Sunday, March 28, 2010

Meet Jacqui

I'm a Canadian living in Ireland with my wife -- we married in Canada almost 5 years ago -- and our cats & dog. I work in retail and blog in my spare time. My blog (BigGayCloset.com) is a collection of stories and news stories related to coming out, aimed at providing gay people with a sense of community, and a place where questioning people can find stories they can relate to.

I'm addicted to news and politics. I love debating the issues of the day, and adore quiet pubs where conversation is possible. A good beer and a great argument make my day.

My parents were both very involved in politics from local to national -- my father is a conservative and my mother a liberal -- so I learned to enjoy politics as a game as much as it is a serious thing. I find nothing more exciting than staying up all night watching election results roll in, regardless of who is winning.

I studied percussion (that's drums and other stuff you hit) in university, but eventually dropped out when I realised I was gay. It all hit me pretty hard, and when a friend offered a chance to run away to England for a year, I took her up on it.

I ended up in Ireland, and fell in love.It's hard to believe that just loving someone changes everything, but it does.

I've been chatting with Jacqui on Twitter and was quite pleasantly surprised to get an e-mail from her tonight with her face of the day submission. Thanks Jacqui!

Meandering Manifesto, Part 4: Stability

This is part four of my Meandering Manifesto series.

Last year, Grace and I went to a second wedding in Michigan. It was much more pleasant than the first one. This time the priest didn't say anything that made me apoplectic with rage. But he did say something that got me thinking.

He began with a statistic that something like one in two marriages end in divorce, then worked his way down a line of increasing religious context of the marriage. I don't remember the following numbers exactly, but that's not the point.

  • Of the couples who were married in a church ceremony, about one in fifty get divorced.
  • Of the couples who were married in a church ceremony and who attend church regularly, one in several hundred get divorced.
  • Of the couples who were married in a church ceremony, who attend church regularly, and who pray together at home, one in about twelve hundred get divorced.

As a left-leaning agnostic this made me squirm a bit. Those numbers made me uncomfortable. I found myself wanting to read up on the research to see if they were skewed.

Later, I realized that the degree of accuracy didn't matter. Because whether those numbers were spot on, or off by an order of magnitude, there's no doubt in my mind that he's right.

He's right.

A religiously involved marriage brings stability to the married couple and to their society.

Just stop for a minute. Don't react. Just breathe.

Now. Hear what I'm saying. We are adults. Not only can we hold contradictory ideas in our heads, we can also parse wildly disparate ideas that at first seem as inseparable as the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water.

We can admit that folks on the other side of the political divide are right to call the bathwater dirty. That admission in no way implies that we favor throwing out the baby.

I admit that religion, marriage, and the potent combination thereof bring stability to our society. I do not, however, agree that the stable structure that we gain is worth the cost. I believe that the foundation stones of that structure rest on the backs of my gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends.

Stability always demands unity. Unity always eschews variance. People don't like what is different. Communities and societies and countries develop a collective animus against the unusual. This animus may well have served a vital purpose in primitive marginal communities which could have gone extinct if members had strayed from the norm. But today we are no longer primitive, or so we flatter ourselves. Today our hard-wired animus against sex and gender variance is out of all proportion to any conceivable harm that such variance could cause.

Traditional religious marriages bring valuable stability to my country, my community, and my life. I admit that freely.

And I don't care.

I don't want that much stability. I don't want stability at the cost of hatred. I don't want a life so stable that, while I'm hiking with my good friend Mel, we have to worry that someone might overhear her talking about her girlfriend. I'm not so ravening after peace and quiet that I want Vikrant to be anything less than himself, because I find Vikrant's himself to be quite a delightful one. And I sure as hell ain't willing to pretend that another person's sex life is any of my damned business, let alone that it could somehow threaten my wobbly-ass secular marriage.

Keep your stability. It's covered in blood and lies. My hands ain't the cleanest, but I'll be damned if I'll dip 'em in shit.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Oppose ENDA Because It Could Lead To The Extinction Of Humanity

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, first introduced in 1994, would prohibit job discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Contrary to what some activist judges would like you to believe, this is not an isolated piece of legislation. The Proponents of the “gay agenda” are systematically setting the stage for same-sex marriage and the silencing of those who would call their lifestyle immoral and sinful. But that's just the first step in their agenda.

