Monday, April 14, 2014

On praying for folk sporting matchy-matchy pocket square combos

Derrick Gordon
When you try to keep track of the progress of gay liberation in the United States and elsewhere, you need to be ready for anything.  Sometimes you inch forward.  Sometimes you leap forward.  Sometimes you get slapped down.

Damian Goddard with tie and
matching handkerchief
The best times are when there are unexpected stories of progress that make you feel good all over.  I felt one of those this morning when chuckling over Anderson Cooper’s twitter slapdown of that Canadian sportscaster, Damian Goddard, for his matching tie and square handkerchief.   It was pure bitch-queen.  And deeply satisfying.

Anderson Cooper
The feel-good part of the story is what led up to this tweeter-duel.  A young man named Derrick Gordon added his name to the ever-growing line of sports figures coming out as gay, with the announcement last Wednesday that he too was gay. In Derrick Gordon’s case, he’s the first NCAA Division basketball player to do so.  And when he did, Anderson Cooper noted the event by tweeting that he found the whole thing “incredibly courageous and inspiring.”  To which Goddard responded, "Mr. Cooper, you seem a good man with a warm heart. But you are dead wrong on #homosexuality. #prayingforyou."

That’s when Anderson tweeted back “@heydamo with that tie and pocket square combo I am praying for you too my friend.”  

Now some of you, I know, are going to say that Anderson Cooper’s tactic of dealing with this homophobe is petty, and that pettiness will hurt the cause.  I would have made that argument – did make that argument – myself not so long ago.

But I think the time has come to stop pussy-footing around about the Roman Catholic hierarchy and their loathsome position that homosexuality is “inherently disordered.”   Time to stop pretending that we can have a civil debate with the bilgewater that spills out of that sinking ship. Time to stop taking them seriously, cry less, and laugh a whole lot more.  And time to tell people who want to pray for you to go jump in the lake instead.  The arrogance of it all.  Pray for your own damn self.  Pray the Catholic away.  Pray the homophobia away, while you're at it. But don't pretend like you're doing me a favor by asking your God to put aside the laws of nature to make me more like you and your badly dressed peers.

The fact that most Catholics don’t buy into that crap any more often seems to get lost in the shuffle, because the official church claims the right to speak for all Catholics.  In fact, ex-pope Benedict only recently updated the catechism to say that persons who find themselves drawn to members of their own sex should do what people with the inclination to rape, murder, plunder and fart in church should do – suppress the desire.

And Damian Goddard, no surprise, insists he takes his orders from God and the Church.  And gets a hearing.  Nobody in the church denies that Goddard and the magisterium speak with one voice. 

Shame on you, young man, says Goddard and any number of Catholic bishops, to young Derrick Gordon.  You should have continued to live a lie, continued to live in fear and shame.  Continued to deny who you are.

Such a contrast in character.  There's folk like Anderson Cooper, who spots courage and calls it. And there are folk like Damian Goddard who tells us Catholic morality (!) is to be found among the likes of Matt Barber and Peter LaBarbera.   Here's his tweet:


And who are Matt Barber and Peter LaBarbera? 

Here’s a taste of Matt Barber:

So, America, here's a refresher. Homosexuality 101: The central, defining feature of homosexuality is same-sex sodomy, a filthy practice – both from a moral and biological standpoint – that spreads disease, ruins lives and mocks both God and nature.
In short, these sexually confused and spiritually lost souls, particularly males caught-up in this lifestyle, can only "consummate" a counterfeit "gay marriage" through the squalid, unnatural and feculent abuse of both the reproductive and digestive systems.
Yuck.
Is it any wonder why these "gay" jihadists want us to focus on the subjective specter of "gay rights" and ignore the objective reality of "gay" wrongs?

As for Peter LaBarbera, he is the president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, a group which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a hate group. 

*     *     * 

So much for the ridiculous.  Time for the sublime.

Have a listen to Derrick Gordon’s tale  of coming out.  And then to the follow-up interview with his coach, UMass’s Derek Kellogg. 

Always reassuring to note how decency and common sense can lift you out of the doldrums and restore your faith in your fellows.

I mean seriously.  Imagine a coach announcing that he’s gay (when he’s not) as a way to prime the pump of the discussion about a kid on his team coming out.

We’ve come a long way.


photo credits:








Monday, March 24, 2014

The 323

DeBoer and Rowse
323 couples were issued marriage licenses and some 300 of those actually got to marry in Michigan before the stay went into effect.  These marriages are now technically illegal, so we’re going to hear a lot about sadness and disappointment.  There will no doubt be more pictures in the media of couples in tears and tales of depression and disillusionment, like the one on the left of DeBoer and Rowse.  [See yesterday's posting here.]

And anger, of course.  People have a right to be angry at the snakehandlers and child abusers in cassocks dictating how citizens not of their faith groups should conduct their lives.

But let’s remember that we knew this was going to be a long haul, that there were always going to be steps forward and steps backward.  And let’s not assume, either, that the stay will be the end of the story.  It could be lifted and this story could end well sooner, rather than later.  It will end well sooner or later.

