One Step Closer to Marriage Equality

One Step Closer to Marriage Equality – NYTimes.com.

Excellent editorial in today’s Times, wherein the editorial board muses broadly on the importance of broadening marriage equality throughout the country.

In a surprise announcement on the first Monday in October, the day the new term for the Supreme Court begins, the justices, without comment, refused to hear any of the cases striking down same-sex marriage bans thus allowing the appellate decisions to stand. As such, LGBT people in Virginia, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah — yes, Utah! — and Indiana can now be legally married.

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YouTubers Vinny and Luke Vaillancourt are among those whose rights have been protected through marriage. The couple, who live in England, were married in the U.K. and in the U.S.

The Times also challenged the court. In a speech last month, Justice Ginsburg said that the court is keeping an eye on lower courts but that, at the moment, there is “no need for us to rush.” The Times asks why not? Certainly the moral argument is why not, as well.

But, the Supreme Court weighs in on moral grounds at its own peril, oftentimes. I despise the old “justice is blind” argument — because blind justice cannot see the subtle shades of grey inherent in the language — but, the thinking goes, there has not been enough of a division in the appellate courts to warrant a SCOTUS incursion. If the other circuits weigh in as the previous ones have, the court will likely have to merely rubber stamp the decisions in a year or so, when only Alabama, Mississippi and Alaska are the last defiant anti-gay states.

It has the makings of a societal schism, this does. I never, ever thought — even a few short years ago — that my own ability to get married — and to stay married as I travel across the country (think about that, straight people) — would ever be the next front in the culture wars. Politically, I see the need for the court to continue to exercise caution. As a gay man and as what I consider a rational, moral human being, I agree with the Times‘ editorial board: stop waiting, it hurts people.

Pride: Not Just About the Parade

It’s not just about the parade: Why pride still matters – LGBTQ Nation.

This is a good piece by Barbara Weicksel. She notes, “This world we live in is not always easy. It’s not always filled with love and hope and peace. More often than not, it’s filled with hate and war and people who love to judge.

“We are judged by what we wear, where we live, what we drive, the color of our skin, the tone of our voice, the car we drive, and, yes… who we love.”

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Image| Wikimedia Commons: Benson Kua

But today, in a world where marriage equality is surely happening in places that we never thought it might even a year ago, in a world where the web is chock-a-block with gay-themed content even while mainstream television is not, in a world where tolerance, if not outright acceptance, is at a high, certainly in my lifetime, is there really a reason for a pride parade?

Absolutely, unequivocally, YES.

When I went to my first pride parade, I was only ever-so-slightly out. I wasn’t ready to accept myself completely and I certainly didn’t believe that anyone else would. And I was scared to death.

My first pride event was the 1993 March on Washington, D.C. It was so big they made a documentary film about it. There were more people on the Mall that April day than I ever saw at Presidential inaugurals or the insanity that is the 4th of July in the capital. I was in awe of that crowd.

And I learned that I absolutely was not alone; that there were, at the very least, a million other people just like me who descended on Washington that day; that I would be all right and that, in today’s parlance, it would get better.

In spite of the Internet and web series and Sunday morning talk shows and Oprah and self-help d’jour, there is, I guarantee it, somebody in Connersville, Indiana or Orangeburg, South Carolina or Bend, Oregon or New York City who is scared and desperate and does not yet understand that it is okay to be themselves. The bloody, bold, resolute, wild and garish pride parade is a hell of a lot more than cute boys dancing on a parade float; it’s a message that everyone can and will be accepted. Keep it going!

Sam, Takei, a Kiss, Much Ado About Nothing, and Getting Over It

I was going to write about this, then I read the great George Takei’s take and, well, why try to reinvent the wheel when the master has already said everything that needs to be said. Let Uncle George have the last word.

Much has been said about the moment when Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend on national television, as they joyfully and spontaneously celebrated the news of Sam’s drafting by the Rams. They embraced and kissed just like many other happy heterosexual couples do when one of them receives life-changing, great news. CONTINUE READING

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Michael Sam kisses his boyfriend after learning that he had been drafted by the St. Louis Rams.

