Friday, April 30, 2010

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 314"

"Made For Each Other..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"In The News Today..."



Supreme Court Hears Privacy Arguments Over Gay Marriage Petition
Opponents Push for Anonymity in Signing a Washington State Ballot


By Joan Biskupic
April 29, 2010

Supreme Court justices voiced skepticism, and even some outrage, Wednesday over arguments that people who signed a petition for a Washington state ballot measure against gay rights should be able to keep their names private out of a general fear of harassment.

Speaking to the lawyer challenging a state open-records law, Justice Antonin Scalia said, "The people of Washington evidently think that this is not too much of an imposition upon people's courage — to stand up and sign something and be willing to stand behind it."

Scalia was most vigorous in protesting arguments that Washington residents who signed a petition for a referendum against gay legal rights had a right to privacy in their political speech.

"What about just wanting to know their names so you can criticize them?" said Scalia, who has voted against gay rights and never shrunk from his positions. "Is that such a bad thing in a democracy?"

Wednesday's case, marking the last arguments for the 2009-10 term, pit the state's interest in open government against the privacy rights of the petition signers.

"No person should suffer harassment for participating in our political system," said James Bopp, representing organizers of the 2009 petition drive called Protect Marriage Washington. They had been trying to overturn a state law that enhanced the legal rights of domestic partners.

Petition signers, known only as John Does, say they do not want their names revealed because they fear some of the retaliation that backers of California's Proposition 8 say they experienced, including harassment at work and vandalism at their homes. California voters approved that measure against same-sex marriage in 2008. In the Washington case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the petition signers' broad challenge to the state open-records law. If the signers lose their appeal of that decision, several justices noted, they still can show that in their situation they have specific facts and grounds to fear harassment if their names are released.

The more liberal justices, including Sonia Sotomayor, appeared poised, with Scalia, to reject the broad-based challenge. Sotomayor questioned whether arguments against public disclosure of names could extend beyond the context of ballot initiatives and possibly hide important government operations from the public.

Justice Samuel Alito voiced the most sympathy for the challengers' case. He worried about people who might be "dissuaded from signing because they fear retaliation."

Alito asked Washington Attorney General Robert McKenna, defending the open-records law, whether a state could require phone numbers, as well as addresses, to be made public, or whether someone's religion could be recorded with petition signatures. McKenna said yes on phone numbers but no on religion.

Justice John Paul Stevens, who will retire at the end of the term and was hearing his last case, briefly questioned Bopp. As has been Stevens' usual practice, he waited until most of his colleagues had asked their questions.

Stevens' query pointed out the value of the petition names to the public debate: "Would it be legitimate public interest to say, 'I would like to know who signed … because I would like to try to persuade them that their views should be modified?' "

Bopp protested that any value added to the public debate by release of the names would be "marginal."

Though Wednesday presented the last set of oral arguments for the term, it was not the last day on the bench for the justices. Over the next two months, Stevens and the others will return at least weekly to issue opinions, including in the case of John Doe No. 1 v. Reed.


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"Fear Eats the Soul"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 313"

"Happy Families Are Made Of This... Love And Marriage"

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 312"

"Happiness Is About Love And Togetherness..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"This Is For Stephen Christopher Harris"


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"Fear Eats the Soul"

"In The News Today..."

Corvino: Conversations with Maggie Gallagher

By John Corvino, columnist, 365gay.com
04.23.2010


Maggie Gallagher has announced that she is stepping down as president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), adding that she will remain on NOM’s executive board while pursuing future projects, including a book with me, “Debating Same-Sex Marriage,” for Oxford University Press.

This prompted some surprised e-mails from friends who hadn’t heard about the book: “You’re doing WHAT with WHOM?” You would think she had announced that we were planning on spending the next few months braiding each other’s hair and painting our toenails.

Here’s the deal: Maggie and I will each write a long essay aiming to give the most powerful possible statement of our respective positions; we will then each write a rebuttal to the other’s essay. We will exchange drafts with each other (and no doubt, with various colleagues); the book will contain the finished versions of our two essays and rebuttals.

Why do a book debating Maggie Gallagher? The main reason is that I think she’s wrong—badly wrong, wrong in ways that hurt real individuals and real families—and I want to refute her.

