Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mark Morford: Homophobes Need (Gay) Love Too

Mark Morford, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, writes some great columns which while poking fun and those who deserve derision also hit upon many kernels of truth. In a column that reflects on the University of Rochester study that not surprisingly concluded that many extreme homophobes are actually self-loathing closet cases who secretly, whether consciously or not, yearn for the very same gay sex about which they shriek condemnation so often. Interestingly, Morford seems to get the same read on Rick Santorum as I do - the guy's a closet case and all those children are a manifestation of Santorum's quest for self-denial. One of the things I did during my 37 years in the closet was to throw myself into Catholicism in the hope that it would make the gay go away. Of course, it doesn't - a fact that Santorum and those like him will perhaps someday acknowledge. Morford also notes the harm done individuals raised in homophobic and often unloving Christianist homes. Here are some column highlights:

And then came the headline that surprised exactly no one and delighted a great many, even as it openly terrified countless thousands across the deep south and also Utah and Kansas and pretty much the entire GOP. The poor dears.

"Homophobes might be secretly attracted to people of the same sex," is what the headline read, I mean obviously, I mean of course you already know what the researchers discovered, you and every conscious human within a 10,000 mile radius who also snickered, rolled her eyes and then sighed heavily with the obviousness of it all. It is not always the way?

Who among us with the slightest acumen toward self-reflection doesn't fully understand that the more you wail against something, the more violently outspoken or hateful you are against this or that perceived indiscretion, sexual proclivity, perversion, deviance, expression, delight, taste sensation, the more certain it is that said deliciousness secretly attracts you, turns you on and makes you enormously, terrifically scared?

Case after case, priest after priest, GOP senator after megachurch pastor after spittle-flecked Tea Party zealot -- all suddenly caught pants down in a bathroom stall, in a leather bar, gay chat room, in a Grindr hookup app, living out their real and honest selves even as they rail and oppose and thump their Bibles everywhere else. Hypocrisy, thy name is homophobe.

Which is, essentially, exactly what the study found. One's level of homophobia lies, quite frequently, in direct proportion to one's own brutally closeted desire for homosexual sex. Result: self-denial, self hatred, wailing and thrashing and Prop 8-ing against an unfair world.

Behind the humor and the sarcasm, there's a sadness, a brutal truism common to the human melodrama. Shall we have a glance? It goes something like this: Perhaps nasty homophobes are, the study gently suggests, to be empathized with, to be offered a modicum of compassion and understanding, due to the abject tragedy of their ignoble fate. And perhaps this offering, particularly in light of hateful trolls like Rick Santorum and his dark coven, perhaps this is one of the most difficult challenges you can name.

Hatred is, we all know, a learned experience. Someone teaches you that blacks are scary, Muslims are evil, women are lesser. Someone force feeds kids the vile falsehood that gay love is an abomination, as opposed to something obvious and common across every species of animal on the planet. I say 'force,' because kids will never believe it otherwise.

Does this all excuse the homophobe's acts, their nasty legislation, their bilious congressional votes? Does it give Rick Santorum, Rick Warren, Rush Limbaugh some sort of pass? Hell no. Does it give it a hint of understanding, and perhaps empathy, as we all recognize those places in ourselves where we have been similarly programmed, lied to, horribly misled? It might. Depends on your whisky.

Of course, it's not universal. Not all hardcore conservatives secretly wish for a gay romp or ten. Many just act out of purely poisoned souls, or from the unconscious demon telling them that if they're not allowed to express their deepest selves, if they can't live life at a more honest frequency, no one can.

We are taught to ignore our deeper selves in favor of the collective group-think, codified programming, a wrathful and disconnected God. This is the lesson: Do not ask deeper questions. Do not tap into your own genuine needs, sexuality, fierce spiritual magma. Do not dare suggest that most fundamentalist notions of Christian God are sort of detestable and gloomy, the exact opposite of what Jesus actually intended. Do not, most of all, dare to define it all for yourself, as your sex, your soul, your internal ethical slut see fit. What the hell do you think you are, free?

Saturday Male Beauty

Christianists: Evacuation Of The Titanic A Model Of Christian Charity

I realize that I tend to bash the Christian Right extremists all the time, but honestly, they just keep on providing so much incredible fodder for highlighting their hypocrisy and utter perversion of the Gospel message. Last week I noted that a group inappropriately named Truth In Action had put together a video clip (Right Wing Watch had highlighted to insanity) that likened America to the Titanic about to strike the iceberg except in the video clip, it was us gays who constitute the iceberg. Apparently not content with simply attacking gays and instilling anti-gay hate, Truth In Action has expanded the Titanic theme to also attack evolution and modernity in general in a radio message. What puts the piece over the top is that the chaotic and class driven evacuation of the Titanic is held up as a model of "Christian charity." Seriously, I kid you not. A situation where the wealthy were given first priority - Sir Cosmo Duff-Gord0n and his wife left the ship with ten others in a boat that could have accommodated another 28 people while all eight members of the Goodwin family in third class, including all six children, died. In fact, many in steerage were literally barred from passing through first class areas as they tried to escape from below decks. And this demonstrates "Christian charity"? Only in the bizarre alternate universe world of the Christianists. Right Wing Watch looks at this latest batshitery:

While Truth in Action Ministries recently informed us that the “radical homosexual agenda” is the iceberg out to sink the ship that is America, it turns out that the plot is even thicker, as it appears that feminism and evolution are also culprits in the country’s devastation. Today on the group’s flagship radio program Truth that Transforms, Doug Phillips of Vision Forum appeared to discuss an event he organized in Branson, Missouri, “to celebrate [the] Christian Legacy of Titanic’s sinking.”

“Though more than 1,500 people died in this international tragedy, the Darwinian notion of the ‘survival of the fittest’ was rejected in favor of the age-old Christian doctrine that the ‘strong sacrifice for the weak,’” Phillips said in a statement.

As Julie Ingersoll in Religion Dispatches notes, “as is often the case with ‘providential history,’ the actual history is distorted to make specific theological points”:

By percentage, twice as many women in third class died as did women in first class; children in first class had nearly three times the survival rate of those in third. One would only use "raw numbers" if one was trying to make a point not supported by the numbers.

