This Troll Again? Kim Davis reflects on her role in marriage debate 

Source: Kim Davis reflects on her role in same-sex marriage debate – LGBTQ Nation

“How ironic that God would use a person like me, who failed so miserably at marriage in the world, to defend it now,” Davis said Tuesday. “The Lord picks the unlikely source to convey the message.”

Yeah, well, “ironic” is not the word I’d use. “Typical” is more to the point. It’s always that way with haters. Hate me because I’m gay? Wait long enough and someone will catch you trolling for trade in the men’s room. Hate people for using Federal assistance? Look closely at who’s skimming off the top of the money pile. Shame adulterers? Look who just got exposed for having an affair.

God didn’t use you, sweetie. What happened was you used “God” to not do your job. And Kentucky’s new governor, who wants to take clerks’ names off of marriage licenses, is just abetting you and your particular brand of zealotry.

Remember this face, friends. This is the face of true intolerance and hate. Well, you say, she looks just like every other regular, ignorant, white woman in America. That’s right. Be on the lookout. And don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

H/T LGBTQ Nation

#LoveWins – Reflections on Equality & How Far We Still Have to Go

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This.

I was lying in bed this morning, thinking about what I wanted to write about after the momentous events of June 26, and as all these thoughts bounced around in the metaphorical tumble dryer of my just-waking mind, I found myself coming back to that old Pete Seeger tune, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” (The better known version is by The Byrds, but this one with Pete and Judy Collins is magical. Skip ahead to about a minute in.)

I was struck how much of the nonsense already being spouted by the Internet blowhards could be taken down by the song’s first line: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Seeger, of course, did not write that line. That’s the Book of Ecclesiastes. The whole song, in fact, is taken verbatim from the Bible and what I love about it is that it’s essentially about change being the only constant in the human condition. There is a purpose to everything.

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

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We’ve accomplished equal marriage and that’s something to be celebrated, but we haven’t yet accomplished true equality. That part of the struggle begins today.

Less esoterically, it’s refreshing to see that the words carved above the doors to the Supreme Court, the central tenet of our nation — Equal Justice Under Law — has not, in fact, been lost or corrupted. We are all equal. We all, no matter what part of America you live in, woke up this morning in a more perfect Union.

THE HATE-MONGERS COMETH
You will hear today, tomorrow, next week, two weeks from Thursday, a year-and-a-half from now, and in 2025, how the “activist court” forced this decision on Americans and how it is such a violation of someone’s religious liberties. Well, friends and cousins, here’s the real truth: They are just flat wrong.

To tell me that my relationship is less than theirs is wrong. To tell me who I can and cannot love is wrong, To tell me I am not entitled to the same rights and responsibilities that are afforded to other citizens is wrong. To tell me that my ability to pledge myself to and join my life with someone of the same gender in some way violates their religious freedom is not only wrong, it’s just stupid.

And here’s why: no one says you have to like marriage equality. No one says you have to get married to someone of the same gender or witness a marriage of two people of the same gender or attend a church where they marry people of the same gender. If you don’t like it, don’t be involved. But …. don’t you dare tell me that I can’t have the exact same things that you can have. Don’t you dare tell me that I cannot have the same protections, the same tax status, the same medical and legal rights. Don’t you dare tell me that I am somehow less than. Don’t you dare tell me that my love does not matter in the same ways that yours does. And don’t you dare tell me that religion makes your prejudice acceptable. Not in 2015. Not in the United States of America.

But they will dare, campers. They will.

June 26 was not the culmination of the fight; June 26 was the beginning of the next phase. Those of you in states where there are no legal protections for same-sex couples may find yourselves blissfully married on Sunday only to find yourself summarily fired on Monday. Discrimination will come but it will be less overt. There will be a lot more of those “religious freedom acts” pushed through legislatures and more pulpit-pounding from the Right, reminding us (wrongly) that we are undermining the Christian values that America was founded on. [Note: there weren’t any.] And a mountain of blather about how laws are supposed to be made in the legislatures and not in the courts.

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The Supreme Court building in Washington. Emblazoned on the façade are the words EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW.

THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY
This, in particular, galls me because it just proves how ignorant so many people are about our system. (Including, given his bizarre and completely unhinged opinion in Obergefell, Mr. Justice Scalia.) I am fairly confident that I am among the last generation who learned civics in school. If you don’t want to read up on Article III of the Constitution or learn a bit more about the importance of Marbury v. Madison in establishing judicial review and what that means, perhaps a cartoon describing checks and balances is in order. (This happens to get my vote for the worst Schoolhouse Rock song of the 70s!) You’re going to hear a lot about judicial overreach in the coming days; gird your loins.

Another thing that struck me today was one of my favorite lines from Dan Savage about America, the so-called land of the free and the home of the brave, always being last with the freedom and the bravery. It’s pithy; that’s why it gets quoted. It’s also pretty much on the mark. A great thing happened in the United States yesterday, but we did not lead the world. We are the 25th nation to allow equal marriage.

THE LIST
While there are those — on some days I am among them — who will revel in the quickness that we have arrived at marriage equality, we have been attempting to cast off the shackles of our terrible history of inequality since before the dawn of the republic. This particular issue has come to the fore quickly, but it’s been a Sisyphean struggle over centuries to mete out rights to all of our citizens. I can draw a direct line through the centuries to show how all of our civil rights struggles have been the same struggle. The list of people involved looks something like this:

John Locke
Samuel Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Dred Scott
Homer Plessy
Margaret Sanger
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Oliver Brown
Rosa Parks
A. Philip Randolph
Medgar Evers
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bayard Rustin
Frank Kameny
Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon
Mildred & Richard Loving
the Stonewall Rioters
Richard Baker & Michael McConnell
Harvey Milk
Harry Blackmun
Barack Obama
Edith Windsor & Thea Spyer
Jim Obergefell & John Arthur
Anthony Kennedy

This is an imperfect list, but it shows, I think, how fundamentally important it is to stand up and have your voice heard and counted. I am also struck by how few women are on this list; that’s bothersome. We need to do better. And we will.

It does, after all, get better, but dear God, what a hard slog it is sometimes to get to that better place. We’ve been trying since John Winthrop said to the Massachusetts Bay colonists in 1630, “We must always consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill—the eyes of all people are upon us.”

Thinking about Pete Seeger, made me also think of the penultimate verse of the song that became and remains the anthem of the Civil Rights movement, “We Shall Overcome:”

The truth shall make us free, the truth shall make us free,
The truth shall make us free someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
The truth shall make us free someday.

Truth, justice and the American way, the hackneyed old saw goes. Maybe it’s not just a catchphrase for superheroes anymore. Maybe that’s why, out of all of the intensely beautiful images I saw and speeches and cheering I heard Friday, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington singing the National Anthem on the steps of the Supreme Court is the one that made me weep. It made me proud to be an American in a way that has been strangely foreign to me. Until now.

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The concluding paragraph of Mr. Justice Kennedy’s opinion. This needs to go on a wall somewhere.

Alabamy (Hide)Bound: Not-So-Sweet Home

Jolson sang the tune whose name I’ve butchered to head this piece. That’s Al Jolson, kiddies. And it happened so long ago that it’s even well before my time. And, quite frankly, when the tune came out of Tin Pan Alley in the early 1920s, I don’t think there was a real, honest-to-God reason to celebrate going to Alabama. In the 90 years since the song’s introduction, there seems less and less reason to entertain heading down to Mobile (moe-BEEEL) to languidly sip a bourbon and branch water on the upper portico of a Spanish-inspired old manse.

No. You’ve been reading too much and you’ve mixed Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams and William Faulker in your memory, thrown in a bit of Eudora Welty and all those ancient RKO Radio Pictures about the “Old South” and come up with a lovely place that does not now nor has ever existed.

The history of Alabama — especially post-Reconstruction Alabama — can be summed up in this sentence: “We don’t want any of you (fill-in-the-blank with a skin color, ethnicity, nationality, non-Christian religion or sexual orientation) ’round here.”

Last week’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade that the Alabama Marriage Protection Act was unconstitutional as was a state constitutional amendment “protecting” traditional marriage is the latest salvo in the marriage equality culture wars. Like several others on the federal bench who have ruled in favor of equal marriage recently, Granade is a George W. Bush appointee, something that scandalizes this new wave of “conservatives” who don’t really understand what constitutional conservatism means.

So, yes, we can be thankful that equality is moving ahead like an unstoppable locomotive, but that doesn’t make me think there won’t be tragedy around this issue in the near future in Alabama.

