January 02, 2010

Ten New Year's Resolutions To Help the LGBT Community

From San Diego's Gay & Lesbian Times:

he thing about New Year’s resolutions isn’t that they are hard to come up with, per se. Lose 10 pounds, go to the gym, quit smoking, etc. The tough thing about New Year’s resolutions is keeping them. Gym’s are at full capacity the beginning of January, and by early February or so, they are back at normal capacity. Cigarette sales in January are the lowest of any month of the year by a wide margin. But, by February, sales are brisk. Those 10 pounds? Well, chances are they will still be there when you’re making your list for 2011.

This year, we are offering up 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2010 to help our GLBT community. We don’t expect them to be easy to keep, but we do think they are important, and we here at the Gay & Lesbian Times will be doing our best to keep them.

1. Advocate. Continue to put pressure on our elected officials to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. As we continue to be engaged in the longest war in our nation’s history, it is vital that we have the top resources available to support that effort. Likewise, it is critical that the men and women who serve in the military be able to do so openly.
Click here to read the other nine resolutions.

Encouraging Words 1/2/10-"The forest and the trees of the trans community"

Here's a message of hope for trans people from The Bilerico Project:

The LGBTQ community is riddled with emotional wounds and animus. Our identity and validity is under constant attack, both by political enemies and personal relationships. Our family ties are often strained with the pain of living an open, honest life, despite all attempts by well-meaning strangers, family, and friends to shove us back into the closet. Our people often struggle to feel accepted in a world that, for the most part, does not guarantee security, happiness, or validity to our lives.

This usually goes without saying, but I think it's important to occasionally look at the trees that make up the forest of our landscape. This article isn't going to look at the gnarled, scarred trees needing political attention. We spend an inordinate amount of time looking at the pitfalls of our livelihoods, and while this is important to advancing the cause of equality, it's not exactly the most uplifting message we can possibly provide to the online world. adrian_profile.gifToday I want to stay squarely within the bounds of hope, affirmation, and the promise of a quality life for people looking at the option of transition; I know they are out there, possibly reading this article along with everything else this site has to offer, and I want to try something different.

It was recently pointed out to me in a comment that I had no ground to discuss LGB issues, and to a certain degree the commenter was correct. I can't begin to understand the complexities of a gay identity. However, to some degree I understand the complexities of transgender life, and I think it's high time someone stood up and talked with a shade of optimism on this website. So, for the duration of this post, let's forget about the tenets of cisgender privilege, lucky/unlucky transpeople, outside pressures, passing privilege, the solidarity/disarray of the LGBTQ acronym, and all that other bullcrap that usually floods the site. This post isn't about any of that.

We are here to talk about the experience.

We are here to talk about hope.
Click here to read the rest of this essay.

Encouraging Music 1/2/10 Alpha and Omega by The Gaither Vocal Band

SNN Recommends 1/2/10-"Facing Your Giants"

Amazon.com ratings:  53 out of 64 reviews gave it 5 out of 5 stars
SNN rating: 4.5 stars

Megaseller Lucado, with 40 million books in print, will draw more readers to his fold with this newest release, which focuses on the life of the Old Testament hero David. David crashed onto the scene in ancient Israel when he used a slingshot and one stone to fell the giant Goliath. He went on to become Israel's greatest king. Now Lucado has modern readers slaying their own giants using principles gleaned from David's life. For example, David focused on God, not giants; David's life was threatened by his nemesis King Saul, but David worshiped God; David stole the beautiful Bathsheba from her husband and then had him killed, but God forgave. Lucado goes beyond the storytelling to offer readers concrete actions to help slay their giants using the metaphor of the five stones David chose in his Goliath quest. The stones represent the past, prayer, priority, passion and persistence. Lucado's lively language ("Focus on giants—you stumble. Focus on God—your giants tumble.") and casual style appeal to the most reluctant readers, yet his spiritual depth will challenge and amaze. Added value comes with the study guide keyed to each chapter.

Click here to purchase the book and read customer reviews.

