gay marriage

Switzerland, Gay Marriage, Public Vote; Sharon Osborne on Rosie O’Donnell’s Daughter; Sam Smith Nominated

Switzerland, Gay Marriage, Public Vote

This article is exactly why I didn’t want gay marriage put to a public vote here in the US. I don’t want my fate decided by a segment of the public who doesn’t know how to separate religion from government. And I support religion completely. I’m not an atheist by any means. I can be very conservative on many issues, not fitting into the typical gay stereotype. I also support religious freedom as long as it doesn’t stand in the way of equal rights. 

This is happening in Switzerland.

Switzerland could become the first Western European country to block gay marriage through a referendum changing its constitution.
On 28 February 2016, Swiss citizens are called to vote in a referendum on four confederate bills; one of them, titled For Marriage and Family – against the marriage penalty, could block marriage equality.
Initiated by the Christian Democratic People’s Party of Switzerland (CVP), part of the Swiss coalition government, the civil initiative seeks to add a paragraph into the federal constitution defining marriage as being between man and woman.

I am curious to see how it turns out. According to US polls, support for same sex marriage in the US is continuing to rise. However, the LGBT+ community is still a minority, not a majority. And I don’t think it’s fair to have a public vote on the rights of a minority. In the US, this is why we have a constitution and laws protecting everyone from discrimination. It’s a system that works.  

You can check this out here.

Sharon Osborne on Rosie O’Donnell’s Daughter

The only reason I’m following up on this is because I posted about Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter disappearing and that story was extremely sketchy. Frankly, I’m not a huge Rosie fan and I can live without Osborne, too. Rosie lost me on The View years ago. I’ve always believed dirty laundry is for the hamper, not twitter.

In any event…

Sharon Osbourne is speaking out passionately in defense of Rosie O’Donnell whose daughter complained in a recent interview that O’Donnell smokes pot, has a short fuse and delegates a lot of her parental duties up to nannies.
‘It’s just one of those ugly, horrible situations – the heartbreak that Rosie must be going through,’ Osbourne said on The Talk, the daytime show on which she is a co-host. ‘These arguments, it’s horrible when they go public.’

You can read the rest here, if you care. 

Sam Smith Nominated

Now here’s a guy I love, Sam Smith. He’s hard-working, excellent at his craft, and he’s taken some of the worst punches I’ve seen in a while with complete grace. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything negative coming from him.

Taylor Swift may have gotten the most American Music Awards nominations today with six but Sam Smith had a strong showing with three AMA nods.
The openly gay British singer-songwriter was nominated in the Artist of the Year, Favorite Album and Favorite Male Artist categories.

Well done.

You can check that out here. 

The Rainbow Detective Agency
The Wedding

Gay Marriage, Schools and Taxes; The Rainbow Flag and Hate; Hillary’s Pride Month Video

Gay Marriage, Schools, and Taxes

This is something I never realized until I read this article. Conservative religious schools in the US are worried about legalized same sex marriage for monetary reasons, not the religious reasons you hear about all the time.

The religious schools are concerned that if they continue to ban gay relationships, the Internal Revenue Service could take away their tax-exempt status as a violation of a “fundamental national public policy” under the reasoning of a 1983 Supreme Court decision that allowed the agency to revoke the tax-exempt status of schools that banned interracial relationships.

In a recent letter to congressional leaders, officials from more than 70 schools, including Catholic high schools and evangelical colleges, said that a Supreme Court ruling approving same-sex marriage would put at risk all schools “adhering to traditional religious and moral values.”

You can read the rest here. Now I’m starting to wonder what else might be challenged if SCOTUS rules in favor of same sex marriage this week.

What I still don’t get is how these religious people think their religious and moral values are going to be compromised if LGBT people get the same equal rights as everyone else in the US. It’s not as if gay men will become gay Catholic priests. THAT would be unthinkable…because you NEVER see a gay Catholic priest, said no one ever. 

