Gay Rights


I hope everyone has a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend. Please take a moment and thank the veterans, both current and past, for the service and sacrifice they have paid for the freedoms we celebrate (most of us anyway).

I was in the Army for 4 years and every Memorial Day, I can’t help but think of the love I had for the military while at the same time struggling to figure out who I was in a society that didn’t accept me. I chose a long time ago that I wanted to be an officer in the military more then I wanted to be gay so I just kept it buried deep inside, but over time that silence takes a toll on us. I’m happier now then I’ve ever been, a supportive family that accepts me and loves me and an awesome boyfriend. It isn’t this way for everyone out there and we still have a fight to fight.

On this Tuesday the California Supreme Court announces their decision on the long contested Proposition 8 and the fight over CA gay marriage. I hope that they decide to be on the right side of history.

Some may grumble that Memorial Day is about honoring the veterans and I shouldn’t be turning this into a gay rights issue. I can appreciate that but I will say that I am a veteran and I am gay, and I am unable to separate the two any more then a black person can chose to ignore their skin color in the face of discrimination. If you have served your country, I commend you, if you have not, then don’t tell me what I can and can’t do with this holiday. Those who fought before us, did so, in the hopes that we would not have to…  but we still do. Freedom and equality is not an opinion or a belief, it is an absolute, independent of religion or politics.

As a society, we either live with complete equality everyday or we live without any equality at all. There is no in-between.

A Gay Vietnam Veteran on Memorial Day

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A friend sent over the link to this video below on YouTube, created in support of the NO on Prop 8. It puts forth the question, “Have we learned anything from history?”, and I think it’s a great reminder of the path our country has been on in the not-so-distant past. I firmly believe that gay marriage will one day be one of those issues that society will collectively look back on and wonder how we could have discriminated so much against it. Just as this generation is amazed to think interracial marriage was illegal just 41 years ago, our next generation of tomorrow will also find it hard to believe we were so divided over gay marriage.

Those who discriminate against same-sex marriage, will be on the wrong side of history. They will be one of the silent and cowardly people who stood idly by while human rights were stepped on or eliminated. History will write them in with the company of those segregationists and bigots of 50 years ago who spit and pushed and shouted at black students and interracial couples. Their children and their grandchildren, who grow up in an accepting society around gay friends, will put them on the side of history that got it wrong and as those who discriminate grow old they will find themselves ashamed for the hate they spread in the name of their family and their god.

VOTE NO ON PROP 8.

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fb_prop8_logo_buttonWe’re in the home stretch for the November 4th election and while the Presidential election is still the major battle, California is deep in a heated fight over Proposition 8, the measure to make same-sex marriage permanently illegal.

It almost seems that at this point, people are already either sharply for or against Prop 8, so maybe it’s too late for making last minute convincing arguments. But I think we have to keep up the fight until the end to make sure people vote NO on prop 8.

I am continually just amazed at the supporters of Prop 8 I see around town. The other day I saw 3 young girls standing at an intersection in Carlsbad, holding signs for “Yes on Prop 8, Save Our Family”. Are you kidding me? These girls looked to be about ages 8 t0 12 or 13. Clearly these kids were put there by their parents, although no adults were anywhere around them on the corner. Do these kids even know what love is yet? Are they old enough to even formulate a rational argument for or against gay marriage? One of them is probably a closet lesbian already, just following along in their little town that pushes it’s morality on everyone else, living in their over-priced over-mortgaged houses, driving their 3 over-financed cars and drowning in their $80,000 dollars in debt. It’s just sad. These little girls smiling and having fun… waving their hate and discrimination signs. In my mind, I see the little school girls in the 1960’s with their little school dresses on waving signs that “white is right”, or “no blacks in our schools”, or “keep our schools segregated”. Fear of having to change their little precious world. Hate taught to children by scared and uneducated adults.

If you ask me, the greatest threat to family and our children and the institution of marriage is… divorce. Why is that legal? Why are straight people, so proud of the institution and it’s vows and it’s morality, allowed to just throw it all away when it’s convenient. It’s sick… just plain sick. This is a basic civil rights issue, plain and simple.

A few years ago, I went to an Anti-Reverend Phelps rally in Seattle and I snapped this picture below. I thought it was most appropriate right now as we enter into this great fight of our generation.

This is not someone else’s problem… I urge each of us to get out and do anything we can to make our country, our towns, our communities and our families more equal, more fair and more compassionate.

VOTE NO ON PROP 8!

