Wedding Bells, Part II

With the sudden marriage rights granted in three states last week came a lot of to-do about how religious organizations will be impacted. One of the biggest (not-yet-a-) problems being raised right now is the possibility of gay couples attempting to sue churches to force them to perform their wedding ceremonies. That has not happened yet, although I believe that eventually it will.

You wouldn’t know that it hasn’t happened yet, though – not if you’re listening to the Christians on social media.

The Hitching Post, a wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was recently sued by a gay couple. The owners and ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, refused to perform gay nuptials for a couple. That couple filed a complaint with the city, claiming discrimination. The ministers quickly found themselves facing possible fines and jail time under city non-discrimination ordinances, and Christians all over the net started falling all over themselves. “We told you the gays would do this!” they’ve screamed. “You tried to tell us they’d never be able to sue churches to force this on us, but look – THEY’RE DONG IT!!!”

One problem: The Hitching Post isn’t a church. It’s a licensed, for-profit business. Since it’s not listed as a religious organization, it falls under the same non-discrimination laws that all city businesses are required to abide by.

I’m not saying this is a battle that shouldn’t be fought. I am saying that the reaction to this has been way over-the-top given the facts of the case. A lot of very un-Christ-like remarks have been made in some conversations, and one person took the time to private message me on Facebook simply for pointing out the fact that this didn’t involve a church and say some things that were…well, let’s just say Jesus wept.

All of this falls under “the law of unintended consequences.” Part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 barred businesses from discriminating. The cause of that portion of the law was the requirement that blacks – or “coloreds” as they were referred to at the time – have separate (and often less comfortable) accommodations at restaurants, movie theaters, and hotels. Since segregation had to end, it all had to end. The law, however, cannot be applied to only one group. It has to be applied to all. The result has been that businesses licensed by the government (and all businesses are required to have a license these days) are now barred from discriminating against anyone. The result is often harsh – from hefty fines to jail and/or losing one’s business. We’ve seen several businesses attacked over the past couple of years for refusing to take part in gay wedding ceremonies, including photographers, bakers, and tailors.

What’s happened this week to The Hitching Post takes it to a new level. We now must ask ourselves where the government nanny state stops and people are allowed to make their own decisions. If we strike down all anti-discrimination laws, then businesses can start discriminating against anyone. They can put out signs telling gays, blacks, Jews, or even Christians to stay away. The idea here is that a business that does discriminate could then be tried in the court of public opinion; a business owner could find themselves bankrupt after turning someone away.

I admit I don’t know exactly how it should be handled. I do know that the original complaint against The Hitching Post was valid according to the law. The best way for them to beat it is to file as a religious corporation, and they apparently have, which means they may now be protected. Maybe, because marriage is often seen as a religious institution, businesses that cater specifically to weddings should consider filing as religious corporations. I hope the Knapps win this, because I don’t believe anyone should be forced to do anything that runs contrary to their religious beliefs.

Either way, the religious portion of the right wing has nearly gone off the deep end on this story. Everyone needs to take a breath. Educate yourself before you lose your mind about something. Not only will you look less sophomoric, you’ll likely save your blood pressure in the process.

POST SCRIPT: If the day ever comes when gay leftist groups begin attacking religious rights over gay marriage, I will be out front, breaking my personal rules about never protesting in public, leading the charge to protect religious liberties. Just to make that clear.

(In)Tolerant

In 2012, many names of those who contributed money to California’s Prop 8 campaign – the law proposed to make newly-legalized gay marriage illegal again in the state – was publicized. Many people were called upon by angry LGBT groups to answer for their support. Not surprisingly (at least to me), many of the people who contributed were also Democrats who voted for Barack Obama. I’m sure nobody remembers the fact that the vacationer-in-chief staunchly supported DOMA during his first campaign in order to attract the Democrat voters who are against gay marriage,

One of the names on that list two years ago was Brendan Eich. At the time he was the CTO of Mozilla, the company that built popular free internet browser Firefox. Last month he was hired as Mozilla’s CEO. Almost as soon as he achieved the highest position in the company he helped found, the fact that he had donated $1,000 to the Prop 8 campaign was trotted out by bitter gay activists again. OKcupid got involved by asking their users to log onto their website using any browser other than Firefox. The message was sent: Eich is an anti-gay hatemonger, and we need to ruin him!

Just a few days ago, Eich was pressured to resign as Mozilla CEO. He apologized for having hurt anyone but the apology mattered none.

Before I get into my issues here, know that I am fully aware that this is not a matter of First Amendment rights. Nothing that happened is a violation of Eich’s rights. Everyone involved was exercising their rights to free speech. That is not what is wrong here.

What is wrong is this episode is setting a dangerous new precedent. This is the new face of the mob mentality that has begun to take over in American politics. Lists of political donations and firearms license holders are being published in the press by so-called journalists who feel they have an obligation to shine a light on a perceived wrong in society. The fallout is things like this – people being singled out, their lives torn apart because one small group decided that they were doing something they felt was wrong.

