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The Gay Samaritan

A North Carolina pastor sternly warned against the danger of “butch” daughters, while advising dads to beat the gay out of their sons, literally:

The second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up! Give him a good punch.

Another pastor from the same state who, “Ain’t gonna vote for no homosexual-lover” has a plan to put queer folk behind an electric fence until they die out — all to keep them from reproducing any more gays and lesbians.

Hmmmm, aren’t gays and lesbians usually born to straight parents?

Meanwhile, a toddler sings, “Ain’t No Homo Gonna Make It To Heaven” to wild applause from his Indiana congregation. Read the rest of this entry

Gay Marriage Protects Marriage

The rainbow White House

The rainbow White House

Mamma, don’t let your daughters grow up to marry gay cowboys.

That’s from a headline I once saw.

You could reverse that:

Mamma, don’t let your gay sons grow up to marry girls.

I get that. Because some of my friends have tried it. Except for the cowboy part. Read the rest of this entry

Christians for Gay Rights

Marriage Equality

Marriage Equality

Having heard the battle cry, “Gays are against God!” my Women’s Perspective club decided to visit the Christian club on campus.

We’d visited a lot of clubs, on numerous issues, hoping to take in various points of view. So we took a turn with “The Upside Down Club,” so named because they felt that their ideas were the reverse of society’s.

This group surprised us more than any other. Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up To Marry Gay Cowboys

Brokeback-Mountain-heath-ledger-299763_1024_768Mammas don’t let your daughters grow up to marry gay cowboys. That’s a new take on an old song.

I have friends who have married gay cowboys. Except for the cowboy part.

One of my friends married a man, only to come home early one day to find him in bed with another man.

Another gay Christian friend married a woman in hopes of turning straight and living a devout life.

They’re all now divorced.

And then there’s Brokeback Mountain.

Any surprise I became paranoid that a gay man would marry me, trying to pass, or not be gay, or something. I wished that gays could simply marry who they wanted so I wouldn’t have to deal with that.

And I was sure that gay men would rather marry someone who they were in love with and sexually attracted to, too.

We’d all be happier.

Now it looks like we all have that chance since days ago the Supreme Court ruled against DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which had made gay marriage illegal on the federal level.

While the case was in court Justice Scalia fretted over the unknowns of gay marriage. But we do know that marriage between gays and straits doesn’t work. Gays marrying straights does not help the divorce rate.

Others insist that marriage is for procreation.

In that case, everyone from my birth family, except for my brother, would have to get divorced immediately. My father married a woman in her 40s and they never had children. My mother and her husband married in their 60’s. I’ve suffered from fertility problems, myself. My brother, who has sired three children, is the only one who’s safe from these folks.

Please, protect my marriage from these “marriage protection” types!

And besides, it looks like gay marriage is good for marriage.

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If Gays Can Marry Can I Marry My Dog?

488358_10200727246840664_210913114_nNutty Supreme Court banterings on gay marriage rights:

Justice Samuel Alito:

Same-sex marriage is very new. It may turn out to be a good thing; it may turn out not to be a good thing.

NYTimes Columnist, Maureen Dowd, in response:

 If the standard is that marriage always has to be “a good thing,” would heterosexuals pass?

Charles Cooper, the lawyer arguing against marriage equality:

Marriage should be reserved for those who procreate.

Justice Elena Kagan in ironic response:

Should couples over the age of 55 be refused marriage licenses, then?

NYTimes Columnist, Maureen Dowd on the pro-creation status of Supreme Court Justices, et al:

  • Sonia Sotomayor was married and didn’t have kids.

  • Clarence and Ginny Thomas did not have kids.

  • Chief Justice Roberts’ two kids are adopted.

  • George and Martha Washington? They only procreated a country.

In light of this insanity one of my blog posts from a while back has suddenly resurged in popularity and so I am reposting it in homage to our unenlightened Supreme Court:

If Gays Can Marry Can I Marry My Dog?

When will people understand that tradition is just a stumbling block in the pursuit of progressive thinking? My dog and I are very much in love. She has been my friend, protector and lover for eight years. I firmly believe that we are both deserving of a legal domestic partnership, too. If the gay/lesbian community can be granted such a thing, then why can’t we? Heck, I’d be willing to bet that there would be less uproar over me kissing my dog on the front page.

