Saturday, August 28, 2010

And Things Are Heating Up In Britain

Two people from both sides of the pond came out this, getting derided in the United States, was Ken Mehlman former chairman of the Republican Party. The other, getting derided as well in Britain, was the Conservative Minister of Prisons Crispin Blunt. On Friday he announced that he was leaving his wife Victoria and children because he has finally come to terms with his homosexuality. What is interesting to note is the reaction to Minister Blunts revelation. As opposed to the United States where Ken Mehlmans revelation is keeping him in front of the shotguns of the gay blogosphere, in the United Kingdom the opposite is playing out, reactions, in fact, seem to be more politically based.

According to the Telegraph, members of the Regiate Conservative Association - to which Minister Blunt is the chair - are upset because he hid his sexuality from them. Quoting some members of the association...
"Because he has lied for the last 13 years about his sexuality, questions will be asked over what else he has not been honest with constituents about."
"This, for a lot of people, is the final straw. I'm not uncomfortable with his sexuality, I'm unhappy about his lying, and that he stood for election knowing there was going to be this revelation."
Another added: "There is certainly one official line that this is a personal matter, but I think you will find that there are many who would not share that view.
"One constituent asked me, 'What is this clown up to?', while another said she was uncomfortable with the public nature of his revelations.
An interesting point is that Minister Blunt has used his seat in government, during the time when the Conservatives controlled the opposition bench during the majority Labour party years, as a bully pulpit against LGBT people. According to News of The World, Minister Blunt stated that homosexuality is not equivalent to heterosexuality, stated that gays were more of a threat to children, and claimed homosexuality is a choice.

Over the coming weeks there will be much discussion over Minister Blunts revelation, and most likely some political repercussions, and there will be charges of hypocrisy because of his previous votes. But thankfully, based on what I have read, though there is hard feelings on both sides of the issue in Britain, there is much more grace and professionalism than what we have seen in the United States on the issue of a former enemy of equality coming out.

To all my British readers...what do you think about this? I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.

Gay People Are Like The Pilgrims

In the Iowa Gubernatorial race, one which has had its own share of anti-gay rhetoric from such people as Van-Der Platts and Brandstad Camps, we have in the Libertarian candidate Eric Cooper a different and welcoming  approach. From Southwest Iowa News
Libertarians also have no issue with gays seeking same-sex marriage, Cooper said. Gay people are like America’s early pilgrims who left their native England to escape criticism of their views, he said.

“Gay people are pilgrims. They just want to live their lives without being hassled. Let folks live the way they want.”
This is so true...and I'm glad that a Libertarian is finally going all out on support of marriage equality. LGBT people are truly "pilgrims" in the literal sense of the word. We have been beaten and abused, ridiculed and harassed, emotionally stoned and trampled underfoot. We truly are not unlike the early Pilgrims who came to Americas shores feeling religious persecution in England. Eric Cooper is correct, all we want it to be able to live our lives as we see fit...and that my friends is the essence of the American Dream.

The GOP's Undoing

Much hoopla is being made today about Glen Becks “Restoring Honor” rally in D.C. on the steps of the Lincoln memorial. Though the rally, by all looks of it, was one of non-political machinations and seemed to be focused on bringing people together rather than dividing them, it will be hailed as a conservative rally, one where conservatives are showing just how much power they have and how they are going to take the country back from the evils of liberalism and godlessness.  Though there were a lot of people at the rally, upwards of 500,000 as is being reported by Politico, the Right is not as “organized” as it appears. Yes, the Republicans will most likely capture the House this coming November and possibly even the Senate, but these temporarily gains by the GOP are no match for what the party will be experiencing in the years to come. The Republican Party of today is made up of three groups; The Religious Right, the Libertarian Economist, and the Angry WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant)…a combination of which will doom the party to failure as it alienates those in the middle.

