Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Are You Tired of Being Called a Bigot?"! Part II

Continuing our examination of The Ruth Institute's and NOM's "secret weapon":

But not all married couples have children.  How can you say that marriage is about the benefits to children?

9.) This looks at marriage from the adult point of view.  It reveals just how deeply same sex marriage inverts the purpose of marriage.

10.) Look at marriage from a child's point of view.  Not every marriage produces children.  But every child has parents.

Their first point certainly seems to imply, at it's face, that childless married couples shouldn't have the dignity of a state-sanctional or legal marriages.  But, it's second point blames the Gay community for something that heterosexuals have been doing to so-called "traditional marriage" for a long time, and The Ruth Institute has only their heterosexual coevals to blame!  The notion that gay people are, at core, to blame for non-child-centered marital definitions is deeply offensive!   Their tenth argument also belies the presumed fact that children growing up exist in a vacuum impressionable only to their care-giver's teachings and belief systems, and that they will never see--or perhaps will even be confused by the sight of--married adults with no children, or even children with unmarried parents!  ...If I am to play Devil's Advocate for the moment.

11.) Every child is entitled to a relationship with both parents.

12.) Every child is entitled to know and be known by both parents.

13.) No child can possibly protect these entitlements on his or her own.

14.) Adult society must protect the child's right to affiliation with both parents.

Okay, this is getting into the realm not of marriage-law, but of family-law, which seems somewhat atypical for a single-focus group such as NOM and The Ruth Institute.  What of the rights of the children of same-sex married couples?  In 2000 Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller conceived a child together, but in 2003 the couple broke up at which point Lisa became an Evangelical Christian.  Albeit Janet had visitation rights, as all parents do with their children, Lisa kept putting road blocks and distance between Janet and her daughter in flagrant violation of the Court's orders.  Finally, Lisa moved out of state to Virginia in an attempt to finally squash Janet's legal ties to their daughter because Gay parents are given no legitimate rights, there; the Vermont Court, however, ruled that Lisa was "an unfit parent" for doing so and immediately granted Janet full custody because Lisa's actions were demonstrably not in the best interests of their child, which sought to end the parent-child relationship between small Isabella and her former spouse.  Lisa then fled the country with her daughter by driving to Canada and seeking a flight to South America with the direct aid of an anti-Gay Evangelical organization.  This egregious and illegal action were, at least in part, orchestrated by one Timothy Miller (no relation), a paster performing missionary work in Nicaragua where Lisa and Isabella lived for a time at a beach house owned by one Phillip Zodhiates, a wealthy donor t Jerry Fallwell's theofascist Liberty University, as well as perhaps by her own attorneys who were employed by the Fallwell's private University.

However, no one seems to be asking: If The Ruth Institute and NOM believe that children have a leal right to opposite-sex parents, would either group ovately support laws that would rip children from the arms of their Gay parents or care-givers?!  I have long-suspected that they would considering how they have phrased much of their early polemics.

15.) Adult society must protect these rights through prevention of harm, not through restitution after the fact.

This point seems to be two-fold:  One the one hand they seem to be suggesting that, within the context of this document, Gay parents are innately harmful (as well as the poor!) to children that are not biologically-related to them; and secondly, that wherever possible children that are conceived must be kept by the couple that contrived to conceive them.

16.) Man/woman marriage is the institution adult society uses to pro-actively protect the rights of all children to affiliation with both parents.

Again, this is historically and culturally fallacious, as I have already highlighted in Part I of this series.

17.) Same sex marriage changes marriage from a  child-centered institution to an adult-centered institution.

No, again, this is laying blame where it does not belong; marriage has long been an adult-centered institution, and it was primarily heterosexual couples that that transformed it thanks to Vegas-style drive-through weddings, Brittany Spear's 72 hour wedding (which was then annulled), the loss of Covenant marriage in place of non-Covenant style marriages in which women were no longer legally responsible to the husband and could not legally sign a contract  for this vast cultural shift that is already severe generations old.  The Ruth Institute and NOM has no one to blame but secular heterosexual society for this, not Gay people!

