December 12, 2008

Jon Stewart--Comedian and Same-Sex Marriage Champion

I have not seen such an effective, direct, and concise refuting of the stale arguements against legalizing same-sex marriage than the one delivered by Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Stewart basically sliced and diced former (and probably future) Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee during an interview where Huckabee was promoting his new book, ironically titled "Do the Right Thing."

In the same week that out lesbian TV host Rachel Maddow was severely criticized by GLBT activists like Michelangelo Signorile for not taking Huckabee to task for his support of "traditional marriage", Stewart, a comedian who hosts, by his own description "a fake news show" had no problem doing so.

In an amicable yet firm manner, Stewart demonstrated a great understanding about the truth of true equal rights. If you know anyone who needs to move beyond "preserving traditional marriage," I strongly suggest you show this video to them.
My favorite point was when Stewart said "Religion is a lot more of a choice than being gay.'

December 10, 2008

Share Your Stories

A SNN reader named Adrienne asked me if I would share information about a new project she is working on with my readers--a new blog titled "Our Friends and Allies.' Here is her description of it:

A couple of friends of mine and I started this blog because in spite of the passage of prop 8 we have been shown so much love from our friends and allies, we thought it would be great if everyone had a plce to go to share their stories of support.

It's a way to perpetuate the positive aspects of this movement and the inspirational support from vociferous straight folks who also support our rights. For anyone who has been active in the gay movement for long enough, you know on a deeply personal level how meaningful it is that there are now loudmouthed straight folks out there fighting with us.

So please perpetuate this kindness! Drop us an email and we'll post your stories, pictures and videos in this blog so that everyone can read these stories of courage, kindness, and support.

Being one of those "loudmouthed straight folks" myself, I encourage you to visit the site and contribute your story, especially if it includes an illustration of your faith in God.

Click here to visit Our Friends and Allies.

An Interesting Ad For Same-Sex Marriage

SNN reader Michael Morgenstern has created a video supporting the right for same-sex couples to legally marry and asked me if I would like to share it with my readers. I'm happy to do just that. Here's the link. Mike would appreciate your feedback once you view it.

It's about the argument on "changing the definition of marriage" and tries to speak directly to the haters and change a mind or two.I believe that as PR for the fight, we must be on the offensive in defining the terms used - "remove discrimination from marriage" is what we are really doing, not "changing the definition." I'm trying to put the ad on TV through a contest, and I'm working with a friend Julie Flynn to make a series of ads comparing the campaigns against interracial marriage to the campaign against gay marriage, both of which use a lot of the same language, and then get that on TV.

Same-sex marriage ad

December 09, 2008

A Day Without Gays?!

Following is part of an article by David Craig on CNN's website. What touched me about his commentary was the story of how he and his partner were legal domestic partners in California, but when his partner was visiting his parents in Nevada, he had to be admitted to the hospital and the hospital wouldn't allow David to even see him! I can't imagine that pain. I live in a suburban area of the country that doesn't act that way, in general. When Erica was admitted to the hospital in Northern Virginia a few years back, I was treated as her "wife". I was so glad to be able to be there for her. Marriage isn't just about a piece of paper or religious ceremony. It's about having the same rights and responsibilities as any other committed couple.

What David advocates is gay folks taking the day off tomorrow and not working or spending money to show the rest of the country that we are a big part of the living, working, spending, etc. in the U. S. I agree with him. Fortunately, my employer treats me as an equal. He even refers to Erica as my "wife"! I didn't always work for someone who was so cool. Most of us don't.

Let's support David's efforts in whatever way we can. I can't "call in gay" to work tomorrow, but I'm going to not spend money on anything besides what I absolutely have to spend. I'll wait until Thursday.

"By David Craig
Special to CNN

Editor's note: David Craig is a film, television and Web producer, an adjunct professor at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California, and a gay rights activist.

David Craig says there's growing support for recognition of gay unions and gay marriage.

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- My battle for marriage equality began in 1990, after my partner, Brian Binder, and I had a commitment ceremony. The ceremony was held at the end of a conference for Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays and was attended by more than 300 friends and members of both our families.

We were featured in a couple of books on gay marriage because the concept was so new at the time. We also registered as domestic partners and entered into every possible form of legal recognition available at the time.

A few years later, Brian was visiting his parents in Nevada to inform them that he was giving up his battle with AIDS. Something went horribly wrong, and he was rushed to the hospital. I flew there immediately.

As his caretaker, I knew his medical condition and had been involved in every medical decision. We had shared the joy of making a commitment to one another and the pain and suffering of a horrible disease.

But when I arrived, I was told I could not see him because I was not "family" and because my legal documents were valid only in California. Even as I heard him calling out my name, they refused to let me see him because we were not married. Brian died in 1992.

In 1995, I helped organize the first Freedom to Marry March in Los Angeles. Ten years later, the idea for A Day Without Gays was conceived.