It is no secret that I don’t have much love for Arizona representative Kyrsten Sinema. Whereas I once had a couple of things to agree with her on, thanks to her followers I cannot even hold onto that anymore. A couple of years ago, I engaged several of her most ardent followers in a “debate” (I do use that word rather lightly) about Second Amendment rights and whether human beings have a natural right to defend themselves. As is always the case with hard-left liberals, it was very heated on their end with a lot of name-calling and almost no factual offerings while I tried to be rational and reasonable. One of them started taking the personal information on my Facebook page and posting it on the thread, making fun of me for it. Then it came out that I’m an EMT working in a 911 system in their areas.

Oh, that was it. Multiple people had absolute meltdowns. How could I possibly believe we have a right to carry guns when I’m responsible for treating people who have been shot? How could I believe that we should defend ourselves when I see the consequences of those beliefs on the streets? Here’s a sampling of the comments made:

“Your license to practice as an EMT should be revoked! You are violent and angry and I hate you and everything you stand for!”

“I’m going to write a letter to the state health department about you, Mel Maguire! You’re a disgrace to your profession and you should never be allowed to help people ever again!”

“If you ever come to my house, I won’t let you in! Don’t you ever answer my 911 call!”

And these are some of the nicer comments made. Kyrsten never deleted anyone’s comments, never stood up for me as a public servant, and never bothered to tell people to dial it down. Her silence said a lot about where her stance was. I didn’t have the heart to tell any of these people that the overwhelming majority of police, fire, and EMS workers are on the right side of the political spectrum. Their reactive comments, though, honestly scared me. They still scare me – now more so thanks to what was done to Brendan Eich. Nobody deserves to lose their livelihood simply because a few disagree with their politics.

If a small but vocal group of angry people can end a man’s career with the company he founded based on a technology he wrote (JavaScript), it does not bode well for the rest of society. That anger can and will be turned on others. It is magnified many times over when those in power do nothing to calm that sentiment. Don’t hold your breath for a phone call from President Obama apologizing for the hate that Eich experienced. Don’t plan on a DOJ investigation into whether his civil rights were violated. The press has said little about the fact that Eich’s professional image was irreparably damaged by this episode.

His donation and personal beliefs about marriage are not anti-gay. He simply doesn’t believe in gay marriage. That does not equate to hatred, and I’m tired of hearing people make that parallel. We can’t get the press to call out Al Sharpton for his blatant and wanton racism, but you can be damn sure they’ll attack anyone who is not 100% supportive of gay everything.

Eich’s personal beliefs were never brought into his workplace. He never refused to hire gay people. In fact, Mozilla has gay-friendly workplace policies as far as I know. If he never brought his personal ideas into his office, then nobody else should have. The way he was forced out of his own company, you’d think he’d been caught on camera drowning puppies or something. He wasn’t a member of the KKK. He just doesn’t believe in gay marriage. I fail to understand why that is grounds for a smear campaign aimed at destroying him both personally and professionally.

Just because the First Amendment allows you to do that to a person does not make it right. The fact that you don’t agree with him doesn’t make him intolerant and you a saint. Every single person who allowed this or supported it should be deeply ashamed. You are the living proof that those who scream for others to be more tolerant are the most intolerant among us.

The Real Slippery Slope

Social conservatives call gay marriage the “slippery slope” that endangers our freedoms. I never understood that argument, even when I was trying to make it. Yes, it may endanger your version of morality, but your freedoms? No, it doesn’t do that. However, what CAN happen really will endanger your freedoms – in fact, it already is.

Last year, Jack Phillips – owner of Lakewood’s Masterpiece Cakeshop – refused to make a cake for a gay couple’s private wedding. As a private citizen, he exercised his First Amendment rights to religious expression and free speech. He immediately found himself at the center of a discrimination firestorm, complete with protests outside his shop and a writeup in The Advocate. What he probably wasn’t expecting was what has recently been announced.

The District Attorney filed a discrimination complaint on behalf of the gay couple he refused to serve. Now Phillips faces the very real possibility of prosecution and a year in jail for his refusal. The slippery slope here was the discrimination laws that made this sort of thing possible – the Constitution, including the Civil Rights Act and all similar Amendments, were meant to stop discrimination on the part of the government. Schools, voting places, and other government institutions were supposed to be affected. Thanks to liberals, though, those laws are being expanded to be used as weapons against those they dislike: private citizens and business owners trying to stand up for their faith.

To some degree, I can understand wanting to change the mindset of some people. The law is not the way to do it, though – not in a free society. Discrimination against black people was a serious problem in the early 1960’s when the Civil Rights Act was passed. The government needed to come up with a way to end discrimination by government officials, and in order to do that they had to change the minds of those people. Does discrimination still exist? Is racism still an issue? Of course it is. When I was a teenager I was refused a job at a store near my home by a black manager who openly told me and several others that she would only hire black people. I went to school with white kids whose fathers were still members of the KKK. The big difference today is that such ideas are not acceptable in mainstream society.

