent in 2015, a one bedroom or studio affair. And my mom, who lives in Portland, OR, is thrilled. Do come and visit!
I've had the "honor" of being an officiant for two weddings in the month of October. The first wedding--a highlight of life--was marrying Adrianne and Scott in Massachusetts. The weather was great: it began rainy but at 2:00 the sun started to come out, and by 3:30, the time for the wedding to begin, it was dry and sunny. The father of the bride--moi--did not keep a dry eye as this lovely woman walked down the aisle with Dean and Pam--partner and mom--walking beside her.
The other wedding was yesterday: Janet and Fantasie! They got my name from a former student of mine from the days at Duke Divinity School who works at First Presbyterian Church, Durham. Outside of the Durham County Courthouse (the old one), we signed the papers and I officiated their covenant, with their children from previous relationships in tow. It was my first legal same sex marriage.
It makes a difference! While I have conducted over 100 weddings as a Minister, I grew resentful after I came out of the closet, realizing I could no longer wed, and I bestowing 1,300 laws upon this couple I could not enjoy as a gay man with my partner.
NC's laws finally changed, thanks to the Fourth Circuit Court.
A new day in NC!
Now, let's see who else I know who could get married...hmmmm....oh! ME!
We are waiting for the other shoe to drop in NC as Judge Osteen wants Chris Brook of the NC ACLU to ask the court to more or less file a motion to rule that Amendment 1 is unconstitutional, which has an impact upon the clients/LGBTQ couples of the ACLU who want the right to marry.
Church bells about to ch...
Update: the state of NC went "ding dong" for marriage equality on 10-10-14! It was a happy day!
This column is about our dog Toby, our noble child!
An observation: if one person in a marriage or significant
partnership dies, sometimes the other spouse or partner soon dies of
loneliness within months of the other’s death.
I knew this was true for humans, but I did not expect it to be the same with our dogs.
Sadly, our chocolate Labrador retriever, Toby, died within six months of our yellow Labrador retriever Lil’s death.
were adopted at separate times from the Orange County Animal Shelter.
Within weeks of living in our house they soon became the latest version
of television’s “I Love Lucy” with our dogs becoming Lucy and Ricky,
opposites, yet companionable in every way.
While Lil grew into an
adult dog, queen of her realm (our house), Toby never grew out of his
Labrador adolescence. He became what one friend called our noble child.
With boundless energy up to the last few days of his doggy life, Toby
ran after his favorite toy with great energy, rarely showing exhaustion,
tail wagging happily, while Lil was bemused by his antics and would
occasionally grab a large branch and play keep away.
Toby and Lil
came into our lives when my partner and I were raising my children from
a previous marriage. To my now adult-aged children, the dogs were their
link to childhood.
While Lil was the dog a child tells secrets
to, Toby was the dog a child went to for a good game of
hide-and-go-seek, fetch, and wrestled with on the floor or couch, with
licks and paws stretched out, wanting to play some more.
When I grew up, on ABC Sports, there was a mantra on ABC Sports re: what each athlete or group of athletes faced: the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
I often felt the same re: the marriage equality in NC: the agony of defeat was palpable after the loss on the Amendment 1 movement.
Today, NC (as part of the Fourth Circuit Court region) is on the edge of watching the Amendment 1 come to a crashing defeat, being stripped out of the NC Constitution, much like the anti-interracial marriage amendment was tossed out by the US Supreme Court. There is a sense of electricity among Facebook and twitter friends and associates as people in VA, CO, UT, and now NV and ID are getting "gay married." I am smiling broadly outside and in. I cannot believe the roll out of history in my life time.
Will Dean and I get married? Stay tuned! Will it be in NC? OR? HI? Stay tuned.
But this I know: soon over 30 states will approve of marriage equality with the great majority of this country's population living in those state.
Civilization? Is that you knocking on the door of NC? Well...
Thanks to Stacy Chandler for the chance to be interviewed about being a gay dad in the Research Triangle:
A little from the article:
Q: What town do you live in, and what brought you here?
I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and during my childhood I lived in New
Jersey and Oregon. After living in many states, as well as living in
London, England, for a year, my former wife, my children, and I moved to
Chapel Hill when I was invited to teach at Duke University in 1993.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself, and about your family.