The Rainbow Flag and Hate

I think this next article I’m linking to shows how some people feel about left wing gay activism. It’s about the rainbow flag, but it goes far deeper. They equate the rainbow flag with hate and other things that gay activists have been accusing them of doing for years.

Under the banner of what is dishonestly called a gay pride or gay “rights” flag, hate, fascism, and intolerance has festered for years, specifically against Christians and conservatives.  Under the auspices of a “rights and equality” symbol, Leftists have been on a rampage to take way the rights of others through bullying, lies, and online terrorism.

The list of misdeeds and victims resulting from an increasingly emboldened Big Gay Hate Machine continues to grow.
 
Under this banner of hate, people are outed against their will,  terrorized out of business merely for being Christian, bullied and harassed for thoughtcrimes; moreover, “hate crimes” are being manufactured to keep us divided, Christians are refused service, death threats are hurled, and Christianity is regularly smeared as hate speech.

You can read the rest here. The author also mentions he wants the confederate flag taken down, too. So I have to wonder what’s going on beneath the surface of all this.

Hillary’s Pride Month Video

This is the first time I’m seeing this. Hillary Clinton who is running for President released a video that celebrates same sex marriage.

Speaking over footage of marriage proposals or of wedding ceremonies, Clinton says: ‘Being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights. And human rights are gay rights.’

You can watch it here. Say what you will, but she’s paying attention and she’s going down on the right side of history with this one.  You just can’t take that away from her on this issue no matter how hard you try to twist, spin and turn.

The Rainbow Detective Agency 


Box Set Series $5.99



"Days of Love" Library of Congress Event; Another Brokeback Mountain; Straight Men Caught on Grindr; Free Gay Excerpt: Meadows Are Not Forever

Days of Love Library of Congress Event

2014 will go down as an “interesting” year for me for many reasons. After 22 years of being with the same person and living as if we were married, Tony and I were finally allowed to legally wed last January…in Vermont, and by a Vermont Supreme Court Justice, Beth Robinson. To add to the romance of being in Montgomeryville Center, VT, we were also part of a Hollywood documentary, The State of Marriage. I’ve posted about all that here a few times. 

Also in 2014, Tony and I had several intense family health related issues we had to deal with. I rarely post things that private in public when they first happen. I usually do eventually, but in the beginning I think it’s important to protect certain aspects of our private lives…all of us who are online, not just me.

While Tony and I were going through all this Elisa Rolle, whom I’ve met in person, was e-mailing me about a book titled Days of Love that would focus on gay couples, gay marriage, and long term gay relationships. There was so much going on at the time with family I almost didn’t participate. However, something told me this would be a book to remember someday. From a historical POV, this book would be something people could look back and reflect upon during the days when we were still fighting for legalized same sex marriage all over the world. So I put together everything Elisa asked for, I submitted it, and went back to dealing with life.

When I saw this in my inbox today I felt a sense of gratification, and it was a surprise I hadn’t expected. 
   
Just in case any of you are in Washington on that date!

This talk will encompass LOC’s acquisitions of Sylvester & Orphanos Publication Archives, of Stathis’s Christopher Isherwood Collection and his photographs. And Stathis told me Days of Love, which proudly display some of those photographs, will be featured as well.

It’s a great book that I believe will be around for a long time. And to be honored this way, in a book, for everyone who participated, as well as Elisa Rolle who put it together, it is a proud humble moment, indeed.

Another Brokeback Mountain

Apparently, one Brokeback Mountain in a lifetime wasn’t enough so now there’s going to be another type of film just like BM, with a dark storyline that exploits all the most depressing aspects of gay culture. This is the blurb that was released:

The project is based upon the true story of Oregonian father-and-son Joe and Jadin Bell. Jadin, a fifteen-year-old openly gay sophomore, took his own life after being both bullied at high school and struggling for acceptance from the people closest to him. In the wake of Jadin’s suicide, Joe is plunged into a sea of remorse and regret. Attempting to work through his grief, Joe sets out on a walk across America, hoping to promote awareness about the consequences of prejudice to anyone he encounters along the way.

