October 20, 2006

Should Gay Rand epublicans Be Outed?

In the wake of the Foley scandal, that has become one of the hot button questions in politics and the GLBT community these days.

Blogger Ann Althouse offers her opinion:

"Honestly, I think these creepy, gleeful efforts at outing will only make social conservatives more conservative, and they will continue to look to the Republican party to serve their needs."

These is also a spirited conversation on this topic in the comment section (270 comments at this posting).

Andrew Sullivan shares a similar opinion on the topic.

"Look: I loathe the closet. I despise the hypocrisy in the Republican party. But a witch-hunt is a witch-hunt. If the gay left thinks it will advance gay dignity by using tactics that depend on homophobia to work, that violate privacy, that demonizes gay people, then all I can say is: they are wrong."

Michael Reagan goes on the counter attack:

"Mike Rogers is a scandalmonger who calls himself a "Gay activist blogger" devoted to "outing" alleged closet-gay Republicans."

"He's outing all of these targets, not caring who he hurts, simply because they don't agree with the radical gay agenda. There is no outrage from the Democrats or the media that there is somebody out there punishing conservatives who don't agree with the liberal gay agenda. "

Here's my take:

As a rule, I'm not in favor of outing myself. I've learned how traumatic an experience it can be and don't think anyone else should make that decision for someone unless there are serious mitigating circumstances.

I do belive, however, that a closeted gay person actively working to restrict the rights of other GLBT people makes them fair game to being outed. It's one thing for a person to have their own issues with self-loathing and inability to accept themselves, it's quite another for them to direct that energy into harming others by working to shape public policy.

Since integrity and motivation are often questioned by people on different sides of an issue, in my view the notion of if any Republicans or their staffers in Congress (the party that has tried to make discrimination against GLBT people part of the U. S. Constitution) are closeted gay people belongs on the table.

If they are lying about that, what else are they lying about?

I'd appreciate your thoughts on an issue that is colored in shades of grey.

October 19, 2006

James Dobson and his "Sheeple"

This column in the Denver Post starts out:

"There's a reason followers of the reactionary James Dobson are called "sheeple."
As chairman of the $145 million-a-year propaganda organization Focus on the Family, Dobson is the ultimate puppet master, giving conservative members of Congress marching orders in exchange for votes from his flock. "

This column goes on to show how Dobson's organization, now a Political Action Committee posing as a religious ministry, influences the votes of millions of people.

The columnist, Cindy Rodriguez, concludes:

"So wouldn't a person of strong moral values at least chide (Hastert for his inaction?

Nope. Not when you are a puppet master of members of Congress who use the name of God to pass laws that take away civil rights in exchange for campaign contributions and the promise of votes from the flock. A man of real moral values would urge Congress to increase college Pell grants, expand work training programs, and offer struggling working- class families subsidized day care.

Instead, he vilifies gay people as people who are destroying marriage. Dobson talks about having a pro-life agenda, but never speaks out against the deaths of more than 2,700 American troops in Iraq, or against capital punishment, which is really a euphemism for state-sponsored murder.
The sad part is the sheeple don't see the hypocrisy and don't realize they're being used."

Jesus didn't teach anything about selective morality. Dr. Dobson came up with that on his own.

October 18, 2006

Condi Rice Swears In (gasp!) a Gay Guy!

Boy, does the religious right have their collective undies twisted in a knot after this. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice swore in Mark Dybul as the nation's new global AIDS coordinator, a position that ranks him as an ambassador. Dybul is openly gay and the bible at his swearing in ceremony was held by his partner Jason Claire. During the ceremony, Secretary Rice referred to Claire's mother as Dybul's "mother-in-law." Yep, you could practically hear right-winger's underwear getting twisted up as those words came out of Rice's mouth.

Of course, religious right leaders responded, well, about like you would expect them to.

Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, says the secretary's comments were "profoundly offensive" and fly in the face of the Bush administration's endorsement of a federal marriage protection amendment, though that backing be less than enthusiastic.

"We have to face the fact that putting a homosexual in charge of AIDS policy is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse," says Sprigg. "But even beyond that, the deferential treatment that was given not only to him but his partner and his partner's family by the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is very distressing."

Actually, I find his comments "profoundly offensive."

October 17, 2006

Info On GLBT History Month

The Equality Forum has put up an excellent web site in conjunction with GLBT History Month.

Found at http://www.glbthistorymonth.com/glbthistorymonth/, the site features the biography of an individual important to GLBT history every day for the month of October. The people covered range from Oscar Wilde to Sheryl Swoopes, Elton John to Barney Frank, etc.

