Heartbreak in New York

Once again, being on the right side of history is proving to be cold comfort when one’s civil rights are at stake. I am so tired of waiting. I am so tired of feeling like I have to justify my existence and my life. I am tired of paying unfair taxes. I am tired of hearing about the growing violence against my LGBT brothers and sisters. And I am tired of people not copping to the hate they feel in their hearts for us, insisting that they not be called bigots while they deny a woman the right to be by her dying spouse’s side in the hospital.

I am tired of bigots claiming moral high ground while they are silent about the outrageous proposed Ugandan law that would put gay HIV positive people to death in that country. I am really tired of people claiming that they love us, when it is clear that hating the “sin” is equivalent to hating the “sinner”.

The real sin is hate and not taking responsibility for one’s own ignorance and fear.

New York missed an opportunity to be on the right side of history today. what a shame.

Marriage Equality Is About Marriage. Period.

I want to be legally married to my wife. I don’t want special rights, just the same rights that are granted to all heterosexual Americans. I don’t want to redefine marriage, rather I want my relationship with my spouse to be recognized and respected as a committed relationship just as other legal spouses are, with the same rights and responsibilities.

Within any same-sex union, marriage is marriage. In terms of how married couples live in the world, being in love, being committed, being responsible to and for each other, some times raising children, certainly working and paying taxes, being there for one another through sickness and health, prosperity and poverty, same-sex couples are no different than opposite-sex couples.

Whether between a man and a woman, two women, or two men, Marriage isn’t straight or gay. Marriage is marriage.

The marriage equality movement is about civil rights, not special rights, as our opponents continue to bark. As long as the media and popular culture continue to frame the marriage equality movement using the term of “gay marriage,” there will be people who see it as an issue of special rights and redefining marriage. This is simply not the case.

The other day on Twitter, the LA Times tweeted a headline about “gay marriage. ” I tweeted back asking that they use the term “marriage equality” instead. I was pleasantly surprised that someone actually tweeted back at me that “gay marriage” is actually in their style guide. This would never have occurred to me!

It turns out that the Associated Press Style Guide recommends using the term “gay marriage” (scroll down to the section on “Debates Over Terminology”) in articles about same-sex marriage, sometimes simply to save headline space! To their credit, they also recommend simply using the term “marriage” in articles about marriage equality. But clearly some education still needs to occur.

Since it’s updated every year, I think that supporters of marriage equality should lobby the AP to update that recommendation. I’m not entirely sure how to go about doing this, so I’m open to suggestion. However, I’m going to start simply by emailing their general info@ap.org address.

We started a civil rights revolution five years ago. We can certainly continue to influence this positive cultural shift.

Protesting Proposition 8 – It’s All About Love

Today, protests will be happening around the country. LGBT folks everywhere are speaking out for marriage eqality. When I stop to think about it, I get chills thinking that Gillian and I were there and witnessed the spark that set all of this off.  Though we’re no longer residents of California, I’m so glad that we can march in solidarity here in Chicago today, and perhaps even bring the movement for marriage equality here with a stronger presence.

For more information about rallies happening around the country, please visit this site.

I will be among many other livebloggers from around the country, and you can follow our tweets here. Also, you can find some video covereage of the action in San Francisco here.

Peace everyone! Let’s remember that this is all about love!

Eyes on the Prize

I want to write some words of encouragement to my friends in California and across the world who experienced, like me, the very personal defeat of the passage of Proposition 8 last week. While I am disappointed in this result, I remain encouraged in the overarching victory of the election of Barack Obama as the next President of the United States. While we may have lost some battles that night, including Prop 8, Obama’s election bodes well for LGBT folks. Let’s take the long-term view.

Prop 8 succeeded in large part because of the final ugly push by the pro Prop 8 bigots that preyed on people’s basest fears and prejudices. The Prop 8 folks organized a last-minute effort of robocalls aimed primarily at African Americans and some Democrats who they knew would be supporting Barack Obama. I received one of these calls on Election Night on my cell phone which has a 415 area code (they must not have had in their notes that my wife and I were the second couple married at San Francisco City Hall in 2004). The calls featured an audio quote from Barack Obama where, in his own voice, he says that marriage is between one man and one woman, followed by another voice urging voters to vote yes on Prop 8.

Obama did not give permission for them to use his quote for this purpose, and he adamantly opposed Prop 8.  In response to the robocalls last week, Obama issued this statement:

As the Democratic nominee for President, I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law…And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states. For too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It’s time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect. This is no less than a core issue about who we are as Democrats and as Americans.

When has any other candidate seeking the Office of the President came out with an unequivocally supportive statement of gay rights like this? And for the first time in history, a President Elect said the word “gay” out loud in his acceptance speech.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled — Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It is a new day, and I am ever hopeful that we will have equal rights one day soon.

Happy Loving Day!

Gillian & Sarah, June 2004

Today is Loving Day, the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision of Loving v. Virginia, which made all miscegenation laws (banning interracial marriage) unconstitutional. Mildred Loving died on May 2nd this year, just two weeks before the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to marry in that state, making that decision and the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia all the more poignant. In recent years, Mildred Loving was an outspoken supporter of the same-sex marriage, seeing the connection to her and her husband’s case forty years prior.

I think it is wonderful that people celebrate this day. I hope that someday soon the organizers of the Loving Day celebration will see the opportunity and clearly articulate the civil rights connection between the marriage equality movement and the Loving decision, as Mildred Loving did.

Meanwhile, I hope anyone reading this blog acknowledges this day with love in some way, our greatest gift to the world.