June 28, 2008

Does Obama Support GLBT Equality?

Michelle Obama recently gave a speech that indicated her husband's positions were very supportive of the GLBT community.

Make no mistake, Barack Obama is much, much more of a friend to GLBT people than presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain. In 2006, McCain appeared in advertising supporting a state constitutional amendment in his home state of Arizona that would have banned same-sex marriage (it failed). He supports the pending ballot initiative in California that would do the same thing.

Obama has never been know as an opponent of GLBT rights, and has recently made a significant push to gain the community's support by telling them he would be an advocate for their rights.

All except one, however.

Obama supports civil unions, but not full legalization of same-sex marriage.

Until that happens, he still stands as someone that would try to lead movement toward more rights for GLBT people, but ultimately he will stop short of full equality and support reduced discrimination.

Who Will Protect Us From the "Protectors"

The folks at the ACLU circulated this around:

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage.
JUNE 25, 2008
Mr. WICKER (for himself, Mr. VITTER, Mr. CRAIG, Mr. ROBERTS, Mr. INHOFE, Mr. BROWNBACK, Mr. ALLARD, Mr. THUNE, and Mr. SHELBY) introduced the following joint resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission by the Congress:
“ Section 1. This article may be cited as the Marriage Protection Amendment.”
“ Section 2. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”.

Yes, those are senators David Vitter, the serial-prostitute hirer, and Larry Craig, Mr. 'wide stance", who are going to protect marriage from all you gay folks.

Who is going to protect it from them?

June 27, 2008

"Gay Marriage is Good for America"

One of the last places I thought I would find an op-ed with that title was the Wall Street Journal, but here it is.

Re-enter your childhood, but imagine your first crush, first kiss, first date and first sexual encounter, all bereft of any hope of marriage as a destination for your feelings. Re-enter your first serious relationship, but think about it knowing that marrying the person is out of the question.

Imagine that in the law's eyes you and your soul mate will never be more than acquaintances. And now add even more strangeness. Imagine coming of age into a whole community, a whole culture, without marriage and the bonds of mutuality and kinship that go with it.

What is this weird world like? It has more sex and less commitment than a world with marriage. It is a world of fragile families living on the shadowy outskirts of the law; a world marked by heightened fear of loneliness or abandonment in crisis or old age; a world in some respects not even civilized, because marriage is the foundation of civilization.

This was the world I grew up in. The AIDS quilt is its monument.

Few heterosexuals can imagine living in such an upside-down world, where love separates you from marriage instead of connecting you with it. Many don't bother to try. Instead, they say same-sex couples can get the equivalent of a marriage by going to a lawyer and drawing up paperwork – as if heterosexual couples would settle for anything of the sort.

Even a moment's reflection shows the fatuousness of "Let them eat contracts." No private transaction excuses you from testifying in court against your partner, or entitles you to Social Security survivor benefits, or authorizes joint tax filing, or secures U.S. residency for your partner if he or she is a foreigner. I could go on and on.

Marriage, remember, is not just a contract between two people. It is a contract that two people make, as a couple, with their community – which is why there is always a witness. Two people can't go into a room by themselves and come out legally married. The partners agree to take care of each other so the community doesn't have to. In exchange, the community deems them a family, binding them to each other and to society with a host of legal and social ties.

That last point is so very important. When we got married, Apostle Dale brought not only the two of us into the vows, he included the congregation, our personal community that included family and friends. Not only did we commit to each other, they committed to acknowledge the sacred bond we now held and to support it any way they could.

Marriage can not be successful in a vaccum. The vaccum, rather, has been the lack of that right being afforded to same-sex couples. Praise the Lord that momentum has started to swing in favor of that changing.

Click here to read the rest of the Wall Street Journal piece.

Link of the Day: Interstate Q


InterstateQ.com is the ONLY blog in the Carolinas bringing you regular LGBT news, views, opinions and events of the Carolinas, nation and world from a youth perspective.