Thanks to the power of public opinion, most companies want to protect everyone’s rights. Especially in the age of the internet, when a story of discrimination can be spread to the entire world at the speed of thought, businesses don’t want to ruffle feathers and most won’t refuse to serve a person unless they’re a danger to all of their other customers. The idea with discrimination laws now is that businesses that want to have licenses have to abide by the city, county, and state laws where they operate – if that means they are never allowed to turn someone down because of race, religion, or sexual orientation, they have to agree to the terms or they can’t stay in business.

This is NOT the way to use anti-discrimination laws.

The Constitution was never meant to dictate our personal dealings. It was never meant to allow laws to be written restricting what people believe or who they will serve in their private businesses. Discrimination laws may have been needed, but our Constitution was meant to protect us from the GOVERNMENT. It was meant to limit what the government could do or stop us from doing.

You see, in the legal world, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. That means that if a known anti-gay religious leader wants to eat in a restaurant owned by a gay couple, they will be required to serve him. Even if he’s having a conversation that they don’t like, they MUST serve him. If they don’t, they can now be brought up on the very same charges that Mr. Phillips is now facing. If they do not provide the same service to the people they don’t like as they do to the customers who are gay, they will be in violation of the same law.

Somehow I don’t think the gay community wants to be held to that standard. If you don’t want to have to do that, don’t try to use the law to do it to others. We live in a free country. If you don’t like Mr. Phillips, don’t take your business to him – protest calmly, get out the word, but stop trying to force people beyond tolerance and into acceptance with legal brute force.

This is exactly the kind of thing I have tried to warn social conservatives about for a long time. Tolerate gay marriage, give it direction – otherwise you will lose both your belief-based morality laws AND your basic freedoms all at once.

DOMA Has Fallen

As expected, the Supreme Court has handed the decision over California’s Prop 8 back to the lower courts (all of which held that it was Unconstitutional). Now gay marriage will resume in CA. What SCOTUS didn’t do, as many gay liberals had hoped they would, was declare all gay marriage laws Unconstitutional, throwing the doors wide open for gay marriage everywhere, regardless of state laws and in violation of state’s rights.

What they DID do, however, was strike down DOMA. That is a consolation we can definitely live with.

What does that mean? It means that the federal government cannot legally deny benefits to same-sex couples married in states where gay marriage is legal. It also means that states where gay marriage is banned cannot continue to deny the benefits of married couples to those same-sex families. SCOTUS declared DOMA to be a violation of both equal treatment/due process (Fifth Amendment) and the Full Faith and Credit Clause (Article IV, Section I of the Constitution). In short, the federal government cannot pass a law that singles out gay couples to be denied certain benefits, and the states must honor any contract made in another state – which, in this case, would be gay marriage.

Now I’m just waiting for the Full Faith and Credit Clause to be applied to my paramedic license and my CCW. But that’s another issue.

The fact that SCOTUS didn’t hand down a ruling that immediately legalizes gay marriage in every corner of the Republic is not something to get upset about. They did what they were supposed to do – they interpreted the laws being challenged under the scope of the Constitution and ruled accordingly. They left the state issue to the state in question and handled the federal issue before them. DOMA is no more. That is something to celebrate.

I think I might actually take my nose out of my books for once and go out this weekend.

What it means for Equal Marriage Arizona is that the movement goes forward with efforts to bring marriage equality to Arizona. Having already taken the wind out of Cathy Herrod’s sails, Equal Marriage Arizona happily released to the public their intent to immediately begin collecting signatures to put the measure on the ballot next year. Warren Meyer said, “The US Supreme Court said today that the states can decide this issue for themselves, and this legitimizes our Equal Marriage Arizona efforts, allows Arizona voters the chance to guarantee the freedom to marry and guarantee religious freedoms. We’re confident the Arizona voters are ready to say YES to both of these interrelated freedoms.”

Erin Ogletree Simpson continued the sentiment: “Petitions will be printed today and our volunteer efforts will start tomorrow. People can get a petition by calling us at 480-625-8620. Whether you’re straight or gay, conservative like I am, or liberal this is an effort we all can embrace – an effort for guaranteed freedom to marry and a guarantee for religious freedom. The Supreme Court said it’s up to us, so now it’s up to all of us.”

If you’re in Arizona, it’s time to start work. Everywhere else…smile!

Equality Is Coming (UPDATED)

I am finally able to say it: I’ve been in the loop on the first initiative of its kind here in Arizona. Currently, 12 states have legalized gay marriage. Now, Equal Marriage Arizona – helmed by conservatives and libertarians – has come out with amendments to the Arizona constitution that would legalize gay marriage for the first time in a Red State.

Today I joined a meeting that began with people from both ends of the political spectrum to begin coming up with strategy and attempting to enlist gay rights groups in an effort to bring marriage equality to the state I currently reside in. The tension was palpable; I could almost say there were some who exuded animosity at certain times. During our discussions, some could not help but bring up the fact that they’ve been working on equality for a long time. I couldn’t help but wonder whether that was their way of saying they knew better than the conservatives leading the charge what to do or if it was their ego coming out to say, “we want credit” – either way, I felt a sense that we had taken a big step forward in achieving something that no primarily conservative state has been able to accomplish yet.

