Marriage Equality Support on the Rise

Despite the ridiculous fear mongering of those opposed to marriage equality for same-gender partners, the population at large gets it. A new NY Times/CBS poll shows the highest support yet for marriage equality – 42 percent now support it, up from just 33 percent last month:

Twenty-eight percent say same sex couples should have no legal recognition — down from 35 percent in March — while 25 percent support civil unions, but not marriage, for gay couples.

As has historically been the case on this issue, liberals are more likely to support same sex marriage. Sixty-nine percent support the idea, while conservatives generally favor either civil unions (28 percent) or no legal recognition (44 percent).

That means 67 percent support either marriage equality or civil unions for LGBT people. If that doesn’t denote a tipping point on this issue, I’m not sure what will! Great news!

Setback for Presby Gay Clergy

Gay clergy in the Presbyterian Church will have to wait for yet another round of voting before they’ll be approved for ordination. A presbytery vote on removing the prohibition against gay clergy has failed – but by a closer margin than the last time a vote was held.

“The big story here is that many traditionally conservative areas of the country voted to accept gay clergy and lay officers in the church,” Tricia Dykers Koenig, national organizer for the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, said in the Dallas Morning News. “Our image of what it means to be created in the image of God is broadening.”

It’s only a matter of time before gays and lesbians will grace the pulpits of Presbyterian churches. The tide is turning!

Marriage Equality Roundup

Same-gender couples can get married in Iowa starting today!

Melisa Keeton and Shelley Wolfe were declared “legally married” by pastor Peg Esperanaza during a ceremony in front of Polk County administrative offices in Des Moines. It didn’t take long before they were referring to one another as “wife.”

“It’s not very romantic is it?” Melisa Keeton joked, referring to the location of the ceremony and the media attention. The couple was allowed to wed after getting a judge to waive the state’s three-day waiting period before marriages are deemed valid.

The couple, who will share the last name Keeton, believed they were the first same-sex couple married in Polk County, and possibly the state, since the April 3 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage. The ruling made Iowa the third state to allow same-sex marriage, joining Massachusetts and Connecticut.

There was a rally at a Des Moines UCC in support.

“Marriage is a fundamental right for all people, not just straight people,” said the Rev. Matt Mardis-LeCroy of Plymouth.

“Just lately I have started to suspect that God may be speaking from right here in Des Moines.”

Meanwhile, Time Magazine reports that conservatives are wringing their hands at the possibility that churches may be pitted against one another in this battle over marriage.

Yeah, like church in-fighting has never, ever happened before. Check out my response to that here.

Is gay marriage ultimately a question of religion? The Guardian asked me to comment on that. Here’s a bit:

Adam and Eve is but one story of creation — all religions have one and not one of them comes from an eyewitness who was there taking notes. Marriage is read back into the story of Adam and Eve, but marriage was occurring long before the story was finally written down. That means society created marriage — not God. The original purpose of marriage has changed over the millennia. The one thing it didn’t have originally? Religion.

Read the full story – along with the pure, unadulterated, wingnuttery in the comment section – here.

Confucius is Confused

Nearly every week, the media obsesses over some Professional Famous Person’s latest words of wisdom about the LGBT struggle for equality. Sometimes these words affirm us, and at others they attempt to slap us down. Then there are times when they’re so incomprehensibly stupid we can barely make sense of them at all.

Miss California, this past week, dropped her pearls about same-sex marriage. Leaving aside the question of whether Perez Hilton had any intelligent reason to seek the advice of a beauty queen on such a grave matter, we have good reason to be troubled that her utterance should be parsed and pondered upon as if she were Confucius.

She isn’t Confucius. She seems to be merely confused.

Carrie Prejean doesn’t know diddly-squat about same-sex marriage. Nor does she even seem to know what the Constitution says, what the states’ all-too-flawed laws say, or what the facts tell us. She was put on the spot, and could do nothing but reveal that she’s exactly what the stereotype says about beauty queens: that they are airheads.

I am not surprised by this. I’m not sure who would be.

Next week, the media will be on to something else. Then, or the week after that, some new Professional Famous Person will say something else the newshounds will regard as worthy of the grave attention due the Buddha, Mohammed or Jesus.

But the words of Jesus have endured for centuries. As have those of the Buddha and Mohammed. Beauty queens, movie stars and super-athletes are but the flies of a summer. Jesus said nothing about same-sex marriage. But he had plenty to say about treating every human being with honor and respect, and about equal consideration for all. Even those of us who love others of the same sex — and even Professional Famous People like beauty queens.

It will do us no good to laugh at Miss California. She ought to be embarrassed, and doesn’t seem to have the sense to be. The kindest thing we could do for her would be to forget her words and move on.

She may use all the hostile scrutiny to further feed the persecution complex in which so many right-wingers love to indulge. There are indications that she plans on trying to parlay this deservedly-forgettable incident into a lucrative career as a Proessional Martyr, as did her predecessor in pageant fame, Anita Bryant.

Let’s not waste any perfectly good pies by pelting her with them, or boycott the Miss America Pageant — which will one day die a well-deserved death on its own lack of merit. Let’s move forward, and let the stupidities of our cheap media culture die of their own sickness.

The Miss America Pageant is a silly circus. Confucius is confused. And so is America.