InterstateQ.com serves as an internet news, views & commentary community for the masses, brought to you by journalist & activist Matt Comer & his friend & advocate Brian Murphy. The site also serves as Matt’s personal commentary site (more biographical information at MattHillComer.com).

Rev. Peter Gomes--Jesus Would Approve of Same-Sex Marriage

Rev. Peter Gomes draws from passages in the Bible to conclude that Jesus would accept gay marriage.

"Jesus approves of any institution that supports fidelity and loyalty while "recreating the kingdom of God between two individuals," Gomes concludes, and same-sex marriage falls within that category.

Click here to watch the video (hat tip to Freedom to Marry)

June 26, 2008

Making it Personal

I've often said in this space that a person's perspective on homosexuality often changes when they are directly impacted by a loved one. Here is another example of that, columnist Charles Honey of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press:

My mom always said Emily dropped from heaven. Emily's mother, Wendy, and I felt she had wisdom beyond her years, as if she came into the world already knowing things.

But what Emily did not have, despite dear friends, was one particular friend, one person who cared more about her than about anyone else in the world. That was a person I very much wanted her to meet, because I did not want Emily to go through this hard world alone.

Finally, she met that person. Her name is Nicole.

Emily and Nicki, as I call her, were married three years ago in Massachusetts. At the time, that was the only state where two women, or two men, could get married.

That changed this week, when hundreds of gay couples tied the knot in California after a court ruling that the state's ban on gay marriage violated the state constitution. The judges' 4-3 vote drew on a ruling 60 years earlier that struck down a ban on interracial marriage.

Gay marriage opponents are alarmed and swinging into action. Concerned Women for America, a public policy organization, called the California ruling "an affront to God and His plan for marriage and family." A November ballot issue approved this month would constitutionally recognize marriage only between a man and a woman.

This is where we are supposed to start arguing about the morality of gay marriage, what the Bible says about homosexuality and whether Ellen DeGeneres is the secret mastermind of the so-called "gay agenda."

Sorry, I can't go there. Yes, there are necessary debates to be had about civil rights, Scriptural interpretation and biological realities. But I'm not going to tell you what you should think. That's your job.

All I can tell you is that when this issue becomes personal, everything is different.

It's the difference between saying playground equipment should be safe, and the alarm I felt when Emily got whacked in the mouth by an iron horse-swing. (No worries, she sang in the spring concert that night with a missing front tooth.)

When you're the parent of a gay child, the difference is between deciding how you feel about this in your head, and knowing what you feel in your heart. What I feel in my heart is not a passage from Deuteronomy but the joy of a twirling little girl in a ballerina outfit, longing for someone to dance with.

I don't discount the importance of the theological issues, although if you dive into that pool you'd better be ready to do your homework. "Because the Bible says so" just doesn't cut it when many biblical scholars say the whole of Scripture says something quite different.

And if you care about this issue but aren't personally involved with it, I'd suggest this: Imagine it's personal.

Click here to read the rest of the column. (hat tip to Freedom to Marry)

MySpace Friend of the Day: S.E.L.F. Group


Supportive Environment Lesbian Focused based in Portland, Oregon

As gay women we go through complex life challenges such as discrimination, coming out, relationships, transitioning, and learning how to accept one’s self. These experiences can be overwhelming, and appear impossible to overcome. However, we manage to make it through each and every day! Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you are not alone?

Together at SELF we are creating a social group to encourage and support our fantastic lesbian community. As we experience different trials, tribulations, and joys throughout life we desire to create/maintain a safe environment where we can discuss all diverse situations. It is difficult to be a woman in this day in age no less a woman within the gay community! Therefore, we are creating a Supportive Environment that is Lesbian Focused. This will help us as a community to identify with each other and will help us search for our true and authentic selves.

