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April 8, 2009


In an Opinion piece published at the Christian news sight WORLDmag.com, well known conservative pundit Cal Thomas admitted that the battle against gay marriage is all but lost.

Using the classic movie musical The Music Man as a metaphor, Thomas cited lead character Harold Hill's proclamation to worried town folks that trouble had come to River City, Iowa in the form of a pool hall. A pool hall that would corrupt young people unless the local citizens bought the musical instruments he was selling and got their kids into a marching band. He promised that playing music would keep kids from “fritterin’ away their mealtime, suppertime, chore time, too” and going to the track to watch “some stuck-up jockey boy sittin’ on Dan Patch.”

I'm not sure if Thomas was aware of the boatload of ironies swirling around his choice of this American classic as the metaphor for his argument. For one, the movie and its Broadway counterpart were, at least in my generation, considered icons of entertainment within the GLBT community. The story was fun, campy and hilarious. And the would-be swindler finally sees the error of his ways and everyone lives happily everafter.

For a few others, substitute "gay marriage" for "pool hall", "religious doctrine" for "musical instruments", "church" for "marching band" and "praying" for "playing music" and you have the all-to-familiar rantings of the religious right wing fanatics we've all become accustomed to.

However, whether or not Mr. Thomas was or wasn't consciously aware of those ironies (I just found them to be personally entertaining), I do have to give him credit where credit is due. In his piece, after the usual rants about gay marriage leading to polygamy, God only intended man/woman couplings, etc. etc., he did say the following:

To those on the political and religious right who are intent on continuing the battle to preserve “traditional marriage” in a nation that is rapidly discarding its traditions, I would ask this question: What poses a greater threat to our remaining moral underpinnings? Is it two homosexuals living together, or is it the number of heterosexuals who are divorcing and the increasing number of children born to unmarried women, now at nearly 40 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?

Most of those who are disturbed about same-sex marriage are not as exercised about preserving heterosexual marriage. That’s because it doesn’t raise money and won’t get them on TV. Some preachers would rather demonize gays than oppose heterosexuals who violate their vows by divorcing, often causing harm to their children. That’s because so many in their congregations have been divorced and preaching against divorce might cause some to leave and take their contributions with them.

The battle over same-sex marriage is on the way to being lost. For conservatives who still have faith in the political system to reverse the momentum, you are—to recall Harold Hill—“closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge.”

Clearly, the right wing is finally beginning to see the writing on the wall and they're now looking for other issues to rally their minions around while they still have minions to rally.

Let's make one thing very, very clear here though. Our fight for marriage equality and equal protection under the law is, by no means, over yet. Although we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel you can bet that the diehard religious fanatics who are making millions of dollars and thousands of converts from the false emotionalism of gay rights issues are going to continue sending trainloads full of lies barreling through that tunnel in hopes of blocking out that light.

Yes. WE WILL WIN - and soon. But not if we start acting like we already have.


My thanks to Box Turtle Bulletin for the link to Thomas' piece.

April 7, 2009


It was announced this morning that with a House vote of 100-49 and a Senate vote of 23-5 the Vermont legislature did, indeed, have enough votes to override Republican Governor Jim Douglas's promised veto. This makes Vermont the fourth state to legalize gay marriage, joining Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa.

Although Vermont isn't the first state to officially legalize gay marriage, IT IS the first state in the Union to do it willingly by a vote of its legislators! As you may recall from past articles, in 2000 Vermont also became the first state in the country to offer Civil Unions.

Unfortunately (or maybe in this case - fortunately), those Civil Unions only offered some of the benefits automatically given to straight couples. Now, according to PinkNews.co.uk, although Vermont can not guarantee federal benefits to same-sex couples, it does grant access to the same Social Security benefits available to straight married couples. It also makes it possible to claim joint health insurance and make emergency medical decisions on behalf of their partners, among many other benefits and privileges not possible under Civil Unions.

Of course, opponents argued that the bill would undermine traditional marriage, render men and women interchangeable and destroy the connection between children and marriage. Their usual litany of lies and fear tactics so often repeated over and over again. But, thanks to the examples set by Massachusetts and the other nation-states around the world that have had gay marriage in place for years, fewer and fewer people are listening.

In fact, polls taken in Vermont have shown that citizens were in favor of the move.

Just this past March, a poll of 7,000 Vermont citizens showed that 54 per cent supported gay marriage, while only 37 per cent were opposed. A smaller survey taken in January suggested that 58 per cent were in favour of or leaning towards gay marriage.

Let's all take a moment right now to close our eyes and concentrate very deeply on projecting these last two amazing marriage victories directly into the minds of the California State Supreme Court Justices. Who knows - the power of mind over matter and all that. Certainly, strangers things have happened this year - and we're not even half way through it yet!

April 6, 2009


Yesterday, CNN reported that 6 gay men were murdered over the last 10 days in Iraq.

According to that report, two men were killed last Thursday in the Sadr City area of Baghdad after they were disowned by relatives. The shootings came after a tribal meeting was held and the members decided to go after the victims.

Prior to these killings, on March 26th, four additional men were fatally shot in the same city. They had also been disowned by their relatives because they were gay. According to a report by 365gay.com, the four men were buried near Sadr City with the words “pervert” and “puppies” written on their chests. "Puppy" is a derogatory word used by residents in Sadr City to refer to homosexuals.

Witnesses told CNN that a Sadr City cafe, which was a popular gathering spot for gays, was also set on fire.

All of these most recent incidents came after a stepped-up campaign by Shiite cleric Sattar al-Battat who repeatedly condemned homosexuality during recent Friday prayers, saying Islam prohibits homosexuality. By Iraq's current law, homosexual acts are punishable by up to seven years in prison.

As horrendous as these acts are, they are not confined to Iraq or the mideast alone. They are being encouraged and inflamed throughout the world by the hate-filled, homophobic rhetoric of religious fanatics from Sadr City to the Vatican to Mormon tabernacles to the extreme, right-wing, evangelical churches in this country. All with the same disheartening and highly disturbing results that culminate in everything from verbal taunts to outright, brutal, mind-numbing murders.

In this country, all of this has been graphically demonstrated by the latest hate crimes statistics showing that over the last few years, ever since our own home-grown religious extremists stepped up their homophobic rhetoric here, violence against gays has increased dramatically. In fact, the increase in violence against gays has now surpassed all other groups.

Now, I know that in a country where free speech is guaranteed, it's very difficult to stop hate speech. There are, however, exceptions to that guarantee.

In 1859, John Stuart Mill introduced what is known as the "harm principle" which placed the following limitation on free expression: "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." If ever I heard of a situation that fits that exception like a glove, it's the unbridled rantings of religious fanaticism. Clearly there is now proof that their kind of rhetoric does, indeed, lead to harming others. Perhaps this is an avenue that should be pursued by the ACLU and/or the many Lambda Legal type organizations in our own community.

Maybe a few strategically chosen lawsuits brought by victims of anti-gay violence against a few religious groups and/or institutions would serve as a wake-up call to these groups.

In the meantime, as I've said in several articles in the past, the more successful we become, the more frustrated and desperate our enemies become. And the more desperate they become, the more they turn to violence.

So, once again --- LET'S BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!