I wear many hats at the same time: I am a speaker and writer on a wide
variety of topics, from working with people living with disabilities and
faith communities and LGBTQ parenting to leading actual pilgrimages
here and abroad. While I currently teach Ethics, Religions and the
World, and English composition courses at NCCU, I've also been ordained
and worked as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) for over 30
years. So I am a scholar-activist-pastor-pilgrim.
married to my best friend in my early 20s, and we are proud parents of
two amazing young adults who live in Asheville and
Wilmington. Currently, I've been in a partnered relationship for almost
19 years, and we live in Chapel Hill.
Q: Why did you decide to write the book “On Being a Gay Parent,” and why do you continue to maintain a blog of the same name now?
A: I wrote “On Being a Gay Parent” and maintain the blog
because I was looking for such a book and blog when I came out of my
big gay closet. I wanted a book that not only spoke to the issues of
LGBTQ parenting, but also spoke respectively of faith communities. It
should come as no surprise that since many churches have treated LGBTQ
people as second-class citizens in God's realm, many LGBTQ continue to
stay away from a church, though they may be people of deep faith.
The best way of describing what is coming next for LGBTQ concerns/issues may be by describing what I once heard an ethicist observe in the middle of change: you don't know where you are in terms of the progress you've made, because you are standing in the middle of the change itself, without a read on where you've been necessarily, and not knowing necessarily what is the next step, or what is just over the horizon. You are simply in the middle of it all, trying to figure it out, day by day, hoping that you are making progress, but never really knowing.
I am "there" with the ethicist, not knowing if I'm making progress or not in terms of LGBTQ issues re: parenting, marriage, and job discrimination. I am striving to go forward, but it is daily questioning and wondering and discerning where we've been, where we are, and where we are headed.
So I saw it "happen"--almost--when the Moral Monday March to the Polls and Equality NC celebrated the Fourth Circuit Court decision in Durham recently.
From the article:
Last month, I stood on the edge of a large crowd listening
to the Rev. William Barber at the Moral March to the Polls rally,
gathered at the CCB Plaza in downtown Durham. Even though parking was
not convenient, a large throng had gathered together that late afternoon
to renounce “VIVA” – North Carolina’s Voter Information Verification
Act – and the other parts of HB 589 passed last year by the N.C. General
Young and old, black and white, gay and straight,
women and men, religious folks and nonreligious folks alike gathered as
North Carolinians to say that the new laws crafted by state Republicans
would suppress the vote from among the African-American and
Hispanic-American community, the elderly and people living with
disabilities, a Democratic voting constituency.
As the Moral March rally was drawing to a close, a crowd assembled
down the street from the CCB Plaza at the nightspot Motorco. They were
celebrating the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling that Virginia’s
(and essentially North Carolina’s) constitutional amendment outlawing
marriage equality by stating that marriage is solely between one man and
one woman was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.
us were veterans from the Amendment 1 struggle and couldn’t believe
what we were hearing: After spending countless hours and millions of
dollars, after canvassing the state with walks and talks, after creating
radio ads and television commercials, this law that many had pointed to
as hateful fell apart after two years and two months. But then again,
the reason it fell apart was because of the power of love.
I always liked Current Events in elementary school. I tried to bring off the "grid" stories that interested me even as a child. I haven't changed.
Some stories off and on the grid/mainstream media, that interest me:
* Constitutional Court in Uganda is considering a ruling their tempered version of the "kill the gays" bill passed last year, with the influence of Scott Lively in constructing this hate-filled document; there's a petition against the anti-gay bill.
* The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is going to consider the anti-constitutionality of the anti-marriage equality amendments in various states in their region, from Michigan to Tennessee;
* Closer to home, a friend who has taken a rather public stand in being out in a Southern state is appearing solo because his partner or bf is fearful of being out, sure he would lose his job. He probably would. It is the South.
After the initial hoopla of 4th Circuit Court decision, ruling that Amendment 1 to the NC constitution is, well, unconstitutional, the next step is being taken by the ACLU by showing that a few LGBTQ couples have a case showing the unconstitutionality of the amendment.
The 4th Circuit Court, covering states from MD to SC, showed us some "love" today. Well, actually they showed us some justice today. Well, OK 2 out of 3 judges showed us that the 14th amendment provides equal protection under the law, including in the area of marriage, and that these states that amended their constitutions to outlaw such equal protection were in the wrong.