A good friend and the chair of Arizona Log Cabin Republicans Caucus, Erin Simpson, had let me in on it and asked me to keep it on the down-low since nobody was sure if it would make it off the ground. I was excited to meet some of the other people behind the initiative and get the chance to hear everyone’s concerns, and I was particularly excited to finally be able to say publicly that we could actually win this.

I have said many times before that I would never support any marriage equality bill that did not also include specific provisions to reinforce religious freedom. Any law I got behind would have to explicitly protect the right of any church or religious organization to refuse to assert their freedom of religious expression and refuse to marry a couple, whether gay or straight. This initiative does exactly that. It is exactly two sentences, changing the language of the bill that was voted into law in 2008 that declared marriage as being between one man and one woman. It changes the language from defining marriage as between “a man and a woman” to being between “two persons”. Also added is the following phrase:

“A religious organization, religious association, or religious society shall not be required to solemnize or officiate any particular marriage or religious rite of marriage in violation of its Constitutional right to free exercise of religion.”

No church will ever be forced to marry a gay couple if they choose not to. The doomsday predictions that churches will be sued for such refusals are shut down before they even begin. Gay and lesbian couples get their right to marry and Evangelicals are protected – which was exactly what I was personally after. And – bonus! – it’s been started by right-leaning leaders in the Arizona political scene. Erin is also a lesbian, a successful retired lawyer, and a wonderful woman with a lot of experience and wisdom to add to the debate on equality. The co-chair, Warren Meyer, is a successful businessman and libertarian. Others who are on board now once didn’t believe in marriage equality. That they are so honest is inspiring to me. It gives me hope that we can live in peace.

Equality is coming. It’s inevitable. I would simply prefer to have a say in all the other issues that come with it, and I am happy that things are changing.

UPDATE: after re-reading this post, I am aware that I didn’t explain something very well. I was never aware before the day of the meeting that this legislation was coming. I knew that SOMETHING was about to happen, but I did not know what until the day of the first meeting. When I finally got to the meeting and found out what it was, I had a very hard time not whipping my phone out and sharing the news with everyone. Someone that I know and respect was helping to get this initiative off the ground and I did not want to say anything until I had the green light from them. I apologize that this was not clearer when I first posted this.

A Time For Equality

When I was born, being openly gay was only acceptable in certain parts of San Francisco. Even in the Castro, police would harass known gay people. Everywhere else? Forget it. New York City wasn’t even partially as progressive as San Francisco was. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.

With the collapse of Nazi Germany (the third installation of which I will post tomorrow), a gay-rights movement sprang up in Europe, the UK, and the US. I think it may have been spurred on by the revelation that the Nazis had targeted homosexuals for extermination along with the Jews. The original movement gained a surprising amount of steam considering the conservative social sensibilities of the time. In 1966 LAPD officers raided Compton’s Cafeteria to arrest men dressed as women and a riot broke out – the drag queens and transgendered patrons destroyed the place. The next day, they went back to the cafe and smashed the newly-replaced plate-glass windows again (because, you know, destruction is the only way to get your point across when you’ve barely attempted to talk). In 1969, NYPD officers raided the Stonewall Inn, one of many mafia-owned gay bars.

Maybe I should explain here what laws were like in America at the time. Even in places that are now known as firmly leftist – Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco – there were decency laws. Some were targeted specifically towards those who identified as G, L, B, or T – in fact, it was illegal to knowingly run a bar or restaurant geared toward homosexuals. Men were not allowed to wear women’s clothing and women were not allowed to be too masculine. Laws for women were specific enough in some areas that in New York, for instance, a woman was required to wear at least three pieces of feminine clothing. Anyone caught in violation of public decency laws was subject to immediate arrest. Police harassment was commonplace. The First Amendment did not carry the same weight that it carries now; you were allowed to speak freely and express yourself, but if you ran afoul of the morality laws you no longer had those rights.

Nobody can accuse me of not knowing or understanding gay history.

Mafia crime families knew that clubs catering to gay patrons were cash cows waiting to be exploited, so they opened the first regular gay bars in Greenwich Village. They overcharged for drinks and watered down the booze, but they also paid off the police to make raids on their establishments less frequent. On June 28, 1969, four NYPD officers barged in to raid the club. Patrons began to refuse to produce IDs, so the officers decided everyone was going to jail. Male officers frisking lesbians all but sexually assaulted them. The few who were released assembled a crowd outside, even gathering passing pedestrians to witness what was going on. Finally, a lesbian being dragged out was beaten for complaining that she was uncomfortable – she called to the crowd that had gathered, at least 150 strong, to “do something!” They did. A mob of around 500 or so gravitated to the area within minutes and construction materials, particularly boards and bricks, ended up being used. Police officers had to barricade themselves inside the bar they’d raided to protect themselves. Rioters then tried to light the bar on fire, even tore a parking meter out of the ground to break the door down. Riots continued for at least five days, with multiple fires being set.