So far the details are sketchy. The article I’m linking to only mentions the writers and the producer of the original BM…all people coming from a place of privilege. However, the people who commented on this news made some interesting statements. It’s a gay press; I’m assuming they come from gay people.

One said:

Brokeback Mountain was absolute rubbish!

Another said this:

These films are marketed towards straight people, I’m tired of ambiguous endings, HIV and death at the end. Gay films almost never have a happy ending.

And when I posted about this on social media last night one gay male author commented about why gay fiction written by gay people is never treated as seriously as films like BM.

I have no comment at all until I know more details about it, but I’d be willing to bet there won’t be a happy ending 🙂  You can read the rest here. 

Straight Men Caught on Grindr

This is about what happens when straight men get caught on Grindr…well sort of.

Gaybriel, dressed in a flamboyant pink shirt and sunglasses, and two bikini-clad beauties teamed up to trick the guys. The ladies would go down the beach and flirt with the gents, collecting as much information about them as possible before radioing it back to Gaybriel, who was waiting up the beach. When the guys eventually passed by, he would rush over pretending to recognize them from Grindr. Hilarity (and some awkwardness) ensued.

There’s more here, with a video. For those of you who think this is in bad taste, tricking the straight guys that way. Too damn bad. Get over yourselves. When I first started going out to gay bars in college, I pulled into the parking lot of a gay club one night and there were straight frat guys standing around a guy with a blindfold over his eyes. They’d brought the guy there to trick him into going to a gay bar. These “dudes” and “bros” thought it was hilarious, a gay bar and laughing at gays. And now I think this shit is just as hilarious.
 
Free Gay Except: Meadows Are Not Forever

(There is a happy ending to this story, a VERY happy ending) 

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            When they called his name, Cade was one of ten people left in the room. They’d collected the information sheets at the back of the room first and those up front wound up waiting all day. It was late and Cade’s feet were killing him; he had a sharp pain in the middle of his forehead. The pain was partly caused by his mother. He’d had to call her and let her know he’d be home later than he’d expected. He felt like he’d jumped right back into high school, when he’d had to call in and let his mother know everything he was doing. But he had her car; he had to let her know where he was. He could have lived without her harping about traffic, wearing his seat belt, and not talking to strangers. He was twenty-five, he’d been on his own supporting himself in Los Angeles for seven years, and she still treated him as though he were ten years old. If he’d been under less pressure he might have enjoyed the attention. It had been a long time since anyone had cared that much about him. But after what had happened in the men’s room, all he wanted to do was get this audition over with as fast as possible.


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                 He crossed into a smaller room and sat down on a folding chair that faced a long narrow table. The two guys in saggy pants he’d seen earlier that day were sitting on the ends of the table. Anderson Randolph sat between them. They didn’t look up when Cade entered. They were huddled together, conferring about something in hushed voices. At this angle, with the light hitting Anderson’s profile from the side, Cade couldn’t help notice how attractive he was. His short brown hair was shiny and a little messy on top. His tanned skin took on a slightly bronze appeal in this light. Cade guessed he was between thirty and forty; it was hard to tell nowadays because so many gay men didn’t seem to age until the last minute. (Cade had an older friend who’d once said, “I’d know them for years and they’d look exactly the same. Then one day they’d show up at my door and they’d be old men.”)
            Anderson’s body wasn’t bulky and outrageous, but there were definite signs of muscle definition showing through his tight black V-neck shirt. Although he wasn’t the rough, athletic type that usually made Cade’s mouth water, he had an aggressive, understated masculine appeal that made Cade stop and wonder what he might be like in the sack.
            When the three of them finally looked up at Cade, they each asked him a round of basic questions almost as if this was an interview for a regular job, not an audition for a reality show. They wanted to know where he lived full time, if he’d be available for travel at a moment’s notice, and if he really was single. The guy on the right with curly brown hair said they didn’t want any fakes…guys with boyfriends who were pretending to be single just to get on to the show. He also stated that if Cade was selected they would do in-depth background checks. So if there were any surprises in Cade’s past, it was best to be honest now. 

