President Obama Has Evolved

President Obama announced that he is in favor of equal marriage rights yesterday.

You know, I wish I could say that I’m happy, or excited, or even relieved. When I heard the news, my reaction was basically “Really? Finally. Now, where’s my kindle?”

I am glad he’s come out in support of equality. It does make me happy for my LGBT friends, loved ones, and allies.

It doesn’t ring hollow to me, as it has for some. I don’t believe this will negatively affect his reelection chances. Nor does it strike me as a political gambit, as it has for some.

I just feel as if he should have done this years ago. At the very least, he should have done this before North Carolina voted on Amendment One.

So, President Obama is in favor of marriage equality for LGBT Americans. Good. Now let’s get to work.

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Search Engine Questions: Civil Air Patrol Membership

I’ve seen this feature on a number of blogs I frequent, and I always enjoy them. I hadn’t planned on adding it to my own. However, one query caught my eye.

“can you join civil air patrol if you’re gay”

Yes. Yes, you can join Civil Air Patrol if you’re gay. And please, do. It is the best organization I have had the honor to be a part of, in my life. I have met many amazing people, and experienced many wonderful things. I have no doubt it would be the same for you.

While CAP is affiliated with the United States Air Force, it is a civilian organization based around love of aviation, community, and volunteerism. Anyone is welcome, no matter what the state of the political climate.

Whoever you are, if you have any more questions about CAP–or if you’d like to talk, about anything, my e-mail is in the sidebar to your right. Feel free to contact me anytime.

To Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Genderqueer Teens in Kentucky

You are loved.

You are worthy of love.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve to be safe, at home, at school, on the street.

You’re not evil.

You’re not an abomination. On the contrary. You are a beautiful person, with hopes, with dreams.

You’re strong. And you know? It’s okay to be weak, too. It’s okay to be angry, to be frustrated, to feel wronged. It’s okay to cry. You’re not the only one.

You’re not alone.

Far from it.

Don’t give up. Love yourself. Take care of yourself.

Just know, that you’re not alone. Know that you are loved.

Kentucky Needs Better Protections From Bullying

This is why we need HB336 to pass. Now.

“A 15-year-old high school student took her own life this week. Her parents said she was the victim of bullying.

After the teen’s untimely death, other parents have come forward, saying their kids have also been bullied at Livingston County Schools and they’re calling on the school district to make major changes.

They said the school is failing when it comes to protecting their kids and they want new and stricter policies to stop bullying. They also want better counseling services, so that no student has to feel like suicide is the only option.”

My heart breaks for this young woman. It didn’t have to end this way for her.

You know the anti-bullying bill, HB336? It was rejected by the committee on March 13th, less than a week before the young woman from Livingston County took her life. She’s not the only teenager in Kentucky to do so.

“Sam Denham, 13, an eighth-grader from a Northern Kentucky middle school, and Miranda Campbell, 14, a high school freshman from Hopkinsville, committed suicide in the past five months to escape bullying, they said.”

No one deserves to be bullied. No one deserves to be harassed. Or assaulted. Or terrorized.

And you know what? If we’re not going to allow these kids to defend themselves from bullies without getting punished right alongside their attacker, then we (and I mean EVERYONE here) have to do everything we can to protect them.

“Rep. C.B. Embry Jr., R-Morgantown, said the state already has sufficient laws against bullying. He expressed doubt that any additional laws could help.”

Clearly, we don’t.

Here’s the list of the House Education committee members. Contact them to let them know that we won’t let this go. Contact the members I’ve tagged below, in particular, to let them know how reprehensible their comments are.

Christian Cries Wolf at LGBT Community’s “Intolerance”

So I came upon this trite today. To spare you, in the midst of some blathering about modernism, there was a whole lot of whining about the “intolerance” of Christians on the part of the LGBT community.

Here we go again.

First, a few points:

Christians and the LGBT community are not two mutually exclusive groups. There’s quite a bit of overlap between the two, actually.

