Gaylingual: July 2008: Archives
The Massachusetts House has voted to repeal an antiquated law that prohibited the marriage of out of state gays. The measure, already approved by the Senate, is on its way to Governor Deval Patrick, who has indicated his intention to sign off on the repeal. Once removed, the state will allow for the marriage of gay couples who reside outside of Massachusetts.
From The Boston Globe:
In a major victory for advocates of same-sex marriage rights, the House voted by a wide margin yesterday to repeal a 95-year-old law that prevents gay and lesbian couples from most other states from marrying here, setting the stage for Massachusetts to join just one other state, California, in allowing same-sex couples to marry regardless of residence.
The 1913 law specifically bars out-of-state residents from marrying here if the marriage would be considered void in their home state. Its repeal opens the borders for potentially thousands of nonresident same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts. A flood of couples is expected from New York, where Governor David Paterson has instructed state agencies to recognize and grant benefits to gay couples who marry elsewhere, even though New York does not authorize same-sex marriages.
Neither House nor Senate votes on the issue drew protesters to the State House. Advocates cited the absence of demonstrations as a sign that same-sex marriage has become an accepted fact of life in Massachusetts, after lawmakers in a joint session last year rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.
What, no protesters? Can it be? Are we to conclude that there aren't any defenders of traditional marriage in the state of Massachusetts? Could it be that heterosexual marriages weren't harmed as a result of the many same-sex marriages performed in the state?
Mitt Romney, where were you and your five sons when the religious right needed someone to stand up and defend family values?
Tagged as: Gay Marriage, LGBT, Massachusetts, Religious Right, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | July 30, 2008 | 8:49 AM |
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In the following video, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart has some fun at the expense of wingnut warrior Elaine Donnelly. Donnelly, rabidly anti-gay, recently testified before a congressional committee reviewing the merits of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy on gay service members.
Needless to say, Donnelly's brash banter is garden variety bigotry...or in this case one might call her a cockeyed crackpot. I'm always amazed by the virtual obsession that is displayed by religious ideologues with regard to all things sexual. Perhaps if we offered them free counseling, they might eventually realize that they suffer from an inordinate focus on the naughty parts.
Unfortunately, the fact that many of these Christian crusaders view sex as sin undoubtedly exacerbates the problem. In the end, me thinks the lady doth protest too much. I fear Donnelly is unaware of the alternate meaning of DADT...the one that explains her pitiful performance..."Dumb Ass...Do Tell?!"
Tagged as: Comedy, DADT, Elaine Donnelly, Gay, Humor, Jon Stewart, LGBT, Military, The Daily Show
Daniel DiRito | July 29, 2008 | 7:37 PM |
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John McCain, a former critic of Christian extremists, has suddenly become a seemingly born-again evangelical in conjunction with his 2008 presidential bid. Sadly, his run to the right is hardly evidence of a man who has made a career of portraying himself as a straight-talking maverick.
Those who contend that a McCain presidency won't be a third term of the policies of George Bush need look no further than the fence upon which slick John is perilously perched. If it isn't embracing the Bush administration's simplistic cowboy diplomacy, it will undoubtedly be the sleight of hand that comes with a carefully crafted claim of compassionate conservatism...couched, of course, as a commitment to the constitutional construct of states rights.
Truth be told, with regard to gay adoption, John McCain continues to sound like a man who has yet to realize that the fence he's riding has a limited number of sides. Perhaps the Senator believes he can finesse the fence...but from my vantage point, it looks more like he's a trick rider whose too clever by half. In fact, I don't think McCain has the political dexterity to simultaneously succeed at being both a pole jumper and a pole sitter. In the end, he's apt to find himself painfully impaled by the inconsistency his campaign continues to impart.
The Arizona Senator's latest attempt took place during today's appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
From ABC News:
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your position on gay adoption? You told the "New York Times" you were against it, even in cases where the children couldn't find another home. But then your staff backtracked a bit.
What is your position?
MCCAIN: My position is, it's not the reason why I'm running for president of the United States. And I think that two parent families are best for America.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, what do you mean by that, it's not the reason you're running for president of the United States?
MCCAIN: Because I think -- well, I think that it's -- it is important for us to emphasize family values. But I think it's very important that we understand that we have other challenges, too.
I'm running for president of the United States, because I want to help with family values. And I think that family values are important, when we have two parent -- families that are of parents that are the traditional family.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But there are several hundred thousand children in the country who don't have a home. And if a gay couple wants to adopt them, what's wrong with that?
MCCAIN: I am for the values that two parent families, the traditional family represents.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you're against gay adoption.
MCCAIN: I am for the values and principles that two parent families represent. And I also do point out that many of these decisions are made by the states, as we all know.
And I will do everything I can to encourage adoption, to encourage all of the things that keeps families together, including educational opportunities, including a better economy, job creation.
And I'm running for president, because I want to help families in America. And one of my positions is that I believe that family values and family traditions are preserved.
UPDATE: The following is the video of the above transcript:
Huh!? So he's for the values that traditional two parent families represent? Well, I'm for the commitment to excellence the Oakland Raiders espouse...but I've also seen how the Raiders play football these days. In other words, just where does McCain think these orphans come from...the anti-family values stork?
Shouldn't our political leaders be focused upon finding stable and loving homes for these children regardless of the sexuality of the adoptive parents? Just what does the Senator know about the experiences of children reared in families consisting of two same-sex parents? Has he bothered to explore the number of children that are orphaned from same-sex couples? I suspect he'd have to reconsider his definition of family values if he took the time to step beyond his efforts to insure the votes of his biased and bigoted base.
