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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Brendan O'Neill: "Nothing in the Gay Marriage Debate Makes Sense"

Brendan O'Neill's always-provocative take on what is really driving the war on marriage:

"If you stop to think about it, you will notice that nothing in the gay-marriage debate makes sense. The struggle for ‘marriage equality’ is presented to us as a good, natural, straightforward civil-rights thing, which only cranky men of the cloth could feel riled by. But just a couple of minutes’ thoughtful consideration should reveal that it is in fact the most surreal campaign of our age, whose ascendancy to the top of the political agenda in Australia, Britain and the US defies both logic and reason."

... In a nutshell, then, the ‘gay marriage rights’ juggernaut is a campaign for something that gays traditionally haven’t been interested in, backed by people who don’t care very much for either marriage or rights. What’s really going on here? I propose that the only way we can properly understand the speedy rise of this bizarre issue, and its embrace by everyone from a cross-parliamentary inquiry in Australia to Barack Obama to Goldman Sachs (seriously), is as an act of high and unprecedented political opportunism. The real value of the gay-marriage issue is not in the improvements it will allegedly make to homosexual people’s lives, but rather in the opportunity for moral posturing and right-on preening it affords to its backers. Gay marriage isn’t a real issue; it’s a cultural signifier, where you support it in order to show that you are decent, enlightened and, most importantly, not like Them, the rabble.

In an era when old-style morality is on the wane, if not dead, the elites are forever feeling around for new issues through which they can communicate their moral superiority. And right now, banging on about gay marriage is the main way they do this. -- The Australian Spectator

What Does "Marriage Equality" Mean for Bisexuals?

I've wondered, when it comes to LGBT "equality", we hear an awful lot about L and G "equality" and never anything about "B" equality.

Terence Jeffrey of CNSNews asks the same question of President Obama:

"...So, what does Obama's "marriage equality" mean for bisexuals?

According to Merriam-Webster, homosexual means "characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex." Bisexual means "characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward both sexes."

Obama, we now know, believes homosexual men have a "right" to marry other men, and homosexual women have a "right" to marry other women. So, who does he believe bisexuals have a "right" to marry?

In Obama's world, does a bisexual man have a "right" to enter into a bigamous union with one other man and one woman? Or can the state force him to limit his marriage to the union of just two people?

And if that is the case, how would Obama, within his philosophy of government, justify prohibiting a bisexual from forming a tripartite marriage?"

So what gives? What does marriage equality for bisexuals look like?

HuffPo: "Rainbow Christ Prayer Honors LGBT Spirituality"

The Huffington Post:

When I see rainbow flags flying this month, I celebrate the spiritual values of the LGBT community and remember the many faces of the queer Christ.

I wrote the following Rainbow Christ Payer with gay theologian Patrick Cheng for LGBT Pride Month. The prayer matches the colors of the rainbow flag with the seven models of the queer Christ, from Patrick's new book From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ.

In our prayer each color also corresponds with a universal spiritual principle that is expressed in LGBT history and culture. In addition, the Rainbow Christ Prayer incorporates the chakras, the seven colored energy centers of the human body in Buddhist and Hindu philosophy.

Atlantic Profiles Same-Sex Couple Wed Last Year in New York, Already Divorced

The Atlantic profiles the rise of gay divorce where states have redefined marriage:

"...Soon after New York passed the Marriage Equality Act on June 24 last year, Katie Marks andDese’Rae Stage began planning their wedding day. A licensed masseuse and a photographer, both 28, the couple had been dating since 2008 and were already planning to get married — in Boston over the Memorial Day weekend of 2012 — but the euphoria of the moment moved everything forward. “It was kind of one of those things, to be a part of history,” Des says. On July 30, the first Saturday that gay marriages could be performed in New York City, Katie in a magenta dress and Des in skinny jeans and pink Chuck Taylors joined 23 other couples at the Pop Up Chapel, a one-day wedding event in Central Park, as part of New York City’s first wave of legally married gay couples. By January, though, things had started to come apart. Des and Katie have since separated and moved out of their Washington Heights apartment. They're now one of the first married gay couples — if not the very first — in New York to divorce. “I feel like I’m the president of the loneliest club in the world,” Des says. “I was the first gay person in my group of friends to marry, and now I’m the only gay divorcée I know.”