This was an actual letter written by Joe Freeman and published in the San Jose Mercury News on May 21, 2008, on the cusp of gay marriage becoming legal in California, and amidst visions of husbands kissing husbands and wives kissing wives.

While some fear immanent bestiality, others worry that if gays can marry, next thing you know, adults will be marrying kids. It’s all the same, right?

At the very least, what about consent?

An adult man can give consent to marry another man. An adult woman can give consent to marry another woman. But children are too young to fully understand what they would be getting into by agreeing to marriage — if they were asked their opinion at all. Children cannot give consent. Neither can dogs or cats or birds or lizards or cows… Bestiality and child marriage are nothing like gay marriage. Funny that ol’ Joe couldn’t make the distinction.

Joe is also worried about going beyond tradition, or traditional morality that is based in religion. But after all the atrocities committed in the name of religion, whether the Crusades or 9/11 or cutting women’s genitals from their bodies (female genital mutilation), I don’t find religion to be the best guide to ethics.

So religious morality can seem hardly moral at all, and too often the opposite.

Better to base morality on whether someone is being harmed.

I can see how homophobia hurts people. Gay bashing harms victims. Homophobia inflicts emotional suffering, sometimes so severe that gays and lesbians take their lives. At the least self-worth can greatly suffer. But those who bash also lose their humanity.

When parents can’t marry, children may not be able to visit a sick parent in the hospital, they may lose out on social security or inheritance if a parent dies, they aren’t guaranteed child support if parents separate. These kids miss out on the support and stability that other kids take for granted.

On the other hand, I don’t see how gay marriage harms anyone. And no one seems to be able to figure that one out.

We would all be better off extending love instead of hate and contempt.

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Gay Marriage, Slippery Slope to Polygamy?

Obama and Romney both have grandparents who practiced polygamy, yet both have said (and one’s still saying) that marriage should be between one man and one woman. Some think it odd that they both reject the practice when they’ve each got a family history. But I, too, have grandparents who practiced polygamy yet I don’t like the practice, either. This brings me to the concern that marriage equality is a slippery slope to polygamy.

If you hold marriage to “two consenting adults” the problem goes away.

At the same time, while I have a personal distaste for polygamy, I’m not sure that decriminalization would be a bad thing.

First, the problems with the practice.

Gender inequality can be created by simple supply and demand, with “the one” having more power, whether polygyny (one man, many wives) or polyandry (one wife, many husbands). In the polyandrous Lahaul Valley of the Himalayas women have great say over matters. As one young man in this community explained, “The wife’s voice is the dominant voice in the household.”

Typically, polygamy is practiced under patriarchy (as polygyny) so the power of “the one” man becomes intensified. As one New York Times letter writer observed in response to Jonathan Turley’s insistence that polygamous families should be free to live their religion and values:

(In highly patriarchal families) this is not ‘the right to live your life.’ The men have rights, but not the girls (who are) brainwashed, uneducated and mothers while in their teens.

In polygyny it can seem that women make all the sacrifices so that men may take unlimited pleasure. A Sufi who agreed to be a third wife of her teacher (the article title “My Husband, My Teacher” suggests additional inequality of relationship) described her experience this way:

I went through, as did the other wives, all of the usual feelings of jealousy, fear, and insecurity.

She had to learn to let go of attachment, or seeing her spouse as property. Yet her husband didn’t need to learn any of these lessons, enjoying greater freedom and sexual variety than any of his wives ever will.

The addition of a new wife may even be used as a threat in polygamous cultures. Not surprisingly, 86 percent of Afghani women are against the practice.

Moving to larger societal problems, at marriageable age women and men are in equal number so girls in polygamous communities must be married at younger and younger ages, and are often forced into marriage. Their youth further disempowers them. Meanwhile, teenaged boys may be thrown out of these communities via trivial charges like watching “inappropriate” movies.

Joseph Henrich, a University of British Columbia professor whose expertise lies in psychology, anthropology and economics says higher levels of polygamy are tied to higher crime rates, lower GDP per capita, and worse outcomes for children.

And, fewer available women may mean more frustrated bachelors who support the sex trafficking of girls and women. These young men are also vulnerable to recruitment by extremists in some parts of the world.

There is plenty that is not pretty. So why legalize polygamy?