So McCain's position on gay adoption is "to encourage all of the things that keep families together, including educational opportunities, including a better economy, job growth. Yep, that will undoubtedly encourage family values and convince straight couples to stay married, to stop cheating, to stop getting divorced, and to stop viewing children as possessions and parenthood as little more than a rite of passage.
Then again, the goal of many on the religious right has little to do with insuring happy children. They view anything that prevents the substantiation of homosexuality to be worthwhile...even if that means a few hundred thousand children have to remain the wards of the state. Shifting orphaned children from one foster home to another like chattel is beneficial if it supports the anti-gay agenda. How compassionate and how Christian is that?
The only claim John McCain can make to straight talk is that he's learned the talk needed to win the votes of those who favor a world that is exclusively straight. John McCain may see himself as a maverick...but I suspect his maverick status is more like the role James Garner played in the television series with the same name...an unintentional hero presented with fanciful aplomb that is little more than the guise for a man who, when push came to shove, elected to avoid any of the risks associated with actually being a straight talking maverick and a political hero.
In the meantime, I hope the good senator is enjoying his ascendency to the pinnacle of political expediency. Come to think of it, he's simply mastered the metaphorical equivalent of riding a horse side-saddle...he knows that if you're going to ride the fence, you need to be a skilled side-stepper. Senator McBush, you're ability to parse words is an inspiration to orphans everywhere.
Tagged as: Divorce, Evangelical, Foster Care, Gay, Gay Adoption, George Stephanopoulos, John McCain, LGBT, Marriage, Orphan, Parenting, Religion, Religious Right, This Week
Daniel DiRito | July 27, 2008 | 1:30 PM |
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While I think it's fair to frown upon scapegoating and stereotyping in commercial advertising campaigns, I'm not all that incensed by such depictions. However, when they are apt to promote already existent anger and animosity...and/or endorse or encourage more inappropriate outbursts and behavior, I think it warrants commentary.
To that end, Snickers and Nike have released new campaigns that may do just that. Snickers' first foray into this practice took place during the Super Bowl when two men inadvertently found themselves locked lip to lip...which was followed by outward signs of repulsion...including the wielding of a tire iron in one version of the ad. In the new Snickers ad (see video below), Mr. T., perched in the back of a muscle truck with a Gatling gun, is annoyed by a man "wogging" down the sidewalk (insinuating he's a sissy), and he commences to pummel him with Snickers shells.
The problem with the ad is that it is a tacit endorsement of violence against gays. Yes, I acknowledge that it's virtually impossible to craft an ad that doesn't serve as a trigger for some sort of bad behavior in a certain segment of society. At the same time, I would venture to say that very few people are unaware of gay bashing...which means that the ad agency can't feign surprise when it is accused of fostering that mind set.
As to Nike, the image found in its latest offering (see below), of two men playing basketball, suggests when one man's face inadvertently ends up in another man's crotch, it is wrong and humiliating. Again, the problem with this ad rests in the already evident homophobia that has been demonstrated by numerous sports figures. Hence the ad is seemingly an endorsement of these hateful outbursts and a stealth message to children that sports and homosexuality are mutually exclusive. Frankly, many of these abrasive sports figures already believe they are beyond reproach. I simply don't see any merit in Nike's reinforcement of that notion. Here's the take from one of ESPN's senior writers.
And when it comes to using basketball to humilate your opponent, there is a certain scale. Shooting a jumper over someone is maybe a one. Beating someone to the hoop for a layup might be a two. Dribbling through your legs as you do so could make that worth three, dribbling through their legs as you do might get you up to six. Sevens are garden variety dunks and blocks, while there is a special carve out somewhere around eight or nine for using your crossover to make the defender actually fall over.
But up at the top of the humiliation hierarchy, right there with doing many of the above things with the game on the line, is an explosively humiliating move whose handy shorthand might not belong on this family-friendly website.
We can call it the I'm-jumping-so-high-as-I-dunk-over-you-that-my-crotch-is-in-your-face move.
Man, I have a whole jumble of thoughts. For instance:
Homophobia is real, it is common, and it is damaging. All that is true in general in society, but especially around sports. There's a reason no current NBA player has ever come out of the closet. People should be aware of that and act accordingly. It's not funny.
These are kick-ass ads, that have meaning and make basketball sense without injecting any homophobia into the conversation. Getting humiliated like that is "just wrong," in a basketball sense, without the male on male interpretation. Pretend the genders were scrambled in that ad -- a woman defender, or a woman dunker, or both. The same headline can work without the implication that the man on man contact is the gross part.
Knowing that there is a lot of homophobia out there, is advertising that might stoke those fires in poor taste?
I can't wait to live in a world where this ad would not be commonly interpreted as homophobic, but I'm not sure I do live there now. And in that setting, I guess this counts as ethically sloppy in my book. Or maybe intended to stoke some fires to draw some attention to itself. If I ran Wieden + Kennedy, or Nike, I wouldn't have green-lighted that headline with that image. But I'm not at all surprised that others did, and maybe the conversation that ensues makes us all a little more aware.
Generally speaking, I appreciate ESPN's treatment of the issue...with one glaring exception. The writer, Henry Abbott, fails to see that the implied humiliation, while meaningful to those who play the game and those who watch it, is simply a manifestation of a society that attaches the very same meaning to it. They're inseparable, which is the fundamental problem. It also makes Abbott's wish an absurdity. Were we in a world where this ad "would not be commonly interpreted as homophobic", the ad would have never been made.