... On the sort-of-bright side, [Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights] adds, "I think we will continue to see people divorce. But nothing has humanized gay couples more than for straight people to realize gay couples need to divorce, too.”

... "We have 34 [gay divorce] cases right now in the office, compared to 150 [heterosexual] divorce cases,” says Raoul Felder, a New York divorce lawyer who has handled numerous high-profile breakups including Rudy Giuliani’s split from his wife of 18 years, Donna Hanover, while he was mayor of New York. [...] Felder added that gay divorces are currently "filtering down at a faster rate than heterosexual divorces.”

Chief UK Rabbi Voices Opposition to SSM

The UK Telegraph:

In his only public statement on the subject he warned that any attempt to exempt religious groups from performing homosexual weddings would be likely to be challenged at the European Court of Human Rights.

Lord Sacks, who is preparing to retire next year, has consistently declined to be drawn into the debate about the Government’s plans to allow same-sex couples to have civil weddings.

A clutch of traditional rabbis have spoken against the Government’s plans while liberal branches of Judaism in Britain have given their support.

But now a formal submission to the Government’s consultation process from the London Beth Din – the Chief Rabbi’s court, which adjudicates on legal matters – has reiterated traditional orthodox teaching that homosexuality is against Jewish law.

“Marriage by definition in Jewish (Biblical) Law, is the union of a male and female,” it asserts.

“While Judaism teaches respect for others and condemns all types of discrimination, we oppose a change in the definition of marriage that includes same-sex relationships.”

It continues: “Our understanding of marriage from time immemorial has been that of a union between a man and a woman.

“Any attempt to redefine this sacred institution would be to undermine the concept of marriage.”

The Beth Din accused the Government of confusion by creating a distinction between civil and religious marriage for the first time.

“In English law there is only one definition of marriage which can be entered into through either a civil or religious ceremony,” it adds.

MN Public Radio: Marriage Protest at General Mills

More coverage of the first protest on Monday outside General Mills HQ in Golden Vally by Minnesota Public Radio:

About fifty people protested outside of General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley today to speak out against the company's opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota. Chuck Darrell, with the group Minnesota for Marriage, said he believes General Mills should stay out of the debate.

"The purpose of the rally is to send a message to General Mills and all Minnesota companies that marriage matters to a majority of Minnesotans," Darrell said.

The group will be holding similar protests each of the next three days. Organizers asking supporters to deliver their General Mills products to a local food shelf.
John Ruiter from Edgerton, Minnesota drove two hours to attend the protest. He said he's no longer buying General Mills products.

"Here's a huge corporation that's making a statement that's actually favoring a minority of people," Ruiter said. "The majority of the people that do business with General Mills, and they are families, with children. As far as I'm concerned, we won't buy any of their products anymore."

Join the movement at DumpGeneralMills.com!

"Betty Crocker Faces Boycott," NOM Marriage News

NOM National Newsletter

Dear Marriage Supporter,

14,714!

That's the number of Americans who, as I write this morning, have already signed our new petition at DumpGeneralMills.com!

Speaking of morning, what in the world is the nation's leading manufacturer of breakfast cereals thinking?!

I never thought that by eating Cheerios for breakfast I would be supporting gay marriage. General Mills' decision to pander to same-sex marriage activists has forced me and my family to choose between their food products and our conscience. As long as food is produced by other companies my conscience is going to win out over the desire for another bowl of Lucky Charms. Until they stop supporting this radical social agenda I must, in good conscience, look for substitutes that I can purchase instead of General Mills' brands.

General Mills is headquartered in Minnesota, so the Pioneer Press covered our announcement. "We'd like (General Mills) to step back and say they respect the views of all of their customers and employees," our own Jonathan Baker, director of the Corporate Fairness Project for the National Organization for Marriage, told reporters, "Eating Cheerios for breakfast shouldn't have to be a moral choice about marriage."

