Posts Tagged ‘gay activism’

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Gay-Bashed! (?) Part 2

December 3, 2008

While there was nothing violent about the last night’s incident, I can’t help but feel violated in some way.  It’s clear that the perpetrators intended to intimidate us in some way, even if they lacked the intelligence to figure out that a couple of gay men, living open lives, with a rainbow garden flag out front, would be happy to receive some gay porn magazines.  Did they think we would feel shame?  Did they think we would be angry?  We’re not girly-men, so we’re certainly not going to run away and cry! 

Still, that feeling of violation, that sense of being threatened remains.  There was no obvious threat, but the message seems to be “we don’t like your kind here, and we’re willing to do something about it.”   The strange thing is that we don’t get that message from our neighbors, nor do we hear it from the many people we interact with in this small community. 

So, what to do with that little bit of trepidation that causes me to inspect the house or cars for vandalism on a regular basis?  TAKE IT BACK!   That’s what I decided to do!   Racial groups take back the slurs that burned their ears for so long, minorities take the jokes and stereotypes and serve them up with humor for each other to enjoy.  Please!  When they’re making fun of a flaming queen, gay men swish better than any straight man ever could.

I took back the violation that occurred last night, and served it up with some chutzpah!

I'd like to thank the would-be gay-basher in a big way.

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Gay-Bashed! (?)

December 3, 2008

I am so pissed off right now.  No.  Really, I am. 

We’ve been bashed. 

At least, I think we have. 

I returned home from a rehearsal just about 30 minutes ago, and as I rounded the corner, I noticed something in the street lying next to my husband’s car.  Was it a stack of advertising flyers?  Some newspapers?  I walked over to inspect the debris next to Scott’s car.   Magazines.  5 of them.  Gay porn.  Well, mostly gay porn.  One of them was a “Playgirl” magazine which some gay men might read, but technically that isn’t the demographic they are targeting. 

Of course, we’re clueless as to whom it might be that would have done this.  But one does start to wonder about why they have those magazines to begin with.  Did they buy them specifically to throw at our cars or house?  If they hate us that much, are we really worth the money they spent, particularly now that we’re in a recession, just to dump them on the street in front of our home?  And why was the cover missing from the Inches magazine?  Did our would-be gay basher decide that the guy on the cover was just too cute, or too hung to give up?  Is that cover tucked safely away under his mattress?  

Remember this entry, where I talk about some of the things that my own father has put in my head?  I didn’t mention this particularly gross joke:

You wanna make someone really mad?  Get a mouth full of dog poop and spit it at them!  Oh, that really gets them going.  Go ahead, do that.  Watch how angry they get.  

You wanna make a couple of gay guys really mad?  Drop off some gay porn at their door.   Oooh, they hate that.  Go ahead, that will really piss them off! 

 

lol_graphic_1

 

I’m kinda hoping they bash us again tomorrow night.   Yeah.  Two nights in a row, that will really intimidate us.  Imagine how scared we’ll be looking at 10 magazines with page after page of naked men. 

 

It’s time to grow up, boys.  And bring us that magazine cover that you saved for yourself.   We can give you the real thing.  

 

 

If you’re man enough.

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Where is the Disconnect?

October 25, 2008
 
Supporters of California’s Proposition 8, which would create a ban on same sex marriages in the state by amending the state constitution,  seem to have some trouble getting their facts straight, no pun intended. I’ve noticed many new blogs appearing on www.wordpress.com with the sole issue being the support of Prop 8.  I visited one such blog recently and made a comment.  I was surprised and impressed that the blogger made an effort to contact me by email and engage in conversation. Within a few email exchanges, however, this particular blogger retreated to anti-gay tirades while ignoring the substantive discussion that had begun.  Allow me to make a few quotes from Trey’s email and make a few comments.
 
I don’t think its right for you to have benefits as a domestic partnership but be subject to greater hassle and scrutiny than a married couple. In CA, domestic partnerships have all the same legal rights as heterosexual marriages do, under the family code. That is why I am taking a stand. When the argument is truly about civil rights, I am not in favor of denying rights; however, I am adamantly against redefining marriage as an institution, which is what the CA supreme court did.  
 