The Religious Right, a group that came of age in the late 1900’s with the influences of Phyllis Schafley, Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson, has exerted a large influence on the Right ever since. But with the recent ruling out of California on Gay Marriage, the movements power has shown to be steadily declining within the GOP. In the 2004 election being anti-gay was all the rage – as that was the way for the GOP to convince the “values voters” to come out to the polls. The Supreme Court decision out of Massachusetts instilled in these voters a sense of fear in “the gay”, that “the gay” would mean the end of the world as they knew it. The GOP fanned these flames, their politicians railed against the threat to the traditional family structure and how that would be the end of American Values and would start a “Christian persecution” by the Liberal elite.  Fast forward to 2010, when Judge Vaughn Walker in California overturned the state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and the GOP hardly makes a sound? Yes, there are the few Republicans who decry the “activist” judge in a San Francisco courtroom, yet the majority of the party stay silent. They realize that times are changing; for as more gays and lesbians come out, people have a harder time – especially independents – voting against overt discrimination.

The Libertarian Economist (exemplified by the Tea Party) does not know what he believes. When is it right for the government to get involved in any personal affairs? Is Medicare Ok? Social Security? Education? Energy Programs? The Libertarian Economist (LE) mindset can be seen in the candidacies of Sharron Angle in Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky.  They would much rather eliminate government, than use government to achieve parity at all. If you are rich, you should stay rich; if you are poor, it is your fault and your fault alone and no one should help you. The debate raging over healthcare reform in this country shows the true nature of the Tea Party. Most of the movement – based on demographical surveys – are those peoples who can afford such things as healthcare, and food on the table. Thus an overreaching Government is “disastrous” to their comfortable way of life, because it forces them to acknowledge that there are people that are suffering and that have less than they do.  They view government as a threat instead of a helper, because to them, anyone who needs the government at all is a leech. Those who depend upon governmental assistance are the dredges of society, and there is no way that they (the LE’s) want their hard earned money to go to such scumbags. Individualism reigns supreme for the LE. They don’t care about their fellow man, for the LE thinks about themselves first and foremost.

The Angry WASP wants to sting anything that it can find. Whether it is immigrants in this country (exemplified mostly by the Latino population) or those who think differently than them religiously (the Muslims) they lash out, fearing that the days of White Protestant supremacy in American is almost over.  We have heard, over the discussion of recent Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, that this is the first time in our nation’s history that there would be no Protestants on the High Bench. We have heard that Islam is not a religion and instead is a political ideology and that its practitioners are hell bent on destroying the United States. This type of discussion has lead to an outpouring of anger and hatred against Muslim Americans (not only over the Ground Zero Community Center project, but also over Mosques all across America). It has lead to anti-Muslim violence (exemplified by the recent cab driver stabbing in New York City). And it has lead to a rise in such movements as Glen Becks “Restore America”, a platform whose goal is to restore America to its spiritual foundations – to which Beck and his supporters would say, is Christianity.  The Angry WASP views all who disagree with him religiously as “the other” and “the enemy”, an idea propelled by the likes of people such as Rush Limbaugh and Beck. The scary thing is, this is the same rhetoric by which Nazi Germany accustomed the German people to viewing the Jews as the others, thus leading the people of Germany to embrace their extinction.

Now how are these three groups going to lead to the GOP’s undoing? First, as the GOP moves away from its anti-gay rhetoric and necessarily embraces marriage equality, those within the Religious Right will become disenchanted. They will not vote at all, as they cannot in good conscious vote for someone who disagrees so fundamentally with their belief structure.

As the Libertarian Economists and the Tea Party gain more ground within the GOP, with their anti-government positions and me-centered attitudes, the moderates, which make up the real deciders in elections, will move away from the Right. We may not see that movement in this election cycle, and the reason is clear. The Far economic branch of the Right has not held power in the recent decades, and thus no-one knows the disastrous consequences of their ideology. But once they gain power and start to implement it, their reign will be short lived.  Thus, as the Right embraces its Libertarian Bent, it will alienate those who it must desperately maintain.

