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Monday, November 27, 2006

COURT-ORDERED SACRAMENT

From Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, marriage is defined as such:

A marriage is a relationship between or among individuals, usually recognized by civil authority and/or bound by the religious beliefs of the participants. The fact that marriage often has the dual nature of a binding legal contract plus a moral promise can make it difficult to define.


Gay rights advocates assert that marriage is a right since it is a legal agreement on the governmental level which should not be restricted to opposite-sex couples. Their opponents assert that marriage is not itself a right and should be allowed and/or disallowed on moral and/or religious grounds, as a change in the definition of marriage could lead to the breakdown of civil society. Most of the controversy centers around the government definition of marriage, rather than the blessing of same-sex unions by individual religious organizations, which may or may not be recognized as civil marriages.

The first important excerpt from our definition of marriage is as "...a relationship between or among individuals, usually recognized by civil authority...". Until mid 5 AD, marriage was considered a strictly civil insititution. It wasn't until the 12th century that the Catholic Church and other Orthodoxies formally made marriage a sacrament of the Church.

That brings us to the second excerpt from our definition concerning religion, which defines marriage as "...a relationship between or among individuals...bound by the religious beliefs of the participants. What struck me when I read this was the definite individualization of the statement...meaning that we are bound by our own intrinsic beliefs, not by any outside influence.

It becomes, yet again, my friends a QUESTION OF SEMANTICS.

At present, same-sex marriages are recognized in
Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, and the U.S. state of Massachusetts (for same-sex marriages performed within that state under its own particular laws).
In November 2006, eight states will decide whether to add bans on same-sex marriage through specially placed wording inside their own state's Bill of Rights (constitutions). The state of Colorado will vote on
Amendment 43, which will determine whether or not same-gender marriage bans should be included in the legislative codes of the constitution, on Nov. 7, 2006.
New Jersey's Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples on Wednesday, October 25, 2006, but left it up to the legislature as to whether the state will recognize same-sex marriages or adopt a civil union approach to providing those rights. The legislature has six months to make a decision regarding same-sex marriages.

On
December 1, 2005, South Africa's Constitutional Court extended marriage to include same-sex couples. The court mandated that changes go into effect by the end of 2006.

Civil unions, domestic partnerships or registered partnership offer varying amounts of the benefits of marriage, which are available in: Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom; Tasmania, and the U.S. states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, and Vermont; and the U.S. District of Columbia (Washington, DC).

Many people feel that civil unions, even those which grant equal rights, are inadequate as they create a separate status, and should be replaced by gender-neutral marriage. I changed my own personal opinion after researching information to write this blog.

I had always wondered why the gay community couldn't be happy with a law for civil union, since healthcare, survivor benefits & other legal issues seemed to be the main concern. Understanding the restrictions & limitations the State & Federal governments could place on us is the key. In addition, the degrees of separation would become even more distanced.

To be quite "black & white" about it...we would be allowing the government to determine our rights for us and to identify our unions as somehow different from the norm.

Make your choice on Nov. 7 & please don't allow silence to equal consent.

REGISTER TO VOTE


LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"NO, Sir! This glamorous domicile in a park-like setting happens to be a public bus stop, however comfortable you seem to think the metal loveseat is. No, sir, you may not have a cigarette."

A picture I took with my cell phone while waiting for the bus at North Ave & Federal on the North Side.

Isn't it bizarre how Xmas is transient & seems to attract transients. Pondering...

HAPPY TURKEY DAY!!!

Thanksgiving brings out the traditionalist in even die-hard iconoclasts and nonconformists...indeed, Thanksgiving dinner is the only meal in an entire year at which many people encounter a formal place setting. But no matter how fancy your table, it's important to remember that a Thanksgiving meal, like any social dining situation, is about much more than just food.
Thanksgiving dinner is about the people you share it with. One way you can show them how much they mean to you is to put on your best manners (and courtesy goes so well with grandma's lace tablecloth and the good china).
Kerry & I will be spending Thanksgiving with some close gay friends. It promises to be a really good time, I'm sure. We will, of course, look fabulous & show off our years of Vanderbilt etiquette training...with a bottle of good vodka in tow. And, let us not forget, the traditional, after-dinner trip to all your favorite "watering holes."
Whether you'll be spending this Thanksgiving at your in-laws' house or preparing turkey with all the fixings for your chosen family, I wish you all the very best of this Holiday(martinis included).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Holy Presidency, Batman!!!

During a little online research as to the origins of "separation of church and state", I came across this little tidbit and found it very interesting. OMG!!! I can't wait 'til 2008 elections. We have our work cut out for us in the next couple years, my friends.

Writer Garry Wills did us all a service recently in The New York Review of Books with an essay detailing exactly how the Religious Right has affected public policy. It is well worth a read.

Wills begins by pointing out that Religious Right claims that American government has always been Bible based are false. Wills sees the presidency of George W. Bush as unprecedented for the scope of its religiosity. He notes that some previous American presidents were evangelicals but goes on to say that none of the other 42 president prior to Bush “would have answered a campaign debate question as he did.

