Category Archives: Gay Rights

Read Your Bible

Yesterday was busy, with a rally for Planned Parenthood in the morning and hearings at the State House last night.

I was sleep-deprived already, having driven 360 miles round trip to go to a wake, and I had to work too.

I’d love to review some of the arguments against marriage equality when I get a chance, but one outrageous claim stands out.

Several speakers, including clergy, said that marriage has always been one man and one woman. Some went so far as to say that this was not only the case for Judaism and Christianity, but for humanity since the dawn of time.

Have they never read their Bible?

Well, I have, and will expand on this point after I get home from work.

Senator Harold Metts had his Bible in hand, and unabashedly preached his Christian faith, saying several times that it was not his opinion, but God’s word. I think Rhode Island lost an inspired minister when Metts went into politics, and gained a politician who gives the impression that his office is a means to his religious ends. I don’t know how much he is willing to recognize the rights of constituents who do not share his beliefs.

Rev. Bernard Healy said that the reason for marriage is children. This was the testimony of several other speakers. I wish the Church had used its influence on the late governor when he repeatedly cut programs for poor children, but they have their priorities.

I don’t know what Roger Williams would say about all this. He left Massachusetts because they had a state religion that punished heretics. Now Mass is wicked blue and RI has an organized religious base that politicians defy at their own risk. Mass, I notice, has not suffered the apocalypse predicted for RI if we let same-sex couples marry. In fact, the divorce rate there is low. Maybe protecting marriage is more connected to employment, education, opportunity and justice than to depriving qualified couples who want legal recognition for a commitment they already live up to. Maybe heterosexual couples value marriage more when they see how this right, or lack of it, affects their gay friends and neighbors.

It’s Time

It’s time for marriage equality.

Cat–The True Threat to Marriage

He Threw Up in Your Closet

by J. Spot Fido and Sparky Goodboy, PhD, LLC, ADHD

The time has come to stand up to the ‘politically correct’ apologists for the feline agenda with some wet-nosed hard-nosed facts based on research studies conducted at Canus University in Paw Paw, Illinois.

These studies prove that cat is the greatest threat to the family today.

First of all, cat is a threat to children, increasing the risk of asthma, allergy and cat scratch fever. Cats are 75% more likely than dogs to sneak into children’s beds and hide in the blankets. Dogs try, but they get caught, because they are less sneaky than cats. Cats are known flea carriers. When you see a dog scratching, that is the natural grooming behavior of a fastidious animal. When a cat scratches itself it means that cat is infested. While it is true that dogs occasionally lick themselves, they do it for good reasons, once in a while. Cats do it constantly. They should get a life.

Cats lure children by stalking and chasing paper, dustballs and moths. Children think this is cute. The cats are just faking it. Except for the really stupid ones.

Cats are a threat to marriage. Whereas most men have a natural bond with dogs, women are susceptible to evolved feline behavior. Cats cry like babies, snuggle and ‘purr’– a sound that would repel most women if they realized it was the sound of spit vibrating through bronchial tubes.

Cats sneak into the bed and expand during the night, physically pushing couples apart. They cause arguments. A man might toss the cat out the window, knowing that they always land on their feet, and for some reason his wife will take offense.

Cats are known to prevent marriage. A single woman is 30% less likely to marry in any given year for every additional cat she acquires over 3, not including temporary litters of kittens. Women who have more than 10 cats, paradoxically, have more relationships with men, but only men who wear Fedoras and argue with people on the internet.

Cats are a threat to the home in the most literal sense. You can always tell when there’s a cat in the house–even if it’s hiding under the couch, the couch is all scratched up. Cats never invite their owners to join them for a healthy walk in the fresh air. Heck no, if you took them for a walk you’d call them and they wouldn’t come back– until they felt like it. Instead cats poop in a box. How disgusting. Additionally, cats are fussy eaters and consider vomiting to be socially acceptable. What can you expect from a creature that licks itself instead of shaking all over to get rid of loose fur? And they claim they’re intelligent? Grrrr……………………………………………………………………………

Spot! I hear footsteps! They’re home– turn off the computer. Look natural. Let Fluffy out of the closet………….baad cat!

Bayard Rustin–A Civil Rights Leader

February 9, 2011 at the State House in Providence, the hearing on marriage equality went over six hours and heard testimony pro and con two bills, one of which would legalize same-sex marriage on the same basis as opposite-sex marriage (HR 512). The other (H 5260) would amend our state Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

There were many references to the civil rights movement, a political cause that we recognize as having been on the right side of history.

This rightness was not so apparent fifty years ago, when our nation was experiencing a wrenching and often painful transformation. The civil rights movement was reviled, described as un-American, a threat to society– dire consequences were predicted. Martin Luther King, at the time of his assassination, was being attacked by some who claimed to have been his strongest allies, because he opposed the war in Vietnam. He died in Memphis, TN, where he spoke in support of a union of sanitation workers, on strike for fair wages and working conditions.

At the marriage hearing there was testimony that gay rights are not civil rights, as if a whole person might not be Black and gay, and suffer discrimination on both counts.

