Tag Archives: gay marriage

Hate Teach-in

5 Apr

An assembly was held at a Minneapolis area Catholic School recently – it was mandatory for seniors and was on the subject of marriage.  It started out well, but suddenly veered into ugly territory

“The first three-quarters of the presentation were really good,” said Bliss. “They talked about what is marriage and how marriage helps us as a society. Then it started going downhill when they started talking about single parents and adopted kids. They didn’t directly say it, but they implied that kids who are adopted or live with single parents are less than kids with two parents of the opposite sex. They implied that a ‘normal’ family is the best family.”

“When they finally got to gay marriage, [students] were really upset,” said Bliss. “You could look around the room and feel the anger. My friend who is a lesbian started crying, and people were crying in the bathroom.”

The diocese won’t talk, and the school won’t say who gave the speech. The kids – to their credit – challenged the speaker on these points, as well as his opinions on same sex marriage

The kicker is that Minnesota will be holding a referendum on same-sex marriage, and these high school seniors will be eligible to vote right around the time it’s held. This was an attempt by the diocese – which is obviously vehemently opposed to the measure – to persuade or intimidate a captive audience into backing its political agenda. 

A priest and a volunteer couple presented the information. When someone asked a question about two men being able to have a quality, committed relationship, the couple compared their love to bestiality, Bliss said.

“Most people got really upset,” said Bliss. “And comments about adopted kids, I found those to be really offensive. There were at least four kids there who are adopted.”

Hannah, who is adopted, said one of the presenters said that adopted kids were “sociologically unstable.” She called the comments “hurtful” and comparisons between gay love and bestiality upsetting.

“My friend said, ‘You didn’t just compare people to animals, did you?'” said Hannah. “I think everyone has a right to their opinion, and I don’t judge them on it. But we don’t force people to sit down so we can tell them their opinion is wrong.”

Bestiality?!

It’s an interesting conundrum – the Church opposes contraception, opposes abortion, and – evidently – has some problems with adoption, as well. That sort of narrows a couple’s options, doesn’t it? The school should be ashamed of permitting this hate speech to be presented by clergy to a captive audience.

The diocese – well, with the Church’s permissive nature ranging to the downright enabling of child abuse by a multitude of priests throughout the world, I’m not surprised by its chutzpah or hubris at trying to persuade young minds to become hateful. 

I generally don’t take advice from people who have no experience in the matter being advised. I also think that it runs counter to Jesus’ teachings to preach hatred – to compare loving couples who aren’t bothering anyone to animals, or to suggest that adopted children are socially defective. 

You don’t have to support same sex marriage or adoption, you don’t even have to like it or tolerate it. What you shouldn’t do is go in front of a group of young adults – some of whom are gay and adopted – and tell them that they’re less than human; that they are broken or need fixing. 

That sort of thinking and dogma never, ever ends well. 

Separation of Sex and State

28 Feb

That former Congressman Chris Lee was so attracted to cross-dressers and transsexuals should not be a source of ridicule and derision.  People in a free country can – and ought to have the right to –  love, or have sex with, any willing partner. That Lee betrayed traditional family values is none of our business, and that he trolled Craigslist for dates with women, and women with penises alike, is newsworthy for its lack of good judgment, but were he a private citizen it would not be our concern – no big deal. His hasty self-return to private life is now explained. As a public figure, it matters because his brazen Craigslist hookups and flailing cover-up were not just hypocritical, but indiscreet.

Likewise, it’s not the kind of sex they like that holds David Vitter, Chris Lee, and Larry Craig up to ridicule or congressional censure, but the poor judgment of hiring and soliciting prostitutes, or soliciting sex in public restrooms. As far as Mark Foley was concerned, he showed poor judgment and also abused his power by soliciting young congressional pages. That they were male ought be immaterial.  It’s 2011; it’s OK to be gay.

That local developer Carl Paladino is out partying at a local lesbian bar with women who don’t look like Cathy Hannon Paladino is and isn’t interesting.  It isn’t interesting because you can’t decipher the whole story from one photograph posted to Reddit, but what it does is at least conceptually confirm the story that comedian Kristen Becker told during last year’s gubernatorial campaign. Becker (from WNYMedia.net partner Buffalo Comedy.com), explained that Paladino had been to Roxy’s and said some not-nice and un-governor-y things to her. Paladinoists figured it was absurd to even consider that Uncle Carl would ever set foot in a lesbian nightclub.  It’s 2011; it’s ok to be gay, or curious, or straight.