New Hampshire Welcomes 2010 With Legal Same-Sex Marriages

From the Manchester (NH) Union Leader:

Jubilant gay couples have rung in the New Year in New Hampshire with wedding vows to celebrate the state's new law legalizing same-sex marriage.

At midnight, New Hampshire joined Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Iowa in allowing gay marriage.

About 15 couples braved the cold to exchange vows outside the New Hampshire State House in Concord. Others planned private ceremonies around the state.

The law grants no new rights to gays but eliminates the separate status for civil unions.

Couples already in civil unions have three options to convert their statuses to marriages. They can have marriage ceremonies, file marriage paperwork with their town clerks to convert their statuses during 2010 or wait until the unions are automatically converted in 2011.

The Nashua (NH) Telegraph also has a story about a specific couple exchanging their vows yesterday. (hat tip to change.org),

Daily Devotional 1/2/10 A "Know So" or a "Hope So" Salvation?

From:  Love Worth Finding

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

If you think you're going to get to heaven by your good works, I guarantee you will always wonder if you've done enough. You will not have a "know-so" salvation. You will have a "hope-so" salvation. Rather than standing up straight in confidence like an exclamation point, you will be bent over and wondering like a question mark. That is, until you understand that it's all by grace.

Suppose everybody who wanted to be saved had to run around the block. Some can't run. What if you had to read a chapter in the Bible to be saved? Some can't read. But there is one thing that can make the promise sure, and that is grace.

Who can you share this Good News with today? Think of at least one person, and ask God to give you a bold love and a divine opportunity to do just that. We also invite you to read "You Can Be Sure" for more insights on the eternal security of the believer. Just visit us here.

January 01, 2010

A Look At How Vermont Advanced the Cause of Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide

From the Bennington (VT) Banner:

The biggest news story of the decade in Vermont began before the decade did. And its impact was felt far beyond the Green Mountains.

On Dec. 20, 1999, the state Supreme Court -- responding to a challenge to Vermont's marriage laws -- ruled that same-sex couples should be entitled to the same "benefits and protections" afforded to married couples. Within months, Gov. Howard Dean signed a first-in-the-nation law making available "civil unions" to gay couples.

Political careers were cut short over some lawmakers' votes on the issue. "Take Back Vermont" signs went up on barn sides and fence posts, opposing the change. The Rutland Herald won a Pulitzer Prize -- the first ever awarded to a Vermont newspaper -- for editorials supporting civil unions.

Vermont's groundbreaking move also led to gay rights advances in other states.
Click here to read the rest of the story.

Encouraging Words 1/1/10-"The Father's Love Letter"

Start your new year off by hearing how much your Heavenly Father loves and values you.

Encouraging Music 1/1/10 "Jesus Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood

SNN Recommends (Just for Fun) 1/1/10-I Can Has Cheezburger

What better way to start the New Year than spending some time with our friends the LOL Cats :)

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Battling Both the AIDS Gap Among Blacks and Budget Cuts

It's a tough situation in Oakland and other major cities where economic problems have resulted in cuts to funding for many public service progams, including those designed for prevention and treatment of AIDS.  Here's a report from the Bay Area Reporter:

With huge HIV/AIDS funding cuts and a continuing prevalence of the disease among African Americans, Oakland continues to battle HIV/AIDS as officials worry the disease could spread.

In 2007-08, the budget for education and prevention in Alameda County was $1.5 million. That included money from the state general fund.

Now, the general fund money is gone, leaving $661,000, which comes primarily from Ryan White Part B funds – federal money that's distributed by the state. That funding is only for education, prevention, counseling, and testing, according to Kabir Hypolite, director for Alameda County's Office of AIDS Administration.

The county's budget allocation from the state AIDS office for care and treatment services this year is $1,190,000, according to Hypolite.

He said the cost of providing care for someone with AIDS can be as much as 10 times as providing HIV care.

At the state policy level, "We are, in essence, gambling now with thousands of people's lives, and we may wind up paying a far, far greater price in the very near future if we don't restore these cuts," he said.
Click here to read the rest of the report.