               The guy on the left asked, “Have you ever modeled or been filmed in the nude? Have you done anything professionally in the adult entertainment industry?”
            Cade gulped. He couldn’t lie. He squared his back and said, “I’ve never modeled in the nude and I’ve never done any porn films professionally. But I do work for a web site in the valley that’s considered all male entertainment. It’s called straightguycondo.com, and I’m the production assistant.” He was surprised at how good he felt after he told them the truth. Cade didn’t have anything to hide. He didn’t count the scene he’d done with the guys because he knew his face would never be shown in public. He worked hard and did a good job for an honest day’s pay. And if they didn’t like what he did, and they judged what he did, he decided he wouldn’t want to work with them either. 

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              After he told them this, the two guys on the end leaned in toward Anderson and they whispered to each other for a few seconds. They glanced back and forth at Cade a few times; they remained expressionless.
            Then the guy on the right asked, “Have you ever actually performed for this web site?”
            Cade couldn’t lie about that either. “Once,” he said. “But no one saw my face. The only shots the camera took were rear lower body shots, no head shots. I only filled in for an actor who didn’t bother to show up for work that day. My job has always been behind the scenes, not in front of the camera. And I’ve never used my real name. In other words, if you did a search for me on the internet, you’d come up with nothing.” 

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            They started whispering again, sending him quick glances, looking him up and down. Cade sat back and exhaled. He even smiled and extended his right leg. Anderson Randolph hadn’t asked him many questions: he seemed to be sitting back and evaluating with his tongue pressed to his cheek. Evidently, Anderson didn’t remember Cade or the cupcake incident from the airport. If he had, Cade figured he would have said something right away. For the first time that day, Cade felt so relaxed he fought the urge to yawn. All that worrying about being recognized had been for nothing.

             When they stopped whispering and turned to face him, there was a knock on the door. The guy on the right said, “Come in,” and a young woman entered the room carrying a small tray of large chocolate cupcakes. There must have been a mound of rich fudge frosting on top about three inches deep, set in perfect ridged swirls to form peaks. And each one had been topped with an expensive truffle.
            Unfortunately, the young woman didn’t notice that Cade had become so relaxed he’d stretched out his right leg. And when she entered the room with the tray of chocolate cupcakes, she tripped over his right foot. She caught her balance just in time and didn’t fall down. But the cupcake tray jerked and a half dozen chocolate cupcakes went sailing across the room toward the three men at the long table. 

             The guys on the end saw them coming and ducted just in time. But Anderson Randolph had been looking down at a stack of papers on the table he he’d missed the fall. Three cupcakes landed on the floor; two upside down on the table. And one lone cupcake flew across the table and landed right between Anderson Randolph’s legs.
            The two guys started laughing.
            The young woman apologized and bent over to retrieve the ruined cupcakes on the floor.
            Cade sat up straight and held his palm to his throat as Anderson reached down between his legs and slowly lifted the upside down cupcake from his crotch. 

            Anderson held the cupcake up and stopped moving for a second. His eyebrows furrowed as if deep in thought and he tilted his head sideways. A minute later, he flung a glance in Cade’s direction. His eyes opened wide; his lips parted. He pointed at Cade and said, “You’re the cell phone guy from the airport. I knew I’d seen you before somewhere.”


      

Bristol Palin/Duck Dynasty; Defending Gay Teacher in Catholic High School

Bristol Palin/Duck Dynasty

Update: spelling correction with the word duck…it really wasn’t intentional. The u and i are side by side and I type fast. So are the f and d. 

