fifth annual Pride Parade in Sofia, Bulgaria, is scheduled for this
Saturday.Earlier this month,
Father Evgeni Yanakiev of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church told a newspaper that
throwing stones at the Pride marchers was an “appropriate” method of displaying
makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when spiritual leaders call for violence.
orthodox priest didn’t recant later on a TV show, but he said he personally
wouldn’t be hurling any stones.
course not.Why bother when you can
incite others to do it?Saves wear
and tear on the arm. Not to mention the conscience.
added that homosexuality is a “contagious psychological condition” that leads
the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has done is release a
statement saying it’s “categorically opposed to the organization of such an
immoral manifestation.”So Pride
in Bulgaria’s capital city could result in capital crimes, tacitly endorsed by
wouldn’t blame anyone for hiding their rainbow under a bushel.
Equal Rights Washington posted this on Facebook: "At Seattle Pride, Washington United for Marriage
rolled out wonderful merchandise including shits, tank tops, bags with
the Washington United logo and the Approve 74 message."
I'm empathetic regarding the typo--we've all done it.
David Blankenhorn has changed his mind. In 2010 Blankenhorn testified against same-sex marriage during the Proposition 8 trial. Today, in a piece in The New York Times, he wrote, "But as a marriage advocate, the time has come for me to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do."
Some of what he wrote in the op-ed may still irk you, but the bottom line is one of our most esteemed opponents has switched sides. I don't know if he, too, has evolved, or is just jumping on the bandwagon, but either way, it's a gloomy day at NOM headquarters.
Three years ago, this is how my friend Rebecca adorned herself for the Seattle Dyke March. Tomorrow her twins will again attend the march. Rebecca mused on Facebook, "I wonder how many years I have
left before they protest me bringing them to my protest?
Here in Washington, we achieved marriage equality. For five minutes. Opponents put the new law on hold by gathering enough signatures to get a referendum on the ballot to kill the law. David Ward, legal and legislative counsel for Legal Voice, the group fighting for women's rights in this neck of the woods, penned the following for Legal Voice's blog about the battle ahead.
Can We Really Have a Civil Debate on Marriage Equality?
Last week, I was in Olympia to watch opponents of Washington’s marriage
equality law turn in petitions to put Referendum 74 on the ballot. In
case you haven’t heard, this means voters will have to approve Referendum 74
in the November election to keep the marriage equality law for lesbian
and gay couples that Governor Gregoire signed earlier this year.
The group that collected signatures to put marriage equality to a public
vote is called Preserve Marriage Washington (“PMW”). At a press
conference, PMW’s spokesperson called for a “civil debate” on Referendum
My initial reaction was that calling for a “civil debate” was bit of a
throwaway line; it’s not like most people support having an “uncivil”
debate. But it did make me think about what it would really mean to have
a civil debate on marriage equality.
If it means not shouting at each other, I’m fine with that – although as Dan Savage
has pointed out, it’s not surprising that LGBT folks get a little
“shouty” when our rights and our families are at stake. Especially when
our opponents include the infamous Westboro Baptist Church,which was also in Olympia last week to spread their message of anti-gay hate.
If it means being polite to each other, I agree with that too. We
managed to do that last week when marriage equality supporters and PMW
representatives sat together for hours in the same room watching the
Secretary of State’s office conduct the extremely tedious task of
counting the R-74 petition sheets. We made polite chit-chat without any
incident (although I was a little surprised by the response I got when I
asked one of the PMW folks where she lived; she responded by telling me
that her son is a police officer. In the interest of civility, I assume
she meant that as a joke).
But having a “civil debate” on marriage equality should mean more than
just minding our manners. When people vote on Referendum 74, they will
literally be voting on how lesbian and gay people are allowed to live
our lives, form our families, and protect our most important
relationships. They will also be voting on whether to keep a marriage
equality law that our elected representatives adopted by a bipartisan
vote after extensive legislative debate. That should put this debate on a
higher plane than most ballot measures, and should demand a higher
standard of debate.
So here are some ideas about what I think a “civil debate” on marriage equality should look like:
Let’s be clear that this civil debate concerns civil marriage.