In biblical patriarchy, the refrain of "women and children first" hides an agenda whereby the women are "first" only insofar as they keep their place which is subordinate to men.
On Truth that Transforms, Phillips pointed to an 1898 shipwreck on the French ship La Bourgogne where hundreds of women and children died, blaming it on “a culture that embraced evolution” and “the French Revolution which had rejected biblical Christianity and embraced paganism.” He went on to argue that the theory of evolution ultimately leads to the growth of feminism, and the “result is babies are killed en masse, women are treated like chattel and men no longer take on their masculine role as defenders.” The host, former Concerned Women for America president Carmen Pate, later bemoaned that evolution and feminism have “infiltrated” almost all aspects of society:

Phillips: People that were on board the deck of the Titanic at that time were individuals that grew up in a culture which was distinctively Christian in its perspective of the role of men and women and there’s an interesting contrast because in the year 1898 a French vessel called La Bourgogne sunk and when it sunk the sailors and the officers literally threw women and children into the water, beat them over the head, and the men lived and the women died. It sent shockwaves throughout the entire world, people said, ‘how could such a thing happen?’ And in trying to understand why that happened, the commentary was, they grew up in a culture that embraced evolution, it was the struggle of the survival of the fittest, they grew up in the culture of the French Revolution which had rejected biblical Christianity and embraced paganism and the consequences were that men treat women horrifically.

Now we flash forward to the year 2012 and this year our president has finally taken us over the abyss and we have full-fledged commitment to women in the frontlines of combat in overseas battles, we need to understand that that’s the first time in the history of the West that any nation has formally endorsed such a thing and it represents a radical departure from the values that were on board the ship in 1912.

Phillips: Evolution says the struggle of the survival of the fittest, there are no differences between men and women, there is no charity, there is no deference, and in an evolutionary world feminism reaches its height and we see no distinctions. The result is babies are killed en masse, women are treated like chattel and men no longer take on their masculine role as defenders.
The irony, of course, is that it is the Christianist who want women to be treated as chattel and preferably kept barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. And as for there being "no charity," no one seems better defined by unrelenting greed and hatred towards others than today's conservative Christians. And people wonder what I don't want to be called Christian?

Catholic Group Criticizes Paul Ryan and Rejects His Social Views

Throughout the GOP primaries one think remained an interesting constant: ultra far right GOP candidates - i.e., Rick Santorum - consistently lost the Catholic vote to less strident and theocratic candidates. The far right loves to wrap itself in religion yet embraces social policies that are the antithesis of Christ's Gospel message of social justice and charity for the poor, hungry and homeless. That's right, the very people that the Republican Party seeks to throw under the bus if not throw into the trash heap as the party pushes to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy and treat corporations as if they were people. Fitting the mold of the - at least in my view - hypocrites in the GOP leadership is Paul Ryan who recently sought to justify his draconian pro-wealthy budget based on his Catholic faith. Many Catholics were not amused, and as Politico reports some have called Ryan out. Here are highlights:

Nearly 60 progressive Catholic leaders released a statement Friday, condemning Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s assertion that his budget proposal was shaped by his Catholic faith. “When a high-profile Catholic congressman is mangling church teachings, that should be challenged,” John Gehring, Catholic Outreach Coordinator for Faith in Public Life, the organization that put together the statement, told POLITICO.

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network released Tuesday, Ryan said that his religious convictions influenced his budget plan, claiming that the proposal reflects Catholic teachings of local control and concern for the poor.

But some Catholic leaders disagree strenuously that Ryan’s policies represent their faith. “If Rep. Ryan thinks a budget that takes food and health care away from millions of vulnerable people upholds Catholic values, then he also probably believes Jesus was a tea partier who lectured the poor to stop being so lazy and work harder,” said Gehring. “This budget turns centuries of Catholic social teaching on its head. These Catholic leaders and many Catholics in the pews are tired of faith being misused to bless an immoral agenda.”

Indeed, 59 Catholic leaders and theologians took issue with Ryan’s claims, signing a scathing letter that slammed the Ryan budget plan. “Simply put, this budget is morally indefensible and betrays Catholic principles of solidarity, just taxation and a commitment to the common good. A budget that turns its back on the hungry, the elderly and the sick while giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest few can’t be justified in Christian terms,” argue the signatories.

The signatories include the leadership team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a women’s Catholic organization, a retired Priest in Ryan’s district, and the former Associate General Secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Not surprisingly, porcine anti-gay bigot extraordinaire and one of the architects of the fraudulent "religious liberty is threatened" campaign, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, has not condemned the Ryan budget. Treating the poor and unfortunate as so much disposable garbage is apparently perfectly fine with Dolan.

Kool-Drinkers Want Romney to Channel Santorum

Let's hope the Romney campaign follows the delusional advise of former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed (who set my gaydar off big time when I met him years ago) and the religious extremism of Rick Santorum becomes part of the Romney game plan. According to Reed, Santorum "previewed the ideological trajectory" of the Republican Party and by extension, America. If that's the case, perhaps the GOP will go the way of the Dodo and the Whigs. Reed has an op-ed in the Washington Post. Here are highlights:

Santorum has been denounced as a sore loser, a religious extremist, a crank. MSNBC host Martin Bashir referred to him as a theocratic version of Stalin. One columnist alleged in the Daily Beast that Santorum would use the power of the presidency to impose “his ideal of a Christian America” on the nation. The New Yorker compared him to Islamic extremists who seek to execute their opponents, adding that we need separation of church and state so that “Santorum and his party can’t impose dominion of one narrow, sectarian, Bible-based idea of the public good.”

But Santorum and his supporters may have the last laugh. From John C. Fremont to William Jennings Bryan in the 19th century to Barry Goldwater, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern and Ronald Reagan in our time, losing presidential candidates have previewed the ideological trajectory of their parties — and often of the nation.

Romney would be wise to remember this in his general-election campaign. Of course he can’t neglect independents, or women, or Hispanics, or other nontraditional Republican constituencies. But his immediate task is to consolidate conservative support and unify the party. The best way to do that is to appropriate the best parts of Santorum’s message. Santorum follows the trailblazing evangelical candidates Pat Robertson and Mike Huckabee, who personified the rise and the maturation of social conservatives as a critical component of the Republican coalition.

In the primaries, Santorum outperformed Romney among two key demographic groups, one religious and cultural, the other socioeconomic — and Romney needs both to win in November. The first group was evangelicals and tea party voters; there is remarkable overlap between them. According to the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s analysis of network exit polls, more than half of voters who cast a ballot in a Republican presidential primary or caucus through mid-March were self-identified evangelicals.

