The Fabulous Gay Lifestyle, Exposed!

 

Glitter_close_up
By Inkwina via Wikimedia Commons

 

Morning thoughts:

“I have nothing against homosexuals; I just don’t agree with their lifestyle.”
I hear this a lot.

Let’s break this statement down and analyze it.

A: “I have nothing against homosexuality…”
B: “…I just don’t agree with their lifestyle.”

If B is true, it disproves A.

If you truly believe that there is a gay “lifestyle” (whatever that means) and you don’t “agree” with it, then you DO, in fact, have something “against homosexuals.” I’m sorry, but you do. It would be like my saying, “I don’t have anything against your being straight; I just don’t agree with the entire part of your life that revolves around you being married to your husband of sixteen years and having a home and family with him.”

(And if you’re still using the outdated term “homosexual,” I can talk to you about that, as well…)

Another phrase I particularly enjoy is, “I don’t believe in the gay lifestyle.” Apart from the offensive and absurd idea of being gay as a “lifestyle,”* I’ve always found it a humorous statement. As though gay people don’t really exist, but are some sort of mythical creature that have been told of through centuries of folklore. It reminds me of someone saying that they don’t believe in unicorns.

*A bit more, though, on this gay “lifestyle:”

My wife got up this morning and took the dogs out to pee. About twenty minutes later, I got up, fed all the pets, gave Angelina cat her medicine, had a granola bar and am now checking FB and drinking green tea before settling down to do a bit of writing work. In about an hour, I will take 2 out of our 4 cats to the vet.

When I get back, my wife will probably take a break from the stuff she’s working on and we’ll eat turkey sandwiches for lunch. I’ll continue with the work I started on this morning. Somewhere in the middle of this, I’ll clean up the condo and do laundry.

Later this afternoon, we’ll likely take our dogs for a long walk. We’ll debate back and forth about what to have for dinner and will likely end up grabbing sushi at the place down the road from our condo. Then we’ll come home; she’ll watch “The Voice” and I’ll finish up whatever leftover writing work I have to do.

The dogs will go out for a final goodnight potty and (here’s where it gets freaky, y’all!) we’ll get in bed. My wife will watch TV and I will read on my Kindle. She’ll have a cat sleeping on her chest, I’ll have one on my head, and both of us will have a dog snuggled up next to us. She’ll watch Food Network and I’ll read “David Copperfield” until we both fall asleep.

Rinse and repeat.

There. The gay “lifestyle.” Is it greatly different from yours? More rainbows? Glitter? No? Sorry.

Putting “Religious Protection” Bills in Context

Putting “Religious Protection” Bills in Context

In cities and states across the U.S., we’ve seen a recent flood of proposed (and passed) so-called “religious protection” bills. These bills allow business owners to avoid penalties for refusing to provide service that violates their “sincerely-held religious beliefs.” Some of these bills are also described as ways for churches to avoid being forced to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies.

All of these terms—“religious protection” and “sincerely-held religious beliefs”—are code words that sound nice (I talked about such code words in an earlier blog post), but refer to something rather nasty.

These bills sprang up as a direct reaction to same-sex marriage becoming the law of the land, as a way to keep various businesses from having to provide services to gay couples (or flowers for gay weddings).

Various people on all sides of the equation are worried. People who disapprove of homosexuality are worried that they might be forced to somehow take part in providing services for a same-sex wedding. I have friends who are very supportive of gay rights, but who wonder if such “religious” protection might buffer them against having to, for instance, tattoo a swastika on a neo-Nazi. Gay people are rightfully worried, as we are worried about being turned away from everything from restaurants and hotels to doctors’ offices and hospitals.

A Multi-Faceted Issue

This issue has so many aspects to examine and address; I thought I’d take them one at a time so we can come to a better understanding of what these laws do and don’t do, as well as what they resemble in a historical civil rights context.

Churches Are Already Protected

There’s not much more I can say. Churches don’t have to conduct same-sex weddings. They don’t have to conduct any wedding with which they feel uncomfortable. Skeptical? How about if a Christian couple wants to get married in a Jewish temple? The rabbi can turn them away. A Catholic church can choose not to marry a couple where one partner has not converted to Catholicism. A Baptist minister can require that a couple take pre-marital counseling for a specific amount of time before he will agree to marry them. Individual churches already have control over who they will and won’t marry; that already exists and has not changed.