Of course there was a "stay", and now we will soon await for another appeals court (am I correct?) and the end point is the U.S. Supreme Court.
Wandering through the wedding section of the NYT this morning while watching "CBS Sunday Morning News," I bumped into this wedding announcement celebrating the wedding of Ryan and Matthew. Now what stood out about this announcement was its so Presbyterian. Matthew is a Presbyterian, and is a candidate for ministry in the PCUSA. Even though our Constitution doesn't quite support this union (sigh), nonetheless, they're married in NY. We're hopeful that the Constitution of the PCUSA changes in the next two years to stay "two persons".
What was also nice was that the Rev. Abby Mohaupt, a Presbyterian minister, married them. This is legl as of last week after my denomination changed the Authoritative Interpretation and voted that ministers or teaching elders have discretion to marry LGBTQ couples.
So Mazel Tov to Ryan, Matthew, Abby, and to the PCUSA!
Well, we came late to the party of inclusion of people like me, the LBTQI community, but the Church finally came to a place of inclusion. Today, I am free to marry a same sex couple in a state where such marriages are legal. And sent back tot he Presbyterieis is a new wording of marriage, which includes the traditional one man one woman, but also "two people."
In reading some of the responses from the conservative voices in the Church, I'm a little taken aback, though I expected it. While it was painful to hear people argue on the floor of General Assembly we should study this again, one more time, I was also sad to read that such unions--like mine--would seem to be either an abomination (thanks Leviticus...helps a lot), or is simply not in line with the Gospel (at least according to a skewed reading of Paul, though Jesus never says anything). It was these voices that I allowed to speak to me that pushed me deep into the closet and keep me there for the first 40 years of my life.
In the words of MLK, Jr., today I'm free at last, free at last, thank God all might, I'm free at last.
I wrote the book On Being a Gay Parent seven years ago (or that's when it was published). This book was made possible by my kids Adrianne Webb-Mitchell and Parker. Published in 2007, still learning from it today. I wrote in the book that being a gay parent was "like improvisational performance art" because we are playing off of no master narrative or script. Unlike non-LGBTQ parents, there are plenty of stories and narratives to play off of as you parent. The same is not true for us LGBTQ parents. I still think the same is true today as I grow older: with the paucity of stories of being an LGBTQ parent, we are still making this stuff up as we grow up with our children and now grandchildren. We fly by the seat of our pants and are improvising each and every day. Sometimes it works, other days, it bombs. But we smile, laugh, and move on. Someday I may write about being a grandpa who is gay. Oy!
I read on both towleroad and queerty that Hallmark cards loves us gay dads! This is a hoot and a half. I remember when coming out to the kids, and there were no cards for gay dads, let alone lesbian moms, etc. My kids took the creative tact and made their own cards, which was just super. But for the industry that knows how to read the cultural tea leaves, this is huge.
Here's the link to the article/guest column I wrote on the CHCYMCA and YOTA offering LGBTQI employees the same benefits they were offering non-LGBTQI employees through Blue Cross Blue Shield/NC: http://www.chapelhillnews.com/2014/06/09/3923841/brett-webb-mitchell-ymca-shows.html?sp=/99/586/885/905/
I saw a one woman performance of the play, "Etty" based on the life of Etty Hillusem, a Dutch Jew who was sent to the Nazi concentration camps in WWII. It was directed by Austin Pendleton of movie/B'way fame, and Susan Steiner was the actress. Broadway quality.
I was shaken by the play. A few weeks ago saw a play about Japanese internment camp in WWII. Normandy and celebrations the past few days came to mind. Rwanda. Cambodia. Jim Crow laws. Stonewall. LGBTQ rights.
During our fight against Amendment 1 in NC, a Baptist pastor thought there should be a fenced area in western NC to house all us LGBTQ people. The same impulse behind Naziism's fence is in all of us, on all issues.
We PCUSA ministers are AWOL on the latest law suit filed by the UCC against NC, in which the UCC are suing the state based upon the fact that a UCC minister who weds a same sex couple in NC could be committing a misdemeanor for such a marriage. Lately, The Alliance of Baptists, Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, and Central Conference of American Rabbis joined their suit.
