June 21, 2008

Report on American Family Outing Visit to Saddleback Church

From Soulforce.org:

Eight of our families met with Saddleback ministers and staff for lunch and conversation. Saddleback staff shared their efforts to reduce hurtful language in their materials on gays and lesbians and their passion for HIV/AIDS prevention. However, they also explained that gay and lesbian people are welcome to attend but may not serve the church unless they commit to celibacy.

In an attempt to explain the harm that these kinds of policies can cause, members of The American Family Outing -- which included former Exodus spokesperson Darlene Bogle and born-again Christian transman Kimrey Kotchik -- shared their personal testimonies. Speaking as a straight married man, Bob Bednar asked the Saddleback group to imagine what it would be like to live without hope of intimacy, companionship, or the touch of a partner.

After the meeting, Bob shared this reflection: "Being there showed me in a powerful way exactly how brave my LGBT team members were to go into that kind of atmosphere and insist that church leaders recognize their pain and start to see it as their own pain, too. But the experience also showed me how far we have to go before churches will actually be able to 'own' that pain and take responsibility for the spiritual violence they perpetuate, sometimes without even knowing it. They see the pain, but they don't seem to understand that the pain doesn't come from being LGBT but from trying to reconcile being LGBT with a theology puts conditions on who people can be and who they can be with."

While it is difficult to know if our stories fell on receptive ears, we do know that the families of the American Family Outing brought their spirit of love and integrity to mega-churches where LGBT people are not yet affirmed. They also opened a larger conversation about LGBT people and the church in every community that we visited.

Click here to read the rest of the report from Soulforce, right below the stories of how three leaders of the orgainzation got legally married in California last week.

June 20, 2008

"Taking The Pulpit to Pride"

There has been much concern among the GLBT community and its allies in recent years about the positive impact Pride parades and festivals still had, and was it possible they did more harm to the public perception of GLBT people than good.

Here is an essay by Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, the Institute for Welcoming Resources and Faith Work director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force offering the view that these events are not only worth having, but they are an appropriate and effective place to celebrate one's faith.

For years now, I have donned my brightest T-shirt with my congregation’s logo, my shorts, my sensible shoes and my liturgical stole in preparation for my participation in the local Pride parade. Inevitably, the religious contingent is placed behind a local bar’s float that is playing fun, danceable music with beautiful men and women frolicking with obvious joy. When we approach, our a cappella singing of “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know,” or our chanting of “Two, Four, Six, Eight, God does not discriminate” seems to pale in comparison. But the joy and power of our presence is no less revolutionary.

It used to be, in the early history of Pride parades, that they would include the few faithful from the local Metropolitan Community Church and, perhaps, a smattering of courageous leaders from other religious traditions. This illustrated two important factors — the chasm between secular LGBT folk and religious ones, and the nascentness of the pro-LGBT religious movement. For many it was less safe to be religious in the LGBT movement than it was to be queer in religious circles. (And it was darn hard to be queer in religious circles.)

But we have seen a lot of change over the years. As I’ve participated in Pride parades in Seattle, Minneapolis, Hartford, Dallas, Atlanta and elsewhere, the religious contingent is larger every year. There are Pagans and Buddhists, Roman Catholics and Protestants, Jews, Muslims and Hindus. Recently, Affirmation, the pro-LGBT Mormon group, created a float that was a replica of a horse-drawn wagon. The proud gay men on top were clean-cut, dressed in period clothing and waving with joy to the crowd — a moment for them, that I can only imagine was a rare confluence of spiritual and sexual identities.

Although the chasm between the wider LGBT community and the religious pro-LGBT community still exists, it is smaller and there are many bridges being built to traverse it. And, although there yet remains a long way to go, much progress has been made within religious communities to change the homophobia, heterosexism and gender phobia. For example — many of the major LGBT organizations now have programs devoted to religious work. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, GLAAD, HRC and the National Black Justice Coalition have all recognized that advancing LGBT work means working with pro-LGBT movements within different religious bodies. And those pro-LGBT movements have done amazing things.