And as the Angry WASP’s again dominate the scene within the GOP with their strong denunciation of amnesty or any sort of compassionate immigration reform they will alienate the Latino population, a population that is growing exponentially within the U.S. and will become a force to be reckoned with in the coming years. Similarly, as the GOP embraces the WASP mentality of “the other”, those who ascribe to religions such as Islam will start to feel persecution themselves and will vote against such persecution at the ballot box.
So how does the GOP plan on pacifying these three extremist groups within the party?  How does it plan on putting a damper on the rhetoric of such leaders as Palin, Boehner, Beck, and Limbaugh? As much as people want to hope that these leaders will be silenced, they will not. And this lack of silence; this pandering (and sometimes lack thereof) to the ideologues within the fringes of the Right, will be the GOP’s undoing.  Soon, if it wants to stay a viable party, it must address these extreme elements within its base. If it does not, Liberalism will once again reign supreme. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

On The Recent PCUSA Ruling Against Rev. Spahr

Many are decrying the recent ruling by the Presbytery of the Redwoods Permanent Judicial Commission on the rebuke of Reverend Jane Adams Spahr for officiating at same-sex marriage ceremonies when they were legal for the brief few months in California. The Commission found Rev. Spahr guilty of three violations of the PCUSAs law and Constitution.

Here were the following charges....

Charges against Jane Adams Spahr, a minister of Word and Sacrament:
1. On or about June 20, 2008, you, JANE ADAMS SPAHR, did commit the offense of representing that a same sex ceremony was a marriage by performing a ceremony in which two women, namely Sara Marjorie Taylor and Sherrie Ann Holmes, were married under the laws of the State of California in effect at that time, and thereafter signing their Certificate of Marriage as the person solemnizing the marriage. This action is in direct violation of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Book of Order. As authoritatively interpreted by the Permanent Judicial Commission of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (GAPJC) in its Decision and Order in Disciplinary Case 21812, Jane Adams Spahr v.Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), “…officers of the PCUSA authorized to perform marriages shall not state, imply, or represent that a same sex ceremony is a marriage. Under W4.9001, a same sex ceremony is not and cannot be a marriage.” This charge is sustained by a 4-2 vote.
2. You, JANE ADAMS SPAHR, persisted in a pattern or practice of disobedience concerning the aforementioned authoritative interpretation of the Book of Order, in that during the period between June 17, 2008 and November 3, 2008, when same sex marriages were valid and lawful under the laws of the State of California, you represented that no fewer than fifteen such additional ceremonies you performed were marriages of persons of the same sex. This charge is sustained by a 4-2 vote
3. By intentionally and repeatedly acting in violation of the above referenced authoritative interpretation of the Book of Order as set forth in Disciplinary Case 21812, you, JANE ADAMS SPAHR, failed to be governed by the polity of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in violation of your ordination vows. (W4.4003e) This charge is sustained by a 4-2 vote
4. By publicly, intentionally and repeatedly acting in violation of the Book of Order, you, JANE ADAMS SPAHR, have failed to further the peace, unity and purity of the church. (W4.4003g). 6-0 to NOT sustain this charge

Now what does the ruling actually say, and why was Rev. Spahr convicted on three of the four counts but not the last one. Before the LGBT community gets all up in arms about the ruling, as some are prone to do, let us examine the rational behind the Commissions findings...