The Drudge Report linked to this Washington Examiner article reporting on our DumpGeneralMills.com campaign:

The Washington-based National Organization for Marriage, created to fight gay marriage proposals, is betting that Betty Crocker would be on their side. Because on Tuesday, the activist group announced a boycott of General Mills, owners of the Betty Crocker brand, which this month announced its opposition to a ban on same-sex marriage in Minnesota, their headquarters.

"We value diversity. We value inclusion," the food producer said in a letter, making it one of the biggest corporate voices for same-sex marriage.

"In declaring a war on marriage, General Mills is declaring war on their own customers. Now, rather than seeing the flowing 'G' trademark as a symbol of General Mills, consumers across the world will equate that symbol with gay marriage," said Brian Brown, NOM's president.

Dumb, really dumb, corporate PR stance.

The polling continues to suggest that Pres. Obama's endorsement of gay marriage is not helping him either. First, there was the shock poll out of North Carolina, a key swing state that Obama won by just 14,000 votes in 2008. That poll showed just 76 percent of black voters said they would vote for Obama, down from 95 percent in 2008.

Now we have a new state poll from Michigan, another of the swing states. Independents, by a more than 2-1 margin, said Obama's gay marriage flip-flop makes them less likely to vote for him.

"The fact that only 17 percent of polled independent voters were supportive of the President's stance on gay marriage—and that 41 percent indicated they were less likely to vote for him as a result—may be some cause for concern with this crucial group," said Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner of public relations firm Lambert, Edwards & Associates.

Nationally, support for gay marriage declined by 2 percentage points according to an AP poll: 42 percent told pollsters they supported it last August while just 40 percent said they do today. (I have to tell you these things because I'm guessing that headline never made it to your local newspaper, newsblog or TV news!)

More good news out of New York. The dynamic and pro-marriage Wendy Long just won a primary to emerge as the GOP contender for marriage flip-flopper Kirsten Gillibrand's senate seat. Gillibrand is considered a big frontrunner, with more than $10 million in the bank. But Wendy is going to give her a run for her money in a year which is likely to be very tough for incumbents generally.

In more New York news, the Poughkeepsie Journal reports on the influential Conservative Party's decision not to endorse Stephen Saland because he betrayed marriage.

For the first time in his 12 electoral campaigns for the state Senate, Steve Saland's name will not appear on the Conservative ballot line, New York State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said.

That is due to his vote one year ago to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. Long said at the time he would no longer support Saland, who is seeking his 12th two-year term in the Senate, and the three other Republicans in the state Senate who voted for the bill.

Long has not changed his mind. He has yet to endorse a candidate for the state Senate 41st District.

"Anyone who voted for same sex marriage, there's no question about it, they will not get the Conservative endorsement," Long said last week. "It's not going to happen. They were all forewarned before the vote that traditional marriage is very important."

Thanks to Michael Long and to everyone who has stood tall against the pressure to redefine marriage!

Good news continues to flow, this time from Maryland! With referendum signatures due on June 30, the campaign has now submitted nearly three times the number of signatures required.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance announced today that it plans to submit an additional 39,743 signatures to the Maryland State Board of Elections as part of efforts to add a referendum on the state's same sex marriage law to the November ballot.

The addition brings the total of signatures supporting the referendum to 162,224. The Maryland Marriage Alliance submitted more than 122,000 signatures to Maryland's Secretary of State May 29, more than double the nearly 57,000 signatures required to add a referendum.

As we fight the good fight, let's remember together that gay marriage is not something that just gay people are pushing. The people we disagree with are our friends and neighbors and fellow citizens. And in fact, although I'm sure the great majority of homosexual people favor homosexual marriage, some gay people agree with us!

Maggie Gallagher mentioned that, while she was on Connecticut's public radio station talking about David Blankenhorn's change of position (more on that in a second), a 71-year-old gay man called in to say that although he's lived through and is grateful for "gay rights" generally, he doesn't feel like the word "marriage" is right to describe gay relationships!

And in Minnesota, a lesbian out celebrating pride day told a reporter something similar.

Ujay Gang of St. Paul regularly attends Nativity with his wife and two young children. He said, for him, the marriage amendment is about the definition. Other Nativity parishioners said they support the amendment but declined to comment on the record.