Daily Devotional 1/1/10 A Vision for Your Life in the New Year

From:  Love Worth Finding

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18

Helen Keller had vision even though she lost her sight at 19 months of age. A reporter asked Miss Keller, “Is there anything worse than being blind?” “Yes,” she said, “It is to have sight and no vision.”

Do you have a vision for your life at the threshold of a new year? On New Year's Day, I review the goals for my life. These are spiritual, relational, intellectual, physical, and financial goals. I pray over these and ask for God’s will to be done in each one. I hold them in an open hand and ask that God would give me wisdom as to the direction He wants for my life.

I don’t want to be a person without vision. I don't want you to be one either.

Begin to think about some goals you would like for your life. Pray and seek the Lord’s face as you ponder the future.

December 31, 2009

Evangelical "Ex-Gay" Breaks Law, Disappears With Child

Evangelicals who claim a desire to be like Jesus should pay a little more attention to the New Testament, since He did not break laws during his time on Earth.  Violate customs and traditions, yes, but no law breaking.  Why, then, do some evangelicals think it is okay for them to break a law or court ruling that they don't agree with?  Here's another example from the New York Times:

The biological mother of a 7-year-old Virginia girl must transfer custody of the child to her former partner, a Vermont family court judge has ruled, adding that it seemed as though the mother had “disappeared” with the girl.

The judge ordered the mother, Lisa Miller of Winchester, Va., to turn over the child, Isabella, to her former partner, Janet Jenkins, at 1 p.m. Friday at the Virginia home of Ms. Jenkins’s parents.

The case of the two women fighting over their daughter has attracted national attention, with judges in Vermont and Virginia at odds about whether a child can have two mothers.

Ms. Miller and Ms. Jenkins were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2000. Isabella was born to Ms. Miller through artificial insemination in 2002. The couple broke up in 2003, and Ms. Miller moved to Virginia, renounced homosexuality and became an evangelical Christian.

Encouraging Words 12/31/09-Times Moves Forward, And So Should We

I (Jim) want to end the year with an encouraging word essay I contributed to the Unidiversal e-magazine that will be published online next week:

With a new year and a new decade upon us, it seems like a good time to acknowledge that God established time to move in one direction-forward. If you’re in a situation where it is moving backward, you’re either part of a sci-fi movie or in some situation that is way beyond my pay grade to explain, so I’ll stick with what I know.

What I know is this; dwelling on the past, even the bad parts, is very seductive, but it’s not what the Lord would have us do. After all, He didn’t send Jesus down here to recite all of our past sins. Jesus came to die so those sins could be forgiven and mankind could move forward into eternal life. Focusing on looking back can have consequences, as we see when Lot and his family were trying to escape from Sodom.

Genesis 19: 17, 26 (NIV) As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!" But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

While this story reminds us that we should always follow the direction of an angel, I believe it is also a metaphoric example on how destructive losing a forward focus and being enticed to look back can be in our lives.

Encouraging Music 12/31/09 "He Sees My Heart" by Christy Lane

LGBT Helping Hands 12/31/09-Women's Transitional Care Services (Lawrence, KS)

WTCS recognizes the additional barriers lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) survivors face in finding support and resources. LGBT survivors often confront skepticism that partner abuse occurs in their relationships, not only within the queer community, but also within some domestic violence agencies. Because it is so hard for LGBT folks to find shelters that open their services to queer survivors, and because many domestic violence agencies are still struggling to challenge their own homophobia and heterosexism, WTCS is honored to offer support to LGBT survivors outside of our regular service area.

Some services WTCS offers to lesbian, bisexual, and trans women survivors:

* LGBT Community Resource Packets
* One-on-One Peer Counseling
* Weekly Community Support Group
* Community Education
* Safe Shelter

Click here to find out more.

Daily Devotional 12/31/09 Anticipation if an Even Greater Day

From:  Love Worth Finding

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:3

It's after Christmas. The glow on the tree is just a little dimmer because the anticipation of the day is now past.

Ever feel that way about your walk with the Lord? Well, let me give you some good news, my friend. The best is yet to be!

That's right. Christmas Day is past, but Resurrection Day is coming soon, and I don't mean Easter. I mean the Second Coming of Our Lord is imminently on the horizon. He is coming again. And that's not just a nice thought; that's a rock-ribbed truth!