Bristol Palin, reality TV personality and daughter of Tea Party radical, Sarah Palin, has a blog on what appears to be a far right web site where she blogs for commercial reasons and hocks her readership with ads that range from those Chicken Soup books to her book. (It’s really a messy blog, as blogs go, and not one that will win any awards.) I don’t know where the book ad link leads because I’d rather not support her. If you click those ads the blogger sometimes gets some kind of compensation, though most people don’t know this, and I didn’t see it disclosed anywhere on the blog. In any event, Bristol Palin wrote a short blog post supporting another reality TV personality, Phil Robertson, from the reality show Duck Dynasty. In Palin’s post she makes claims about free speech and generalities about the LGBT community and I thought I would comment on a few of them briefly.

For those who might not have heard, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty made a few gay hate comments recently and since then videos of previous anti-gay statements have surfaced. You can read more here. Robertson didn’t just come out against gays, at least not in a logical, civil way. He compared gay sex, among other things, to bestiality. If you are an LGBT person or you’re familiar with LGBT people his comments aren’t just offensive. They don’t make sense.

First, Bristol Palin thinks all LGBT people think that everyone should support gays. This is what I mean by generalities, and making assumptions. She thinks we expect every “flippen” person (yes, flippen) to agree with our lifestyle. She also makes the assumption that ALL LGBT people have no respect for what other people believe. Ultimately, she knows very little about the LGBT community and how diverse it is. I’m with my partner twenty-one years and our lifestyle isn’t much different from any other straight couple we know.  In fact, most would think we’re a little dull. We support equal rights and same sex marriage for obvious reasons, and I blog often and write often about them, but we’re far from being activists of any kind. And we don’t expect everyone to agree with us.

Yes, there are gay activists who are just as radical (and amusing) in the opposite direction as Bristol Palin’s mother, Sarah Palin. And those gay radicals don’t always have respect for the opinions of others. I know a few myself. Tony and I have had friendships suffer because of this. But I respect them, too. We’re just not like them, and that’s the way it works with the entire LGBT community. Although we’re all fighting for equal rights, the same equal rights Bristol Palin is allowed to have without even realizing her privileged circumstances, the diversity within the LGBT community is often polarized and LGBT people don’t always agree on everything…just like straight people don’t always agree. I think that’s called normal.

But I don’t want to digress. In another part of Bristol Palin’s blog post she mentions God and the bible, as if she has a claim to religion and faith LGBT people don’t have. But here’s where Palin shows again how little she knows about the LGBT community at large. Religion, spirituality, Christianity, and all other forms of faith are not exclusive to Bristol Palin, straight people only, and the radical Christian right wing of America. I get private e-mails all the time from gay men who are still in the closet telling me how hard it often is for them to get through a church service these days because of the gay hate they hear in church. These are not radical gay activists. These gay men are quiet, humble people without an agenda and no one even knows they are gay. I also know gay priests and ministers who could go verse for verse and line for line with Bristol Palin on the bible.

But I think this line in Palin’s blog post is the most interesting.

I hate how the LGBT community says it’s all about “love” and “equality.”

She “hates.” That’s an important word. That’s also a direct quote from the post and I’m not making it up. Unlike Palin’s blog, mine is non-profit and I have no viable reason to sensationalize. My only goal here is to disabuse a few myths people may or may not have about the LGBT community. Palin could have said she didn’t understand, especially when making reference to the LGBT community as a group of haters. But she used the word “hate” instead. What’s that about?

Toward the end of Palin’s post, she makes reference to an article written by a “homosexual” at Time Magazine. I’m not a huge fan of Time Magazine because of their politics and I haven’t read that article so I can’t comment. But in the end Palin claims she doesn’t agree with everything this “homosexual” writes but she thinks it’s time to stand for free speech. This free speech issue has been going around the Interwebs ever since Phil Robertson made the offensive gay slurs and once again, Palin doesn’t seem to get the basic concept of free speech. In case I forgot to mention it, Bristol Palin is an avowed “heteronormative.” If she’s going to label people as “homosexual” I think she deserves a label, too.