So here’s something that the Federal Supreme Court declared back in 1954:  Separate is not Equal.  Trey the blogger feels that because domestic partnership registries are available to same-sex couples, civil marriage should be denied to gay and lesbian people.  California’s Supreme Court decided that the state’s constitution did not define marriage as 1 man and 1 woman, and ruled that civil marriage can indeed be 2 women, or 2 men, as well as a woman and a man.  The Supreme Court did it’s job; it ruled on the basis of the existing state constitution.  It did not, as Trey claims, redefine marriage.  Nor are these activist judges as many Prop 8 supporters would have the public believe.  Three of the four judges who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage were appointed to the court by conservative Republican governors. 
 
I have an unshakeable [sic] belief that a two-parent, heterosexual nuclear family is the ideal situation for a child to grow up in. I think that single parent families are unfortunate too, and believe they are the result of immature sexual acts, very poor judgement, or, in many cases, the selfishness of one individual wanting out of a marital relationship to fulfill needs, sometimes carnal, sometimes emotional, etc.
Well, Trey, by all means, make sure that you maintain your two-parent, heterosexual nuclear family, and be prolific.  Encourage other heterosexuals to do the same.  But why view single parent families as merely “unfortunate”?  Why not work to make their existance illegal in the same way you wish to make gay and lesbian marriages illegal?  Given all this rhetoric about the importance of family and children, especially when considering same-sex marriages, it would make sense that Prop 8 supporters would also be working to make divorce illegal and doing all they can to prevent the creation of bastard children.  I don’t recall any legislators introducing that kind of legislation recently.
  
The biological procreation of society is only conducted through heterosexual relationships, for if a lesbian is inseminated by sperm from a gay man, there is not intimate love creating that life.  
 
Trey, my dear man, just what are you trying to say here?  Children produced out of acts of lust are not the same as children born to loving heterosexuals?  Or perhaps you are saying that assisted reproduction is a morally wrong.  Maybe you’re saying that gay sperm is less conducive to producing a viable life, or that the lesbian womb is hostile to the embryo.  The implication you’re making is that gay and lesbian couples are incapable of loving the children with which they are blessed.  Thousands of gay parents would disagree with you. 
 
If the gay community was not so adamant about pushing its lifestyle onto mainstream America, “forcing” acceptance through the courts, but was instead satisfied with equal protection in the workplace, equal rights in the courtroom during probate hearings, etc, there would be more harmony between the gay community and the rest of society.
 
Well, here’s the deal, Trey:  as a gay man, I am faced with countless expressions of the heterosexual lifestyle on a daily basis.  Billboards, magazine ads, pop ups and banners on the internet, signs on buses, radio and television advertisements, movies, tv shows, news reports, love songs on the radio, spam in my email inbox, all showing me some degree of heterosexuality, often blatant and even vulgar.  Your disgusting lifestyle is in my face 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  When I ask to have the same benefits of marriage as a straight couple, do not presume to tell me that I am forcing my lifestyle on anyone.  If you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t marry a gay guy!
 
But changing the definition of marriage, and then teaching homosexuality to young children upsets and shocks the conscience of many.
 
I’ve got news for you, Trey.  The definition of marriage has changed many times in the course of history.  Please don’t trot out the Biblical definition of marriage, or that God ordained marriage as 1 man and 1 woman.  It just isn’t so.  God ordained, and approved of the marriage of 1 man and 700 wives, and gave that man (Solomon) an additional 300 mistresses.  Marriage has quite often been 1 man and 2 wives.  Marriage has been arranged by the parents with the prospective bride and groom having no say whatsoever in the choice of their spouse.  In the past 100 years, we’ve come to believe that couples seek a mate in a process known as dating.  That couple marries, presumably, based on their love for each other and mutual compatibility.  In the course of history, this is a relatively new concept. 
Teaching children that gay and lesbian couples exist is socially responsible education.  And guess what?  Many children are already aware of this fact because of the kid in their classroom who has 2 mommies, or 2 daddies. 
 