Why do I say that? Alabama has form, that’s why.

While we would like to think that George Corley Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door or the “Bloody Sunday” voting rights march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge or making Rosa Parks give up her seat on the damn bus are a part of Alabama’s deep tragic past, that lessons have been learned, that things are better, we get this, as reported on AL.com, from Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard:

“It is outrageous when a single unelected and unaccountable federal judge can overturn the will of millions of Alabamians who stand in firm support of the Sanctity of Marriage Act,” he said in a prepared statement. “The Legislature will encourage a vigorous appeals process, and we will continue defending the Christian conservative values that make Alabama a special place to live.”

Speaker Hubbard, like so many others who want their voices heard on the wrong side of history should be advised to take Government 101 again and learn the (shocking?) lesson that this is exactly why the judiciary was created, that rights are not something that are legislated, and that the United States of America was founded as the opposite of a theocracy.

In the meantime, think of the children.

That’s always the line, isn’t it? “Think of the children.” Well, I have been. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about children in schools in Alabama. Gay ones, straight ones, bisexual ones, gender nonconforming ones and I’ve come to the conclusion that Alabama still scares the shit out of me.

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These are national statistics; not just Alabama. Image: GLSEN

A few months ago, GLSEN released it’s biennial National School Climate survey (These Are The States Where Students Get Harassed The Most For Their Sexual Orientation.) and what do you know?

80 percent of LGBT students in Alabama are report verbal harassment

46 percent of LGBT students in Alabama report physical harassment

28 percent of LGBT students in Alabama report physical assault

According to GLSEN, Alabama is one of the worst places in America to be a gay kid. Even worse, nearly all gender nonconforming young people face, at minimum, verbal ridicule in the state. And there are no protections.

So, as we move forward and watch the tide of equality under the law roll in (that’s right, Alabama, roll this tide*) we must not lose sight of the fact that we have so very far to go. I mean, hell, in Massachusetts, the cradle of marriage equality in the U.S., while GLSEN reports only 9 percent of Bay State LGBT children are assaulted, 58 percent still face verbal harassment. 58 percent! And Massachusetts is at the bottom of the list. A long way to go.

Still, according to GLSEN, only half of all schools surveyed had a Gay-Straight Alliance. While sad, it is progress. When I was in school, exactly 0 schools anywhere had such a thing. But every school had enormous suffocating closets.

*Look, Ma, a sports metaphor!

Newspapers Prefer Lesbians – Headlines from New Equality States

Newspapers Prefer Lesbians – Bloomberg Politics.

Of course they do. To the straight perception of the general public, lesbians are far less polarizing than gay men, because they are consciously or unconsciously engaging in stereotyping. Look at these front pages. Fascinating.

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.

I, Do: The WilSon Wedding, Playing the Long Game, and Celebrating the Zeitgeist

I’ll be honest with you: I used to hate weddings. Now, because I can have one of my own, I guess, I’ve come to embrace them — real or pretend. For example, I’ve done a lot of television watching and crying for the last week as Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis got married on the daytime drama Days of our Lives.

This is NOT normal behavior. Certainly not from this curmudgeon!

But I can’t help it.

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A veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of Days of our Lives’ royalty flank Sonny (Freddie Smith) and Will (Guy Wilson) at their wedding. On the far left: Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) and Justin and Adrienne Kiriakis (Wally Kurth and Judi Evans). On the right: Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney), Lucas Horton (Bryan Dattilo) and Kate Roberts (Lauren Koslow).

And it’s a perfect example of why I’ve always been a fan of the genre of serial storytelling. It’s not because of any giant spectacle or sweeps month ratings grab: it’s because these important stories, told slowly over time can fundamentally alter behavior, lead public perception and change people’s lives.

I came out as a soap opera lover as a teen — years before I came out as gay — and I even studied soaps in college! Often, it’s been a maddening relationship. While soaps have sometimes been on the cutting edge telling some sociologically important stories, in others they have been unbearably slow in embracing a changing society.

Some Gay Soap History
Let’s take LGBT issues, for instance. In the seven years — yes, only seven — since the first gay male kiss on daytime, we’ve come to the first same-sex wedding*. That’s an impressively short amount of time, especially given how late Days came to the party by introducing Sonny Kiriakis in 2011 as an openly gay man and developing the long, sometimes painfully slow arc of Will Horton coming to terms with his own sexuality and falling for Sonny.