Our lives may differ but there is always someone out there that can relate. Self Group is a “safe haven” where we as women within the gay community can gather together. It is an environment free of judgment and fear where we can discuss sensitive subjects. This will be a gathering based on respect where we can converse and know that our conversations remain confidential. Our goal is that all lesbian, bi, queer, trans, and questioning women can express their true self and know they are no longer alone!

Kay Warren: Don't Stop Caring About AIDS

From a Christianity Today essay by Kay Warren, wife of Purpose-Driven Life author Rick Warren (hat tip to the Dallas Morning News religion blog):
If you're still not sure, reluctant to give your heart and your help to those with HIV and AIDS, take a look at Mark 1:40-42 (NIV). A leper, widely assumed to have secret, unconfessed sin, braved the crushing stigma and fear his illness created to find Jesus. So ashamed of his condition, he approached our Master on his knees, begging to be healed. Jesus could have turned his back on the man, shouted accusations at his sinful state, refused to even speak to him. Instead, the Bible says he was "filled with compassion." He reached out his hand, touched the man, and healed him.

This story never fails to instruct me, to move me. Jesus had the perfect opportunity to ask this man how he became ill, but he didn't. He just helped him. I don't think it's wild speculation to assume that the man's spiritual leprosy was healed that day as well. Jesus models for us how to approach people with the leprosy of our time — HIV and AIDS. As we care for their bodies, care for the orphans and vulnerable children left behind, care for the spiritual wounds that lie hidden deep in the soul, categories and numbers become people.

People Jesus loves. People Jesus died for. People who will never know there is a Savior unless our biblical worldview includes a willingness to ask the larger questions.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

June 25, 2008

"Let Me Worship As I Am"

This was published in Newsweek magazine's "My Turn" section last week:

The very word "Christian" makes me wish I'd had a Druid spiritual awakening. In today's lexicon, Christian is equated with fanatics who need God to be as human as can be: male, full of pride and hate, war-loving and with a voting record that can only be described as shortsighted. For me to have found the answer to my spiritual hunger in the teachings of Jesus was at best highly inconvenient.

But Christianity comforts and fills me, as any good soup should. On the day I took the soup, there was a coincidental visit from a bishop from New Hampshire who was in L.A. and wanted to come to mass at St. Thomas the Apostle. His name is Gene Robinson, and he is the first openly gay and partnered bishop elected to an Episcopal bishopric. He is a slight man in person, soft-spoken and grinning ear to ear. He is no crusader in the usual sense of the word, but is in his own way a Joan of Arc, although he more resembles David Sedaris in a miter. I found his presence at my reception ceremony to be a special postcard from my Savior, if you'll forgive my self-centeredness and cheesy metaphor. I know that there were hundreds of other people at mass that day, many others being received or confirmed or even baptized. The presence of Bishop Robinson meant something different to every person there. But faith is ultimately selfinvolved at times, and sacraments and life are meant to be windows to God's grace.

As my partner's Mormon mother would say, I have a testimony. I was created by God, who works through all of his creation, and I've been gay as a handbag since birth. I wanted to wear my sisters' chapel veils at 2, had a crush on Hoss from "Bonanza" at 4 and have always known that God loves me and Jesus has lessons for me. And I am called to be Episcopalian and part of the Catholic faith, sure as Joan of Arc was called to her mission, although I'm not in drag. And I have faith that I will stand in front of the altar of God and commit my life to the man I love, with smells and bells and without secrecy. It is right to stand before God as I am, and speak my own truth. And I am grateful to have a model of simple, elegant defiance in the bishop from New Hampshire who happened to come to mass at my church one day.

Hoss instead of "Little Joe?" Well, I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.

Click here to read the rest of the essay.

Link of the Day: JuggleCat Faith & Policy


One person's opinion, observations, and prayers surrounding life as a catholic, the independent sacramental movement, today's American public policy, and generally the state of the human condition.

