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November 14, 2008


There has been much written about the tyranny of majority rule when it is applied to the rights of a minority. That potential tyranny is exactly what the founding fathers intended to counter balance with the creation of the justice branch of government. And, in particular, the Supreme Courts structure that encompasses state to federal levels of ultimate recourse in matters of conflict between the legislative processes and the tenets and intents of our constitution.

The genius of that structure is held in awe by us and by most of the world. And this is the heart and very foundation of the question of same-sex marriages. On one hand you have the constitutional guarantee of equal treatment under the law and on the other you have discriminatory legislation that was passed by majority votes. This is clearly the epitome of that conflict and I fully expect that this is a matter that can only be eradicated at that supreme court level.

But what about the tragic stupidity of the Arkansas adoption measure? This is something that was written to prevent gay couples from adopting children. But, the proponents realized that they probably couldn't get it passed if it only targeted gay couples so, in an act of sheer, desperate stupidity, they wrote it to ban ALL people who are “cohabitating outside a valid marriage.” It passed by a whopping majority of 57%!

According to an Op-Ed piece written by Dan Savage for the New York Times,

Right now, there are 3,700 other children across Arkansas in state custody; 1,000 of them are available for adoption. The overwhelming majority of these children have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their heterosexual parents.

Even before the law passed, the state estimated that it had only about a quarter of the foster parents it needed. Beginning on Jan. 1, a grandmother in Arkansas cohabitating with her opposite-sex partner because marrying might reduce their pension benefits is barred from taking in her own grandchild; a gay man living with his male partner cannot adopt his deceased sister’s children.

It's thoroughly disgraceful that qualified, loving and stable gay partners are barred from adopting. But now, thanks to the extraordinary blind-sighted actions of, again, religious zealots, hundreds more children in Arkansas will likely be forced to grow up in an understaffed and underfunded institution totally void of the loving care of parents and family. What could possibly be considered Christian about that?

Clearly, true Christianity has been almost completely overrun by fanatics whose zealotry and single-mindedness can only be compared to the early Puritans or, worse, the infamously cruel and murderous Spanish Inquisitions.

Is this what we want for our country? Is this the legacy we want to leave future generations?

I think not!

November 12, 2008


Let's get one thing straight from the start. Blacks, as a group, WERE NOT responsible for the passage of proposition 8! Religious zealotry, religious fanaticisms and religious avarice for money and power is what got propositions 2, 8, 102 and the very dangerous and hateful Arkansas anti-gay adoption measures passed. Period.

In our frustration over the success of those hate-filled measures, we seem to have lost focus of the root cause of our defeat. Religious and national leaders who lacked the strength of their own supposed convictions have always found it easier to rally the emotions of their followers by giving them scapegoats to fear and revile. From the current Pope to Thomas Monson and James Dobson to Hitler and Stalin, these pathetic but persuasive individuals all used the same simple tactic to acquire and maintain their power. Fear. We have become the scapegoats for that segment of the religious community. And they're using us to swell their rolls, fill their coffers and build their so-called prestige throughout the general populations of the world.

Before I go too far with this, I want to make it very clear that I AM NOT talking about religion in general. There are many churches, religious organizations and devout people who have supported us in our struggles for equality and who have stood by us in opposition to the many ludicrous propositions that the obsessed right-wing has put forward. Even within the groups that are trying to oppress us, there are many brave individuals who have challenged their leaders and told them, very publicly, that they were wrong. I am only talking about those churches and institutions that have chosen to use divisive fear and unsubstantiated hate mongering to further their goals.

At the top of that list are two of the most manipulative and underhanded church institutions and one of the most vile and disreputable right-wing religious groups. The Mormon and Catholic churches and the national group Focus On The Family have all invested millions of dollars and countless manpower hours in an unconscionable and un-American drive to prevent our community from achieving our constitutional right of equal treatment under the law. Not to mention our constitutionally guaranteed privilege of living-out our "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

There are, of course, other groups and religions (i.e., many evangelicals, orthodox jews, etc.) that have also worked against the GLBT community but none of them have the staggering monetary and robot-like human resources that the top three possess. The leaders of these groups are our primary enemies. They're the ones who brainwash and manipulate their followers into believing that a supposedly all-loving, benevolently omnipotent God would actually want to see a whole segment of his own creation persecuted.