However, we Presbyterians did not.
This is because we are not allowed to officiate at such a wedding, as so stated within the Constitution/Book of Order. Until there is a change in our constitution (which could come this summer) we cannot participate in such wedding or such a lawsuit.
It happened! After five years of work with CHCYMCA and YOTA, LGBTQI full time employees and their families will be eligible for the same benefits through Blue Cross Blue Shield NC as non LGBTQI families. This is huge! It was a cliff hanger...almost didn't happen.
For five years I worked at this plan, working with numerous groups, people, excitement and disappointment. This was a last minute decision. It almost didn't happen, except that there were a lot of people reading the signs and seeing what was coming down the pike.
* Working with YMCA of the Triangle or YOTA, who want to take over and merge fully with Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA or CHCYMCA. YOTA does not include LGBTQI employees with their health care policy. We at CHCYMCA didn't include them because of the 50+1 rule of NC Insurance, in which you had to have 50 full time employees using the benefit plan for 1 LGBTQI person to start using the benefits. CHCYMCA had 38. YOTA has hundreds.
After delaying, tabling, and discussing this for five years, we almost gt to the merger without this being solved. But through serious discussion, YOTA has seen the light and WILL include LGBTQI people in terms of benefit plan with BCBSNC.
And yesterday June 2, 2014 was Moral Monday in NC, and I protested for the rights of all NC to get quality education, health care, no fracking, and equal rights. The chicken Republicans of the NC General Assembly adjourned early, and thus the doors were locked to the Legislative Building.
With Molly, Allison, Cathy, Lydia, and Mia, we are changing the HR practices of the YMCA of the Triangle, YOTA for short. YOTA wants to merge with Chapel Hill/Carrboro YMCA. This idea was brought forth five years when I was on the Board of CHCYMCA, and some people wanted to merge with YOTA. The problem? CHCYMCA didn't give same sex employees the same benefits to same sex couples as they did non same sex couples because of the 50 + 1 rule of NC: you needed 50 full time employees to participate in benefits to let 1 same sex couple receive the same benefits (sigh). But YOTA has more than 50 but they didn't give the employees the same benefits. So we (the group mentioned above) publicized the discrepancy between the YMCAs. The reason YOTA didn't? Because of the evangelical Christians on their Board. But CH and Carrboro are more progressive.
Now that we are on the cusp of a deal, they YOTA are changing. Finally. It took five years.
Progress was made by the voices of those who objected.
You pulled the nation to number 19 of states approving of marriage equality. Are we not at a tipping point? After all, the entire West Coast is now a marriage equality zone, as is the entire northeast. Watch out, NC: It's creeping up on us quickly.
The Mitchell part of my heritage doesn't have a decent tartan that is, well, authentic, given that it is an English name. My mom's side of the family is Ferguson, so there's hope.
I've thought that when I marry or wed, one of us should have a kilt. But those wedding plans are not in the work, given the sad state of affairs in NC. However, my daughter is getting married to Scott in the fall, so I can wear a kilt for her wedding.
Men in kilts: its truly not a gay thing. It is a thing about one's roots in Scotland.
I have a pic above of PA State Rep. Brian Sims above (in the handsome beard). In PA, they might actually be state 20 in moving the country toward marriage equality. Yesterday, my second home state of OR (NY is the first state) went forward.
People called and wrote to see if we (Dean and I) were going to be married. The answer is no. Why? Because it means nothing in the state of NC. While it is a wonderful thing to get married (Adrianne and Scott her boyfriend are marrying in October 2014), it costs a) money, and b) involves a community; and c) means nothing for LGBTQ couples in NC. Nothing. Nothing for taxes. Nothing in terms of contract with the two of us with the state. Nada.
So we wait. But I loved listening to the stories from OR yesterday. It was great. I was jealous. Envious. Depressed. But happy for those wed.
See what Justice Scalia did? He predicted the future accurately! With the demise of federal government's section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by the Supreme Court last year, the dominoes have been falling in terms of state constitutional amendments outlawing marriage equality. In the last two days, marriage equality is moving forward in VA, ID and OR. In ID, Judge Wagahoff Dale refused to stay the decision to overturn the ID marriage amendment. In OR, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane has denied efforts by the National
Organization for Marriage to intervene in the federal challenge to
Oregon's gay marriage ban. Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/#ixzz31j53h3Qm; and in VA, the Fourth Circuit Court is hearing a case that may move marriage equality forward for all states that are covered by this circuit court, including NC.