You see, the reason no one is making an ad where a man's face inadvertently ends up in a woman's crotch...designed to appeal to the gay community...and its judgmental heterophobia...is because we don't feel humiliated by it...due to the fact that we don't judge it negatively and we willingly acknowledge that it's acceptable behavior (ergo, societally supported heterophobia doesn't exist to enable the humiliation or the ad).
With that said, my primary beef with this type of advertising has more to do with the absence of advertising that is either neutral towards gays or provides a favorable depiction. In fact, when such ads are released, the uproar from religious ideologues often results in the cancellation of the campaign. That's simply an unacceptable double standard and it does little more than foster prejudice. The most recent instance involved an ad in the UK for Heinz Deli Mayo, in which two men share a harmless peck on the lips. In short order, the loons were up in arms and the ad was immediately canned.
I find myself wanting to stuff my Snickers bar in Nikes face. Unfortunately, they'd likely take a bite without giving a second thought to the double entendre. Perhaps that sheds some light on the problem, eh?
Tagged as: Advertising, Basketball, Hate Crimes, Heinz Deli Mayo, Homophobia, LGBT, Mr. T., NBA, Nike, Snickers
Daniel DiRito | July 22, 2008 | 6:26 PM |
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Having to jump up and down for attention must be pure torture for James Dobson. Faced with the prospect of being irrelevant in the 2008 election has led the leader of Focus on the Family to announce that he may rescind his prior refusal to vote for John McCain.
In the following video, a few of the faithful explain the dilemma confronting their dear leader. They want us to know that their leader is a man of principle...and that supporting John McCain would only happen out of his concern for the unborn and the protection of the family. [Shed tears now]
What the folks at FOF don't want us to conclude is that Dobson's ginormous ego has emerged and that his need to be the center of attention has led him to reconsider. In other words, when no one followed him over the political cliff, he climbed back up, dusted himself off, and crafted a new message...one that says he'd have to do whatever it takes to save the children and defeat the homos.
I guess the man that felt it was important to teach the GOP a lesson (translated as I demand to be more important and I'm happy to throw the election to do so) for failing to follow through on the issues that are important to evangelicals has decided his stint on the sidelines could spell the end of the Dobson dynasty. Hence, he's rolled up his sleeves and he's ready to lead. [Send checks now]
Alas, the curtain is removed! What Dobson really fears is that his irrelevance could also mean an end to the cash FOF has been able to generate by portraying itself as one of the most influential organizations on the religious right. That brings us back to principles...and there's no doubt that Dobson knows it takes a lot of "principal" (cash) to garner significant "interest" (income). Welcome back James Dobson...we missed you!
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Abortion, Barack Obama, Family Values, Focus on the Family, James Dobson, John McCain, LGBT, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | July 22, 2008 | 11:07 AM |
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Christians are notorious for crafting simplified representations of their faith as well as the less than scientific doctrines they embrace (think creationism and peanut butter).
In the first of the following videos, Grandpa John uses an ordinary pickle to demonstrate the power of Christianity. To do this, grandpa zaps the pickle with a dose of electricity and suggests that the infusion of this external power source is the same as having God in one's life.
Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worst near the end of the video. When Grandpa John turns the lights back on, we get to see what the electricity is actually doing to the pickle. In the light of day, when the darkness of mysticism is removed, we realize that the electricity is boiling the pickle in its own juices...with steam pouring out of both ends. Now I don't know about you, but based upon what I saw, I'm gonna have to say no to Grandpa John.
In the second video, Lewis & Lewis, a Christian gospel music duo, offer us another little diddy about the pickle...metaphorically speaking, that is. Simply stated, the song is intended to tell the listener that being gay isn't ok...because the plumbing just doesn't work. Lewis & Lewis use a farm setting to tell us that farm animals aren't gay. Last time I checked the literature, science may not agree with Lewis & Lewis.
Anyway, the bottom line seems to be that Christians are obsessed with pickles. If they're not puttin' the juice to their own, they're worried about where the neighbor and the farm animals might be puttin' theirs.
I'm thinking one of these folks needs to see what can be learned from puttin' one's pickle in a jar of peanut butter. Then again, given the lessons we've already learned, and the level of interest in both, I have no way to confirm that they haven't already done so.
If you don't understand that last comment, you'll need to take a look at the video found in the first link.
Tagged as: Christianity, Faith, Gay, God, Homosexuality, Humor, Jesus, LGBT, Religion
Daniel DiRito | July 21, 2008 | 4:24 PM |
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It's always refreshing to witness a scholarly and informed discussion of religion...one that is able to step away from rigid dogma in order to provide some context and insight beyond the Bible.
In the following Fora.tv video, Peter Gomes, a Baptist minister and author of the book, The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus, attempts to draw the distinction between what Jesus taught and what the Bible states. Gomes posits that Jesus was a teacher...but not of the Bible...which therefore means that the Bible shouldn't receive the credence it is often given. In fact, Gomes suggests that the Bible is merely a number of different individual's attempting to explain the teachings of Jesus...each having their own unique perspective.
Gomes covers a number of topics in this hour long segment, including an instructive analysis of Jeremiah Wright's controversial statements (starts at 18:20)...his thoughts on what Jesus would have to say about race (starts at 26:30)and gay marriage (starts at 31:00).
Gomes sees the resolution of racial strife as a complicated issue. He suggests that dialogue between the races may not offer any real solutions and he makes reference to those who believe the best course may be for families of color to discuss race within their own homes rather than attempting a dialogue with those who have perpetrated racism. The point he's making is that change isn't apt to be a negotiated solution but a calculated transformation effected by those who have been the object of racism.