The second group with which Santorum performed extremely well was voters who did not graduate from college and who earn less than $100,000 a year. Working-class voters in battleground states such as Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa will be a key vulnerability for Obama in the general election. Romney needs them
Others without Reed's Christofascist agenda see things differently as evidenced by a piece in The Atlantic which argues that Santorum may have permanently damaged Romney who will find himself in the run up to November faced with many poisonous video clips of things he said to out pander Santorum. Here are some excerpts:

Santorum's staunch social conservatism, by contrast, will probably cast a more enduring shadow. . . . . He stoked his socially conservative base with a stream of vehement pronouncements -- pledging to expose "the dangers of contraception"; insisting that states should be allowed to ban birth control (while declaring that he himself would vote against such a ban); accusing President Obama of practicing a "phony theology"; and asserting that John F. Kennedy's famous speech on the separation of church and state made him "throw up." Santorum's unrelenting ardor shifted the race's focus from the economic issues that Romney preferred to cultural confrontations, a movement reinforced by a series of concurrent events that included the GOP backlash against Obama's rule requiring religiously based employers to fund contraception in health insurance and Rush Limbaugh's denunciation of a young woman supporting Obama as a "slut."

Romney didn't match the vitriol from Santorum (or Limbaugh), but he never renounced it either. And Romney embraced comparable positions, proposing to terminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, to end federal family-planning money for low-income women, and to allow employers to deny contraceptive coverage if it violated their moral beliefs. "Romney has inextricably identified himself with that current in Republican thinking," insists Democratic pollster Geoff Garin. "And women have noticed that."

[A]an ABC News/Washington Post poll this week, echoing other recent surveys, showed an unprecedented 60 percent of these women backing the president against Romney. If Obama can stay close to that number, he can lose about two-thirds of all other whites and still win reelection (so long as he remains strong among minorities, as seems likely).

Romney began trying to dig out this week by hitting Obama's economic record for women. But the White House believes that many upscale women are feeling secure enough about the economy to vote on their cultural liberalism. If that equation holds through November, Romney may rue his decision not to paddle against the surging conservative current on social issues that Santorum unleashed with his unlikely ascent.

Catholic Parishes Revolt Against Bishop's Anti-Gay Directive

It is encouraging to see that some Catholics are waking up to the moral bankruptcy of the Catholic bishops and openly refusing to follow the anti-gay decrees being issued from bishops' palaces around the country. In Washington State where the Catholic bishops are seeking to over turn that state's new same sex marriage law, Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain has sought to have parishes gather signatures on the petitions needed to get the marriage law on the ballot for reversal. Two high profile parishes - including Seattle's cathedral - have flat out indicated that they will not participate in the effort. The Catholic Church power structure continues to be based on a feudal system from the Dark Ages, but at some point if the serfs and peasants refuse to follow the orders of lords - and that is clearly how the bishops view themselves - the system can be defeated. Here are highlights from the Seattle Post:

A second big Catholic church in Seattle, St. Joseph Parish on Capitol Hill, says it will not circulate ballot petitions on a referendum to repeal the state’s new same-sex marriage law. The pastor at St. Joseph, the Rev. John D. Whitney, S.J., warned two months ago that a Catholic bishops’ letter denouncing marriage equality “will bring great pain” among those “so often marginalized in our church.”

The website at St. Joseph carries a terse notice: “Please be aware that Fr. Whitney has decided that no petitions will be permitted anywhere on the campus of St. Joseph.”

The pastor of St. James Cathedral, Fr. Michael Ryan, announced to parishoners on Wednesday that the diocesan cathedral would not participate in the Referendum 74 petition drive — which has been endorsed by Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain. “After discussing the matter with the members of the Cathedral’s pastoral ministry team, I have decided that we will NOT participate in the collecting of signatures in our parish,” Ryan wrote. “Doing so would, I believe, prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community.”

[P]rominent Catholic laypersons have supported marriage equality. Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the same-sex marriage bill into law, as did Maryland’s Catholic Gov. Martin O’Malley with similar legislation in his state. The chief sponsor of marriage equality in the Legislature, State Sen. Ed Murray, is a practicing Catholic.

As The Stranger reports, it appears that at least five other parishes have said "No" to the bishops' anti-gay jihad:

St. Mary Catholic parish in the Central District has made its stance official, as several Catholic parishes are revolting against Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain's call to join the campaign to repeal same-sex marriage. Tricia Wittmann-Todd, the pastoral life coordinator at St. Mary, sent a letter to her congregation this afternoon that calls the signature-gathering campaign for Referendum 74 potentially "hurtful and divisive to our parish."

Politically, it's a revolt from the local Catholic church's hierarchy. Socially, it's an acknowledgment that gay people are welcome—even beloved—members of Catholic congregations, and the laity will defend them from the bigoted bishops on high.

Thus far, we have also confirmed that St. James and St. Joseph are refusing the petitions. We're also told that St. Catherine, St. Patrick, St. Therese, and Christ Our Hope have refused the signature drive.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Morning Male Beauty

The GOP Budget: Cannibalize the Future

This blog has looked at the smoke and mirrors of the GOP budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan before. A budget that benefits the wealthy while savaging the poor and middle class and running up even bigger deficits in the future. The budget approach, however, is not unique to the GOP at the national level. One is seeing the same sort of budget tactics used in states ranging from Wisconsin, where the governor is facing possible recall, to Virginia where Bob McDonnell lauds "public-private partnerships" such as the proposed Norfolk-Portsmouth Midtown Tunnel deal which will seriously screw over citizens while giving ridiculous guaranteed rates of return to private interests. An op-ed in the New York Times maintains that New Jersey and Chris Christie need to be added to the list of Republicans who are selling out the future in order to mindlessly cling to a no tax mantra even as the nation's infrastructure crumbles. Here are column highlights:

One general rule of modern politics is that the people who talk most about future generations — who go around solemnly declaring that we’re burdening our children with debt — are, in practice, the people most eager to sacrifice our future for short-term political gain. You can see that principle at work in the House Republican budget, which starts with dire warnings about the evils of deficits, then calls for tax cuts that would make the deficit even bigger . . .

And you can see it in the actions of Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who talks loudly about acting responsibly but may actually be the least responsible governor the state has ever had.