There were claims that civil rights leaders unanimously opposed gay rights. This is belied by the life of Bayard Rustin, a fierce, principled and central figure in the Civil Rights Movement.

Bayard Rustin (March 17, 1912 – August 24, 1987) was an American civil rights activist, important largely behind the scenes in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and earlier. He is credited as the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
He counseled Martin Luther King, Jr. on the techniques of nonviolent resistance. He became an advocate on behalf of gay and lesbian causes in the latter part of his career. Homosexuality was criminalized at the time, which made him a target of suspicion and compromised some of his effectiveness.

The civil rights movement faced many accusations, and many difficult decisions about how to define and defend human rights.

One crucial point was the decision to embrace nonviolence.

Bayard Rustin was instrumental in helping Reverend King to form his nonviolent strategy. Rustin was raised by his Quaker grandparents and had been a war resister in WWII, going to prison as a consequence of his principles.

Arguably the high point of Bayard Rustin’s political career was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom which took place on August 28, 1963, the place of Dr. Martin Luther King’s stirring “I Have a Dream” speech. Rustin was by all accounts the March’s chief architect. To devise a march of at least one-quarter of a million participants and to coordinate the various sometimes fractious civil rights organizations that played a part in it was a herculean feat of mobilization.

More on Bayard Rustin here.

Standing on the Side of Love

Inspiring sermon today from the Reverend James Ismael Ford, posted on his blog, Monkey Mind Online …

Out of the horror that took place in Tucson on Saturday the 8th of January, amidst the fear and blood, there were several notable acts of heroism. I think of Dorwan Stoddard the seventy-six year old retired construction worker who as soon as he realized what was happening, threw his wife to the ground and his body over hers. She survived. He didn’t. I picture that event and cannot get out of my head. I am glad I can’t.

And who is now unaware of Daniel Hernandez, a twenty-year old junior at the University of Arizona, in his fifth day as an unpaid intern for Representative Giffords, and his actions in those awful moments? He wasn’t standing very close when the boy put a bullet through the representative’s head and then began spraying shots into the crowd. By his own account maybe forty feet away, Daniel simply started running toward the shooting. He ran toward the shooting. Another set of images I cannot get out of my head and am glad I cannot. Pictures naturally took shape in my mind of those firemen and policemen racing into the Twin Towers. Asked about this, Daniel who had limited nurse’s aid training in High School, felt, it really all happened too fast to say he thought, felt he could put that training to good use.

He had already assisted a couple of people when he found the congresswoman lying on the ground. He propped her up on his chest to stop her from choking on her own blood. At first he tried to staunch her wounds with his hands. Then took smocks someone brought out from the Safeway and created makeshift bandages that more or less did the job. Staying with the representative, holding her up, holding off the bleeding, at the same time he advised others how to help those they were tending. Medical authorities say it is almost certain that Daniel’s actions saved Gabrielle Giffords’ life.

Hernandez is gay, he is an example of the best of America. He deserves the right to legally marry and enjoy all the rights and responsibilties that marriage brings.

There’s much more to say, you can read the rest here.

Blessing the Union

Today’s Huffington Post reports that Pope Benedict has laid down some standards for priests counseling engaged couples…

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI told priests Saturday to do a better job counseling would-be spouses to ensure their marriages last and said no one has an absolute right to a wedding.

Benedict made the comments in his annual speech to the Roman Rota, the Vatican tribunal that decides marriage annulments. An annulment is the process by which the church effectively declares that a marriage never took place.

Benedict acknowledged that the problems that would allow for a marriage to be annulled cannot always be identified beforehand. But he said better pre-marriage counseling, which the Catholic Church requires of the faithful, could help avoid a “vicious circle” of invalid marriages.

This is the Church doing its job. The Catholic Church, or any religious group, can and should make it clear which life events it will celebrate, and who it will accept into its membership.

Also, the Pope is telling priests to offer the best pre-marital counseling, with a goal of preventing marriages that are likely to bring grief and breakup. This is religion helping people to live better lives.

Most people who seek pre-marital counseling from a priest didn’t just wander in the door. They want a Catholic wedding. They could just go to a Justice of the Peace, and make it legal, but they want the blessing of the priest, and for that they have to follow the rules of the Church.

We don’t demand that non-Catholics follow the rules of the Church. The Church has a moral stand that divorced people can’t re-marry, but we don’t expect the State to conform to that. Saints be praised.

I’m no longer a Catholic, so it’s as an outsider that I say that the custom of ‘annulment’ seems less respectful of marriage than legal divorce. To me, claiming that vows made in good faith and a marriage attempted never existed is to deny that we are fallible, and sometimes make promises we can’t keep. It also denies that most marriages that break up had some good times, and some ex-spouses are loving and unselfish as parents.

It’s got to be painful when after the trauma of divorce an ex-spouse receives a Church summons for annulment. It’s a protection for them that the State recognizes a legal marriage contract apart from any actions by the Church. The Diocese of Providence requires that couples obtain a legal divorce before they will consider an annulment petition, in line with standard Church practice. The legal marriage cannot be legally disolved by the Church, and the religious vows cannot be undone by the State.