Parker finished the semester with all As at UNCW...whoop whoop for Parker. He is also now a member of an honorary business society at UNCW, and is doing an internship in the Wilmington area as he takes a summer class at the University;
Adrianne is almost finished teaching and is headed to Spain to meet her mom for a break. Then she'll be teaching this summer at Asheville Montessori School. Meanwhile, she and Scott are preparing for their wedding on Oct. 11, 2014.
Michael Sams is now an NFL player, and kissed his boyfriend, Vito, which caused a ruckus;
Jason Collins is playing basketball for the NBA in Brooklyn;
Arkansas now allows for marriage equality;
OH, OR, and even NC may be getting closer to marriage equality;
ENDA doesn't seem to be moving anywhere;
At NCCU where I teach, we had our first inaugural Lavender Graduation, which was also a kind of first for an HBCU, especially in the state of NC.
And finally, my friend Mark Chilton is going to be the Register of Deeds in Orange County, NC. This means that, as of Jan. 1, 2015, when he is sworn in, he is going to be issuing marriage licenses to ALL who wish to marry/wed.
More to come, now that another academic year has drawn to a close.
From my article in Chapel Hill News about the passing of our Lil (the yellow Labrador retriever in the pic):
Like a first kiss, one’s first dog is something you never forget.
was my first dog, and I will never forget her. Fourteen years ago I
adopted her through Orange County Animal Services. Lil was a beautiful
yellow American Labrador Retriever, with the breed’s distinct markings,
bone structure, and huge paws, which told us we should not be surprised
when she hit 80 pounds when fully grown.
When we first visited
her at the shelter, she jumped all over us, licking us everywhere on our
bodies, from head to toe and back again.
“Lil” was short for
“Little Doc,” as I promised myself I would adopt a dog upon my
completion of my Ph.D. But sometimes she resembled Lilith, the notorious
demon in Jewish tradition. For example, when throwing her a branch to
retrieve, she wasn’t as much “retriever” as she was a keep-away artist,
inviting us to run after her while almost kneeing us as she ran by us.
She loved chewing anything that looked like a stick, including red or
black pens, grinning with either a red or back smudge across her muzzle.
was like other dogs in many ways. She was my running bud, running
slightly ahead of me along country roads. She loved nothing more than to
go for a ride in a car, putting her snout out the open back window,
ears flapping backwards, while taking advantage of all the smells that
came along the currents of air. One friend taught Lil the art of eating
pretzel sticks from her mouth as Lil gently nibbled the other end.
However, unlike some Labs, she was not wild about water. She was
intimidated by ocean waves, and Lil seemed too prim and proper to be
washed, looking put out when we hosed off the soap.
Lil was a
steady presence amid all the radical changes in my family’s life. She
would let me pet her thick yellow fur as I transitioned out of one
academic position, to a pastorate, and back to the academy again. When
in high school, my daughter told her deepest secrets to Lil late at
night. My partner and son swear there was nothing like coming home after
a hard day and being welcomed by Lil’s “welcome home” bark as she soon
brushed hard against a leg, waiting for someone to rub the sweet spots
behind her ears, eliciting an ongoing low, satisfying moan from her,
telling us to rub harder.
Awesome article on/about Adrianne and her family (proud dad) here on Rainbow Rumpus:
The beginning of the article:
Adrianne loves to play games with her preschool class. A favorite
game of hers is a silent version of “Simon Says”: Adrianne starts by
tapping her nose, waiting until the entire class is tapping their noses
before moving on to another motion (patting her head, for example). The
movements become quicker—patting the floor, knees, shoulders, and so on.
The game gives the kids—or “tiny munchkins,” as Adrianne affectionately
terms her class—an opportunity to move and refocus. Adrianne comes from
a family of educators. Her mom, Pam, was a public school teacher for
twenty years, her dad, Brett, teaches ethics and English composition at
North Carolina Central University, and her dad’s partner, Dean, is
associate dean of students at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Adrianne
and her family share passions beyond teaching, however. She and her dad
practice yoga, hike, and visit museums together whenever they can. And
preparing family meals has always brought the clan—which includes
Adrianne’s younger brother, Parker—together for good conversation. “What
we were eating was less important than the quality time we spent
together,” Adrianne says.