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So if it’s ok for so many prominent conservative Republicans to be gay, or gay-curious, why don’t they just lay off their uncloseted brothers and sisters? Whether a Republican politician is a Bible-thumper or not, the GOP platform re-asserts the fact that gay-on-gay sex is un-American, icky, as well as being socially and politically unacceptable. Roxy partier Paladino said this last year:

I didn’t march in the Gay Pride parade this year. My opponent did. There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. That’s not how God created us, and that’s not the example that we should be showing our children – and certainly not in our schools,

So, Paladino has established that gays aren’t worth giving rights to, aren’t “functional”, aren’t “how God” created them, and are a bad example. Yet he flip-flopped when it came to his own nephew, and his own proclivity to party in bars that cater to homosexual females; Paladino, who just last week wrote a lengthy missive insulting Donn Esmonde, containing a line averring that Chris Lee just had a “bad day”.

It all underscores the fact that the Republican anti-gay platform merely panders to the radical Christian fundamentalists who partly puppeteer that party. There are plenty of LGBT Republicans, and their personal, private sexual lives are nobody’s business. It’s ok to be a gay Republican.

Imagine what a better country this would be if sexuality was divorced (so to speak) from politics. If homophobia was excised from politics and from parties’ platforms, the only place it would remain socially acceptable would be in the pews, prayers, and pulpits of radically fundamentalist houses of worship. Imagine if the very first public proclamation by Republican congressional candidates didn’t involve homophobia.

The Republican Party used to stand for less government, (despite never practicing what they preach). Yet when it comes to sexuality, they out-Puritan the Puritans, which makes it exquisitely embarrassing when someone with an (R) after their name is caught outside the wife-two-kids norm.

Let Chris Lee date all the “passable transsexuals/cross-dressers” he wants. Let Carl Paladino watch all the gay porn, and patronize all the gay bars, he wants.

Whenever the topic turns to treating homosexuals like people, some cretin will chime in with an uninformed slippery slope argument about how tolerance of gay unions will lead to bestiality, pedophilia, and polygamy. It’s a false equivalence; those three activities are victimization and abuse; of kids, of animals, and of multiple women. It’s those kinds of “arguments” that hamstring rational discussion about this particular issue – because its terms are dictated and framed by the radical fundamentalists and their puppets.

Sexuality has nothing to do with running the country. It’s time to legalize gay marriage – by Constitutional amendment if necessary – and to completely separate sexuality and state. Chris Lee and Carl Paladino will thank you.

All Men & Women are Created Equal

9 Aug

Ted Olsen was George W. Bush’s Solicitor General, and he is now busily arguing that because marriage is a fundamental Constitutional right, states nor citizens have the right to prohibit gay Americans from exercising that right with the people they love. A state cannot legally ban interracial marriage. School integration cannot be undone by referendum. Fundamental constitutional rights cannot be abrogated by state statute or plebiscite.

What follows is a basic lesson in Constitutional civil rights jurisprudence:

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Gay Marriage PAC Targets Stachowski

7 Jul

Campaign mailings can often be hilarious and vicious, and because of how they’re targeted, they oftentimes fly under the general population’s radar. So, please feel free to send along the better mailers to WNYMedia.net offices or by emailing them to this address or this one.

Here’s one going around being sent by a pro-marriage-equality PAC called “Fight Back New York“:

Here’s its statement to the issue:

Sen. Stachowski’s voted against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers at every turn, whether it’s nondiscrimination protections or marriage equality.

Sen. Stachowski’s been part of the dysfunctional New York State Senate for far too long — 30 years. He does not represent fair-minded New Yorkers, and it’s time we hold him accountable. Remember the hard-hitting tactics we used to help keep anti-equality Hiram Monserrate from office this spring? We’ll be engaging in similar targeted outreach to voters in Sen. Stachowski’s district. It’s time our elected officials learned that they can’t vote against equality and expect to be voted back into office.

Democrats Tim Kennedy and Mike Kuzma are running against Stachowski in the Democratic primary.

HT Towle Road

Marriage Equality Fails in New York

2 Dec

Did you know that in the state of New York, a 14 year-old can get married, provided he or she has parental consent and also obtains the approval of the court?

Yet it is illegal for a gay couple to be married and not only legalize and solemnize their union, but to enjoy the rights and privileges that married couples take for granted.

Did you know that about 130,000 weddings were performed in New York State last year?

Chances are you maybe attended or cared about only a handful of them.  A dozen, tops?  The other 129,988 or so know nothing about and have no effect on your life.  If gay marriage was added to that mix, it would have just as negligible an effect.