Mr. Christie’s big move — the one that will define his record — was his unilateral decision back in 2010 to cancel work that was already under way on a new rail tunnel linking New Jersey with New York. At the time, Mr. Christie claimed that he was just being fiscally responsible, while critics said that he had canceled the project just so he could raid it for funds.

Now the independent Government Accountability Office has weighed in with a report on the controversy, and it confirms everything the critics were saying.

The governor asserted that the projected costs were rising sharply; the report tells us that this simply wasn’t true. The governor claimed that New Jersey was being asked to pay for 70 percent of a project that would shower benefits on residents of New York; in fact, the bulk of the financing would have come either from the federal government or from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which collects revenue from residents of both states.

But while it’s important to document Mr. Christie’s mendacity, it’s even more important to understand the utter folly of his decision. The new report drives home just how necessary, and very much overdue,the tunnel project was and is.

New Jersey is linked to New York by just two single-track tunnels built a century ago — tunnels that run at 100 percent of capacity during peak hours. How could this situation not call for new investment?

Well, Mr. Christie insisted that his state couldn’t afford the cost. As we’ve already seen, however, he apparently couldn’t make that case without being dishonest about the numbers. So what was his real motive?

One answer is that the governor is widely assumed to have national ambitions, and the Republican base hates government spending in general (unless it’s on weapons). And it hates public transportation in particular.

Another answer is that canceling the tunnel allowed Mr. Christie to divert funds from that project — as his critics have said, to cannibalize the investment — and put them into the state highway fund, thereby avoiding the need to raise the state’s tax on gasoline. New Jersey gas taxes, by the way, are lower in real terms than at any point in the state’s history. But, as a candidate, Mr. Christie said that he wouldn’t raise those taxes, so cannibalizing the tunnel helped him avoid embarrassment.

The crucial point about both of these explanations is that they stand Mr. Christie’s narrative about himself on its head. The governor poses as a man willing to make hard choices for the future, but what he actually did was sacrifice the future for the sake of personal political advantage.

Unfortunately, Mr. Christie’s behavior is all too typical these days. America used to be a country that thought big about the future. Major public projects, from the Erie Canal to the interstate highway system, used to be a well-understood component of our national greatness. Nowadays, however, the only big projects politicians are willing to undertake — with expense no object — seem to be wars.

And, of course, the GOP has no qualms about throwing aside middle class and poor Americans as if they were easily discard trash even as GOP politicians wrap themselves in the cloak of Christianity. They are modern day Pharisees or worse..

"Marcia" Bachmann Continues to Peddle "Ex-Gay" Snake Oil

Some things don't change - including the efforts of some likely closeted gays to market the myth that gays can "pray away the gay." It may help them feel better about themselves, but it's a farce that can have serious damaging consequences to those under going the fraudulent "therapy." I've known a number of individuals who went through "ex-gay" ministries and it seriously harmed them emotionally. In my view, these bogus "therapy" ministries ought to be illegal and "ex-gay" therapy should be grounds for license revocation for therapists. But then, the extremely nelly Marcus "Marcia" Bachmann operates a "Christian counseling center" and apparently manages to skirts normal licensing requirements. Frankly, anything with the term "Christian" in it ought to raise a huge red flag to anyone seeking counseling from Bachmann & Associates in the first place. As Gay U.S.A. reports, another undercover operation has caught Bachmann & Associates again offering "ex-gay" therapy to patients in direct contradiction to the ethical guidelines adopted by the APA for reputable therapists. Here are highlights:

Bachmann & Associates had no idea that they were the target of yet another undercover gay advocate visit, and this time it was in the form of a young lesbian, a filmmaker from GAY U.S.A. the Movie. While the visit was contrived, and the character expounded upon, the reality and the seriousness of the possible harm to young gays and lesbians cannot be overstated.

Last week as co-producer on the film, I helped Kristina Lapinski set up and pursue a counseling session at one of the two Bachmann clinics in Minnesota, where she played the part of a confused 24 year old lesbian who had just moved from California to Minnesota to marry her long time male friend, Jake, all to please her Christian parents.

The purpose of Gay U.S.A. the Movie’s action was to obtain footage for a documentary, which after two years, is now in its final shooting phase, with a planned release for September 2012.

We planned the visit to the Bachmann clinic with precision and clarity, at first trying to get an appointment with Marcus Bachmann himself, only to learn that he is no longer taking new clients; possibly a respite after the TWO sting.

We researched online for another counselor in the Bachmann office, and were led by the mission statements of some 26 counselors, most describing practices with distinct biblical and Christian orientation. With time constraints our limitation, the process of elimination was determined by availability and the appointment was made with a counselor by the name of Sheila J. Marker.

With six years of experience , as can be seen from the website description on the Bachmann page, Sheila J. Marker is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, State & AAMFT Approved Supervisor, and received her MA in Professional Counseling, from Argosy University, Eagan, MN, specializing in, inter alia, Pre-Marital Counseling, Relational, Marriage, Family Issues, and Women’s Issues. Her mission statement reads:

“It was easy to be me and imagine that this scenario, of being closeted and fearful of my sexuality could be true, as I have heard so many such stories through my filming,” noted Kristina, whose years belie her comfort as a lesbian.

But nothing prepared her for what was to come and, she notes, “Although I was able to intellectualize the experience, for a whole three hours after I left the office, I was nauseous. I thought that it could have been real for someone else and it made me want to throw up.”

After the appointment was over, I received another text from Kristina, and even though I had an idea about where this appointment could lead, nothing could have prepared me for that text:-

“We prayed the gay away!” Then it hit me too, like a kick in the gut, as I imagined the worst for those really in this predicament. I thought, “How could these people get away with this – they are playing with fire, with the lives of our kids!”

She told me to follow God’s road. “The bible says one man one woman… two great halves come together….” and then spoke to some extent about a woman’s duty to keep the man company… I found that oddly sexist.

She then went on to convince me about what was right and never ever explored the option that I could possibly in fact be a lesbian. She told me the commitment part was important and the love part would grow over time. She asked me if I could “pray for a miracle to happen and wake up in the morning and have it be true, what would I wish for?”

I found it interesting that I gave Ms. Marker my options – the option between being with women or being with a man. I had clearly expressed I did not have a sexual attraction to men. It was astounding to me that she pressed her personal political and religious opinion on me about which path to pursue, without even exploring my feelings of being a lesbian, which was given no consideration at all on that day of prayer, even though she invited me back to further the discussion.