This widening and broadening within religious communities of the support for LGBT people is a critical part of our LGBT movement. In particular, almost all of the work that has been done in religious circles has involved large numbers of allies. For example, of the nearly 3 million members of welcoming and affirming Christian congregations, the vast majority of them are straight. This building the base of allies is a hugely important asset the religious movement brings to the larger LGBT movement.

Click here to read the rest of the article. It might help you take a different approach toward Pride this year.

Link of the Day: The Trevor Project


The Trevor Helpline is the only national crisis and suicide prevention helpline for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

The Helpline is a free and confidential service that offers hope and someone to talk to, 24/7. Trained counselors listen and understand without judgment.

There is hope, there is help.

Be proud of who you are.

Here is a note about their upcoming fund raiser, a gala in New York City on June 30:

Direct from Town Hall, Tony Award®-winning actress and recording
artist, Idina Menzel, to perform new songs from her latest hit album, I Stand, at Trevor New York, the eighth annual New York City gala benefitting The Trevor Project.

Comic entertainer and author of Confessions of a Pretty Lady, Sandra Bernhard, to perform a comedy segment in the evening's program.

The evening will be hosted by actor Alec Mapa, host of Transamerican Love Story on the Logo network and a recurring character on Emmy® Award-winning television series, Ugly Betty.

Presenters at the event include:
· Lauren Collins (actress, Degrassi: The Next Generation)
· Gideon Glick (actor, Spring Awakening)
· Cheyenne Jackson (actor, Xanadu)
· Heather Matarazzo (actress, Welcome to the Dollhouse)
· Rosie Perez (actress, The Take)
· Adamo Ruggiero (actor, Degrassi: The Next Generation)
· More to be announced

Award-winning actor Alan Cumming and The N, the 24-hour network for and about teens, will also be honored at the gala. Cumming will receive The Trevor Hero Award, which honors an individual who, through his or her example, support, volunteerism and/or occupation, is an inspiration to gay and questioning youth. The N will receive The Trevor Commitment Award, which honors a company or organization that, through its policies, initiatives and other efforts, demonstrates a commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender causes and is a prominent, public example of corporate acceptance of individuals regardless of sexual orientation.

Thoughts on Same-Sex Marriage from an Anglican Vicar

This essay, which I post in it's entirety, is a transcript of a broadcast by UK Anglican Vicar Giles Fraser titled "Why the church should bless gay marriage." Thanks to new SNN reader Shirley for the link.

A few weeks ago, two Anglican clergymen celebrated their civil partnership at a service in a famous London church. Newspapers last weekend called it a gay wedding. A number of friends of mine were at the service and told of a happy and wonderful occasion. But there are those who have been deeply upset; people who would quote scripture to argue that it threatens the very fabric of marriage itself.

So what, then, is the Church of England's theology of marriage?

Back in the 16th and 17th centuries, as the Book of Common Prayer was being put together, marriage was said to be for three purposes:

First, it was ordained for the procreation of children. Secondly, it was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication. Thirdly, it was ordained for the mutual society, help and comfort that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.

How do these three concerns relate to the prospect of gay marriage?

The third priority insists that marriage is designed to bring human beings into loving and supportive relationships. Surely no one can deny that homosexual men and women are in as much need of loving and supportive relationships as anybody else. And equally deserving of them too. This one seems pretty clear.

The second priority relates to the encouragement of monogamy. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself has rightly recognised that celibacy is a vocation to which many gay people are simply not called. Which is why, it strikes me, the church ought to be offering gay people a basis for monogamous relationships that are permanent, faithful and stable.

So that leaves the whole question of procreation. And clearly a gay couple cannot make babies biologically. But then neither can those who marry much later in life. Many couples, for a whole range of reasons, find they cannot conceive children – or, simply, don't choose to. Is marriage to be denied them? Of course not.

For these reasons – and also after contraception became fully accepted in the Church of England – the modern marriage service shifted the emphasis away from procreation. The weight in today's wedding liturgy is on the creation of loving and stable relationships. For me, this is something in which gay Christians have a perfect right to participate.