When the practice is illegal and stigmatized, those who live it end up isolated from the rest of society. That means its practitioners hear few alternate voices, and are less aware of the possibility of living differently. Or, choices become limited as others ostracize them and reject their friendship. In other words, they’re more stuck.

Oddly, adherence to “plural marriage” might actually decrease if it were made legal and destigmatized.

I don’t know if legalization will ever destigmatize polygamy, which is an important step in freeing people to hear different voices and to help them to have more options.

Regardless, I doubt legalization will bring people flocking to the practice. The notion of sharing your husband or wife while being forced to be monogamous, yourself, just isn’t that appealing to most people. In the U.S. polygamy is pretty much only practiced for religious reasons, so it’s not likely to catch on. And where it does, it would be more likely voluntary and not coerced.

If you fear gay marriage because polygamy might come next, I doubt there’s really much to worry about.

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The Gay Samaritan

A North Carolina pastor sternly warned against the danger of “butch” daughters, while advising dads to beat the gay out of their sons, literally:

The second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up! Give him a good punch.

Another pastor from the same state who, “Ain’t gonna vote for no homosexual-lover” (Obama?) has a plan to put queer folk behind an electric fence until they die out — all to keep them from reproducing any more gays and lesbians.

Hmmmm, aren’t gays and lesbians usually born to hetero parents?

Meanwhile, a toddler sings, “Ain’t No Homo Gonna Make It To Heaven” to wild applause from his Indiana congregation.

No surprise, then, that gays are persistently tormented and too often commit suicide. In fact, suicide rates are highest in conservative “values voters” states where hatred is preached over the bully pulpit.

Pastor and gay activist, Mel White, has founded Soulforce to resist religion-based oppression. He asks:

What other source of homophobia is there but six verses in the Bible? When Bible literalists preach that LGBT people are going to hell they become Christian terrorists. They use fear as their weapon, like all terrorists.

Against this, the story of the Good Samaritan rings ironic.

The parable tells of a man who is beaten, robbed, and left for dead. Religious leaders pass him by, but finally a Samaritan comes to his aid.

The moral is generally said to be “aid one another” or “judge people by their hearts and works, not by their religious rank.”

But why would a Master Teacher like Jesus construct a story relaying the obvious?

Jesus’ parables more often shocked audiences into thinking in entirely new ways. Keep in mind that Jesus constantly urged his hearers to see the worth and dignity of all, no matter how loathed — including Samaritans, who were despised. So consider this perspective which I’ve altered from a blog post written by a pro-gay rights Mormon (!!)

Imagine Jesus telling a story that forces you to think the unthinkable — to string together words that simply do not belong together: “good” and “[insert epithet of choice].” If we want to understand how Jesus’ words invaded and overthrew the pious and staid beliefs of his hearers, we might imagine him telling a Christian congregation in North Carolina or Indiana the parable of the Good Gay Man who stopped to help a victim near death after a Catholic Bishop, a Rabbi, and a Christian Pastor first passed him by.

The moral of the Good Samaritan? Love gays, and anyone else whose humanity is not fully appreciated.

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If Gays Can Marry Can I Marry My Dog?

When will people understand that tradition is just a stumbling block in the pursuit of progressive thinking? My dog and I are very much in love. She has been my friend, protector and lover for eight years. I firmly believe that we are both deserving of a legal domestic partnership, too. If the gay/lesbian community can be granted such a thing, then why can’t we? Heck, I’d be willing to bet that there would be less uproar over me kissing my dog on the front page.

This was an actual letter written by Joe Freeman and published in the San Jose Mercury News on May 21, 2008, on the cusp of gay marriage becoming legal in California, and amidst visions of husbands kissing husbands and wives kissing wives.

While some feared immanent bestiality, others worried that if gays could marry, next thing you know, adults would be marrying kids. It’s all the same, right?

At the very least, what about consent?

An adult man can give consent to marry another man. An adult woman can give consent to marry another woman. But children are too young to fully understand what they would be getting into by agreeing to marriage — if they were asked their opinion at all. Children cannot give consent. Neither can dogs or cats or birds or lizards or cows… Bestiality and child marriage are nothing like gay marriage. Funny that ol’ Joe couldn’t make the distinction.

Joe is also worried about going beyond tradition, or traditional morality that is based in religion. But after all the atrocities committed in the name of religion, whether the Crusades or 9/11 or cutting women’s genitals from their bodies (female genital mutilation), I don’t find religion to be the best guide to ethics.