Why “dignify” Maggie Gallagher with a platform for her pernicious views? Because, like it or not, those views are still shared by the majority of voters, in every single state in which marriage equality has been put to the ballot. You may call Maggie Gallagher a right-wing fringe lunatic all you like, but her side is winning plenty of battles, even while it is slowly losing the war.

I’m doing this book because I’d like to speed up that loss, not because I’m trying “to justify profiting from the suffering of others,” as one blog commenter put it. (Incidentally, academic-press books seldom turn a profit for their authors.) Yes, Maggie’s popularity on the right will sell books, but that also lets me make the case for equality before people I wouldn’t otherwise reach. Some of those people will have gay sons and daughters.

I don’t debate Maggie or other professional gay-rights opponents mainly to win them over. I do it to win over the moveable middle. I aim to give them, in the words of John Stuart Mill, “the clearer perception and livelier perception of truth, produced by its collision with error.” There’s something valuable about forcing people to defend their views in writing in a sustained way.

In the process, I aim to build relationships with people, including our opponents. Sure, I’m a philosopher, and I believe in the power of ideas. But opposition to our lives is not ultimately based in logic, and it’s not ultimately going to be won on logic (even while logic plays an essential role). It’s going to be won as our adversaries get to know us and thus find it increasingly difficult to turn a blind eye to our fundamental needs and interests.

Meanwhile, both sides need to stop pretending that we’ve got the other completely figured out. We don’t.

I’ve known Maggie by e-mail for years, but we’ve only met in-person twice. The first time was for a marriage forum in New York. The second was for a debate in Oregon. Unexpectedly we encountered each other on a connecting flight in Salt Lake City, and we sat together on the plane. At one point I showed her a picture of my partner Mark, displaying the broad, welcoming smile that is his trademark.

“I can see why you call him home,” she said.

At first I misunderstood her. “I don’t need to call home,” I answered. “I just talked to him.”

“No—I can see why you call HIM home. He’s ‘home’ for you,” Maggie replied.

You might wonder how someone who “gets” that Mark is “home” for me can spend her life fighting my right to marry him. You might conclude she’s just being a hypocrite, “profiting from the suffering of others.” As I’ve said many times (and will continue saying), Maggie’s work harms real individuals and real families.
But you could also—at least, if you knew Maggie as I do—keep the conversation going, pressing her directly on some of these points. And that’s what intend to do.

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John Corvino, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. His column “The Gay Moralist” appears Fridays on 365gay.com.

His upcoming speaking appearances include:

“Born or Made—and What’s the Difference?” at the University of LaVerne on April 28

“Homosexuality, Morality, and Diversity” at Cal Tech-Pasadena on April 29

For more about John Corvino, or to see clips from his “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?” DVD, visit his website at http://www.johncorvino.com/.

"The Artist's Corner"


Veiled-Temple
Oil on Canvas
Cornelius McCarthy

"It's About Equal Rights..."

The President of the United States - Barack H. Obama
"The Man In The Mirror"
Taken January 21, 2009


Despite many who say that President Obama has failed in his promise to a be "Strong Advocate" for GLBT rights, his administrations continues to achieve milestones undreamed of just a few years ago. To my mind, although impatience over the slow pace of dealing with DADT and DOMA is warranted, the president has proven his committment many times, most recently by supporting an inclusive ENDA and his Hospital Visitation Rights rulemaking. Now the president is again raising the bar and proving his support for GLBT equality with the nomination of openly gay Jurist Edward DuMont, to the Federal Appeals Court in Washington DC.

According to Keen News Service, the U.S. Court of Appeals has 16 judges and hears cases involving government contracts, patents, trademarks, customs issues, and veterans’ benefits. It is the only federal appeals court with national jurisdiction.

DuMont himself is a dream nominee who will represent us extremely well as a model of inclusiveness. He is a member of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Attorneys of Washington (GAYLAW) and a former member of the National LGBT Bar Association. While at the Department of Justice, he was a member of DOJ Pride, the GLBT employee organization and served as its vice president between 1994 and 1996. He is also a member of Yale GALA.

DuMont’s partner of the past 13 years is Dr. Newton Kendig, a Commissioned Medical Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service in charge of health services for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

DuMont earned the highest rating from the American Bar Association - "Unanimously Well Qualified." He has argued 18 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has had experience in cases involving computer crime and privacy, international treaties, and foreign corporations.