18.) Without man/woman marriage marriage, there will be no institution specifically protecting the rights of children to be in relationship with both parents (sic.).

Yes there will, the courts have always had a hand in maintaining the rights of children to a relationship with both their parents as per any civil marriage contract.  One cannot blame fears about the future that are certainly not destined to pass on the Gay community and our search for a legal right!

19.) Adopted and foster children tell us they long for relationship with their biological parents (sic.).

This is a rather sweeping generalization that places undue pressure onto the biological parents of an adopted child.  This point dismisses the fact that there was a grounded reason for an adoption to begin with, such as poverty or rape.  Does the Ruth Institute and NOM advocate that children who were conceived because of rape be kept by their biological mothers as living, breathing reminders of that violation?  That is cruel!  And, what of the destitute parent who gives her child away in the hopes that he or she will have a better life?  Also, a great many adopted children have no interest in meeting their biological relations.  Maggie Gallagher's own son, Patric, had no interest in meeting or forging a relationship with his paternal grandmother who knew nothing of his existence!

20.) The law in most states helps adopted children find their birth parents (sic.).

This is superfluous and has absolutely no relationship to the subject of Marriage Equality.

21.) Deliberately conceiving a child with the life plan that he or she will never have a relationship with his or her father is unjust and cruel to the child.

Notice that this question has, at it's core-purpose- the sole intent of censuring any non-heteronorminative family structures such as in vitro fertilization fora lesbian couple or adoption and surrogacy for a Gay couple, as well as even adoption on a more general level.  It's intended t make Gay people look like the bad guys, and innately selfish and directly harmful to the alleged "well-being" of children!

In reading these documents, by consistently hammering home the point of so-called "responsible procreation" (even though such lies outside the purview of civil marriage laws) NOM and The Ruth institute seem to be suggesting that if we can limit the number of unwanted pregnancies and those people that cannot afford to keep their babies, than heterosexuals might just be able to step-up and adopt every child in need of a home, thus leaving none for gay people to parent.  Then, if I may be allowed to read the tea-leaves, if they can impose onto these people and these babies the importance of marriage as establishing the alleged rights of children then they might have a hope for imposing their so-called  "marriage culture", yet.  Diabolical!!!

To be continued...  We have 56 more specious polemics left to examine.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"Are You Tired of Being Called a Bigot?"! Part I...

Barely a fortnight has passed since the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) was mired in a scandal in which confidential documents were disclosed to the public by Maine's judicial system advocating not only strategic race-baiting between ethnic minorities and the Gay community, but attempting to convince the Latin community to refrain from assimilating with American culture, and most sickeningly they admitted to paying an individual an annual salary of $120,000 to locate and exploit the dysfunctional children of Gay parents so that they might merely "air their concerns" over allowing Gay people to marry and to even raise children in a vicious attempt at anti-Gay propaganda!  These were the main projects that NOM co-founder and former President/Chair, Maggie Gallagher, ended an interview with MSNBC's Thomas Roberts insisting that she was proud of all of NOM's "projects".  The latter and most disgusting, however, has received minimal notice in the blogosphere, and none to my knowledge in either print or televised media.  Given this memo, I sincerely hope that Maggie Gallagher is never again able to insist that she is even remotely tolerant of Gay families should she be asked to testify before Congress.

But, in these two weeks since, I was astonished to find waiting for me a letter from The Ruth Institute blaring to the world (and postal carriers) the message "Are you tired of being called a bigot?"!  Included amid this letter, aside from the usual plea for money was a lengthy document that The Ruth Institute was billing as "[their] secret weapon", a "weapon" that they typically charge for with a "marriage protection packet" to be given out at hosted theofascist parties as the Ruth Inst. attempted to popularize earlier last year during a regular series of e-blasts!  I believe that the Ruth Institute is reacting to the NOM-scandal in an effort to convince as many people that there might, very well, be authentic non-religious reasons to ensure sexual orientation apartheid into civil and secular marriage laws.  Here are the guts of the pamphlet (in bold), with my responses...  You are more than welcome to respond and supplement by own points.