The riots were bound to happen, but Stonewall was too extreme. Much like the Black Panthers on the heels of Dr. King’s assassination, the Stonewall rioters did more to damage the cause of gay rights than they did justice. It is a good thing that gay rights organizations began to sprout nationwide, but what was the cost? Much of America began to fight back in subtler ways. It would be another thirty years before gay rights movements would be acceptable in any form. Decency laws are still on the books in some areas, merely being ignored because it’s too time-consuming for police to enforce them. Sodomy laws were already on the books in some states, but many – including my home state of Texas – enacted them in the years following Stonewall, not to be overturned for 40 years.

I explained that so I can explain this: I don’t think that a Supreme Court ruling striking down all state-level gay marriage bans or even DOMA is going to be a positive thing for gay rights. I think it would, yet again, set our cause back significantly.

The arguments being made by social conservatives about gay marriage right now are so ridiculous in many cases that I’m having a hard time keeping a straight face as I listen to them. The sanctity of marriage? Really? We have a divorce rate soaring well above 60% and they want to prattle about the sanctity of an institution that the overwhelming majority of our society abuses at an alarming rate? There’s the argument that gay couples cannot procreate. Out of curiosity, does anyone have the latest figures on married couples who either actively refuse to have children or simply can’t have children? Do we now expect all married couples to produce a child for their marriage to be valid? Yeah, I didn’t think so. My personal favorite so far is the argument that children being raised in gay homes are more prone to being ostracized – more simply, bullied. I’m sorry, but how is that my fault? Is it not YOUR prejudices that teach your children to treat other people that way? If you know your kid is being a jerk, it’s up to you to correct their behavior. It’s not my issue and I won’t be disrespected because you’re too prejudiced and lazy to do the right thing. Your religious misgivings about my sexual orientation do not deserve recognition in the law of the land any more than Sharia does.

At the same time, history has proven that gray areas like this (yes, it is a gray area, whether we like it or not – we can’t yet be classified as a race and subcultures do not count) draw intense backlash when the courts issue broad rulings too quickly. As evidence, I present Proposition 8. After the California State Supreme Court made gay marriage legal in the state, the backlash was swift and severe. Prop 8 gained popularity among far more than conservatives in the state. California voters gave Obama a resounding victory – the same people who voted for him also voted yes on Prop 8, making gay marriage illegal once again and proving that opposition to gay marriage crosses political ideologies and is not confined merely to the GOP. Why? Californians of all stripes and party affiliations were saying that the courts, comprised of judges who are not elected, are not the final authority on what the people are willing to accept. Enough liberals in California were not yet prepared to allow gay marriage that the half-hearted, snarky anti-Prop 8 campaign was doomed to failure.

And the gay left is still blaming conservatives. Forget looking inward to figure out how we can change our message, we want someone to blame.

Our society has come a hell of a long way since that late summer raid in 1969. Despite those leaps forward, the gay left is acting as if marriage equality is a life-and-death struggle. We’re not being persecuted by government agencies. We’re not being hounded by the police anymore. I’m not going to be tossed in the clink because I have short hair and my clothing couldn’t be remotely considered feminine. The argument has now turned from ending oppression to government-sanctioned happiness, and really, I don’t need the government to give me a blessing or any special privileges – I’d still love my girlfriend with wild abandon and not give a damn who sees me holding her hand or kissing her in public.

We need to learn that there is a time for all things. Not all forms of equality are going to happen overnight, and my greatest fear is that the Supreme Court would hand down a ruling that would throw the gates open for gay marriage just so society’s pendulum can begin to swing the other way and we’ll end up with hard-line social conservatives at the helm that will undo so much of what we’ve accomplished. It can happen. It has happened before. Now that the real struggle is over, we need to back off a little bit and work on winning hearts and minds.

The Mystery of “Tolerant” Gay Liberals

A friend who reads the blog was recently quoted in a New York Times article about lesbian conservatives. I was surprised – it was very tasteful, something I hadn’t expected from the Times. My hope that we might be looking toward actually being respected for once was immediately dashed when Bruce over at GayPatriot linked an op-ed from Advocate.com about “The Mystery of Gay Republicans.”

If I wasn’t angry before, I certainly am now. In fact, I’m downright pissed off.

Broadway diva John Carroll is the author, and considering the fact that I’ve been openly hated (and even threatened) in the comments section of multiple articles on that website – to the point that I no longer post comments there – I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I am appalled at his open hatred and intolerance. I have to ask, where is all of this tolerance the gay left keeps preaching?

Carroll sings the worship of Obama and describes his elation at the President’s re-election, then goes on to detail everything the President has done for the LGBT community. True enough, he ended DADT – it didn’t happen in a vacuum, though. There were Republicans who wanted to see the policy end. I have friends and family in the military who never saw a point to banning gay and lesbian troops from serving, all of them conservative in nature. What else does Carroll claim the messiah has done?

