A MinD in MoTown


Talk about hyperbolic.

If someone were to you ask what two of the most “insidious and dangerous” threats to society and the world today were, what would you answer?

Terrorism, homicide (in general), global warming (maybe not the insidious part…), AIDS (not sure about insidious here either), etc. Far from that lengthy list for so many of us would be gay marriage and abortion. However, Pope Benedict XVI seems to think otherwise*.

Reading about actions like this one from the sole person leading the faith that I grew up with make it that much more difficult to ever consider returning to my Catholic roots. As someone who very strongly believes in a woman’s right to choose and regularly advocates for same-sex marriage, how can I possibly rejoin a church that so openly dismisses both as two of the most major “threats” without consideration of every other danger that plagues our society?

Not only do I find these claims by the Pope completely ridiculous, but misplaced as well. Our world is burdened by things far worse than abortion and gay marriage. So many people regularly face hunger, poverty, sickness and immense, actual threats to life and happiness such as war, terrorism and bigotry. Yet the Catholic church, with the Pope at its helm, wastes its time on gay marriage and abortion? Perhaps this simply puts a wider rift between myself and the only faith I’ve ever truly known.

For years now Catholic officials have questioned why so many young people are turning away from the church and becoming atheist, agnostic or joining other religions. Maybe, just maybe, statements such as this one from the Pope have something to do with it.

* If you check out the article, what I continue on to say might make a bit more sense. It also helps slightly that you know I have quite an estranged relationship with Catholicism.



I call bullshit.

To say I read a lot of news is likely an understatement. I swim in it every day, perusing each article with gasps and awes at moments. And occasionally, pure outrage results and then I wander over to my dear blog to spill my guts.

Today’s topic of choice? The cancellation of a Mississippi high school prom simply because one girl chose another girl as her date – oh, and because the student wanted to wear a tuxedo to the dance*.

YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, RIGHT!?

It’s 2010. Progressive states, such as Iowa and most recently Washington, D.C.**, are providing same-sex couples with the marriage rights they so fervently fight for each day. People of the same gender aren’t completely ostracized – though I’m sadly sure they are at times – as they once were. We’ve moved leaps and bounds forward, and although there still remains so much more ground to cover and achieve, being a member of the LGBT*** community carries far little stigma than a decade or two ago.

Yet one female teenager decides to bring her girlfriend to the prom, and the result becomes a canceled event for the entire school. I’m far from surprised that this quickly became a hot news item, especially as the ACLU fights back with a lawsuit spearheaded by the shunned teen (as I write, this is the newest development).

Officials with the Itawamba (Mississippi) School District’s board of education are claiming that the media coverage of the situation has caused “distractions to the educational process,” forcing them into the prom’s cancellation. However, I see these comments as little more than fabrications meant to conceal their true opinions – likely those stemming from conservative, religious values that don’t allow them to see how unfair, unjust and unequal their treatment of this student is. And what nearly proves this fact is the timeline of events, because it seems to me that the school district called off the event prior to the real mediastorm eruption.

Sure, a few articles were probably printed as the ACLU stepped in to tell the district that they couldn’t justly forbid this 18-year-old from bringing another girl to the prom, which they not only stated specifically to the student at the center of this situation, but they did on a large scale by distributing a notice to all students that said prom dates must be of the opposite sex.

No, the real coverage of this controversy began only after the entire prom was scrapped to prevent one individual from attending – a girl who was flatly told by her school administrators that she and her date would be ejected from the prom if they arrived and any student expressed even the slightest issue with their same-sex coupledom. Maybe it’s time district officials and the board of education explained their true beliefs about equality regarding sexual orientation rather than hiding behind fallacies of their own creation, futilely blaming the media for a lack of prom festivities.

I’m not a moron and I completely realize that there are still people in this country who cannot see the need for equality across the board, including when it comes to one’s personal preference in a mate. However, it’s one thing to hold those beliefs and another to force them upon someone who clearly doesn’t hold the same opinion. To penalize this girl, and eventually the entire school, because of the “distraction” the two girls attending prom could be is utterly ridiculous for 2010 and I fully stand behind the ACLU as they attempt to rectify the situation, even if that’s via a lawsuit.