I feel the need to expose this kind of practice because I really believe that if I was that character in real life and uncomfortable with my sexuality, this so called counseling could have been very harmful to me.”

These bogus counseling operations need to be shut down and health insurance carriers need to stop making payments for therapy that is no better than having a tribal witch doctor perform a magic ritual using smoke and animal entrails. It is disgusting that "Macia" and his wife continue to fleece people for this snake oil.

Did Homophobia Sink Rick Santorum?

I suspect Rick Santorum ultimately self-destructed for a number of reason, but some say his vitriolic homophobia played a significant role. If nothing else, Santorum's extreme homophobia served to underscore his religious extremism and the fact that he holds only contempt for the concept of the separation of church and state and the religious freedom of non-Bible beating Protestants and Opus Dei loving Catholics. One can only hope that time will demonstrate that Santorum represents the last gasp of the Christian Right at the national level and that in another four years more of his aging fellow religious extremists will have exited from the voter rolls. This column looks at Santorum's anti-gay extremism and how it may have been part of his undoing. Here are highlights:

The proverbial fat lady finally sang on former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s presidential aspirations on Tuesday with the suspension of his campaign. . . . . What happened?

The social conservative’s strong opposition to marriage for gays and lesbians came under increased scrutiny on the campaign trail, as evidenced when a group of college students repeatedly challenged Santorum on the issue during a town hall at New England College in Henniker, N.H., ahead of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary in January. LGBT rights group blasted Santorum last September after he described the repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers during a Republican presidential debate in Orlando, Fla., as "playing social experimentation with our military right now."

A Gallup poll last May shows that 53 percent of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples. More significantly, only one percent of those who took part in the Conservative Political Action Committee straw poll in Feb. 2011 said stopping nuptials for gays and lesbians was a top priority.

"After a long and drawn out primary season, Republicans are looking forward to changing the focus toward President Obama and Democrats in Congress," said R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, after Santorum suspended his campaign. "The departure of Rick Santorum’s divisive social politics from the race puts moderate, independent and younger conservative voters in play."

Santorum said in his Gettysburg speech that he would help presumptive GOP presidential nominee Romney defeat Obama in November. His political capital among social conservatives could very well benefit the former Massachusetts governor ahead of this summer’s Republican National Convention in Tampa. The question remains, however, whether this support will even matter.

The primary takeaway from Santorum’s failed presidential campaign is that overtly homophobic rhetoric against marriage equality and other LGBT-specific issues does not equate to an effective campaign strategy. Romney should take note if he hopes to stand a chance against Obama in November.

I continue to wonder when the GOP will wake up to the fact that the party is engaged in a slow form of political suicide as it continues to pander to a dwindling percentage of the population and wraps itself in religious extremism found to be horrific to growing numbers of Americans.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

Christian Taylor Featured as Bullying Victim in "Bully"

I have written several times about Christian Taylor who was virtually bullied to death in the near by York County school division. While apparently straight, Christian was nonetheless bullied unmercifully for being gay. Worse yet - and sadly as seems to be the norm with school divisions - the York County schools did absolutely nothing to protect Christian from the unrelenting bullying. Christian's mother e-mailed me a link to the trailer for Bully and Christian's photo appears in the gallery of victims at about the 20 second mark of the trailer which can be found here.

I would hope that the offended Anglican will take a good look at Christian's photo and grasp the fact that their own (and their chosen denomination's) anti-gay bias is but a part of the larger picture of anti-gay bigotry that kills individuals like Christian. Homophobia and anti-gay bigotry derives first and foremost from religious belief that refuses to acknowledge the common humanity of others and clings simple mindlessly to a Bible that is anything but inerrant. Christ must be literally sickened by the conduct of many who have misappropriated His name and used the Bible as a justification for evil.

The Truth Hurts the Feelings of Anti-Gay Anglicans

Yesterday I wrote a post about the aftermath of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia's legal victory over the break away parishes who found the election of openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop to be more than their hypocritical sensibilities could tolerate. Apparently, hearing the views of someone who has experienced anti-gay bigotry first hand (e.g., forced from a law firm for being gay and tried in my divorce for "choosing to be gay", etc.) disturbed one member of the break away Anglican faction which has aligned itself with distasteful elements in the Anglican Church of Nigeria. True to course, the offended individual said that they would pray for me. I would argue that perhaps they would be better served to pray for them self and their fellow haters - not to mention the many victims of the bullying and abuse that their anti-gay beliefs continue to foment. Here's a sample of our e-mail exchanges:

THE READER: I saw your posting today on your blog, Virginia Episcopal Church Regains Property from Gay Haters. I feel very sad reading your post and that you see the separation in the Diocese of Virginia as between those who love gay people and those who hate gay people. I could tell you that isn't true, but I am not sure that would really change how you feel. I am very sorry, very sorry. This is how you feel and I need to listen. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

MY RESPONSE: I am sorry that you find my blog post upsetting. Sadly, actions speak louder than words and the fact that parishes chose to exit from the Episcopal Church because of Gene Robinson's elevation to the status of bishop despite their lip service about not hating gays speaks volumes. I by no means intend to brand the break away Anglican parishes as the only hypocrites when it comes to this issue. Having been raised Catholic (but now happily a member of the ELCA) I am all too familiar with denominations that talk about treating gays with "dignity" even as they demonize us and do everything to harm us short of outright inciting physical violence against us.

The first thing that truly disturbs me is the hypocrisy of those who cite the Bible as justification for their anti-gay views even as they totally ignore inconvenient Bible passages that would impinge against their own actions. A case in point is a former law partner of mine who helped lead the break away group at Galilee Episcopal in Virginia Beach. He cited the Bible as condemning me for being gay (after I came out of the closet later in life), yet he himself is divorced and remarried. The Gospels are very explicit on the status of those who divorce and remarry - they are adulterers. Yet my former partner felt he could "confess" his failed marriage and move on freely forward in a new marriage. Meanwhile, he and his gay rejecting cohorts do not cut gays any similar slack. If the Bible is inerrant - personally I don't hold this view - then its adherents who hold that belief do NOT get to selectively pick and choose what they want to hold as inerrant. It's an all or nothing proposition.