On Wednesday, the New York State Senate did something quite remarkable.  As the Brennan Center’s ReformNY blog points out, the state Senate committed premeditated democracy in the first degree.

today, for the first time, the Senate created a public record as to where its members stand on the issue of marriage. While some Senators were outspoken in their support for or opposition to the bill, it was never 100% clear until today who the five or six democratic holdouts were, and the fact that the bill lost by the margin it did was a surprise to most who have been following this issue closely.

Openness and accountability are critically important to representative government. In the past, leadership has shielded members from having to take votes on controversial issues and the result has been that voters haven’t known who to blame for a bill’s failure to pass. That’s bad for New York, because it keeps the legislature from tackling difficult issues, and it’s bad for New Yorkers, because they lose the ability to hold their members accountable.

One thing we are pretty sure of is that many, many New Yorkers will know how their Senators voted on gay marriage when they go to the polls next November. That’s the kind of significant information they haven’t had in the past. The majority of New Yorkers who support same-sex marriage and those who oppose it will now have a better opportunity to make sure that their views are reflected in the votes of their elected representatives.

The Senate leadership permitted a bill to reach the floor without a guarantee of passage.  That is practically unheard-of, and represents a silver lining to the crushing disappointment of today’s vote.

The fact that this is a practically unprecedented silver lining is as pathetic as it is significant.

As far as our local Senators are concerned, only Antoine Thompson voted in favor of permitting gay couples to marry.  Republican Senator Dale Volker, who has been in the Senate since the early 70s and is a glaring symbol of entrenched Albany failure and out-of-touchedness voted against marriage equality.  Republican Senator from Newfane George Maziarz, who is a pretty smart and talented politician voted against it, too.  East Amherst’s Michael Ranzenhofer also predictably voted to keep gay marriage illegal.  Notably, Democratic State Senator Bill Stachowski continues to prove on a daily basis that he is as useless an anachronism as Volker, and he voted to maintain the ban on gay marriage.

Stachowski’s vote is explained by this press release:

“On behalf of the Bishops of New York State, we are extremely pleased and grateful that the New York State Senate in a bipartisan vote rejected the concept that marriage can be anything other than the union of one man and one woman.

“While the Catholic Church rejects unjust discrimination against homosexual men and women, there is no question that marriage by its nature is the union of one man and one woman. Advocates for same-sex ‘marriage’ have attempted to portray their cause as inevitable. However, it has become clear that Americans continue to understand marriage the way it has always been understood, and New York is not different in that regard. This is a victory for the basic building block of our society.”

The Catholic Conference represents New York State’s Bishops in matters of public policy.

Imagine that.  A group of celibates injecting themselves into a secular political debate over marriage.  Bishops throwing their weight around over matters of public policy that affect not just Catholics, but New Yorkers of every faith, or none.  To me, it’s despicable.  The proposed legislation posed no threat – real or imagined – to the exercise of the Catholic faith.  The same clergy that for decades denied and covered up the most despicable crimes against children has the nerve to moralize over the relationships entered into by consenting adults.  The Church’s moral authority on this evaporated years ago.

And the “National Organization for Marriage” (which runs the coincidentally named 2M4M) veritably gloated:

The New York state senate just rejected gay marriage 38 to 24. Praise God!

And thank you. NOM spent $600,000 reaching out to voters through phone calls and television and radio ads to make sure politicians heard from ordinary voters like you.

Gay marriage inevitable? Don’t believe the lie! You can make a difference and we at NOM are so proud to work with you and millions of other ordinary Americans who know in their hearts that marriage IS the union of husband and wife.

It has been a real privilege to work alongside so many state leaders determined to protect marriage in New York. Special thanks to Rev. Jason McGuire of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms for his tireless efforts on the ground, and to State Senator Ruben Diaz who was in his office praying before the vote and has been a true leader on this issue.

And to all of you in New York, a special thank you. I know sometimes we ask you over and over again to make phone calls and emails to your elected officials, but it is your phone calls and emails that ultimately made the difference today. Up until the last minute, Sen. Tom Duane was assuring everyone that he had the votes to pass the bill. But when push came to shove, New York legislators listened to their constituents and soundly rejected same-sex marriage.

This great victory will reverberate up and down America, putting the fear of God–and the American voter–into the hearts of weak-kneed and weak-willed politicians everywhere.

Usually, I don’t ask for donations in victory emails like this, but I feel I must make you aware of our urgent needs today. We have totally over-extended ourselves in the fight to protect marriage in Maine, New York, and New Jersey. Our accounts are empty, and we desperately need to raise funds now so that we are ready when the next fight arises.

