Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sex with Ducks the Musical

Borglum's Iris Gardens



It's that time of year again! Borglum's is favorite destination in the late spring.


Acres and acres of DYO irises. Dig Your Own, named and many from seedlings that you can name yourself.
It's worth the trip to take in the irses, bearded and Siberian, Peonies, lupine and hostas.



It's an amazing bargain basement too! $7 a clump (most of which can easily be split 2 or 3 ways) and if you buy 10 clumps, 2 more are free. We bought 7 which filled the car. A card was cheerily given so that if we return and get 3 more we'll get the bonus.
The Daylilies will out in a month!



The iris above is "Rachel Rose" hybridized at the Garden.

Our friend Myrte joined us. She was visiting from Tennessee...


And we had picked out this iris...



Only to discover it is named "Tennessee Gentleman."

We can't recommend visiting Borglum's enough.
There are no sales on Saturdays.

Dana and Sylvia Borglum
2202 Austin Road
Geneva, New York 14456-9118
1-(585)-526-6729





Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tutu in Scotland.. "No Outsiders"


[Ecumenical News International] During an address to the Church of Scotland General Assembly in Edinburgh, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that homosexuals have a place in the church.

Decisions made during the general assembly of the Kirk, as the Presbyterian Church of Scotland is known, have left the denomination deeply divided on the issue of gay clergy.

Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the retired primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, received a standing ovation.

"I would find it impossible to stand by when people are being persecuted for something about which they can do nothing -- their sexual orientation," Tutu told delegates on the last day of their 2009 meeting. "In this family there are no outsiders. All are insiders -- lesbian, gay, so-called straight -- we are family."

Tutu's May 27 speech was the day after a decision by the Kirk to impose a two-year ban on open debate about the ordination of non-celibate gay people after the Kirk announced the appointment of a commission to investigate the issue and to report back by 2011.

Read the rest at Episcopal Life Online

The Arguments Against Taken On

There is Nothing Like a Dame

And Here's Our Man!



Don't Ask, Don't Tell leading the way...



I missed this during Memorial Day Weekend. Click above to go to the Service Members Legal Defense Network.

As the debates on LGBT equality heat up in light of Prop 8 being upheld by the California Court, a new leader is beginning to emerge. Lt. Dan Choi is the new voice of LGBT rights. He is bright, good looking and articulate. His story speaks to people beyond the gay community. His willingness to serve his country, put his life on the line highlights the seriousness of the situation for many Americans.

Some of the long time leaders in the movement will no doubt say Lt. Choi is a not representative of the "gay community." He's squeaky clean. He's "straight acting." This is not the real face of our community.

But Choi is the face of LGBT, as much as the flaming queens and the hard-body go-go boys that often grab the photographers attention at PRIDE. This is not only true of the mainstream media, but also the gay media. WE are a diverse community. Most of us lead uninteresting lives, don't hang out a gay bars every night or run from circuit party to circuit party. Many of us serve in the military, go to church, live in small towns, hang out with friends and just stay home to watch TV.

Lt. Choi is broadening the perspective of many, especially those who's lives are filtered by the community in which they live where LGBT don't feel comfortable revealing themselves. Many are in a church where gay people would never feel welcome to be out. They belong to the VWF where they can talk about the "others" not realizing that the friend next to them has a secret. That person perhaps laughs at the joke about the "two dykes" and thinks it is funny and clever, but a clear sign that she is in "don't ask, don't tell" territory.

Too many LGBT Americans live in a Don't Ask, Don't Tell world. Dan Choi is helping those who do, gay and straight, to consider that.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hey, what about Massachusetts?

All the back and forth: Most recently in Pennsylvania where dueling Senators are proposing legislation one to defend traditional marriage (AKA DOMA) and one to extend marriage to all, the debate rages on.

But what about Massachusetts? Five years and the divorce rate amongst gay-challenged people has not exploded. Five years and churches are still in business, even the anti-gay ones.

Cluck, cluck, cluck.

Prop 8 CSC Decision Rally

It's a about a LIFE together

Robthomas

An excellent piece by Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas at the Huffington Post on marriage equality:

"I've heard it said before, many times, that if two men or two women are allowed to join into a civil union together, why can't they be happy with that and why is it so important that they call it marriage? In essence, what's in a name?...A civil union has to do with death. It's essentially a document that gives you lower taxes and the right to let your faux spouse collect your insurance when you pass away. A marriage is about life. It's about a commitment. And this argument is about allowing people to have the right to make that commitment, even if it doesn't make sense to you. Anything else falls under the category of 'separate but equal' and we know how that works out."

The Thorny Issue of Gay Civil Rights

Dear Friends,

I know I don't have much "street cred" on this issue. I am as white as they come. So I refer you to someone who does, Pam Spalding.

Pam's House Blend is a wonderful blog on LGBT issues. I read it all the time.

Here is her introductory note and then the link. I hope we can end the awkward silence.
Note from Pam: OK, I know people can be hesitant to jump into a thread that touches upon race. Don't let it become an orphan thread. Speak your mind - be part of the solution of open communication, not part of the problem - continued silence about this thorny issue

The Discussion
The Time is NOW!

Neil

Shameless Lifted from My Brillant (but painfully shy) Husband... YES, WE ARE MARRIED.

We Shall Overcome - 2009, [with a disco beat]




I was born in Atlanta , Ga. - let's just go with " in the early 60's". I grew up with the tornado of the civil rights movement all around me. I'm not saying I was all cool and a part of it or anything, no not at all. I was pretty much totally unaware of - well, anything. But, people and places that have become Icons of that movement were very real to Georgians, not just pictures in books or grainy black and white TV moments.
John Lewis was my Congressman for ever. Andrew Young was the Mayor and Hosea could not stay off the 6:00 news, ( not always for good reasons...) on and on. One of the , if not THE, iconic moment/word/event of the 1960's Civil Rights movement ( OK, second behind the "I Have a Dream" speech...) were the marches from Selma , Alabama - across the Pettus Bridge.

