Category Archives: gay equality

Straight & Narrow Minded

Blount County, Tennessee, punted on its “please, God, go smite someone else” resolution: after crowds showed up to protest the item, the commission did the cowardly thing by not approving the meeting’s agenda and adjourning. That’s a principled action!

This is the part I love:

The resolution, sponsored by County Commissioner Karen Miller, has gained national attention. The resolution focuses on recognizing and protecting ‘natural marriage,’ or marriage between a man and woman.

‘I had no idea this was going to take place. I was totally in the dark. It’s a total surprise,’ said Miller.

Nobody could have anticipated. Nobody could have seen this coming. Nobody could have foreseen that a resolution that is…

…petitioning for God’s mercy and asks God ‘not to destroy our county as he did Sodom and Gomorrah’ …

… would turn tiny Blount County, Tennessee into a national laughingstock. Truly it’s a mystery to Commissioner Miller that this has generated any attention at all, forcing the commission to pull the plug on the entire meeting and scurry into their holes. Hoocodanode?

This is what I love about fundiegelicals. Putting aside for a moment the whole church/state thing, and the fact that not every person is a believer, and not every believer is a Christian, I think one of the most annoying things about the fundiegelical wing of Christianity is that they always think they’re the only Christians in the room.

They always think they speak for everyone else. In a religion with literally hundreds of different denominations and splinter groups, why do they always assume that their version of Christianity is the “agreed-upon” version?

Or maybe they aren’t assuming that, maybe they’re just asserting it. “Our version is the right version and everyone else has to live by our rules!” I mean, how rude is that? To just barge into the faith and tell dozens of other denominations that they’re wrong, we’re right, and shut up.

Look, there are plenty of Christian denominations out there which don’t buy into any of that anti-gay bullshit. And I’m not even talking about “fringe” wings of Christianity like the New Thought churches (Unity, Christian Science, Religious Science) or even those pesky Unitarian Universalists. Mainstream denominations (Presbyterian Church-USA, United Church of Christ, Anglican, Lutheran, Christian Church-DoC) not to mention splinters within the more conservative denominations (there is, believe it or not, a Baptist church down the street from me with an openly lesbian pastor).

So, you know, the fundiegelicals don’t speak for everybody, yet here they come marching in, acting as if they own the joint. No, you don’t own the joint. Shut up. Go away. Practice your faith your way and let others practice their faith their way, and let those who don’t subscribe to any faith also be allowed to live as they please. You’re not the boss of PCUSA or Disciples of Christ or anybody else. So rude. So ignorant.

And that goes for those people wanting to post the 10 Commandments everywhere, blithely unaware that there isn’t just one version. Or teaching Creationism in school: which Biblical version of the Creation are you wanting to teach? There are three in the Old and New Testaments. What arrogance to assume that your version is the one everyone else will agree with!

Get thee behind me, you useless idiots.

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Filed under Christianity, gay equality, GLBT, religion, religious right, Tennessee

Conservatism Will Never Run Out Of Martyrs

I’m really tired of talking about/hearing about Kim Davis. This useful idiot has raised a lot of money for the religious right’s sad attempt to copy the ACLU, Liberty Counsel. And a lot of my liberal friends have taken to Facebook to point out how theologically incorrect Liberty Counsel and Kim Davis are, that nowhere does the Bible state that marriage is between one man and one woman (in fact, during the marriage equality debate several Biblical scholars pointed out that “Biblical marriage” is anything but what religious conservatives want it to be), and that Davis is a hypocrite herself. Yada yada, blah blah.

None of that matters, people. All of that is just silly yammering. Once again, liberals are arguing a point of logic and fact, while conservatives are arguing hurt fee fees about losing another battle in the culture wars. Look: the fight over gay marriage and the subsequent martyrdom of Kim Davis has zero to do with the Bible. It’s not about religion or theology. Like all culture war issues, it’s about conservatives’ lack of cultural relevance. It’s about how they’ve lost the culture wars and the poor dears just can’t deal with it.

Boo fucking hoo.

What we on the left really should do, every time a Kim Davis or Josh Duggar or Cliven Bundy pops up on the radar, is ignore them. Show them how irrelevant they truly are by not giving a shit about their martyrdom because they are irrelevant losing losers who lost.