So, before we, ourselves, blindly castigate a whole group of people by virtue of nothing more than skin color, let's remember that prejudice begins with what we are taught to believe by those we trusted and thought were above reproach. To win our battle, we can't resort to the same blind hatreds used by our enemies. We must, instead, reach out and work to expose the lies and the people who preach them.

Now is not the time to divide our community by our differences, now is the time to work together and focus our formidable talents and energies on our real enemies. The greedy and slimy hate mongers.


Fight the H8 in Your State

Protests against the anti-gay marriage and adoption propositions that were passed in California, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas are taking on a life of their own.

Not only hasn't the November 4th defeats dampened our spirits, it has energized our community in ways not seen since the Stonewall uprising in 1969. Since election day, protests have continued and new, more energized activists groups have been forming across the country.

I was one of those early activists in New York city following Stonewall and I can tell you, first hand, that this new movement is starting to look and feel a lot like a very welcome return to the contagious energy of that time. We were driven by intense idealism that was founded in an unshakable belief that the fight for equal rights and equal treatment was a clear and unquestionable moral imperative. To most of us who dove in head first, it wasn't a question of "Should I do this?" it was something we felt compelled and driven to. It was the right thing to do and that was that.

Now, a new group called Join The Impact is organizing a nationwide day of protest. It's scheduled for SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15TH in cities throughout the nation. In a statement on there blog, they said:

The gay pride parade has become a great party, but it has lost the memory of Stonewall and therefor given the nation another reason to cast us aside as irresponsible. It’s time we come together for debate, for public recognition, and for LOVE!

Let’s move as one full unit, on the same day, at the same hour, and let’s show the United States of America that we too are UNITED CITIZENS EQAUL IN MIND, BODY, SPIRIT AND DESERVING OF FULL EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW!

Here in Arizona the demonstrations are planned for 11:30am in...

Phoenix, City Hall at Cesar Chavez Memorial
200 W Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Tucson, City Hall:
255 W. Alameda
Tucson, Az 85701

Flagstaff, City Hall
211 W. Aspen Avenue
(protest on side facing Rte. 66)

and in downtown Kingman

To find the time and location in your city, go to: Join The Impact

November 11, 2008


Keith Olbermann is, by far, one of the most articulate, intelligent and straight forward journalists working in America today. I've featured his video comments on this blog before and, true to form, his take on the passage of proposition 8 is a very powerful rebuke of those who voted for this discriminatory, church-backed proposition. I want to make sure that as many people as possible see and hear this because this fight is not even close to over.

We've been fighting for simple, basic rights and equal treatment under the law for a very long time and we're certainly not going to fold up our tent and go away now.

Protest demonstrations (including St Paul, MN today and New York City tomorrow) against the passage of prop 8 continue through today and tomorrow. Thanks again to the diligence of Box Turtle Bulletin, here's a list of some of those planned.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA
1:00 p.m.
Corner of Haven and Foothill.

Redlands, CA
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Redlands Mormon Temple
1761 Fifth Avenue

Santa Monica, CA
5:00 p.m.
321 Santa Monica Pier

Fresno, CA
5:00 p.m.
Fink-White Playground
Amador St and B St.

San Francisco, CA
5:00 p.m. - 10:00p.m.
San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr Carton B Goodlett Pl

San Diego, CA
5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
San Diego Mormon Temple
7474 Charmant Drive

Los Angeles, CA
6:00 p.m.
La Cienega Blvd and Centinela Ave

Saint Paul, MN
3:00 p.m.
State Capitol (Meet on Old Main Lawn)

Encinitas, CA
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Corner of Saxony and Encinitas Blvd.
Phone: 5305759264

West Hollywood, CA
7:00 p.m.
Santa Monica & San Vicente

New York, NY
6:30 p.m.
Manhattan Mormon Temple
125 Columbus Ave at 65th Street

San Diego, CA
7:00 p.m.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral
2728 Sixth Ave.
For more info, contact Chris Harris at (619) 298-7261 or harrisc@stpaulcathedral.org.