Once we allow that first domino to fall, we are setting foot on a slippery slope. Same-sex marriage will lead, logically and inexorably, to the legalization of polygamy, bestiality, and pedophilia. And in the murky cesspool waiting at the very bottom of that slope lies a society with no moral compass -- a society where a man is free to marry his dog or his horse.

But do you see the truth? Even this is only the beginning.

After the dregs of our society are allowed not only to slake but to sanctify their every fleshy want, whence will their hungers lead them? Logically, they must turn beyond the flesh and into the microscopic world.

Having long ago left behind the sanctity of the marriage of man and woman, the men of this future society will cast aside all common sense in their perverse need to bond with ever more unlikely partners. Their gaze will fall upon the most readily available and eagerly bonding element of them all, and a new perversion will become commonplace: the marriage of a man to the lowly oxygen molecule. This will not only destroy the natural order of covalent carbon-oxygen bonding, but leave our very children gasping for breath.

We must protect the children.

And what is the next step in this clear logical progression? What will happen when that strumpet oxygen, sharing its electrons with anyone it meets, loses its allure? Man will turn to the simple, sublime charm of the hydrogen atom.

Our sun is only about halfway through its main sequence evolution; if it continues to follow God's plan, it has five billion years' worth of hydrogen fuel remaining at its core. Ah, but what if the voracious liberals of tomorrow are allowed to work their deviant ways upon our very cosmology? Far-fetched, you say? Let us turn to the Bible.
Colossians 3:14
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Do you still doubt that love, the kernel around which misguided liberals want to reform marriage, is powerful enough to tear apart our molecular bonds and through them our very firmament? Nuptuals between man and hydrogen atom will quickly deplete the solar reserves and push the sun prematurely into its red giant phase, engulfing the earth and ending all life.

Everybody likes new ideas, new rituals. The sanctity of marriage will never be replaced by liberal ideas about love. In the end, life and family are about the connection between one man and one woman. And ENDA is about trying to sterilize the earth with fire.

And to me the choice is easy.



The above satire is my humble contribution to the Bilerico Project Enda blogswarm. Please visit the Bilerico page, urge Speaker Pelosi to support ENDA, and fill in the form to let us know how the call went. The text of the Bilerico page is copied below

Take Action: Demand LGBT Employment Rights Today

Note from Bil: The Bilerico Project is participating in a blogswarm today with

Daily Kos,
Open Left,
Towleroad,
Pam's House Blend,
Joe My God,
Michelangelo Signorile,
David Mixner,
Daily Gotham,
Culture Kitchen,
Taylor Marsh,
PageOneQ,
Good As You,
Americablog,
Dan Savage, and others.

We're asking our readers to contact Speaker Nancy Pelosi and ask that she move the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (HR 3017) to a floor vote. Contact info at the end of the article.


The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, first introduced in 1994, would prohibit job discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But LGBT people have never been able to achieve the enactment of the bill, known by the acronym of "ENDA".

Last year, the Administration's highest ranking gay official, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, indicated that ENDA was highest priority on the LGBT civil rights agenda.

"If we can get ENDA enacted and signed into law, it is only a matter of time before all the rest happens," he said. "It is the keystone that holds up the whole bunch, and so we need to focus our energies and attention there."


Hearings were held in the House and in the Senate to demonstrate the need for the bill, and testimony was heard on the severe unemployment, underemployment and harassment experienced by LGBT workers. Witnesses testified to the scientific studies demonstrating this.

The reason that workers need this protection is that the LGBT community is a relatively small minority, probably around 5% of the U.S. population, and there are many people with prejudices against them. This is also one reason that the bill has had difficulties in Congress: the minority in need of protection from discrimination are drowned out by the many bigots.

Civil rights, by definition, are needed most by those against whom there is most prejudice.

Various sponsors promised that the bill would move to a vote in August, September, October, and November of 2009. But in order to go to a vote, the bill had to pass through the House Committee on Education and Labor via a "markup" procedure. Markup was finally scheduled for November 18, 2009. But at the last minute, the markup was postponed, and has still not been rescheduled.