Oh, I know it will never happen, right wing martyrs are like oxygen to social media. But not everything on Facebook or Twitter matters. In fact, most of it is as lasting as a fart on the breeze. So while Kim Davis may be a trending topic now, I guarantee you that by this time next year we’ll have forgotten all about her. Does anyone remember Crystal and Kevin O’Connor? Raise your hand if you had to Google the name.

Conservatism will never run out of martyrs because conservatives are perpetually oppressed. That’s what happens when you’ve lost cultural relevance: everything is always against you because you’re on the wrong side of everything. You lost and that sucks, but the right-wing machine thrives on martyrs, so we will continue to hear their tales of woe. They will continue to appear on Fox News and hatriot radio, they will raise money for groups like Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund, and they will continue to proclaim their martyrdom because the woe-is-me attention is the only sense of relevance they’ll ever have.

Bless their hearts. I just wish we didn’t have to pay attention.

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Filed under Christian Right, Christianity, gay equality, GLBT, religion, religious right

Sign of the Times

Sign in front of what I affectionately call the Wingnut Bible Church located near my house:

WingnutBibleChurch

The Wingnut Bible Church appears in this space about once a year. Last year they were (illegally) advertising a fringe U.S. State Senate candidate. Every Memorial Day and July Fourth they put dozens of American flags out on their lawn, too. Because Jesus was totally all about America, you guys.

Wonder if they’ll go all in with the American flag display this Independence Day or if they’re so disgusted with SCOTUS that they’ll take a pass.

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Filed under gay equality, GLBT, Nashville, Tennessee

TN Legislature Grandstanding Over Nonexistent Threat

Apparently Tennessee legislators are unfamiliar with the First Amendment of our Constitution because they have been crafting a “Pastor Protection Act” to make sure no pastors are forced to perform gay marriage ceremonies:

A new bill in Tennessee seeks to “protect” churches and clergy from performing same-sex marriages. But is it necessary?

The move comes after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage on Friday. State Reps. Bryan Terry and Andy Holt anticipated the Supreme Court ruling and have been working on the bill for several months, reports Nashville’s CBS affiliate.

Both representatives reject the validity of yesterday’s decision. “God is the ultimate Supreme Court and he has spoken. Marriage is between one man, and one woman,” Representative Holt said in a press release.

The proposed law would reiterate protections already in place. As Representative Terry noted, “The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.” He also cited Article 1 Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution and said “personal freedom of religion is protected and no human authority can interfere in the rights of conscience.”

Oh. So they know this law is unncessary but they want to “reiterate” protections already in place because Tennessee politicians can never pass up an opportunity to grandstand on the culture wars. Which they are always losing, I might add.

Hey, if you guys want to write in stone how you’re yet again on the wrong side of history, be my guest.

What this really comes down to, of course, is religious conservatives wanting to be protected from criticism for being on the wrong side of history. Sure as day follows night, there will be a case where a same-sex couple wants to use a pavilion or building owned by a religious non-profit and they will be denied — legally. And it will hit social media, and they will be mocked for their recidivist stance, and there will be pearls to be clutched and couches on which to faint, and once again conservatives will confuse free speech with the free hand.

This will happen because this always happens. Hell, churches around the South still have a problem with interracial couples.

So why don’t we dispense with the bullshit and remind everyone that nobody is forcing anyone to perform a ceremony they don’t want to perform — hell, religious groups have been refusing to officiate ceremonies between divorced couples, interfaith couples, etc. since forever. None of that is changing. Lots of churches already refuse to rent out their buildings for weddings to couples who are not church members. Why? Because weddings are a huge pain in the ass for church staff.

So nothing is going to change. And every time you idiots grandstand about how God doesn’t wants gays to get married and God Hates Fags and all that crap we’re going to mock you and tell you you’re wrong and call you names. And that noise is just going to get louder and louder.

[ALSO, let me repeat: Tennessee Republicans are really off the mark when they grandstand on the homophobic crap but can’t be bothered to grandstand with a vote of disapproval when the goddamn Ku Klux Klan holds their annual meeting at one our state parks.]

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Filed under culture wars, gay equality, GLBT, religious right, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Nut Finds Squirrel

After a week of national debate Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB1062, Arizona’s Gay Jim Crow bill.