The second issue I find disturbing is the fact that you break away Anglicans have aligned yourselves with the Nigerian Anglican Church. I don't know what was done in terms of due diligence, but Peter Akinola (former archbishop) seems to be a truly nasty piece of work and there are reliable sources that indicate he likely ordered the murder of over 600 Muslims, including many women and children. That's right an outright massacre. A gay bishop is viewed as horrific but a bishop who ordered the murder of women and children is fine? What kind of Christian behavior does that demonstrate?

The third point that I would make is that more and more studies confirm that anti-gay positions by religious denominations such as yours are driving more and more Americans - especially younger generations - away from organized religion. Indeed, the fastest growing religious segment, if you will, is "Nones" - those with no religious affiliation. Many "nones" deem themselves to be spiritual, but they are over the hypocrisy of the "godly Christian" crowd and those who cling to homophobia even thorough ALL legitimate medical and mental health associations deem homosexuality to be a normal subset of human experience and something that is not a "choice' or something "changeable." Personally, I believe that your denomination and those like it are killing Christianity as a brand. Moreover, I suspect more and more of the younger generations agree with me.

Lastly, I would add that given Jesus' tendency to hang out with the outcasts of society as opposed to the Pharisee set, I suspect He'd be more likely to be found in a gay club than he would be to found in a break away Anglican parish. You might not like my message, but I believe it's accurate based on the facts as I see them. In closing, I suggest you go see the movie "Bully" and get a taste of the fruits of anti-gay attitudes such as your denomination's are yielding. Such views are literally killing people.

I am sure that some will think me harsh. But, I would argue that such blatant homophobia fuels the abuse of LGBT youth and drives the disproportionately high suicide rate among LGBT teens and adults. This mind set also contributes to the high percentage of homeless youth who identify as LGBT and who have been thrown out of their homes by their "godly Christians" parents. Yes, mindlessly following the Bible on a selective and hypocritical basis can be very comforting for those who seek to avoid having to think and use their intelligence. But it also has very damaging and sometimes deadly consequences such as the two young men I knew who ended their lives because they could not escape from the internalized condemnation of the religious traditions in which they had been raised.

Religious Right Marks Anniversary of Titanic's Sinking by Attacking Gays

Never let it be said that the Christofascists and the professional Christian set miss any opportunity to attack and denigrate LGBT Americans. A case in point is a new assault launched a virtual who's who of the anti-gay Christianist crowd who are using the centennial of the Titanic's sinking to claim that gays are destroying America. Given Robert Spitzer's retraction of his study that gave a shred of credibility to the "ex-gay" change myth and the fact that all legitimate medical and mental health associations condemn the Christianists' "choice" propoganda, perhaps it is the Christian Right that has crashed into an iceberg. Here's how Right Wing Watch describes the hater's effort:

The anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking and release of ‘Titanic 3D’ has apparently inspired Truth in Action Ministries, formerly Coral Ridge Ministries, to produce a new short film presenting the “radical homosexual agenda” as an iceberg that could potentially destroy the United States.

The Truth that Transforms film features well-known anti-gay activists such as Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy and Jerry Newcombe of Truth in Action Ministries, Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, right-wing historian Bill Federer, radio talk show host and author Michael Brown, and pastors Harry Jackson, Robert Jeffress and Erwin Lutzer.

Staver warned that the “homosexual agenda is the moral iceberg that we need to steer clear of” and maintained that it is “the biggest threat I believe in our lifetime to religious freedom and the fundamental values we share here in America.” While Jackson said the “homosexual agenda” is “one of those icebergs that if we don’t navigate around them correctly, will take us under,” Brown claimed “we’ve already hit the iceberg and the ship is already going down” and Land insisted that “we’re taking on water, the only question is whether or not we’re going to be able to survive and the ship won’t sink.” Staver predicted that opposition to gay rights is bound to be “criminalized and targeted for assault” and Federer even asserted that “there are just a couple steps before the military could be used in a persecution of those that are viewed as enemies of the new state belief system.

At times I wonder exactly what mind altering drugs these folks are ingesting.

Can You Feel the Christian Love?

Click image to enlarge.

Some accuse me of being too hard on "conservative Christians" and their seemingly never ending stream of hatred directed towards others. Bob Felton at Civil Commotion caught a perfect example of what seems to increasingly be the face of conservative Christianity. As Bob notes, the target of the message is:

Jessica Ahlquist, the Rhode Island high school girl who sued for the removal of a prayer banner at her public high school, . . .

Thursday Male Beauty

Obama Will Not Sign Employment Non-Discrimination Executive Order

Demonstrating yet again that he's only too happy to throw LGBT Americans under the bus when he deems it politically expedient, Barack Obama has made it clear based on reports following a meeting at the White House that he will not sign an ENDA like executive order that would have barred anti-LGBT employment discrimination by federal contractors. True, such an executive order would have left millions of LGBT Americans living in anti-gay, hell hole states like Virginia unprotected, but it would have been a start. Apparently, Obama again is displaying his attitude that LGBT voters will support him no matter what simply because the alternative is far worse. It's a case of cynical politics at its worse. Here are highlights from MetroWeekly on this issue:

At 3 p.m. today [yesterday], LGBT advocates went to the White House to attend a meeting being led by White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett to discuss advocates and the administration's work addressing anti-LGBT workplace discrimination, according to two sources familiar with but not attending the meeting.

The LGBT organization advocates attending the meeting and others have been pushing President Obama to issue an executive order banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity among federal contractors.

Although the White House has endorsed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the House Republican leadership opposes the bill and the Senate did not move the bill in the 111th Congress, when it had more Democrats in the chamber.

The government also has another route -- the executive order path -- in the case of a not insignificant number of employers. Because 22 percent of the jobs in this country are with employers who contract with the federal government, according to Freedom to Work's Almeida, the Department of Labor has some authority to redress discrimination by federal contractors.

In an updated story, MetroWeekly confirms that no such executive order is in the offing:

President Obama does not plan to sign an executive order at this time banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a statement from Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese. A senior administration official confirmed the news to Metro Weekly.

"Earlier today, we were told that the Administration is not ready to move forward with a federal contractor nondiscrimination executive order at this time," Solmonese said of the meeting first reported by Metro Weekly. "We are extremely disappointed with this decision and will continue to advocate for an executive order from the president. The unfortunate truth is that hard-working Americans can be fired simply for being gay or transgender. Given the number of employees that would be covered by this executive order, it represents a critical step forward."