It amazes me that we can come so far when it comes to LGBT rights, and maybe even become complacent in our efforts toward the fight for that equality as we see progress occur. And then one seemingly small decision in a mediocre Mississippi town can ignite the fire under our asses. This school district decision has truly done that for me, and unfortunately it only proves how much change is still absolutely needed in this society.

* A smaller detail – that I won’t actually discuss – but she was forbidden to wear a tux because the district superintedent claimed only males could wear them.
** Yes, I know D.C. isn’t a state… Need we pick on the details? Sheesh!
*** Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, in case you didn’t know, though I hope you already did.



Have a few extra dollars? Maybe you can help.
August 19, 2009, 10:56 am
Filed under: All you need is love

I’m not typically one for asking anyone to jump onto a cause or a fundraiser simply because I would, and I tend to avoid soliciting donations from friends or the community, especially when we’re all close to broke.

However, for those of you out there who might have a couple dollars lingering around or have a handful of change you’d like to put toward a noble cause, I’m passing along the word. And if you’re unable to donate – which is totally okay because, unfortunately, many of us are economically challenged right now – spreading this information to others would be just as helpful.

Rachel from Mom in Real Life will be participating this October in Washington D.C.’s National Equality March and she’s seeking donations toward helping as many Chicago folks attend as possible. Sure, the majority of you reading this right now are saying, “But I don’t live in Chicago, so what does this do for me?” Well, if you are an advocate for equal rights across the board – including LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) members of society – but cannot attend the event yourself, why not put a few bucks toward helping someone else join the march?

I truly believe that every body there in D.C. this fall will assist in creating a larger impact on our elected officials for making a true, real equality change in this country. Every person making his or her presence known that weekend – Oct. 10-11 – can honestly make a difference.

Here’s an emotional and genuine excerpt from Rachel’s post:

We are not marching for gay marriage, we are not marching to hate on the Bible, we are marching to get federal rights for all of America’s citizens. We are marching so that a person who fights and risks their lives for their country should be able to carry a picture of their partner in the uniform. We are marching so that when a gay man gets beaten and tied to a fence post to die it is considered a hate crime. We are marching so that a good teacher will not lose her job because she loves another woman. We are marching so that a senior citizen can honor the wishes of their partner of 50 years when they get seriously ill and be allowed to stay by their bedside to provide comfort.

And for those rights, for that kind of equality, shouldn’t we all be doing whatever we possibly can to help?

If you’re a blog regular, you know my strong advocacy for marriage equality and gay marriage rights throughout the United States. But I’m glad Rachel’s post – even if I stumbled upon it a bit late – gave me an opportunity to make it known that I believe in more than marriage rights being extended to the LGBTQ community, but every right afforded to the average straight white man in this country. If we can break down racial barriers – although that’s still a struggle for some, sadly – then why can’t we do the same for something as simple as sexual orientation?

Take a minute and check out Rachel’s post, “I just need a moment of your time,” and, if you feel compelled to do so, donate or just pass along the word.

Thanks for reading. ::Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.::



The Hampshire = SIX!
June 3, 2009, 4:19 pm
Filed under: All you need is love

It’s looking practically positive that New Hampshire will become the sixth state – behind Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine – to legalize gay marriage. Yay!

Check out the full story, courtesy of the New York Times. In a nut shell, the Senate has passed the bill as well as the House. The governor simply had to read the document, to ensure that clearly said “churches and religious groups would not be forced to officiate at gay marriages or provide other services,” notes the NY Times article, before signing the new legislation, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2010.

i love loveAnd with that said, the lovely Haute Pocket posted some information on her blog earlier this week about CREDO Action giving away these awesome (and FREE! who doesn’t love FREE!?) stickets in support of gay marriage. So far, more than 70,000 stickers* have been dispensed throughout the country, and it’d be great to see that number continue to climb.