I am a forty-something year old single guy from Long Island, New York and I am a Deacon and Seminarian in the United American Catholic Church (an independent sacramental church). I currently am the Pastor for the Emmaus Catholic Community on Long Island. You can check out Emmaus by visiting www.emmauscatholic.org. I work for Catholic Charities here on Long Island as my secular job -- I coordinate the Special Needs Housing Program -- housing for people living with HIV & AIDS, mental illness and/or addiction. AND I sell electronics at a local retailer part-time. Yes, I'm a busy guy.

James Dobson: What Was He Thinking?

I just heard the news today that Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, has criticized Barack Obama for some statements that he made in a speech in 2006. He accuses Obama of distorting the Bible and pushing a "fruitcake interpretation" of the Constitution. The last time I looked, being a child psychologist doesn't qualify anybody to judge someone else's interpretation of the Bible or the Constitution!!

Not only that, but I think Dr. Dobson is suffering from the pot calling the kettle black. In February, Dr. Dobson said that if John McCain received the Republican nomination for president, he would choose not to vote for the first time in his life. Me thinks he protested a little too much.

So, what conclusion do I draw from all of this? Dr. Dobson is being hypocritical. On the one hand, John McCain isn't conservative enough to vote for. On the other hand, Obama isn't a choice for Dr. Dobson at all. Therefore, why even get involved in this election at all, if you aren't going to vote anyway? Hello? What's the point of criticizing any candidate? You've already made it clear you aren't voting.

The only reason I can see for Dr. Dobson to start in with this criticism is that maybe Focus is losing donations from his base, so he needs to stir the pot and get the conservatives freaked out about Obama so they start the donations rolling in again. What other explanation is there?

Okay, now I'm sounding cynical, but I'm so frustrated with this man talking about morals and values when he is acting so hypocritical. Sometimes I think God would just like to take some people and shake them to their very core until they realize it isn't all about them.

June 24, 2008

How Sad...

When I heard of comedian George Carlin's passing away yesterday, I didn't think much about it because I wasn't necessarily a big fan of his. His humor was often crude and vulger. I just didn't get it.

However, today I was listening to public radio and one of the shows had an interview from 2004 with George Carlin as a tribute to him. I listened to it on a whim and it made me sad. I was sad because Mr. Carlin espoused his views on the world and life in general and it appears he was very much someone who thought that God was a concept, rather than a real person. George talked about how he believed that everything in the universe comes from the same molecular structure and so trees, people, machines, are all the same in the scheme of things. He seemed to feel that God wasn't so much to be worshipped, but to be ridiculed. George Carlin did what so many folks do...He saw religion as the same as God. He obviously had been hurt by religious people in his life and it made him bitter towards God.

He didn't realize this truth. Religion is man made, but God is real! What Mr. Carlin didn't know is that God was there for him. He loved him so much. I hope that he found the truth in his last hours, but the thought that he might not have found Jesus is just so hard for me to handle.

George didn't know that Jesus could be there for him. All he had to do was ask. He didn't know that God could heal his hurts. The fact that God was there for him just wasn't in George's consciousness.

It's so sad indeed.

MySpace Friend of the Day: Christians With Depression


My name is Melissa, I am 26 years old, have been married for almost 8 years, and am an artist/decorator. What most people don't know is that I suffer from type II Manic Depression, and anxiety disorder (for me all that means is that I am depressed a lot more than I am manic). I have attempted to take my life twice in the past two years, experimented with different kinds of self-injury as a teenager, and still struggle with thoughts and tendencies of self harm.

All that being said, I am a Christian, I love the Lord with all my heart. I have been a believer for over 6 years now, and in the beginning of my walk with the Lord his love was all that consumed me... all I wanted was to serve Him with every moment, and please Him with my heart and my life. Then something changed, a lot changed, and I was diagnosed with clinical depression.

At times my faith has been used by Satan to confuse me more, my weaknesses have often caused me to feel like I'm putting Christ on that cross all over again, day after day, and I have felt completely helpless.

