Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"I don't understand what the big deal is. It's just a word."

That is what a mother who has a gay son said at a PFLAG meeting last month. But what was so jaw-dropping and upsetting (for me) was that this was an educated and very intelligent woman who obviously loved her son so much and so unconditionally that her passion seemed to ooze out of every pore of her body when she spoke of her son. This was a woman who knew her son was gay at an extremely early age (long before the child himself could have known) and he is now in his early 30's. She has had years and years more than me to watch and realize the challenges and bigotry her child would face merely for being different. And yet, when the subject of marriage equality came up towards the end of the meeting, she actually said, quite passionately btw: "I don't understand what the big deal is. It's just a word."

I confess, this really, really upset me. I cannot stop thinking about it. And it has been almost a month now. I was so flabbergasted, so speechless, that I could not even get my head to stop spinning long enough to put together a coherent response. And since she made this statement at the very end of the meeting (in fact, she got the last word), I never really got the chance to say anything. So I have spent the last month beating myself up, reliving the moment over and over again, and standing in front of the mirror saying what I didn't say when I had the chance. It hasn't helped. I am still ticked at myself. It was a missed opportunity and I blew it.

How on earth could someone who has seen, up close and personal, the challenges and prejudices the glbt community faces on a daily basis not understand that the word "marriage" is NOT just a word? How? I simply cannot understand this.

I don't want to beat up on this mother, but I can't help beating myself up for not having a ready answer. At the very least I should have been able to say that the difference between the words "Civil Union", "Domestic Partnership", and "Marriage" is this: "Marriage" provides somewhere in the vicinity of 1,400 legal rights, which are conferred upon married couples in the U.S. Typically these are composed of about 400 state benefits and over 1,000 federal benefits. Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships confer nothing close to what Marriage does. Talk about being "just words".

And for those who argue that most rights and protections can be privately arranged with legal contracts, I say NO, they cannot. I know of 2 different couples, in two different states, who spent thousands of dollars to protect themselves, their assets, and their businesses. One of them told me they were so paranoid, they actually carried the plastic tub holding the many, many documents for each and every protection for which they'd paid dearly, in the trunk of their car. And yet, it still wasn't enough. The families of both deceased partners still won out, leaving the surviving partner with nothing. And if there are children, or one of the partners is not a citizen of this country, well ... good luck ... both situations can have horrifying consequences because the rights and protections of marriage have been denied them because they are same-sex couples.

NO, "marriage" is not just a word.

I just wish I could show the clip below to this mom. It really riled me up and my bet is it would her too. And I think it would explain better than I could have why "marriage" is indeed a big f'ng deal.

Watch it, but grab a tissue first. I don't know why, but this clip hit me harder than I anticipated.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Great new ad from Minnesotans United

Nice, and in my view, quite affective:

Hey Minnesotans, please don't let the haters and bigots in your great state redefine "Minnesota Nice" to include caveats as in: we are only "Minnesota Nice if you meet our narrow view of what defines normal".

Dear Minnesota


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I quit a long time ago - and the Catholic hierarchy continues to make damn sure I don't ever regret that decision


I was born into the Catholic Church, raised in it, educated in its schools, married in it, and then my husband and I proceeded to repeat the cycle with our 3 children. In fact the youngest of our 3 children will be completing her college degree next month at a Jesuit university in Washington state - and that, my friends, will mark the end of any affiliation our family has with the Catholic Church. And btw, we each came by that decision on our own, no group decisions, no coercion.

I have zero remorse, zero regret, and zero sadness about ending this abusive relationship life-long affiliation, which is a bit surprising (at least to me) since I've lived over half my life as a devoted Catholic. But the Pope and his dutiful bishops make damn sure, pretty much on a daily basis, that I never ever revisit or regret this decision.