Attempting to place Christians, as a group, within the societal model of “modernity” while at the same time, placing the LGBT community outside of it, or, generously, failing at it–is one of the most laughable ideas I’ve heard all week. Not to mention–this framing of the LGBT community as outsiders, as Other, or left behind as the world has shifted into modernity does give a wee bit of credit to the accusations of bigotry that the author is trying so hard to discredit.

This passage:

“To the extent that a society becomes “modern,” then, it will be packed with people who hold to widely divergent beliefs and values, any of which may be questioned. And the glue of this system is not that we all agree with one another but that we make a commitment to not always equate disagreement, or even disapproval, with bigotry.”

I notice how carefully the author has avoided making any mention here of just what is in dispute here, or rather, who.

What is being disputed here is the very existence of the LGBT community, and their rights as citizens in this society. Christianity, as the author has identified it here, has opinions on the LGBT community, and has, is, and will continue to try to structure our society so that the LGBT community is marginalized, unequal, and without protections, so as to be in agreement with Christianity’s beliefs.

That flies in the face of the pluralism, modernity, and tolerance the author is writing about. What Christians believe about God, their ethics, and their own behaviors are Christians’ business. What Christians believe about other people, the LGBT community, and their freedom, rights, and protections are everyone’s business.

You don’t get to believe things about other people, try to impose them on everyone, and then cry intolerance when you’re called a bigot. And, you know, intolerant.

The author got the first part right. A modern society is a plural one, and one in which the ideals and values of individual groups get to be questioned. He got the second part so very wrong. The glue that holds a modern society together is not that we don’t refrain from calling bigots, bigots, but that each different group respects the others, and that our society does not elevate one group over the other. The glue that holds a “modern” i.e. pluralistic society together is that we co-exist peacefully. That our structure is neutral, that all groups are equal, having the same rights and protections. That individual groups keep their traditions, their beliefs, their values focused on themselves.

And the minute one group tries to impose itself on others? They can expect push-back, self-defense, and yes, being called bigots.

Anti-Discrimination Protections for LGBTs in Kentucky

The Kentucky legislature has two bills in committee–in the House and Senate, to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected groups under the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

The bills, SB69 and HB188, were introduced on January 3rd, and haven’t gone anywhere since.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, the Fairness Campaign, Kentucky Fairness Alliance, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and Lexington Fairness have joined together to form the Fairness Coalition. The Fairness Coalition is beginning a new campaign to educate the public, and push the House and Senate to pass this legislation.

This commercial will be broadcast across the state:

Next Thursday, February 22rd at 1:30pm EST, the Fairness Coalition and supporters of LGBT rights will rally in the Capitol building in Frankfort to show support for protections for LGBT folks.

Edit: I got the date and time of the rally wrong. It is on February 22nd, at 1:30pm.

My Favorite Quotes From Perry v Brown Part Two

Part one is here. Here are the last nine quotes:

10. “Here, the argument
that withdrawing the designation of ‘marriage’ from same-sex
couples could on its own promote the strength or stability of
opposite-sex marital relationships lacks any such footing in
reality.”

11. “There is a limited sense in which the extension of the designation
‘marriage’ to same-sex partnerships might alter the
content of the lessons that schools choose to teach. Schools
teach about the world as it is; when the world changes, lessons
change. A shift in the State’s marriage law may therefore
affect the content of classroom instruction just as would the
election of a new governor, the discovery of a new chemical
element, or the adoption of a new law permitting no-fault
divorce: students learn about these as empirical facts of the
world around them. But to protest the teaching of these facts
is little different from protesting their very existence; it is like
opposing the election of a particular governor on the ground
that students would learn about his holding office, or opposing
the legitimation of no-fault divorce because a teacher
might allude to that fact if a course in societal structure were
taught to graduating seniors. The prospect of children learning
about the laws of the State and society’s assessment of the
legal rights of its members does not provide an independent
reason for stripping members of a disfavored group of those
rights they presently enjoy.” Read more of this post