77 Non-Religious Reasons to Support Man/Woman Marriage

The Essential Public Purpose of Marriage

1.) The essential public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.

2.) Man/woman marriage allows children to know and be known by their biological parents.  Same-sex marriage separates children from at least one parent.

3.) Man/woman marriage sets the foundation for children to have the same biological, legal and care-giving parents.  Same-sex marriage separates these functions among different people.

4.) Man/woman marriage provides children with access to their genetic, cultural and social heritage.

5.) Though it's not always possible, children have the best life chances when they are raised by their biological married parents.

This first set of questions are Logically Fallacious and presumes to supplant the hearer's lack of knowledge with what their own ideals for how "traditional marriage" should be!  They also, evidently, are presuming that those they are directing their message to will have a very poor knowledge of marriage in culture and history other than their own religious connotations that are quite malleable to these talking points.  But, it is also evident that albeit Jennifer Roback Morse (whose as much of a "Dr." as Doctor Laura) is an adoptive motor, this document seems hostile to adoptive families at the outset (notice my first example, below).

The "institution" of marriage has, in no culture or historic epoch, legally bound children in love to their parents.  If it did, then it would be evident in early American and ancient European history.  Children and women, in particular, have had no legal rights to speak of until very recently on the world-stage.  Dolley Madison, a former First Lady, nearly lost custody of her child when her first husband became sick and died.  Indeed, had she not married James Madison exceptionally soon afterward, her child would have been forcibly taken from her as a ward of the state.  This makes her marriage to Madison more of a convenience, but legal marriages of convenience seem to be fine as far as The Ruth Institute and Nom is generally concerned, so long as Gay people can't call their relationships a "marriage".  What's more, however: Where was her child's alleged "right" to be known and loved by her as a consequence of her legal marriage to her first husband?  Why was a second marriage necessary to ensure the continuance of those alleged "rights"?!  

The Ruth Institute's 4th. point sounds rather aggressively racist and intended to evoke ethnic apartheid!  Indeed, it reminds me of my study of the Eurasian hearth-cult in which I not only discerned that the origins of marriage customs and traditions--which revolve intrinsically around the domestic and civil hearth-cult--were proposed by a patrolocal and patriarchal society that sought to control the bodies of women and, by default, to preserve clan lineage from having any biological or cultural tie with neighboring tribes and clans.  The virginity of females--in most cultures throughout Europe and the Circumpolar shamanic civilizations--were thought to embody and preserve clan identity, and it was the ancestral flame (tended by the virginal women of each house) who officiated over the rites of marriage.  But, I've digressed...

Even in antiquity, children had no rights under marriage (the only public purpose it served even in its most remote and ancient forms was to pass on titles, lands, and properties to a legitimate male heir), otherwise the ancient Greeks would not have disposed of their sickly or malformed infants (likely a survival custom) before being introduced to the Ancestral Flame around which his or her parents were previously married, and in whose presence their marriage was consummated.

Some people say that research shows that children of same-sex couples do just as well as the children of opposite sex couple.

6.) The research in this area is preliminary.  We don't have studies that last long enough to show the long-term impact of being raised in a same sex household.

7.) Much of the research in this area does not use a representative sample of same sex couples.  People volunteer to be in the study.  Volunteers are often more affluent, better educated, and more likely to be better parents regardless of sexual orientation.

8.) Each member of a same sex couple may be a fine parent.  But two good mothers do not add up to a father.

Notice that The Ruth Institute refuses Gay parents the dignity of calling them that at the outset!  The author of these talking points seem to presume that Gay parents (as well as the poor!) are innately harmful, even to a very minimal degree, to children.  But, the argument side-steps the issue of adoption in general; heterosexuals often do not adopt nor foster children to the extent that a Gay couple might.  If Gay people were legally prevented from adopting children (which is the follow-through of such an arguments logic!) who would adopt all those kids in need of a home?  These kids would be in foster care which is already being stretched far too thin as any Social Worker could tell you.  Can heterosexuals be trusted to step up?  Not if my brother is to a sample of the American mind-set who is revolted by the thought of raising someone else's offspring.  But, it is the last point which seems to be based upon enforcing out-dated gender stereotypes: 

