Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gay Wedding Controversy in Galveston

J sent me a link today about the local newspaper in Galveston, TX (a smaller coastal city near Houston) running a story about a local gay wedding.

Of course there are only two problems here. First, gay marriage is illegal in Texas. And second, apparently just speaking about gay marriage in public is enough to illicit outrage among many of the good folks in Galveston.

Both the original article and the follow-up response by the author are very well done. Read them if you have a second. I especially like the author's point that he wrote the story from the viewpoint of the men involved in the wedding because he wanted to portray the story through the eyes of "those most affected by the [gay marriage] debate," emphasizing that "we [already] all know what opponents of gay marriage think." It's a good point worth mentioning--so many opponents of gay marriage refuse to look at the issue on a personal level. It's so much easier to oppose something you refuse to be emotionally involved in.

While I found both articles to be very well done, apparently many of the readers of the paper didn't agree. Some were so outraged that they felt compelled to write letters to the editor that the writer claimed "would make the Ku Klux Klan blush." If you want to check some of them out, go here (the author mentions a few others in his editorial). There's really nothing new here--they're the usual claims that gays are immoral, sinful, not appropriate for children and the like. A couple mention the (pretend) inherent health risks of being gay, and one cited by the author even claims that gay weddings are illegal (a claim my step mom made to my brother when talking about my wedding). Newsflash to everyone--gays can have weddings all they want, they just can't currently have marriages recognized by the states.

I guess there are always going to be folks like this out there. I just wish they'd listen to a gay person for once rather than swallowing down the lies and stereotypes they are all too often fed. But, if you think about it, I guess it's progress that a small paper in a small town in Texas has enough guts to even run with a story like this, and even better--they stood by it after it was printed. We're making progress, even if the naysayers are sometimes still louder than everyone else.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Updated Links

Hi everyone. I updated my blog links tonight. I added a few and deleted some others. I left some on there that have been inactive for a little while--I figured I'd give them one last chance to get back to blogging. So, if that's you, get writing!

If I've left you out and you want to be on my links, don't get mad, just send me an email, and I'll get you added. Don't take it personally, I most likely just forgot.

Friday, November 24, 2006

I Got Quoted by CBS News

Ok, so it isn't quite the CBS evening news, but the CBS News online column, Blogphile, linked to my post about the UCLA taser incident and quoted from a couple of my points. You can see my appearance at the bottom of the article. How exciting is that?

Madonna Concert Special

First off, I'd like to wish a belated Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there. I'm at work today, but so far my first two interviews have not made it in.

On to the post--I'm sure most of you heard the controversy about the Madonna concert that aired on NBC this past Wednesday. NBC planned to air the concert without edits, but after an uproar began about her being on a cross, NBC decided to edit out that scene. A few smaller edits included taking out a few cuss words and a several-second-long bleeping of a slam on President Bush that is part of the lyrics of her song I Love New York.

I understand Madonna is a very controversial person, and I understand a lot of people out there don't like her one bit. But it was interesting to me that this concert aired around the world, and most other countries aired the special without edits, especially the cross edit.

Here we are in a country that prides itself (really defines itself) on our great freedoms, and yet we are one of the few countries on the world to edit this special. It just hit me as odd. Yes, NBC chose to edit the special themselves (rather than being forced to by the government), but I can guarantee that their decision was based in part on the possibility that the FCC would issue fines, especially after the Janet Jackson debacle.

I hear conservative talk radio show hosts rail all the time about how much they hate "political correctness" because we are too worried about offending everyone we come across. So, how do they turn around and get mad that this Madonna concert will offend them? Sorry, but you just can't have it both ways.

And, as for the cross scene. I can see how people are offended, but for anyone that hasn't seen the special, the cross is not used in a mocking way--it's used as a message about the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Madonna herself said it was meant to be a message of confession, which is the name of her tour. Yes, it's odd coming from a non-Christian, but anyone would be hard pressed to say she was using the segment to mock Christians. Yet, that's the message many out there are trying to present to the public.

In my opinion, if you don't like it, don't watch. I'm not sure what other advice I can give. Maybe I'm just not as easily offended as other people.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

UCLA Taser Incident

I just watched the video of the UCLA student getting tasered in the library for refusing to follow police officers' orders. J actually had to leave the room because it was so disturbing. From the screams, I counted 6 different times the cops tasered this kid. The video is pretty hard to watch, but it's worth looking at if you think you can handle it.

The student definitely was being uncompliant with the officers, so I realize the cops needed to do something. But, he wasn't being dangerous at all and he wasn't threatening the safety of anyone in any way. Two officers had him pinned on the ground and were trying to get him to stand up. He wasn't fighting them, he was just yelling at them and refusing to stand.

So, that's my problem. Several people have died over the last few years after being tasered, and tasering is obviously extrememly painful.

Given this, I'm of the opinion that tasers should be used only in circumstances that require a weapon. This kid refused to stand up, but in the end he never did stand up, and the officers had to carry him out of the library. The tasering was excessive use of force and it was completely unnecessary, especially the number of times that they used it. It's sad to see, and I hope the UCLA-launched investigation sets a precedent that tasers are weapons that shouldn't be used regularly.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm Back

I sure have been neglecting this poor little blog recently. The truth is that work has been occupying nearly all of my time recently (I'm getting home close to 8pm every night), so other things have been falling to the wayside.

It's not really that I haven't had time to write in the blog--it's more that I haven't had time to find stuff to write about. The more I write here on the blog, the more involved I have been in politics and current events. Hopefully soon my work schedule will allow me to get back to following that stuff more closely and writing more about it.

On two quick side notes--I am going to be doing an interview with my cousin's best friend this weekend about being gay. She is getting her Master's in social work and was asked to study a community or group she is unfamiliar with. I'm interested to know how that will go, and I'm sure I'll fill you guys in.

Second, we are back from the cruise (as you can probably tell). All went very well. Most of my cousins were cordial and even downright friendly with J, and other than the initial introductions, there was hardly an awkward moment (ok, other than the family picture and deciding if J was going to be in it or not--he was asked to be in it, which was awesome). A couple of my uncles and one aunt really didn't have much to say to the two of us, and I suspect the gay thing was at least partially to blame, but with 30 people, we had plenty of company to enjoy, so it wasn't even a bother. Who would've thought that I could come so far in 3 years?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Off On a Cruise

I'm leaving this morning on a 5-day family reunion cruise. It should be fun, and I'm looking forward to it. This is the first time most of my "non-approving" family will be meeting J, so we're both a bit nervous about that. I'll give you guys a full update when I get back.

How about those elections, huh? I was pretty surprised that the Democrats took both Houses. I will admit that I voted primarily Democrat for the first time in my life, though.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Doogie Howser is Gay

Sorry for the delay in posting everyone, but work has been completely insane lately. I mean completely insane.

Anyway, I just found out that the former star of Doogie Howser, M.D., Neil Patrick Harris, has come out of the closet. I actually had never heard that he was gay, but I'm glad to hear he decided to come out. It's always good to have successful and normal gay people come out in public.