I found this issue of race fascinating after an ad ran for Honey Maid Graham Crackers, showing an image of a happy white same sex couple. In talkingpointsmemo.com, the argument was that the white gay couple is more acceptable to the outside world than other couples of different races:
Just as a lesbian couple is not as threatening as a gay couple, white couples are not as threatening than other races. After all, we live in a racist, as well as homophobic, culture...and we live in a sexist, classist, abelist culture. I could go on.
I gave a talk at Emory and Henry College on my three loves: love of family, love of Jesus, and love of dogs.
I began the talk with a provocative stab: I live in a country in which legislators in AZ passed a bill that discriminates against me as a part of the tribe LGBTQ; that Uganda's President signed a bill condemning LGBTQ to life in prison, and that Mormons are telling students at Brigham University not to masturbate.
What a time to be alive?
We are on the crest of history unfolding.
What I'm aware of is that the unfolding blurs lines of state, culture, and religion. They are all now enmeshed, and hard to separate.
This is not a time to be silent but to speak out, pointing to the danger of these actions by people here and abroad.
Dear LGBTQ parents, friends, allies, and family members...
Big push here: I need 12 people (6 minimum) to go on pilgrimage along St. Cuthbert's Way: Melrose Abbey to Lindisfarne, England.
Here's the blurb:
Pilgrims! St. Cuthbert's Way calls you to come and walk to Lindisfarne
on this holy trek. Six pilgrims have signed up! Six openings left! Come
and walk the way of St. Cuthbert to Lindisfarne, England, a.k.a., "The
Holy Isle!" Pilgrims will meet on the night of Sat., May 24, at Melrose
Abbey, and end on Thursday, May May 31st on Lindisfarne. This is a 65
miles, or 13 miles a day. The cost for this
pilgrimage, which includes tents (tents with cots, tables, chairs and
lights!) and 3 meals a day, plus transportation of our materials is
$990. Trail Trekkers will provide the tents and meals along the way.
There is room for 6 more pilgrims! Any questions? Ask Brett
Webb-Mitchell, Director of the School of the Pilgrim,
email@example.com/919-444-9111, or visit: www.schoolofthepilgrim.com: http://schoolofthepilgrim.com/upcoming.htm
Come one! Come all! Need a firm number by the end of March, 2014!
Call me an old fart, but it is incredible that high schools and colleges and universities have homecoming events, let alone homecoming kings and queens.
But here is a happy piece about a young man, Blake, who is going to be a homecoming king in East Mecklenberg High School in Charlotte, NC. For this transgender youth, this is a big deal...and it is a big deal for society in general, let alone the South.
First: As a religious leader of a Church that has a history of child abuse going back generations, the last person who should be offering ideas about "discipline" is from the Catholic Church.
Second: who needs to be disciplined? For what? Gay adults are not children.
Third: before you try to take the speck out of someone's eye, take the log out of your own. Though my being gay is not a "speck" issue.
This is what the Bishop of IL said:
“To be opposed to the redefinition of marriage and to be opposed to
things that are sinful, that’s actually a very loving thing,” he
continued. “Perhaps it’s the permissiveness of our society that people
think that if you don’t get what you want that you’re somehow being
hateful, if you don’t give them what they want. But sometimes, like any
good parent will tell you, that sometimes you have to discipline your
child, sometimes you have to say no. And sometimes, you even have to
But to “punish” gay families is actually quite loving,
according to Paprocki. “And when a parent does those things towards
their children,” he concluded, “they’re actually being very loving by
correcting them and showing them the right way to do things.”
A few days ago, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of NC said that those same sex couples who had signed on with them a few days earlier (since Jan. 1, 2014) would not be recognized. They must re-submit their application as individuals, even though they had previously enrolled as a couple, made possible through the market place of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Now: BCBS has reversed course today: they will welcome same sex couples who apply for health care through the market place of the ACA.
They know where the power is going to be in the coming future: with same sex couples being "normalized" into this country's narrative.