Jesus is coming again!

Write down John 14:3 on a little note, and as you say goodbye to family and friends, give them this note of encouragement.

John 14:3 - "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

December 30, 2009

Interesting Trend: Same Sex Marriage No, Gay Politicians Yes

The New York Times (hat-tip to PageOneQ) has a look at an interesting trend in national politics, the success of openly gay & lesbian politicians even while same-sex marriage continues to fail at the polls:

When an openly gay woman won the mayor’s race here this month, it was the latest in a string of victories by gay candidates across the country, a trend that seems to contradict the bans on same-sex marriage that have been passed in most states in recent years. .

Take Texas, by many measures one of the most conservative states in the nation. In 2005, it enacted a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage; the voters passed the referendum by a ratio of three to one.

Yet in the last decade, an openly gay woman has twice won election as the sheriff in Dallas County, and another openly gay woman was elected district attorney in Travis County, which includes the city of Austin. Gay candidates have also won city council seats in Austin, Fort Worth and Houston.

Then, this month, Annise Parker, the city controller who is a lesbian, swept to a solid victory in the mayoral race in Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city.

There are currently at least 445 openly gay and lesbian people holding elected office in the United States, up from 257 eight years ago, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a political group that supports gay candidates.
Some political scientists say the rise in openly gay candidates’ winning public office is a better barometer of societal attitudes than are the high-profile fights over same-sex marriage.

“Gay marriage ballot measures are not the best measure,” said Patrick J. Egan, a political scientist at New York University who studies issues surrounding gay politicians. “They happen to be about the one issue the public is most uncomfortable with. In a sense, they don’t give us a real good picture of the opinion trend over the last 30 years.”
Click here to read the rest of the story.

Welcome to Midweek Worship 12/30/09 Name Above All Names

Encouraging Music 12/30/09 I Love You - God

Matthew 25 Resource 12/30/09-Boulder (CO) Shelter For the Homeless


To provide safe shelter, food, support services, and an avenue to self-sufficiency for homeless adults in our community.


We believe that all people deserve the basic necessities of life, and the community in which we live is called to serve this purpose.

Core Values:

Treat all with dignity
Offer support and opportunity
Practice responsible stewardship
Achieve results through competence and creativity
Click here to find out more.

PFLAG's Holding Families Together Part 3 and 4 of 4

PFLAG's "Holding Families Together" part 3 of 4: Holding Families Together video series looks at social problems that result when parents reject their LGBT sons and daughters.

Daily Devotional 12/30/09 God's Plan and Purpose for Your Life

From:  Love Worth Finding
                                                                                                                                                     "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." -1 John 3:2

If Jesus is Lord of your life, then not only is your entire life ordered, but so is every single step within your life.

God has a plan for the plumber as well as the preacher, for the mechanic as well as the missionary. And if, for instance, God calls you to be a mechanic and you become a missionary, you are accepting second best!

To find God's will is the highest achievement in your life. Success is not spelled M-O-N-E-Y. Nor is it spelled F-A-M-E.

Success is the continuous realization of the will of God — what God desires for your life.

God does not make clones; He makes children! There is an ultimate purpose for your life as His child — to be like Jesus.

December 29, 2009

First Legally Recognized Same-Sex Marriage Performed in Latin America

From the Miami Herald:

An official in Argentina's southern Tierra del Fuego province says two Argentine men have wed there in Latin America's first gay marriage.

Provincial spokesman Eduardo Porter says the wedding between Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre took place at the civil registry in Ushuaia.

Their marriage plans in Buenos Aires earlier this month were thwarted when city officials refused to marry them because of conflicting rulings.

An official representing the federal government's antidiscrimination agency attended the wedding. Claudio Morgado called Monday's marriage "historic."

Argentina's Constitution is silent on whether marriage must be between a man and a woman, effectively leaving the matter to state and city officials.
Click here to see photos from the ceremony, also from the Miami Herald.