Trey, when you’re willing to support a law that bans all marriages but those that can create the nuclear family consisting of a Mother, Father, and their biological offspring, I will take you seriously about your support for Prop 8.  Remember to include in your ban, heterosexual couples who are sterile, as well as couples who are past the age of childbearing years.  Sr. Citizens must be compelled to forego marriage and take advantage of that separate (but equal in your eyes) domestic partnership.  Younger couples who fail to produce children within a reasonable amount of time, should have their marriage licenses revoked. 
 
There is a real culture war going on, and I can’t sit back and pretend my family is not harmed by calling what my wife and I have the same thing that two men have.
 
And here is the real problem, isn’t it?  These good folks who claim to be so concerned about the family, about God, about country, just can’t stand to think that someone so different from them, someone whom they believe their God condemns, might actually be happy together.  Maybe even happier.  Draw the line, build the fence, create a group that is other.  And Trey, while you’re at it, why not round us up, load us on the train, and send us to a detention camp? 
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Hey Hatas! It’s Time to Walk the Talk

September 27, 2008

It’s time for the rubber to meet the road, and I’m not talking about fucking in the streets.  I have run into too many christians spouting off homophobic comments, writing anti-gay blog entries, that, when confronted, employ less than honorable journalistic skills and hide behind the common refrain “God said it in the Bible, I didn’t.  If you don’t like it, take it up with God.” 

So, homophobes, bigots, hypocrites, family values supporters, christians, and evangelicals/fundamentalists, take note:  it’s time to put up or shut up.  You need to find some ethical standards if you’re going to participate in the blogging world, and you need to be consistent about your beliefs.  In addition, you need to support your beliefs with scripture as well as demonstrate that you know some reliable facts before you form an opinion and put it out there for all the world to see.

Let’s take another look at the American Family Association’s boycott of McDonald’s.  I recently hit the tag surfer button here on my wordpress dashboard and ran across a young man who enjoys blogging about conservative issues.  Jermy Buffo seems to think that McDonald’s was acting improperly when it did two things:  requested a group discount for sending at least 15 employees to a training session known as the “Out and Equal 2008 Workplace Summit”  and donated $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.  Bluffer then made some outrageous replies to comments at his blog, and employed some questionable practices while doing so. 

I confronted Mr. Fluffer with some hard evidence about his claims.  Claim #1 was that McDonald’s had suffered a huge financial blow because of the AFA’s boycott.  I provided a link to Yahoo’s stock reports which showed McDonald’s stock values had steadily increased since start of the boycott. I think most people would agree that this would indicate that the boycott is having no effect whatsoever.  Claim #2 was that McDonald’s was pushing the gay agenda above and beyond anything else.  I did the math for this guy, and showed him how McDonald’s gave a total of $30,462.50 for joining the NGLCC and attending the Equal and Out Conference.  Then I quoted from McDonald’s own website that shows they have donated $460 million in grant money over and above their corporate support of Ronald McDonald House Charities. 

The really disturbing stuff comes in how Boffo handles the comments.  One of my replies was totally deleted, which caused me to start making screen captures of my posts that were awaiting moderation.  At one point, Jerkmy accuses me of calling his writing “crap.”   I searched my replies and finally discovered that I had quoted another comment by a guy named Andrew.  Andrew had called the writing crap.  Now, remember, Jeremy claims he doesn’t delete any of the comments, however, when I posted the correction that Andrew had made the comment, not me, that particular post never made it to the blog. 

It’s just a bit of creative editing that allowed Mr. Bluffo, the right-wing, conservative, anti-gay blogger to accuse me of lying without ever having to admit to his own error.  So what have we learned from the religious right?  Make accusations, and never admit that you were wrong. 

Now let’s take a look at a woman who represents God, although I’m not sure if this is a self-proclaimed title or an actual endorsement from the Almighty.  I’m not sure who represents the licensing in this case.  Here’s a link to Janelinda, but let me warn you, the woman has no taste.  The font size, colors, and site theme more than clash, it hurts the eyes.  Janelinda caught my eye while tag surfing a few days ago. 