"The first march took place on March 7, 1965 — "Bloody Sunday" — when 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by state and local police with billy clubs and tear gas. The second march took place on March 9. Only the third march, which began on March 21 and lasted five days, made it to Montgomery, 54 miles away."

Congressman Lewis, under the billy clubs of Governor Wallace.

The racist South won on that first bloody Sunday, but awakened the sleeping tiger of righteous anger. Imagine, people just marching for equality, beaten back my the majority. There was a second and a massive third march over that bridge, and within five months of the third march, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Turns out , there is a Selma , California.

Equality March ~ Sat May 30th
from Selma, CA to Fresno, CA

Leaders from the Civil Rights Movement, the United Farm Workers Movement and the Gay Rights Movement will March from Selma, CA to Fresno, CA in a symbolic sign of respect to the social movements before us.

This 14.5 mile march will take 5 hours and will arrive after the MITM rally has started, where rally participants will be anxiously awaiting the march arrivals.


MITM is the group MEET IN THE MIDDLE in California, who are doing the BRILLIANT task of taking the Pro Marriage Equality movement out of We-ho, and San Francisco and Marin into the heart of RED California. Re phrase our movement, get people over the ICK factor and view it as what it truly is, a CIVIL RIGHTS movement.

I hope that yesterdays " setback" will make , not just Californians but everyone involved in our movement realize that WE CAN NOT DO THIS ALONE. Yes, you are the vast majority there in the happy gay ghetto where you live, and life is good, but there are Fresnos, and Macons, and .. Mendon , New Yorks out there as well. We shall overcome this, but we are going to need a little help from our friends.

This march will be controversial, the African American torch bearers are VERY protective of the words " Civil Rights", and many , many African Americans proudly voted FOR prop eight. This is what Pam Spaulding (♥) of Pamshouseblend has to say on that:


"As someone who is black and lesbian, it's tiring and absurd to encounter the argument that the black civil rights movement somehow exclusively owns the ability to use "civil rights." And the result of that is any challenge to this thinking amounts to stepping on the third rail.
There is no Oppression Olympics that requires a certain level of historic suffering by a group of people to be able to use those words. I refuse to cede them to anyone."

Jesus Had 2 Dads / Civil Disobedience grows

"Jesus had two Dads" is one of the signs you'll see at the Towleroad slideshow from the Day of Decision. "I can't believe we're still fighting the shit" was another favorite of mine, one that ended with," _ Women _ Chickens _ Gays." Women and chickens were checked off. Kyle had to remind me that although gay marriage was banned, in the same election a proposition ensuring that chicken farmers had to have a certyain number of square feet per chicken.

Small personal blogs of LGBT people are increasingly reflecting the willingness to take on the full tactics of civil disobedience. Patience is wearing thin. My friend Chap says
Now is the time to stand up, and to make a difference. How long can we continue to go sidelined? We are liked if we are campy and funny, or turning straight people into metrosexuals. We are demonized if we ask for equal rights. Now is the time of Rosa Parks, where we sit down and refuse to move, despite the fear we possess, or the consequences of our civil disobedience. We must act now.


Now is the time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Who will Speak for Us?


Larry King featured discussion on CA Supreme Court's decision to uphold. Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor spoke eloquently and directly in support of marriage equality... and held his ground against a slick, well dressed neandrothal evangelical. He was unflappable. How nice it would be to have a spokesman like that?

And then we moved to the panel of 4. Nicely divided into 1 of each, secular for, secular against, religious for and religious against. And the for marriage equality folks were wiped away by those against. I say this with sadness. Not only because I hate to see us embarrassed, but also because one of the players was our own +Gene.Robinson.

+Gene was just to sweet and appeared as lightweight, even though I know he is not. The secular pro-gay guy was just a fool, saying things like "Of course we should be able to be married. It's America. We should be able to do whatever we want." Cringe. On preparation and appearance we lost this one. Good thing very few people watch Larry King.

We need a spokesperson with charisma, media appeal and who can use that velvet glove.

Too bad Gavin has a full time job and that Keith Olbermann isn't available.

It's the Economy

From Towleroad

NY Comptroller: State Would See $210 Million Same-Sex Marriage Gain

Thompson

Amid passage of marriage equality laws in other states and efforts to legalize marriage of same-sex couples in New York, Thompson’s office revised his initial estimates and adjusted for greater options available to same-sex couples contemplating marriage as well as inflation, and the recession. Accordingly, Thompson’s analysis finds that passage in New York State could yield (over the course of three years):

— $210 million for New York State, if the economy were not to have any effect on wedding spending. However, assuming that the recession leads to a 50 percent reduction in the number of out-of-state guests attending “destination” weddings in New York, that number would drop to $178 million.

— $149 million for New York City, if the recession did not have any effect. That number would drop to $120 million if it did.

In determining the new numbers, the Comptroller’s Office factored in the nation’s sagging economy and the fact that other a greater number of states now permit marriage for same-sex couples.

As a result, the analysis accounts for fewer people staying overnight when attending weddings in New York City or State, and fewer guests attending the events.


Said Thompson: "New York State and New York City stand to benefit economically if marriage equality is passed in our State. Legalizing marriage for same-sex couples is not only good for the couples, but also for our economy. And while other states across our nation have legalized marriage for same-sex couples since my last report, I expect New York to still stand as a prime destination for many couples because it will stand as a welcoming beacon of diversity and acceptance."

Pride Agenda releases 2nd Ad

It's time.

ACLU: It's Not Abstract

Episcopalians and CA/H8

In the LA Times, this and "NO2NOon8" linked...
One of the most visible denominational skirmishes will occur in July, when leaders of the 2.2-million-member Episcopal Church consider proposals at their national convention in Anaheim to sanction a religious rite for blessing same-sex unions and ease restrictions on the ordination of gay and lesbian bishops.

If approved, the steps could further alienate theological conservatives, giving them reason to join four Episcopal dioceses and hundreds of parishes that split last year to form a separate church.

...