In a simple search, I found this article that seems to sum up free speech about as well written as I’ve ever seen it done. It’s actually titled, The Idiot’s Guide to Free Speech. And I purposely decided to link to this article because it was written before Phil Robertson made the offensive gay slurs and the Palin family started ranting about free speech. When the article was written there was no hidden agenda.

Free speech, according to the article, means this:

As an American, you have the right to say most anything you want to say without being penalized by the government

It continues in more detail. But it also states free speech does NOT mean you can do or say anything without reactions. You are not exempt from “Criticism, Shame, The Right to Anonymity, Mockery, and, again, Consequences.” In other words, you can say what you want and the government can’t come after you (in most cases, not always), but you may face a firestorm afterward. Duck Dynasty star, Phil Robertson, made some of the most hateful comments I’ve ever read about LGBT people and there were consequences. In his case he was suspended from his TV show and most normal people will now dismiss him completely. No one is exempt from this, especially not Bristol Palin or her mother. I’m not exempt from it either, which is why I always choose my words with care.

But the original point of this post wasn’t about free speech. It’s about Bristol Palin making assumptions and generalities about the LGBT community and not really knowing a thing about the community. There are gay Christians, gay Republicans, gay Democrats, gay Jews, and so on. And it’s that kind of diversity in the LGBT community that is always underestimated the most. Phil Robertson didn’t just offend gay activists and left wing political pundits with his offensive free speech, he offended the invisible gay brother/sister who hasn’t come out yet, he offended the gay minister who is terrified to come out, he offended the gay neighbor, friend, boss, employee, and cousin who lives a simple discreet life and minds his/her own business. He also offended the straight people who are close to gay people. And that’s why this “flippen” issue is far more involved than just making general assumptions with the underlying intention of selling a book or some other product, Ms. Palin.  

You can read Bristol Palin’s entire commentary post here. Just don’t click the links on the sidebar.

Defending Gay Teacher in Catholic High School

In a post that I think is directly related to how uninformed heteronormative Bristol Palin really is about gay people, I posted last week about a Catholic high school teacher in a Philadelphia suburb not far from where I live in New Hope who was fired from his teaching job because he filed for a marriage license in New Jersey. Something similar happened in Washington state and now students are offering their support.

Students at a US high school in the state of Washington staged a sit-in after finding out a gay teacher had been fired for marrying his partner. Vice principal and swim coach Mark Zmuda worked for Eastside Catholic High School for approximately a year and a half.

You can read more here. It’s an interesting article, and one that shows how things are changing in more positive ways than the negativity we’ve seen in the past. The Catholic school has every right to fire the teacher, and the students have every right to react to the decision. I wonder if Bristol Palin would classify these students as haters.  

If you’re a Bristol Palin supporter and you want to leave a comment, please don’t bother. You can exercise your right to free speech on your own web site, not mine. This is my world.








Golden Girl Legos; Fed Judge Utah Gay Marriage; Bob Newhart Cancels at Anti-Gay Event

Golden Girls Legos

In a way, the old sitcom The Golden Girls has become a cult classic within gay male circles, to the point where someone has come up with Golden Girls Legos.

Thanks to LEGO CUUSOO, a site that reviews and makes official versions of user-created Lego sets, one person is trying to make Brick Lady-versions of Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia. Misterr’s proposed set includes the four girls gathered around the kitchen with everything one needs to recreate the sitcom. And who doesn’t want to recreate their favorite GG storylines?

I once went to a small dinner party and a gay couple I didn’t know well could actually recite scenes from the GG line for line. I’ve quoted them here on the blog once, too. I’m not sure why there’s such a strong attraction, but I would bet a great deal of it has to do with camp, great lines, and vicious wit. And, the GG was one of the few TV shows in the eighties to tackled coming out of the closet, a lesbian in a long term relationship who lost her partner and grieved as if she’d been married to a man, and open discussion about how AIDS was effecting everyone at the time. There’s a lot of historical and pop cultural significance to the show. Another show just like it was Designing Women.