Here’s the exchange that got things rolling:

janelinda said: The truth is that Paul’s writings are clear that homosexuality is a sin rewarded by death. If the state won’t do it, the church will.

keltic said:  wow, it sounds like you’d like to kill all the gay people. as a matter of fact, it sounds like you’re threatening to do just that. will you pick up the first stone?

Now, I don’t put this out there to brag, but I know my way around the Bible.  I know which books are Old Testament and which are New Testament, I know the major themes, and I even hold a minor in religious studies.  I know that the verse to which this woman refers to does not have a death penalty attached to it.  I also know that Jesus silenced a group of hypocrites by saying “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” as a way of teaching that humans can not make that kind of judgment against each other.   Yet, here is a woman who is perfectly willing to make that kind of statement, and proclaim it loudly as her duty to God. 

Again, the deceit and unethical tactics commence.  Janelinda began using my comments as material for her blog entries, yet she would let my comments sit “awaiting moderation” for days on end. 

Another favorite tactic of the screeching fundamentalists:  when confronted, fling a little mud.  Case in point:  in reply to my question about why christians are concerned so much with homosexuality and less about divorce, in light of the fact that Jesus said nothing about the former and plenty about the latter, I got a response about pedophilia. 

Yes, Jesus was silent on the subject of homosexuality even as he was silent about molesting children.

I gave her the statistics that prove children are in more danger from straight people, but she chooses not to be confused by facts. 

Once again, I had to request that the owner of the blog post all of my comments, not just those they wanted their readers to see.  One comment has been lost completely, after which I began performing screen captures.  This particular blogger decided that my comments could go unpublished, but that she would use them as a starting point for ever more shrill homophobic posts.  A request to allow my posts to be made public was met with a disclaimer at the beginning of another blog entry about how nasty “teh gays” are. 

Now I am engaged in what can best be described as talking at each other, I certainly wouldn’t call it a dialog.  Ms. Jadedliah seems to think I don’t have an understanding of the Bible.  Notice how she ignores my questions about other laws or rules that are clearly stated in scripture.  She so cleverly turns that around to say that she doesn’t need to explain the law to me.  Of course she doesn’t!  I already understand the law, but I also understand that no one can ever fulfill the law.  I know that every time a fundie trots out a scripture with the intent to beat a homosexual into submission, they are ignoring all the words around it that condemn them 20 times more than God’s word condemns gays and lesbians.  Miss Jane claims to be a minister, called to preach God’s unchanging word.  So when asked about a few scriptures that imply women should never take on that role, she pulls a few more out of context to support her case. 

You will not move from what God has said in the Bible? that is excellent news!
1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.

as well as 1 Timothy 2:12-14 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

So you are condemned by your own words. “I was called to ministry. I didn’t decide this myself. I was called when a child to preach the gospel.”

To whom do you preach? Only other women? You have been instructed by God’s Holy Word to keep silent. why is it that you, by your own admission, disobey God’s commandments?

I admit to playing devil’s advocate in this exchange.  I believe women have a rightful place in ministry.  I’m just baffled by a woman who can ignore clear scriptures about her own position within the church, then turn around and issue condemning decrees about gays and lesbians with those same scriptures.

So here is my request, Mr. Fluffer, Ms. Janelicka, and all you other hate-filled (love the sinner, hate the sin) types of christians/ fundies/ evangelicals/  right-wingnuts/ conservatives/ homophobes.  Do us all a favor and start living your lives in a more consistent fashion.  When you write an offensively homophobic blog entry, have the balls to go exactly where you intend it to go. 

For instance, if you want to use Leviticus as your basis for hating on the gays, you’ve got to be willing to kill us.  The scripture is clear.  It doesn’t say that the government has that responsibility, it doesn’t assign that duty to some church committee, it is entirely up to God’s people to stand up and do the right thing:  Kill those Faggots! 