With regard to Jesus' view of same-sex marriage, Gomes offers a rather practical answer...stating that Jesus would likely find no fault with anything that promotes fidelity and loyalty...concluding it is a good thing. He also suggests that Jesus would criticize the number of failed marriages and recommend that people spend their excess energy addressing that dilemma.
Anyone interested in a rational take on religion...absent the venom and vitriol that frequently hijacks such discussions...will enjoy this excellent presentation. Gomes is far more than a minister. His grasp of history, culture, and human nature...and his ability to connect each with the evolution of religion is remarkable.
Tagged as: Bible, Faith, Fora.tv, Gay Marriage, Gospel, Jeremiah Wright, Jesus, Peter J. Gomes, Race, Racism, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | July 21, 2008 | 1:04 PM |
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I'm always amazed at public opinion...especially when it provides some insights into human nature in 21st century America. Over the years, I've always marveled at the prudish obsession with all things prurient.
I could be wrong, but I suspect a majority of Americans would rather allow their children to watch depictions of violence on television and at the movies than anything remotely sexual. In some ways, I understand how this happens, but in my moments of lucidity, I wonder why we never take the time to understand or alter this seemingly incoherent ideation.
To find evidence of this phenomenon, one need look no further than the polling relevant to same-sex marriage and the military's policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Despite the occasional outlier, it's fairly safe to state that more Americans oppose same-sex marriage than favor it. At the same time, numerous polls in recent years suggests that a significant majority of Americans are in favor of allowing gays to serve in the military. I find those two incongruent positions fascinating.
First, a look at the latest polling on both issues.
From The Washington Post On DADT:
Public attitudes about gays in the military have shifted dramatically since President Bill Clinton unveiled what became his administration's "don't ask, don't tell" policy 15 years ago today.
Seventy-five percent of Americans in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll said gay people who are open about their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, up from 62 percent in early 2001 and 44 percent in 1993.
Today, Americans have become more supportive of allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the armed forces. Support from Republicans has doubled over the past 15 years, from 32 to 64 percent. More than eight in 10 Democrats and more than three-quarters of independents now support the idea, as did nearly two-thirds of self-described conservatives.
From CBS News On Same-Sex Marriage:
(CBS) Most Americans continue to think there should be some legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples, and 30 percent say same-sex couples should be allowed to marry - the highest number since CBS News began asking this question in 2004.
Twenty-eight percent think same-sex couples should be permitted to form civil unions, but more than a third - 36 percent - say there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship.
Americans' views on this issue have changed since 2004, although opinion has not changed substantially in the last two years. In November of 2004 (soon after the presidential election) just 21 percent of Americans supported the idea of same-sex couples being allowed to marry.
Majorities of both men and women support some form of legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples, but more women (36 percent) than men (24 percent) back the idea of same-sex marriage.
With regard to DADT, it seems fairly clear that the country is ready to embrace gays serving in the military. Virtually every constituent group agrees. As such, it would be difficult to contend that the favorable response is due to the vague or uncertain nature of the survey question.
With regard to gay marriage, the results are more nebulous. Don't get me wrong, there's little doubt that the trends are encouraging. In fact, one could make the argument that a narrow majority of Americans actually favor some recognition of same-sex relationships. Defining the specifics of that recognition would likely provide less encouraging results.
I'm intrigued by the disparity. On the one hand, it seems that patriotism and a desire to defend one's nation elicits thoughts of equality on the part of the electorate. In other words, if gays are willing to kill and die for their country, by God, we shouldn't deny them that opportunity. [Wave flags now] On the other hand, who a gay person chooses to love and how that love is recorded by society apparently elicits thoughts of moral rectitude on the part of the electorate. [Cover eyes now]
In other words, views about homosexuality seem to mirror the general pattern of allowing our children to be exposed to violence (masculinity...or behavior associated with men?) while shying away from exposure to, or discussion about, sexuality (intimacy...or behavior associated with women?). Is that an anecdotal observation and a broad brush approach to the subject? Perhaps. Does it offer a plausible explanation for the divergent data? In part, I think so.
Let's take it a step further. When one thinks about the treatment of those in the LGBT community, three things emerge. One, lesbianism (often associated with being a tomboy), while still objectionable to many, is also a source of male fascination, and as such, serves to insulate lesbians from intense societal derision. Secondly, gay men (often associated with being effeminate) draw the intense ire of a number of heterosexual men which is much more likely to lead to acts of derision and/or violence being perpetrated on homosexual men. Lastly, transgender males, seeking to identify as women (adopting virtually all aspects of feminine behavior), are potentially at the greatest risk for vitriol and violence.
I contend that if one were to ask all voters to quantify each groups social acceptability, each groups acceptability to serve in the military, and the acceptance of the love relationships each group forms, the discomfort would mirror the rankings I've noted above.
Let's return to the apparent discomfort with all things sexual and the seeming tolerance for depictions of violence. If one looks at the dance of sexuality, generally speaking, the male is in pursuit which can easily be construed as an aggressive act. Since men generally accept this role...and they also have daughters...a disconnect emerges which may well lead to the seeming silence with regards to all things sexual.
In simple terms, men, aware of each other's inclinations, are uncomfortable admitting and acknowledging that their daughters will be pursued sexually and anything that reminds them of this creates dissonance that is rarely resolved. The carnal nature of sex as conquest (masculine) can prevent them from viewing sexuality favorably as intimacy (feminine).
This may also explain the difference in men's and women's reported acceptance of gays in the military. Men, by virtue of their own views of sex, are apt to view the homosexual male similar to themselves...meaning they assume a gay man is in pursuit of a sexual encounter. At the same time, women are apt to be more comfortable with gay men as a result of their inclination to share expressions of intimacy.