I encourage you to check it out.

Research Shows Kids of Gay Parents Do Just Fine

To anyone with an open mind or who knows of any children raised by same-sex parents, this is a true DUH headline, but the fact that is was published in the mainstream press will hopefully make some people reconsider their position on adoption by gay parents.

The story in the Madison, Wisconsin State Journal, a state with gay marriage prohibition on the ballot this November, quotes NYU sociology professor Judith Stacey, who claims that anti-gay marriage groups have been dishonest in the way they used data from a study she conducted five years.

I'll give you a moment to get over the shock of that statement.

Moving forward, Stacey has updated her study with new research over the last five years.

"I have been surprised that the differences so far seem to be smaller than I would have guessed," Stacey said.

Stacey, who has always supported gay marriage, is co-authoring an update to the first article that looks at some 80 studies of gay and lesbian parents, single mothers and fathers and their children from several countries.

In the first article, Stacey's study examined potential limitations in the studies' samples of human subjects and methods. Today, there are still holes in what we know, she said, noting that many studies of same-sex parents have focused on well-to-do whites and have neglected minorities and the poor.

But she said a new wave of research is "much solider now," addressing more of those issues as well as children such as Hill, who were born into families of same-sex parents rather than to opposite-sex parents who later split up and took same-sex partners.

"The kids are fine. There's no evidence whatsoever that children of gay and lesbian parents have noticeably different outcomes on mental health," Stacey said of the findings. "They turn out at least as well.

These children may turn out somewhat better, she added. "It's not because of the sexuality but because of selection factors. It's because these are wanted children," Stacey said, noting that same-sex couples have to deliberately set out to conceive or adopt children. "When you're looking at heterosexual parenting, you have a lot of accidental" pregnancies.

There is a lot of interesting detail in the State Journal article, along with the obligatory dissenting opinion by a tool of Focus on the Family, that is worth reading.

Will There Be Success at the Polls for Same-Sex Marriage?

It could happen according to this USA Today article.

"It could be a watershed year," said Carrie Evans, state legislative director at the Human Rights Campaign, a gay and lesbian advocacy group.

Heading into next month's elections, opponents have gone 19 for 19 in winning state ballot initiatives that banned same-sex marriage, winning an average 70% of the votes.

That could change this year, however. Colorado could be the first state to vote in favor of same-sex domestic partnerships, and polls in Arizona and South Dakota are both running against banning same-sex marriage.

If these numbers hold up, that will fly in the face of the religious right's two favorite arguements in opposition; the voice of the majority and the overreach of activist judges.

I wonder what they'll come up in those states? I instinctively cringe at the thought.

October 16, 2006

"Ex-Gay" Lies and God's Love

About a month ago, I linked to a piece in The Advocate by a young man named Kyle Rice, who wrote about why he hated being gay.

Today, I'm linking to a response in the same place by Timothy Kinkaid, who writes for the outstanding site "Ex-Gay Watch." Tim was, like Kyle, raised as a conservative Christian and wrote this piece because Kyle's "reminded me of where I came from."

As I would have expected, Tim's piece is well written with compassion and empathy, encouraging Kyle not to head down the "ex-gay" path. Here's an excerpt:

"But the most damaging and difficult lie of all is that you cannot be gay and Christian.
I don't say that because I think Christians should never try to change their orientation. I say that because the vast majority of people who do try will never experience such a change.
And when they finally give up their long, futile struggle, they often believe that this means they must also abandon their faith. I pray that when you discover you have not become straight you will not then believe that you must give up your relationship with God."

I continue my prayers for Kyle and also give thanks for gay men like Tim who have walked through the fire of condemnation and doubt and emerged stronger for it.

Gay Animals Are Part of Nature

I don't really go looking for this stuff, but when I find it I post it because it does support the message I try to get across here.

As reported in The Advocate, a museum exhibition in Oslo, Norway, funded in part by the nation's government, provides extensive evidence of wide-spread homosexuality in the animal domain.

In a statement by the exhibitors, they said "We may have opinions on a lot of things, but one thing is clear—homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom; it is not against nature."

Geir Soeli, the project leader of the exhibit, titled "Against Nature," told Reuters: "Homosexuality has been observed for more than 1,500 animal species and is well-documented for 500 of them."

There are more details in the article (some a tad lurid), including the obligatory "burn in hell" statement from a Christian group in Norway, and some theories about why homosexuality survives among animals.

There's that darned science again, screwing everybody up with their facts and research.