SJR-7 Update

SJR-7, the bill to amend the Indiana Constitution to prevent equal marriage rights for gay people, was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and will soon be presented to the full Senate for voting – probably next week.

That’s pretty bad news, especially since two amendments to the legislation that were presented were struck down and it will be going to the Senate as is.

The supporting and opposition testimony at the hearing was heavily about that highly controversial and very ambiguous second sentence that I blogged about earlier. Let me refresh your memory:

Definition of marriage. Provides that marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman. Provides that Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Yeah, that’s the one. The guy who introduced the bill, Republican Senator Brandt Hershman, admitted under questioning that even he doesn’t know what “legal incidents of marriage” actually means from a legal standpoint, although he is for some reason confident that it won’t affect anyone but gay people, and that all the other consequences that I blogged about, and that constitutional scholars are sending up red flags about, will never, ever come to pass, gee fucking whiz. Not that he had any explanation about why that wouldn’t occur. We apparently should just trust him. Right.

Both amendments to the legislation that were struck down were about that second clause – one sought to alter it so that legislatures in the future could, when Hoosiers are no longer hate-filled bigots, alter the definition of marriage to be defined in whatever way future Indiana citizens see fit. That was struck down.

The other amendment sought to remove the second sentence altogether, so the ambiguity and potential future lawsuits and controversy that will inevitable arrive from it don’t occur. That, too was struck down.

The defeat of the amendments and the approval of the bill all got votes of 7-4.

Voting against this bill:
Sen. Anita Bowser (D-Michigan City), Sen. John Broden (D-South Bend), Sen. Sam Smith (D-East Chicago) and Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson).

and the bigots voting in favor:
Sen. Jeff Drozda (R-Westfield), Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford), Sen. Teresa Lubbers (R-Indianapolis), Sen. Joe Zakas (R-Granger), Sen. Richard Bray (R-Martinsville), Sen. David Ford (R-Hartford City) and Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette).

As I said, we’ll be marking it down on their permanent records.
What happens next with SJR-7?

I’m going to project a bit here, based on my experience following legislation in the past.

First it will go to the Senate – probably next week, between February 5-9. With any luck it will die there. But it probably won’t, ’cause our Senate is full of bigots who hate gay people. But you should be sending a slew of calls and email to your Senators, no matter what.

If it passes the Senate, it will go to a hearing before a House Committee, similar to today’s hearing. That would probably happen the week of February 12-16. Just in time for Valentines Day! How fracking lovely. If we are very lucky, it will die there. If we’re only sorta lucky, they’ll at least alter that second clause before approving it. (please Jesus, Buddha and Hanuman.) Again, contacting the people on the committee will be helpful critical.

If it doesn’t die there, it would be voted on in the full House, which would probably happen around February 20th or soon after. If it gets to this point – that’s VERY VERY BAD. Which means you better get your ass to the Statehouse, or if you or a family member is on your deathbed, send massive mail or phone calls. And ask your friends and family to do the same.

Continue ReadingSJR-7 Update

Steph Mineart’s Corollary to Godwin’s Law

I’ve had an observation rolling around in my head for many years, but as far as I can tell, I haven’t put written it on my site yet, although I know I’ve pointed it out in email on the gayindy mailing at various times. It popped back into my head as I was thinking about SJR-7 and the testimony that will occur.
There’s a long-standing internet meme called “Godwin’s Law” (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) that says “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” In other words, in any debate, eventually one person will suggested that the argument the other is making is somehow fascist, or comparable to the Nazis.
I’d like to propose a corollary to Godwin’s Law, based on my observation of religious figures in discussions on the subject of equal rights for gay people. And if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to name it after myself:

Continue ReadingSteph Mineart’s Corollary to Godwin’s Law

Gay Figure Skater Mark Lund Publicly Trashes Johnny Weir in Homophobic Outburst

A few days ago, in a preview of the upcoming 2007 US Figure Skating Championships, openly gay figure skater Mark Lund comments with Nancy Kerrigan and Lou Tilley, making some really strong statements about skater Johnny Weir and how he fits into gender roles.

Obviously, Mark Lund is way out of line here — whether or not Johnny is out is irrelevant to me, but his trashing Johnny Weir for Johnny’s femininity is outrageous, homophobic and disgusting. Let Johnny be who he is – we adore him; flames and all – he’s an extraordinary skater of enormous power and beauty and it’s breathtaking to watch him on the ice.

After this statements in the video, public reaction was fierce – people went to Johnny’s defense immediately, and Mark Lund found himself making this statement:

“It has unfortunately become typical that journalists and members of the media who dare to comment about a celebrity or public figure that acts outrageously often come under attack. I see I am now one of those unfortunate targets. This is in reference to remarks I made during the television show Reflections on Ice regarding the reigning U.S. Men’s Figure Skating Champion Johnny Weir.