I'll offer one additional observation. Sex, by its nature, involves unspoken understandings about penetration and being penetrated...tops and bottoms if you will. That again brings us back to the above ordering. Lesbianism, from a conventional view of gender roles, is often thought to be about penetration...meaning there is a perception that someone adopts the position as the top (the masculine aggressor). With gay men, the perception is that someone adopts the position as the bottom (the feminine placater). Lastly, with regard to the transgender male, the assumption is that the individual seeks to adopt the feminine role...although in this instance, with a heterosexual male.
Simply stated, the subconscious predisposition to favor masculinity over femininity (imposed over centuries by the prevalence of misogyny as opposed to any innately ordered hierarchy) therefore leads to ranking the three accordingly.
All of the above, in my opinion, helps explain why voters are more inclined to support gays in the military than to endorse same-sex marriage. The former is consistent with established societal norms that favor masculinity which makes it more palatable. Conversely, the latter serves to threaten the established order and unseat the stereotypical male identity from its lofty perch.
When it's all said and done, I contend humanity hasn't navigated that far from its awareness that the king of the jungle's demands are usually met (he writes the rules) and he is therefore afforded a wide berth...simply based upon an unspoken understanding that he has the ability to impose his will (penetrate) upon those who can't do the same.
Whether all of this suggests that love does or doesn't exist as we define it is open to debate. In the meantime, the message to the LGBT community is rather convoluted...and fully impeachable. In a world too easily inclined to violence, it's a shame to be rewarding gays for propagating aggression as the acceptable status quo while stifling their potential to act as loving agents for constructive change. It's time for the sleeping giant to assemble its parts and uproot the tree to which it has too long been tethered. It's time for a new order.
Tagged as: DADT, Discrimination, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Gay Marriage, LGBT, Military, Misogyny, Polling, Relationships, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexuality, Society, Violence, War
Daniel DiRito | July 20, 2008 | 2:27 PM |
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The Family Research Council is a never ending source of amusement. Unfortunately they are also rabidly anti-gay and a constant supporter of measures to deny homosexuals equal rights. To that end, FRC is a major player in the battle to pass a constitutional amendment (Prop. 8) to ban same-sex marriage in California.
The following image and hyperbole were included in a recent FRC Action Update designed to inform and incite the faithful.
Homosexual Activists Fight Free Speech
The California marriage amendment cleared its final hurdle yesterday when the same court that imposed same-sex "marriage" on the state agreed to let voters decide whether or not to overturn its ruling. In one swift, unanimous motion, the California Supreme Court refused even to hear the lawsuit brought by homosexual groups which claimed Proposition 8 was "legally flawed." Meanwhile, thousands of same-sex couples are scurrying to "marry" before voters determine the fate of those unions this fall. Local business owners-turned family advocates are doing all they can to ensure the honeymoon with counterfeit marriage is short-lived-and homosexual activists are attacking their right to speak out. Doug Manchester, a devout Catholic who donated to the ballot initiative, is the new target of Californians Against Hate. In a fundraising letter, Hate head Fred Karger called for a boycott of Manchester's Grand Hyatt and Grand Del Mar hotels. Robert Hoehn's gift to preserve marriage not only landed his Carlsbad car dealership on the boycott list but drew protests at his lots. We applaud these men for refusing to be intimidated and encourage Californians not to back down in the face of those who refuse to accept democratic rule.
The alert contains the standard fare offered by FRC. The gist of the message is that mean and nasty militant homosexuals are attempting to shove same-sex marriage down the throats of Californians and their tactics include every effort to silence upstanding Christians while flaunting their unholy marriages...which will undoubtedly lead to the demise of our society...yada, yada.
Suffice it to say that this is boiler plate pabulum used to rile the flock and separate them from some of their cash. In fact, I'm of the opinion that many of these people take great comfort in the cookie cutter mentality they adopt. It allows them to paint the "enemy" with a broad brush and it helps them avoid the confusion that comes from a realization that the human condition is far more gray than it is black and white. In other words, their beliefs are fixed and regularly communicated to them in action updates.
Rather than reiterate more of my disdain for FRC, I decided to create the following graphic to poke fun at the block headed, seemingly androgynous character found in the FRC graphic. I have no idea if the image has some larger meaning or if it was included for expediency. Regardless, as my graphic posits, it's an example of the blank slate, lock step, mind set that is so often adopted en masse by the faithful.
On the other hand, is there any doubt that the Pillsbury dough boy and the Michelin man make a cute couple? Then again, I could be wrong about their orientations. At the very least, unlike the composite "FRC he/she", they still have their own identities.
Tagged as: California, Family Research Council, FRC, Gay, Humor, LGBT, Proposition 8, Same-Sex Marriage, Supreme Court, Tony Perkins
Daniel DiRito | July 18, 2008 | 5:30 PM |
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While it's far too early to celebrate, a new poll suggests that Proposition 8, an amendment to the California constitution designed to define marriage as the union of only one man and one woman, would not have sufficient support for passage. Conventional wisdom suggests that ballot measures that fail to garner significant early support are unlikely to succeed. Unfortunately, I doubt this standard can be applied to this particular measure.
From The San Diego Union-Tribune:
SACRAMENTO - Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in California, is opposed by 51 percent of likely voters with 42 percent in favor, according to a new Field Poll.
Those results put the proposed ban in a politically perilous position in the Nov. 4 election, said Mark DiCamillo, director of the nonpartisan Field Poll.
"Starting out behind is usually an ominous sign for a proposition," DiCamillo said. "Over 90 percent of propositions that start out behind get taken down."
