Category Archives: Gay Rights

And Then There’s the Blowback….

So a few days ago, I posted about a new Evangelical organization supportive of same-sex marriage. Lest readers get too excited, there’s plenty of evidence that the more conservative churches won’t go down that road without a very substantial fight. According to Baptist Press, 

 FRESNO, Calif. (BP) — The California Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Board voted Thursday (Sept. 11) to withdraw fellowship from a church whose pastor says he believes homosexual acts are not always sinful.

In a unanimous vote of the 35 members present (six were absent), the board voted to withdraw fellowship from New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, Calif., for holding beliefs contrary to the Baptist Faith & Message. Article XVIII of the BF&M defines marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” Article XV states, “Christians should oppose … all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography.”

If the Southern Baptists want to dictate proper sexual behavior to their members, they are of course entitled to do so.

I just wish they–and similar churches–would spend half as much time and energy preaching against predatory behaviors, exploitation of the poor and powerless, and moral smugness (what their bibles call, if I recall, “stiff-neckness”). Or–let me go out on a real limb here–how about “forms of immorality” like wife-beating and child abuse?

Maybe the Southern Baptist Convention has issued an official statement on the recent NFL scandals, but my quick google didn’t find one. The Convention did find Michael Sams’ on-camera kiss worthy of an official condemnation, however:

Be it resolved that we believe that it is inappropriate for children to be subjected to having to watch same-sex couples engage in public displays of affection while watching a sports-related event on allegedly family-friendly channels. We discourage any further televising of such events. While there is a missing airplane somewhere in the Far East, over 200 kidnapped girls from Nigeria, and high unemployment in America, we respectfully request the President of the United States to refrain from congratulating and extending well wishes to any future homosexual professional sports players, unless simultaneously he is going to make celebratory and well wishes calls to the likes of Tim Tebow, Prince Amukamara—the “Black Tim Tebow,” and AC Green, professional athletes committed to sexual purity.

Interesting moral priorities….

 

Scary, Aren’t They?

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Yesterday, our Attorney General/religious warrior Greg Zoeller appealed the unanimous Seventh Circuit opinion striking down Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriages.

With zealots like Zoeller fighting to deny LGBT folks equal rights, with all the vitriol aimed at them, with the thousands of dollars of tax money being spent in the courts to prevent them from marrying the people they love, with the overheated rhetoric about The End of Western Civilization as We Have Known It–this is what all the fuss is about.

This is what poses a “threat to traditional marriage.”

Newlyweds-in-Their-90_Nati

The whole horrifying, Satanic story is here.

 

If Those Are Christian Values….

Speaking of religion and football, as I did yesterday….the Dallas Cowboys have evidently signed Michael Sams after he was cut from the St. Louis Rams. For people who follow football as much as I do (i.e. not at all), I should explain that Sams is the first openly-gay player to be drafted into the NFL.

This, of course, has driven the homophobes crazy. (Okay–crazier.) According to Raw Story,

“We cannot just stand idly by as Christian values and morals are trampled,” said Jack Burkman, the GOP lobbyist working to keep Sam out of the NFL. “We will do whatever we can to preserve family values in this country.”…

Jerry Jones has betrayed American values, Christian values, and his own city’s values,” Burkman said. “The people of Dallas – and Christians all across this land – are about to make him pay a huge financial price. The Cowboys are no longer America’s team.”

Speaking of driving people crazy–people like Jack Burkman are driving good Christians crazy. Not to mention giving nonbelievers yet another reason to equate religious piety with small-mindedness and bigotry.

I am so tired of people like Jack Burkman (and Mike Pence and Greg Zoeller), people who use religion to justify picking on people who are different.

Football is a game. It’s competitive. The only question an owner should ask when adding someone to a team is: is he a good player who can help us win?

Can you play professional football, Jack? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

“Totally Implausible”

After last week’s oral arguments in the Seventh Circuit, yesterday’s unanimous opinion striking down Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage was hardly unexpected. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t sweet.

Some of my favorite language from the opinion, written by (conservative) Judge Posner:

Our pair of cases is rich in detail but ultimately straightforward to decide. The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction–that same sex couples and their children don’t need marriage because same-sex couples can’t produce children, intended or unintended–is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously.
…..

The state elaborates its argument from the wonders of tradition by asserting, again in its opening brief, that “thousands of years of collective experience has [sic] established traditional marriage, between one man and one woman, as optimal for the family, society, and civilization.” No evidence in support of the claim of optimality is offered, and there is no acknowledgment that a number of countries permit polygamy—Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, and Algeria—and that it flourishes in many African countries that do not actually authorize it, as well as in parts of Utah. (Indeed it’s been said that “polygyny, where-by a man can have multiple wives, is the marriage form found in more places and at more times than any other.” Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage 10 (2006).) But suppose the assertion is correct. How does that bear on same-sex marriage? Does Wisconsin want to push homosexuals to marry persons of the opposite sex because opposite-sex marriage is “optimal”? Does it think that allowing same-sex marriage will cause heterosexuals to convert to homosexuality? Efforts to convert homosexuals to heterosexuality have been a bust; is the opposite conversion more feasible?

….

To return to where we started in this opinion, more than unsupported conjecture that same-sex marriage will harm heterosexual marriage or children or any other valid and important interest of a state is necessary to justify discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As we have been at pains to explain, the grounds advanced by Indiana and Wisconsin for their discriminatory policies are not only conjectural; they are totally implausible.

Indeed.

This isn’t the end of the road, but Indiana is closer to joining the 21st Century–and closer to becoming a state able to attract people of good will, gay or straight.

 

Greg Zoeller, Mike Pence, Micah Clark and the Dustbin of History

Well–yesterday certainly was a DAY in Indiana!

Federal Judge Richard Young–no wild-eyed ‘librul’– issued a beautifully-crafted, soundly-sourced opinion invalidating Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriages. As a (recovering) lawyer, I read the entire decision with appreciation for its logic and application of precedent; it was extremely well-written, without more than occasional resort to the “legalese” that jurists so often employ.

As quotable as much of the 36-page opinion is, however, my favorite paragraph is this:

“In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions–laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear the the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as marriage–not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.

At virtually the same time as Judge Young handed down his ruling, the 10th district Court of Appeals was upholding lower court decisions invalidating Oklahoma and Utah bans.

It’s over. I know that is a bitter pill for our elected homophobes to swallow, let alone the folks whose fundraising depends upon demonizing gay folks, but it could hardly have come as a surprise. The handwriting has been on all the walls for several years now.

It’s past time for Greg Zoeller to stop spending Hoosier dollars defending discrimination. His determination to appeal a decision that mirrors every other decision the courts have handed down is an exercise in futility, a waste of time and money, but of course, he and Pence and the other Professional Christians can’t help themselves.

They refuse to understand that they already live in the dustbin of history.