So religious morality can seem hardly moral at all, and too often the opposite.

Better to base morality on whether someone is being harmed.

I can see how homophobia hurts people. Gay bashing harms victims. Homophobia inflicts emotional suffering, sometimes so severe that gays and lesbians take their lives. At the least self-worth can greatly suffer. But those who bash also lose their humanity.

When parents can’t get married, children cannot visit a sick parent in the hospital, they can lose out on social security or inheritance if a parent dies, they aren’t guaranteed child support if parents separate. These kids miss out on the support and stability that other kids take for granted.

On the other hand, I don’t see how homosexuality harms anyone.

We would all be better off extending love instead of hate and contempt.

October is LGBT History Month.

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 ,

Christians for Gay Rights

At churches, schools, and shopping centers volunteers are gathering signatures to repeal California’s new law requiring public schools to include gay people and gay rights milestones in school lessons, according to Lisa Leff, at the Associated Press.

The referendum is being led by less-experienced Christian conservatives since the Mormon and Catholic churches, who led the fight against gay marriage, have not joined forces.

Turns out, not all Christians seek laws to limit gays or keep them in the closet.

Having heard the battle cry, “Gays are against God!” some students from my Women’s Perspective club hoped to gain greater insight by visiting with the Christian club on campus.

We visited a lot of clubs, on numerous issues, hoping to take in various points of view. So we took a turn with “The Upside Down Club,” so named because they felt their ideas were the reverse of society’s.

This group surprised us more than any other.

When we asked how they, as Christians, felt about legislating against gay rights, they said they were against it.

Why?

“We believe in the separation of church and state,” offered one student. “I am personally against gay marriage, but feel that no one’s religious beliefs should be deemed the law of the land. We shouldn’t force our beliefs on everyone else.”

Others said there was a conflict between anti-gay passages in the Bible and “love thy neighbor,” which they felt was the higher law.

In my classes, some Christian students were for gay marriage because they had learned how it would help families. After all, without marriage children may not be able to visit a sick parent in the hospital, they can lose out on social security or inheritance if a parent dies, they aren’t guaranteed child support if parents separate, and mom and dad aren’t given job-protected time to care for a new child. So gay marriage strengthens families.

Along this vein, some Mormons belong to an organization called Mormons for Marriage, which promotes gay nuptials with the slogan, “Family! It’s About Time.” They feel that marriage will be strengthened, not weakened when gay couples have the same civil rights as heterosexuals. I can relate. I know several couples who divorced because one spouse was straight and the other was gay. The relationships were unstable and the breakups certainly weren’t good for families.

From time to time, students in my classes have apologized for the intolerance of other Christians, who get so much publicity.

Nice to see these folks truly living the Golden Rule.

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Gay Marriage Protects Marriage

“Mamma, don’t let your daughters grow up to marry gay cowboys.” A headline I once saw.

I get that. Because some of my friends have tried it. Except for the cowboy part.

One of my friends married a man, only to come home early one day to find him in bed with another man.

A gay acquaintance, raised in a religious family, married a woman in hopes of living a good Christian life.

They’re all now divorced.

Gays marrying straights does not help the divorce rate.

Gays marrying gays could be a relief to single gals. After my friends’ experiences I became paranoid that a gay man would try to marry me, trying to pass or not be gay, or something. I wished that gays could be out in the open and simply marry who they wanted so I wouldn’t have to deal with that.

Still, some insist that marriage was meant for procreation.

In that case, everyone from my birth family, except for my brother, would have to get divorced immediately. My father and his wife, whom he married late in life, never had children. My mother and her husband married in their 60’s. I’ve suffered fertility problems, myself. My brother, who sired three children, is the only one who’s safe from these folks.

Please, protect my marriage from these “marriage protection” types!

In 2008 Californians passed the California Marriage Protection Act, aka, Prop 8, which states that only marriage between a man and a woman is legal and recognized.

On August 04, 2010, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled the Proposition “unconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses.” The court, therefore, “orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement.” Despite anti-gay efforts, that decision has not been overturned.

Now New York has legalized gay marriage.

Good.

Gay marriage is good for marriage.

This piece was first written August 5, 2010. It is updated and reposted for July 4th.

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