February 03, 2007

Upcoming Event: "Keeping Pace With God's Grace"

The National Black Justice Coalition is sponsoring the upcoming conference "Keeping Pace With God's Grace" in Philadelphia on March 10.

From the press release:

Over three hundred people from across the nation will gather to debate the issue of homosexuality and its role within the Black Church as well as provide solutions on how to create a welcoming and gay-affirming church.

Black iconic intellectuals such as the Rev. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson plus several other religious leaders both anti-gay and gay-affirming will headline the event and facilitate discussion ranging from HIV and the Black Church to debating the legitimacy of scripture referring to homosexuality.

This is one of the few occassions that I am aware of where there will be honest, balanced debate on issues relating to GLBT people and Christianity. Hopefully minds will be open and hearts changed when the word of God is honestly studied, especially at a conference where the African-American community is actively engaged.

Speaking Out for Gay Straight Alliances in Utah

The Sale Lake Tribune has an editorial strongly condemning an effort in the Utah state legislature that would effectively ban Gay Straight Alliances in Utah schools.

Given that Utah is hardly a bastion of progressive thought, it's a good sign that the largest newspaper in the state would take such a strong stand on this issue.

February 02, 2007

Equal Access to School Facilities

As reported by the Christian Post, a federal judge recently ruled that a branch of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes must be allowed the same rights to use school facilities as other non-religious clubs. Good.

"Equal access means equal access, and the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) should not be discriminated against just because they want to have a Christian club," (plaintiff attorney Joel L.) Oster said after the hearing.

Despite the district's claims, Oster said this case was about religious issues.

"The message we want to get out there is that Christians are not second-class citizens," Oster said. "... They are entitled to their views, and they are entitled to free expression of those views."

Now if you substitute the phrase "Gay-Straight Alliance" for "Christian" in these quotes, you truly have equal access. However, the more frequent situation is for school districts to accept these Christian clubs and discriminate against the GSA clubs.

The same rules need to apply to all who wish to access public facilities.

February 01, 2007

How About More Focus on Saving Heterosexual Marriage?

That's the theme of this op-ed piece in the Madison (Wisconsin) Times.

I've got a suggestion for Julaine Appling and her colleagues at the euphemistically named Family Research Institute of Wisconsin, the state chapter of the organization founded by Christian bomb thrower James Dobson: Quit worrying about homosexual marriage and get to work saving the heterosexual ones.

We don't need same-sex marriage to "destroy" the institution of marriage. Heterosexual couples have done a pretty good job of that already.

Of course, focusing efforts on denying homosexual couples the right to marry draws attention away from that painfully obvious fact, doesn't it? Organizations aren't going to have nearly the same level of success with their fund raising campaigning against divorce, now would they?

January 31, 2007

Anti-Gay Measures Stirring up GLBT Activists in "Red" States

A while back, I posted about a story telling how anti-gay initiatives in Kansas had stirred up more visible and active support for GLBT equality than had ever been present in the state. According to this report in the Washington Blade, this situation has also developed in numerous so-called "red" states across the Midwest.

“The silver lining from these ballot measures is that they triggered the building of a GLBT movement in these states,” (Equality Federation executive director Toni) Broaddus said. “We may be losing these fights now, but we are building our capacity to grow and build more public support in the long run.”

The fight for equality will not be won in the short-term, but merely having more people engage in the battle pushes the issues closer to resolution.

January 30, 2007

Do They Really Need This?

According to this report in the Casper, Wyoming Star-Tribune, a bill has been introduced in the Wyoming state legislature that would void same-sex marriages legally performed in another state or country for couples who moved to Wyoming.

Are there gay and lesbian couples lining up to relocate into Wyoming? Doubtful.

Carrie Evans, state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group, echoed that: "Surely the Wyoming legislature has real problems to deal with.

"But a co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Owen Petersen, R-Mountain View, said the measure is extremely important. "In the past 30 years, most of the statistics support the fact that with the loss of marriage and a stable home environment there are more adverse impacts on society with crime and with various other things that cause a deterioration of our whole country," Petersen said.

This representative uses curious logic, because to protect the deterioration of the whole country, he is proposing to do exactly what he says is the cause by dissolving marriages.

Of course, if rules of logic applied to this debate there would be a whole lot less people on the other side.

January 29, 2007

Equality is Great, But Safety Comes First

GLBT activists and their allies are focused on issues like same-sex marriage, acceptance of gays and lesbians in the church, and the prevention of discrimination. There are more basic issues we can lose sight of, however. One of them is the personal safety of a GLBT person who is out in a hostile environment, like, say, South Dakota.

Here is the story of one such person published in the Washington Blade. While the fight for equal rights is important, let's not lose sight of those who have to deal with concerns for their very survival on a daily basis.

January 28, 2007

GLAAD Lobbying For Equality in Wedding Announcements

GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has been working hard lobbying newspapers to carry announcemtns of same-sex weddings, civil unions, and committment ceremonies. According to this report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, editors at 883 daily newspapers across the United States have agreed to publish these notices.

So far, however, only 319 papers have actually printed them, and GLAAD is now trying to encourage same-sex couples to take advantage of this opportunity and announce themselves to their community. Information is posted in GLAAD's website regarding which newspapers have agreed to participate.

If you are part of a couple that is stepping forward and making a committment to each other, please allow me to encourage you to make this public declaration and let everyone know just how serious you are.