Well, he signed the Mathew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act into law. So what? How many times have I asked why we need a law to make our lives more valuable than the lives of straight people? Why do we need a hate crimes law in cases where the murderers were already sentenced to death? What are you going to do – resuscitate them then execute them a second time? If you’re like most liberals who are against the death penalty, what more can you give Matt Shepard’s killers than life in prison without the possibility of parole? Do you really think that sentencing them to 400 years is going to send a message that people should stop and ask, “hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t beat this guy to death…after all, I might be kept in prison until my corpse has rotted!” It’s one step closer to hate speech legislation. Sorry, but that’s no great leap forward in gay rights.

What about his executive order to all facilities that accept Medicare/Medicaid patients to immediately allow patients to be cared for by their same-sex partners? That wasn’t just for us, kids. It was a blanket order forcing hospitals to allow patients to decide who they wish to see and who will make decisions for them. What that order doesn’t have power over are situations where the patient is incapacitated and there’s no living will in place (I learned in EMT school to have one, and my significant other is listed on it along with my father). If you get into a wreck and you are brought to the hospital in a state of unconsciousness, the hospital still has every right to restrict your visitors to immediately verifiable relatives. We’re still not onto anything major here.

He announced that the Dept of Justice would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. I’m sorry, but how is this supposed to make me happy? He didn’t say he was going to work to repeal it, he just said he wouldn’t defend it anymore. That is what we riding the fence, and it’s a tactic commonly employed by politicians looking to seal the gay vote in their bag. By not openly supporting DOMA the way he did during the 2008 elections, he gets on your good side. It’s his way of making you happy without having to anger the rest of the liberal base. Believe what you will but there are many Democrats who still believe that homosexuality is wrong and gay marriage is an abomination. Ask Bill Clinton, who signed it into law. Ask Democrats Robert Byrd, Dick Gephardt, James Clyburn, Gary Condit, Dick Durbin, John Edwards, Steny Hoyer, Jack Murtha, Chuck Schumer, and Bart Stupak – every single one of them supported DOMA when it was passed, and not a single one has come out to say it should be repealed although most of them are still in Congress (two of them died while in Congress, having never admitted they were wrong to vote for it). Republican Bob Barr, on the other hand, helped write the bill and he has vocally come out in saying he was wrong and DOMA should be repealed.

I’m sorry…that last bit didn’t fit the narrative very well, did it?

He expanded benefits for federal employees to unmarried, same-sex partners. Fantastic. My life is already better. Not much to sing about, since the VERY Republican state I live in, along with the very Republican state that Sarah Palin hails from, allow the same kind of thing for the same-sex partners of State employees as well.

He directed all federal agencies engaged abroad to “promote and protect” the human rights of LGBT people in foreign countries. That’s rich…you mean the rights of 12 men currently awaiting execution in Libya for being accused of being gay? How about the rights of gays in Uganda who face stiff jail sentences or even death for engaging in homosexual sex acts? Oh, I know – they’re talking about protecting the rights of gay people in Egypt, Iran and Gaza! (Meanwhile, back on the farm…) Barack Obama has favored Sharia-led nations and their rights for his entire administration, and we have heard him pay lip service to protecting the interests of gay people abroad, but action is scarce. I sincerely doubt that Carroll (or any other gay liberal) could name a single instance in which any member of Obama’s cabinet has made even a half-hearted attempt to intervene on behalf of any gay person in a foreign country.

Oh, but he came out in support of gay marriage! WOOHOO! Hold on there, Sparky. All he did (yet again) was pay lip service to the issue. He may claim to support our rights to marry, but he currently calls it a “state’s rights issue” (the same thing the gay left got mad at McCain for saying back in 2008, as I recall) and told MTV flat-out that gay marriage was not going to be an issue he is willing to take up in his second term. Here’s the telling part, though: he blathered about his supposedly personal beliefs about gay marriage for a couple of minutes before getting to the part where he said he wasn’t willing to approach the issue. Not one of you have called him out for merely claiming to support it and not being willing to do anything. He was playing every one of the gay liberals who voted for him like a fiddle and they let him get away with it.

Gay liberals talk about how we, as conservatives, are willing to merely take scraps from the Republicans’ table. What on Earth do they think they’re doing? They’re supporting a party that lies to their faces. At least I know exactly where I stand with Republicans. Plus, they’ll sit down and talk to me while they won’t give the likes of Carroll the time of day. Why? Because they know that I care about their rights, too, and I’m not being so brazenly insulting that they can’t stand to be in the same room with me.

Instead of wondering how their bastion state, California, could possibly pass Prop 8, now they’re breathlessly asking what Obama can do during this term to further the rights of gays in America. Sorry, folks. This term won’t be one for the record books. He’s not actively trying to repeal DOMA, he’s not interested in fighting for gay marriage, and he’s not even broaching the subject of adoptions for gay couples.

The comment that really roasts me is where Carroll says, “So basically a vote is cast for their bank account while they remain spiritually bankrupt.” Wait just one damned minute. Is that not the exact same kind of line that the gay community has so despised American Christians for? Super-religious Christians are famous for calling gay people spiritually bankrupt. I listened to it all throughout my childhood. He’s willing to make a moral case out of his arguments, but he dismisses the moralizing of the other side as being…what, irrelevant? Who decides who is right? Whose morality is the right one? How do you know that your brand of moralizing is somehow better than the ones you’re so mad at in the first place? Somehow, in an article written about the desire for tolerance, you manage to come off as a self-righteous, arrogant cretin, especially when you congratulate yourself for turning your back on a gay Republican at a party.

