This is the first time I've ever put a video clip up, but this is so worth it. Some guy spent way too much time piecing together speeches by President Bush to have him sing U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday."
This is seriously worth watching. And, for the record, I'm not a fan because of any political inferences--I'm just in awe at the time and skill involved in this.
Two quick questions. They're partially hypothetical, but feel free to chime in.
Would prohibiting flag burning be a "thought crime" similar to what some on the right say about hate crimes? After all, the person would be punished based on his or her intent and motivations, and even message. Someone that burned a red cloth instead of a red, white, and blue flag would not get the same punishment. The message is being punished, not the act, right?
I completely can't think of the other question now. Who am I? I'll update this if it comes to mind later.
So, the wedding is just over a month away. Almost all of the invitations have been sent out except to those on my dad's side of the family. I know, I procrastinated and waited too long, but now I have to decide what to do.
The deal is that they don't know that I'm gay. So my options are to not tell them and not invite them, or to tell them and invite them.
I'm leaning towards telling them, but I'm just not sure how. All of them are Southern Baptists from small towns, and even the one cousin I have told agrees that it's not going to go over so well. But, if I tell them, I'm pretty sure I don't have the energy to go and personally tell every one of them. We're talking about 9 cousins, 3 sets of aunts and uncles, and 1 grandmother, all of whom most likely won't be in love with the fact that I'm gay.
Right now I'm thinking that I'll tell my grandmother in person (although I can't even think about it right now it is so nerve-racking for me), and then email the rest of them. The idea of just telling a couple of them and then having them spread the word to others (i.e. tell a cousin and have him or her tell the parents) isn't going to work. My dad and the one cousin that already told both told me that they didn't want to be the one to spread the news.
I'm really close to my family, even if we don't see each other that often these days, and I want to tell them and give them the opportunity to come to the wedding if they want to. But at the same time, I'm positive some of them are going to be upset about this (at best).
Now it's your turn--any thoughts on how I might accomplish this goal of telling them in the very near future are appreciated.
This weekend was the big Gay Pride festival and parade. My boyfriend, an out-of-town friend, and I were supposed to volunteer at the festival from 4pm to 6pm, but when we got there they didn't really need us. So, we took advantage of the free water and burritos for volunteers and just kind of stood around in the heat.
The parade here is at night here since 95 degrees and 100% humidity in June aren't the best conditions for parades. I watched the first 17 entries go by but left by 9:30 because I was too tired (and kind of bored) to stay around. I heard it wrapped up around midnight. Most of the entries I saw were politicians, including the Mayor, the city Controller, 2 or 3 Congress members, and a handful of state representatives, which was nice to see even if a little dull.
The announcers at the event were claiming 250,000 spectators, which would be way up from the 150,000 or so last year. I didn't see the news, so I don't know what they were saying about the size of the crowd, but I imagine their coverage showed the 2 or 3 floats with scantily clad men or drag queens and ignored the dozens with families, churches, and politicians marching. I'm always amazed at how tame the parade is when I'm there compared to what I see on the news later. Apparently drag queens sell.
The Colbert Report is probably one of the funniest political commentary shows out there right now. If you haven't seen it before, you should definitely check it out.
Via Pam's House Blend, Colbert comments on a Fox News guest commentator reporting on a woman in India marrying a snake. The Fox guest then (non-jokingly from what I can tell) asks gays to guarantee that the gay marriage movement will not lead to people marrying their pets--a guarantee that he doesn't think gays can make. So, Colbert's parody agrees with the commentator (sarcastically of course) by saying, "if a woman in India marries a snake, gays in America should have to justify it."
Really funny stuff. The clip is over at Pam's, and it's worth viewing. The point that gays are being forced to justify not just homosexuality and gay marriage, but everything else going around out there is a good one. All this while I haven't seen anyone give me a really good reason why divorce and remarriage (for any reason) is allowable. Sure, some might say I'm changing the subject, but I'm actually just trying to figure out why we justify one behavior and not another.
Sean Hannity said about the illegal immigration problem that we can't plug up the little holes in a sinking ship while there is still a huge one taking on water. Well, same deal here, if the huge hole of divorce and remarriage is taking on water worse and worse every day, why are we worrying about addressing the tiny leaks of gays (arguably 2-5% of the population) trying to marry, and ignoring the big hole?
In case you listen to some ex- or anti-gay organizations a lot and get the impression that society loves gay people and has a general positive reaction about them, here's a little bit of news. According to AmericaBlog, an official Pentagon document still lists homosexuality as a mental disorder. Yes, thirty years after it was delisted as a mental disorder by the medical community, the military still treats gays differently.
For the record, while my coming out experience was mostly positive, it is still one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with. Believe it or not, most people did not encourage me to "embrace my homosexuality" (even many people that are generally supportive). A big bias still exists towards gays, trust me.
What Special Rights are We Talking About, Exactly?