I became victim of an illness, and of a type of human frailty that is too easily judged by others. No one understood what I was going through, not even me. I felt abandoned and alone. I tried talking about it to my pastor and other spiritual mentors but none were able to offer any relief. There were a few who attempted to "help" by either trying to cast out demons or by suggesting that all I needed to do was "Ask the Lord to deliver me...", "Repent of my sins.", and "Trust in the Lord." Their intentions were noble, but as a sincere believer... lets just say that their suggestions were less than welcomed, after months of tormenting myself with those very things .

Depression creeps on slowly with most people, and mine was no different. It first noticeably showed up while I was on a mission trip in Venezuela with my husband. I was at the peak of my spiritual walk, daily attempting to learn what it was to surrender myself completely to God. Of coarse, at the time we believed it was spiritual warfare, and treated it as such until it became evident that something else was going on... Ironically, it is only now, three painful years later that I can honestly say that I think I am finally starting to get the whole surrender thing. This illness changed my life in so many ways. I became alienated from my loved ones and church family. My marriage was almost completely destroyed, most of my Christian friends vanished instantly, and I had no contact at all with my already estranged family. I could not work, or interact with people on a social level at all without becoming hysterical and even more isolated. I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with was the fact that I asked everyone around me for help through fellowship, and I did not get it. I was left alone everyday, every moment, with the bitter reality of what a hopeless mess and failure I was, and of how I was undeserving of others concern. I hated myself, and could see nothing worth preserving. All I wanted to was to be in the arms of my savior... and rest in knowing that I could not do any more damage, or be a burden to anyone else.

Though I could not sense or "feel" God in my despair, I know now that he truly held me in his arms and protected me from my own intentions in that time of complete darkness, as a father protects his child. I had no relationship with my real father at all, my husbands father was in denial that anything was even wrong with me, and my spiritual father/mentor had all but completely abandoned me. I absolutely cherish the complexing moment of despair and joy as I realized that the only father I had or needed was God himself. I pray you all have such an awakening.

♥ "Blessed be the Lord,who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation." Psalm 68:19 ♥

Feature on Bishop Gene Robinson

Here's an odd combination-a feature on the only ordained Episcopal gay bishop in GQ magazine. Yet, thanks to a link from PageOneQ, that's what we have here. It is the most in-depth piece I've seen on the Bishop, so I thought me readers would be interested.

Let God Love Gene Robinson from GQ magazine.

June 23, 2008

Celebrating the Right NOT to Marry

Not every gay or lesbian person who recently won the right to marry is running out to get a marriage license, but that doesn't mean they don't appreciate the right to do ss.

Here's an interesting take from the San Francisco Gay Examiner:
Hat tip to Freedom to Marry.

On Tuesday night, while gay couples across the state of California celebrated their hard-earned wedding nights, I dropped by my favorite bar in town: Truck. I thought that maybe the place would be empty, since any historic celebrations would probably take place closer to the Castro. But Truck was packed. Nobody talked about marriage.

Nobody talked about politics. The amiable and humpy owner/bartender, Paul Miller, served up as many gin and tonics as I could drink. And I chatted up a friendly young fellow who was capable of veering from stories about his outrageous past to a very smart assessment of Ian McEwan's novels.

The freedom to marry is important for two major reasons: first, because so many gay men and women want desperately to marry the people they love. And second, because those of us who choose not to marry are offered a genuine choice in the matter. (My friend Michael pointed out yet another benefit of the recent ruling by the state Supreme Court: no longer will guys be able to refer to their "husbands" unless the man in question is, in fact, a husband. The title no longer properly applies to that Craigslist hookup who's been stealing your towels for the past two weeks.)

You've probably already heard a few radical faerie types voice their concerns about "assimilation," as if gay marriage will inevitably absorb every gay person into the heterosexual Borg. But the threat of assimilation isn't meaningful unless it's a choice. I would much rather be "threatened" by the prospect of becoming a Stepford husband than be legally denied that nightmarish possibility in the first place.