If you’re going to skip lunch at McDonald’s because they gave a few nickels to a gay & lesbian organization, you’ve got to hold fast to that commitment.  Now, go out and find all the other businesses that support homosexuals and boycott them as well.  Need some help?  Here’s a list:  Burger King, Pepsico, Frito Lay, Wells Fargo, Kodak, Levi’s, Pacific Gas & Electric Co (Californian’s united for Hate, turn off those lights!), Motorola, American Express, Shop n Save, Cub Foods, Blue Cross of California, Comcast, Capitol One, Coors Light, AT&T, Marriott, Ramada, Hilton, Southwest Airlines, Johnson & Johnson, UPS.  Have we hit you where you live yet?  You, homophobes calling for boycotts and screaming that granting civil rights to gay and lesbian people is giving them special rights, need to walk the talk!  Stop giving your hard-earned straight dollars to all these companies that are pushing the gay agenda!  Do it now!  I mean it. 

Stop listening to music created by gay people.  That means you’ll have to give up all your Judas Priest albums (Rob Halford is gay), no more Clay Aiken, Johnny Mathis, or Barry Manilow.  No Stephen Sondheim, Elton John, or K D Lang.  How’d you like Ray Boltz’s music back in the day?  Surprise, he just came out too.  Is the music minister at your church a male?  He may be deeply closeted, but he’s most likely gay.  Don’t sing along until you can have him fired and replaced by your 85 year old aunt Stella.  Into classical?  Change the station when Aaron Copland hits the airwaves, or Samuel Barber, or even Tchaikovsky.  Don’t even think of going to the theater for a Broadway show;  you’ll find more gays than you can shake a stick at, whether you’re into shaking sticks or not! 

Need some more help?  Go buy a gay magazine like Out, or Advocate, or Instinct.  Don’t worry about reading any of the articles, just make a list of the companies who advertise in the magazines.  Then, keep that list handy whenever you need to make a purchasing decision.  You’ll need to avoid Tylenol products, Avis car rentals, premium movie channels, all the major clothing designers, and most travel destinations. 

But why stop there?  Let’s bring the hate a little closer to home.  Who does your hair?  Have you been going to that gay man for your latest hairstyle?  Stop it!  What’s your favorite restaurant?  Make sure that chef with the short hair isn’t a butch lesbian.  Got a car that needs maintenance?  Be sure to ask the mechanic if he’s ever had a cock in his mouth.  And for God’s sake, don’t go to the garage that has a woman working on cars.  Does the coffee shop employ androgynous baristas?  Go get your morning java at the convenience store. 

You think that “millions and millions” of Americans want to recognize marriage as being one man and one woman?  That’s great, a little hyperbolic, but great.  If it’s as you say it is, then there should be no problems finding businesses, large and small, that will assist you in your boycott of all things gay.  Think globally, act locally.  Hate universally.

I have one small favor to ask.  Could you email me and let me know what time you intend to be here to stone me?  I’d hate to be late for my own funeral.

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Blogging for LGBT Families Day!

June 2, 2008

Blogging for LGBT Families Day 2008

 

I’ve rewritten this first sentence a few times now:  I wanted to talk about how busy we’ve been lately, that being parents of school-age kids means that May has a hectic schedule.  Then I thought about the age range of our seven kids, 9-20, and realized that no matter what age they are, there is always something to command a parent’s attention regarding kids and school.  It starts when you enroll them in preschool and I guess I’ll have to let you  know when it ends. 

In the past month, we’ve attended band concerts, dressed one up for the prom as well as graduation, picked one up at college and taken her back for a spring course, then loaded the van to bring her home again.  We’ve planned a graduation party, arranged for transportation of another kid to school for a sports physical, and attended an awards ceremony for yet another son who did well in art class this past year.  There has been a dentist appointment, a job interview, a school picnic, Boy Scouts, a rock concert, and a road trip.  That sounds like a lot of fun, but the parents have been left out of the fun stuff, except for delivering the kids to some of those events. 