Slow clap for the Arizona Governor. She did the right thing for the wrong reasons. As Andy Borowitz hilariously quipped, Arizona Republicans came to the awkward realization that gay people have money and buy stuff.

Just once in their fucking lives I’d like to see a Republican do something because it’s the right thing to do, you know? Just once. Would it kill you people to stand on the side of equality and human rights just one time? Not because you’re threatened by Apple, Marriott, and the National Football League, but because legalized discrimination is morally wrong and, in fact, this country came to that conclusion waaaay back in 1964?

Jesus but I’m over this shit.

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Filed under gay equality, GLBT, marriage

“I Just Came To See What Hate Looked Like”

[UPDATE]:

I told Mr. Beale “I Just Came To See What Hate Looked Like” sounded like a country song. I guess Democommie read my mind, because he’s fleshed out some lyrics at his place. Not bad for a Yankee.

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Westboro Baptist Church protestors targeted Vince Gill’s Kansas City concert this weekend. Gill confronted the church and it was all captured on video:

I normally don’t want to give the Phelps cult the benefit of more exposure but country music artists are always knocked for being right-wing assholes and that stereotype just isn’t true.

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Filed under country music, gay equality

Costa Rica Accidentally Legalizes Gay Marriage

In the “ooops” move of the century, the legislature of Costa Rica accidentally voted for a measure that would legalize same-sex marriage. Conservative lawmakers voted for the bill before realizing that it redefined marriage to include same-sex civil unions:

José María Villalta, a lawmaker from San José, inserted the language into the bill. Villalta is a member of the leftist Broad Front Party. The language confers social rights and benefits of a civil union, free from discrimination, according to La Nación.

Villalta attached the measure to a reform of the Law of Young People, which covers various social services for young people and laws governing marriage.

Ha ha ha ha ha!!! Conservatives in the legislature are having a hissy fit, demanding that Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla veto the legislation. In 2011 Chinchilla said she wouldn’t oppose same sex marriage if the Costa Rican courts upheld it. [UPDATE: Chinchilla says she won’t veto the bill.]

And I’ve gotta love this from Justo Orozco, of the National Renovation Party, an evangelical Christian political faction:

“That preference is not a right,” Orozco said, according to La Nación. “It’s a stunted development of sexual identity. It can change like alcoholism, tobacco addiction.”

Wow. Just …. wow.

Mr. Beale and I adore Costa Rica. I just think it’s hilarious that a liberal legislator there was able to trick the rabid conservative faction into voting for a bill legalizing gay marriage. Maybe our Dems should take a lesson from this?

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Filed under Costa Rica, gay equality, GLBT

How To Tell You’re In The Wrong Church

[UPDATE]:

Shocked finally responds:

On Wednesday, the singer made a statement (e-mailed to news outlets, and me in response to my inquiry): “I do not, nor have I ever, said or believed that God hates homosexuals (or anyone else). I said that some of His followers believe that. … When I said, ‘Twitter that Michelle Shocked says, “God hates faggots,” ‘ I was predicting the absurd way my description of, my apology for, the intolerant would no doubt be misinterpreted. … And to those fans who are disappointed … I’m very sorry: I don’t always express myself as clearly as I should. … And my statement equating repeal of Prop. 8 with the coming of the End Times was neither literal nor ironic: It was a description of how some folks – not me – feel about gay marriage.”

Shocked said her own sexuality isn’t an issue here. “I’d like to say this was a publicity stunt, but I’m really not that clever, and I’m definitely not that cynical. But I am damn sorry. If I could repeat the evening, I would make a clearer distinction between a set of beliefs I abhor and my human sympathy for the folks who hold them.”

Well, I sure would love to see a YouTube video of that concert. I wasn’t there so it’s hard to say how her comments were construed, but the fact that people left in droves and the club staff had to literally pull the plug and turn off the lights lets me think she was pretty damn clear at the time.

For you folks who say you haven’t heard of her, she was big back in the 90s when the whole singer-songwriter thing exploded. You might have heard this song.

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When your church makes you say stupid shit that alienates a huge chunk of your core fans, maybe you’re in the wrong church.