Refusing to Make a Specific Product ≠ Refusing to Serve a Specific Group of People

“I’m a tattoo artist and I’m worried that a white supremacist might sue me for refusing to tattoo a swastika on his scalp.”

“Asking a Christian-owned bakery to sell a cake for a gay wedding is like asking a Jewish deli to sell someone a ham sandwich.”

No. The first is not a concern and the second is not the same. Why? Because no one is being asked to create or sell a product they don’t normally create, carry, or sell. If you’re a tattoo artist and you’re not in the business of creating images of Nazi imagery or burning crosses, you can refuse to do so. You’re not telling your client, “I won’t tattoo you because you’re white/gay/Hispanic/Muslim;” you’re telling them “I do not tattoo swastikas on ANYONE, period.”

As for the bakery/Jewish deli scenario, it’s the same. A kosher Jewish deli doesn’t sell pork products. At all. To anyone. But they’re happy to sell their pastrami and corned beef to everyone who walks through their doors. The same should hold true for all businesses. If you create a wedding cakes for heterosexual weddings and a gay couple comes in and says, “Wow! I love the cake you have in your photo book; this one right here! We’d like to buy this cake for our wedding,” and you refuse to sell them the product you normally carry for sale for everyone else—that’s discrimination.

“But It Violates My Religion!” Has a Nasty History

Let me progress to the next point in my imaginary discussion with the hypothetical Christian bakery owners.

“But doing anything that supports homosexuality or same-sex weddings violates my religious beliefs! *insert appropriate scripture from Leviticus…Deuteronomy, etc.*”

That may be the case. And you might, really, sincerely feel that way. Having been raised as a fundamentalist Christian, I can 100% understand how distressing this must be for you (really, I do).

That doesn’t make it right.

More so, history will prove how wrong you are. You see, arguments just like that were used not too long ago to argue for things like segregation. Actually, after a quick Google, I see that white supremacists are STILL using scriptural arguments against, for instance, interracial marriage. While this is abhorrent if someone believes it privately, it becomes problematic if someone conducts their business with these kinds of beliefs, because now they are affecting, disrespecting—and even possibly harming—other people. Someone who believes that interracial marriage is wrong because of the way they interpret the Bible is a nasty person, but it gets ramped up to a new level when that person owns a flower shop and won’t sell flowers for an interracial couple’s wedding.

Why the Free Market Isn’t the Answer

But we can just leave things alone and let the free market sort things out, right? I mean, if a florist, bakery, or wedding planner states that they won’t serve gay people or same-sex weddings, then gay people won’t patronize them and the community can vote, with their dollars, whether or not they think this is ok.

That seems like a good idea until we put it into another context. Imagine if—in the 50s and 60s—the free market had been allowed to reign to decide whether or not segregation or refusal of service to black people would be tolerated? There would have been entire areas of the country where black people would have been hard-pressed to find a restaurant that would serve them, to find places to shop, to be rented a room at a hotel, or to get an education. I can imagine that there are areas of the country today where similar problems might arise for gay individuals or couples…and not everyone has the choice to simply move somewhere else (nor should they have to).

And what about industries beyond just the wedding/restaurant industry? What about hotels? Doctors offices? Hospitals and ambulance personnel? If a florist can legally tell a lesbian woman, “It violates my religious beliefs to sell you flowers for your wedding,” then should a restaurant be able to turn that woman and her wife away if the owner suspects they are a couple? If the two women drive cross-country late into the night and pull into the first hotel they’ve seen in over an hour, can the hotel owner turn them out because renting a room to a gay couple violates their religious beliefs? What if there is an emergency and one of the women calls an ambulance for her wife? Do we want legal protections for medical personnel who feel that rendering aid to a gay person might violate their religious beliefs?

I know I’m going into a long line of “what ifs,” here, but as a gay person who listens to these “religious protection” debates play out, these are very real concerns. Being turned away from your wedding venue or bakery of choice would be heartbreaking, infuriating and embarrassing, but being turned away from a doctor’s office, denied care or denied entrance to your spouse’s hospital room because any of these things happened to violate someone’s religious beliefs are all terrifying possibilities.

Religious beliefs are subjective. There are no boundaries to what kinds of people or beliefs we are legally protecting with the passage of these laws. In promoting this sort of legislation, we’re not really protecting freedom for all; we’re protecting a mean-spirited (in the least) and dangerous (at worst) mentality that has been used for decades to deny freedom to certain groups.