We are constrained to accept that the following language in GAPJC Disciplinary Case 21812 is authoritative and should be followed until and unless modified: “We further hold that the officers of the PCUSA authorized to perform marriages shall not state, imply or represent that a same sex ceremony is a marriage. Under W4.9001, a same sex ceremony is not and cannot be a marriage.”
What this is saying is that because PCUSA doctrine and law says that a marriage is only between one man and one woman, since Rev. Spahr presided over a same-sex marriage she violated the law of the PCUSA. But the ruling does not stop there, and instead the Commission uses this opportunity to slam the denomination as a whole for its anti-marriage equality stance, when it said this....
We commend Dr. Spahr and give thanks for her prophetic ministry that for 35 years has extended support to “people who seek the dignity, freedom and respect that they have been denied” (W7.4002c), and has sought to redress “wrongs against individuals, groups, and peoples in the church, in this nation, and in the world” (W7.4002h).
In addition, we call upon the church to reexamine our own fear and ignorance that continues to reject the inclusiveness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.(G3.0401c)
We say this believing that we have in our own Book of Order conflicting and even contradictory rules and regulations that are against the Gospel. In this particular case, in W4.9001 we have inclusive and broad descriptive language about marriage, “Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the wellbeing of the entire human family.” This sentence is followed immediately by “Marriage is a civil contract between a woman and a man.” The language of the second statement draws on our cultural understanding today of marriage that is rooted in equality. But it is not faithful to the Biblical witness in which marriage was a case of property transfer because women were property. Nor does it specifically address same gender marriage.
Similarly, in the reality in which we live today, marriage can be between same gender as well as opposite gender persons, and we, as a church, need to be able to respond to this reality as Dr. Jane Spahr has done with faithfulness and compassion. In regard to charge #3 that Dr. Spahr has “intentionally and repeatedly acted in violation of the Book Of Order in violation of her ordination vows, (W4.4003e) we again recognize that while Dr. Spahr has done so, she has also followed the Book of Order by remembering that our confessions and church is subject to the authority of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, as the Scriptures bear witness to him. (G2.0200.)
In regard to charge #4, that Dr. Jane Adams Spahr has failed to further the peace, unity and purity of the church (W4.4003g), we commend Dr. Spahr for helping us realize that peace without justice is no peace.
As a commission, we give thanks for the courageous and heartrending testimonies of the married couples who shared with us their great hurt through the policies of our church. We also thank them for the joy in marriage they shared with us that that has brought healing in their lives and in their families through the ministry of Dr. Spahr. On behalf of the church, we ask for their forgiveness for the harm that has been, and continues to be, done to them in the name of Jesus Christ. 
We implore the Synod and General Assembly levels of our church to listen to these testimonies, which are now part of this record, to take them to heart, and to do what needs to be done to move us as a church forward on this journey of reconciliation.
Thus the Commission, even though it was forced to convict Rev. Spahr for violating church doctrine, it itself issued a very stern rebuke of the PCUSA church as a whole. It showed that being anti-marriage equality is not a position that Christ would have taken, and is in fact one that he would have embraced wholeheartedly. Hopefully in the coming years the PCUSA will change its position on gay marriage and embrace full equality within its Presbytery.

The Full Text of the Decision can be read here...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is the LGBT Community Hurting Itself in its Reaction to Ken Mehlman Coming Out?

To all my readers...the following post is one that I have been thinking about for some time now; it is a post which events of today and yesterday make it very very important that I post it. Please note that if you object to language usage then I would not read any further...I myself will not be using any, but I will be quoting people that are very fond of expletives. 

What makes us as the gay community stand out against those who strive against marriage equality, or equality for LGBT people in general? What type of attitude do we want to convey to the public at large? There seems to be alot of discussion and controversy in the LGBT community over how to deal with our opponents (or former opponents); do we combat the anger, hatred, and bigotry of our opponents with peace, love, respect, and forgiveness? Or do we instead stoop to the same low that they stoop to, and respond with anger, resentment, bitterness, and hatred of our own? I think that the responses in the LGBT community to former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman coming out yesterday are very very telling of how many of us choose to deal with such individuals. 

From the popular blog Joe.My.God. here are some comments on one of Joe Jervis' pages about the situation...

