Thursday, August 05, 2010

Focusing on the loving people in my life - and there are many

I have spared readers of this blog no details on the pain one of my 4 brothers has caused me and my family as he made his transition from a man who abused alcohol to a man who now abuses religion. But I feel as though I have only mentioned in passing that this particular religious zealot brother is the exception and not the rule. So I'd like to reiterate the fact that other than this one brother's reaction, our family has experienced nothing but love and total acceptance as we told them one by one that we have a gay son. When we told my other 3 brothers, their wives, my mother, my husband's sister, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, dear friends and even mere acquaintances, it was nothing but open arms, love, and unconditional acceptance. So rather than dwelling on the irony that it was the two people (my brother and his wife) in our life who claim to be the good and loving Christians that in the end could not love or accept our son because he didn't fit their rigid religous standards, I'd like to focus on all the wonderful things that have happened since telling everyone else about our gay son.

So to that end and with permision, I am publishing an email (below) that I received from one of my other brothers this morning. This email is but a small reminder of the way this brother has taken my passions, my hurts, and my joys and made them his own.

This particular brother has always been my rock. Telling him about our son did not even produce a ripple of discord in our relationship, and in fact it made it even stronger. It would be a sin of omission if I didn't admit I lean on him often. He has an amazing way of cutting through the bullsh*t and getting to the heart of things. His thoughtful analysis and committment to truth, honesty, and integrity, and an uncanny understanding of human nature, has made him the person to whom I always turn when I need a rational voice of reason (which is often I might add).

Here is his email:

I must say this has been an interesting journey. I know both you and I were dubious of the decision by the two attorney's to go forward with the trial. Now that the decision has been rendered and one listens to the thorough and thoughtful ruling (128 pages) it's now clear why they moved forward. It's also an example of how one can evolve in their point of view when keeping an open mind.

However, that is precisely the problem in this country right now. Despite the facts, law, constitution and rational thought people refuse to think deeply about this (and most topics). A recent study that's getting a lot of press showed that facts often cause people to retrench deeper into their opinions and beliefs.

So I'm delighted with the outcome and really glad Olsen and Boies pressed forward with the case. I don't think the closed minded bigots deserve time to come to terms with this any longer.

ps. I saw Maggie Gallagher interviewed after the ruling. How pathetic. To see someone like her refuse all the complex logic that went into the decision is just breathtaking.

I am so fortunate to be able to call this thoughtful, loving, and supportive man my brother.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Prop 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, has been ruled unconstituional ON THE GROUNDS THAT IT VIOLATES THE EQUAL PROTECTION AND DUE PROCESS CLAUSE - so says California US District Judge Vaughn Walker in his ruling overturning the bigoted, hateful proposition that denied gays and lesbians the right to get married.

Oh my! I feel like I am back in middle school. All I want to do is Snoopy dance and sing and cry and point my finger at the bigots who worked so hard and spent so much money to get this ugly proposition passed and scream neener, neener, neener (remember, I am in middle school mode right now).

So I will:

Take that NOM and Maggie Gallagher! Take that Mormon Church! Take that Catholic Church! The only slippery slope I see from here is the one leading to full equality in every way for my son and the millions of other gays and lesbians in this country. It may take a while (this is going to get appealed right up to the Supreme Court) but WE WILL EVENTUALLY WIN THIS!!!

Oh and remember Maggie... Hate is not a family Value.

Andrew Sullivan lists the relevant facts Judge Walker finds:

1. Marriage is and has been a civil matter, subject to religious intervention only when requested by the intervenors.
2. California, like every other state, doesn't require that couples wanting to marry be able to procreate.

3. Marriage as an institution has changed overtime; women were given equal status; interracial marriage was formally legalized; no-fault divorce made it easier to dissolve marriages.

4. California has eliminated marital obligations based on gender.

5. Same-sex love and intimacy "are well-documented in human history."

6. Sexual orientation is a fundamental characteristic of a human being.

7. Prop 8 proponents' "assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the evidence."

8. There is no evidence that sexual orientation is chosen, nor that it can be changed.

9. California has no interest in reducing the number of gays and lesbians in its population.

10. "Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital union."

11. "Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals."

12. "Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage, and marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the United States.
The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships."

13. "Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the
stability of opposite-sex marriages."
Joe.My.God lists Hater reactions here, Allies' reactions here, and and Governor Schwarzenegger (who chose NOT to defend this hate law) here.

That is all for now - back to my Snoopy dance...


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Leaving Christianity

Finding out that one of my sons was gay sparked the beginning of a long and difficult journey that has been full of spiritual introspection. I am wracked with so much doubt and so many questions. And I am angry that so many of the people whom I had spent much of my life believing had all the answers were nothing more than sanctimonious frauds. I feel completely duped. It has now been 6 years and the seismic shift in my entire belief system has turned everything I once thought was true upside down. I am realizing that I will never find stable ground within the Church I once believed in. I am realizing that so many of the people who call themselves "good" Christians are also the ones who are preaching anti-gay hatred and working diligently to ensure that my son and millions of others are denied the dignity, respect, and rights everyone else takes for granted. The word "Christian" evokes nothing but a very negative connotation for me. And I now believe that Christianity is providing a convenient cover for too much bigotry, exclusion, and hatred.

This journey has been a mixed bag. It has brought my husband and I much closer together. It has brought my family much closer together. It has confirmed my unconditional love for all of my children -- no matter whom they choose to love. But it has also forever damaged my relationship with one of my four brothers, and rocked my faith in Catholicism, organized religion, and those who scream loudest about being "good" Christians. It has humbled me and brought me to my knees. And it has left me more confused than ever about my faith. Where I thought I had answers, I now know I have none. But one thing I do know for sure is that I cannot and will not call myself a Christian right now. That word, "Christian", for me, has come to represent too many painful things. For me that word has become the face of exclusion and bigotry. For me that word is homophobia and hate. For me that word is hypocrisy and faux self-righteousness. For me that word is permission to be hateful and un-Christ-like while hiding behind cherry-picked bible passages. For me that word is permission to single out one of my children and treat him as though he is a monster unworthy of respect, dignity, and the same rights everyone else enjoys.

Am I painting a whole swath of people with too broad a brush? Yes. But I do not claim to be the voice of reason right now. And in fact I know for a fact that I am not. No, I speak strictly as a mother, a mother of 3 kids who are my life. And as that mother, no one will single out one my children and demonize, dehumanize, or deny them rights in the name of their God and their religious beliefs. And right now, it is that segment of right-wing Christians who have the bullhorn and the national stage. And I cannot claim membership to that. Do I still believe in God? Yes, I think so. But I am not a Christian --- not by today's standards.

And apparently, I am not alone:

Gothic author Anne Rice has had a long and difficult road in search of religious truth and it is doubtful that her travels have ended. But she has made a significant change of course recently. She has left Christianity for the second time.

And later in the same article Ms. Rice is quoted as saying:

For those who care, and I understand if you don't: Today I quit being a Christian. I'm out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being "Christian" or to being part of Christianity. It's simply impossible for me to "belong" to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten ...years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.


As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I'm out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of ...Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.

The article ends:

While Anne Rice has quit Christianity, she has not yet returned to atheism and secular humanism. But this is at least a strong step in the right direction and may inspire others to re-evaluate the morals that Christianity indoctrinates.

All I can say is this: the catalyst for Ms. Rice's journey may be slightly different than mine, but it's comforting to know I am not alone.

Hat tip JMG