You can read more here.

A lot of people don’t know that the GG was originally written with a gay character/roommate. I think he’s in the pilot episode and his name is Coco.

Fed Judge Utah Gay Marriage

Judge Robert J. Shelby declared Utah’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, basically stating it went against the 14th amendment.

He wrote this:

Shelby writes in part: ‘The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason. Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.’

This is a big plus for equality. Courts typically don’t get involved this way unless it’s something significant. You can read more here.

Gay Marriage was just legalized in New Mexico. Two women who worked in county offices chose to resign from their positions rather than issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. You can read more about them here. 

Their names are:

Donna Carpenter and Janet Collins. I’m doing this so their names go down in history, too.

Bob Newhart Cancels Anti-Gay Event

I post about this earlier this week, here. Bob Newhart was scheduled to speak at an anti-gay Catholic event and at the time equality groups were asking him to reconsider. He’s since canceled his appearance.

Comedian Bob Newhart announced Thursday online that he would not be appearing at a conference organized by a Catholic magazine that blamed the Devil for marriage equality in the state of Minnesota.

Towleroad reported that Newhart’s Twitter feed posted a statement saying, ” Bob will not be performing at the Legatus Summit in Orlando FL on February 6.”

That’s all Newhart said and equality groups are speculating Newhart most likely didn’t know that organization was so anti-gay. I know a lot of Catholics who wouldn’t know about that, too. The Catholic religion is interesting, and in a way like the LGBT community, because only the most ridiculous and sensationalized news is ever posted about them. And most Catholics I know support gay marriage and the LGBT community. I also know a lot of gay Catholics.

You can read more here. And sometimes you have to read between the lines.

FMLA & Gay Couples; PA Gay Minister Fired

FMLA & Gay Couples

This was something I learned this morning and never knew because it never directly affected me. By the time Tony was hospitalized in 2007 I’d already been in business for myself for years and working as a freelance writer. So I basically had to contact editors, let them know what was happening, and tell them I had to take an extended break from work and couldn’t meet all my deadlines. It was summer and things were slower. All the editors I worked with at the time offered me their support and told me I had nothing to worry about. But that’s not the case with all gay couples who don’t have the protection of legal same sex marriage. And unlike couples who are legally married and do fall under the guidelines of FMLA, many still have no protection whatsoever when a partner is taken ill for an extended period of time.

FMLA is the Family and Medical Leave Act. It covers spouses and family members. Here’s an overview from the .gov website.

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to:

  • Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
    • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
    • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
    • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
    • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
    • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
  • Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

I learned about this earlier today while reading through an update on social media from author, T.J. Klune. He’d been informed by his place of employment that because same sex marriage is not legal in his state he wouldn’t qualify for FMLA while is partner, Eric Arvin, is in the hospital. Fortunately for Klune, his employer was gracious enough to tell him it didn’t matter and that he/she would work with him each step of the way and that his job was not in jeopardy. But not all employers are as kind and it could have made a serious situation even more difficult to deal with.

So this is yet another reason why it’s so important for same sex couples to have legalized marriage on a federal level throughout the US. Right now, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania where I live, I wonder how many gay couples are dealing with issues like FMLA with nowhere to turn. It’s one of the smaller things we don’t see mentioned all the time in the fight for equality, but can be vital to those who are affected by it. And that has to change soon, because now it’s even more unfair to see that same sex couples in some states are protected and those unfortunate enough to live in other states aren’t. It’s actually gone beyond LGBT discrimination and now it’s become discrimination based on where you live.

You can read more here at the .gov web site.

PA Gay Minister Fired

I posted about the Pennsylvania minister who has recently come under fire for performing a marriage ceremony for his gay son and partner. And he didn’t even do this in PA. He did it in Massachusetts where gay marriage is legal and recognized on a federal level.