The truth is, walking away was easy. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. It shouldn't have taken finding out I had a gay son to exit a church that had become increasingly more hateful, homophobic, anti-woman, anti-science, paternalistic, and dishonest/in denial about its own horrific, decades-long pedophile scandal. But I continually rationalized the nagging shame I felt for my hypocrisy with the justification that I was remaining a Catholic in order to fight for change from within.

What a joke. And on every level I knew it. And so I finally walked away. Late, but better that than never. Thank you God for giving me my gay son!

So it is with great joy and a whole lot of glee that I read about this full-page ad in The Washington Post targeting me "Liberal and Nominal Catholics" and telling them "It's time to quit the Catholic Church"  (if these snippets are hard to read, click to embiggen, but please do read the full ad at the above link):


Am I being hard on the Catholic Church? You bet I am! Do I feel any remorse for being such a meanie? Absolutely not! And if I were to feel a twinge of guilt, I'd simply refer back to my memory banks for all the reasons this Church deserves to hemorrhage parishioners until it disappears into obscurity. And since there are so many reasons for which to justify my abandonment of the Church and cheer other Catholics on to the same decision, I will point you to just a few of the more recent and heinous, including the story behind Phoenix's own horrible, vindictive, nasty, little bishop and the back story for the video clip at the top of this post. And btw, the hospital in the above clip, St. Joseph's Hospital, is the hospital all 4 of my brothers and I were born in and it is the hospital in which I had my first child as well.

And pulling the "Catholic" from St. Joe's isn't even the worst part. Bishop Olmstead also excommunicated the nun, Sister Margaret McBride, who:

... was forced to make a decision between her faith and a woman's life last year, when a 27-year-old mother of four rushed into St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix only 11 weeks pregnant.

The mother was suffering from pulmonary hypertension, an illness the doctors believed would likely kill her and, as a result, her unborn child, if she did not abort the pregnancy.

In the end, McBride chose to save the young woman's life by agreeing to authorize an emergency abortion, a decision that has now forced her out of a job and the Catholic Church.

Despite being described as "saintly," "courageous," and the "moral conscience" of the Catholic hospital, McBride was excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted for supporting the abortion.

And if all of the above is not enough, how about the fact that Pope Benedict has decided it is not enough to demonize gays, deny women the right to make their own health care decisions, make sure contraception is illegal or impossible to get, stop science from finding cures for killer diseases if stem cells are used, etc. but now he feels he has to go after nuns and reprimand them for the sins of caring too much about the poor and not being anti-gay or anti-abortion enough:

CATHOLIC nuns are not the prissy traditionalists of caricature. No, nuns rock!

They were the first feminists, earning Ph.D.’s or working as surgeons long before it was fashionable for women to hold jobs. As managers of hospitals, schools and complex bureaucracies, they were the first female C.E.O.’s.

They are also among the bravest, toughest and most admirable people in the world. In my travels, I’ve seen heroic nuns defy warlords, pimps and bandits. Even as bishops have disgraced the church by covering up the rape of children, nuns have redeemed it with their humble work on behalf of the neediest.

So, Pope Benedict, all I can say is: You are crazy to mess with nuns.

The Vatican issued a stinging reprimand of American nuns this month and ordered a bishop to oversee a makeover of the organization that represents 80 percent of them. In effect, the Vatican accused the nuns of worrying too much about the poor and not enough about abortion and gay marriage.

I cannot imagine ever calling myself a Catholic again. Ever. But I also cannot shame anyone who has chosen to remain a Catholic either. I guess all I can do is hope they have better luck changing the Church's more hideous stances than Galileo had.


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Best Mother's Day present ever!

From the bottom of this Seething Mom's heart - Thank you Mr. President!


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Joe Biden endorses marraige equality

Love it:

And this is what we will see more of if we succeed in getting Obama in for a second term. We will see a whole bunch more movement for our glbt loved ones. If we get Romney - not so much.

PS to the good Minnesotans in District 57B of Rosemount, please vote for Jeff Wilfahrt if you care about fairness and equality for everyone. A better man for the job you will not find anywhere else.