Keep your eyes open folks because it’s looking like N.H. will certainly pass this bill – the governor should have already dotted his i’s and crossed those t’s – and move our country closer yet to equality for all**.

* The sticker means “I love love” for those of you who might’ve been confused!
** P.S. This is my 100th post. YAY!!



ME, ME, ME, ME, MEEEEEE!
May 6, 2009, 2:53 pm
Filed under: All you need is love

The state of Maine (ME for those of you completely baffled by my headline) has become the fifth in this great United States to legalize same-sex marriage.

YAY!

With so many people not reading or caring much about the news these days, sans the awesomeness of Jon Stewart, i will keep using my blog to ensure at least my readers – all 14 of you – know about these monumental changes to state laws.

Five down, 45 to go!



Your scare tactics are lost on me.

I know that bloggers aren’t much into clicking links, but this is one I think you might need to make an exception for… This information was brought to my attention about a week ago via a Twitter friend and as “the blogger who regularly talks about gay marriage,” I clearly needed to pass it along.

Apparently there are efforts being made by the “National Organization for Marriage” to scare folks into believing marriage should remain one man and one woman. “Based on real incidents,” a variety of actors discuss the reasons why homosexual marriages would ruin their lives in a new television advertisement, and it’s my opinion that this ad campaign is utterly ridiculous.

“There’s a storm gathering. The clouds are dark and the winds are strong. And I am afraid.” Seriously? A storm? Do you think they even realized the comparison to something natural? Bet not.

“I am a Massachusetts parent helplessly watching public schools teach my son that gay marriage is okay.” …REALLY!? Well, if you’d like your child to have an education where he or she is taught that it is “wrong,” I strongly encourage you to reconsider the public school option. Clearly a more sheltered education – such as one at a private, religious-based school – is more ideal for your family.

“The storm is coming. But we have hope! … Coming together in love to protect marriage.” WHAT!?!?!?! In love? Weren’t you also taught to “treat others as you wish to be treated”? What happened to that? Where’s the “love” in hatred and inequality? Oh, that’s right, there’s none!

The site shows that this particular advertisement comes in response to the marriage equality amendments recently made in Vermont and Iowa. This campaign clearly aims to incite fear among viewers so marriage remains out of arm’s reach for homosexuals in the United States. I, for one, hope this is one force that can be stopped, which is the goal of the linked Web site.

Now, I am in no way asking or even encouraging anyone to delve into their pockets and contribute to the fund listed on that site – just making sure everyone knows that – but it’s a video I wanted everyone to see and react to so that one day, optimistically, these scare tactics will finally cease and gay marriage will prevail.

This advertisement is deplorable, and that’s putting it nicely. From day one I have realized and understood the stance many religiously inclined people took against gay marriage rights even if I 100% disagreed with them. However, campaigns such as this one are taking personal opinions farther than necessary. It’s more than a protest against equality; it’s a position fueled by hatred that outright mocks the idea of uniformity for all who seek marriage.

Without question, this ad disgusts me to the very core, and honestly, I hope you find the same reaction as you watch it. As always, comments on this issue, whether in agreement or otherwise, are welcomed and appreciated.



Three down, 47 to go.
April 3, 2009, 11:24 am
Filed under: All you need is love, Do "yay", Too liberal for the Bible belt

Who would have thought that Iowa – a state in the heartland of America – would allow same-sex marriages before dozens and dozens of other states (and especially before California!?)? Not me, that’s for sure, but it’s clearly another huge step for gay marriage and I could not be happier about that!

Iowans…you’ve done quite well and have something to be crazy proud of today!

But a small note to Rev. Keith Ratliff, Sr. of Des Moines’ Maple Street Baptist Church: I hope you find yourself rotting in hell for your eternal life for calling homosexuality a “perversion.” Better yet, I hope you live to see the day where America as a whole not just allows, but welcomes gay marriage. It will happen. Mark my words, it will happen.