Typically, ballot measures start out ahead, but become less popular as the opposition campaign begins raising questions and creating doubt, he said.
The poll is the first to question voters using the measure's exact language. But the results are similar to a Field Poll on the same topic in May, shortly after the California Supreme Court overturned laws that prohibited same-sex marriage.
In my experience, polls on ballot measures that are intended to deny gay rights rarely capture the actual level of voter support. Amendment Two, passed by Colorado voters in 1992, is the best example of this phenomenon. Prior to the election, virtually every poll suggested the measure was headed for defeat. As it turned out, the measure passed by nearly six percentage points.
The following information is from the Field Poll and it offers some insight into the dynamics that may be at play in November.
From The Field Poll:
There is relatively high voter awareness of Proposition 8 among the state's voting electorate. Statewide 62% of likely voters report having seen or heard something about the proposed constitutional amendment.
There are also big differences by religion. Protestants favor Prop. 8 56% to 40%, while Catholics are evenly divided. By contrast, voters affiliated with other religions or who have no religious preference are opposing Prop. 8 by wide margins.
Evangelical Christians favor the amendment better than two to one, 66% to 31%. However, non-evangelicals are on the No side 59% to 34%.
There is greater opposition to Prop. 8 among voters who personally know or work with gays or lesbians. This group, which includes nearly three in four voters statewide, opposes Prop. 8 54% to 40%. On the other hand, those who have no personal familiarity with gays or lesbians favor the amendment by a narrow margin.
I'm of the opinion that the data is instructive. To the benefit of those opposed to the constitutional ban, voter awareness is high which may suggest it will be difficult to change minds. In other words, if voters already understand the measure, and a majority opposes it, proponents may have a difficult time turning the tide. Additionally, the fact that a solid majority of the three in four voters who "know or work with gays or lesbians" will vote against the measure bolsters the belief that coming out is by far the best means to change hearts and minds. It may also suggest that those voters who oppose the measure are doing so based upon a personal consideration rather than in keeping with their religious beliefs.
On the other hand, the support for the measure by evangelicals evidences the influence right wing religious leaders still have with their followers...and it highlights their willingness to exploit any issue that can be connected with their opposition to homosexuality. Frankly, the ideology of evangelicals prohibits them from ever viewing gays as individuals...someone worthy of consideration outside the constraints of established dogma. To do so would be the equivalent of abandoning their core Biblical beliefs.
I'll offer one last observation. I took note of the fact that Catholics are evenly divided on the issue. Strange as this may sound, I suspect that the prevalence of gay priests may serve to soften the opposition to the measure. My own experience as a Catholic suggests that there is an unspoken acceptance of gays despite the fact that it is contrary to church doctrine. In other words, the psychology posits that if the church elected to embrace gays as priests for years, why should Catholic voters not embrace the right of gays to marry?
One thing most Catholics learn...especially if they've attended Catholic schools...is that hypocrisy is part and parcel of the church...which I believe can lead to a level of tacit tolerance which might not otherwise emerge. Perhaps that's a stretch, but I think it merits consideration.
Tagged as: California, Catholicism, Civil Rights, Constitutional Amendment, Equality, Evangelical, Field Poll, Gay, LGBT, Marriage, Polling, Proposition 8, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | July 18, 2008 | 11:08 AM |
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Have you ever wondered who makes up that small segment of American society that believes everything is hunky dory? According to the latest surveys, less than 20 percent of Americans believe the nation is headed in the right direction. In the following Daily Show offering, Jason Jones sets out to find some of the people who comprise this constituency.
It doesn't take Jones long to find J.P. "Gus" Godsey, author of How To Be Happy Everyday, and the man Jones believes is driving the "short bus". As it turns out, Godsey is convinced that everything in America is glorious...and then Godsey proceeds to prove the contention of Jones' second interviewee, Deepak Chopra, who contends that happiness can easily be the result of ignorance or denial.
Godsey then offers some of the suggestions from his book that are sure to make us happy. They include chasing an ice cream truck, buying a pen, and sweeping the front porch. Next, he offers one of his real world solutions. Godsey's goals is to take back the word "gay" and restore gaiety to the countless heterosexuals who remember it fondly from their childhood...but are no longer able to use the word to describe the utter joy they feel about the world.
I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that we'd be better off if the occupants of the short bus were transported to a special school for those who have lost touch with reality. In fact, it would make me very happy (I'm already gay) to drive them there myself.
Tagged as: Deepak Chopra, J.P. "Gus" Godsey, Jason Jones, Jon Stewart, LGBT, The Daily Show
Daniel DiRito | July 17, 2008 | 11:56 AM |
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For years, Jesse Helms blocked measures intended to provide care and assistance to homosexuals suffering from the ravages of HIV. In true Helms backasswards bravado, he often insinuated that the only way such legislation would pass would be over his dead body.
Surprise...it gets even better! Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole, in her infinite vacuity, thought it would be appropriate to rename the Presidents Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) after the recently departed 'Senator No'. Yes, Dole apparently felt that Helms' late-in-life epiphany...support for AIDS funding to assist Africa (no apology to America's gay community ever materialized)...should net Helms the posthumous honor.
Since Helms implied that gays would only receive government support over his dead body, there is a reason to celebrate the passage of PEPFAR. Simply stated, at long last, the dead bodies of thousands of gays can rest in peace knowing that PEPFAR was passed without being renamed after Jesse Helms...and it passed...poetically...over his dead body.
Now in my way of thinking, this entire situation is about accolades and assholery. When it comes to AIDS, Helms has no right to the former. Should there be any doubt, let's just say that's a big N-O. On the other hand, I think Senator's Helms and Dole are deserving of a resounding Y-E-S when it comes to confirming their effectiveness in exhibiting the latter.