For more details read: Openly Gay Man Nominated to Fed Appeals Court


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"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 311"

"Love Is Always Worth Fighting For..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 310"

"Love, Happiness, Joy... This Is Marriage"

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth Today..."


Autumn Sandeen recently posted the following article as a contributor on the popular blog Pam's House Blend. In her post she quite correctly points out the striking similarities in the call for Black civil rights during the 1960s and 1970s and the struggle for GLBT civil rights today. I can add nothing more substantial to what she points out than to share it with you who visit here with me.

Dr. King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" is as poignant and salient today in understanding the cause of GLBT rights as it was in his day during the momentous struggle to gain the opportunity of equality for people of color.

To my mind Dr. King is, was and will always be a Great American hero, indeed he is a hero to the world and the cause of freedom for people everywhere... So too then are Lt. Dan Choi, Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd, and Airman Victor Price (pictured above). All are heroes who surrendered their personal freedom to create the tension that will win freedom for us all.


Martin Luther King Jr: Letter From A Birmingham Jail


by: Autumn Sandeen
Sun Apr 25, 2010



Most people in the United States recognize Martin Luther King Jr. as a true civil rights pioneer, but many aren't very aware of what he said or did beyond the "I Have A Dream" speech -- not realizing he was held by many African-Americans of his day as a divisive figure.

So as I'm hearing complaints about the actions of Get Equal, I think it's important to step back a moment and listen to what Martin Luther King Jr. had to say to the critics of he and his peers' strategy and tactics regarding civil rights.

It's hard to read Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From A Birmingham Jail" and not see some striking parallels between what's happening in the LGBT community now and the African-American community then. The words of King's critics and his response to those words -- well, in my mind these are probably the best examples of historic parallel. And, the goal of creating tension -- well, that is another thing that is both there as poignant in the past and poignant here in the present.

So, take a read below of the "Letter From A Birmingham Jail," and give us your thoughts on the letter, and your thoughts on the here and now.


April 16, 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.
In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.

Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants--for example, to remove the stores' humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?" We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.

Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoral election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct action program could be delayed no longer.

You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: "Why didn't you give the new city administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil."

I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides - and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some - such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle--have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as "dirty nigger-lovers." Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.

But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.

When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.

In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.

I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.

I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and "preventing violence." I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.

It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather "nonviolently" in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest." They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience' sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,
Martin Luther King, Jr.


********


"Fear Eats the Soul"




Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 309"

"We Celebrated Our Love At Prom..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"In The News Today..."


Archie Comics Announces New Gay Character



April 23, 2010

Riverdale High School, the stomping ground of comic book legend Archie Andrews, will open its doors to its first openly gay student.

Kevin Keller will be the new student to join Archie, Jughead, Veronica, Betty and Reggie, Archie Comics publications announced Thursday.

"The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive. Archie's hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books," said Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics co-CEO.

Kevin will make his entrance in the comic book in September.

Archie publishers provided a sneak peak of the the plot and a page of the comic book on its website.

The story begins when Kevin comes to Riverdale and promptly beats Jughead in a burger-eating contest. This gets the attention of Veronica who realizes that she is falling for Kevin.

"Mayhem and hilarity ensue as Kevin desperately attempts to let Veronica down easy and her flirtations only become increasingly persistent," Archie Comics said on its website.

Finally, Kevin confides in Jughead.

"It is nothing against her. I'm gay," the new character says.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 308"

"Love Always Was..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Friday, April 23, 2010

"The Artist's Corner"


"Let No Man Put Asunder"
Acrylic on canvas
Michael Breyette

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 307"

"For The Sake Of Love We Make No Apologies..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth Today..."


According to a post on Vibe.com, Fat Joe had this to say about Ricky Martin coming out:

"Everybody’s their own man. And if Ricky Martin felt like he had to come out of the closet and that’s what he does and that’s what he represents, then good for him. It ain’t for me to make a decision whether he should come out or whatever the case may be.

The most disgusting things that I’ve seen, and I’m not saying about being gay at all, it’s when you have artists who have a wife and live with a wife and don’t admit they have a wife and two kids and thinking that’s for the image. How do you think that makes a girl feel walking around knowing I live with this guy, I love him, I share everything with him but he never wanna say I’m his wife?