Few denominations have been as torn by the issue as the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, a 77-million-member fellowship. Theological conservatives are a minority in the Episcopal Church but a large majority among Anglicans worldwide. The conflict between church liberals and conservatives escalated in 2003 with the consecration of an openly gay priest, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire. Amid pressure from traditionalists within the U.S. church and Anglican officials elsewhere, Episcopal leaders agreed at their last General Convention in 2006 to urge local church authorities not to consecrate any bishop "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church." Still, 700 conservative parishes in the United States and Canada defected last year and formed a new church affiliated with overseas Anglicans.

Now, as Episcopalians approach their July convention, dioceses around the country are submitting resolutions to ease restrictions on gay bishops and to authorize same-sex marriage blessings. The issue of blessings is now left up to local Episcopal authorities.

The convention's host, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, has tried to send a message by approving a policy at its December convention that gives local priests permission to officiate at rites of blessing for same-sex couples.

"I think it's about time we get about the business of having marriage equality in the church," said the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Los Angeles Diocese. "I am waiting with bated breath to see what happens" at the Anaheim meeting.

Read the Rest

Court Says to CA Gays: Tough Shit

Ah, well. This ad says it all.

Mayor Support Marriage Equality

The Mayor of Rochester and Former Chief of Police, Robert Duffy in the May 24th issue of the Democratic and Chronicle:
As police chief and now as mayor, I have spent my career upholding our Constitution to ensure all citizens are not denied their rights because of who they are.

In my mind, sexual preference is not a choice or one's decision. I believe it is inherently part of our being. The right to marry is a fundamental human right that is being denied to an entire class of people solely because of who they are. It's not fair, it's not right and it's not American.

This is not about religion. The legislation provides that no member of the clergy may be compelled to perform any marriage ceremony. I frequently meet with the faith community and the pastors I speak with know my heart on this matter. I wholeheartedly respect their beliefs and opinions and I ask that they respect mine as well.

Opponents argue that we must defend marriage. This law does exactly that. The breakdown of our families and the lack of committed relationships is a destructive force on society. Let's take the passion we have about the politics of the law and focus it on encouraging more marriage and civil unions for all our citizens.

Read it all

Just Wishing...

Just wishing that when the President picks a person for the supreme court AND that person is a minority that I can rejoice KNOWING that a civil rights will progress.

We'll see....

BEFORE the CA Decision




What will happen tomorrow? Whether the CA Supreme Court overturns Prop 8 or lets it stand, equality will move forward. It will either be a reconfirming of the courts original decision (which was a powerfully worded manifesto for marriage equality) OR it will reignite the post Prop 8 outrage. So I am not afraid of this decision.

Of course, i would like to see it overturned, but if it is not, as I said, it will propel the movement forward.

At the very least, even for those without a dog in the fight (or not one that they know of) it should a time to reconsider the proposition option in California.

Here's a proposition that would pass handily: There shall no further tax increases in California income or sales tax.

I would be willing to wager that a majority of the electorate would support this. And then the already falter California economy would nose dive into chaos and anarchy would surely follow.

Or how about: Spanish shall be the official Language of Califronia. It might not pass now, but in 10 years? What kind of chaos might that engender? But if the majority of the people want it...

Courts would probably overturn these as being dangerous to the citizens of California.

Those darned activist courts.

Representative democracy has never seemed such a fine idea.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Weekly Standard Meets The 20th Century (and finds it scary)


Sam Schulman writes an amazing, stunning (in that bizarre sense of the words) article in The Weekly Standard on a Same-sex marriage. He says it is not an issue that should be opposed on religious grounds or because it is not a civil right... but because apparently he thinks we have made enough mistakes by accepting the concept of modern marriage. Schulman apparently thinks that women should still be treated as property and marriage is about protecting virginity and a whole set of draconian ideas.

He feels that a pre-Christian notion of marriage should be returned to and, not surprisingly, same-sex has no place in his construct. I doubt this man believes in evolution. It is clear he has not experienced it himslef.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Frank Rich on Equlaity

Frank Rich Must Read Kyle+Blog and Mine. His NYT column today calls Obama on his inaction on DOMA and Don't Ask Don't Tell and draws parallels to the 1960's.

On the need for equality:
When yet another Arabic translator was thrown out of the Army this month for being gay, Jon Stewart nailed the self-destructive Catch-22 of “don’t ask”: We allow interrogators to waterboard detainees and then banish a soldier who can tell us what that detainee is saying. The equally egregious Defense of Marriage Act, a k a DOMA, punishes same-sex spouses by voiding their federal marital rights even in states that have legalized gay marriage. As The Wall Street Journal reported, the widower of America’s first openly gay congressman, Gerry Studds of Massachusetts, must mount a long-shot court battle to try to collect the survivor benefits from his federal pension and health insurance plans. (Studds died in 2006.) Nothing short of Congressional repeal of DOMA is likely to rectify that injustice.
On American Idol (AKA Pop Culture):

In the talent competition’s climactic faceoff, the song picked for one of the two finalists, Adam Lambert, was Sam Cooke’s soul classic, “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

Cooke recorded it in January 1964. Some four months earlier he had been arrested when trying to check into a whites-only motel in Shreveport, La. “It’s been a long, long time coming,” goes the lyric. “But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will.” Cooke, who was killed later that same year in a shooting at another motel, in Los Angeles, didn’t live to see his song turn into a civil rights anthem. He could not have imagined how many changes were gonna come, including the election of an African-American president who ran on change some 44 years later.

Cooke might also have been baffled to see his song covered by Lambert, a 27-year-old white guy from San Diego, on Fox last week. But the producers of “American Idol” knew what they were doing. With his dyed black hair, eyeliner and black nail polish — and an Internet photographic trail of same-sex canoodling — Lambert was “widely assumed to be gay” (Entertainment Weekly), “seemingly gay” (The Times) and “flam-bam-boyantly queeny” (Rolling Stone). Another civil rights movement was in the house even if Lambert himself stopped just short of coming out (as of my deadline, anyway) in the ritualistic Ellen DeGeneres/Clay Aiken show-biz manner.