Get Ready to Boycott Hannah Montana!

The religious right hasn’t had a good album burning in years – I wonder if CDs burn as well as vinyl? We may soon find out now that Miley Cyrus – better known as Hannah Montana – has come out in a Twitter conversation with Perez Hilton in favor of same-gender marriage!

Miley: I believe that EVERYONE deserves to be happy. That’s all I’m saying 😉

Perez: A lot of controversy over your answer, which is silly. I think you answered the question better than Miss California!

Miley: What was her answer??? Cause what I said is the truth. Everyone deserves to love and be loved and most importantly smile 🙂

Miley: thx! U know what I get crap for whatever I do but you asked me an honest question and I gave an honest answer! So whatevs!!! 🙂

Perez: I’m sad that people use God and religion as an excuse 2 hate, discriminate and deny gays & lesbians full equality under the law.

Miley: ya thats lame! God’s greatest commandment is to love. And judging is not loving. That’s why Christians have such a bad rep.

Get ready for the religious right backlash. I’ll bring the marshmallows!

Torture and the Shadow Code

As more revelations of U.S. torture methods — approved at the highest levels of our government — are revealed to us, the complicity of Christians is perhaps especially appalling.

Detainees from the Middle East, suspected of being terrorists, have been held in prison camps — often on the flimsiest of evidence — and subjected to brutalities unimaginable to most Americans. At least we couldn’t imagine them until now.

Many of the same people who participated in, or approved of, theis cruel treatment were conservative Christians. In other words, the same people who tend to crusade against gays. Indeed, exploitation of the Muslim detainees’ cultural revulsion toward homosexuality has been a frequent form of abuse against them by their captors.

The fact that U.S. personnel have so readily resorted to this tactic says as much about them as it does about their prisoners.

There seems to be a connection between the dehumanization of these detainees and the dehumanization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens in the U.S. A sort of shadow code of morality has arisen, driven not by the Gospel of Jesus Christ but by the fears and resentments of “Christian” Americans.

This shadow code seems to exist for the purpose of distracting the public away from the treatment of detainees in prison camps — some of them mere schoolboys, and others elderly men — and giving the public “queers” to disapprove of, instead of the sadists who torture and murder in all our names.

It seems conservatives get more noisily pious — more self-righteous about the “immorality” of certain inconvenient others — every time they themselves are doing something they want to hide.

As deliberations go forward as to whether torture and murder by top government officials should be prosecuted, we can be sure of one thing: we in the GLBT community will be on the hot seat again.

This time, as the red-handedly guilty cry, “Look at the homos,” we must make sure they don’t slip into the shadows again. Make no mistake about it, they’re shining the spotlight on us for just that purpose. We now see, more clearly than perhaps ever before, what we are being used for. We must make certain the rest of America knows it, too.

GOP Support for Same-Gender Marriage?

Update: HuffPo has good post of Schmidt’s speech – religion will kill the GOP!

Towleroad is reporting that Steve Schmidt, former advisor to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, will be urging the GOP to support same-gender marriage.

In an excerpt from Schmidt’s speech to Log Cabin Republicans, Schmidt makes a strong case for conservative support of same-gender marriage:

“There is a sound conservative argument to be made for same-sex marriage. I believe conservatives, more than liberals, insist that rights come with responsibilities. No other exercise of one’s liberty comes with greater responsibilities than marriage…It cannot be argued that marriage between people of the same sex is un American or threatens the rights of others. On the contrary, it seems to me that denying two consenting adults of the same sex the right to form a lawful union that is protected and respected by the state denies them two of the most basic natural rights affirmed in the preamble of our Declaration of Independence — liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, I believe, gives the argument of same sex marriage proponents its moral force.”

With four states now performing same-gender marriages and other states like New Hampshire and New York leaning in that direction, perhaps support from Schmidt as well as McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain will provide the tipping point we need on this issue.

It’s just a matter of time before same-gender marriage is legal in all 50 states!

Life for Rural LGBT Christians

It’s tough in so many ways to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, but add being a Christian to the mix and suddenly you’re a minority in a minority. Now take your LGBT Christian self and plop down in some rural community. It doesn’t matter where, north, south, east, west – the challenge you face is one not faced by your city brothers and sisters. Where will you go to church? How will you find an accepting congregation in the nooks and crannies of the country? And if you can’t find one – how will you find spiritual community?

Kathleen Lourde is examining this question in a series of stories about LGBT Christians in rural areas:

In many parts of the country, the opportunities for worship in rural areas and small towns are predominantly Christian, and a higher percentage seems to be fundamentalist than in larger cities.

Of the more than 30 people interviewed for this story, many grew up in households in which homosexuality was seen as a sin, even if it was largely unspoken. Many went to churches whose position on homosexuality was that it was sinful. Most eventually turned away from mainline religions and spent a period of their lives studying various belief systems and developing their own brand of spirituality—especially in rural areas, that often included a sense of God in nature.

A few, however, were lucky enough to be raised in, or easily find, gay-friendly churches even in small towns, usually Episcopalian, Presbyterian, or United Church of Christ churches.

Some of those who agreed to be interviewed are part of Whosoever’s online community, where many have found a spiritual home and friendship. To find out more about our groups and how you can join, go here.