**UPDATE** Per Pam, Concerned Woman, Bob Knight, chimes in about this transit appointee firing. He accuses the governor of caving to the gay pressure. But, he does something even worse, he changes the words in the case to make himself and the employee sound right. Bob says the appointee, "lost his job for referring to homosexual behavior as "deviant." But what the Metro guy really did was refer to gay people as "persons of sexual deviancy" (see below for full quote). This is a big distinction, trust me. And, this, folks, is one of the big names in the religious right movement. His word play was no accident. Truth be damned, as long as gays are seen as bad, the world is right. How unbelievable.
The Republican governor of Maryland fired a Metro transit appointee recently for anti-gay remarks he made on cable television. The statement that got him fired was, "But that doesn't mean that government should proffer a special place of entitlement within the laws of the United States for persons of sexual deviancy."
Now, I'm sure some on the far right think it's ok to use this type of language when describing people, but I'm glad the governor does not. It's just this type of language the demonizes an entire group of people and causes such a political hotbed. And, it's the reason gay people have to fight so hard with much of the nation to earn respect and break down the stereotypes.
So, obviously the statement is out of line. But, I wanted to briefly address his claim that gays get a "special place of entitlement." Lots of other anti-gay folks have fought the gay rights movement in a similar way, claiming gay folks are asking for special rights, not equal rights. The thing is I can't think of what special rights these guys might be talking about. Right to privacy? Ability to marry the person they love? Right not to be discriminated in employment or housing? Believe it or not, these are all rights everyone else gets. Sometimes you actually have to name specific traits outright so people get the picture. But, trust me all of you white, straight males out there, these rights are already protected for you, in society and in law.
I'm sure hate crimes will be the first answer some people give. And, I could spend pages talking about why I don't believe hate crimes laws are special rights (I'll get into that in another post), but for now I just ask that anyone that is going to respond just leave hate crimes out of this and give evidence of any other special rights gay people get. I really think when the far right and the far left get together and have this discussion honestly and openly (rather than using "the world is ending" tactics where anything goes), people will begin to see how absurd so much of this debate really is.
So, my boyfriend and I had our wedding shower on Saturday, hosted by two of our very close friends. To pretty quickly sum this all up--I'm still beaming from it. Seriously. beaming. If that is how great having a wedding shower feels, I can't even imagine what the wedding will be like. Everything was perfect--the food, the location, the decorations, all of the people--everything.
To my surprise, I found out last Thursday (two days before the shower) that my dad planned on attending. He told a friend of mine that he hadn't RSVP'ed because he had initially thrown the invitation away, but he had had a realization (his word) that this was too important to miss. One of the hosts also told me that after a few drinks my dad told her that I was lucky to find someone as great as my boyfriend. I couldn't believe it (and still kind of don't), but how amazing is that?!? Talk about breakthroughs.
So, all in all, probably one of the best nights of my life. Friends and family were there. My mom and dad got along (really well), as did my mom and my aunt, and even all of our different groups of friends managed to enjoy themselves.
So, that's the update. There's still that one thing about telling my grandmother and a handful of cousins that I'm trying to deal with and fretting over, but the excitement is definitely growing, especially considering how great Saturday went.
You know, my dad asked me once why I wanted to have the wedding/ceremony if it wasn't legal anyway. My younger brother answered for me by saying that it was the same reason straight people want to get married. No one gets married because they want the piece of paper, they get married to commit their love to each other, often to God, and everyone around them. I think after Saturday my dad understands that, or at least he's a step closer to understanding it.
Free Republic definitely contributed to the Dixie Chicks tour cancelling hoax. I didn't see a retraction yet. I wonder if they are the ones that started it. Also, look at how much some of these guys hate the Chicks.
I was listening to my local conservative talk radio station on my lunch break today, and during the news section they reported that the Dixie Chicks have cancelled several dates on their upcoming tour due to low ticket sales in heavily Republican states. According to them, my city was one of the unfortunate cancellations.
The Dixie Chicks cd is my boyfriend's current favorite, and we were already planning on going. So, I called him immediately to tell him the bad news (on a side note, we've had a string of terrible luck with concerts over the last year--we've missed around 5 due to cancellations or date changes by the bands).
So he called me back recently. And what do you know, the Dixie Chicks tour date cancellations was a big ole hoax. The tickets for Houston haven't even gone on sale yet, so low ticket sales was all made up.
I'd really expect a radio station to do a little more research on this type of thing. Maybe it was a conservative conspiracy...
John Stewart is possibly one of the funniest and most astute guys out there right now, especially in terms of political commentary. He had a discussion on gay marriage with Bill Bennett recently that was very well done. For a good time, watch the video now at Crooks and Liars.
A couple of good points from the interview:
-If families are so great, we should encourage gays to form them--and just being a son or a daughter (as Bill Bennett suggested) is not enough, it's nothing more than a gay cieling on families.
-Homosexuality is part of the human condition, polygamy is not.
