Monday, June 23, 2014

Another Bride, Another June

 Not Automatic If You’re Lesbian
The well-known song written by Kahn and Donaldson “Another bride/Another June/Another sunny honeymoon/Another season, Another reason/for makin’ whoopee” is a reality for heterosexuals.  But for lesbians and gays , marriage is not even possible unless they marry in the nineteen states and Washington, D.C. where same-sex marriage is legal.

The State of Many LGBT Unions

Those nineteen states are: CA, CT, DE, Hi, IA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, RI, VT, WA, and Washington, D.C. If you’re LGBT, don’t even  think about marrying in the South, although there are pending cases opposing the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage or the strip of states from North to South in the Mid-west.

In twelve states, judges have issued rulings in favor of the freedom to marry, with many of these rulings now “stayed as they proceed to appellate courts: In AR, ID, MI, OK, TX, UT, VA, and WI judges have struck down marriage bans and in IN, KY, OH, and TN, judges have issued more limited pro-marriage rulings.

Confusion Everywhere

In some states like Wisconsin, some same-sex couples were left in limbo because a Federal District Ct. Judge Barbara B. Crabb ordered a halt to same-sex marriage a week after she struck down the state’s same-sex ban as unconstitutional (as in many states, a federal district court is required to follow the guidance by the Supreme Court).  Are those marriage valid?  Similarly, The United States Supreme Court also halted same-sex marriage in Utah.
It seems so unfair to tell gays and lesbians who have waited so long to be treated equally and have earned the right to finally marry that they can not do so. Or, in effect, tease them by striking down a constitutional ban in their state only to find it stayed a week later by the whim (so it seems) of the court?
Growing Acceptance of Same-Sex Marriage

Despite the resistance of the National Organization for Marriage and other religious organizations, a CBS News Nationwide Poll in February this year, found that 56% of Americans reported that they thought same-same marriage should be legal.
While a majority of Democrats and independent voters support same-sex marriage, a majority of Republicans do not, unless they are under thirty.

Republicans Slowly Coming Around

In order to survive, the Republican Party is realizing that it has to change its platform about gay marriage. Richard Tisel, openly gay candidate running for Congress features his husband in political ads, Mr. Dan Innis, a New Hampshire candidate for Congress features his husband in a Video, and Carl DeMaio  in his campaign ad includes his significant other.

Marriage Is Seasonless

Marriage should be seasonless, “not just another June/another season/” but the reason should be love, regardless of the month or state.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Little Stamp With The L-A-R-G-E Message

Harvey Milk Stamp Creates Controversy

How many Harvey Milk stamps have been “returned to sender?”  Since the U.S. Postal Office has issued the stamp on May 22nd, the date of slain gay rights activist Milk’s birthday, the American Family Association (AFA) has urged the public to trade the stamp for one of the United States flag.  This fundamentalist group, that champions Christian activism and is against gay rights, also dictates that if you receive mail with a Harvey Milk stamp, that you write “Return to Sender” on the envelope.

Milk’s Awards

The AFA contends that the Milk stamp was the result of seven years of lobbying by a self-described drag queen, a California man with implanted breasts who was a former transsexual prostitute, named Nicole Murray Ramirez of San Diego. Regardless, Harvey Bernard Milk was recognized by many as a hero who spoke out on state and national issues of interests not just for LGBT people, but women, racial and ethnic minorities.  For his efforts, Milk was awarded posthumously in 2009 the Medal of Freedom, accepted by his nephew, from President Barack Obama. 

Also listed in Time magazine’s list of “100 most important people of twentieth century,” Milk, a former Math and History teacher from Long Island, New York, owned a camera shop in the Castro District of  San Francisco.  In 1977, after district elections replaced citywide elections, Milk ran again for the post of Supervisor and won.  The election was a landmark event as he was the first openly gay elected official in the United States.  He was appointed by Mayor George Moscone to The  Board of Permit Appeals, making him, , in 1975, the first openly gay commissioner in the United States.

On the California ballot, he worked successfully to defeat on November 7, 1978  Proposition 6 which, if passed, would have mandated the firing of all LGBT public school teachers as well as anyone who supported LGBT rights in the school.  A few weeks later, he was killed by Dan White, a former police officer who clashed with Milk over gay issues. 

In the Face of Hate

Milk was aware of LGBT discrimination throughout the U.S. and regularly received hate mail to such an extent that he recorded his will on several occasions on a tape recorder as seen in the movie Milk.

While the AFA thinks it is “championing Christian activism,” Harvey Milk did so in the face of adversity.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gay Pride Month, Marching Optional

President Obama has declared June as Gay Pride month. Events are planned across the United States, from San Francisco to New York and all states in between, to celebrate the achievements of the LGBT population and show solidarity not only with these groups but also their straight allies.

 Yet, as the straight mother of a gay adult, I confess that I only marched once – at an enormous rally in Manhattan that coincided with the passage of gay marriage in New York State in June 2011.  While quite excited about the new prospect of same-sex marriage in my favorite city, I would have been just as ecstatic to view the parade, with its floats and rainbow banners waving, from the sidelines.

I do admire those who have marched for civil rights and social justice not just the more famous names such as Martin Luther King,  Jr. but a Queens housewife, now deceased, named Jeanne Manford who marched with her son and later founded the organization now known as PFLAG (Parents for Lesbians & Gays). However, I don’t feel compelled or shamed into thinking that I have to emulate these visible marchers.

Let Me Count The Ways You Can Support

Maybe you don’t feel like marching too. Nor does you GLBT child.  No worries.  There are other ways you can support your child:
  • ·      Most importantly, love your child unconditionally, not just for the month of July, but always.
  • ·      Show an interest in their LGBT friends and “significant others” and make them welcome in your home.
  • ·      Join organizations such as PFLAG to learn how to support your child.
  • ·      Follow organizations such as Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN (GayLesbian Straight Education Network), Lambda Legal, Joe, My God to name a few to keep abreast of legislation being considered for the LGBT population.
  • ·      Write to your senator to encourage him/her to pass a gay rights bill.
  • ·      Ask your child how he/she would like to be supported.

Gay Pride, Your Way

YOU are your child’s greatest straight ally. Whether you write letters to evoke change toward more GLBT-friendly laws, volunteer at a PFLAG event, or have a dialogue with your priest, your involvement does make a difference to your child’s life. It shows your Gay Pride.