Within the context of marriage, it used to be that because the duties of a wife (who could not legally divorce her own husband!) involved keeping the house and providing a husband with his meals, her husband could sue another individual should they injured his wife and incapacitated her preventing her from fulfilling her marital duties.  A wife could also not charge her husband with spousal rape because sex was part of a wife's duties.  And, if a woman knew that she could not conceive a child before marriage, a husband could (and did) sue her for fraud!  Even an article published in Psychology Today insists that we must re-define manhood from these out-dated gender stereotypes!

To be continued....

Monday, October 31, 2011

Legacy: Know Your GLBT History!

Today, on this, the final day of GLBT History Month, I would like to draw your attention to an unsung Iowan hero in the cause of our freedoms: James Gruber, one of the Founding Members of the Mattachine Society in 1950.  Sadly, it has recently come to my attention that he passed on February 27 in his Santa Clary home (FL.) at the age of 82; he was the group's last surviving Founding member, founded with his boyfriend, Konrad Stevens and Harry Hay, with three others.  This was one of the first national groups in the country, with chapters in several states.  His biography may was crystallized by the South Florida Gay News:
Born in Des Moines on August 21, 1928, Gruber...enlisted in the marines.  ...  After [he] was honorably discharged in 1949, he studied English literature at Occidental College and befriended authors Christopher Isherwood and W. H. Auden, and psychologist Evylyn Hooker.
In April of 1951 Gruber and his boyfriend, Konrad "Steve" Stevens attended a meeting hosted by a gay advocacy group [Bachelors Anonymous] soon to be known as the Mattachine Society...  According to historian John D'Emillion, it was Gruber who suggested the name Mattachine Society for the new group, inspired by Hay's talk about the medieval "mattachines".
 ...  Gruber readily embraced his "newly chosen family" and brokered a meeting between the Society and Gruber's famous friends Isherwood and Hooker.
Gruber was also responsible for a famous photo of the Mattachine Society [see hyper-link] that now appears in LBBT history books.  According to historian Daniel Hurewitz, "Hay was so concerned about secrecy that Gruber had to convince him that there was no film in the camera when he took the picture; he revealed the truth years later."*
On November 12, 1998, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality in Los Angeles gave Gruber a Public Service Award as a "pioneer and barrier broker".  Gruber lied his lat years in Santa Clara, enduring ill health but ably assisted by his good friend Nicholas Pisca.  Gruber left behind a manuscript, The Devient: An Illustrated Autobiography which details his life and times.

Among the Mattachine Society's first acts was the successful legal defense of Gay men who were frequently targeted for entrapment by the police; most Gay men during this era simply pled guilty and paid a fine (an act which, until the early 1970s could cost you your job once it was published in the local paper!).

James has, indeed, left us a rich legacy which has been partially documented in the film about Harry Hay, Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay (2001); and, we are better-off, today, for his contributions and his heroic activism.  I am presently attempting to contact the Iowa Hall of Pride, as well as the Iowa Historical Building in the hope that an exhibit may be dedicated to him in his memory for all that he has done for us.  Unfortunately, his memoirs--surely a powerful testimony, has not been published--an injustice, to be sure!  Hopefully a publisher will make it available to the public soon.

* According to Lambda Literary, "due to laws prohibiting homosexuals from gathering in public and private spaces, the group met under strict anonymity, using pseudonyms even with each other."

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Exploitation of Gay People!