For most parents, I haven’t described anything unfamiliar, some may be wishing that their schedule was so light.  The difference is that this is a blended family, the children are sharing their parents and dealing with step-siblings.  Again, no big deal, a lot of kids do that, some better than others.  No need to write about that:  Been There, Done That, Wore Out the T-Shirt.  Our kids, though, are the offspring of our straight marriages.  I have three children;  two boys 19 & 9, and the only girl, 20.  My partner has 4 boys; the 18yo who just graduated, a 15yo, and 12yo twins.  We all live within 2 miles of each other, and although the mothers have physical custody of the kids, we all share in their care. 

Any problems?  Of course there are, children who find themselves in a new family dynamic that they didn’t choose will let you know when they aren’t happy.  At some point during the past 5 years, each kid has had their moment to let us know how they feel.  For us, the gay dads worried about how this will affect the kids, we’ve come to watch for certain indications that things are going well.  I like to watch for humor.  If the kids can joke about it, take a good-natured ribbing and turn it back on us with a snappy comeback and we all laugh about it, then I know we’re doing well. 

There are many voices from the religious right who would say that we’re destroying the American family, that if my partner and I would be allowed to marry, society would collapse, the children would become juvenile delinquents, and hurricanes would visit our great land.  They believe that a family is one man, one woman, and whatever children God sees fit to bless them with as a natural result of their physical intimacy.  While that may appear to be the paradigm, those who wish to enforce this on everyone by any means possible, including legislation by a civil government (not a theocracy) are ignoring one major issue.  There have always been families that do not fit.  These families exist now, have been around for a long time, and do not threaten to destroy our society. 

There are so many possible combinations that constitute a family:  single parents, grandparents raising kids, aunts and uncles taking in their nephews and nieces, extended families in one household, lesbian moms who have adopted, lesbian moms who carry their own babies, gay dads who became parents through a surrogate, gay dads like us who had their own kids through a straight relationship.  I know of blended families in which children no longer live with a biological parent because mom or dad have passed on after their divorce and remarriage.  They stay with the step-parent and are cared for by a loving new parent.  There are foster families and group homes, and probably many other arrangements that my mind can not conceive but those families work, in spite of varying from what some would declare normal. 

LGBT families are here, and have been for a long time.  If you’ve got a gay or lesbian family member, someone who is bisexual or transgendered in your own family, then you are part of an LGBT family.  Those LGBT people are living in their own nuclear families in a myriad of ways, and it is working.  It succeeds because of love. 

It is time for our country to stop bullying people into living lives that are dishonest.  The nuclear family of a man and a woman and a boy and a girl is a great example, but not the only example of what a family can be.  It doesn’t reflect the reality of our communities.  To write legislation into state constitutions that discriminates against LGBT people, preventing them from accessing marriage and the attending benefits and protections is not only wrong, but ignorant of what already exists and succeeds. 

Our family succeeds when I help my step-sons with their homework.  It succeeds when my partner helps my daughter move her belongings back home at the end of the college semester.  Love shows the way when one of my step-sons calls to say he’s lost and I get on google to find the street names he’s calling out and map him a way back home.  Family values guide us to sit down together for a meal and enjoy each other’s company.  Teaching those values to the kids cause my partner to involve my youngest son in a home remodelling project.  Those precious few “teachable” moments come when the twins need a haircut and money is short, so I get out the clippers and scissors and talk to them while I trim their hair. 

We already exist as a family.  To continue ignoring us, or to try to legislate us away, will not cause us to disappear.  That would only permit a certain group of people to feel good about their bigotry.

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We’re Just Defining One Word

April 13, 2008

On Thursday, April 10th, I took a personal day from work to attend a Pennsylvania State Senate hearing in Pittsburgh, concerning SB1250, the Marriage Protection Amendment.  (appropriate groans can be made here.)  It was a long hearing, and I invested more than 8 hours in driving, walking, sitting and listening to more than 3 hours of testimony, having a beer afterward as I waited for traffic to clear, then heading home again.  I’ve waited a few days on writing this entry because I wanted to write about the things that stand out in my mind. 