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I have Google Adsense ads running on this blog. If you’re not familiar with Adsense, it basically takes the content of your website and delivers up ads that match the keywords in that content. The theory is that people will see relevant ads based on what they’re reading. You don’t really have much control over what ads Google decides to deliver, but it is possible to exclude or ban certain advertisers from showing up.

voteno-big So, today when I visited my blog, I noticed that one of the banner ads (the one that appears directly below the first post on the homepage) was now serving up an advertisement from a website called ProtectMarriage [dot] com (I don’t want to show the full URL as a link because I don’t want more advertising in support of them). Here in California, we have a Proposition on the November ballot to ban same-sex marriage. It’s called Proposition 8 and everyone who lives in California needs to vote NO on this. If you believe that marriage is between a man and a women, then that’s just fine, nobody is telling you that you can’t continue this belief. Nobody is going to convert you and make you gay. But we all have equal protection under the law and this includes the right to marry. If you tell me marriage is defined in the Bible, then I ask you to recall the freedom of religion and separation of church and state. We are not all part of the same religion but we are all citizens. If you say it is defined by God, then I ask why are Atheists allowed to marry ? If you say it is to protect the children, then I ask you why single parents are allowed to raise children? If it is to protect the children, then why is divorce even acceptable and legal? How can a country that even allows divorce,  at the same time also fiercely defend the institution of marriage? How is a country with a 50% divorce rate supposed to maintain the argument that marriage is about protecting the children?

I decided to visit the ProtectMarriage website and their slogan is actually, “Restoring Marriage & Protecting California Children”. Restoring marriage to what? A legal tax shelter between a man and a woman, who in turn can divorce any time they choose once the circumstances don’t work for them anymore? Protect the children from what? All those scary gay people who actually want to raise children in a loving 2-adult family relationship and stable environment? Or maybe you’d rather defend your perfect institution of marriage and keep that 50% divorce rate all to yourselves, and raise those children in broken homes, with domestic violence on the rise and abuse and neglect hiding behind closed doors. And don’t even get me started on the church’s sexual abuse of children.

Governor Palin and her broken sham of a family, with her teenage daughter pregnancy out of wedlock and her forced teenage marriage and husband who is a member of a terrorist organization intent on having Alaska succeed from the Union…  now there’s some family values worth protecting.

Give me a break. This is one of the biggest civil rights issues to face our generation and I see no difference between the issue of gay marriage and the issue of inter-racial black/white marriages of the 50’s and 60’s. Once again, it comes down to fear and God and hate.

Get out and vote NO on Proposition 8 and Vote Yes for Obama.

And be sure to jump over to the ProtectMarriage [dot] com website and review their list of published supporters and endorsements… make sure that the organizations and companies that you choose to do business with are not on that list. And to learn more about how you can help defeat Prop 8, visit http://www.noonprop8.com/.

There is an old story about a house burning down while the owner frantically worked to put out the flames. The neighbors just stood by and watched, closing their doors and shutting their blinds because it wasn’t their house that was burning and they couldn’t be bothered. And after the house was burned to the ground, it jumped to each roof top down the line. The humanity we ignore today will be each of our problems tomorrow. Today it may just be our gay rights on the line… but tomorrow it will be yours. Hatred and discrimination is not a way of life, it’s an evil disease that will not stop spreading just because you are white and rich and religious.

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I  am so very sad today to learn that Del Martin died this morning at the age of 87. Del Martin and her partner Phyllis Lyon, captured our hearts recently by being the first couple to be married after San Francisco Mayor allowed same-sex marriages in 2004 and again on June 16, 2008 after the California Supreme Court ruling legalizing it.

Phyllis Lyon and and Del Martin, 83 look at each other after being married at city hall. Del and Phyllis were together for a life-time – 55 years! They met in1950 after college in Seattle when both worked for the same company. In 1955 they moved to San Francisco and bought a small house that they lived in together ever since.

I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been to be gay in the 50’s. It was hard enough for me in the 80’s and 90’s. When I saw Del and Phyllis on TV in June getting married, I was in awe, captured by their strength and resolve and love.

I feel that I have been fortunate enough to be in love myself and can’t imagine the sorrow and loss that Phyllis must feel today – her partner, her conscience, her best friend and her love is gone.

del-phyllis1 We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to those like Del and Phyllis who fought the brave fight before us and allowed us to live and walk free in a mostly accepting society.

Her life wish was to finally be allowed to marry her partner and in June she was granted this wish. Let’s hope that Proposition 8 on the California November ballot fails and we can all continue to chase our dreams and live and die in love.

Gifts in lieu of flowers can be made to honor Del’s life and commitment and to defeat the California marriage ban through the National Center for Lesbian Rights NO on 8 committee at www.nclrights.org/NoOn8.

To read the obituary for Del Martin at Equality California click here.

For more information on Proposition No. 8 and how you can help, click here.

Rest in peace Del. Your work is done here.

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