In the end, Lambert was runner-up to his friendly and blander opponent, Kris Allen, an evangelical Christian from Arkansas. That verdict, dominated by the votes of texting tween girls, was in all likelihood a referendum on musical and cultural habits, not red/blue politics or sexual orientation. As the pop critic Ann Powers wrote in The Los Angeles Times, the victorious Allen also has a gay fan base, much as Lambert has vocal Christian admirers.
On parallels to the Civil Rights Movement:

As Wolfson reminds us in his book “Why Marriage Matters,” Dr. King addressed such dawdling in 1963. “For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait,’ ” King wrote. “It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ ”

The gay civil rights movement has fewer obstacles in its path than did Dr. King’s Herculean mission to overthrow the singular legacy of slavery. That makes it all the more shameful that it has fewer courageous allies in Washington than King did. If “American Idol” can sing out for change on Fox in prime time, it ill becomes Obama, of all presidents, to remain mute in the White House.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Shack and Gay Tourette's

I just finished reading The Shack by William P. Young. It had a profound effect on me. My challenge will be to pay it forward.

Much of it's theology was refreshing to this lay person. Presented in simple terms to which I could relate, but with profound undertones. The author's treatment of judgment, universal salvation, various religions and a Trinitarian God took me deeper into reflection on views which I already held but could not so eloquently address. And he gave me new perspectives on terrible acts done in the name of religion.

And then I hit the wall.

When I read a book or watch a movie it is hard to do so without bringing my sexuality to it, whether that is fair or not, it is what it is. I need to say up front that the book is not gay friendly. Neither is it gay unfriendly, except to the degree that it is heterosexist. The author presumes, as do so many straight Christian authors, a relationship of male and female with kids that are the biological product of that union as the family. That creates a formidable barrier through which I must break.

A straight person, or a more well adjusted gay person than I, may find this hard to understand, even given that fact that I was raised in hetero-presumptive world. Kyle would refer to me as suffering from "gay Tourette's syndrome." This, Kyle would say, is viewing everything through a gay lens. Every other word is "gay." Most commonly, he would say, in the "new gay," the recently out, formerly married, lesbian or gay man. It stems from need to constantly be establishing oneself as a gay person in every aspect of life.

Considering myself a "gay activist" certainly contributes to the lens through which I view everything.

So why is it that most straight people do not consider themselves "straight activists?" It is because they don't need to be. Most of the world, and indeed theology is ordered in a way to which they can relate. The stories that move our hearts from ancient times to the the present were predominantly based on the presumption that the reader was straight. Hetero-presumpative. Heterosexist. While we can dig for subtexts knowing that some, if not many, of the great writers were gay, the overwhelming number of great works of literature do not include overt gay love stories.

To be sure there are "straight activists." Jerry Falwell, James Dobson are. But one must question their motives an need to be activists in a world that is still largely straight. Most straight people don't feel the need because they are secure in their sexuaility and not threatened by anyone else. I know this lays me open to the question, "are you then, unsure of your sexuality." I am. You might question my sexuality if I were fighting for gay rights in Homo-normative world. The staright activists suffer from "gay Tourette's" as well. Though because "gay" is hard for them to say, every other word is "homosexual." It is nice to know that we ar so important to them.

The Bible is among the works that I mention above as being hetro-presumptive. Even if one argues that it was divinely inspired, it's authors were straight, or could not directly express their gay perspective. It would not have been heard by the masses. It would not have "sold."

Listening to the inner voice from God is always a challenge. Sifting it from great works of thought and human understanding through an experience where it is presented in a familiar and yet totally foreign context is a hurdle for Lesbian and Gay people.

The author of The Shack does a wonderful job of tackling the Church and organized religion. So many horrors have been wrought in the name of God and She is not pleased. From my perspective this includes the exclusion of LGBT people. The good news form the book is that God does not give up.

Charitable Giving By Income

Democrats! You Cannot be Christian!

Liberty University, the Jerry Falwell place, has banned its students form forming a student Democrats club. Declaring that Democratic beliefs are inconsistent with Christian standards as held by LU, the club was denied the right to form or use name Liberty University in any way.



So there you have it. By Jerry Falwell's judgement the majority of our country will burn in hell.

Good thing he's not really in charge of that.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Bayard Rustin Memorial March on Washington


An Open Letter to LGBT Leadership:
Bayard Rustin Memorial March on Washington


Dear LGBT leaders,

The time to work together is now.

We have accomplished much in our particular areas of focus and in our particular communities. Some of us have worked nationally, others with a more locally directed effort. Some work in the public arena, others within faith communities. There is an unparalleled awareness of LGBT Equality Issues in the media. There is increasing protection against discrimination in ENDA legislation, hate crimes laws, safer schools and HIV/AIDS awareness. Marriage equality has arrived in some states.

There are many parallels between our current civil rights battle and the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Leadership in Civil and Human Rights is not measured by the strength or success of individual organizations but by the real change that has occurred. None of us will fully succeed until your organizations are no longer needed.

Many LGBT Americans people that live do not have equal access to the same rights that straight Americans have. Many of them are afraid to stand up and claim their rights. Others live their lives comfortably and do not see a reason to stand up for those who cannot.

Who will be there for us? To whom do we give our hard-earned money in these tight economic times? Often we see various organizations at odds about exactly what is needed and what is achievable. Our disagreements sometimes contribute to the problem, not the solution.

We are not so naïve as to not understand the realities of political posturing. We know that that this will not happen overnight. But we need to be visible. We need to be working together.

One factor contributing to the passage of Proposition 8 in California was a perception of straight supporters that their LGBT friends did not really care about being married, and many did not. But if these quiet members of our community were asked or volunteered their opinions about whether others had the right to marry, their answer might have been “of course.”

The lesson is that the presence of LGBT people in the lives of Americans is not enough. There have to be LGBT people who speak up and speak out, Too many of us don’t feel comfortable doing that. We need an icon. We need an “I have a dream” moment.

To that end we propose that naming that march to honor the gay man who was a pivotal part of the Civil and Human Rights movement, Bayard Rustin. This would recognize that many, many LGBT people worked for the equality of all people at a time when their own rights were not secured. They saw the big picture. They came together for justice, not their own self-interest. This theme of “Equal Rights for All” will speak to all Americans, not just LGBT Americans. All races, young and old, people of faith, agnostics, atheists, straight and gay people, poor and wealthy people, people of all political parties and or no political party are welcome. Everyone who knows that separate is not equal, that justice delayed is justice denied and the we live in a country that claims to espouse “liberty and justice for all” will be invited to commit a day to stand up for what they believe.

This will only happen if all LGBT leaders you can lay down our territorial claims long enough to come together and agree on a day and a theme. This rising tide will lift all boats and every organization that supports it will benefit. More importantly the LGBT citizen of the United States of America will benefit.

We propose October 11, 2009 for the Bayard Rustin Memorial March on Washington.

Now is the time.

Sincerely,


S. Kyle Crawford
http://kylecrawford.blogspot.com
Neil D. Houghton
http://nhoughton.blogspot.com
Mendon, NY

Give to the Integrity Anaheim Appeal

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Washington March builds Momentum - There are bull's horns to grabbed

Cleve Jones, Harvey Milk's intern, is adding his voice to the call for a March on Washington. This is a growing movement fueled by marriage equality creep and Obama inaction and hedging on DADT and other promises:

One of the great pioneers of our movement, David Mixner, has issued a call for a national march on Washington, D.C. this fall. In his call to action, David powerfully articulates the frustration and impatience growing among supporters of LGBT equality throughout the United States.

Jones Over the past six months I have been contacted by many of the emerging new leaders of the grassroots movement created in the wake of Proposition 8, some eager to organize a march on Washington. Up until now, I have discouraged plans for a march, based mostly on my memories of the cost and difficulties of previous marches. I also had high hopes for our new President and the Democratic majority in Congress.

...


— Have one demand only: “Full Equality Now - full and equal protection under the law for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.” Let's stop settling for fractions of equality. Every compromise undermines our humanity. We must declare our equality.

Read the rest at Towleroad.


Now read my husband's blog on this to find out what I fear will STOP it from happening or at least being successful. He points to apathy, he admits to being torn.

I understand all of points ... but, we need to ACT.

We need our leadership (which Kyle refers to as "what LGBT leadership?") to get over themselves and work together. Real leadership is not keeping your particular organization alive, but to see the big picture. In the case of LGBT advocacy leaders our job is to put ourselves out of business, and if we are doing that effectively, the support, financial and involvement, will follow.

Intead of defending our fiefdoms and feeling so smug in those areas where LGBT people can live comfortably we all need to reach beyond our comfort zones.

Every LGBT person has to take a risk.

LGBT leaders currently in control of "sucessful" organizations have to risk letting go of that control. NGLTF/HRC, EQCA/Courage Campaign... you get the idea.

LGBT people in the trenches need to risk coming out and asking those they know and love to take the risk and speak out with them.

It's a start. We need a start.

No one will give us our rights if we don't demand them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Red Wings Away at Home



Kyle's home that is. July 28-31 the Rochester Red Wings play the Gwinnett Braves in Kyle's backyard. This is the first season for the Braves AAA farm team in it's new venue and new location. The Richmond Braves, become the Gwinnett Braves.

Take Us Out!

Both US Senators urge NY State Senators: Give Us Marriage Equality in NY

US Senators Kirsten Gillebrand and Charles Schumer from NY write to the New York State Senate urging support of marriage equality and ask them to vote in favor of the bill which has not yet been presented on the NYS Senate floor.

Read more at Pam's House Blend. We LOVE her. And Congrats on the Women's Media Center Award... their first Annual Media Awards.


Where to Check on CA Supreme Court Filings

We NEED A March on Washington



David Mixner does a nice job of making the case. My comment:
Yoooooou betcha! We have to do this. AND we have to get all the organizations (HRC/NGLTF/State Political Action Groups/State Marriage Equality/Faith Based LGBT groups... etc.)to work together.

I hope there is some sort of summit to get the leadership of all these groups on board a single focused effort.

DADT - Fehrenbach Stands Up

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Idol Worshippers

For the Gay v. Chistians I direct you to my husband's blog: Kyle+Blog

Pray, Pray, Pray....


These were dropped off in the Castro today. Rumor, and rumor only, has it that the CA Supreme Court may be ruling soon. But it is a reminder to pray that their unanimous decision before sways them to pop Prop 8.

How long, O Lord?

What Kind of a Fool is Elisabeth Hasselbeck? This Kind:

Ellen, Best Common Cement Address Ever

Everything But Marriage in Washington

The Governor has signed it into law. Civil unions with all the rights of marriage. This should make a bunch of money for a bunch of lawyers.

I love the name! "Hi! I am everything-but-married. This is my everything-but-husband and my everything-but-mother-in-law. We thought about having everything-but-children, but have decided that we are everything-but-ready for that!"

Kept From a Dying Partner’s Bedside

In the New York Times a tragic story.... read it here

HRC vidoe from NYC Marriage Equality Rally

$70,000,000,000 with a "B"

Marriage in the US is a 70 billion dollar industry.

Michael Steele, GOP Chairperson didn't fact check very well when he said we should be worried about the negative impact of Marriage Equality. These figures are from Keith Olbermann's commentary on May 18, 2008.

In California alone, if Prop 8 were defeated)
From the Williams Institute
UCLA School of Law
22,000 Jobs Created
$64 Million Tax Revenues
$9 Million License fees

Forbes Magazine 2004
Analysis of Same Sex Wedding Revenues in BILLIONS
(If implemented nationwide)
4.7 Reception, Catering and Wedding Planning
3.94 Gifts
1.7 Honeymoons
1.66 Engagemant Rings
1.3 Apparel
1 Photos
.816 Flowers/Decor
.659 Music/Entertainment
.604 Wedding Bands
.217 Invitations/Stationery
.197 Cake

16.8 TOTAL

"That's $16,800,000,000. Sixteen-billion, eight-hundred million dollars. My god, Steele, that at Stimulus package," said Olbermann, "no wonder you're opposed."

END "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"


Watch the video and sign the petition here.

Let President Obama know that you want him to keep his promise. Despite his press secretary's waffling, the president can end this policy NOW with an executive order.

As our right to marry slowly becomes available, our right to serve openly in the military remains un-won. Lt. Dan Choi is an openly gay man who is also a Arabic linguage specialist. As Jon Stewart said, "We might be able to waterboard them to make them talk, but we can't make them speak English." He's not supporting waterboarding, and neither am I... just pointing out the irony that when there is a paucity of Arab Language speakers, who could help us communicate and perhaps even wage PEACE, we are dismissing them because they are gay.

At the "Creating Change" conference supporters of repeal pointed out that the right to defend our country in whatever way we choose is a basic one.

Sign the petition now.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Love Thy Brother

NY Times photo essay on a straight man who joins his brother's gay rugby team to connect with his brother. Simple and touching. Watch and listen here.

Clever LOGOS!


Lots of fun at this site looking at clever logos.

FedEx is ubiquitous. But did you ever notice the forward pointing arrow?

I didn't. Go here to see more.

Reflectiions on Dueling Rallies

Yesterday in NYC two rallies took place regarding gay marriage. For more on this I would point you to my husband Kyle's, blog. Kyle+Blog. There you will find more details and links to major news coverage. It is reported that 10,000 Hispanic Evangelicals were bussed in to protest Marriage Equality at the Governor's Office in Manhattan at 1:00 PM. At 5:00 PM a crowd of undetermined size met on 6th Avenue. The latter was a diverse crowd of folks from NYC mostly joined by the Broadway cast of Hair, Cynthia Nixon, Cheyenne Jackson and, most notably, Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg.

Links: New York Daily News, New York Times

My Random Thoughts

Religion

As reported in the New York Times from the 1 PM rally:
The New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, led by Senator Rubén Díaz Sr., a Pentecostal minister, organized the event. In a speech delivered in Spanish, Mr. Díaz warned the governor that there would be political consequences for supporting same-sex marriage.
Senator Díaz serves as a minister in the NY Senate, as _______ did in the US House of Represantatives, that is to say, in no capacity. The issue before the State Senate is not the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. It is CIVIL marriage. A protestor interviewed on NY1 TV said that he "did not represent disicrimination or Homophobia, but the right to religious freedom." This shows exactly how deluded these people are. They actually believe their religious freedom is being challenged. The bill protects that explicitly, although there is no reason for this language. How many times does it have to be said? No one will be forced to marry anyone in a religious setting. Are they afraid that gay couples will flock to their churches? They doing a great job to assure that does not happen.

One of the evangelical crowd was interviewed on NY1 saying, ""They are deciding their votes on what they feel and what they think. But some who claim to be religious are not deciding on what the Book says."

Exactly what they should be doing... if only they all were.


Governor Paterson

Our Governor has nothing to lose. He is polling in the 20's. Unfortunately for many good reasons. Some out of his control (It's the economy) and some that were just horribly handled situations (Senator Clinton's replacement). But this is an opportunity for him to work to build bridges by working publicly behind the scenes.

Mayor Bloomberg

Kyle said it rather glibly, "I'll see your 10,000 screaming Hispanic Evangelicals and raise you one billionaire." Mayor Bloomberg IS going to re-elected. Our forces need to take the best of political advantage with him.

Celebrities

It's great to have them, but... Polling showed that Ellen's ad had little effect in the Prop 8 situation. And we don't have a prop 8 situations. The best we can hope for are ads that change the polling in our favor and get people to write to their Senators. The Pride Agenda Ad currently running does exactly what we learned has to be done from Prop 8 postmortems. Use real people with real stories.

Wrap Up

You know what needs to be done. Write those letters. Talk to your friends. DO IT.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Gay Agenda of Our Lives

This clip is from Amanda Cochran's documentary "Stained Glass Ceiling" about the issues of sexuality facing the Episcopal Church. Amanda filmed this as her graduate project for NYU. We were proud to be a part of it. I submitted this clip to the The Episcopal Church website Iamepiscopalian.org. It has not shown up there yet.

It does however reveal the awful threat that we pose to straight married couples and the institution itself.


Interesting...

Can't say I love this, but it is a great conversation starter....


GAY = SIN from Matthew Brown on Vimeo.

Obama at Notre Dame


Andrew Sullivan sees this as speaking to "Catholics of Faith." It seems to me to be classically Anglican... but that speaks to the universality of Obama's understanding of faith.
In this world of competing claims about what is right and what is true, have confidence in the values with which you’ve been raised and educated. Be unafraid to speak your mind when those values are at stake. Hold firm to your faith and allow it to guide you on your journey. Stand as a lighthouse.

But remember too that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen. It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us, and those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.

This doubt should not push us away from our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions, and cause us to be wary of self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open, and curious, and eager to continue the moral and spiritual debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Notre Dame. And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works, charity, kindness, and service that moves hearts and minds.

General Convention of TEC for Dummies (like me)


As a Deputy to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church (TEC) 2009, I am often asked by friends how this body works.

The structure is a parallel to the parliamentary structure as established in England and adapted by the US. The major difference being the presence of worship and prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

General Convention convenes every 3 years and lasts for the better part of two weeks (about 10 legislative days).

TWO HOUSES

There are two houses, the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops.

The House of Deputies is compromised of a deputation from each Diocese in the Episcopal Church. Four clergy and 4 deputies are elected in the Dioceses.

All Bishops in TEC are seated in The House of Bishops. All have voice and vote, though legislation which could be enacted this year will limit the vote of retired bishops.