According to church officials, their “Book of Discipline” condemns Schaefer’s behavior, and he was told to resign by Thursday if he could not respect the rules.

Jurors who convicted him in a church trial told Schaefer he should take the month to decide if he agreed with the church’s belief that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Of course I think this is unfortunate, I’m not a fan of organized religion of any kind, and I know how these things work. The problem with this situation is that as horrible as it is and as much as these things are always a reflection on the so-called good Christian values to think that a church would deny a minister something like this, I do believe in the complete separation of church and state. Right down to the bottom line.

You can read more here.

KDP Exclusives; Ricky Martin’s Wedding; Story Competition

KDP Exclusives

I wrote in the post right before this one that I have a Christmas novella, The Littlest Christmas Tree, up for free as a thank you to readers. Unfortunately, on Amazon the book will still be .99 because Amazon doesn’t give any other options with the KDP lending program. In other words, if I were to opt into the KDP lending program and I were to put the book up for free it would only be free for five days on Amazon, I would have to sign a three month exclusive with Amazon, and I wouldn’t be allowed to put the book up for free anywhere else for three months. If I were to violate this I would be in breach of contract. So I opted out of the KDP lending program this time because I want the book up for free for the holidays in as many venues as possible for as long and I as the publisher and author want to do this, and I don’t want to wait three months. The KDP lending program can be beneficial to everyone sometimes, but not always. This is one of those times I wish things were different, but it is what it is.

Amazon link here.

Side note: This is why I try to guide readers to smaller web sites where e-books are sold, and to publisher web sites.

As a big thank you to Amazon and KDP lending rules and exclusives (I HATE exclusives of any kind), I’ve asked Tony to also put another one of my previous Christmas novels up for free as well. I’ll post more details when I get them.

Story Competition

I read about a short story competition earlier today that will benefit people with autism. I like these competitions because they motivate writers to do things they normally wouldn’t do unless they were under contract with a publisher. Sometimes we need something as a motivational tool. This is a good example. You can read more here.

This Short Story competition is an amazing opportunity for new undiscovered writing talent to pursue their dreams of publication and contribute to a great cause.

All entrants will have their work judged by the internationally acclaimed authors Colin Bateman, Declan Burke, Lucille Redmond and Nathan Bransford

 Ricky Martin’s Wedding

I have to smile when I read articles like this because they refer to Ricky Martin’s longtime partner, Carlos Gonzalez, as his “beau”…as if Martin and Gonzalez have been dating all this time. It’s the hetero norm most straights don’t get about gay couples, especially now that gay marriage is becoming legal in more places. Look at it this way, if Tony and I were to say we’ve been engaged for twenty-one years wouldn’t that sound a little stupid? Tony’s not my “beau” and I’m not his. Our “beau” days ended during the Clinton administration. And until things balance out and gay dating and engagements even up with straight couples I think words should be chosen with care.

So Martin is not marrying his longtime “beau.” He’s marrying his longtime partner to make an established relationship/marriage legal because he didn’t have an opportunity to do that before.

This is where Ricky Martin would like to get married.

“I would get married,” he told King, according to Pink News. “There are many countries around the world where same-sex marriage is a right… yes, we could go to Spain and get married. We can go to Argentina and get married. But why do we have to go somewhere else? Why can’t I do it in my country where the laws are — you know, protecting me?”
 
Martin and Gonzalez, like Tony and me, can’t marry in the place where we live because Puerto Rico and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania don’t recognize same sex marriage. That’s why we’re scheduled to get married this January in Vermont…not in Pennsylvania.
 
Side note two: The comment section in this article has something interesting I’ve never seen before. Evidently, Huff Po is trying to promote more civil discussion. In order to do this you have to link to a facebook account and verify. I wonder how many Huff Po users have FB accounts. Frankly, I’d never bother because I don’t like to mingle FB and Huff Po. This is what it says: