Archive for category Queer

Kim Davis, Religion and the Religious Right’s Perpetual Culture War

The basic outline of this drama could have been predicted (and was predicted) months ago – someone objects to same-sex couples marrying; in their business or government position they refuse to issue marriage licenses or otherwise serve same-sex couples. A minor media brushfire occurs, a right wing legal organization leaps into the fray and throws gasoline on the fire.  A court orders the person to issue said marriage licenses or provide said services.  Person refuses, and on the advice of the legal organization starts talking about religious freedom.  Court orders person to do their job.  Person refuses.  Right wing legal organization gives bad advice, hoping to create a martyr.  Person goes to jail for contempt of court.  The Religious Right goes up in flames.

The specific details were always up for grabs – there’s no reason it had to be Rowan County, Kentucky rather than Mobile, Alabama or Twin Falls, Idaho.  The objector could have been a man not a woman, a judge not a county clerk or the owner of a business.  That the objector would adhere to a form fundamentalist Christianity was a given, although the specific form doesn’t make much difference (Davis belongs to an Apostolic Christian Church). The actual nature of the objection could easily have been a cut and paste job – we were always going to hear screeching about religious freedom and how this poor person is being oppressed. Even the specifics of the punishment are largely unimportant – whether it was jail time or fines or an order to comply with nondiscrimination laws, the reaction was always going to be the same.  Even the comparisons to Rosa Parks were inevitable as the religious right tries to coopt the luster of the Civil Rights movement.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis helpfully stepped into the fray. Her refusal to issue any and all marriage licenses, especially to same-sex couples, put her in the middle of the fight the religious right has wanted for the longest time. Read the rest of this entry »


Utah’s First Gay Married Couple (updated)


Looks like the honor goes to:

Michael Adam Ferguson and J. Seth Anderson

“Our application for a marriage license was just accepted by the state of Utah,” Ferguson wrote on his Facebook wall.

Saw this on KSL a couple minutes ago:

Within hours, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill confirmed that, in light of the ruling, he saw no reason to prohibit Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“We’ve advised Sherrie Swensen that she should proceed — as of right now … she should be processing those applications like she would of anyone else,” Gill said around 3 p.m. “As of right now, if somebody gets in line and applies, there is no prohibition against it as a matter of law right now.”



Federal Judge Strikes Down Amendment 3

I’m stunned.

A federal judge in Utah Friday struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

“The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. “Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”

And amazed:

“Applying the law as it is required to do, the court holds that Utah’s prohibition on same- sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process under the law,” the judge wrote. “The State’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason. Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.” Read more at

Apparently the judge didn’t stay the order which means . . . .

“A federal district court judge in Utah just issued a decision striking down Utah’s marriage ban on the grounds that it violates the fundamental right to marry and lacks even a rational basis. This is the first decision since Perry–and the first after Windsor–striking down a marriage ban under the federal constitution. The judge did not stay his decision, so same-sex couples in Utah are applying for marriage licenses now.”

I don’t think anybody saw this one coming.


Is Detente Between the GLBT Community and the Religious Right Possible?

The Religious Right isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  Since the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions, right wing commentators have gone in two distinct directions – some commentators have doubled down on their anti-gay rhetoric, while other commentators have plead for “tolerance” for their views about marriage.  That second group is essentially asking for detente – “you won so be nice to us.”

Is detente between the gay community and the religious right even possible?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Claims the Religious Right is Crumbling Are Wrong

At HuffPo, Jamie McGonnigal argues that the Anti-gay right is crumbling in a very public and very painful way:

Despite hate groups like the National Organization for Marriage and Family Research Council calling for “days of prayer” and for their followers to stand with them that morning on the steps of the court, no one came. I could count on one hand the number of people standing their with anti-gay signs. The rest was a sea of rainbows and love.[snip]

The anti-gay Right is disintegrating before our eyes and the desperation with which they are clinging onto life has never been more apparent. They will never be gone forever, though. Just as we’ve seen with groups that fought integration and some in the South who are still fighting the Civil War, they’re never gone for good.

With all due respect, I think McGonnigal is misreading the evidence.

The anti-gay right was braced for a loss at the Supreme Court.  Despite the current Court being the most conservative in nearly a century, the anti-gay right sees the Court, in fact the entire judicial system, as overwhelmingly and hostile to conservative Christians.  Wins are regarded as flukes, losses as ordinary and expected.

Almost immediately after the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions came down, the anti-gay right ramped up their rhetoric of Christian persecution.  The half-truths and partial stories they’ve been trading around for years got a new lease on life.