-Social Conservatives have always been on the wrong side of issues like this, and they are continuing to be.
So, not to deflect from all of the fun going on with the anti-marriage amendment, but I thought I'd write a post updating on my own wedding/ceremony/celebration. My boyfriend and I are having our wedding shower this weekend. We're spending this week getting the house presentable for several out-of-town guests.
Unfortunately several people won't be making it to the party. Only two people (my dad and step-mother) won't be coming because they think it's wrong, though, so that's good. It's easy to get down about that type of stuff, but this is supposed to be a happy time, so I'm concentrating on the good stuff..
So, that's the update. I'll let you guys know how things go early next week. Then just lest than 2 months until the big date. Wow. Oh, and if anyone has any ideas about a less traditional wedding/reception for us, I'm all ears.
Before I go, hopefully in the next few days I'll comment on the marriage amendment craziness and how my getting married isn't going to cause anyone to get divorced. That and why I believe the common reasons to be against gay marriage are rooted in the "ick factor" of gays more than they are in true fear of a crumbling society.
While I'm thinking about it--Jim Burroway- if you're reading, picking apart those "studies" about alleged failing marriages rates in Europe since gay marriages and civil unions came about would be a great and worthwhile project for BoxTurtleBulletin ;-) I love that kind of stuff...
Timothy and Daniel both noted over at Ex-Gay Watch that Randy Thomas and Alan Chambers, of Exodus, attended the President's speech endorsing the anti-Marriage Amendment earlier today.
Both wondered something I have wondered for quite a while- if Exodus is in the business of helping gay people (whether trying to turn them straight or just bring them closer to Jesus), how does this help their orgnaization's goals?
It seems to me that taking such a public stand on a highly divisive issue like this would drive openly gay people away in droves, not attract more. I wonder what Randy and Alan would say about how this helps Exodus and their mission to bring gays closer to Christ.
Yesterday was "Marriage Protection Sunday" for quite a few right-wing religious groups out there. As far as I know, none of the festivities included people protecting their own marriages, though--they were just protecting gays from having to get married.
Also, President Bush is speaking today about protecting marriage, ahead of a Senate vote on a Constitutional Amendment tomorrow. Luckily, the Amendment doesn't look like it's going to pass, and even some Conservatives I've been listening too have been calling this out for what it is. All of the sudden they realize that they're trying to deal with illegal immigration, but the Republicans are dealing with more important issues--gays and flags.
On a side note, if I hear one more person blame the fall of Rome on homosexuality I might just go crazy. Homosexuality was part of Roman society from the beginning (from what I can tell), and the civilization lasted for quite a few years. If we blame homosexuality for the fall of Rome, can we blame heterosexuality for the fall of every other civilization in history?
Off of the idea of Pam, I went in search of the Texas Republican Party's Party Platform. I couldn't find a 2006 Platform, but they are having their convention this week in San Antonio, so they'll probably be releasing it soon. For now, the 2004 one will have to do.
As you might imagine, I was looking for their thoughts on gays. I figured their marriage platform would be against gay marriage and for a Constitutional Amendment (check on that one), but they took the opportunity to rub it in a bit more for the gays in a whole separate section (should we feel lucky?). Here's what they had to say:
Homosexuality – The Party believes that the practice of sodomy tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable "alternative" lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should "family" be redefined to include homosexual "couples." We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, recognition, or privileges including, but not limited to, marriage between persons of the same sex, custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.
Texas Sodomy Statutes – The Party opposes the legalization of sodomy. The Party demands Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.
How considerate of them to make homosexuality so simple. Nothing like breaking down gay people to one term--sodomy. Notice too that they call marriage, custody (not just adoption-custody, that's pretty broad if you ask me) and insurance benefits "special legal privileges." Right, special privileges that everyone else gets, I forgot.
They also would love to make sexual relationships by people of the same sex a crime. I've had several online conversations with conservatives that claimed that while they disagreed with the way Lawrence was ruled, they agreed that the laws were nonsense. Most even said that no one was really supporting the law itself, they just didn't want the courts to make the call. I guess they were wrong (sorry, it's been a while, so no links for this conversation).
Ok, that's it. The Republican Party of Texas has officially turned the entire issue of being gay into one inflammatory word. I guess asking them to, at the very least, have some compassion for the debate or those people that aren't perfect like them would be too much to ask. (Ok, that was a cheap shot), but what do you expect, instead of addressing the issue calmly they threw out every negative thing they could and offered no sort of compassion in the slightest.
The post caught my attention since I just recently told my 10 year old sister that I was gay. Abigail's dad told her the news when she was 5. It didn't answer some of the questions I was hoping to get answered (like if she remembers what she thought when he told her), but it's very interesting and worth the quick read.
On a side note, Abigail is the author I talked about who's book, Families Like Mine, was completely dishonestly used by our good friend Paul Cameron in his recent "hate the gays with me" study.