"I don't understand why the homosexuals are trying to redefine marriage," Gang said. "They should come up with their own word. They are pushing their view on others."

At the Pride Festival, Karen Ahern, a lesbian from Bloomington, agreed.

"It hits a nerve with the straight community," Ahern said. "They should call it 'unions' or something else. It's polarizing, and I know that people here will (have) a fit because I said that, but just get the thing done. Don't agitate people."

I do know that we need to stand tall and fight for what we know is right, without descending into hatred. Without, for example, throwing back at our opponents the tactics used against a young newlywed couple in Great Britain who delivered 500,000 petitions requesting the government stop messing with marriage.

I told you about Rhys (a charity researcher) and Esther Curnow (a primary schoolteacher) at the time when they turned in this overwhelming number of signatures for protecting marriage. But they hit the news again this week after they were shocked to be the target of hate mail. I'm sure some of it was respectful and civil criticism, but they were disturbed and concerned at the level of open hatred expressed by some of these letter writers, according to the British press:

Rhys and Esther Curnow, from Newcastle, received scores of messages after opponents of their stance on same-sex marriage including a Labour councillor circulated their Facebook details online.

They included messages saying the couple, who are committed Christians, should "rot in hell" and wishing they would become infertile or die of cancer.

Several included explicit references to sexual acts while others suggested they should be subjected to "compulsory sterilisation."

(Fortunately, again according to the press, police have investigated and concluded the emails "did not contain direct threat.")

Why do some gay marriage advocates do this? They do it in part because it reflects their honest feelings towards people like you and me who do not view gay unions as marriages, and stand up to fight for what we believe is right.

But as Mark Oppenheimer of The New York Times made it clear last Friday when he released a documentary on David Blankenhorn's "conversion" on marriage, they also do it because these tactics "work."

Normal people duck when this volume of open scorn and hatred heads our way.

Maggie Gallagher, who has known David Blankenhorn for many years and worked under him for almost a decade at the Institute for American Values, penned a very loving and sympathetic take on David's defection, which she published in her own new personal newsletter and also in The Public Discourse.

(I would not have been nearly as kind!)

David Blankenhorn says he is standing by his Prop 8 testimony and his book. He's not recanting a word of what he wrote. He has just given up hope that fighting gay marriage will do any good.

But, from Maggie's column, here is how one reporter describes what happened to David Blankenhorn.

"After the trial, something changed in Blankenhorn," according to [New York Times columnist Mark] Oppenheimer, "He does not entirely know how to describe what happened. Maybe it was some cocktail of the fame, the public abuse, or just getting older. Maybe it's that he began to fear for his legacy, for how the world would remember him. He definitely saw that gay marriage was happening, and it was likely to spread and wasn't going away. There was no turning back the clock. Is it too cynical to say that nobody wants to be on the wrong side of history? Maybe that's not a fair way to put it." Oppenheimer says.

"David's out of the gay marriage fight, which was never a major focus for him," continues Maggie. "He's hoping that by embracing gay marriage he'll be allowed by the powers that be to do something about divorce and unmarried childbearing, his core concerns. God bless him and good luck."

What lessons should we all learn from this?

Maggie writes, "The lessons gay marriage advocates will take from David Blankenhorn's ‘conversion'? They will learn what they know: stigma and hatred directed at people who disagree with them work."

Sad but true. Some people will lack the courage to stand for what they know to be true. But here's the most important part.

"What lesson should we take? What lesson do I take?" Maggie asks.

The first is that no-one can fight alone. To stand up to the wall of hatred directed our way, we need each other. And we need the larger sense of community that faith uniquely provides.

The second is that as we fight for the good, we must never respond to hatred with hatred, to exclusion with the desire to exclude.

David Blankenhorn is my friend and I love him. I also respect him. I understand what he just did and why he did it and I wish him well in his personal fight to somehow square the circle, to combine a culture of gay marriage with a renewed culture of marriage. Here's a bit more from David's interview:

"Sometimes it's important to stand down a bit from the purity of one's position in the interest of comity. We need to live together here. Sometimes it's not being chickenhearted or selling out...You can compromise a bit from the purity of one's position in the interest of accommodating a broader spectrum of people in the society as kind of full members. You know? You can bend a little bit because we have to live together."