My good friend, after a painful divorce, asked her Rabbi for a Jewish ceremony for healing and to put to rest the vows that could not be kept.

The State recognizes and validates a union. Religion meets spiritual needs. Both have their place.

If we accepted that the Catholic Church should influence divorce law, because a majority of Rhode Islanders are Catholic, we might please the majority– who might see this as defending marriage. But it would be a mess for the rest of us.

The Pope is absolutely right to focus on good premarital counseling as a way to protect marriage in his Church, and the Church should bless only those unions it considers valid.

They should let the State be the State, legal protection for all citizens regardless of religion. They should let same-sex couples, divorced, inter-religious, non-Catholic– go to City Hall. Or to a church that will welcome and affirm their union.

Nurses Honored for Service

From the Seattle Spokesman-Review via Pam’s House Blend…

The Spokesman-Review
December 21, 2010 6:13 p.m. – Updated: 7:58 p.m.
Spokane nurse Margaret Witt had a huge surprise when she got off a flight for a quick day trip to Seattle Tuesday morning. She turned on her cell phone and found an e-mail invitation from the White House.

Was she available to attend President Barack Obama’s signing of the law eliminating “don’t ask, don’t tell” on Wednesday? Please reply by 11 a.m. Eastern.

She looked at her watch. It was 8:02 a.m. Pacific, or two minutes past the deadline. “Oh, no. Am I too late?” she wondered.

Witt is the decorated officer discharged from the Air Force Reserves in 2006 under the law that barred openly gay service members; she was ordered reinstated this fall by a federal judge in what could have been the death knell for the 1993 law if the ruling survived appeal. She was supposed to meet with her attorneys Tuesday, but the attorneys could wait.

Witt quickly typed that she’d be honored to attend if the invitation was still open. Yes, replied the White House. Please come.

Thanks you Margaret Witt and Margarethe Cammermeyer, who serve our country by their nursing skills and even more, by their integrity.

Pam’s House Blend is updating this story minute by minute.

DADT Repeal Passes in the Senate

It’s simple justice, it took too long, in a few years no one will even remember why we discharged people who wanted to serve just because they are gay.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is on its way out.

I hope they kept the addresses of the Arabic interpreters they kicked out at the height of the Iraq War. Please come back, your country needs you.

The Corner Tavern has a great post on the meaning of citizenship for Americans in the military.

Even My Insurance is Progressive

I signed up for it years ago because it was affordable (and insurance is mandatory). They’re not hard to deal with when I’ve had to call them. I can’t say I’ll ever love an insurance company, but I like the ad they put up on Pam’s House Blend.

Pam is in the hospital recovering from surgery. She has many well-wishers in the blogosphere and in corporeal space. She says she came though fine. Get well soon, Pam, and best regards to your wife.

Not Very Christian of Them

The Wesboro Baptist Church was not feeling the love…

About a half-dozen members of the Westboro Baptist Church traveled to McAlester, Oklahoma Saturday to picket Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey’s funeral.

Following the protest, the group returned to their minivan to find that the front and rear tires on the passenger side of the vehicle had been slashed.

“To make matters worse, as their minivan slowly hobbled away on two flat tires, with a McAlester police car following behind, the protesters were unable to find anyone in town who would repair their vehicle, according to police,” Tulsa World reported.

I have to give the Phelps clan credit, though. They are demonstrating to our nation what we do not want to be. Last year they brought students and administrators in East Providence together in a public repudiation of hate.

Hundreds of Rhode Islanders turned out on street corners Friday in spontaneous opposition to the anti-gay, anti-Jew message of a tiny group of demonstrators from Kansas.

More than 300 students from East Providence High School crammed one corner of the city’s busiest intersection at Taunton and Pawtucket avenues as school let out. Some gripped neon signs supporting gay people. During the school day, students also wore yarmulkes to support their Jewish classmates.

At another corner, 100 or so people, including high school alumni, gathered, holding signs such as “Teach Love, Not Hate” and “Our Giant Signs are Better than Yours.” One even had a pink bunny suit on with “I Love Boys” written on his belly.

On a third corner, five members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., carried epithet-laden picket signs, denouncing homosexuality and declaring, “America is doomed” for tolerating gays and Jews.

Various counter-protestors chanted — “Go Home” or “Gay is the Way” — and for a short time the shouts unified in obscenities.

“I know a lot of gay people in my family,” freshman Jayden DeCosta said. “It’s anybody’s right to do what they want.”

A heavy police presence kept the groups on their respective corners. No incidents were reported and the Kansas group left 40 minutes after it arrived.

School Supt. Mario Cirillo said he was proud of his students’ “peaceful and responsible response” although he and other school officials had asked the nearly 2,000 students to walk by the protestors silently.“This is what I spent 42 years in the military to protect — their right and the kids’ right to demonstrate,” said Lonnie Barham, a retired Army colonel and the school district’s chief operating officer. “I’m very proud of our students.”

I’m not condoning slashing tires, but desecrating a funeral is the greater crime. There are millions of good people who call themselves ‘Baptist’. Maybe it’s time for some of them to visit ‘Rev’ Phelps and do an intervention, or an excommunication.

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