All ranting aside, today the Senate passed PEPFAR by an overwhelming majority.
AIDS Action applauds the Senate for overwhelming, bipartisan passage of the Lantos/Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act (S 2731), which reauthorizes the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The organization particularly commends the lifting of the statutory requirement that bars travel and immigration to the U.S. by HIV positive non-citizens. Also noteworthy are the mention and recognition of HIV prevention, care and treatment needs of men who have sex with men (MSM) and the removal of the directive requiring that 33% of prevention funds be spent on "abstinence-only until marriage" programs.
"The lifting of the travel and immigration bar removes the blemish on the United States leadership on HIV and AIDS. We are especially pleased that this discriminatory law has finally been repealed."
AIDS Action urges prompt and timely final passage of the legislation and urges the President to sign the Lantos/Hyde bill.
Given Helms' endless efforts to scorn gays, the removal of the ban provides a measure of bittersweet reproach of Helms and the many others who sought to use HIV as a means to vilify the gay community. Fortunately, the decision to sit on their hands and ignore the deaths of thousands cannot be undone...not even by the mindless actions of Elizabeth Dole. Perhaps she'd be better served to practice legislative abstinence? On second thought, if it's as effective as the Bush administration's abstinence-only approach to HIV, I suspect Dole would end up in trouble in no time.
Tagged as: Abstinence, Africa, AIDS, Bigotry, Death, Elizabeth Dole, Gay, HIV, Jesse Helms, LGBT, PEPFAR
Daniel DiRito | July 16, 2008 | 7:15 PM |
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As we approach the November election, the effort to utilize the wedge issue of same-sex marriage to sway voters is in full bloom. It's also an opportunity for fundy groups to implore their followers to cut loose some of their cash to support the cause. One thing is for sure, these folks intend to ride the same-sex is sinful gravy train until it falls off the rails.
On of the items garnering the attention of the religious right is a report that the state of Massachusetts may consider repealing a 1913 law that prevents the marriage of gay couples from out of state.
From The Boston Globe:
State lawmakers are expected to vote next week on repealing a 1913 law that prevents out-of-state gay and lesbian couples from getting married in Massachusetts, reigniting a divisive debate on an issue that has stirred passions and put the state in the national spotlight.
The Senate is expected to take up the legislation Tuesday, and the House will follow shortly afterward, according to several lawmakers. House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray favor the repeal, but their support on such a hot-button social issue does not guarantee that rank-and-file lawmakers will follow.
Advocates of same-sex marriage rights said they are hopeful the repeal will pass, given the support from the legislative leadership and from Governor Deval Patrick, whose position is much more sympathetic than that of Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican who was a staunch opponent of gay marriage.
"This is extraordinarily significant," said Arline Isaacson, cochairwoman of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. "If we get the 1913 law repealed, it brings us one very important step closer to full equality."
The 1913 statute prevents Massachusetts from sanctioning marriages that are not legal in the state where the couple lives. The law was enacted in part to prevent interracial couples from evading their own state's ban by traveling to Massachusetts to marry. It was a little-used and rarely enforced law until opponents used it to prevent out-of-state gay couples from getting married in Massachusetts after the state legalized same-sex marriage in 2004.
The following video, from Focus on the Family, is their attempt to highlight the potential repeal in Massachusetts, and to make their followers aware of the importance of battling the proponents of same-sex equality in the upcoming election. In other words, the repeal of an antiquated law, designed to address interracial marriage, is being portrayed as part and parcel of the homosexual agenda.
Another tactic employed by these rabidly anti-gay groups includes the commissioning of polling designed to build momentum amongst those who are inclined to oppose measures granting marriage equality to gays. Yes, polling involves a level of statistical rigor, but the manner in which questions are asked can be geared to elicit a preferred response.
This week, the Family Research Council released data from their latest survey. Let me be clear. While I realize that a majority of Americans are likely opposed to same-sex marriage, I don't believe it is a litmus test issue for a majority of voters. The FRC survey asked the following question.
As you may know, several states have measures on the November ballot that would amend their state constitutions to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Would you be more or less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports those amendments?
As with most wedge issues, I suspect there is a segment of the population that would make this, as well as other issues, a determining factor in the ballot box. However, I suspect that the number of voters who see same-sex marriage as non-negotiable is far short of a majority. Clearly, there will always be single issue voters. However, I suspect that 2008 will find most voters concerned about a number of issues.
In order to determine which issues will hold the most swing, one would need to look at which issues are of greatest import to voters in any given election cycle. A poll by Franklin & Marshall College provides some relevant insight into the 2008 election...and the survey points out that social issues, while important to a significant number of voters, are not the primary factors influencing voter sentiment.
From Yahoo News:
McCain is cleaning up more than 3 to 1 among voters who think the country is headed in the right direction, he's ahead 20 points among voters whose personal finances are better off compared to last year, he's clobbering Obama 4 to 1 among voters who think family values are the top issue of the campaign, he's hammering him by 25 points among voters who say foreign policy is the biggest issue, he's beating him 5 to 1 among voters who list illegal immigration as the top issue, and he's winning by more than 20 points among voters who rank taxes as the most important issue.
Good news for McCain? Maybe not! Winning only matters if what you're winning matters too. And in McCain's case, it largely doesn't. In fact as the Franklin & Marshall College Poll also reveals, despite losing on a wide range of usually salient issues, Barack Obama leads John McCain nationally by six percentage points.