The anti-gay right is entirely ready to write off a host of states and localities as lost causes – the East and West Coasts are “real America” anyway – and concentrate on defending “real America” against the coming onslaught.  Anti-gay activists rushed op-eds to press assuring the faithful that DOMA and Prop 8 were their generation’s Roe v Wade decision, a momentary loss that will galvanize and motivate the faithful to fight harder and longer against the threat of fags getting married.  In the context of the Boy Scouts’ decision to permit openly gay scouts, the right was already gearing up a new campaign built around their victimization.

The anti-gay right isn’t dead.  They’re busily recalibrating, reorganizing and rallying.  The theme of Christian “victimization” has been refined and prepped.  Anti-gay folks are going to go in full throated proclamations about their supposed victimization at the hands of gays and lesbians.  They’re going to go into full scale public scourging and wailing.  Whether they’re losing or not, the anti-gay right is furious, hurt, and resentful and they’re going to lash out.

My instincts tell me its going to get very nasty.


A Truly Remarkable Moment

This week CNN aired a remarkable moment – following the Supreme Court decision on Prop 8 and DOMA – Anderson Cooper, Andrew Sullivan and Evan Wolfson, three out gay men, talking about the importance of marriage.  The clip starts with a boring minute of Jeffrey Toobin, so bear with it.

It’s amazing really – three gay men talking about marriage and dignity and love.  Sullivan can barely contain himself, it’s moving. It’s one of those rare times when you can look at him and think, sure he’s usually a total wanker but on this issue, on gay issues, he’s actually pretty good.

I saw a man carrying a sign this week – “Today we are more American.”  That’s the shorter version of what these three man are saying.  This week, gay and lesbian folks became more American.

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The Boy Scouts Delicate Balancing Act

I was an enthusiastic Cub Scout but at best a indifferent Boy Scout.  I lost interest in scouting after a campout that was a well-intentioned mismanaged fiasco from beginning to end.

BSA have been living in a difficult place for years.  They clearly sees themselves as a mainstream organization, modernizing and responding to contemporary society while transmitting time honored values and experiences.  They strive to achieve racial and ethnic diversity.  The organization updates and adds to its list of possible merit badges to represent changing societal awareness and standards, as for example badges in environmental science, disabilities awareness and game design.  At the same time, many of the most fervent supporters of scouting are religious conservatives who perceive the organization as a bulwark of traditional values defending against a rising tide of valueless modernity.  The organization’s struggle exemplifies the struggle in American culture. Read the rest of this entry »



Stuart Reid Uses Bad History Draws Bad Conclusions Yet Proposes Decent Policy Proposal

Utah State Senator Stuart Reid recently floated a proposal that would create a program to educate parents about sexuality in the belief they would turn around and teach their children at home.

“My belief is the discussion really should be about parental responsibility,” said Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, who plans to sponsor the bill. “Our first instinct shouldn’t be to turn this over to the education community … It should first start in the home.”

Reid said it’s not that parents don’t understand sex, it’s more that they don’t know how to teach certain concepts to their kids or at what ages to begin. Reid said he envisions the State Office of Education holding training sessions across the state once or twice a year where parents would be given codes to access the online program. Reid said Monday he did not yet know how much it would cost the state to implement such a program.

There’s much to laud in Reid’s proposal. One of the major challenges facing parents is a lack of confidence and skill in discussing questions of sexuality with their children. Empowering parents with education and specific techniques is a good idea, especially since so few adults actually received good comprehensive sexuality education as young people. While I can foresee a host of problems in the way the adult program could be created and implemented (this being Utah with its attendant hangups about sexuality) nevertheless, the policy itself is a potential step in the right direction. Emphasis should be placed on the potential since Reid is operating from flawed knowledge of history and a serious misreading of current events.

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Of Course the Boy Scouts Are Wrong

It may seem funny, but I enjoyed being a cub scout.  I remember being excited for den meetings.  I’d get up and put on my scout uniform and go to school.  I don’t think I had a normal den, but maybe I did.  We didn’t do a lot of “scouty” things – there was minimal camping and hiking but lots of together time and silly games and we learned to make candy and did arts and crafts.  It was a good time.  I gave up on the scouts as I got older.  I didn’t like the boys in the boy scout troop – they were way too serious about the whole camping thing.

So I hear that the Boy Scouts have reaffirmed their ban on gay and lesbian scout leaders.  That seems badly mistaken to me.

Alvin McEwan had this to say:

Seems to me that based upon its recent history, the last thing the Boy Scouts should fear is gay men. We are not the reason it had to pay $18.5 million to a victim of sexual abuse in 2010.

Nor were gay men involved in the 2011 case in which it was discovered that Boy Scout officials in this country and Canada knew that a pedophile was in their ranks and did nothing to stop him.

In spite of its reputation, the Boy Scouts sounds like an organization I wouldn’t allow my dog in, much less my child.

John Aravosis:

You were being asked not to discriminate against gay scouts and gay scout leaders.  That is hardly the same thing as making all the scouts read “Heather Has Two Mommies” at the beginning of every pack meeting.