Seriously, WTF Michelle Shocked? While I can’t say I was ever a huge fan — somewhere I’ve got a box with the CD containing “Anchored Down In Anchorage” on it, and that’s about it — for some reason I’d always believed Michelle Shocked was a lesbian. I lumped her in with the rest of the late-90s Lilith Fair era of women’s music — you know, Indigo Girls and all that. I guess I haven’t kept up because according to the New York Times, somewhere along the way Shocked became a born-again Christian of the holy roller, Pentecostal persuasion.

There are two kinds of churches in the world: the kind peddling love and hope, and the kind peddling hate and fear. I’ve always been fiercely allergic to the latter kind. I really don’t understand why someone would attend a church that makes a person feel bad about who they are, who their friends are, fills them with fear, and alienates them from those who support their creative endeavors. I also don’t understand people who pay more attention to a handful of passages from the Old Testament while ignoring 99.9% of the New Testament:

Michelle Shocked cited Old Testament verses condemning homosexuality and told the audience she hoped the courts would uphold Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, according to Yahoo Music. “I live in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry,” she said. Then she also told the audience to go on Twitter and report that she had said God hates homosexuals, though it is unclear whether that remark was sardonic.

Much of the audience walked out after her remarks. The club’s manager tried to end the show, but she continued playing until staff members pulled the plug and turned off the stage lights.

The thing is, gays are already allowed to marry in about a dozen countries around the world, and in portions of half a dozen others. Yet we’ve continued to dodge asteroids, while Harold Camping’s end-times predictions have been one huge failure after another. Meanwhile, we continue on in our foolish, carbon-chugging, earth-polluting ways. It seems pretty obvious that if the earth is destroyed, it won’t be the fault of gays.

I do think the Bible is full of lots of eternal truths, one of them being, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Right now, Shocked is sowing a very bitter harvest. There’s anger and cancelled gigs and people walking out of shows because she’s repeating what her church told her. The good news is, there are plenty of churches out there of the “love and hope” persuasion, that don’t make you feel bad for who you are or who your friends are or the things you’ve done or believed.

There will inevitably be those tempted to compare this incident to the Dixie Chicks’ infamous public flogging after Natalie Maines said she was against the Iraq War and ashamed President Bush was from Texas. There are similarities, but they’re thin. For one thing, the Dixie Chicks were at the peak of a red-hot career — they had the number one single on the charts, fer crissakes — when they were attacked by their own very clubby industry. The Dixie Chicks’ words were greeted with cheers at the time; only later was a controversy manufactured by the suits on Music Row and at corporate radio.

Someday we’ll find out the full story behind what was an organized, industry-directed campaign ginning up outrage for fun and profit. Few people remember this today, but at the time the ‘Chicks had just emerged victorious in a major, very public battle with their powerful record company, Sony. From the memory hole:

The war with Sony started in 2001, after the group’s first two albums, Wide Open Spaces and Fly, sold more than 10 million copies apiece. In an interview with Dan Rather that aired on CBS, the Chicks announced that by their math, Sony had made $200 million off them but that individually they had yet to gross seven figures. Then, in a move that sent shock waves through Nashville (admittedly it’s a town that’s easily shocked), the Chicks served Sony with papers claiming that because of the company’s alleged accounting misdeeds, they were declaring themselves free agents. “We all know there are some major problems in the music industry,” says Maguire. “Every new act signs a bad deal. But we never dreamed that the s_____ deal we signed wouldn’t even be honored.”

Sony sued the group for breach of contract; the Chicks countersued, alleging “systematic thievery.” As the charges escalated, the Chicks found themselves Nashville pariahs. For country acts, the relationship between label and band has historically been in loco parentis; bands presumed the label always knew best. “Everyone in the country industry kept telling us, ‘Keep your mouths shut. Why don’t you appreciate what you have?'” says Maguire.

That’s the context that’s always ignored when people talk about how the Nashville music industry turned on its own stars. Despite all of this, they still had a Number One radio single and a Number One album. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the whole Iraq War fauxtroversy popped up on their first post-Sony endeavor. It was a way of teaching the Chicks a lesson by a hubris-filled entertainment industry. That this lesson veered way out of control and ended up ultimately hurting the industry itself is just par for the course.

All of this is water under the bridge, and it’s a little off topic, but I figured some wingnut is going to go all “liberals-are-hypocrites” on this story, so I thought I’d get ahead of the game.