Encouraging Words 12/29/09-A Secular Jew Encourages LGBT Outreach to Religious Organizations

From Emma Ruby-Sachs, blogger for 365gay.com.  Even though Christmas has passed, the thought is still very relevant.
As a secular Jew, I watch Christmas from the outside. It’s a holiday where the family rumblings and big dinners come with a pleasant, and for many, watered-down host of religious traditions: midnight mass, carols, Church concerts and performances. But religion is particularly important this time of year. With all that thinking about baby Jesus, people also can’t help but consider G-d, their relationship to G-d and their relationship to their own religious traditions.

Funnily enough, this week a number of religious leaders have taken a moment to comment on gay issues. Former Ugandan Archbishop of York condemned the anti-gay bill in his home country. And a patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church confirmed that, despite their position that homosexuality is a sin, punishing homosexual behavior is not supported by the church.

I find these small small movements towards tolerance heartening. We, as an equality movment, are often pitted against religious institutions. But at Christmas time, I am reminded, again, of how central religious institutions are to life in North America and around the world.

So, this Christmas season I am making my own kind of resolution: We need to reach out more, engage more and talk more to the religious community. For those reading this post in between family events, take this time to talk to your own religious community about tolerance and respect for LGBT people. The news shows us, thing are changing, moving towards acceptance.

Encouraging Music 12/29/09 "Hold On to God's Love" by Christine Spencer

LGBT Helping Hands 12/29/09-Q Center (Portland, OR)

Q Center is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a mission to increase the visibility of and foster connection within metropolitan Portland’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning (LGBTQ) community. The center builds public awareness and support, and celebrates LGBTQ diversity through art, culture, and collaborative community programming.

There are dozens of events and groups that meet here, some focused on specific topics (like coming out or gender identity) and others aimed at fun social interactions (like sing-along piano cabarets or craft nights). Most of these options are free-of-charge and run by dedicated volunteers, keeping Q Center truly community-driven and accessible.

In addition to our programmatic offerings, our 5,000 sq/ft facility is also a safe and friendly place to spend an afternoon. With our monthly art exhibits, extensive library collection, Resource Wall, and free WiFi access, there’s always something to see and learn here at Q Center.
Click here to find out more.

PFLAG's Holding Families Together Part 2 of 4

PFLAG's "Holding Families Together" part 2 of 4: Holding Families Together video series looks at social problems that result when parents reject their LGBT sons and daughters.

Daily Devotional 12/29/09 Understanding Kingdom Authority

From: Love Worth Finding

"Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." - Luke 10:19

A police officer weighing 160 pounds may effectively stand before a tanker truck and, with an uplifted hand, say, "Stop, in the name of the law." The police officer certainly couldn't stop the truck with his physical force. He is appealing to an authority greater than himself — the law — to back him up.

Your authority over Satan is the same way. Your authority does not rest in your strength. You cannot overcome Satan with your power but rather with Kingdom Authority from God. And you have that as a child of the King. You have His authority to overcome every attack of Satan.

Sing of the power of the Lord. Sing or meditate on these verses of "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."

December 28, 2009

Do Gay Marriage Foes Deserve to be Heard?

Another way to turn this question around is to ask when does free speech cross the line and become offensive and hurtful?  A group in Washington, DC believes ads on local buses against same-sex marriage cross that line.  Columnist Colbert I. King respectfully disagrees in the Washington Post:

That Full Equality Now takes offense is understandable. But should the ads be taken down?

Fortunately, yet another group of citizens has weighed in on the issue.

The group includes Mitch Wood, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance; Arthur B. Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU of the Nation's Capital; Jeffrey D. Richardson, president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club; Aisha C. Mills, president of Campaign for All D.C. Families; and activist Richard J. Rosendall.
Unlike Full Equality Now DC, the group led by Wood and Spitzer has stepped forward to defend the freedom of expression of forces against gay marriage, even though those same forces have not done so for supporters of civil marriage equality.