For more of the story, go to:

"Rejected By Men"

This was an outstanding post from the blog "Straight-Friendly" which I recently ran across and added to my blogroll. He puts forth an attitude that LGBT people who have suffered rejection and hurt by others claiming to be Christians would do well to consider for themselves:

If Christ wouldn’t spare Himself the sorrows of rejection, it’s foolish to imagine we will. But before plunging into a deep funk, we should ask why He elected to suffer as He did. Certainly it was His to avoid humiliation and disrespect heaped on Him. Why didn’t He? He gave us an example to live by when we’re rejected. Our families, friends, and communities may resent us, taking offense at our not conforming to their beliefs, standards, and ways of life. They may turn on us because we’re not “normal” like them. They may pretend they don’t see us to escape recognizing who we are. They may stop hearing what we say because they can’t perceive where we acquired the wisdom and confidence in our words. This will hurt and frustrate us. In the final analysis, however, those who turn us away suffer greater losses. Lack of faith in us deprives them of many gifts we can offer—miracles of kindness, generosity, and understanding. They will never learn what we know. Our Creator accepts us as He made us to be. And we accept ourselves, knowing He created us as He did to fulfill His purpose.

AMEN! Click here to read the rest of the post from Straight-Friendly.

December 08, 2008

Newsweek Features Same-Sex Marriage.....Favorably!

Folks, this is huge. A major news magazine, Newsweek, has featured the issue on it's cover. This is somewhat newsworthy, but the context is much more so. The caption over a picture of a bible with a rainbow-colored page marker is "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage."

Sometimes it seems to people like me that we are voices ow crying in the wilderness when we say how the Bible is misused as the primary tool to condeemn same-sex marriages. Now, a major news source has put that view out in the mainstream for millions of readers to find in their mailboxes or see prominently displayed on the newsstand.

The cover story is written by Newsweek's religious writer, Lisa Miller. Here's an excerpt:

Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.

The argument goes something like this statement, which the Rev. Richard A. Hunter, a United Methodist minister, gave to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in June: "The Bible and Jesus define marriage as between one man and one woman. The church cannot condone or bless same-sex marriages because this stands in opposition to Scripture and our tradition."

To which there are two obvious responses: First, while the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman. And second, as the examples above illustrate, no sensible modern person wants marriage—theirs or anyone else's —to look in its particulars anything like what the Bible describes. "Marriage" in America refers to two separate things, a religious institution and a civil one, though it is most often enacted as a messy conflation of the two. As a civil institution, marriage offers practical benefits to both partners: contractual rights having to do with taxes; insurance; the care and custody of children; visitation rights; and inheritance. As a religious institution, marriage offers something else: a commitment of both partners before God to love, honor and cherish each other—in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer—in accordance with God's will. In a religious marriage, two people promise to take care of each other, profoundly, the way they believe God cares for them. Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should.

Lisa Miller includes many thoughts that have appeared here and in other gay-affirming resources, but I just can't overstate how significant I believe these words appearing on the cover story of a major news magazine is. Anyone who reads this article and still is anti-gay and anti same-sex marriage, in my opinion, just doesn't want to get it and is more interested in pursuing their own agenda than doing what is right and accurately following the example of Jesus and what the Bible teaches us about life.

You can click here to read the rest of the article, which I strongly suggest you do. This could be used an a good opportunity to engage people in a discussion about this issue that ordinarly might not be concerned about it.

December 07, 2008

Is the State Really a Better Parent Than a Same-Sex Couple?

That seems to me like an absurdly easy question to answer--of course not. A majority of voters in Arkansas, however, disagreed and made it illegal for any couple "cohatitating outside of a valid marriage" to adopt a child. What exactly DOES constitute a valid marriage in Arkansas, anyway? Insert joke here.

Anyway, I'm not the only one who is troubled by that. From the Chicago Tribune (via PageOneQ):

We don't have enough quality homes as it is, and now we're going to place more restrictions?" asked Susan Hoffpauir, president of the Arkansas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. "A lot of us are still shell-shocked by this."

While the Nov. 4 vote to ban gay marriage in California grabbed the headlines, it is same-sex parenting that is heating up as the next skirmish in the nation's culture wars. Last week, a Florida judge struck down that state's decades-old law preventing gays and lesbians from adopting.

In Arkansas, some 3,700 children are in state custody, taken from their homes because of abuse and neglect. Of those, 960 kids (average age: 8.5 years) are available for adoption, said Julie Munsell of the state Department of Human Services. Of the 1,100 foster homes, one-third are headed by single people.

But finding potential homes for foster children is a continual challenge across the country—especially for children who are older and have special needs. Some 129,000 U.S. children are in foster care, and the only criteria should be who can best provide a loving, permanent home, according to Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.

In a recent report, the non-partisan group concluded that a national ban on gay adoptions could add $87 million to $130 million to foster care expenditures annually because these children would then be living in other types of institutional care, such as group homes.

"On its face, this [Arkansas] law is just crazy," Pertman said. "I fear what will happen if other states see this as a model.

It is sad to see people put their personal bigotry ahead of what is in the best interest of an innocent child. Is being the ward of a state really better than having two mommies or two daddies?

it's hard for me to see how Jesus would really want kids kept away from homes where two parents are ready and willing to love them.

Click here to read the rest of the Chicago Tribune article.