My credentials in the sport and art of figure skating are well known, as is my orientation as an out gay man. I stand by my statement “overly out without being out” 100%. I say to Mr. Weir, “You enjoy being outspoken and a free spirit. You have said frequently that you have been brought up to speak your mind. However, you refuse to support the very community that paved the way for you.” I say to all those that believe my comments about Mr. Weir were homophobic to take a step back and realize the beliefs you are actually expressing. Mr. Weir is an individual who enjoys all the rights of the gay community without coming out to support the gay community. Now who is the hypocrite here? Most certainly not me.

With Mr. Weir posing for photos wearing heels and elaborate makeup in the pages of BlackBook magazine, I say, ‘Please don’t insult the grand drag queens of yesterday and today, unless you thank them for their tireless efforts of days past and present by acknowledging them publicly.’

My comments regarding his costuming were nothing more than what you see in the newsmagazines and on TV when journalists critique celebrities on the red carpet. I have never liked his costumes and they have become more and more elaborate in recent seasons. They do not represent the sport of figure skating that I love. Why don’t we take a look at the competitive costumes of skaters like Robin Cousins and John Curry. They understood classical elegance. Without a slight to great ballet dancers, my comment that Mr. Weir looks like a prima ballerina on the ice was meant to illustrate what I feel is his outrageous presentation of the sport and art of figure skating. I know I am not alone in my comments.

As a gay man who grew up in a small town in the 1970’s, I was able to look up to those in the sport of figure skating–gay and straight–who earned my admiration through character, dedication and sportsmanship. I am glad to say some of them are great friends of mine today.

Mr. Weir is free to wear what he wants, but he should back it up with actions. No one denies his enormous talent, but my comments were meant to reflect my feeling that he prefers drawing attention for being outrageous to drawing attention for being a great figure skater. The subject of the show on which I made my comments was a preview of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which is a competitive sporting event.

To Mr. Weir, and his apparent legions of fans, to quote the old scoring system, there has been no 6.0 in your collective performances.”

Mr. Lund has some serious self-reflection to engage in before calling Johnny Weir to task for not being out of the closet, frankly, because Mr. Lund’s comments were nothing short of homophobic and gender-conformity shaming, which is horribly out of bounds for someone claiming to be an an “out gay man.”

In the “real world” of figure skating that Mark Lund claims as his own, same-sex pairs and same-sex dance are not allowed, and changing partners mid-skate was a rebellious performance at a competition that got one set of skaters disqualified. Men wearing dresses are not allowed. Until recently, women wearing pants on the ice in competitions was not allowed and even now it’s heavily frowned upon.

At the Gay Games, skaters did all of these things in ways that provoked thought about the sport itself, what it means to skate and what it means to perform in roles and on the ice as a gay person. Where the fuck was Mark Lund during the Gay Games, if he’s so out of the closet and proud of his sport? I saw every second of the skating performances there; he was nowhere to be found. And the figure skating performances there were nothing short of extraordinary — world-class figure skaters in performances that bent and broke gender roles in every conceivable way, and which were truly inspiring because they couldn’t happen anywhere else.

Johnny breaks gender barriers that need to broken in every single sport – until every person, including gay and transgendered people, can find their inner athlete, be able to compete in the sports they want in the ways they want, every sport will be lacking, though the athletes in it may not know it.

Continue ReadingGay Figure Skater Mark Lund Publicly Trashes Johnny Weir in Homophobic Outburst

Anti-Marriage Equality Amendment Introduced to Indiana Legislature

As Bilerico is reporting – the massively flawed legislation to put an anti-marriage equality amendment (banning civil marriage for same-sex partners) on the ballot for voting had been re-introduced to the legislature.

Here’s the proposed bill:

Definition of marriage. Provides that marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman. Provides that Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

That second line — that’s the massively flawed part. The idea is not only to prevent us from getting married, but also to prevent civil unions. But the wording of this bill is so bad that it has ramifications FAR BEYOND same-sex couples, and far beyond civil unions. This is what happened in Ohio – domestic violence laws are being invalidated for heterosexual couples who are unmarried – and women are being victimized as a result, because they’re abused by their live-in boyfriends, but the police can’t prosecute because they aren’t “married.”

Read that second paragraph again, and think about it for a minute.

Now think about that in context of Stephanie and I, trying to build a life together – to protect our joint property and provide for one another as we get older. That can invalidate wills, powers of attorney, living wills, assets and trusts.