I know many people of goodwill are bound to disagree with me on this. But gay marriage isn't about culture wars or church politics; it's fundamentally about one person loving another. The fact that two gay men have proclaimed this love in the presence of God, before friends and family and in the context of prayerful reflection, is something I believe the church should welcome. It's not as if there's so much real love in the world that we can afford to be dismissive of what little we do find. Which is why my view is we ought to celebrate real love however and wherever we find it.

June 19, 2008

California Clergy React to Reality of Same-Sex Marriage

From the Houston Chronicle posting of a New York Times story:

Some clergy members in California spent Tuesday officiating at same-sex weddings made legal by a state Supreme Court ruling that took effect on Monday night. Others spent the day speaking out against same-sex marriage.

And there were those who spent the day in anguish, torn between the laws of their state and the laws of their church.

The Rev. Kimberly A. Willis said she had not decided what to do because she wanted to be able to minister to all of her congregants at Christ Church United Methodist, in Santa Rosa, about 10 percent of whom are gay. But if she officiates at a same-sex wedding, she could be charged with violating the United Methodists' Book of Discipline, put on trial and defrocked.
So Willis spent Sunday on the sidelines at a religious service in which several same-sex couples were celebrating their imminent marriages. Willis spied a gay couple in the front row who attend her church, and said she felt outraged that she could not join the other ministers leading the ceremony to bless them.

Willis said, "I can bless a car, and I have. I've been asked to bless animals, children, homes, bread, grape juice, but I can't bless a gay and lesbian couple. That's unreal to me."

The article goes into further depth on the turmoil within denominations, congregations, and individuals' consciences. You can read the rest of it here.

MySpace Friend of the Day: gaytheologian


i was unceremoniously expelled from the church of god theological seminary in cleveland, tn for failing miserably at ex-gay therapy. it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

i am a student the general theological seminary of the episcopal church in manhattan working on an master of divinity for the purpose of ordination to the priesthood.

i believe god's love is for all people. i believe the blood of jesus christ is sufficient for the atonement of sins. i believe god created me to be exactly who i am. i believe in the continual work of the holy spirit, divine healing, inner healing, deliverance, and all power in heaven and earth to be used for the propagation of the kingdom of god.

i am a wesleyan, armenian, open-futurist, gay affirming, husband-seeking christian man. i will continue to study for ministry even though doors have been consistently slammed in my face. right now i live by grace alone.

i had a career as an actor before going into ministry, and i toured with the 2001 godspell national tour (see itunes or amazon for my recording of "we beseech thee.")

i believe in civil disobedience. i believe in revolutionaries. i believe god can change the world through me and my community.

Why DOES Marriage Matter So Much to Gay People?

Matt Coles, director of the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & AIDS Project, takes a crack at that question for The Advocate:

Discrimination requires a rationale. The rationale for treating gay people differently has always been that we were not capable of the kind of love and commitment that straight people share.

The fight over marriage puts the truth of that rationale squarely at issue. If the love we share and the commitments we make (which, as with straight people, vary widely) are not different, there is no rationale for excluding us from marriage. More critically, there is no rationale for excluding us from jobs, from parenting, even from the prom. A person's sexual orientation, as the Court said, will not be a legitimate reason to deny a person rights.

Who cares about that? Every gay person should. Everyone who has a gay friend or family member should. Every person who cares about the Constitution's promise of equal protection should.

That's an awfuly good answer. Click here to read the entire essay.

June 18, 2008

More on "The Tyrany of the Majority"

Fellow blogger David W. Shelton has addressed one of my favorite issues, the notion of the tyrany of the majority, where the right-wing falls back on claiming "the will of the people" to restrict the rights of minorities, such as GLBT people.

Quite simply, he (California Chief Justice Ronald George) said that the Constitution guarantees protection for vulnerable minorities. This in itself is a hotly debated point, especially in regard to immigrants and sexual orientation.