McCain is winning the issue battles but losing the electoral war, because the issues he is winning are not the issues most voters care about. Family values, immigration, foreign policy, country on the right track, and better off finances--count McCain a winner. But on the issues voters say are most important to their vote choice this year--the economy, Iraq, and health care--McCain is a big loser.
n sharp contrast, the issues McCain is losing, he is losing big: the economy (20 points), Iraq (24 points), and health care (45 points). Worse for him, these three are the critical issues of the campaign--two of every three voters list one of them as the most important issue this year. And McCain is losing all three of them to Obama.
In the political algebra of 2008 presidential politics, McCain is winning where it matters least while losing where it matters most.
While we're still months from the election, there are many reasons to believe that these kitchen table issues will continue to be the dominant concerns for a significant majority of voters concerns. In fact, there are indications that the economy may become an even larger determinant as we approach November. Gas prices aren't apt to decline any time soon, unemployment is likely to rise, the stock market continues to struggle, and the government may soon find itself in the mortgage business to the tune of 5 trillion dollars if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fail.
As I see it, there just aren't that many Americans who have the luxury to weight same-sex marriage above their own economic self-interest. Besides, the last time I checked, groups like FOF and FRC were asking for money from the flock; not offering to fill their tanks with gas or put food on their table.
I suspect we're approaching the point at which many of these holy heterosexual families will have to face the reality that the economic well-being of their family has very little to do with the same-sex couple down the block. Perhaps they'll finally be forced to focus on their own families for a change.
Not to be outdone, American Family Association's Don Wildmon is chiming in on the evils of same-sex marriage.
Dr. Donald Wildmon is founder of the American Family Association and an organizer of the Arlington Group. He says passage of the California marriage amendment is critical.
"If we lose California, if they defeat the marriage amendment, I'm afraid that the culture war is over and Christians have lost," says Wildmon, a 30-year veteran of the culture war. "I've never said that publicly until now -- but that's just the reality of the fact.
"If the homosexuals are able to defeat the marriage amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, then the culture war is over and we've lost -- and gradually, secularism will replace Christianity as the foundation of our society," he adds.
The vote in California, Wildmon explains, will affect the entire nation. "California is a big dam, holding back the flood -- and if you take down the dam in California, it's going to flood 49 other states," he illustrates. "It will destroy marriage as it has been known for thousands of years, and with that the cultural decline that normally would follow."
Well there you have it...if California allows gay marriage to proceed, we can all put on our best duds, pack our bags, and prepare for the rapture party. Does anyone know if there will be an after hours party? I'm thinking that's the place to be. After all, by then all the wingnuts should be standing at the pearly gates waiting to see if their admission pass gets validated.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Economy, Family Research Council, Fannie Mae, Focus On The Family, FOF, FRC, Freddie Mac, John McCain, LGBT, Marriage Amendments, Massachusetts, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage, Unemployment, Values Voters
Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2008 | 9:58 AM |
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Sacha Baron Cohen, aka Ali G, Borat, and Bruno, is apparently in full flim-flam mode...this time as a cage match wrestler in Arkansas. Cohen's next movie will feature Bruno, the flamboyant Austrian homosexual. Bruno has been known to travel to less than welcoming venues to stir things up...and he apparently succeeded by duping wrestling fans into witnessing what might be better described as a round of pin the tail...of your wrestling partner.
The unsuspecting audience who turned up for the Blue Collar Brawlin' event, lured by the promise of $1 beer, expected a night of old fashioned fisticuffs.
What they got was two men stripping down to their underwear, kissing and "rubbing one another", according to local police.
The men - believed to be actors - were then forced to run for their lives as the 1,600-strong crowd pelted them with beer and chairs.
A spokesman for Baron Cohen declined to say whether he was behind the prank.
But the comedy star is currently in the US filming undercover as his latest creation, Bruno, a camp Austrian fashion reporter. A Bruno film is due in cinemas later this year.
Posters for Blue Collar Brawlin' promised: "Hot Chicks, Cold Beer, Hardcore Fights" and were accompanied by pictures of a scantily clad woman.
Organisers of the event had invited police to attend and tipped them off that a character named "Straight Dave" would goad a planted audience member into the ring for a fight, only to end up in a "romantic embrace" similar to the one between Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell in the film Talladega Nights.
The man-on-man display "went right up to the line" of the city's morality laws, Sgt Holland said.
Bruno also duped a former Mossad agent and a Palestinian academic into a spoof interview on the Middle East conflict, asking them to explain the difference between Hamas and hummus.
If you'd like to see Bruno in action, you can link to video clips of him interviewing a pastor who offers reparative therapy to gays here, cheerleading at a football game and interviewing one of the players in Alabama here, at a barn dance in Georgia here, and talking about music with Christians here.
I've included a copy of the poster used to advertise the event below. As I looked at the image, I couldn't help but think that the "positioning" of the two wrestlers was intentional and funny to those who were in on the gag...but not obvious enough, to the unsuspecting wrestling fan, to give away the scam.
Tagged as: Ali G, Arkansas, Blue Collar Brawlin', Borat, Bruno, Comedy, Fort Smith, Gay, Humor, LGBT, Sacha Baron Cohen
Daniel DiRito | July 8, 2008 | 5:39 PM |
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Since the 4th. of July is a day for celebrating all things American, it only seems appropriate to post the following video. After all, expressing one's patriotism, like expressing one's love for a spouse, shouldn't be restricted on the basis of one's sexual preference. With that in mind...I'm happy to say on this Independence Day that I, too, am "totally gay for America". Now where the hell is my hot dog!?
Tagged as: America, Gay, Humor, July 4th, LGBT, Music, Satire, USA
Daniel DiRito | July 4, 2008 | 3:15 PM |
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