Today, I was surprised by a greeting card at Flyleaf Bookstore in Chapel Hill! It simply said "Mr. and Mr." or "Mr. & Mr."
The reason I was surprised is because I usually see these cards at boutique bookstores that have lots of LGBTQ cards. But this card was amid other "normal" greeting cards.
While the laws of NC are prohibitive--including Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC saying they will not provide insurance for same sex couples--there are pockets of sunshine in the gray days of this state's existence.
It is hard to watch Indiana go down a path of wasting money for a constitutional amendment (state) that will ultimately be overturned by the judges who read the 14th amendment and the constitutional right of "equal protection under the law." The loss of DOMA will lead to full(er) equality, legally. As UT and OK can tell IN (and NC), this is a foolish, emotional, culturally silly move. It may bring short term joy, but makes no sense long term.
As a gay dad, it just is a pain in the neck to read. I hurt. I cringe. I want to fight.
The work of justice is before us. This is a marathon. Civil rights, which encompasses equal rights, is to be the aim for ALL who are part of minority groups based on things we cannot change: sex, sexual orientation, race, age, ability/disability.
Indiana is wanting to join a club of loser states: amending its constitution to not allow civilization in re: marriage equality. This seems like a great waste of time and money: time, because there will be a struggle on both sides of this debate, with countless volunteer hours vying against each other; millions going to print shops and web services.
I'm in OR, and they're going to be working toward amending their constitution, again, after amending in 2004 with Bush-Cheney campaign wunderkind Rove made sure they outlawed marriage equality. A wedge issue is responsible. Now OR is moving forward, educating the many, with over 116,000 necessary to put this on the ballot. They are most likely going to win, though it will be costly. But the "mo" is on the side of civilization.
Indiana: make sure NC was the last to amend its constitution! Don't do it!
AZ: there is a legal challenge to the ban on same sex marriage in that state.
NM: Gov. Martinez (R) is not going to support legislation outlawing marriage equality.
While I live in the South (NC) in which there is a re-entrenchment of the old bigoted attitudes of the South circa 19th century and the Civil War, these states--where there is a progressive movement probably with the moving in of "northern liberals"--are moving forward.
I write this in OR. Right now, there are more people moving to OR, even with the lousy winter weather (gray here a lot though the sun was out the last few days), and more people moving OUT of NC, where there are fewer gray days. Better climatic weather in NC, I must say, but lousy, horrible, no good weather for marriage equality in NC.
Climate change time in NC.
Meanwhile, I'm enjoying Portland, OR, where people--same sex couples to be exact--walk hand in hand with each other.
AZ, NM, OR, CA, WA...a place to live and prosper...
Well, the U.S. Supreme Court has put a "hold" on marriage equality in Utah. No one seems surprised. Justice Sotomayor received the request, and now the justices have put a "hold" on marriage equality in Utah while the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reviews the case...again.
Everyone who knows legal issues better than I do says "nothing to worry about," and that this is pro-forma.
This is a marathon! 900 lesbian and gay couples were issued marriage licenses. This "hold" reminds us exactly who are second class citizens.
This new year found my son Parker in Prague with his mom; my daughter Adrianne with her boyfriend Scott in Asheville (though they just arrived back from MA); and my mom in Portland, OR. Dean and I spent three weeks (give or take a day) in Waimea, HI, and are having a hard time believing it is coming to an end (got here on Dec. 16, 2013).
New adventures ahead in 2014. Ready for change...you?
Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina, United States
I am a dad, who happens to be gay, with two amazing young adult children who have taught me, my partner, and their mom what grace, faith, hope, and love are all about. I am also an ordained clergyperson in the Presbyterian Church (USA), involved in congregational life, sometimes preaching here and there, and an oblate of St. Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, MN. I taught at Duke Divinity School at Duke University for over a decade, and I currently teach at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. I teach Ethics, World Religions, and English. And I am the Director of a religious non-profit, "School of the Pilgrim" (www.schoolofthepilgrim.com), in which I take people on actual pilgrimages to break out of the religion of rush hour in order to find their inner spiritual path. I am also glad to work with and be an advocate with people living with disabilities in faith communities, who teach me more about life in all its wonders and quirks. Enjoy the blog! And for more information about the book ON BEING A GAY PARENT, go to www.onbeingagayparent.com. Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, and phone is 919-444-9111