We’re talking about whether the state may issue marriage licenses to
committed lesbian and gay couples. It’s not about religious marriage; no
church or religious organization will be required to perform marriage
ceremonies or to accommodate marriage celebrations for same-sex couples.
Let’s keep in mind that thousands of children in Washington have
lesbian and gay parents. There are also thousands of LGBT youth in our
state. As a group, LGBT adults are pretty tough; most of us have dealt
with anti-gay bullying, harassment, and discrimination at some point in
our lives. But I hope my new friends at PMW will be mindful of our kids
and LGBT youth during this debate – and how they will be hurt by ads
suggesting that LGBT families or youth deserve less respect or
protection than others.
Let’s focus on whether allowing civil marriage for lesbian and gay
couples will actually harm anyone in Washington state. We’re not
operating in a vacuum here. Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire,
Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa, and the District of Columbia have already
extended the freedom to marry to lesbian and gay couples. Is there even
one heterosexual couple in any of those states who can honestly say
their marriage has been harmed as a results?
Normally, I’d be skeptical that we can have this kind of debate. But if I
can chat politely for hours with the people who are working to take
away my freedom to marry the person I love, maybe anything is possible.
people argue that the best way to handle the ever-present, ever-protesting
members of the Westboro Baptist Church is to ignore them.
sounds sensible. I just can’t do
truth is I find Fred Phelps and his congregation fascinating. I get that they’re among the world’s
biggest media whores—they could even give Donald Trump pointers—and will push
any boundary for attention. Yet
they still manage to surprise me.
just recently, when they journeyed to North Carolina. Since Westboro’s religious creed is God Hates Fags, and since
North Carolina passed the anti-gay Amendment One, a person might assume the
Phelpsians visited the Tar Heel State simply to sniff the heady air of bigotry
not the Westboro way. North
Carolinians don’t want gays to marry; Westboro members don’t want gays to live.
they went to North Carolina to do what they always do, stage a protest. Their target was obvious, a man famous
for supporting gay rights, a man who practically bleeds rainbow colors.
elder statesman of Christian evangelism a friend of gays? Right. And Billy’s son and heir Franklin is a part-time imam.
Graham has taken fewer political stances in his career than, say, Jerry Falwell
or Pat Robertson, he jumped into the Amendment One battle.
93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage,"
Graham wrote in an ad that ran in newspapers around North Carolina. "The
Bible is clear—God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I
want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote FOR the marriage amendment on
Tuesday, May 8."
Yup, he’s on our
side, all right. Downright
ready to head up a PFLAG chapter.
So why, if Westboro
and Graham are anti-gay bedfellows, did the Phelpsians protest Graham? Because the reverend isn’t anti-gay
enough. Westboro has high
About a dozen church
members picketed the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte and other Graham-centric
locations. On Westboro’s website,
according to WBTV, the church said Graham should use his influence to tell the
world “it’s not okay to be a fag, it’s not okay to divorce and remarry, it’s
not okay to fornicate, it’s not okay to kill your babies.”
The man is 93. How can he be expected to remember all
Protester Paulette Phelps
told the Asheville Citizen-Times that
Graham cares more for money and power than preaching God’s truth. “The true Gospel says if you don’t
obey, you’re going to perish.
There are consequences for not obeying. Homosexuality is all bad, all day.”
She makes it sound
like a radio format.
Either Paulette or
another Phelps—because most church members are related—held a sign reading “God
H8S Billy’s Cow.”
I was baffled as to
why God would hate dairy products, unless he’s lactose intolerant, but it turned
out that a “talking” cow offers stories and songs to young library visitors.
All part of Graham’s
money-grubbing, claimed the Phelpsians, who asked, “How many children can you
lead to Satan through Bessie the talking cow?”
I guess that depends
on the quality of Bessie’s stories and songs.
Only after I’d
ruminated over Westboro’s attack on Billy Graham did I remember that this isn’t
the first time the cult has targeted a prominent evangelical. In 2007, these folks protested at Jerry
Falwell’s funeral, in part because of Falwell’s warmth toward gays.
Yes, Falwell adored us.
How could I forget
they protested him? Because their
reasoning is so bizarre I can barely wrap my mind around it. But I won’t forget again. When Pat Robertson dies, I’ll expect the
Phelpsians to picket his funeral.