Initially, the Committee said that some technical language required tweaking, ostensibly to insure that plaintiffs could not recover too much money or attorney fees, and to prevent lawsuits based on inadvertent discrimination. But it has become increasingly clear that something else is at work.

A clue to the inaction: Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly told Democrats that she would not move controversial bills. Meanwhile, the House Committee has stated its readiness to move, but is waiting for a signal from Speaker Pelosi.

That signal has not come. Meanwhile, LGBT Americans continue to suffer discrimination and harassment with no recourse.

President Obama famously said in a campaign speech that "Power concedes nothing without a fight."

We demand that LGBT people receive the same job rights as other people: to be able to get and keep a job based only on relevant factors, like job performance, and not on irrelevant criteria, like sexual orientation or gender identity.

There is a majority in both Houses of Congress in favor of ENDA. Now is the time to move it.

In 30 states across America, there is no law against firing someone based on his or her sexual orientation, and the same is true in 38 states for gender identity.

Will you join with us in asking that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people be protected from job discrimination?

Click here to contact Speaker Pelosi.

Please call Speaker Nancy Pelosi at 202-225-4965. Ask that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, HR 3017, move to a vote. Please be polite, but firm.

After you call, please tell us how the call went by clicking here. If you get a busy signal or hang up, let us know that too.

If you want more information on Speaker Pelosi's position, you can find it here

Let's work together to let Speaker Pelosi know that we want action now!

At the end of the day, we will post a round-up of how the day went. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I recognize that smell.

The Pennsylvania Senate is discussing John Eichelberger’s SB 707, which would amend the PA constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The Judiciary Committee may vote on it as soon as tomorrow.

For more information see Thomas C. Waters's blog entry, which tipped me to the situation. See also Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, whose blog swarm I'm joining with this entry. People like them know the situation in Pennsylvania much better than I. So I'm not going to tell you about it. But I will tell you a story.

January 27th was the last day of evidence in California's Proposition 8 trial. On January 29th Ron Prentice published a summary of the trial on the United Families International Blog. Here's the part that stuck in my head.

The controlling legal issue is not whether homosexual marriage is good or bad, but rather whether the people have the right to decide what is best.
Really?

Now that's interesting.

Because I thought that the controlling legal issue was the protection of the institution of marriage.

Let me check.

Yup. I was wasn't crazy. Ron Prentice is the Chairman of Protect Marriage dot com. Protect Marriage. Hmmmmm. I can't help but think that when he registered the domain name he thought that the core mission of his group was to, oh, protect marriage.

Make no mistake. When the Proposition 8 trial began it was all about protecting marriage. Just take a look at the Proposition 8 Trial Tracker and you'll see that. If Prentice's defense had had one iota of success in showing that same-sex marriages would harm anything at all, you can bet he'd be singing the same tune that was filling the air in early January. But he isn't. The tune has changed. Why?

I grew up on a dairy farm. My uncle sold the property when I was five, but we only moved a quarter of a mile down the road. So I spent my first decades walking the pastures and corn fields and ravines around that farm. I grew up accustomed to bad smells.

One day when I was in my early teens I was walking alone through the fields when I smelled something particularly bad. It was immediately apparent that something big had died. I followed the increasingly nauseating stench down into a ravine and, sure enough, there was the dead cow that I'd smelled hundreds of yards away.

Ron Prentice's words stink to high heaven. And just like the stench that hit me while walking through corn fields all those years ago, it doesn't take much effort to track the smell back to its source. In this case the big bloated cow carcass is Ron Prentice's desperation. He started by saying that he was protecting marriage, and the absurdity of that assertion has been illuminated. So now he's switching tactics. He'll say whatever he can to veil his hateful actions in a sham of logic.

When you look at the situation in Pennsylvania, don't be confused about What This Is Really About. The people who want to write discrimination into the state constitution want you to believe that it's about anything but discrimination. So they construct a What This Is Really About du Jour. What This Is Really About is plastic. What This Is Really About changes with the wind. Don't listen. Smell what's on that wind.

Follow your nose.