In their letter to Catoe, the Wood-Spitzer alliance wrote: "As supporters of civil marriage equality, we also embrace the principle of free speech enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which makes our own advocacy possible. Indeed, the then-named Gay Activists Alliance thirty years ago won a court battle against WMATA for the right to place educational posters in Metrobuses with the message, 'Someone In Your Life Is Gay.' WMATA is a quasi-governmental body and is thus subject to the First Amendment. We, the undersigned, therefore urge you to reject the misguided censorship advocated by Full Equality Now DC."

Speaking not only for themselves but also for people like me, they said: "Free speech is not only for those whose beliefs we find acceptable. The proper response to offensive speech is more speech. Your proper response to Full Equality Now DC, therefore, is that those who object to ads by Stand For Marriage DC are free to place their own.

"Thank you for resisting pressures to favor or disfavor particular viewpoints, from whatever political direction they may come."
We believe this group does the LGBT community proud and sets a standard right-wing groups should strive to meet by puting their self-interest aside and being concerned about the greater good, in this case preserving freedom of speech.
Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

Encouraging Words 12/28/09-"I am Gay. I am Christian. I'm Not Hiding Anything"

That's a declaration made by Canadian singer Matthew David as reported by Canada's Xtra:

The 27-year-old singer, who came out to his family earlier this year after deciding to release an autobiographical album, admits he was afraid he’d lose everything if he revealed his sexuality to those closest to him.

“If this was 10 or 15 years ago, I would’ve thought that my only option would be to put a gun to my head or run away and never come back,” David says.

“My whole world was Christian,” he explains. “My family, my extended family — my school was a private Christian school. For anyone to discover that I was gay would have been devastating.”

Homosexuality isn’t often talked about in his church, he notes, but it “is alluded to as the ultimate, triple X–rated sin. If you do it once, you’d be lost forever.”

Encouraging Music 12/28/09 "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Judy Garland

Matthew 25 Resource 12/28/09-United Way Community Food Bank (Bimingham, AL)

About the United Way Community Food Bank: grant of $100,000 from the Greater Birmingham Foundation made it possible for the Food Bank to open its doors on December 1, 1982. At that time, service was provided to Jefferson, Shelby and Walker counties. The planning was done by volunteers from the community and the Planning department of United Way of Central Alabama . Over the last 21 years, the number of counties served by the food bank has increased from 3 to 13 and the number of agencies distributing food in Central Alabama has increased from 30 to 190.

We receive food through America’s Second Harvest (a national food bank network with more than 200 food bank members) from government agencies, national donors, local donors and additional food is purchased with monies allocated in our budget.

The Food Bank operates as a central clearinghouse for collecting food that might otherwise be wasted. The Food Bank solicits and receives both new and commercially excess but fully edible food from many food industry sources such as manufacturers, distributors, warehouse and storage operations, grocery chains and individual donors. The Food Bank is also a member of America’s Second Harvest, a nationwide network of food banks, which solicits food in vast amounts and divides these goods among more than 200 food banks in the United States. This food is distributed to non-profit agencies and religious organizations that directly serve the needy through their own programs. These programs include shelters for the homeless, soup kitchens, residential facilities for the elderly and handicapped and shelters for abused women and children. Any charitable, non-profit agency meeting the criteria of the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 © (3) agency may apply to become an agency of the Food Bank. The agency must then agree to distribute the food to the public at no charge.

Click here to find out more.

PFLAG's Holding Families Together Part 1 of 4

PFLAG's "Holding Families Together" part 1 of 4: Holding Families Together video series looks at social problems that result when parents reject their LGBT sons and daughters.

Daily Devotional 12/28/09

December 27, 2009

A Legal Married Gay Perspective on Legal Marriage

Father Tony at The Bilerico Project weighs in on the institution of marriage a year after he entered into it with his long-time partner and, while grateful, seems somewhat unmoved.  We'll let you in on a secret--as a straight couple, we share many of the same feelings; we were in a committed covenant relationship well before we took our vows and signed the papers.  Here's an excerpt from Father Tony's essay;

My marriage is a contract, a conveyance, a vehicle, a convenience and a protection. Its anniversary is not unlike getting that annual flu shot.