RESOLUTIONS

Resolutions can come form Diocesan Conventions, The House of Bishop, Deputies and Committes, Comissions, etc. of TEC. The later are printed in the "Blue Book" which has already been distributed. Others are posted at TEC website. All resolutions must be presented by the end of the second legislative day.

COMMITTEES

In committees like resolutions will be combined, reworded, some form will likely be recommended to the body. It may also be passed to another committee.

ADOPTION

Resolutions will then be debated on the floor of House of Deputies or House of Bishops and if voted on positively, then passed to the other house for concurrence. It must be passed in the exact same language in both houses.

Any legislation that does not make it through this process dies at the close of convention.

VOTE BY ORDERS

The process has, like most deliberative bodies a provision to require a super majority. If requested and consented to by a majority a "vote by orders" is invoked in the House of Deputies. Each deputation polls it's clergy and lay deputies separately. A split vote in either order is reported as a "no." The resolutions must pass in both orders.

The result could be all clergy support (50%), half - 1 of the lay deputations support (another 25% support) and half of the other deputations + 1 split (12% support) and the resolution is defeated (with 87% approval).

Throw in the House of Bishops and you will see that the clergy has a comfortable edge in control, which is not to say that anyone abuses this control. It is just a reality.

BOTTOM LINE

So we struggle and pray and pray some more. The Holy Spirit is in control and sometimes she takes her time.

International Day Against Homophobia May 17, 2009

We are Neil and Kyle from Mendon, NY
and we are proud to be gay!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dustin Lance Black Goes Home

From the story of Dustin Lance Black's return to his high school. Black is the Academy Award winning screenwriter of "Milk."

My palms got a little sweaty as I turned off East Alvin Drive in Salinas, and onto Kip Drive.

For the first time in 17 years, I saw the entrance to my old high school, the same one where I was once called “gay” by my peers. And it wasn’t said as a compliment — it was said with hate, anger, and on one occasion I was honestly afraid of getting my butt whipped.

So, I did what so many kids still do — I tried to vanish. I didn’t get great grades, I didn’t excel, I shrunk and hid, and I did my best to disappear at lunch. High school is tough for almost everyone, but for LGBT kids, it can be truly frightening. And as much as I know that I’m all grown up now, and that I can stand up for myself, I still got a little knot in my stomach as we pulled up to the front doors of North Salinas High and the camera crews closed in.

...

Now, these aren’t rich, liberal kids. I grew up in a predominantly working class, Latino, conservative Christian neighborhood. These kids are minorities, they understand discrimination, and I wanted them to know that those of us in the LGBT community know we must fight just as hard for their rights as we do for our own, that we are all brothers and sisters in this fight for equal opportunity.

...

So I have to thank the Principal and faculty at North Salinas High, this unlikeliest of schools, for creating the atmosphere where kids like me don’t just feel tolerated, but feel protected, loved and celebrated. I challenge other schools around this country to follow their brave lead.

read it all


Friday, May 15, 2009

Thank Goodness, Waffling the the White House is OVER!

We have arrived!


"Hallmark Cards is set to ramp up its greeting card business for those "non-traditional" families on your list, supplying its stock of wedding and civil unions greeting cards to all 500 corporate-owed stores.The firm, the very name of which is synonymous with wholesome greetings on any occasion, is responding to consumer needs by making the cards more available starting this summer."

read it all

NOM Rob0-calls are here.

"Are you a registered voter?"

Say "yes" and the call continues.

"Do you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman?"

Say "no" and you are thanked for your time and told that this call was
from the National Organization for Marriage, headquartered in
Princeton, NJ.

I wish I had said "yes" to find out what the rest of the call would
have told me. I suspect it would have been what I am telling you.
Call, write, visit Senator Alesi.

The difference is I am in Mendon NY and a constituent of Senator
Alesi.

The challenge is on!

Conservative? So what's the deal with that?

From the New York Times, May 12 article on the passage of the Marriage Equality in the NYS Senate:

The Conservative Party is also applying pressure: it has threatened to strip its party affiliation and its ballot line from any politician who votes for same-sex marriage.

“We can’t look the other way,” said Michael R. Long, the party’s chairman, who added that he had informed the Republican leaders of the Senate and the Assembly of his threat to take away the Conservative ballot line — which in some elections can mean the difference of thousands of votes — from anyone who votes yes on the bill.

“We’re going to work as hard as we can in the next few weeks,” he said. “We intend to do everything we can possible with phone calls, memos, press releases, having our members call senators.”

read it all


This is so bizarre to me. The Conservative Party is all about civil liberty, less government control and intrusion into private life. So why are they so obsessed about mine?

I have honest disagreement with conservatives about many issues. But I am at a loss as to how to even debate this. All of their logic seems to be on the side of marriage equality.

Thank You Mel White

Watch it and pass it around.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Religious Exclusion under Marriage Equality

It is silly and redundant to say that no religious institution will be forced to marry anyone they don't want to marry... and who would want that to happen anyway.

The part of this that is being added in New Hampshire says that no religious orgnaiztion or fraternal (sic) organization associated with a religious organization will be deemed to discriminate if they do not allow their facilities to be used for the celebration of a same=sex marriage or, presumably a recpetion.

That's OK by me if it is what we need to get it. I do hope that Epsicopal Churches and other places of worship will take full advantage of this by putting up signs, "We Welcome All Marriages... (small print) with no different requirements than we make of any couple wishing to be married in our faith community."

Better yet: We DON'T DISCRIMINATE WHEN IT COMES TO MARRIAGE

Another advertising, er, evangelizing opportunity.

The Pink Dot in Singapore

Tune up your Car ... then your church.

Car and Church alignments are available in Rochester, NY.

Is your Prius a falling below 30 MPG? Are you a little out of alignment? Take the car to "Integrity" auto service on Mt. Hope Ave.

Is your church not really fully in alignment with a Gospel of full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments? Just a little was away is the office of "IntegrityUSA." There you can help get The Episcopal Church ready for the next 100,000 miles, or 500 years, whichever comes first.