1. Oh, he's "gosh-darn sorry about those eleven states"!? This changes everything! I totally forgive him now! NOT! BURN THIS FUCKER AT THE STAKE! Nobody wants you around anymore you worthless coward. Go ahead and get it over with, Ken.
2. Slime Slime Slime, self hating "queer"  Sorry He will never be welcome in my community.  The harm he and his party has done cannot be measured  and I am shocked he has any friends.  Once a rat always a rat.  I wouldn't trust him farther than I can spit!  
3. Thanks for keeping this front and center Joe. We should not make it easy for this monster to join our ranks.
4. Stupid-Self-Loathing-Piece-Of-Shit. Just crawl off into a deep, dark hole and die already.
5. Rot in hell with your fuckbuddy Dumb Dubya you miserable FUCKWIT! 
And these my friends are just some of the comments on the JMG page. And though I realize that JMG readership does not pertain to the entirety of the LGBT community, I feel that the undercurrents of anger, bitterness, resentment, and hatred on that website (within some of the commenter's) are symbols of a bigger problem within the LGBT community.

To often we allow such anger and resentment to slide, because we tell ourselves "we have the right to be angry, because those people are persecuting and oppressing us". I have bought into that argument, yet does this attitude work? Does reveling in our anger against our oppressors actually accomplish anything? Yes it may feel good at the time, it may release some of the strain that we have to deal with in our hearts and minds, but is it productive in the grand scheme of things? Does our anger and virulent hatred against our opponents turn off the moderates instead of welcome them in?

Would any of us join in an angry protest in front of a church, yelling slurs like the fuck, cunt, bitch, piece of shit? Would any of us scream at the top of our lungs that these people are not deserving of any sort of life, and instead that they themselves should rot in the pit of hell?  No, we would not advocate doing such a thing, because that would make us no better than those "Christians" who oppose marriage equality and do that to us. Yet once we step into the realm of the online world, somehow that makes our insults and bitterness ok and acceptable, because we are angry and we should express our anger. Somehow the online world gives us the freedom to throw around racial slurs, homophobic comments, and expletives with no abandon? When I go onto anti-marriage equality websites to just read articles for this blog, I am amazed by the ignorance exhibited in their own comments section. People who are against us calling us names that I will not even repeat here. Yet I go to websites like JMG, and we are doing the same. I have had to delete comments on this blog because people have used it as a medium for angry diatribes; diatribes that have no place in a professional and respectful discussion.

Am I saying that we cannot be angry? Of course not; as my readers know, I am one who states things as they are very plainly, and sometimes even with a touch of anger. Yet should we use our anger to attack others? Absolutely NOT!! For to do so makes us no better than our opponents, and actually hurts our goal of equal rights. Our goal is to show the world that we are deserving of our rights (as sad as that statement seems), and anger, bitterness, and hatred do nothing to further that goal, it only alienates those people who would possibly come to our aid.

What do you all think about this topic? How should we deal with those who fight against us? How should we treat those like Ken Mehlman who want to be on our side yet have a "past"? What is the appropriate response? Your comments are appreciated...just remember be respectful.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

NOM's 2010 Marriage Tour Spin Video

Ahh...well here is National Organization for Marriage's "spin" on its Summer for Marriage Tour. Anyone who has been following the tour knows full well that the distortions and untruths that NOM has leveled against marriage equality activists in this video is highly unfounded. The video has naturally left out signs such as the one to your right (a sign which has become very familiar in the blogosphere...but I thought it deserved to be seen again) as well as the statements of people who were interviewed by the Courage Campaign. I would strongly recommend, if any of my readers have not already, to go to the Courage Campaigns NOM Tour Tracker website.

Oh and also, just because some selected African Americans state that marriage is not a civil right, does not mean that it isnt...but lets not let that put a damper on your bigoted - yes I did say bigoted - anti-equality parade.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wyoming Might Be the Next Marriage Equality Battle