Maybe I should tell myself that it gets better.

Chik-Fil-A: The Great Flap

If you’re listening to the hard left, you’d believe that the boycott of chicken chain Chick-Fil-A is working and the brand is being dealt an irreparable blow.

Unfortunately for them, this is pure fantasy. There’s a CFA restaurant right next to my loft, and these days the place is absolutely packed. The dining room is stuffed to the gills and the drive-thru line quickly wraps around the building. Every CFA in the country seems to be getting more business these days.

We all know what the kerfuffle is about. Dan Cathy, the company’s CEO and the son of founder S. Truett Cathy, recently said “guilty as charged” when asked by the Baptist Press if he supported traditional family values. He never specifically singled out gay marriage; he did single out divorce quite specifically, but the way things have gone you’d think Cathy held a forum in support of Fred Phelps and called for us all to be rounded up and herded into concentration camps.

Roseanne Barr said that everyone who eats at CFA deserves to get cancer. After then saying that people who feed their kids at CFA are guilty of child abuse, she went on another nazi-cursing tirade against the chain. Non-celebs went completely bats as well, commenting that CFA sandwiches are “deep fried in hate” and called traditional marriage “a sacred bond between two consenting bigots”.

The really frightening thing about all of this, however, is what elected government officials are doing now. It began with Boston mayor Thomas Menino declaring that CFA was banned from Boston and he would see to it that it was nearly impossible for the company to get proper permits to operate. As soon as he did that, actress Eliza Dushku promptly tweeted, “That’s right, B!” (Eliza, you’re breaking my heart here…I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and SMG is still my celeb girl crush, but I once had a crush on you, too!) That was followed by Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno swearing to block CFA from opening a new restaurant in his district. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel backed him up, saying that “Chick-Fil-A values are not Chicago values” (strange, since gay marriage is illegal in Illinois and nobody in Chicago politics has moved a finger to change that). San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee then tweeted that the nearest CFA restaurant was 40 miles away and “I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.” DC mayor Vincent Gray has now said that “I will not support #hatechicken”.

Calling them a bunch of lunatics is being too nice. They’re outright violating CFA’s First Amendment rights, and frighteningly so. Their reason is that they strongly disagree with Cathy’s beliefs, and they think that because they disagree and can claim that CFA discriminates because of Cathy’s beliefs they have the right to stop the chain from growing, opening new stores and creating more jobs. Our tax dollars hard at work.

First of all, let’s clear the air here: being against the legalization of gay marriage does NOT equal being anti-gay. It certainly does not deserve the title of “hatemonger.” I know a few gay people who don’t believe in legalizing gay marriage. That does not make them hatemongers, they simply want to live their lives in peace and not have to worry about who might be offended. Second, I routinely go to CFA. My item of habit is their grilled chicken sandwich deluxe. I have never, not once, EVER been discriminated against by any employee. In fact, most of them know me by name and chat with me while I’m waiting. They all know I’m gay and not a single one of them cares. CFA employees have frequently been the most gracious I’ve encountered.

Third, it is beyond comprehension that any government official would dare to infringe upon the rights of any person. What would these same people say if a conservative mayor forced a gay-owned-and-themed business out of their city because of religious objections to their beliefs and/or lifestyle? I can tell you now, they’d all be howling for the DOJ to investigate. It’s perfectly acceptable, though, when liberals want to do it.

Boycotting isn’t un-American, and none of us have claimed that it was (Fox News certainly hasn’t, and you’re lying through your teeth when you claim they have). If you want to personally boycott the place, that’s your right. You may not, however, tell them that they’re not allowed to open or expand in your city because of your disagreement with the owner. I will be the first to stand up for their rights, because if I sit back and let you violate their rights, then mine will be next.

Obama For Gay Marriage…NOT!

I have said before that I believed Obama’s announcement that he wouldn’t defend DOMA in court was little more than a ploy to placate hard-left gay rights activists who won’t stop until they push gay marriage rights on everyone. It was Obama’s way of keeping gay leftists on the plantation. I still believe that, particularly in light of his announcement yesterday.

He announced that his view on gay marriage has “evolved.” After saying during his 2008 campaign that he believed marriage to be a sacred pact between one man and one woman – something that a majority of Democrats also believe, particularly black Democrats in California who voted yes on Prop 8, guaranteeing its passage into law – he suddenly believes that same-sex couples should be allowed marriage rights.

Of course it has nothing to do with Biden’s diarrhea of the mouth the other day, saying that HE believed in gay marriage rights (which, when hard-left website ThinkProgress announced it, turned into a bald-faced lie when they claimed that Biden had “backed equal rights for the LGBT community throughout his career,” which is complete tripe because when DOMA and DADT were being debated Biden was a senator and he backed the legislation then, as did his good friend Robert Byrd). It couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with Biden beclowning himself yet again. At least this time he didn’t claim that George Washington tweeted news of his big win at Yorktown to all of his generals.