What an amazing amount of work is going into these attempts to get the people of the United States to recognize that we put our hand on the Bible (if at all) and swear to uphold the Constitution, and not the other way around.  That animus toward gay people stems almost entirely from religiously motivated folk who lack the education or the decency to recognize we have a separation of church and state in this country.

And allow me a brief digression here.  I’m speaking in generalities, because there is no way to get through a discussion on how things work without letting a part represent the whole sometimes.   French make great lovers,  Russians support Putin, and the like.  When we observe that “the Russians have invaded Crimea,” we don’t stop to specify that not every Russian wears a uniform.  And when I refer to religious people as snakehandlers and cassock-wearing child abusers I’m being mean and sarcastic.  Most Christians are not snakehandlers or child abusers.

So maybe I should be more careful not to insult the majority of Christian folk by suggesting the outliers in their group represent them.

I’ll make a deal with the Catholic Church.  You stop officially designating gay people as “intrinsically disordered” and I’ll stop designating your kind as abusers in cassocks.  Most of us are normal healthy people.  No more disordered than the next guy.  So cut that shit out and I’ll temper my speech as well.

One thing is sure.  The animus behind the notion that gay people should not be allowed to form civil partnerships – and call them marriages – because it’s we who define language and not the other way around – comes from you.  You read your scriptures in such a way as to justify your classification of your kind as superior to my kind, and you cause us no end of misery in doing so.

We will get out from under this stay in Judge Friedman’s decision.  He declared that the right of gays and lesbians to marry is constitutional.  And he was right.  And the majority of Americans now agree with him.

So you religious people with religious reasons for being lousy human beings, do me a favor.  Stop being such bigoted dickheads.



photo credit: http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/politics/2014/03/21/michigan-gay-marriage-ban/6711035/



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Michigan

A Michigan family
The ban against same-sex marriage in Michigan has been shot down.  Two women in their fifties have gotten married in the grand state of Michigan.  I’m not being cute by revealing their ages.  It’s significant that they have been waiting twenty-seven years to do this.

And I waited all day yesterday for the decision in Michigan.  I was afraid it was going to be another “Yes, but…” decision.  Yes, it’s wrong to discriminate against gay people, but if that’s what the good citizens the state want, that’s the way it goes.  “It’s wrong, and unconstitutional, and yes, we should overthrow it, but we don’t have to do all this overnight!  We can give people time to get used to the idea.”

That line of thought has always bothered me.  I understand politics must be practical.  I also think there is some wisdom to getting as many people as possible behind the same-sex marriage idea before launching into a new social practice.  It cuts down on the chance of a backlash.  But if you’re on the receiving end of this justice delayed, it feels for all the world like justice denied.  And you get real tired, I can tell you, of listening to people tell you why they think they can do this to you.

How refreshing that Judge Friedman, who announced his decision today, did not then turn around, as others have done before him, and stay his own ruling so that people could “catch up with the sea change.”  He made a clear and unequivocal statement – discrimination against gays and lesbians is wrong and they/we should not have to live with it another day.  He left it for others to do the dirty work of delay.

Glenna DeJong and Marsha Caspar
Friedman took the same line of reasoning as fellow judges in Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah before him.  When the Supreme Court threw out DOMA, with it went the reasoning that discrimination against LGBT people is justified, and the same law that prohibits interracial marriage should apply here.     To be sure, the state’s Attorney General was ready to do the dirty work of flinging a spanner into the works and applied with the Federal Appeals Court in Cincinnati for a delay.  But it will take time to process that request, and in the meantime Glenna DeJong and Marsha Caspar of Lansing are married and the three kids in the picture above, if all goes well, will soon be able to say the same thing about their mommies.

Where did I leave my champagne glass?

Also right up there with the immense satisfaction that comes with noting that rights have been extended now to an 18th state of the Union comes the satisfaction of hearing Judge Friedman express his views on the Regnerus study.  You remember Mark Regnerus, of the University of Texas.  Put out the most astonishingly badly constructed study, clearly manufactured to demonstrate the views of the religious right that gays and lesbians make bad parents.  The American Sociological Association and others, including Regnerus’s own colleagues at Texas spoke out against the study, but the right kept on touting it as “evidence” that gay people make bad parents.  And then, building on that false premise, made a clumsy leap of logic and claimed that because they don’t make good parents they shouldn’t be allowed to marry at all.  Because only people with kids should marry?

Risk of brain damage has been lessened all over the country now that people can stop slapping their foreheads in disbelief that this shill for the religious right, thinking he was doing the Lord’s work, was taken seriously as an academic.

Two reasons for champagne. 

I only really needed one, but two, as I say, is nice.



picture credits: 

AP photo of a Michigan family - April DeBoer, Jayne Rouse, and their three kids, Ryanne, Jacob and Nolan - Time Magazine http://nation.time.com/2014/02/25/2-week-trial-to-begin-on-michigan-gay-marriage-ban/ 

DeJong and Caspar: Rick Pluta/Twitter Photo from http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/22/1286602/-Michigan-Issues-1st-Same-Sex-Marriage-License-Will-it-stand-up-on-appeal