The move is a blow to advocates, many of whom had been pushing for action over the past several months. Tico Almeida, the founder of Freedom to Work, had told Metro Weekly repeatedly that he was confident the president would sign such an order -- by this June at the latest.

The Task Force's Carey, however, countered: "LGBT people and their families should not continue to be forced to live in fear of losing their livelihoods, their homes, their ability to provide for their families because an employer discriminates. And employers who do discriminate certainly should not be rewarded with taxpayer-funded government contracts."

How Santorum May Have Sabotaged Romney

As many have celebrated the exodus of Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum from the GOP presidential clown car, it's important to recognize the role Santorum may have played in hastening the GOP's long term suicide. Through his often batshit crazy utterances and religious extremist positions, Santorum forced Mitt Romney to embrace positions that will likely continue to haunt him. In addition, in his rush to move to the right to counter Santorum, Romney displayed that he likely has no core beliefs other than saying whatever he deems most expedient at the given moment. A op-ed column in the Washington Post looks at this phenomenon and the damage Santorum may have caused to both Romney and the GOP brand. Here are excerpts:

Rick Santorum’s departure from the presidential race could not come soon enough for Mitt Romney. In proving himself more tenacious than anyone predicted, Santorum dramatized one of Romney’s major problems, created another and forced the now-inevitable Republican nominee into a strategic dilemma.

Republicans may condemn class warfare, but their primaries turned into a class struggle. Romney performed best among voters with high incomes, and he was consistently weaker with the white working class, . . .

At the same time, Santorum’s strength among evangelical Christians pressured Romney to toughen his positions even as the Republican Party as a whole, at both the state and national levels, has pushed policies on contraception and abortion that have alienated many women, particularly the college-educated.

This is Romney’s other problem: Among college-educated white men, Romney had a healthy 57 percent to 39 percent lead over President Obama in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. But among college-educated white women, Obama led Romney by 60 percent to 40 percent. This netted to a rather astounding 38-point gender gap, compared with a net 27-point gap among all white voters.

Thus the box the primaries built for Romney: He must simultaneously court evangelical Christians and working-class voters who have eluded him so far and also reassure socially moderate women higher up the class ladder who, for now, are providing Obama with decisive margins. It’s not easy to do both. . . . . if he concentrates on winning back upscale women, who now favor Obama by even larger margins than they gave him in 2008, Romney will only aggravate his enthusiasm problem on the right.

Romney’s predicament is Obama’s opportunity. The president is moving aggressively to take advantage of the class opening afforded him by the candidate of “a couple of Cadillacs,” “I like being able to fire people” and “corporations are people, my friend.” In a series of speeches in Florida the day Santorum withdrew, Obama hit repeatedly on the twin themes of fairness and opportunity.

Most conservatives seem oblivious to the party’s working-class problem, but not all. Henry Olsen, a vice president at the American Enterprise Institute . . . . sees Obama’s echoes of Bill Clinton’s pledges to help those who “work hard and play by the rules” as shrewd politics aimed at rehabilitating his standing with such Americans.

Obama, Olsen said, can lose the white working class “by a substantial margin” and still win because of his strength among African Americans, Latinos and well-educated women.

Yes, it’s still early. Renewed economic jitters in Europe could spoil a fragile U.S. recovery. But for now, Romney finds himself in a political maze with no obvious path out. He’s there partly because of his own mistakes, but he was also led to this point because of the unlikely strength of Rick Santorum’s challenge.

Homophobic Conservative Flip Out About New Homophobia Study

It has been entertaining to watch the conniptions and spittle spraying reactions for the professional gay haters and likely closeted professional Christiansists over the new study out of the University of Rochester that links extreme homophobia to the latent and repressed same sex attractions of homophobes. The finds that these folks "doth protest to much" has caused some - Brent Bozell for example who is pictured at left - to just about blow a gasket. I have often maintained that rather than railing against gays, these folks need to seek serious psychiatric help and the new study finding bear this analysis out. One can only hope that increasingly in the eye of the general public the immediate reaction to these folks is to automatically consider them to be self-loathing closeted gays. As for the spouses of these folks, they might be wise to ask themselves what's REALLY going on with their homophobic spouse. Here are some highlights from the New Civil Rights Movement on the exploding heads of the far right:

Brent Bozell is really angry about the recent study examining the causes of homophobia, which found that homophobes — people who hate homosexuals — hate “the gays” maybe because they are gay, and their authoritarian parents may be largely to blame. Several other studies, too, have come to exactly the same conclusion.

Bozell . . . . discounts and denounces the new homophobia study as “intellectual intimidation and political bullying,” “laughable,” “psychobabble mumbo-jumbo,” and a “wheelbarrow full of nonsense.”

What Bozell,
who, by the way just days before Christmas last year went on Fox News and called President Obama looks like “a skinny, ghetto crackhead,” doesn’t quite get is there’s a difference between a religious opposition to homosexuality — however misguided and anti-Christian that is — and virulent homophobia. Bozell is an extremist and doesn’t understand degrees.

Bozell is also a board member of the Culture And Media Institute (CMI), the folks who one year ago went off the deep end over J. Crew head Jenna Lyons pink toenailed little boy. Bozell, who is also a board member of the Catholic League and owns the sleazy faux journalism site, NewsBusters, is an extremist.

No one is so hysterically anti-gay in my view unless they have serious psychological issues of their own that cause them to so loudly over react. As for Mr. Bozell, one can only wonder when he'll find himself having a "wide stance" moment or some other incident that ends his charade.

From climate change to evolution to President Obama’s birth certificate, today’s conservatives, unlike their predecessors, are in denial about a great many scientifically-proven facts. It’s called willful ignorance, and it’s killing America — and LGBT children, who are forced to see and hear anti-gay hate day in and day out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Robert Spitzer Retracts Study Saying "Ex-Gay" Therapy Works in Limited Case

Go to many of the fraudulent "ex-gay" ministry web sites or Christianist financed front organizations like PFOX and you will see them trumpeting (even while grossly misstating) a 2001 study by researcher Robert Spitzer (pictured at right) - a legitimate researcher as opposed to the quacks usually relied upon by the ex-gay industry - that tended to indicate that in rare cases "ex-gay" therapy might allow gays to change their sexual orientation. It appears that this lynch pin for the ex-gay ministry snake oil merchants just took a major hit. In a new piece at The American Prospect, Spitzer is quoted as retracting his 2001 insofar as it gave any credibility to "ex-gay" claims. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how those who are in my opinion "ex-gays for pay" like Gregory Quinlan and the "changed" men at Exodus International try to spin this latest blow to their self-delusional and fraudulent marketing endeavors. First this summary from AmericaBlogGay by the author of the American Prospect story::

For three and a half years, I underwent therapy to change my sexual orientation, from gay to straight, with Joseph Nicolosi, co-founder and former president of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). I've written a piece for The American Prospect magazine that tells the story of the ex-gay movement over the last 20 years, as well as recounting my own experiences in therapy (spoiler alert: it failed miserably). I encourage AMERICAblog readers to check it out, but there is one key piece of information I wanted to share.