(Fashion designer, Marc Jacobs)

A troubling thought has just occurred to me that, and I cannot believe that it has just now become evident: Me and my Gay brothers are being exploited, chiefly by women!  By every woman who comes to us in search of the perfect wedding dress in order to make her feel "like a Princess!"--as we are exploited by her--such as my Brothers on TLC's Say Yes to the Dress; by every woman whose hair we style for a date, the prom, or her anniversary or wedding (as we are exploited by her!); and by every woman who wears a fashion designer's because she wants to be beautiful (as we are, again, exploited by her!).  Yet, in the vast majority of these instances, I sincerely doubt that any of these women would give a second thought to Gay civil rights and that we are not treated under the law as equal to them, simply because she does inherently view us as "less than" she and her relationship with her boyfriend or spouse; I can't imagine most of these heterosexual women advocating for marriage equality.  To them, we may make them look good and feel good, but we are kept at a safe emotional distance, the way one keeps anything that is of little significant value to them, such as a pet.  Indeed, if they oppose marriage equality with full knowledge, it affirms the fact that they knowingly exploit me and my Brothers!  The question should then be: What should we do about our exploitation?  I have a few ideas; if they will not support marriage equality directly, than we must force their hands to support it if they want our surfaces, indirectly, by (at the very least) setting aside a portion of the money they spend on our services and directly funneling it into local and state-wide marriage equality battles.

Monday, October 24, 2011

No Prayer Breaks for NOM!

Today on CNN they are reporting the account of a Muslim woman who was fired from Hertz for taking a previously permissible prayer-break which is an established tenet of the observant Muslim religious traditions.  Essentially, the new regulations insist that anyone seeking a prayer-break must clock-out; though, opponents of the regulation maintain that employees desiring to take a smoking-break are not equally compelled to clock-out for the brief personal time that they are taking.

Theofascist and other "Christian Right" (ie. speciously so-called "pro-family") groups have previously denounced the prohibition of ("Christian-only"!) prayer in public schools as a violation of their religious liberties.  Indeed, the so-called National organization for Marriage" (Discrimination) has been utterly silent about what would peripherally seem, to me, to be a clear violation of the so-called "religious liberty" protections that they are so fervently demanding be protected under the law as deserving of special status, even at the expense of minority Civil Rights!  The only news being discussed at NOM Blog, to date, is their insistence that the defense of the un-Constitutional DOMA be taken from the budget of the Justice Department; a plea to contact the NH. Judicial Committee and secure passage of the anti-Gay "Restore Marriage Act"; and even a rather vicious comment about a new case from Calgary (Canada) titled "After SSM, What's next?  Redefining Fatherhood?!" in which a non-biologically related spouse of a Gay man's biological daughter was granted parental rights as her care taker, because he had cared for her for most of her life. 

How is this case of a Muslim employee any different than NOM's latest martyr in New York State, Rose Marie Belforti?!  Could it be the religion of the employee involved, because she is a Muslim?  While I can offer no demonstrable proof, it does seem very suspicious that NOM would pass up a golden opportunity like this to defend a Muslim woman who had her "religious liberties" trampled upon if ever there was a case for them and their backers to rally behind!  At the very least, an absence like this is surely peripheral evidence, at the very least, that they are exploiting certain religious groups to meet their fascist goals.

For a group so adamant about defending so-called "religious liberties" (that is, one's personal conscious and moral authority) they have certainly refused to defend any "religious liberties" that differ from their socially conservative orthopraxy, such as mine!  Where was there moral rage and indignation crying for a greater sense of tolerance and religious freedom for polytheistic religions such as mine when, for example, a Pagan temple was desecrated and its officiating Priest was hospitalized in the Ukraine last month?  (The mob who desecrated the Temple painted a message that reads: "Die heathens"!)  So much for NOM's specious declaration that they are fighting for so-called "religious liberties" (regressive ones at that!).  It is evident that NOM cares about no other so-called religious liberties other than their own and is fighting to have them imposed nation-wide!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Qualifies as a Hate Crime in Iowa?!