When the California decision was announced, conservatives immediately decried “activist judges” who “defied the people.” Well, this is exactly what was said when Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision was handed down in the landmark Lawrence v Texas decision. that struck down all of the sodomy laws in the US. They were “activist judges” (interestingly, both Kennedy and George were appointed by Republicans).

Both men and their respective majorities in their courts knew a simple fact: Sometimes, the people are wrong. The people were wrong to separate blacks and whites in the South. The people were wrong to deny basic civil rights. The people were wrong to pass laws banning the private sex lives of adults, and they were wrong to pass a resolution in California to ban same-sex marriage.

I heard a phrase not too long ago that illustrated this better than anything: the Constitution is a way to protect against the Tyranny of the Majority. I’ll define this phrase: oppressive rule by majority, where the minority has little or no rights.

This is a phrase that isn’t used very often, but when it is used, it’s profound. Alexander Hamilton warned against allowing this kind of “majority rules no matter what” mindset, and was one of a few men who knew just what the dangers were of a pure democracy. In fact, the dangers of a tyrannical majority were so clear to our framers, that they designed our constitution for a republic, not a democracy.

That’s right. The United States of America is not a democracy. It never has been. It is, quite simply, a republic. It is, however, a republic which includes a great many democratic elements, which is why there’s such a balance.

David goes on to further substantiate how "the will of the people" is NOT the measuring stick that our political and judicial systems were designed to use in making decisions, and how courageous people like Justice George are critical to effecting significant social change, defending the rights of those who don't have the resources to defend themselves.

Click here to read the entire post on "Skipping to the Piccolo."

Link of the Day: Other Sheep


We believe that our sexuality – whatever our orientation – is a gift of God to be celebrated with dignity. Homosexuality is not a sin nor a sickness.

Other Sheep - Multicultural Ministries with Sexual Minorities is the only worldwide ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to empowering sexual minorities throughout the world with the Good News of God's unconditional love for all and salvation through God's Son, Jesus Christ. With other LGBT activists throughout the world, we recognize that ideological fundamentalism in various religions, especially Christianity, Judaism and Islam, constitutes the major obstacle to justice for our people. Consequently, within the International Lesbian and Gay Association, Other Sheep pioneered the establishment of the ILGA Working Party on Homophobia, Ideology and Religion.

Other Sheep is particularly, although not exclusively, directed to serving in geographical areas where information and organizations are still relatively scarce.

Other Sheep recently participated in the United Nations High Level Committee Meetings on HIV-AIDS:

Steve Parelli, in one-to-one conversations, introduced the ministry of Other Sheep to individuals attending the UN meeting and presented each with a complimentary copy of the book The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley. (See photo of book cover at right.) 89 copies of the book were distributed. In a few cases an individual was given two copies.

Individuals from the following countries received copies: AFRICA: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Gabon, Nigeria, and Liberia; ASIA: China, Vietnam, and India; LATIN AMERICA: Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina; and within the UNITED STATES, individuals from: California, Arizona, Connecticut, Virginia, Massachusetts and Illinois.

Tales of Day 1 of Same-Sex Marriage in California

From Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Jenny Pizer:

It's really here. We've imagined it, hoped for it, worked for it and encouraged each other along the way. Now here it is, and it's hard not to cry. It's wonderful.

Doreena and I met in law school and have been together for nearly 24 years. This morning we stood on the public lawn outside a city building in West Hollywood Park waiting for our marriage license. And we weren't the only ones. George Takei (Sulu from Star Trek) and his soon-to-be husband Brad Altman were first on line. Hundreds of couples — an ebullient group wearing finery of all kinds — lined up outside where there were festive white tents, balloons, cupcakes and flowers everywhere. The air sparkled with excited happiness.

It feels like a new day here. People are breathing more freely and sharing a joyous sense of hopeful possibilities.

For the first time, lesbian and gay people in California are fully equal under law. Our promises of love and mutual commitment for a lifetime will have the same legal protection and dignity as those of other loving couples. I don't know when I've felt such gratitude and joy.