Will you please give generously today? Click here to make a secure online donation of $35, $50, $100, or even $1000 if you have the means. Thank you! Today is a day to celebrate!

Imagine a group gloating like that after preventing, say, the passage of a bill legalizing the marriage between a black person and white person.

Two things about gay marriage:  1. it’s a basic human right to let a loving couple legalize their union.  Preventing gays from marrying is no different from Jim Crow’s anti-miscegenation laws. 2. Even if you are personally vehemently opposed to gay marriage on religious or moral grounds, so?  It doesn’t hurt you, doesn’t affect you, doesn’t touch your life in any way.  None whatsoever.  It isn’t just a victimless crime like pot-smoking, it’s a victimless non-crime.

I frankly don’t care about which lobbying group the Pride Agenda retained to ensure that the votes would be there, because in the end the votes weren’t there.  But the people of New York are in favor of gay marriage.  By a small margin, but in favor of legalization nonetheless.

In a state where a 14 year-old pre-teen can be married with relative ease, it defies logic, decency, and common-sense to prevent a gay couple from obtaining a marriage license and getting hitched.  The law never would have required churches to perform ceremonies that they’re opposed to.  It wasn’t going to be a rule that took away religious rights, but one that bestowed the same rights to gay couples that straight couples enjoy.

I’m sorry that this simple, humane legislation failed today, and I hope that Volker, Ranzenhofer, Stachowski, and Maziarz are made to answer for their votes day in, day out until their re-election bids come up. And thanks to Antoine Thompson for being the only local state Senator for doing the right and fair thing today.

Dale Volker: volker@senate.state.ny.us

Bill Stachowski: stachows@senate.state.ny.us

George Maziarz: maziarz@senate.state.ny.us

Mike Ranzenhofer: ranz@senate.state.ny.us

Antoine Thompson: athompso@senate.state.ny.us

Champions of Traditional Marriage

24 Jun

And here is marriage advice from Governor Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina) to a since-deleted blog:

Dear Stephen,

Thanks for your letter, and congratulations on your wedding in June. You were generous enough to ask for a few pearls of wisdom on the marriage front, so here are a few thoughts from one who has yet to earn all his marriage badges in this chapter of life.

If memory serves me correctly, I’m thinking about a Scott Peck book called The Road Less Traveled. This book, or one I’m confusing with it, talks about moving from independence or dependence to interdependence. My sense of an ideal marriage – and it takes experiences together, time and maturity to reach this point – is that you have the union of two people perfectly able to stand on their own. They come together knowing that their lives will be more fulfilling and meaningful by choosing to build a life together. In this regard, view your marriage as a partnership, and extend to your wife the same courtesies in communication you would extend your business partner. Suprisingly a lot of couples don’t, and from unintentional and small communication lapses grow big differences. Jenny and I try to consult with one another a lot, and it has paid dividends.

Forgive – and forget. Apologize. In James the Bible says never let the sun set on your anger. It is great advice. If you have to stay up all night fussing until the issue is resolved, do it. Don’t let
anyone go to bed brooding because only bad will grow from it. In resolving these issues, take Steven Covey’s advice from his book The Seven Habits. He says seek first to understand – then to be understood.

The Bible charges men with the role of head of household. We set the tone and among other things are responsible for the spiritual condition of the household. Be willing to assume leadership. Part of that means to love her when that is not the mood of the day, she will respond, but you have to consistently take that all important first step. God gave you a mission in life, be sure to in some way incorporate her in it. She will be thankful and like all women want to be part of a mission impossible that is bigger than just cleaning dishes and washing the baby’s diaper.

Thank her for the little things she does. I do a poor job of this, and it is worth focusing on.

Keep it fun. Don’t let spontaneity die. Take time to smell the roses along the all too short path called life.

My life has been made richer by our friendship Stephen. Thank you again for it and again congratulations.

Sincerely,

Mark Sanford

The difference, dear reader, is that Republicans constantly moralize to people about family values. Otherwise, no one would really care a lot. If you oppose gay marriage and say it will harm traditional marriage, I’d argue that the actions of Mssrs. Sanford and Ensign are worse.

Joe Bruno Supports Gay Marriage

11 Jun

You read that right. According to this site, via Andrew Sullivan,

“It’s time. Now. For the government to back off, let people make their own life decisions, and about how they care about and who they don’t care about….”