Robert Spitzer—the guy who led the charge to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973—published a controversial study in 2001 saying that some gay people could change their sexual orientation. The study continues to be cited by proponents of "ex-gay therapy" (the notion that you can pray away the gay) as the chief piece of evidence that such therapy works; the fact that he is not a flack for the ex-gay movement and is an atheist made it hard to say he was biased. But when I met Spitzer in March, he asked me to retract the study . . . .

Here are the pertinent excerpts from The American Prospect story:

Spitzer’s study is still cited by ex-gay organizations as evidence that ex-gay therapy works. The study infuriated gay-rights supporters and many psychiatrists, who condemned its methodology and design. Participants had been referred to Spitzer by ex-gay groups like NARTH and Exodus, which had an interest in recommending clients who would validate their work. The claims of change were self-reports, and Spitzer had not compared them with a control group that would help him judge their credibility.

This spring, I visited Spitzer at his home in Princeton. . . . I told Spitzer that Nicolosi had asked me to participate in the 2001 study and recount my success in therapy, but that I never called him. “I actually had great difficulty finding participants,” Spitzer said. “In all the years of doing ex-gay therapy, you’d think Nicolosi would have been able to provide more success stories. He only sent me nine patients.”

pitzer was drawn to the topic of ex-gay therapy because it was controversial—“I was always attracted to controversy”—but was troubled by how the study was received. He did not want to suggest that gay people should pursue ex-gay therapy. His goal was to determine whether the counterfactual—the claim that no one had ever changed his or her sexual orientation through therapy—was true.

I asked about the criticisms leveled at him. “In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct,” he said. “The findings can be considered evidence for what those who have undergone ex-gay therapy say about it, but nothing more.” He said he spoke with the editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior about writing a retraction, but the editor declined. (Repeated attempts to contact the journal went unanswered.)

Spitzer said that he was proud of having been instrumental in removing homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. Now 80 and retired, he was afraid that the 2001 study would tarnish his legacy and perhaps hurt others. He said that failed attempts to rid oneself of homosexual attractions “can be quite harmful.” He has, though, no doubts about the 1973 fight over the classification of homosexuality.

Spitzer was growing tired and asked how many more questions I had. Nothing, I responded, unless you have something to add. He did. Would I print a retraction of his 2001 study, “so I don’t have to worry about it anymore”?
Having read Spitzer's study and the often scathing criticisms of the study and the biased group of study participants, I'm glad that Spitzer has decided to come clean. As I noted, the spin coming from the proponents of fraudulent ex-gay programs in the wake of this development will be interesting.

Major Proposition 8 Backer Opposes North Carolina's Amendment 1

I'm not sure what prompted the change of heart - may a concern over how history will remember him/them - but David Blankenhorn (pictured at left), one of the few Proposition 8 supportive witnesses to testify in Perry Vs Schwarzenegger, and an anti-gay marriage ally have come out against the Christianist backed Amendment 1 in North Carolina. Blankenhorn announced his position to the anti-gay Amendment 1 today in an editorial in the News & Observer entitled "Amendment Goes too Far". The editorial is co-authored by Elizabeth Marquardt, the vice president for family studies at the Institute for American Values in New York City. I can just image the amount of shrieking and flying spittle enveloping Maggie Gallagher, Richard Land, Tony Perkins and similar professional anti-gay hate merchants. Here are some column highlights:

We are native Southerners and we oppose legalizing same-sex marriage. One of us (David), reared in Mississippi, has for more than two decades directed a think tank, the Institute for American Values, that aims to strengthen marriage and reduce divorce and unwed childbearing. In 2010, he served as an expert court witness in California’s widely followed “Proposition 8” marriage case. The other (Elizabeth) grew up in North Carolina and has for a decade directed the Center for Marriage and Families at the same institute. She has made her case against same sex marriage in national opinion pieces, book chapters and reports. We believe that marriage is a uniquely important institution that unites mothers and fathers to their children . . . .

But as marriage advocates, we oppose the state marriage amendment now being debated in North Carolina. We hope that when North Carolinians go to the polls on May 8 they will defeat this measure. Let us explain.

For one thing, it means that North Carolina could not, now or ever, take any step or devise any policy to extend legal recognition and protection to same-sex couples. No domestic partnership laws. No civil unions. Nothing. That’s mighty cold. If you disdain gay and lesbian persons, and don’t care whether they and their families remain permanently outside of the protection of our laws, such a policy might be your cup of tea. But it’s not our view, and we doubt that it’s the view of most North Carolinians.

If you want to create a backlash against mother-father marriage – if you want to convince people that the real agenda of marriage advocates is not protecting marriage, but ignoring and ostracizing gay people – then this amendment might be to your liking. But we believe that the cause of marriage is hurt, not helped, by gratuitously linking it to the cause of never under any circumstances helping gay and lesbian couples.

In the California “Prop 8” case, David felt that he could testify on behalf of traditional man-woman marriage in good conscience, in part because California some time ago passed domestic partnership legislation to extend legal recognition to same-sex couples. He argued in favor of domestic partnerships, more commonly called civil unions . . . .

Our argument is that you should not amend your constitution in order to ban even the future consideration of this, or any other, idea for aiding gay and lesbian couples and their families. We are convinced that these two ideas – marriage as society’s most pro-child institution that seeks to bond mothers and fathers to their children, and humane recognition for same-sex couples – stand best when they stand together . . .

From now on, when we stand up for marriage, let’s make sure that it’s marriage that we’re standing up for. In 2012, perhaps we marriage advocates can begin to prove – perhaps you in North Carolina can be national leaders in proving – that supporting marriage need not carry with it the requirement of bigotry against gay and lesbian persons.

Read more here: