Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oklahoma Pastors Could Go To Jail Over Gay Marriage

It's a religious thing. That's what opponents of gay marriage say all the time. Somehow allowing gays to marry is going to infringe on their religious views and their First Amendment right to freedom of religion (never mind the fact that even right now churches are never required to marry anyone, for any reason they choose).

But, given that they're the ones that brought up this religious freedom argument, I'm now calling for all conservative Christians to stick up for my religious liberties and the religious liberties of gays in Oklahoma (and for all my Baptist friends--let's not forget the Baptist Church was founded nearly specifically on the idea of separation of church and state).

Oklahoma State Representative Jason Nelson has introduced a bill that will make it expressly illegal for a "minister of the Gospel" to solemnize a marriage, punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison. Nevermind the fact that if a pastor marries two gay people it will have no legal standing in Oklahoma because of their 2004 Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. It seems that Rep. Nelson wants to send people of faith to prison simply for expressing and practicing their own religious views, even if their officiating of a wedding has no actual legal standing anyway. Sorry to all of those gay-affirming denominations. It looks like you could be going to jail.

That sounds like an infringement of the First Amendment to me, and I call all conservatives to fight and speak out on this bill (patiently waiting...).

On a somewhat humorous sidenote--for some reason this bill only applies to Christian ministers. The Gospel refers to the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament, so Jews, Hindus, Muslims, et. al. seem to still be able to marry gays. Good for them.


Jason Nelso has commented on the Queerty post I linked above and said that this bill is simply a "shell bill"--essentially a place holder to make a change to marriage law in the next session. He says this has nothing to do with gay marriage and he probably does not intend to move forward on this issue at all. I find that hard to believe because, as he says, he already strongly supports the existing bill as it is stated. So, if he already supports the current marriage law, why is he needing to "place hold" a law on marriage? I guess only time will tell at this point.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Boycott Houston! (Ok, Really, Don't)

A new website is all the rage among my facebook friends called Boycott Houston. Conservative Christians calling on others to boycott things isn't anything new, and luckily, I don't really think they've ever been successful. I don't expect this to be any different.

A man by the name of David Grisham has launched a pretty impressive website asking people to boycott the city of Houston. He gives two main reasons. The first you can probably guess: the election of Annise Parker (a lesbian). The second is because Houston is in the process of building a very large Planned Parenthood facility, which is kind of strange to me. Is he planning on boycotting every city and town that has an abortion facility in the country?

As of this blog posting, only 38 people have signed his petition to boycott the city, one of which is him, and several give only a first name or no name at all. So luckily it looks like most people are seeing this guy as the quack he actually is. For even more proof, though, you definitely should read the "What You Can Do!" section of the site (and feel free to check out his first endeavor into city anger, Check out the comments section too. Right now it's all supporters, one of whom predicts that the city will be "swallowed up."

Strangely enough, in the mission statement of the site he says that, "If everyone who calls on the name of Christ had written letters or made phone calls to the city authorities, voicing their strong objections to an abortion supercenter being opened, it would never have happened." I wonder if he knows that the "super center" (which is a talking point right out of the AFA playbook) hasn't actually opened yet. He doesn't appear to be from Houston, so maybe not.

I'm not too concerned about this boycott. The 38 petition signatures are more humorous than anything else. I just wonder how much time this Pastor has spent boycotting cities who have divorced mayors. Or maybe he boycotted Ronald Reagan for being divorced and remarried. Maybe I'll send him a letter...he really should know about these other "abominations."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ted Olson and "The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage"

Ted Olson is the conservative (yes conservative) lawyer arguing in front of a California court that Proposition 8 in that state that banned gay marriage is unconstitutional. As you may have already heard, Olson is an unlikely proponent for gay marriage given his conservative Republican background (he successfully represented President Bush against Al Gore in the 2000 election). As a side note--I agreed with the Bush decision as well.

Thankfully, Olson has decided to push his "moral majority" conservatives aside and follow his real conservative values--values that honor equality and freedom for all people. He's a great ally for our side not only because he's eloquent and presents a solid argument, but also because his conservative backgrounds leave the anti-gay folks with no ammo to accuse him of being just another liberal nut, gay activist, etc., etc.

Olson has been on somewhat of a media blitz recently getting the word out about why he supports, and is arguing for, gay marriage. His article in Newsweek, entitled "The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage" is powerful and a well laid-out argument against marriage discrimination. His opening statement in the California trial, which started yesterday, is equally as powerful. Both are worth the read and are worth spreading around to people on both sides of the marriage debate.

I've been saying this for a long time, but it has always amazed me that the people of a state/this country can pass a Constitutional Amendment that goes against the Constitution that already exists (i.e. pass an amendment that discriminates even though discrimination is already banned in the Constitution). That's really what this trial boils down to.

The problem as I see it, though, is whether for all of his hard work showing that the anti-gay marriage folks are full of hot air at best, and out to intentionally discriminate against a group of people at worst, whether Olson et. al. can prove that the amendment itself should not have been passed in the first place because it was unconstitutional. Unfortunately that might be a harder burden to prove. And, if he does prove it, where do we go from here?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Blogging has gotten slow lately. It's mainly the same excuses--too busy at work to write or keep up with the world as much as I'd like to (or used to), no interest in getting on the computer at home after looking at it all day at work, etc. etc.

I'm really not sure what's going on. I got a little nostalgic at work (since it's currently a bit slow) and read through some of my old posts. I really like some of them. I was happy reading them and remembering how much I enjoyed digging into the stories, finding the truth where reality was just barely visible and watching people respond back. I'm proud of myself for writing them, and I enjoyed reading them years later.

But, it's a catch-22 of sorts. I tried to watch Fox News the other day, which I used to watch all the time to find something new to write about, but I couldn't handle it and changed the channel. My radio listening habits have gone from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage to Jim Rome, a local sports station, and some hour-long health show during lunch. I just can't take the old ones anymore. I used to love to get myself all riled up, but now it just frustrates me, and I don't have the patience for it. I used to love catching those guys in their lies and half-truths and then tearing their stories apart, but now all I want to do is strangle them.

Don't get me wrong--I still enjoy gay and ex-gay issues. I still like the idea of being a pseudo online activist (of the most minimal variety, but still one nonetheless), but I don't really think I have a passion for it anymore. Maybe I've said all I've had to say. Maybe I'm just over all of it, or maybe this is just a rut.

So, I'm not going least not now. Hopefully I'll find that passion again and things will stir back up. For now, things will probably continue as they have been--fewer posts, less depth, and more blogging about what's on the top of my head. We'll see.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Congratulations Annise Parker!

Annise Parker was sworn in as Houston mayor this morning and was welcomed by a packed house and had the Pastor of the largest church in the country, Joel Osteen, give the opening prayer.

Since Parker is now the first openly gay mayor of a city the size of Houston, it's no surprise that there were a few anti-gay protesters at the event. It never ceases to amaze me how almost any "sin" can be excused by these types of protesters except being gay. What a sad world they must live in.

Tonight there will be a free public concert downtown to celebrate the day. It's possible that I may go if some previous personal engagements don't come through. If I do, I'll definitely be on the lookout for the protesters. I probably won't do more than look, though, I can tell you that from many previous conversations with them, it's more frustrating than enlightening.