So you can just imagine what Ricky Martin was going through.


With me, it’s all about being comfortable with who you are and if you gay, fine, be gay. I’m not gay but fine, you do what you do. I’ll do what I do. I think it’s 2010 and everybody should be allowed to live happy and live their lives and whatever makes you happy, then so be it. That’s his choice. I’m in a different lane, but whatever is his choice is his choice."


*******

"Fear Eats the Soul"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"The Poet's Corner"


"It is love that asks, that seeks, that knocks, that finds, and that is faithful to what it finds."


Augustine of Hippo, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 392.

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 306"

"Love, Marriage, Family... Joy"

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"The Artist's Corner"


"Ashley Kisses Jeremiah"
Oil on Canvas
Steven Clayton Corry

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 305"

"Quite Simply, He's My Happiness... He Brings Me Joy"

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"In The News Today..."


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 20, 2010
Gay and Transgender Vets Again Handcuff Selves to White House Gates Demand Pres. Obama repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year
Breaking Coverage and Call to Action at: http://GetEQUAL.org/GetDADT

WASHINGTON – Moments ago, Lt. Dan Choi along with five other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) discharged veterans -- Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd, and Airman Victor Price -- handcuffed themselves to the White House gates to demand that President Obama keep his promise to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year. The vets are concerned about mounting signs that the President is wavering on his promise to push for repeal this year.

Today’s action comes one month after Choi and Pietrangelo were arrested for a similar DADT protest at the White House in which they handcuffed themselves to the gates for a period of an hour, while hundreds of protesters looked on. The new LGBT activist group, GetEQUAL, coordinated both today’s action, and last month’s civil disobedience.

“We are handcuffing ourselves to the White House gates once again to demand that President Obama show leadership on repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ If the President were serious about keeping his promise to repeal this year, he would put the repeal language in his Defense Authorization budget,” said Choi. “The President gave us an order at the Human Rights Campaign dinner to keep pressure on him and we will continue to return to the White House, in larger numbers, until the President keeps his promise to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year.”

Amid growing signs that the White House is wavering on its commitment to repeal DADT this year, Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) called on the President last month to publicly state his desire to repeal DADT this year. President Obama has refused to respond, prompting Frank to say last week that he is “disappointed” and “frustrated” with the Obama administration’s silence on DADT. “At this point the President’s refusal to call for repeal this year is a problem,” Frank added, saying that the President’s silence is now costing us votes in the Congress.

Corporal Evelyn Thomas, who participated in today’s action said, “A few weeks ago I saw Lt. Dan Choi take dramatic action at the White House and it made me realize that I needed to do something to stand up for all the Black female soldiers who have been discharged under DADT. Many people don't know that we Black women are discharged disproportionately more than others under DADT.”

GetEQUAL.org, a new lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activist organization, coordinated today's action and is also calling on the public to join the soldiers in their ask on President Obama at: http://GetEQUAL.org/GetDADT.
Today's activities come a day after GetEQUAL activists interrupted President Obama’s speech at a fundraiser in Los Angeles for Senator Barbara Boxer.

Involved in today’s action are:

Lt. Dan Choi served as an infantry officer with the United States Army in Iraq in 2006-2007. Choi graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and is fluent in Arabic. In June 2008, he transferred from active duty Army to the New York National Guard. After coming out on The Rachel Maddow Show in March 2009, he was notified that the Army had begun discharge proceedings against him. Choi is a founding member of KnightsOut, an organization of West Point alumni that advocates for the rights of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, and he speaks frequently in support of rights for LGBT members of the military.

Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II, a former infantryman and lawyer originally from Ohio, served in the United States Army until he was discharged in 2004 under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Pietrangelo fought in Iraq in 1991 as an infantryman and returned as a JAG officer for the second Iraq War. As he was readying for a third combat tour, he was honorably discharged for declaring he is gay. Pietrangelo sued the government, charging that the policy is unconstitutional. He appealed to the Supreme Court, but in June 2009, the Supreme Court rejected the case and refused to intervene, at the request of the Obama Administration.

Petty Officer Larry Whitt was born in Barnwell, South Carolina, and grew up in Florida. Fulfilling a lifelong goal, Whitt joined the Navy after high school and served for 12 years. He received the Outstanding Sailor Award aboard the USS Compass Island, was a Sailor of the Month aboard the USS Caloosahatchee, and retired as a Petty Officer First Class. He was stationed with the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon, and received a Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Good Conduct Medals, and a Navy Expeditionary Medal. Whitt was honorably discharged in October 1982, after he requested discharge for fear of being turned in for being gay. Currently, he is the Color Guard Coordinator for the Florida Gold Coast Chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights in Ft. Lauderdale.

Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen was born in Northridge, California and raised in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley. Sandeen joined the United States Navy in 1980 as a Fire Controlman. She served on two Guided Missile Fast Frigates as a Mark 92 Fire Control System technician, and one Guided Missile Fast Frigate as a Mark 15 Close-In Weapons System technician. Her last ship was the Third Fleet Command Ship, the USS Coronado, where she served as a Mark 15 Close-In Weapons System technician from 1996 to 2000. She retired after 20 years as Fire Controlman First Class. At the end of 1999 and beginning of 2000, Sandeen was sexually harassed by a subordinate and Executive Officer for being perceived as an effeminate gay male. After retiring from the U.S. Navy, she was awarded a Veteran's Administration Service Connected Disability rating. She began transitioning as a male-to-female transsexual on February 6, 2003. As a transgender activist, she has worked with many transgender advocacy organizations. She is currently the transgender chair of DOD FedGlobe, and she writes for the blog Pam's House Blend.

Cadet Mara Boyd, originally from and currently residing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, completed three years in the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Colorado at Boulder and graduated in the top ten percent of her basic training class before she came out as a lesbian to her commander in the fall of 2002 and was honorably discharged under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in June 2003. Before she came out, Boyd held the position in her cadet detachment of Cadet Captain, Character Development Officer, having been nominated by the officer cadre and cadet corps to handle the character development and moral guidance of the entire detachment. Boyd's ROTC scholarship, which had paid for two years of nonresident tuition, was revoked upon her discharge, and the government demanded that she repay her scholarships and book stipends. Boyd ended up with $30,000 of tuition bills to pay. Boyd returned to UC Boulder and completed her degree, but she is still paying back the scholarship debt.

Airman Victor Price, originally from Asheboro, NC, served as a Bioenvironmental Engineering Specialist with the United States Air Force. During his tour, he obtained a BA in business marketing at Delaware State. A Senior Airman, Price was honorably discharged in 2000 under Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Corporal Evelyn Thomas, who was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Texas, joined the Army National Guard and then the U.S. Marine Corps. She served at Camp Pendleton for four years until another Marine found a letter in her locker about her relationship with a woman. She was then honorably discharged in 1991. In October 2009, Thomas founded a ministry for gays in the military who fear they may be discharged for speaking openly to base chaplains about their sexuality. The Sanctuary Project Veterans is a ministry of Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, CA, and it provides a safe haven, support, legal advice, and services for soldiers harassed due to the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.

# # #

GetEQUAL is a new online lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer activist community. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBTQ community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL visit http://www.getequal.org/

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"In The News Today..."

Prom-goers Derrick Martin, left, and his boyfriend Richard Goodman pose for pictures being taken by their friend Professor Arturro Beeche in front of the county courthouse

Bleckley Prom Goes Smoothly

By Julie Hubbard
Sunday, April 18, 2010


COCHRAN, GA — Bleckley County High School senior Derrick Martin made history Saturday when he arrived at his high school prom on the arm of another boy.

He was the first in his hometown of Cochran — and perhaps in Georgia — to ask permission to take a same sex partner to prom and have his school allow it.

About 7:45 p.m., couples started to arrive at the high school in a line of stretch limos, a bus, a John Deere tractor and even carriage and buggy, and afterward walked through a crowd of parents and friends who snapped photos.

When Martin, 18, and his boyfriend Richard Goodman, also 18, stepped onto a makeshift “red carpet” and their names were announced, a few parents whispered but many in the crowd gave him a loud cheer. No one yelled out in protest.

“I wonder if they realize what they’ve done,” said Arturro Beeche, a San Francisco professor who flew into Georgia on Friday and drove Martin and Goodman to the prom. “Once it happens in small-town America, it will inspire so many,” he said.