So even though I don't want to participate in gay marriage at this point, I'm hardly threatened by it. If anything—judging by the Tuesday-night crowd at Truck—my life as a single gay guy in a big gay town has just been valorized a little bit more. Because frankly, it's more fun to be a gadabout when you know it's not the only legal option.

Link of the Day: Spiritual Fruits


The Bible has long been used to defend racism and slavery, the subjugation of women, wars, and the outright slaughter of anyone who was different. The Ku Klux Klan, the reign of Hitler, the witch hunts, and the Crusades were all purported to be efforts in the name of Jesus Christ! What's more, they were vigorously supported, or even developed by, one or more major church groups. (See my Surprise! page for more about this.)

I am sickened that many churches are now using this same hypocrisy to target, abuse and harass gay people. Enough is enough!

They, and other fundamentalists, repeatedly claim that God hates gay people or expects them to "convert" to heterosexuality. This website was written to answer these claims through testimony, providing information, and inviting you to ask the Holy Spirit, not people, for the answer. It is here to provide resources for anyone struggling with this issue, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity.

Same Sex Marriages an Inspiration?

Here's another straight guy who just doesn't get it. Eric Zorn, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, just doesn't understand that the right-wing has explained how same-sex marriage has irrepairably damaged his and will eventually destroy society. Even worse, he says he and his presumptively straight wife are INSPIRED by them!

Nice to have you on my team Eric.

Does your marriage feel a little less special today, straight couples?

Does knowing that octogenarian lesbians Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon had a legal wedding this week in San Francisco diminish, in retrospect, your legal wedding? Does their bond profane yours?

Not at our house it doesn't. My wife and I simply feel inspired. Martin and Lyon have been a couple for 56 years—twice as long as we've been together—and we see them as role models, not harbingers of the decline of the family.

We celebrate their lifelong commitment and lasting love. We think the family could use a lot more of that and a lot less puritanical fretting about what name we put on the hopeful union of souls.

We're honored, even a little humbled, to share this institution with Martin and Lyon.

Since the comment function has been turned off on this post on the Tribune site, it's fair to assume that not everyone agreed with this view.

Click here to read the rest of the column.

June 22, 2008

Is Anglican Split Over Gay Ordination Growing?

It would appear so according to this excerpt from a New York Times article:

Once a decade, hundreds of bishops of the international Anglican Communion meet in Canterbury, England, for the Lambeth Conference.

This summer, in the most tangible demonstration yet of the church’s divide over homosexuality, more than a quarter of the invited bishops are expected to boycott the conference and attend a rival meeting for conservative Anglicans in Jerusalem, called the Global Anglican Future Conference.

Setting the tone for the meetings that begin next week, the conservatives released a strongly worded theological manifesto on Thursday, declaring that they see no possibility for reconciliation with the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada, which have accepted a gay bishop and same-sex unions.

The conservatives say that after years of emergency meetings and ultimatums, they have been “ignored,” “demonized” and “marginalized.” “There is no longer any hope, therefore, for a unified Communion,” the manifesto said.

The Anglican Communion is the third largest affiliation of Christian churches, with 77 million members. The Lambeth Conference is supposed to be one of the four “instruments of Communion” that bind the church together, and more than 800 bishops were invited by the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams. But the archbishops of Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda announced they would boycott Lambeth, (which will be held from July 20 to August 2).

He is another denomination spending a LOT of time and energy focusing on their difference rather than their commonality.....

While Satan laughs.

Lots of New Resources

I've been gathering lots of websites with interesting and important information over the years to help me with the content for this blog. In wanting to make Straight, Not Narrow the most valuable resources possible, I decided to add them to the blog, over on the right hand side of each page under resources. There are several categories that I think you will find useful.

If you know of an additional resource that you think would be of interest to the readers here, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at straight_notnarrow@yahoo.com and I'll check it out.