That was the Gay Week That Was

The Week of February 10, 2014 is really one for the history books. The LGBT history books, for sure.

February 10 would have also been my dad’s 84th birthday. I wonder if he would recognize this brave new world?

Red EqualsMy old home, the Commonwealth of Virginia, had its constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage struck down this week. This comes after the new Virginia attorney general determined that he could find no legal foundation, since the Windsor decision, to support upholding the statute, outraging conservatives.

The courts also held this week that Kentucky had to recognize same-sex marriages of Kentuckians who were married in Equality States but who resided in the commonwealth. Now same-sex couples are asking that Kentucky allow same-sex marriages to happen within its borders. So, keep a weather eye out for this; still a developing story.

Also in Nevada, the Silver State’s attorney general said that his state’s constitutional same-sex marriage ban was “no longer defensible.” An about-face from a state where the constitutional restriction was put in place more than a decade ago.

Of course, this comes on the heels of recent decisions in Utah, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

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#52 from Mizzou, Michael Sam comes out. |Image: nbcnews.com

College football’s best defensive end, an odds-on favorite in the upcoming NFL draft, boldly came out this week before the draft. Michael Sam‘s decision set the entire sports world on its ear and prompted lots of conversations about gays in pro sports in places where they normally wouldn’t talk about such things. Good on him.

It also elicited this:

Dale Hansen is my new hero. Other people think so, too, which is how he got a trip here:

The magnificent Ellen Page came out at an HRC event and gave a terrific, moving and uplifting speech. Overnight, she has gone from quirky young star to just full-on awesome.

It wasn’t all good LGBT news, of course, because it seldom is, when you are fighting for what is right. The legislature in Indiana passed the first round of a same-sex marriage constitutional ban. The only good thing about this is that the earliest it could possibly go before Hoosier voters is 2016. Hopefully by that time, it will be so out-of-step with the rest of the country that it won’t go forward.

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Kansas: Trying to become the Inequality Heartland of America

And in Kansas — Oh, Kansas, moan ‘Friends of Dorothy’ everywhere — the legislature was caught up in a time-travel drama that sent their collective consciousness back to concocting Reconstruction Era policies. Some say the Kansas bill to enshrine LGBT discrimination into law under the (laughable) guise of being non-discriminatory — I know, I know — won’t pass, but I am afraid that stranger things have happened.

And there’s Sochi, and Nigeria, and, and, and ….

But, on Valentine’s Day, daytime television’s only gay supercouple, Days of our LivesWill and Sonny, officially got engaged. I am fairly confident that this is a first for daytime, although some have said that Kyle and Oliver of One Life to Live were the first. I’m not sure that’s correct, but I’ll happily be proven wrong. We’ve come a long way since January 2009 when As The World Turns’ Luke and Noah, daytime’s very first gay male couple finally consummated their relationship, but were never shown in bed together! DAYS gets a gold star in my book for the way they’ve been treating these guys. Here’s a sample:

I wonder what next week will bring? An early spring? Please? Anyone?

The Word of the Year is …. Selfie

Picture This: Selfie Is ‘Word Of The Year’ : The Two-Way : NPR.

The Oxford Dictionaries have decided that the Word of the Year for 2013 is “selfie.” The decision, says the NPR report linked above, was unanimous and beat out “twerk” and “binge watch” to take the top spot for pop culture verbiage. Besides, who’s taking them? Everyone with a cell phone seemingly. Even the Pope.

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Selfie. With booze. 11-19-2013

David Miranda Is Nobody’s Errand Boy

David Miranda Is Nobody’s Errand Boy.

This is a really well-done long-format piece from BuzzFeed on the continuing David Miranda/Glenn Greenwald saga. I find it hard to be objective about this because I feel so strongly that Miranda is being singled out for his partner Greenwald’s role in the Snowden/NSA leaks. It’s an egregious use of power from the U.S. and the U.K., IMHO.

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David Miranda and the title card for the BuzzFeed story. | Photo: Jimmy Clark for BuzzFeed.