Security was tight with at least 15 officers stationed at the high school, and no one could enter the parking lot without a ticket.

Martin asked his school system for permission to take a same sex partner to prom earlier this school year.

At his high school, prom dates from outside counties must be approved in advance, so Martin went to his principal and asked. After discussion with the superintendent and school board, officials eventually granted permission, saying they had no policy in place against it. “You don’t have the right to say no,” principal Michelle Masters said in a previous interview.

The move had been met with some conflict, such as talk of a separate prom.

A few weeks back, a small group of students held an opposition rally in front of the town courthouse to protest. Martin’s parents also kicked him out of his home after the publicity.

But a rally in support of Martin was also held in a Macon park and supporters have donated more than $5,000 for college this fall.

“You have to do what you think is right,” Martin said the Friday while he and Goodman picked up their matching black and white tuxedos. “I was tired of being sneaky and hiding things.”

Goodman, a senior at Tift County High, said a few same sex couples have messaged him saying they would now ask to attend their proms together.

“Oh, and by the way we’re going to my prom May 8,” Goodman said to a surprised Martin.

Martin simply replied, “That’s your fight.”

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"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."

"The Truth Today..."

Corvino: Is Homosexuality Connected to Pedophilia

By John Corvino, columnist, 365gay.com
04.16.2010

Comments earlier this week by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone linking homosexuality to pedophilia have drawn almost universal condemnation from medical experts, gay-rights organizations, and government officials.

Speaking at a news conference in Chile, the cardinal stated, “Many psychologists, many psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and pedophilia but many others have demonstrated, I was told recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true. I have the documents of the psychologists. That is the problem.”

He’s nearly half-right.

But first, let’s underscore where he’s wrong. He’s wrong to connect homosexuality with pedophilia, and especially wrong in citing psychologists’ support for this link. (It is telling, but not at all surprising, that Cardinal Bertone has yet to release these alleged documents he cites.) Every mainstream health and welfare organization that has commented on the issue has stated the opposite.

Even Church leaders have distanced themselves from Bertone, one of Roman Catholicism’s highest-ranking prelates. Rev. Marcus Stock, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, stated in the wake of the cardinal’s comments,

“To the best of my knowledge, there is no empirical data which concludes that sexual orientation is connected to child sexual abuse….In the sexual abuse of children, the issue is the sexual fixation of the abusers and not their sexual orientation.”

But Bertone’s statement is not just factually wrong, it’s morally irresponsible. It slanders gay people—including many decent gay priests—and directs our attention away from the real threats to children.

Which brings us to where he’s nearly half-right. He’s right to claim that the problem is not celibacy.

It’s tempting to point out that people who have sex with children are not celibate—they’re people who have sex with children. But that response misses the point of the objection, which is that enforced celibacy, even when undertaken voluntarily, is unhealthy. Doesn’t the strict avoidance of sex make it more likely that people will act out sexually in unfortunate, and occasionally tragic, ways? Doesn’t the exclusion of married men (and women) from the Roman Catholic priesthood make it a less healthy institution overall than it might otherwise be?

These are reasonable questions, but they’re not ones that we can answer from our armchairs. They involve, among other things, empirical claims about the incidence of sexual abuse among those living under a rule of celibacy—and such claims are notoriously difficult to verify given the Church’s culture of secrecy.

That culture of secrecy is where the real problem lies.

The trouble with Bertone’s statement is not merely that it’s scientifically unfounded and false—although it is surely both of those things.

It’s that, by focusing on the causes of pedophilia, Bertone distracts us from the other great crime in the story: the Church’s ongoing cover-up.

Church officials, up to and including the current pope, have repeatedly ignored, downplayed, and concealed the rape of children. Worse yet, they enabled its ongoing occurrence by reassigning priests guilty of abuse to posts where they could continue youth ministry.

This is not a homosexual problem. This is not a celibacy problem. It is a complicity problem.

Bertone—like Catholic League president Bill Donahue and other recent defenders of the hierarchy—have done their best to distract us from this complicity problem. In doing so, they perpetuate a grave evil. Shame on them.


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John Corvino, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. His column “The Gay Moralist” appears Fridays on 365gay.com.