If you have the time and you're in any of the above areas, JOIN THEM. I can personally guarantee that the feeling of pride and accomplishment you'll get from participating will be like nothing you've ever felt before.

November 10, 2008


Protests against the passage of Proposition 8 in California have continued through Sunday.

In numbers and passions not seen since the murder of Matthew Sheppard, the GLBT community, along with many of their straight allies and supporters, again filled the streets and sidewalks to protest the gross injustice forced on the gay community by proposition 8.

The following chronology was taken from an excellent story posted at Box Turtle Bulletin:

In Los Angeles an estimated 12,500 boisterous marchers converged at Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards in Silver Lake near the site of the former Black Cat bar, which the city recently designated a historic-cultural monument for its ’60s role as home of the local gay rights movement. Police guided the demonstrators through the streets for more than three hours without major confrontations. No arrests were reported.

In San Diego, an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people marched from Hillcrest to North Park behind a giant rainbow flag in protest of Proposition 8.

“I don’t want anyone to take away my right to marry,” said Ken Hagen, a University City newlywed who marched down University Avenue alongside his partner, John Young. Chants for equality were sometimes drowned out by drivers honking their horns in support of the passing crowd.

In Oakland, hundreds of protesters rallyed outside the Mormon Temple on Lincoln Avenue in the Oakland Hills. Same-sex marriage supporters carried signs, blew whistles, and passing cars honked in support outside the largest Mormon temple in the Bay Area.

The California Highway Patrol was forced to shut down the nearby Joaquin Miller and Lincoln on and off-ramps to the freeway due to the Oakland protest. A CHP dispatcher said the highway ramps were closed to protect pedestrians from traffic.

In Orange County about 300 protesters gathered in front of Saddleback Church holding signs reading “Shame on Rick Warren” and “Preach Love not Discrimination” as they chanted “Equal rights now.”

Hundreds also protested, without incident, in Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach with more protests planned in Lake Forest, Laguna Niguel and Rancho Santa Margarita today.

In Sacramento, thousands of people massed in front of the California statehouse. The event was the latest demonstration in Sacramento and across the state since the passage of Proposition 8 Tuesday.

In Santa Barbara, many people protested not only the passage of Proposition 8 but the fact that it was even on the ballot to begin with. “This should not have been a ballot measure, the basic fundamental human rights shouldn’t be voted on by the electorate,” said David Selberg with Pacific Pride Foundation.

In Long Beach, more than 2,000 demonstrators marched Friday night, protesting the passage of Proposition 8.

The march started about 7:30 p.m. and within an hour had taken over Broadway, with protesters shouting and holding signs with such messages as “Did we vote on your marriage?” Fifteen people were arrested.

Sunday protests also spread as far as Seattle, Washington where dozens of people picketed in front of a local Mormon church. As Mormons and their families walked to the church for services, they were met by protesters chanting “shame on the church” and “equal rights now.”

According to an article in today's Los Angeles Times, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday expressed hope that the California Supreme Court would overturn Proposition 8. He also predicted that the 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who have already wed would not see their marriages nullified by the initiative.

"It's unfortunate, obviously, but it's not the end," Schwarzenegger said in an interview Sunday on CNN. "I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area."

The governor has, in the past, said that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman and even rejected legislation that would have authorized same-sex marriage. But he has also said that he wouldn't care if same-sex marriage were legal as long as it was decided by the voters or by the courts.

Schwarzenegger did, finally, come out publicly in opposition to Proposition 8 but his declaration was a little too late to have any real impact in the face of the massive amounts of money (70% from the Mormon church) that was spent on misleading and outright false TV and radio ads, direct mailers and the thousands of Mormon minions that were put into the field.

There have been multiple law suits filed with the state supreme court challenging the validity of the infamous proposition.

There is also a concerted effort underway to challenge the tax-exempt status of the Mormon church and others that used their substantial resources to pass prop 8.

In addition, there is a serious call for a boycott of the state of Utah similar to the successful boycott of Arizona when that state refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. day in the early nineties.

I'll have more on these developments as the week progresses.