Today two gay men, David-Shupe Roderick and Ryan W. Dupree filed a federal lawsuit aimed at eliminating the one-man one-woman marriage law Wyoming. Interestingly enough, Wyoming is one of the few states in the nation that does not have a constitutional amendment declaring marriage to be between a man and a woman; though such a amendment has been brought before the legislature it has failed to gain enough votes to be sent to the people for ratification.  The Mercury News Reports...
A gay couple has filed a federal lawsuit in Cheyenne challenging the Wyoming law that defines marriage as existing only between a man and a woman.
David Shupe-Roderick, 25, and Ryan W. Dupree, 21,—who are representing themselves in court, although neither is a lawyer—said the Laramie County Clerk's Office refused to issue them a marriage license on Aug. 9.
They are asking U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson to block Wyoming from enforcing any laws that block gays and lesbians from access to civil marriage.
"I've tried to kind of not rock the boat, so to speak, but there comes a time in everyone's life when there are things that are wrong and you have a moral duty to stand up and you have to advocate for what's right," Shupe-Roderick said Tuesday. "I think Ryan and I agree that this is something that is wrong, and it's something that needs to be changed."
However, Laramie County Clerk Debbye Balcaen Lathrop said she never met with Shupe-Roderick or Dupree on the issue and could find no one in her office who knows anything about denying a marriage license to the men.
"We're totally in the dark about this," Balcaen Lathrop said, adding she didn't know how her office would respond if it received such an application. It hasn't happened in the nearly 16 years she's been in office, she said.
The lawsuit was filed a week after a federal judge in California overturned that state's gay marriage ban, a case that could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Leigh Anne Manlove, spokeswoman for Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, said Tuesday that the administration intends to defend Wyoming's law vigorously but he couldn't comment beyond that because the case is in court.
Wyoming Attorney General Bruce Salzburg said Tuesday he hadn't reviewed the lawsuit and couldn't comment.
Existing Wyoming law says that only marriages between a man and a woman may be conducted in the state. However, the state currently must recognize marriages performed in other states, some of which allow same-sex marriages and civil unions.
Though I am happy whenever a lawsuit is filed on behalf of gay marriage, I feel as though this particular lawsuit is going to be handily defeated. Not meaning to belittle the plaintiffs in this case, but to go at it alone, without any sort of legal backup against a trained legal team from the Attorney Generals office, is very very foolish. I feel as though the plaintiffs, most likely having watched the situation in California and seeing the masterful arguments and logic of Boies and Olson, feel as though they might be able to duplicate these arguments and logic. Though this case will be an interesting one to watch, I fear that the plaintiffs hubris and lack of foresight in this case will be its undoing. 

Bigotry Reigns in the Mid-South

In todays news, the proposed non-discrimination ordinence in Memphis that was to be debated in the coming month has been withdrawn from consideration. From the Memphis Commercial Appeal
Supporters have withdrawn a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance, citing a lack of support from the Memphis City Council and the administration of Mayor A C Wharton. The Tennessee Equality Project and councilwoman Janis Fullilove this morning withdrew the proposed ordinance, which would prevent the city from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring or promotion of employees, and an accompanying resolution that would have included the ordinance’s language in city contracts.
Fullilove and TEP members said it was clear the ordinance, which was scheduled for the second of three readings this afternoon, lacked support from the 13-member council and Wharton’s administration, which said two weeks ago that it favors a more general ordinance approved by the Shelby County Commission earlier this year.
Michelle Bliss, vice chairwoman of the Shelby County Committee of the TEP, said council members were making decisions based on “fear and prejudice. At this time we don’t think we can get a fair hearing,” said Bliss. Fullilove said she was disappointed that she had to withdraw the legislation. “We’ve been working on that for three years now and we have some closed-minded people on the council,” said Fullilove. “They felt like if we could get Mayor Wharton to support it, we could get some of these other council members to support it.”
The Tennessee Equality Project had a very in-depth review of the situation in Memphis stating...
The withdrawal is designed to save Memphis City Government and the larger community from becoming a national disgrace in the movement to create an inclusive community that welcomes people from diverse backgrounds. 
On the first of three readings of the Employment Non-Discrimination Ordinance (ENDO) on Aug. 10, the Mayor of Memphis and the Memphis City Council made it clear that proposed legislation would not receive a fair hearing.  City Attorney Herman Morris announced that Mayor AC Wharton reversed his position supporting LGBT-inclusive workplace protections. Mayor Wharton pledged his support for LGBT-inclusive workplace protections during his campaign and again when working with the Tennessee Equality Project through the City Attorney’s office to write the proposed ordinance.
Also on August 10, the Memphis City Council displayed an unexpected bias against the proposed legislation that is rarely demonstrated on other matters brought before the Council.
City ordinances on first and second reading are routinely bundled into a consent agenda that appears at the end of the regular agenda during City Council meetings. The Council reviews each item in the consent agenda and then votes to approve or disapprove all of the items in bulk. The Council waits for the third reading to debate ordinances and opens the floor for public comment from citizens for input.
But that didn't happen at the first reading. Councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware objected to the inclusion of the ENDO and threatened to vote against the entire consent agenda if it was not voted on separately.
After the ENDO was knocked out of the consent agenda, Councilman Bill Morrison introduced a substitute ordinance that gutted the inclusive ENDO. His substitute ordinance contained no provisions protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. His substitute proposed protections based on non-merit factors that are already explicitly defined in current municipal, state, and federal law.