Since Robertson has always overflowed with love for gay people.
Taking tranquilizers with
my booze, I felt like Marilyn Monroe.Carried out of bars, I felt like Frances Farmer.I thought if I died this way, that drag
queens would dress up like me until the end of time.If I couldn’t be happy, at least I could be immortal.
This ad for the Chevrolet
Volt ran in Between The Lines,
Michigan’s LGBT newspaper, and it’s Chevy’s first ad aimed at little old us,
So writes Richard Read online at The Car Connection, noting that Chevy got savvy in pitching us its
electric car. For one thing, LGBT
consumers tend to be among the first to buy new products. Also, we’re considered more
eco-friendly than the rest of humanity.
“But perhaps most importantly,” says Read, “Chevrolet
has managed to find an interesting parallel between one of its ‘outsider’
products and a population that, in some ways, still resides on the margins of
society. That's not just clever, but it makes for good advertising . . . This
ad strikes an interesting balance between flat-out niche marketing and brand-alignment.”
All this makes me feel like I’ve been unknowingly involved
in the world’s biggest focus group.
As it happens, I own an electric car—the Nissan Leaf. Nissan’s advertising, gay or straight,
didn’t get to me. My eco-friendly
partner told me about the car, my eco-friendly gay genes kicked in,
and that was that.
‘Tis the season of
ministerial ravings.The world has
heard Pastor Sean Harris urge parents to punch effeminate sons, Pastor Charles
Worley advocate putting gays in concentration camps and Pastor Curtis Knapp
suggest the government kill gays.
What the world
hasn’t heard is an equivalent rant from the other side.Time to change that.What follows is a sermon I’ve whipped
up for use by any Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) pastor.
in the time allotted to me this morning I’m going to preach on an uncomfortable
subject.It’s something we don’t
want to think about, let alone talk about.But I would be abandoning my duty as your spiritual shepherd
if I didn’t face it head on.
I see you crinkling your noses in distaste.I get it, brothers and sisters, believe you me.But we can’t hide our heads in the sand
and pretend it doesn’t exist.Heterosexuality is all around us.
straight people are in the military.Openly straight people are in the government.They’re all over Hollywood.These days they think they can do anything.
we won’t let them.And you know
why?It’s not just because
straights do icky things.Although
that’s bad enough.George, can you
imagine kissing a woman?Betty,
can you imagine kissing a man?Yuck.And what straight people
do in bed makes me want to vomit.
the reason we must stamp out heterosexuality is simple:It’s wrong.It’s immoral.It’s not God’s way.How do
I know that?Jesus had only male
disciples!If that’s not a clear
message that men and women are supposed to stay apart, I don’t know what is.
heterosexuals mock Jesus.They
spit on God’s plan.They choose
that abominable straight lifestyle instead.They openly and wantonly cavort with each other.They hold 4th of July
parades and flaunt their seersucker shorts.They recruit!When
I think of all the poor lesbian and gay children who’ve been lured onto the
sinful path of straightness, I cry.
tell you, one day God will turn Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard into pillars of
salt!But he will bless
and sisters, what can we do to aid the Lord’s work?First, we must root out the devil in our midst.Some of you have confessed to me that
you are, yes, straight.Calm down,
everyone.We are Christians, so we
shall love the sinner.
our duty to help these sinners get right with God.So I’m announcing today that this MCC church will launch
ex-straight groups.We have plenty
of former Catholic nuns to run the women’s ex-straight group, and the Sisters
of Perpetual Indulgence have volunteered to facilitate the men’s group.May the spirit of the Lord be upon you
all as you enter into this difficult and critical work.
not all that we have to tackle here on the home front.I now turn to the parents among us with
a truth that must be spoken:Far
too many of our beautiful children are turning straight.I know you’ve tried your best, and I
know evil societal forces undermine you.
you’re obviously doing something wrong.
you want to do God’s will, you must produce gay kids.It’s that simple.Please, look at your parenting.Figure out where you’re going wrong.If your son starts to show an unhealthy interest in girls,
knock him into next week.
you don’t, he could wind up in a concentration camp for straights.So for his sake, your sake and the sake
of this great nation, model God’s love by whacking him silly.