Here is coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle:

So far, 2,303 same-sex couples have appointments to obtain a marriage license in the next 90 days in San Francisco. Nearly 1,800 of those couples will have their ceremony at City Hall, Hong said. She expects the rush of applicants for marriage licenses to level off over the next few weeks.

In Oakland on Monday night, Kenneth Latham and Keith Boadwee of Emeryville joined hands and looked into each other's eyes as they recited wedding vows to become the first same-sex couple married in Alameda County. They have been together 10 years and one month.

"We've been together so long we know what it means to be a couple," Boadwee said. "However, now that we have the legal protection, wherever we go throughout the state, people will recognize it."

This Associated Press report focuses on reactions of supporters and opponents. On this day, anyway, supporters appeared to be more numerous and vocal.

I'm sure I'll more throughout the week.

June 17, 2008

Celebrity Interview Supporting California Same-Sex Marriage

Lieutennant Sulu is getting married! George Takei, who came out as gay not long ago, will take advantage of the California Supreme Court ruling and legally marry his partner of 21 years, Brad Altman. The couple gave an interview to the CBS Early Show this morning:

Asked why it is important for them to have their relationship recognized as a legal marriage, Takei said, “Because it is a marriage. You know, they can find other names for it, but separate but equal just doesn’t cut it.”

In the couple's official announcement of their wedding plans on Takei's web site last month, the Star Trek star said that his heritage as a Japanese American has made him "keenly mindful of the subtle and not so subtle discrimination that the law can impose. During World War II, I grew up imprisoned behind the barbed wire fences of U.S. internment camps."

"Now, with the passage of time, we look back and see it as a shameful chapter of American history," Takei said of that time period. "With time, I know the opposition to same sex marriage, too, will be seen as an antique and discreditable part of our history."

Clearly, Takei gets it. Best wishes to the happy couple.

Here is a link to the video of the interview from PinkNews. There is a clip of Takei in his younger days on the original Star Trek tv show with his shirt off if that appeals to you :)

MySpace Friend of the Day: Obama Pride


Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, has been focusing a strong outreach effort toward the GLBT community. The group "Obama Pride" had a strong presence at the Capital Pride event we participated in on Sunday, and they conducted a conference call with GLBT activists and bloggers a few days ago. The Senator will receive our votes in the general election, and if you want to consider supporting him there are plenty of resources on this MySpace page to help you make that decision.

Can Same-Sex Couples Teach Us How to Have a Healthy Marriage?

From the New York Times:

For insights into healthy marriages, social scientists are looking in an unexpected place.

A growing body of evidence shows that same-sex couples have a great deal to teach everyone else about marriage and relationships. Most studies show surprisingly few differences between committed gay couples and committed straight couples, but the differences that do emerge have shed light on the kinds of conflicts that can endanger heterosexual relationships.

The findings offer hope that some of the most vexing problems are not necessarily entrenched in deep-rooted biological differences between men and women. And that, in turn, offers hope that the problems can be solved.

Notably, same-sex relationships, whether between men or women, were far more egalitarian than heterosexual ones. In heterosexual couples, women did far more of the housework; men were more likely to have the financial responsibility; and men were more likely to initiate sex, while women were more likely to refuse it or to start a conversation about problems in the relationship. With same-sex couples, of course, none of these dichotomies were possible, and the partners tended to share the burdens far more equally.

While the gay and lesbian couples had about the same rate of conflict as the heterosexual ones, they appeared to have more relationship satisfaction, suggesting that the inequality of opposite-sex relationships can take a toll.

The irony of this just tickles me. Click here to read the entire story.

June 16, 2008

So Much for Being Unable to Commit

One of the tired old arguements fundamentalists make about the "sinful homosexual lifestyle" is about the perception that they frequently sleep around with different partners.

Not this couple, at least not over the last 55 years.

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin fell in love at a time when lesbians risked being arrested, fired from their jobs and sent to electroshock treatment.

On Monday, more than a half-century after they became a couple, Lyon and Martin plan to become one of the first same-sex couples to legally exchange marriage vows in California.