Yes we do.

But here's what I want to say to David and to you: a comity that is bought by surrendering principle is submission, not comity at all. The truth about something as important as marriage cannot be the price we pay to live with each other.

The challenge of our time—and it is a deep challenge, not an easy one—is to find new ways to combine truth and love.

Thank you for standing with me as we fight for the truth about a good as basic and important as marriage.

You are what make our victories possible.

Let me close with Maggie's very last reflection because it points us to the place we need to go, to draw the courage to sustain us in this great and good fight on behalf of God's truth about marriage.

Giving up marriage is too high a price to pay. And it is not the last good we will be asked to surrender, unless we find the courage to stand.

I promise you I will never stop fighting this good fight, never relinquish the honor of being your voice for your values. With the grace of God, we will keep on not only fighting but winning!

Pioneer Press: General Mills Boycott Urged Over Marriage Amendment Stance

Julie Forster with the Pioneer Press:

Earlier this month General Mills came out in opposition to Minnesota's marriage amendment ballot measure. Now supporters of the proposed amendment have launched a boycott of General Mills, imploring consumers to dump their Cheerios, Yoplait, and the myriad other products the Golden Valley manufacturer makes and markets.

The National Organization for Marriage said Tuesday, June 26, that it is initiating a protest of General Mills and has launched a website with an online petition in response to General Mills taking a public position on the amendment, which seeks to preserve Minnesota law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The website, dumpgeneralmills.com, said it had gathered more than 8,000 signatures by Tuesday evening.

"We'd like (General Mills) to step back and say they respect the views of all of their customers and employees," said Jonathan Baker, director of the Corporate Fairness Project for the National Organization for Marriage. "Eating Cheerios for breakfast shouldn't have to be a moral choice about marriage."

Well past 10,000 and counting...

Newlywed Couple Who Delivered UK Marriage Petition Bombarded with Hate Mail

Remember that newlywed couple we blogged about a little while ago, the one who delivered the UK marriage petition with over 500,000 signatures? No good deed...

Rhys and Esther Curnow, from Newcastle, received scores of messages after opponents of their stance on same-sex marriage including a Labour councillor circulated their Facebook details online.

They included messages saying the couple, who are committed Christians, should “rot in hell” and wishing they would become infertile or die of cancer.

Several included explicit references to sexual acts while others suggested they should be subjected to “compulsory sterilisation”.

The couple, who married in March, became the public face of the Coalition For Marriage campaign, backed by Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, earlier this month when they handed in the group’s petition to David Cameron.

Mr Curnow, a charity researcher originally from Wales, and his wife, a primary schoolteacher from the West Midlands, dressed in wedding clothes and posed on the steps of Number 10 with a gift wrapped package containing signatures.

... A separate Facebook group was set up describing them as “homophobic”.

After receiving more than 100 direct messages the couple changed their security settings to block incoming messages other than from friends.

They have reported the matter to Northumbria Police but yesterday officers claimed that there was no evidence of a crime being committed as the messages did not contain direct threats. -- The UK Telegraph

Dump General Mills Makes the Drudge Report!

The Drudge Report linked to this Washington Examiner article reporting on our DumpGeneralMills.com campaign (which is now over 13,000 signers!):

The Washington-based National Organization for Marriage, created to fight gay marriage proposals, is betting that Betty Crocker would be on their side. Because on Tuesday, the activist group announced a boycott of General Mills, owners of the Betty Crocker brand, which this month announced its opposition to a ban on same-sex marriage in Minnesota, their headquarters.

"We value diversity. We value inclusion," the food producer said in a letter, making it one of the biggest corporate voices for same-sex marriage.

"In declaring a war on marriage, General Mills is declaring war on their own customers. Now, rather than seeing the flowing 'G' trademark as a symbol of General Mills, consumers across the world will equate that symbol with gay marriage," said Brian Brown, NOM's president.

The group set up a website, www.DumpGeneralMills.com, for supporters who want to know which products to protest.

We Can't Let Them Get Away With It!

Email Header Image

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Since we launched DumpGeneralMills.com less than two days ago, over 10,000 people have signed our petition!