 Even though I have reported on the situation in Memphis before, it still astounds me that in a city where the National Civil Rights museum is located, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and where the effects of discrimination for who you are have been felt for over two hundred years, that there could be such virulent opposition from the City Council. What I sadly predicted would happen has come to pass...for the power of religion and bigotry truly reign supreme in the Mid-South. 

Marines Considering Separate Quarters If DADT is Repealed

The premier organization of the U.S. Armed Forces has sunk to a new a Pentagon Press Briefing today Marine Corps. Commandant General James Conway stated the following, from MSNBC...
Conway suggested that if the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law is repealed, the Marines may consider allowing Marines not to share quarters with homosexuals.
Conway said the Marines may make such housing arrangements "voluntary" to accommodate any "moral concerns." He said many Marines are "very religious" and because of their moral concerns "don’t want to room" with homosexuals.
And from Fox News...
 Marine Commandant General James Conway told reporters, "We have some people that are -- that are very religious, and I think in some instances -- I couldn't begin to give you a percentage -- but I think in some instances we will have people that say that homosexuality is wrong and they simply do not want to room with a person of that persuasion because it would go against their religious beliefs."
In response to why Marines appeared to have more of an issue with changing the policy than perhaps other branches of the military, he offered, "That's a tough question to answer because I'm not as familiar with the other services as I am my own Corps...we recruit a certain type of young American, a pretty macho guy or gal, that is willing to go fight and perhaps die for their country."
He added, "We are forced to live in close proximity aboard ship, in the field for long periods of time and that type of thing...and we'd just as soon not see it change."
I have already been over this in a previous post, but I feel as if i must go over it again. For the military to even consider this "separate" housing arrangements for those with "religious" concerns it gives us shows two things.

1. It establishes that your personal religious ideals are an acceptable excuse to avoid something you don't want to be around. There is nowhere in any religious view that says that you should not even be around someone who is gay. Yes many religions call it a sin, and that you should not practice it, but to be around a gay person is not a sin at all. Is being around said gay person going to make you gay yourself? Because religion does not say not to be around gay people, what is the actual reason.

2. The actual reasons for not wanting to be around gay people is both anti-gay animus and personal security. Because there is no true religious reason for anyone to not associate with gay people (in fact, the vast majority of military members are Christians - a religion whose founder associated with the dredges of society), it has to be for either of these two purposes. If it is the first, being anti-gay, then the soldiers are going to have to put their big girl panties on and learn to play with the adults. In the REAL world, not some fake world like these soldiers want to think they are in, you don't get to choose who and who you don't get to work with. So my message to the anti-gay soldiers is this - just grow up.  Now the other reason that they might object to sharing housing with gay service-members is because of their own lack of sexual security. Now this is a potent fear...because maybe they are afraid that if a gay man made a move on them (which btw in the military any sort of unwanted sexual advance is grounds for dismissal) that they might like it...Oh the Horror!! These soldiers are not secure in their own sexuality, so therefore they view openly gay service-members as a threat to their "sexual stability".
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