(Photo by Giovanni Dall’Orto.)

Minus Scalia, SCOTUS unanimously steers into progressive waters

The United States Supreme Court just reversed an Alabama Supreme Court decision that had stripped adoptive rights away from a lesbian mom. 

“The decision was unanimous.”
*jaw drop* Wow.

Long story short (and I’m not 100% sure of all the specifics, but here’s your TLDR version):

Lesbian couple lives in Georgia. They have kids and the second mother is granted adoptive rights over the kids, so now you have Birth Mother and Adoptive Mother.

The couple breaks up. Things get nasty and Birth Mother sues in the state of Alabama (where she was living? Where both of them were living at that point? I’m not sure) to strip custody/parental rights from Adoptive Mom.

Alabama is more than happy to agree with her, and their state Supreme Court rules that the state of Georgia had no power to grand adoptive rights to an icky, godless gay parent in the first place. Adoptive mom loses all rights, custody, visitation, etc for the kids she’s helped raise since birth.

Enter the U.S. Supreme Court. They say this is bullshit–UNANIMOUSLY–and restore parental rights to Adoptive Mom.

Unanimously. Holy shit. Do you now how huge that is that the conservative justices voted in favor of this woman’s parental rights? I’ll bet Scalia wouldn’t have. He must be rolling right now…and I don’t mean with laughter. 

 

Pride In Our President

Obama, gay marriage, and the law: what his support means. – Slate Magazine.

The above link is a brief summary of the various legal cases going on around the country that will decide issues such as same-sex spousal benefits.

 The ball is rolling. Faster and faster. And no amount of scare tactics, Bible-thumping, name-calling and red-faced screaming is going to stop it.

And I can promise you this: now that we have a president in office who is willing to stand up for me and my family, I will do everything in my power to get him re-elected to do more good. And I know lots of other gay people and their allies feel the same way.

I’ve heard people say, “Oh, he’s pandering for votes.” I totally disagree. Announcing support for something as controversial as gay marriage in an election year is potential political suicide. This is why Mitt Romney (who, in the past, supported marriage equality) is parroting back his party’s status quo response: “Marriage is between one man and one woman.” That is the safe response, and I was always frustrated and disappointed that it was President Obama’s go-to response…until today.

Our president did not act to win votes; he acted on behalf of what is just. And whether he wins or loses this election, I respect him and feel thankful for that. Our first African American president is also the first sitting U.S. president—ever—to support marriage equality. Anyone who can’t appreciate that will end up—years from now—on the wrong side of civil rights history.

How do you like being used as a pawn?

Documents revealing the National Organization for Marriage’s documents have finally been released in Maine.

This is huge and it exposes exactly how right wing groups like the National Organization for Marriage function.  I’ve been saying it forever—and here is hard proof—groups like this (and the candidates they support) are using gay marriage as a political crowbar to divide the Democratic party, as well as drive moderate voters away.

 

The items in this link are from NOM’s own documents, which they were forced to release as part of a campaign finance investigation.  This one, in particular, discusses their strategy for turning African Americans against gay rights:

 

“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…”

I’m am sincerely sorry that YOU were offended = Not an apology

Anti-Gay NC Blogger Quits Over Racist, Homophobic Obama Image |Gay News|Gay Blog Towleroad.

Racist, anti-gay Obama picture
Via Towleroad.com.

“To me, fried chicken is simply a Southern cuisine.”

Bullshit, bullshit, BULLSHIT, Tara Servatius. (Your last name sounds like a villain in a “Harry Potter” book, by the way. Very fitting.)  Displaying a black person alongside a bucket of chicken is a very tired, worn out racist statement.  You very much MEANT it to be racist, so please at least stand by your obvious prejudice as you apologize make poor excuses for your actions.   By your cowardly explanation, you make the assumption that everyone is as brainless as yourself.

This kind of mindset is the reason I DETEST the state in which I was born and raised. Homophobia and racism are incredibly common in North Carolina. And this anti-gay amendment will pass with flying colors. I’ll go ahead and add it to their state constitution now, to save them all of the dirty campaigning and lie-spreading. Because the ignorant Bubbas of the state will trip all over their NASCAR folding chairs to get to the polls to vote in favor of this thing, while the minority of politically involved, educated folk watch in horror as discrimination gets embedded in their state’s constitution.