And we need you to join us!

Please take 30 seconds right now and sign our petition on DumpGeneralMills.com!

General Mills has lost 10,000 customers in less than two days. If we keep this up, somebody intelligent will look at the numbers and realize that endorsing same-sex marriage legislation, entering the Culture War and affronting the values and beliefs of millions of your customers is just bad business.

We MUST keep the pressure on General Mills, Starbucks and the rest of Corporate America. The MUST get the message that it's not OK to flout the core values and beliefs of millions of Americans by siding with social activists who want to redefine marriage for everyone.

So, please go to DumpGeneralMills.com right away and sign our petition!

Thank you in advance for taking action to defend marriage by signing our petition!

4-in-10 Independent Michiganders Less Likely to Vote for Obama After SSM Announcement

Michigan is considered a state in play this November in the Presidential race. Obama's support of same-sex marriage isn't doing him any favors there among Independent voters:

President Barack Obama's support of gay marriage has not translated into more backing from Michigan voters overall, a new poll shows, and four in 10 self-described independents say they are less likely to vote for him because of it.

"The fact that only 17 percent of polled independent voters were supportive of the President's stance on gay marriage - and that 41 percent indicated they were less likely to vote for him as a result - may be some cause for concern with this crucial group," said Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner of public relations firm Lambert, Edwards & Associates. -- MLive

Sen. Diaz Unites With Sen. Storobin Against SSM

From the office of Rev. Sen Ruben Diaz:

You should know that the newly elected Senator David Storobin from Brooklyn has introduced his first piece of legislation, Senate Bill S7712-2011 to repeal gay marriage in New York State.

Senator Storobin was sworn into office two weeks ago after defeating New York City Councilman Lew Fidler in the closest election Brooklyn’s history has ever seen.

As the Senator who has taken the lead to oppose gay marriage in New York, I thank Senator Storobin for giving me the opportunity to join him as a co-sponsor to this historic and pending piece of legislation.

You should also know that so far – as of today – it is only Senator Storobin and me who support this legislation. It will be a difficult and uphill battle. Nonetheless, our struggle will continue as we work to get 30 more Senators to join us. We are not giving up.

NOM-Endorsed Wendy Long Wins GOP Primary in New York!

The AP with good news!

Wendy Long ran as a staunch conservative to win New York's Republican Senate primary and now faces a broader and more liberal electorate as she takes on Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand (KEHR'-sten JIHL'-uh-brand).

Long, a New York City attorney, defeated U.S. Rep. Bob Turner and Nassau County comptroller George Maragos in a primary election Tuesday notable for low turnout.

With nearly every precinct reporting, Long had 51 percent of the vote, compared to 36 percent for Turner and 13 for Maragos.

Long now must raise millions of dollars and build statewide name recognition. Gillibrand, a three-year incumbent, already has about $10 million in campaign cash.

NOM publicly endorsed Wendy Long on Monday.

Local News: Protesters Take Aim At General Mills Over Gay Marriage Stand

Local ABC 6:

The decision by General Mills to publicly oppose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage drew fire from a group supporting the amendment.

The "Minnesota for Marriage" group organized a protest outside the company headquarters in Golden Valley. The protest drew about 50-75 protesters, some of whom brought General Mills products like Cheerios to drop off for a food bank rather than consume them.

"They feel betrayed that a company like General Mills has spent millions, if not billions, of dollars marketing cereal to parents of children who suddenly now say marriage needs to be redefined," says Chuck Darrell of Minnesota for Marriage.

General Mills CEO Ken Powell announced the company position on the amendment on June 13. Today, company vice president Tom Forsythe had coffee and water delivered to the protesters as a gesture of goodwill. "We understand your point of view," Forsythe told the protesters.  "We acknowledge it. We respect your right to disagree with ours."

Minnesota for Marriage isn't organizing a boycott of General Mills, but the "National Organization for Marriage" is promoting one.  They've also created a new website called dumpgeneralmills.com.

Almost 10,000 of you have already signed on at DumpGeneralMills.com -- join them right now!

And if you live in Minnesota check out the ongoing rallies this week.

Copyright 2012