Well, color my Rainbow Flag officially shocked!  Yesterday evening I was watching the local TV news and I was so shocked I damn-near shit rainbows; for, you see, all three stations mentioned the murder of Marcellus Andrews.  However, again, their portrayal was less than exemplary.  WOI TV (chan. 5) retorted that Gay rights groups -- meaning the Iowan Gay community in general -- were preemptive in declaring this brutal murder a "hate grime", leaving the viewer to imagine that we are reactionary and able to be easily dismissed.  And, it was only KCCI TV (chan. 8) bothered to mention that there would be any vigils held throughout the state, particularly highlighting the Des Moines vigil which would begin at the Blazing Saddle (a local Gay Bar) and commence at the steps of the State Capital where speakers will be heard.  Oddly, in my opinion, each state broadcast their respective story on this issue explaining that this murder is not a Hate Crime almost at the same moment in succession.  Where they really missed the mark is that no station attempted to interview any of the witnesses to show that anti-Gay animus clearly placed a role in the vicious murder (which they wrote off as mere "blunt force trauma", rather than the savage beating that it was!).  According to the print media, witnesses spoke about how they called him "faggot" and "Mercedes"; and, even when he was laying on the ground, inert and unconscious, one boy ran back to kick him in his skull viciously!

Ultimately, however, what I would like to know is, if the law enforcement has no demonstrable leads or even "persons of interest" than how can they declare that this murder was unequivocally not a Hate Crime?!  In fact, all three stations lost a primary attempt that would have allowed them to highlight anti-Gay prejudice within the state, and anti-Gay violence in general...we are, after all, still worthy of discrimination within secular society.  When I was bashed at the end of my third year in college by a neo-Nazi skin head (yes, I am a bashing survivor!), the police sent in my report to the DA for the county to see if she could prosecute it as a hate crime under the newly passed Iowa law.  There is certainly no excuse for this not to equally be regarded as a legal hate-crime in this survivors experience.  In fact, what the Waterloo PD is doing is spitting in the eyes of every bashing survivor like me, and all of my Gay brothers and Lesbian sisters!

A list of inter-state vigils may be found here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Murder Fueled By Anti-Gay Hate Haunts Bachmann

As a Bashing Survivor by a group of neo-Nazi skin heads in college (Creston, IA.) this really hits close to home, to me...

Over the weekend, anti-Gay hate fueled violence claimed the life of a teenager of only nineteen years in Waterloo, IA. where Rep. Michelle Bachmann was born.  Don't expect the Des Moines-area news to run with this story, however, seeing as they are very clearly justified towards the right in terms of Gay equality!

Andrews, who was slated to start studying interior design at Hawkeye Community College, spent part of Thursday practicing with members of the Crusaders, a drill team sponsored by Union Missionary Baptist Church. He led the step team for the group, which was days away from competing in March Against Darkness.
Night found him at Nakita Wright's home on Cottage Street.
She said the problems started at about 12:45 a.m. Friday when she and Tudia Simpson, her cousin, went for a walk down the street. Andrews opted to stay behind, waiting on the enclosed porch, she said.
The two women hadn't made it as far as Adams Street a block away when they heard yelling back at the house. They ran back and found a truck stopped in the street, and the occupants were taunting Andrews, calling him "faggot" and "Mercedes," a feminization of his first name, Simpson said.  ....

At some point during the scuffle, Nakita Wright felt her leg brush against something on the ground. She looked down and saw Andrews.

"I tried to help him up, and then this boy ran back and kicked him in his face," Nakita Wright said.

(There's their "Christian love" for you!!!)

If the local media would cover stories like this, it might have the positive effect of culturally denouncing any attempts by the Theofascists in our state and our country from being so openly hostile in their motivation directed against our legal rights.

I urge everyone reading this blog to contact the following local TV news programs and demand they report on the brutal hate-filled murder of a local Gay man!  Here are the websites for WOI TV (Chan. 5), KCCI TV (Chan. 8); and WHO TV (Chan. 13)....we don't have a local Fox News affiliate.  The gods know that, had their been a report of a black man committing a crime, the news would have been all over it, or a man molesting boys couples with a piece against Gay men sunbathing nude at a privately owned part!  I am serious about this final point; during the month of June I was watching the evening news and one station paired a piece about a local man who was found guilty of having molested children with a piece re: a privately owned Gay beach along a stretch of river that families frequently raft down.  One would have to be somewhat impaired to not know what they were attempting to do--they were very clearly trying to play upon anti-Gay animus and homophobia!  I, for one, want to know who puts these stories together in such a fashion!  They were clearly playing upon offensive stereotypes intent upon vilifying us to our local citizens!