For more about John, visit http://www.johncorvino.com/.

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 304"

"This Is Worth Fighting For... Its About Love"

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"The Artist's Corner"

"Family Ties" - 1998
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

"In The News Today..."

Olympic Great Kowalski Out Of The Closet

Sydney, April 18: Former Olympic swimmer Daniel Kowalski Sunday admitted being a homosexual.





Kowalski, 34, who won four Olympic medals, told The Sunday Age he was "tired of living a lie" and that he hoped to inspire other gay people.

The nation has out-and-proud cabinet ministers, ambassadors, high court judges and religious leaders, but the only professional male athletes, who have come out in open about their orientation, have been the former rugby player Ian Roberts and Matthew Mitcham, who denied China a clean sweep in the diving medals at the Beijing Olympics.

"I felt really compelled to do it because it's very tough to live a closeted existence," said Kowalski, who at the Atlanta Games in 1996 became the first swimmer in 92 years to win medals in all of the freestyle events.

Kowalski, now among the world's best ocean swimmers, was overshadowed throughout his career by fellow Australians Kieren Perkins and Grant Hackett.

"On the sporting side, I lost to some amazing champions, so I'm not for a second saying that this is the reason I didn't win," he said. "(But) I often wonder if the lack of self-confidence and lack of identity in many ways held me back from reaching my potential."

Kowalski said he didn't expect more male athletes to come out but urged honesty upon them.

"There'll be hard times but you surround yourself with great, supportive people who love you for you and you'll be OK," he said.

Among Australia's triumvirate of gay jocks, Mitcham is the only one not in retirement. Amazingly, he was the only out-of-the-closet gay man in Beijing's 10,000-strong athletes' village.

Kowalski said that, in retirement, he hankered after what most young people wanted: "I look for all the things straight people do. I want to fall in love and be happy and be proud of who I am."

*******

"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 303"

"Love Brought Us Together..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"The Truth Is In The Scriptures"


Was Jesus gay? Questioning Jesus' Sexuality

By Ramon Johnson
April 9, 2010

Scholars and historians spend countless hours searching for answers to mysteries yet uncovered or resolved. One such quest is the sexual orientation of Jesus. Was Jesus Gay?

A highly debated 2005 article by Matt Johns titled "Was Jesus Gay?" sparked a considerable amount of controversy over Jesus' sexuality. Along with Johns, several books, such as Signs for a Messiah by Rollan McCleary and The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives From the New Testament from Rev. Theodore W. Jennings, have been written in exploration of gay spirituality and the sexuality of Jesus.

Gay advocate Peter Tatchell also claims "large chunks of Jesus' life are missing from the Biblical accounts" which as "fuelled speculation that the early Church sanitized the gospels, removing references to Christ's sexuality that were not in accord with the heterosexual morality that it wanted to promote.

"Perhaps not as empirical is Elton John's account of Jesus' sexual orientation in a February 2010 Parade interview:

"I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don't know what makes people so cruel," John said.

Of course, John's comments were not met without contempt. "To call Jesus a homosexual is to label Him a sexual deviant," Catholic League president Bill Donohue replied.

Faith or Fact?

The New Testament does not explicitly state if Jesus engaged in sexual relationships, but some believe the "disciple whom Jesus loved" in the Gospel of John (John 13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 20) references Jesus' close relationship with John the Apostle—A relationship that some believe was beyond spiritual. King James I of England, for one, used the Jesus-John relationship to justify his affairs with the Duke of Buckingham.

"I wish to speak in my own behalf and not to have it thought to be a defect, for Jesus Christ did the same, and therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had his son John, and I have my George," biographer Carrolly Erickson recounts in Royal Panoply, Brief Lives Of The English Monarchs (St. Martin's Press, 2006).

Whether wild fable or inference, Jesus' sexuality will remain as divisive a debate as the existence of the deity himself. And even among believers, Jesus' life remains open for interpretation. A recent stage production of Corpus Christi, by gay Christian Terrance McNally has been met with difficulty in Texas. The production depicts a Christ-like figure performing a marriage ceremony for two gay disciples. The Rose Marine Theater had originally agreed to host the play before opting out amid "violent" threats on its FaceBook page.


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"Fear Eats the Soul"

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