Asked who was his favorite philosopher, he said ‘Jesus Christ.’ And why? ‘Because he changed my heart.’ Over and over, when he said anything good about someone else – including Vladimir Putin – he said it was because ‘he has a good heart,’ which is evangelical-speak (as in ‘condoms cannot change your heart’).

Interjection: Do you think Bush thought that Sadam Hussein "had a good heart?"

Bush talks evangelical talk as no other president has, including Jimmy Carter, who also talked the language of the secular Enlightenment culture that evangelists despise.”

From there Wills goes on to delineate what the Religious Right has achieved under Bush. These include, according to Wills:
  • Faith-based justice, represented by the administration’s constant attempts to curb legal abortion and ban same-sex marriage as well as the creation of a special unit within the Department of Justice to intervene in church-state cases on the side favored by right-wing evangelicals.
  • Faith-based social services, represented by the Bush plan to politicize his “compassionate conservative” agenda to win new support for the GOP in African-American religious communities.
  • Faith-based science, represented by the administration’s backing of “intelligent design” creationism (to the extent that it even permits the Park Service to sell a creationist book at the Grand Canyon) and its denial of global warming.
  • Faith-based health, represented by Bush’s decision to lavish millions in federal money on often overtly religious and usually medically inaccurate “abstinence-only” sex education programs and its reluctance to allow the Food and Drug Administration to approve the use of the “Plan B” pill.
  • Faith-based war, represented by Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, who gave speeches to evangelical groups while in uniform and framed the country’s conflict in apocalyptic terms and the Religious Right’s tendency to back Bush’s global policies with Bible citations.
Wills must be some relentless secularist bent on purging religion from public life, right? Wrong. He is a devout Roman Catholic whose books include Why I am a Catholic, What Jesus Meant, What Paul Meant and The Rosary.


Since his perceptive 1990 book Under God: Religion and American Politics, Wills has been patiently explaining to the Religious Right exactly where they have gone wrong. Perhaps some day they will actually listen to him. Until then, more power to Wills’ pen.

Thank you to our wonderful Roman Catholic friend. Even though Catholics worship Mary and idols(according to the fundamental Christianity that I was taught), they still have some awfully good contributions. Wink, wink.

Monday, November 13, 2006

"The Lord is my Shepherd and he knows I'm gay." ~Rev. Troy Perry

I found this earlier today while I was checking to see if there were any updates on the Ted Haggard scandal. It made for a interesting read.

Haggard has condemned homosexuality. In the documentary Jesus Camp, one scene shows a sermon where he preaches, "we don't have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity, it's written in the Bible."

Under Haggard's leadership, the NAE released "For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility" in the fall of 2004, "a document urging engagement in traditional
culture war issues such as abortion and gay marriage but also poverty, education, taxes, welfare and immigration." The NAE has stated that "homosexual activity, like adulterous relationships, is clearly con­demned in the Scriptures."

But, my dear queers, this was the part that intrigued me most:

Haggard focused ministry efforts on homosexuals early in his Colorado Springs ministry by frequenting gay bars and inviting men to his congregation.

Do you suppose this is where he might have met Mike Jones?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

RUMSFELD DISPATCHED!!!



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld stepped down Wednesday, one day after congressional elections in which opposition to the war in Iraq contributed to heavy Republican Party losses.

Best Rumsfeld quote: "Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war."

Gonna be a Queer Party in the Burgh this weekend, fer sure!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sanatorium Lost!!!

Yeah in Pgh! Thank the Goddess for an angry electorate! Now, if we can just change Casey's anti-abortion rights stand...Oi vay!

Oh, and FYI...I didn't misspell Santorum's name. :>

Monday, November 06, 2006

Welcome Home, Doogie...

In keeping with the seemingly universal characteristic of the gay man’s fascination with media & celebrities, I offer you this little tidbit of Hollywood gossip…though I’m sure it will surprise only those few rural gays:

This is the original posting on Canada.com that started the mini firestorm of blog entries, circa October 23, 2006:

Nepotism is alive and well in Hollywood. Former Doogie Howser star Neil Patrick Harris, 33, recently got his longtime sweetheart David Burtka, 31, a guest role on his series How I Met Your Mother (airing Wednesday nights on CH). Burtka is an experienced theatre actor (he played opposite Bernadette Peters in Gypsy on Broadway and starred in the touring company of Beauty and the Beast) but also had small parts on episodes of The West Wing and Crossing Jordan.

Harris's publicist, Craig Snyder, immediately released a statement claiming that the former Doogie Howser, M.D. was "not of that persuasion." His publicist, I’m sure, wasn’t referring to the “nepotism.”

After all of this, People magazine got an exclusive interview on Nov 3, 2006, which read:

Neil Patrick Harris is gay – and wants to quell recent reports that he had denied it. The actor tells PEOPLE exclusively:

"The public eye has always been kind to me, and until recently I have been able to live a pretty normal life. Now it seems there is speculation and interest in my private life and relationships.

"So, rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love."

Atta Gurl! Congrats, Honey! We’re proud to have you join the ranks of the brave that have come out.