We have to spend thousands of dollars that heterosexual people don’t to protect our lives – you get it just by getting a $10 marriage license. And that second line of this bill – can throw all of it out the window.

This bill is CRAZY – and it’s going to be voted on in the legislature a second time. It’s called SJR-7 – Senate Resolution 7. You can track what’s happening to it at that link.

The Homophobic Hate-Filled Bigots Responsible

Republican Senator Brandt Hershman (Wheatfield) – the Majority Whip

These people know what that second line means – they know how harmful it can be. They’re aware that we could lose our assets and be out in the cold, and they know about the problems in Ohio – but they’re so filled with hatred they don’t care.

Please contact every single one of these utter jackholes (information at the links) and tell them that they’re not good Christians for supporting this kind of discrimination, (make sure to say SJR-7) and call them on being the evil, hate-filled bigots that they are.

Stephanie and Steph

Do it for us — aren’t we cute? Shouldn’t we get to have a life together? Don’t you love us? Let these guys know that what they’re doing hurts people you care about.

Why this should be decided by courts, not by ballot

Civil rights should not be subject to the tyranny of the majority. That’s the key that sets America apart from other democracies – We have a Bill of Rights that protects the rights of the individual from the whims of the masses.

If we let people vote on civil rights, Rosa Parks would still be sitting at the back of the bus right now. Fortunately, the wiser head of a court system were allowed to interpret the law and decide discrimination was wrong.

But if we let Indiana citizens AMEND THE CONSTITUTION just to arbitrarily discriminate against a group of people, we’ll be betraying every principle the country stands for.

Continue ReadingAnti-Marriage Equality Amendment Introduced to Indiana Legislature

The Catholic Church Has a New Policy on Gay People

This happened earlier in the week, but I haven’t had time to address it before now. If you know me, you know I grew up Catholic and have had somethings to say in the past about the Catholic Church and their behavior towards gay people.

Catholic Bishops have officially approved new guidelines concerning ministry to gay people that basically say gays are sort of okay within the church, just as long as their sexual orientation is in no way sexual.

The guidelines state that while the Church teaches that homosexual acts are immoral, there is a distinction between engaging in homosexual acts and having a homosexual orientation. “While the former is always sinful, the latter is not.”

“It is crucially important to understand that saying a person has a particular inclination that is disordered is not to say that the person as a whole is disordered. Nor does it mean that one has been rejected by God or the Church.”

In other words, it’s okay if I’m gay, but I have to be celibate. And there are some other conditions, too:

  • Persons who experience same-sex attraction and yet are living in accord with Church teaching should be encouraged to take an active role in the life of the faith community. However, the Church has a right to deny roles of service to those whose behavior violates her teaching.
  • The Christian life is a progressive journey toward a deepening of one’s discipleship of Christ…Those who stumble along the way should be encouraged to remain in the community and to continue to strive for holiness. In this regard, frequent reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is of great importance.
  • The Church does not support so-called same-sex “marriages” or any semblance thereof, including civil unions that give the appearance of a marriage. Church ministers may not bless such unions or promote them in any way, directly or indirectly.
  • Similarly, the Church does not support the adoption of children by homosexual couples since homosexual unions are contrary to the divine plan. For this reason, Baptism of children adopted by such couples presents a pastoral concern. Nevertheless, the Church does not refuse the Sacrament of Baptism to these children, but there must be a well founded hope that the children will be brought up in the Catholic religion.

So I get to be a part of the church, but I have to be a sexless second class citizen within it. Oh lucky fucking me.

Yay! Here’s what I think about that:

let me laugh even harder.

Honey, no.

Continue ReadingThe Catholic Church Has a New Policy on Gay People

Even more on Outing

I’ve talked about the subject of “Outing” in the past several times. Scott tackled the issue recently on Bilerico, and along with a lot of others, I commented. I wanted to pull my comment over here, though, because it’s a refinement of some of my previous ideas.

I’ve pointed this out in the past — I really try not to use the euphemisms “outing” and “closeted” because it masks what we really mean — being honest about sexual orientation, or lying about it — and because the terms are so pervasive we no longer think of the issue as an ethical one.

We really have built into our culture this shelter for people who lie about their sexual orientation. In many ways, that’s nurturing for people who are still coming to terms with themselves, but it’s also destructive in many ways. It allows predators to run rampant, it allows people to dodge stigmas they shouldn’t get to dodge, it allows a general air of dishonesty envelope our community that people take as license to be dishonest in other ways.