We have built our relationship in a homophobic and hostile culture with no guidance and no template. Before we married, we woke up every day to reinvent and renew an unwritten contract and an allegiance and a love for which there was no recipe and no safe harbor. Therefore, no city hall, no license and no ceremony could ever equal what we have created on our own and entirely of our own daily volition. Marriage does not dignify it or ratify it or solemnify it or sanctify it. If anything, it waters it down a bit or reduces it. Obviously, we married for the practicalities but there have been some surprising benefits that I'll be mentioning.

We got married to protect our assets and our rights and for the financial benefits. We are grateful for those conveyances, but really, they are only what we are owed as citizens of this country. Let's continue the struggle for our rights, but let's not overly glorify this rather odd and ill-fitting institution.
Click here to read the rest of the essay.

LGBT Helping Hands 12/27/09-SMYAL (Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, Washington, DC)

The Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL) is the only Washington, DC metro area service organization solely dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Founded in 1984, SMYAL is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization.Our mission is to promote and support self-confident, healthy, productive lives for LGBTQ youth ages 13-21 as they journey from adolescence into adulthood.

To fulfill our mission, we concentrate our commitment and energy on five focus areas: (1) Life Skills & Leadership Development, (2) Counseling & Support, (3) Health & Wellness Education, (4) Safe Social Activities, and (5) Community Outreach and Education.

Click here to find out more.

Welcome to Sunday Worship 12/27/09

If you don't have a welcoming church near you, or you just can't make yourself step into one, we're bringing worship to you. Here are links to some worship music and services from open and affirming ministries (all times eastern). I hope you are blessed and take time out of your busy schedule to enter into the Lord's day.

Don't forget to click on the tab on the upper right of this blog and leave your prayer requests in the comment section so we can petition the Lord for your needs.

If you know of a service we should add to our list, please send an e-mail and share it with us. Live Sunday Services (all times Eastern)VIDEOFL-Potters'>http://www.ustream.tv/channel/phif">FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa, 11:00 AM VA-Believers Covenant Fellowship, Vienna, 11:00 AMAL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham, 12:00 AMNC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-Salem, 12:00 PMFL-Oasis Fellowship Ministries, Casselberry, 12:00 PMOK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa, 1:00 PMCA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long Beach, 1:00 PMWA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore, 1:30 PMCanada-Rainbow Community Church, Vancouver 9:00 PM

AUDIOCanada'>http://www.christalive.ca/?page_id=26">Canada, Vancouver-Christ Alive Community Church, 10:15 PMFL-Beacon of Hope Ministries, Dunedin (Living the Good Life radio program) 4:30 PM
Video Archive
AL-Covenant Community Church, BirminghamCA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long BeachFL-Church of the Holy SpiritSong, Ft. LauderdaleFL-Oasis Fellowship Ministries, CasselberryFL-New'>http://www.blogofhope.com/?cat=6">FL-New Hope Christian Center, PensacolaFL-Potters House International Fellowship, TampaGA-Gentle Spirit Christian Church, AtlantaGA-New Covenant Church of AtlantaNC-Church'>http://www.renaissanceunity.org/live.htm">NC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-SalemOK-Expressions Community Fellowship, Oklahoma CityOK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, TulsaTX-The One Church, GarlandWA-Living Water Fellowship, KenmoreCanada-Rainbow Community Church, Vancouver

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Has the National Equality March Made a Difference?

According to this article from the Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco, CA), it's hard to tell, which is not exactly reassuring:

Two months after an estimated 100,000 people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the National Equality March, activists calling for nationwide LGBT equality are working on their next steps.

But progress appears to have slowed considerably.

The National Equality March's only stated goal was equal protection for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.

Cleve Jones, the longtime gay activist largely responsible for the march, had insisted the best way to achieve full equality would be to establish action teams in all 435 congressional districts across the country. But it's still not clear how many of those teams have been formed or what they are doing.

Last month, Jones told the Bay Area Reporter that he thought groups had formed in some 200 congressional districts.

"But that's kind of fuzzy," he said.

Equality Across America is the group that oversaw the march. But it has been hampered by disorganization and a turnover in leadership following the sudden resignations of co-chairs Kip Williams and Robin McGehee less than a month after the march.
Click here to read the rest of the story.