Could this be a green light to the Republicans in the State Senate to vote in favor of marriage equality as a ploy to cajole more Democrats to switch over to the “reform coalition”?

Yesterday there was much wrangling back and forth with each side trying to convince folks from the other to switch over. Monserrate is hedging, and a few others are also in the process of being bribed convinced to switch.

Frankly, I’d rather Monserrate never caucus or vote with the Democrats again. Same with Espada. They’re both scumbags, they’ve thrown their lot in with scumbags as part of a quid pro quo, and we should be through with them.

I don’t want a countercoup. I just want the Senate to get back to playing make-believe when it comes to doing the “people’s business”.

I can hear you laughing from here.

Gay Marriage, Prop 8 & Obama

28 May

Because I’m not from Gulli-fornia, I haven’t paid exquisite attention to the Prop 8 battle. In a nutshell, the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Opponents put forth Prop 8, a ballot question to ban gay marriage, and it won by a narrow margin. There was a great deal of controversy over the fact that the Mormon Church was extremely active and raised a lot of money to pass Prop 8.

Naturally, a lawsuit was brought to overturn Prop 8. One of the attorneys representing proponents of gay marriage/opponents of Prop 8 is former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson.

Here’s an explanation of why Olson is advocating for gay marriage (original from this article):

“I personally think it is time that we as a nation get past distinguishing people on the basis of sexual orientation and that a grave injustice is being done to people by making these distinctions,” Olson told me Tuesday night. “I thought their cause was just.”

I asked Olson about the objections of conservatives who will argue that he is asking a court to overturn the legitimately-expressed will of the people of California. “It is our position in this case that Proposition 8, as upheld by the California Supreme Court, denies federal constitutional rights under the equal protection and due process clauses of the constitution,” Olson said. “The constitution protects individuals’ basic rights that cannot be taken away by a vote. If the people of California had voted to ban interracial marriage, it would have been the responsibility of the courts to say that they cannot do that under the constitution. We believe that denying individuals in this category the right to lasting, loving relationships through marriage is a denial to them, on an impermissible basis, of the rights that the rest of us enjoy…I also personally believe that it is wrong for us to continue to deny rights to individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

That argument is as persuasive as it is reasonable. And if a referendum is passed that is contrary to the rights set forth in the Constitution, it must be stricken.

This is all interesting not only from a gay marriage standpoint, but it’s relevant in terms of what now passes for a debate over Sonia Sotomayor. You don’t think the court makes policy? Of course it does. It does so with every decision it makes, negatively or affirmatively. Everything the Court does is important from a Constitutional perspective, and when it affirms or overturns a statute or the result of a case, it is setting policy. Every. Single. Time.

It’s a co-equal branch of government, not some completely independent body that sits off on the sidelines deciding random cases. It is an integral part of our system of checks and balances. Like the other two co-equal branches of government, it sets policy. To say otherwise is silly.

With that said, when die-hard conservatives like Ted Olson can come to the conclusion that gay marriage is an equal protection issue protected by the Constitution, then there’s no reason why the Obama Administration or any Democrat should be reticent about supporting gay marriage. And if you don’t want to call it gay marriage, then we get into a semantic argument that serves no purpose. Call it Fred for all I care, so long as gay couples can have their relationships legally recognized, together with the rights that every other married couple enjoys.

The California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8, and now it’ll be hopefully on its way to the United States Supreme Court.

Liberty™ – It’s Like Being an Only Child…

16 May

An only child…on an island…alone.

This is the strangest, most petulantly self-indulgent, disturbing blog post in recent memory. And blog posts are generally well renowned for being petulant, self-indulgent, and disturbing.

Stachowski & Gay Marriage in the NY Senate

15 May

Buffalo Geek runs down the way Democratic State Senators will likely vote for the pending marriage equality bill.

Bill Stachowski says,

“He’s not going to vote for it,” Stachowski spokesman Bob Koshinski said. “He has no problem with same-sex civil unions, but does not want to get into the marriage-classification area.”

Kudos to Antoine Thompson for signing on as a co-sponsor of the bill. The New York Post identifies four likely Democratic “no” votes:

Darrel Aubertine (Watertown), Ruben Diaz Sr. (Bronx), William Stachowski (Buffalo) and David Valesky (Syracuse)

Thanks, Stack.

The law makes amendments to existing Domestic Relations Law as follows:

So, it permits civil marriage between gay people. It expressly prohibits anyone from forcing any clergy from performing a gay marriage if they don’t wish to do so. It doesn’t get more clear-cut and fair than that.

Ask Stack what his problem is with this bill.