Continue ReadingEven more on Outing

Mark Foley, and “real” gay relationships

In an opinion piece for the LA Times, Michelangelo Signorile says that the media should have “outed” Mark Foley as gay soon after his hypocritical votes in favor of anti-gay legislation. I agree with Signorile about “outing” hypocritical public figures, and consistently always have. But there’s something else in the article that I wanted to highlight…

Foley lived in a glass closet in Washington, where many people, we’re now being told, assumed he was gay, even as he orchestrated a lie for the voters of his district with help from the media both in Washington and at home in Florida.
Foley’s closet wasn’t just about protecting his political career. He seemed to be filled with shame. According to one gay man quoted in the Washington Post last week who challenged Foley on his voting for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, Foley justified marginalizing gay marriage by saying, “I could never compare any relationship I have ever had to the nature of my mother and father’s relationship.”
For Foley, homosexuality meant second-class status.
That kind of self-loathing is bound to play out in harmful ways. Would Foley have made online sexual advances on teenagers if he were openly gay or if he’d been reported on, truthfully, by the media as a gay man long ago, and faced the consequences? It’s quite possible the answer is no.

I find the phrase I highlighted above just heartbreaking, for Mark Foley’s sake as well as for my own.
I love my parents, and the people who are especially my role models for a good marriage — my paternal grandparents, who are just wonderful people. But do they somehow have a more “valid” relationship than mine? Of course not. When I see my girlfriend, I see someone as important to me as the members of my own family; someone that love, adore, want to become a better person for, to live with and build a life with.
If I can live up to my grandparent’s example even half way (I’ve referred to them in the past as living examples of “happily ever after”) then I will be more successful as a spouse than 95% of heterosexual married couples are. And I love Stephanie so much that I want that for her and for me. I want a relationship like my grandparents have, with love and stability and surrounded by family and friends.
As loathsome as I think Mark Foley’s behavior was, I hope that someday he finds a relationship that moves him in that way, too — an equitable relationship based on respect and honesty and concern for the well being of his partner.

Continue ReadingMark Foley, and “real” gay relationships

Oh my god, Did Bauer just throw us under the bus?

Thanks to Bil for pointing out this jaw-dropping statement from Indiana Minority Leader Pat Bauer, D-South Bend:

“I just think that the only way for (Republicans) not to (continue to) demagogue it is to have a redundancy. It’s too bad it has to go in the constitution, but so be it,” Bauer said. “It’s not worth the time, the trouble, to point out that it’s not a problem (in Indiana), so it’s better just to have the vote and see how it goes.”

Under GOP leadership, both chambers of the General Assembly passed a same-sex marriage amendment last year. The measure must be approved by the newly elected Legislature next year or in 2008 before it could go on the statewide ballot for approval from voters.

That’s nice. Tell me again why I live in Indiana?

Continue ReadingOh my god, Did Bauer just throw us under the bus?

Brad Pitt: I’ll marry when everyone can

via Shakesville, this article on Yahoo:

“Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able,” the 42-year-old actor reveals in Esquire magazine’s October issue, on newsstands Sept. 19.

That is pretty awesome. I have to admit that at each of the three weddings we’ve been to in the past year, although I was deeply supportive of the happy couple, there was a part of me that resented their ability to get married.

It’s also pretty awesome that Zack, contributor to Shakesville, is proposing a “band together in solidarity” pledge for straight couples to not get married until we can. That is not only helpful, but necessary if we ever hope to make change.

But the most awesome thing of all is what some of the people said in the comments to Zack’s post — how their 80-year old parents got divorced with the help of lawyers for family charges in protest that their gay kids can’t get married. Man alive! That’s cool as hell.  You can contact attorneys help for your family law claims to help you out in this situation. As divorce has negative impacts on child growth,they have suggested that you can consult child custody lawyers serving Richland to help you legally. Hire a Schaumburg divorce lawyer to handle the legal aspects of your divorce while you sort out personal issues.

Continue ReadingBrad Pitt: I’ll marry when everyone can

Gay Games 2006

We’re headed up to Chicago for the Gay Games this week. Stephanie’s skating in two competitions as part of Team Indiana, so we’ll be there all week. (IIf you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter!)
We’re staying with Stephanie’s Dad (and taking Spike!) so our internet connections will be sporatic, but we’ll try to visit Starbucks or Panera to do some blogging during the week.
Today we register Stephanie and attend the Opening Ceremonies — lots of celebrities, including Megan Mulallay an Holly Near.

Gay Games 2006 Opening Ceremonies

Photo Galleries from Gay Games 2006:
Gay Games Opening Ceremonies
Gay Games: Figure Skating, Day 1
Gay Games: Figure Skating, Day 2
Gay Games: Figure Skating, Exhibition of Champions
Team Indiana: After Party

Continue ReadingGay Games 2006