It's NOT just about us...

Advancing LGBT rights, such as marriage is not just self centered, it is a pebble in the pond for LGBT rights everywhere:

LGBT asylum seekers 'facing high levels of homelessness and discrimination'

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans asylum seekers are suffering from high levels of discrimination, homelessness and exploitation, a report has claimed.

The Over Not Out report, from Refugee Support, the refugee services arm of Metropolitan Support Trust (MST), suggests that support services for LGBT asylum seekers are frequently poor, resulting in individuals facing harassment or discrimination in their accommodation.

It was found that mental ill-health and prostitution were particular problems, and that many LGBT asylum seekers do not report instances of hate crime.

A gay Iranian man in his thirties told researchers: "I'm gay and these kinds of problems happen to me all the time in any shared accommodation where I go. If I want to avoid trouble I just have to go to my room, just lock myself in. And it's not a life… Yesterday I saw a guy who has been on Section 4 support for nine years. I don't know, it might happen to me. I cannot lock myself into my room for nine years…"

The report, launched yesterday in Westminster, recommended further training and funding for LGBT voluntary and community organisations in regards to asylum seekers, along with new requirements for landlords to protect them harassment. See

LGBT asylum seekers 'facing high levels of homelessness and discrimination'

My Doctor is COOL!


At my regular check-up and test monitoring appoint to I mentioned to my doctor that I was working to get Marriage Equality through the NYS Senate.

"How's that going?" he asked.

"Well, it's tight," I told him, "I think our Senator will support us, but he is on the the fence."

He whipped open his laptop and sent a e-mail to him before we went on with the appointment.

Need a good doctor in the Rochester area? Jules Zysman, M.D.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Kind of Ad we need!

Bravo Empire State Pride Agenda!

On the Anaheim Webcast

Regarding B033, ++KJS said, "It is bad legislative practice to repeal ... we need to move forward positively." OK. Great thought. But did we not repeal jim Crow Laws? And more importantly to Episcopalians, did we not repeal prohibition? So why is this all of a sudden bad practice?

"We are reminded that we are all one body. When one part of the body hurts, we all hurt. When one part of the body rejoices, we all rejoice." Why does this remind me of the consent to Bishop Robinson when I was asked NOT to rejoice?

The Presiding Bishop refered to our "discarnate reality" to describe what the internet has wrought. "Face to face" we can communicate and are less likely to objectify the other. Absolutely. So our calling is, in this world of Internet, how do we accomplish that?

Louise Brooks, identifying herself as from Integrity (YES!) asked: "A recent Newsweek Poll showed that there young people see less and less relevance of the church in their lives..."

Bishop Bruno said he disagreed with the poll and went on to talk about what is happening in the Dioceses of LA. Bishop Bruno may disagree with Newsweek but it does not make it so. With all due respect, his response also belies a bigger problem: Our tend to be parochial, provincial, dare I coin "Diocesenal" in our reponse.

While others responded, I believe that all miss the point. As Kyle and I discussed this I asked him to put his very cogent reaction into writing. It follows. I could not have said it better.
1.) In every poll taken people under 40 fully support inclusion of gays and lesbians into American society, people under 25 do not even understand why the question is being asked.

2.) Since the election of President Obama, there has been a huge increase in the willingness of people (mostly young) to reach out to others, to work for charitable organizations, to anything they can to "give back."

The Episcopal Church is in a unique situation to capitalize on both of these. Offer young people an excepting , INCLUSIVE place where they can do just that: GIVE BACK. No need to re-invent the wheel here, the mechanics are in place to offer anyone who wants to do some good in the world, the opportunity to do so.

There are bull's horns waiting to be grabbed
Amen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rochester, Gayest City in America!


Well, is the official color of YOUR city lavender? OK, Lilac. And just for this week...

But it is a really gay place!

Marriage Equlaity has passed the NYS Assembly

They are still yapping but several have referred to the fact that the VOTE is CAST and in the AFFIRMATIVE. The GOVERNOR proposed the bill, the SENATmust now pass it. It is very close by all accounts.

Keep those cards and letters coming....

http://groups.google.com/group/menysenatedist55/

JOIN THE GROUP!

In Maine: RC or TEC?

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Maine has vowed to support a public referendum to overturn the Law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Government. So here is my plea:

If you are a Roman Catholic in Maine who disagrees with your Bishop and your Pope, and we know there are lots of you, the Episcopal Church Welcomes You.

Not every person in The Episcopal Church will welcome you but know that your Bishop publicy supported equal access to marriage. You will be a part of a church that is still working on this issue as a whole, but has a polity that allows it to change. The doctrine of the Episcopal Church is based on the prayerful consideration of scripture, tradition and reason. It is not imposed.

We have the same sacraments and the same same belief in Apostolic succession.

Join us and work with us to make the Episcopal Church an institution that lives out the Gospel as we understand it: Love God, Love your neighbor as yourself... and you are God's Beloved.

It's A BEAUTY pageant! Let it go.

This morning Mr. Trump supported Miss Prejean's right to believe what she wants.

I believe in the freedom of speech. Carrie Prejean answered a question that Perez Hilton NEVER should have asked in such a superficial setting. We might like to pretend that this is anything more than about how well a model looks in an evening gown and a swimsuit. It's a BEAUTY pageant.

Despite what a reporter asked, this is not about being a "roll model" for young girls. It's about a being a hot babe. It is not about intelligence or political activism or feminism.

Some clarification:

Miss Prejean said "I gave an honest answer to a question with a hidden agenda." Perez Hilton? Hidden agenda? I don't think so!

She said she was able to articulate her thoughts. "Opposite marriage?" not so articulate.

She went on to prove her ability to be articulate by saying, "I am not an Activist or anything." OK, well maybe that was more articulate than it sounded.

Bottom line: Donald Trump gets more press exposure than he deserves.

Time out To Laugh with Jon Stewart - Gaywatch

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Gaywatch - Marion Barry
thedailyshow.com





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