No, I won’t fault Days for finally coming to the table around the desert course, because they seized the zeitgeist by the horns, stopped the music and reset the conventions of the genre and committed to telling a contemporary love story in modern terms using today’s social norms and not relying on unfounded paralytic fears of an older, less wiser, generation. When so many people were predicting the end of soaps, Ken Corday did the right thing in trying to save his: he decided to shift the focus to contemporary values, begin to compress the time it took to tell stories in serial drama and let the naysayers be damned.

It’s the only way you make change happen. It’s the only way you become relevant.

No one should wonder — at all — why Days of our Lives won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama last year.

Freddie Smith and Guy Wilson portray Sonny Kiriakis and Will Horton, daytime’s happiest gay supercouple. Would that we all looked this good in our own wedding pictures!

Why We Love Them
Nick Fallon, nefarious ‘smarmy’ evildoer — assayed brilliantly by Blake Berris — tried, in the days leading up to the wedding, to undermine Will’s confidence, something that was pretty easy to do in the past. He said that the reason that people in Salem were captivated by Will and Sonny was that it was a good old-fashioned romance where the worldly guy (Sonny) came back home and fell in love with the golly-gee wholesomeness of the hometown “total newbie” (Will). And, do you know what? He was right.

That’s why we love this story. It IS a good old-fashioned romance. We love this story for the same reasons that people have been crying at the end of romantic movies, plays and television shows since those media were invented: humans fall in love with love and we love nothing more than watching people fall in love. Oh, and we love happy endings.

The Grooms
When Sonny begins to come up the aisle, on the arm of his mother, there’s a moment when you think he may bolt and run up to Will. His is a character that knows his own mind and he knows what he wants and he has always known that he wanted Will more than anyone or anything else.

When Will sees Sonny coming up the aisle, realizing that he’s there for him, it almost takes his breath away. Forever questioning, forever wondering about his self-worth, forever feeling inferior, you realize at this moment that Will gets all of his strength from Sonny. Sonny has infused him with power, allowed him to be himself, allowed him to grow up and become his own man.

When Will says at the end of his vows, “But most of all, Sonny, I love you,” everyone knows how full of truth and how redolent with meaning that short sentence is.

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Wilson and Smith’s off-screen friendship and chemistry along with their respect for Will and Sonny’s relationship infuses and elevates their on-screen portrayals.| Image: @THEguywilson

Telling the Tale
The writing of the wedding arc has been as superlative as it gets throughout — careful and nuanced — and, in the very best traditions of serials, reaching deep into the story for anchors to bring everything together. Tad references getting told off by Victor Kiriakis in his best man speech; that’s from the summer of 2011, when Sonny came to town. Victor’s own arc from telling Tad “no one talks to a Kiriakis like that” to showing a bigoted associate the door with a “Family values, my ass!” has shown masterful continuity.

And more than that, the short scene in the park on the way to the wedding with Will and T seems like a throwaway, but, without saying it aloud, what Will is remembering is exactly where Sonny kissed him for the first time — an occurrence that began after Tad disowns Will. Then comes Sonny’s kiss, which Will is not ready for, leading Will to sleep with Gabi, T punching out Sonny, Gabi getting pregnant and setting the whole plot in motion.

In other words, they played the long game. Soaps NEVER play the long game. It’s so astonishing, I can’t even think of a time when a story was so well plotted and so well written in a multi-year arc. I was infuriated — just infuriated — when Gabi got pregnant by Will because it seemed an easy way to bust up Will and Sonny’s nascent relationship with every tiresome, hackneyed, eye-rolling, old-fashioned soap opera cliche in the book. Why? Because soaps NEVER play the long game. But here? Son of a bitch, if they haven’t neatly tied up every loose end.

As such, OF COURSE a reformed T is the best man, standing up for them proudly. OF COURSE Lucas has become one of Will and Sonny’s biggest champions. OF COURSE Marlena is the one to marry them, her long arc with Will’s struggles comprising some of the most special scenes over the last several years. OF COURSE EJ DiMera saves the day for a Kiriakis wedding. OF COURSE Sami, however inadvertently, throws a spanner into the gearbox. OF COURSE Justin and Adrienne are the most supportive parents in the world. OF COURSE there’s no “DAYSaster” event [Sami’s wedding is coming!] because it would ruin everything that’s absolutely, positively right about this story.

The Guys
What I think elevates it further is the power of the central performers. Guy Wilson, while a seasoned actor, had only been playing this role for a very short amount of time before these scenes were shot and his roughly four months of screen time — including many days where this story has not been shown — is an awfully compressed interval for someone to claim a character, stamp it as their own and make the audience believe in your characterization — especially an important character previously played by a popular actor.

I’ve watched Guy’s performances closely since he began and he started to charm me early on. He’s a subtle performer who commits readily to the material. His innate intelligence and commitment to the role and the story show through in his performances. As Will is now an older and maturing adult, some of Guy’s choices are bolder than his predecessor, but he plays true to the character brief. The character continues to grow.

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Freddie Smith as Salem’s ‘white knight.’ Sonny generally keeps true, but we all know he has an edge. His last name is Kiriakis, after all.

On the other hand, he plays most of his scenes opposite Freddie Smith, the young man who created Sonny Kiriakis and who is, for my money, one of the finest young actors on the air, so Guy has had to hit a pretty high bar every time he’s up. (You’ll note that I did not say “on daytime.” That’s because I believe that differentiating between actors on daytime and primetime — or now online — is a meaningless and often demeaning construct.)

Freddie is such an easy performer — smooth, solid, layered, confident — everything that Sonny needs to be. He always matches the show’s veterans note for note and lifts up the entire scene, not merely playing his own sides to showcase himself. It is the hallmark of understanding of what it means to be an ensemble player. And it’s damn rare, in this day and age, to find that understanding and ability in someone so young.

New Order Built on the Past
The thing about serials is that, for an audience to buy into them over the long-term, they need to develop relationships with certain characters and certain families. That multi-generational feeling was very much in evidence in Sonny and Will’s wedding and the powerful turns by veterans Deidre Hall, Wally Kurth and Bryan Dattilo [who made me weep like a baby, damn him!] and a lengthy knock-out of a monologue masterfully delivered by the peerless 86-year-old Peggy McCay, served to cement the couple firmly into the bedrock of this show.

I received a tweet awhile back in which the writer called Will and Sonny the modern day Tom and Alice. It was the perfect response. Perfect.

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Frances Reid and Macdonald Carey as Tom and Alice Horton, the original central “tent pole” characters of the long running NBC drama Days of our Lives.

If Days of our Lives is to have a promising and relevant future, its anchors must be placed in characters that both mirror modern life and reflect back on the long history of the show. For decades, Tom and Alice Horton were that center. Plenty of things happened to them, plenty of drama swirled around them, but Tom and Alice as a unit did not waver. Looking back, it’s hard not to think of one without the other. As the show nears the half-century mark, it seems to me that the next generation’s standard bearers of a rare solid soap opera relationship should be Tom and Alice’s great-grandson and the man that he loves.

It is the perfect way to honor the rich history of the program, to honor the genre and to show that the deep, deep roots of serial storytelling have a place in the modern world to tell today’s stories and tackle today’s issues.

In five years, I would love to see Will and Sonny raising their child — or maybe even more than one child by then — and interacting in fundamental ways with the other denizens of Salem while creating a loving and stable home at the center. It would be a powerful statement, one that Days seems to be on the cusp of making. It is certainly one that I would relish.

For the nonce, though, I’m just happy that this story has come into my living room (and smart phone and laptop) and that I was able to share in it. It was simply magnificent.


*Okay, okay, okay, fine! TECHNICALLY this is not the first same-sex wedding. Bianca and Reese on All My Children in 2009 were the first, but that’s a storyline fraught with controversy, not to mention poor plotting and lack of integration into the canvas. Also, their marriage would not have been legal where they lived, because Pennsylvania, where fictional Pine Valley is located, was not — and still is not — an equality state. Days has made Salem’s locale into an equality state in the plot — by fiat — and this is the first daytime TV same sex marriage in the post-DOMA era.

Other Days Ramblings:

See for yourself. Edit by 477mrfixit.

All images and video, unless otherwise noted, originated with and/or are the property of NBC, Sony Pictures Television or Corday Productions.

After DOMA | Lambda Legal

After DOMA | Lambda Legal.

In case you missed it, some very important information from Lambda Legal about life for LGBT couples after Section 3 of DOMA was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Especially important if you are/want to be married.

Bookmark this link.