It should be interesting to note that Max Mutchnick, creator of Will & Grace, has recently been on CBS to say that Biden’s remarks seemed very “choreographed” when he first made the comments more than three weeks ago at a Hollywood fundraiser that White House staff were videotaping. I agree with Mutchnick that Biden was testing the waters to see what would happen, and the White House recorded it for posterity to make sure they could have something to point to and say, “lookit! This isn’t a gaffe, he really, really meant it!”

Then, this past Sunday, Biden finally said it publicly: he absolutely believes that two men and two women should be able to marry each other. The White House feigned shock, a kabuki theater act complete with Jay Carney pretending to have no idea what reporters were talking about when they asked about Biden’s flip-flop on gay marriage (sorry, but I don’t believe for one second that every White House staffer in creation didn’t know exactly what he said, and I am certain they knew BEFORE he said it). Gay rights activists went into a tizzy. Will Obama finally stand up for gay marriage? Will he do what no other president has done before?

The answer? Yes!

Not so fast, folks. It’s not what you think.

Obama naturally cited his daughters in interviews about gay marriage. He claimed that watching Malia and Sasha hang out with friends who had same-sex parents made him change his perspective. ABC broke in with a special report yesterday to announce Obama’s “evolution.” But the big problem here?

Obama still openly believes that gay marriage is a states-rights issue.

That fact alone makes his remarks supporting gay marriage outrageously disingenuous. Currently, 32 states have state laws barring recognition of same-sex unions. North Carolina became yet another one to pass such a law with a pretty serious margin, along with uber-liberal California. If Obama really, truly believed in gay marriage rights as strongly as he says he does, he wouldn’t believe it was a states-rights issue. A few gay rights activists have picked up on this, but most haven’t – they’re still naively celebrating his announcement as if it were a flat endorsement.

Obama doesn’t want you to know that. He doesn’t want you to question him. You should stop and think, however, before taking his supposed change of heart as a ringing endorsement. The man still believes that a state has the right to refuse to recognize your marriage, a stance that many took on interracial marriage back in the 70’s. If he’s not completely for it, he’s not for it at all. He’s still tap dancing to try and make one group happy – and that one group happens to make up a very small minority of voters. Unfortunately for him, it’s going to cost him quite a few votes. A very high number of black Democrats (as I mentioned before) are against gay marriage. They will stay home during this election simply because of his beliefs on gay marriage.

Obama’s announcement that he changed his mind on the matter was nothing more than duplicitous windbaggery. I will continue to caution gay rights activists against embracing this news.

A Shining Example

While she was still campaigning to be the new mayor of Troy, Michigan, then-candidate Janice Daniels responded to the new freedom to marry in New York. The very day after gay marriage rights were made legal in New York, Daniels put a post on her Facebook page that went completely unnoticed at the time: “I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there.”

Now, I’ve discussed my wavering stance on gay marriage. I’ve discussed what I think about civil unions. I’ve also discussed the handful of ignorant comments made by some conservative leaders about the gay left as opposed to the laundry list of wildly inappropriate comments from the gay left about conservatives – particularly gay conservatives. I took my picture and my email off the blog within the first year due to hate mail and two separate incidents involving gay leftists trying to start physical fights with me. In all of the discussion, I have always been perfectly blunt about those who use gay slurs for the sole purpose of bullying a person and then refusing to apologize for it (Perez Hilton).

By the time Daniels’ remark was discovered, she had won the election and was officially the mayor of the City of Troy. It was Katie, one of my best friends in the wide world (and a resident of Detroit), who brought it to my attention. The comment drew intense negative attention to the new politician. The Detroit Free Press discussed calls for the mayor to resign. ABC weighed in. Towleroad left no question as to their stance on the issue. There was even a movement reported to boycott shopping in Troy. All of this, however, was after Daniels had apologized for the language she used. There has been no forgiveness. Yes, what she said was completely wrong and I have no trouble saying it – but she also said it, which was why I didn’t post about it when I first heard it had happened. I was disgusted that despite her apology, she was still being called a bully by protesters.

Today, I saw something that lifted my spirits and put a smile on my face. Amy Weber, a filmmaker and one of Katie’s close-knit circle of friends up in Michigan, stood up with her wife, Tina, and their two biological daughters Logan and Aiden to speak directly to mayor Daniels. Amy’s short remarks actually made me choke up. She wasn’t angry, she wasn’t spiteful, there was no name-calling, no accusations flung – she stood before a Tea Party mayor whose politics she may not completely agree with and called for unity in a way that precious few GLBT people do.

It is things like this that give me hope that our community might not be as covertly intolerant as I have experienced. It is a ray of light in a place where there have been few. I hope every single one of the GLBT people at that meeting understood what she was doing and follow that shining example. It should be the example for all GLBT people, regardless of political affiliation, to follow.