"It was something you wanted to know, 'Is it really going to happen?' And now it's happened, and maybe it can continue to happen," Lyon said.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom plans to officiate at the private ceremony in his City Hall office before 50 invited guests. He picked Martin, 87, and Lyon, 84, for the front of the line in recognition of their long relationship and their status as pioneers of the gay rights movement.

Along with six other women, they founded a San Francisco social club for lesbians in 1955 called the Daughters of Bilitis. Under their leadership, it evolved into the nation's first lesbian advocacy organization. They have the FBI files to prove it.

Their ceremony Monday will, in fact, be a marriage do-over.

In February 2004, San Francisco's new mayor decided to challenge California's marriage laws by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. His advisers and gay rights activists knew right away which couple would put the most compelling human face on the issue: Martin and Lyon.

Back then, the couple planned to celebrate their 51st anniversary as live-in lovers on Valentine's Day. Because of their work with the Daughters, they also were icons in the gay community.

"Four years ago, when they agreed to be married, it was in equal parts to support the mayor and to support the idea that lesbians and gay people formed committed relationships and should have those relationships respected," says Kate Kendell, a close friend and executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Click here to read the rest of this wonderful story.

MySpace Friend of the Day: POZ


POZ is America's premier lifestyle, treatment and advocacy magazine and website for people living with--and those affected by--HIV and AIDS. It informs, inspires and empowers its readership that comprises 70% of the estimated 1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. who are aware of their HIV status.

There is also a link to this interesting article from their website:

AIDS: Not a Heterosexual Disease?

AIDS should not be considered a global concern for heterosexuals outside sub-Saharan Africa, asserts the HIV/AIDS director for the World Health Organization (WHO), Kevin De Cock, according to London’s The Independent newspaper (independent.co.uk, 6/8). De Cock made the declaration despite a discouraging report that his own organization—along with UNAIDS and UNICEF—issued less than a week ago showing that while 3 million HIV-positive people worldwide were getting lifesaving antiretroviral treatment in 2007, 2.5 million others became infected.

“It is very unlikely there will be a heterosexual [HIV] epidemic in other countries,” De Cock told The Independent. “Ten years ago a lot of people were saying there would be a generalized epidemic in Asia—China was the big worry with its huge population. That doesn’t look likely. But we have to be careful.”

De Cock acknowledges that AIDS should remain at the forefront of public health concerns, along with other chronic diseases like malaria. He suggested that more prevention efforts should be focused on men who have sex with men (MSM).“

In the developing world, [prevention for MSMs] has been neglected,” he says. “It is astonishing how badly we have done with men who have sex with men. It is something that is going to have to be discussed much more rigorously.”

Not surprisingly, the comments following this article strongly object to this conclusion.

Link of the Day: Empire State Pride Agenda


Another state with a lot of activity concerning same-sex marriage is New York. Governor Patterson's directive for state agencies to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages has resulted in a flurry of activity from the opposition. This is a good place to keep up with the latest, including the passage of a transgender non-discrimination bill by the state assembly.

More Progress Toward Equality Internationally

We've got two positive international news items to pass along this morning.

First, Norway adopted a gay marriage law:

Norway's parliament on Wednesday adopted a new marriage law that allows homosexuals to marry and adopt children and permits lesbians to be artificially inseminated.

After a heated debate, the members of parliament adopted the text by a vote of 84 to 41.

Norway thus became the sixth country in the world to grant homosexuals the right to marry on an equal footing with heterosexuals, according to Norwegian television TV2.

"This decision is of an importance comparable to universal suffrage and our law on parity," Labour Party rapporteur Gunn Karin Gjul said during the debate.

Then, Brazil's President calls homophobia a "perverse disease."

The president of Brazil has become the first nation leader to launch a conference with the sole purpose of promoting gay equality.

The First National Conference of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals was inaugurated by president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who called for a "time of reparation" in Brazil.

At last week's conference President Lula announced his support for gay rights, and stated he will "do all that is possible so that the criminalisation of homophobia and the civil union may be approved."

He also called homophobia "the most perverse disease impregnated in the human head."

Too bad there's an epidemic of that disease in the United States. We're working (slowly) on curing it.