I am struck by the argument from the religious right that their purpose, their goal in proposing a marriage protection amendment is to define one word:  marriage.  At least, that is what some would have us believe by their testimony at this hearing.  Is it even possible for a government to define a word, and hold everyone to that definition of that particular word.  How would it be enforced?  Who would be responsible if the meaning begins to change, the person using it, or the word itself? 

Proponents of the bill would like to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.  They claim that all other unions could be called anything else, just not “marriage”  which would be reserved for the union of one man and one woman.  It’s clear, from other information put forth by these conservative organizations, and from the wording of the bill itself, that they have something else in mind.  The intent is not to define marriage, but to exclude certain people from participating in marriage, and the attending civil benefits.  If it were not otherwise, there would be no need to include the phrase “functional equivalent of marriage” in the bill.  By adding this to the wording of the proposed amendment, supporters have guaranteed that gay and lesbian couples would never benefit from marriage, nor would they ever receive the blessings of civil unions. 

Words change.  Their spellings evolve, their meanings either change, or develop additional uses.  Think about a few words that have changed in the course of a generation or two:  smack is generally accepted to indicate a sharp strike with a hand or flat object; it has also come to mean a loud kiss, and an accepted term for the drug heroin.  Crack has developed in a similar fashion, acquiring the new definition of a form of cocaine in addition to meaning a fissure and at least 30 other concepts.  Awful is another word that has changed from something that is full of awe, to a word that has a negative connotation.  How many words have re-entered the language with new meanings with the advent of technology?  Words like backup, monitor, cell, download, hardware, virus, peripheral, and memory have taken on new meanings in the past 25-30 years. 

“Marriage” is one of those words that has changed.  In simple forms marriage indicates that civil or sacred contract between two individuals who are intent to spend the rest of their lives together.  It also indicates an intimate or close union, as in the marriage of vocal music and drama to create opera or musical theater for example.  At one time, marriage conjured up thoughts of the deals made by fathers as they negotiated the contracts dictated by arranged marriages.  Looking at biblical history, we can see that marriage could mean different things for the husband and wife, as the husband was considered of greater importance, while the wife could be just one of many women with a similar union to her husband.  Today when we think of marriage, we think of two people searching for that special someone, dating, building common experiences, and finally committing to each other.  Even “until death do us part” is optional.  Is it so hard to think that marriage is two people, either of different gender or the same gender, who have paired up, committed to caring for each other in a loving relationship? 

The bottom line for me, concerning the testimony given by William C. Duncan via Deborah Hamilton,  Randy Lee, Sharon Capretto, & Rita Joyce, is that they wish to legislate a definition of marriage that simply prevents a certain group of citizens from participating in a civil right that is offered only to those who happen to have been born as a heterosexual.  Some of those who testified in favor of the bill hid their agenda of religion-based discrimination behind convoluted explanations of the definition of a word, and how courts would then continue to define it.  Randy Lee even claimed it was a way of ensuring fair trade practices, and compared it to the labeling of canned vegetables:  businesses can not put a picture of corn on a can of peas.  In the same way, Mr. Lee claimed that calling a same-sex relationship marriage, is deceptive because marriage is reserved for two people of the opposite sex.  Sharon Capretto, and to some extent, Rita Joyce, were the most honest about their reasons for supporting SB1250.  They expressed their support for this bill based on their religious convictions, their understanding of scripture.  However, we do not live in a theocracy and no one’s religious views should be imposed on all of our citizens. 

Finally, in a dramatic testimony, Doris Cipolla of Erie, made a passionate, heartbreaking plea to defeat this amendment.  She pointed out that we are people, not cans of vegetables. Cans are man-made, vegetables, peas carrots or corn, come from the earth and are easily identified.  Sadly, Doris and her partner CharleneTanner lived their lives as a closeted couple.  it was only after Charlene’s death that Doris realized that she could no longer be silent.  She speaks with such a passion, that several times during the hearing we were moved to tears, or cheering, and spontaneous applause.  As she left the desk from which she testified, we stood to honor this woman who spoke so eloquently on our behalf. 

 

Doris Cipolla testifying against SB1250 in Pittsburgh, April 10, 2008