Anyway, Michelle Shocked is entitled to her opinion, as misguided as it may be, but her fans don’t have to subject themselves to it. And I don’t see any coordinated, industry-generated campaign to ruin her career as happened with the Dixie Chicks. I see an artist engaging in some very public self-sabotage for reasons I can’t begin to fathom but are probably rooted in the very toxic, negative messaging she’s been getting every Sunday.

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Filed under gay equality, marriage, music and politics, pop culture

Remembrance Of Hissy Fits Past

Remember this “outrage” from the 2004 campaign?

Presidential candidate John Kerry (search) launched into damage control Thursday afternoon after angering Vice President Cheney (search) and his family and alienating some voters by mentioning that Cheney’s daughter, Mary, is gay.

“I love my daughters. They love their daughter. I was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with this issue,” Kerry said in a statement released from the campaign trail in Las Vegas. Kerry was there to speak to the AARP, the nation’s largest organization for seniors. First lady Laura Bush had addressed the crowd earlier.

But the remarks may have come too late for the vice president and second lady Lynne Cheney (search). Cheney told supporters at a rally in Fort Myers, Fla., that the Massachusetts senator stepped over the line.

“You saw a man who will do and say anything to get elected, and I am not just speaking as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father,” Cheney said.

[…]

But in a post-debate appearance Wednesday night, Lynne Cheney could no longer hold her silence about the repeated mention of her daughter’s sexuality.

“Now, you know, I did have a chance to assess John Kerry once more and now the only thing I could conclude: This is not a good man,” she told a crowd of 800 debate-watchers in a Pittsburgh suburb. “Of course, I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick.”

Yes, how dare he mention Mary Cheney’s orientation, when she was a) out, b) an official in the Bush Administration, and c) the issue of marriage equality was under debate across the country. The weirdest thing about that whole episode from the 2004 campaign is that while the Cheneys made quite a good show of being extraordinarily pissed off, they never explained why they were angry. Nor did anyone in the lapdog media ever ask why they were angry. Apparently just mention Mary Cheney’s name and the word “lesbian” in the same sentence and their heads pop. Crazy.

Was that not the strangest thing ever? I remember a week of discussion about this, and it was always on the Republican side of the argument: how dare he. How could he. The nerve! I still don’t get how they get away with this stuff, those conservatives on the right who are both pro-and anti- everything, depending on which audience they’re speaking to. They are like freaking shape-shifters, morphing into whatever ideological mold is politically convenient at the time. And the media just laps it all up.

It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, with that in mind, I hesitate to mention that Mary Cheney married her longtime partner Heather Poe on Friday. I’d say mazel tov but I don’t want Dick and Lynne Cheney coming after me. How dare I!

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Filed under gay equality, gay Republicans

Things That Make You Go WTF?

[UPDATE]:

Flip and FLOP….

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Mitt Romney now says he supports the right of gay couples to adopt children.

This after stating unequivocally that he does not support marriage equality or even civil unions.

Note: back in February he bragged about trying to allow Massachusetts adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples.

Holy flip-flop, Batman! In what universe is it okay to let gays adopt kids but not get married? How exactly is that supposed to work, Mittens? So a couple is supposed to just make do with some bizarro gray area of legal guardianship for their kids? I can see all sorts of problems with that scenario, things related to emergency care, travel overseas, and also: what about custody when a gay couple breaks up? No one ever talks about one of the main arguments for gay marriage which is, frankly, gay divorce. If you think a property settlement when you’re not married in the eyes of the law is a mess, just wait until you throw a couple kids into the mix. Or, I know: let’s ask Florida.

I mean, really. WTF?

You know what I think? I think someone’s views are “evolving,” in the sense that someone looked at some poll numbers and stuck his finger in the air and figured out which way the wind is blowing. And now he looks like a giant dumfuck because what he’s really advocating is some strange legal limbo for the children of gay couples.

I think what he’d really like to do is go back and say, “well, maybe civil unions … ” or something — anything — to cover his ass now that he looks like an intolerant bigot, especially after that whole bullying his gay classmate at prep school incident came out. Which he doesn’t remember but he’s really sorry for anyway.

Jesus, Mittens. Just learn to shut your gob if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

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Filed under gay equality, GLBT, marriage