June 15, 2008

Mass. Governor Patrick Advocates for Equality at Home Too

From Bay Windows (hat-tip to Freedom to Marry):

On June 14, 2007, the day that lawmakers finally voted down an anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution, Katherine Patrick stood outside the State House and looked up at her father. Gov. Deval Patrick was standing on the front steps, surrounded by a jubilant crowd of hundreds that mobbed the brick sidewalk and spilled halfway across Beacon Street. As they cheered the defeat of the amendment - an effort led by the governor, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Sal DiMasi - Katherine had never before felt more proud of her father.

"Because, of course, he didn’t know that I was gay then," the 18-year-old recalls. "So, for someone so publicly to fight for something that doesn’t even affect him was just like, ’That’s my dad,’ you know?" she says with a laugh. "That’s all I could think. I was very, very proud to be part of this family, and this state in general."

"As private of an issue as it is, we’ve sort of had to come to terms with the fact that we are a public family and there you give a part of yourself away," says Katherine. "And we also ... wanted people to know that it’s not only something that we accept, but it’s something that we’re very proud of. It’s a great aspect of our lives and there’s nothing about it that is shameful or that we would want to hide." Katherine recalls coming out to her parents as they prepared for a picnic by the pool at their home in the Berkshires. It was July 3, 2007 at around 2:30 p.m., she says.

"And I’ll always remember the first thing my dad did was, [he] wrapped me in a bear hug and said, ’Well, we love you no matter what,’" Katherine recalls. Diane Patrick moved in for a group hug. After a moment, Katherine, in what she describes as typical teen behavior, asked her hovering parents to step off. "I said, ’Okay, okay,’" she laughs. "I was like ... ’Okay, thanks.’"

Patrick is the first elected official in the country to win statewide office after having campaigned on support for marriage equality. He spent a significant amount of political capital on the defeat of the marriage amendment, meeting privately with more than a dozen wavering legislators, strategizing with legislative leaders and publicly discussing why he supported marriage equality and why he thought the amendment should be defeated. But he says that the notion that one of his daughters could be gay didn’t factor into his advocacy on the issue.

"I don’t think we thought about who they loved - more that they knew what love was and that they would have love in their lives," he explains. "You know, it’s interesting even just thinking about having this interview. Katherine and Diane and I and her aunt and Sarah were all talking about, you know, would we give an interview to announce one of our kids was straight? It’s just not about the public ... it’s just about making sure that they had the fullness of their personality and their humanity.

Check out that last sentence again, isn't that what life should be about for EVERYONE?

Click here to read the rest of the article.

"I Have No Interest In God"

That's what someone stated in a question posed to Billy Graham, and I'm sure something a fair share of our readers have said at one time of another. I present Rev. Graham's answer here for your consideration.

From the Christian Post:

Q: I want to make myself clear: I have no interest in God or religion, and I don't care who knows it. As far as I'm concerned, God doesn't exist, and this life is all there is. Don't even bother to write me back, because I'm not interested. - G.P.

A: To be frank, it sounds to me as if down inside you actually do know that God exists; otherwise, why would you be fighting so strenuously against Him and trying to keep Him out of your life? Or why would you even bother to write me?

After all, why fight against something (or Someone) that doesn't even exist (as you claim)? If you were really convinced God didn't exist, the logical thing for you to do would be to ignore Him. But you aren't ignoring Him - and the more you fight against God, the more you are in danger of persuading yourself that He actually does exist.

Have you ever honestly asked yourself why you don't believe in God? I'm sure you could list many "reasons" why you've rejected Him; most professed atheists can. But are they the real reason? I doubt it. I suspect the real reason you've rejected God is because you want to be free to run your own life - and you know that won't be possible once you admit God exists.

You may have rejected God - but He has not rejected you! He loves you and yearns for you to come to Him and discover the peace and hope that come from knowing Christ. Jesus was God in human flesh, and He came to show us what God is like. The Bible says, "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only (Son), who is at the Father's side, has made him known" (John 1:18).