So, if families want to address the contentious issue of racism within their family will the Boy Scouts start banning black kids?

Mazzuca’s bizarre statement only goes to show how horrifically bigoted of an organization the Boy Scouts really are.

The boy scouts are wrong.  Gay scout leaders would enrich the program and the lives of the participants.

Bruce from Truth Wins Out.

Basically what BSA is pushing is a mindset that gay kids and non believing kids cannot aspire to the moral character of a boy scout. It’s a mindset they’re determined to keep pushing on kids, both straight and gay, believing and non-believing. Picture a Cub Scout happy to belong to his troop, working hard for his badges, winning the approval of his parents and troop leaders. Picture that kid as a teenage Scout, at the threshold of adulthood, coming to terms with his sexual orientation. He’s gay, he knows it, he’s not sure what it means for him and the adult life ahead of him but he’s at the point now where he knows he is gay. And because a Scout is brave and a Scout is trustworthy and a Scout is honest he comes out to those he trusts most. And for his trouble he’s kicked out of the organization that taught him the moral values he now holds. What’s the message here? The message is obvious: you are not worthy to wear this uniform, because you are a homosexual. And homosexuals Are Not And Can Never Betrustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

The boy scouts are wrong.  Those boy scout values are not determined by who you have sex with they are determined by who you come home to and how you come home.  They are about the content of character and being a decent person is not at odds with being a gay person.  Bigotry is usually its own excuse.  The boy scouts are offering their institutional bigotry as a reason to not change their bigoted policies.

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Hate Behind the Mask of Religion: About That Standing Ovation For Charles Worley

Hat tip to John Aravosis at Americablog for catching this one.

So a week after delivering a sermon calling for gay people to be put into concentration camps, pig ignorant bigot Charles Worley got a standing ovation from his congregation.  The local paper describes it thus:

Church members and about 100 visitors from in and outside the area gave Worley a standing ovation when he approached the pulpit. A few members stood up from the pews and spoke out in favor of Worley as officers watched and intervened when one particularly longwinded member spoke.

The atmosphere was a vocal and jubilant one. The sanctuary was mostly full, with the vast majority of the crowd singing and crying out in joy. Many threw their hands up in praising the Lord and in support of the pastor.

You shall know they are Christians by their love.

Worley’s defense of his sermon, the defense offered by his congregants, is an old one – “I’m just preaching the bible,” and “he’s just preaching what’s in the bible.”

In response to Worley, the Rev. Chuck Currie had a simple, short statement:

The pulpit is holy space and those that use it to promote violence commit theological malpractice as ugly and wrong as those who throughout history have used their pulpits to target Jews and other minority groups.

Are these hateful messages mainstream? In some communities, yes. And not just in the South. We have heard the same ugly language preached here in Oregon during campaigns past by the now defunct Oregon Citizens Alliance, the right-wing Christian group that promoted a series of anti-gay ballot measures.

All Christians – regardless of whether or not we support gay marriage (I strongly do) – must condemn hate speech from pastors and denominations where this occurs are obligated to hold their clergy accountable – taking away their status as ordained clergy. Because let’s be clear: these hateful men are not preaching the word of God.

God created gays and lesbians, like all humanity, in God’s image and was well pleased.

But Worley’s congregation – and Worley himself I suspect – are not engaging in a theological discussion; they aren’t interested in engaging pastors like Chuck Currie in a discussion or in a nuanced approach to biblical exegesis.  Like many religious fundamentalists, they would probably deny Currie is a real Christian because he’s a United Church of Christ pastor.  They would see his support for glbt rights and marriage equality as proof that he isn’t a real Christian because a real Christian would oppose those things.  They would see him as someone who made a fatal compromise with the modern world and who sacrificed his Christian faith in the name of going along with the times.  Like real fundamentalists, they live by the motto that you should be in the world not of the world and they refuse to believe that the world might get something right and they might get the same thing wrong.

Read the rest of this entry »

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If These Men Are Christians, Maybe I Want Nothing to Do with Christianity

What with Andy Gippson in quoting Bible verses calling for gay people to be put to death and Charles Worley in NC suggesting gay folk be put into concentration camps and Bob Marshall in VA saying being gay means you can’t be a judge, well it’s just been a fucking great month in America’s public discourse.

If these men are Christians, then maybe, I want nothing to do with Christianity.

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NAACP Comes out in Support of Gay Marriage

There have been lots of cliches about arcs of history and so on.  But it really does feel as if the universe is aligning on this issue.

The NAACP is influential and well respected.  It’s a simple enough move, but it will reverberate.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s board of directors voted to endorse gay marriage on Saturday, according to a tweet from NAACP officerMaxim Thorne.


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