Activists and Gay Marriage Decision; The Relentlessly Gay Yard; New Era For Gay Rights

Activists and Gay Marriage Decision

I hope everyone realizes that SCOTUS is going to rule on whether or not gay marriage should be legal across the board, this month. Most people who understand the constitution believe it’s unconstitutional to deny same sex couples legal marriage. This is why I was never in favor of people voting on things like this. I don’t want my civil rights determined by the average person in the US the same way I wouldn’t want the rights of a Christian conservative to be determined by the average person. The is why we have a constitution.

In any event, here’s an article that talks about how activists are preparing for the SCOTUS ruling.

New Mexico Pastor Steve Smothermon says he is ready to go to jail to protect his religious freedom. And he is not the only one.

Smothermon is one of more than 50,000 people who have signed a pledge to engage in social disobedience if the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling this month that would legalize same sex marriage across the country.
“We want to help people, but we are not going to be forced by the government and society or the politically correct to say we are going to believe in it,” said Smothermon, senior pastor of Legacy Church in Albuquerque. “If they said, ‘Listen pastor, we are going to put you in jail if you don’t honor this.’ I am going to say, ‘Then put me in jail.’ “
What can you say to that? Put him in jail then.
You can read the rest here. It’s an interesting article that goes into more detail about the history of same sex marriage and how it has been handled by both political parties over the years. And things seem to be constantly changing.
Growing support for same sex marriage among young Republicans, polling data and the fact it is already legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia is enough for some in the party to say it is time to let the issue go.
The Relentlessly Gay Yard
This is where I have to wonder about gay news publications. I saw this in one online gay publication and didn’t know it went this far into detail. Evidently, a straight woman’s yard in Baltimore has been dubbed “relentlessly gay” and neighbors want her to tone it down…or else. Yes, a straight woman was targeted for having a yard that is too gay. 
After the woman was threatened by neighbors she posted the note and it’s receive a lot of attention. 
Then she started a gofundme campaign seeking $5,000 dollars for more rainbow yard ornaments and she’s received $12,000 so far.

Needless to say… I need more rainbows… Many, many more rainbows….
So, I am starting this fundraiser so I can work to make my Home even More “relentlessly gay” If we go high enough, I will see if I can get a Rainbow Roof!
Because my invisible relentlessly gay rainbow dragon should live up there in style!

Only one comment from me. Before Tony and I lived in a private home, we lived in a town house community for the first ten years we were together. There were HOA rules that everyone had to follow. Strict rules. I’m talking Catholic school rules. Those rules ranged from having ONLY tan umbrellas outside to approval of all landscaping. You couldn’t put up colored Christmas lights, only white lights. As far as I know there is no HOA in this woman’s neighborhood so maybe the neighbors that find her yard art offensive should move to places that police these things.
New Era For Gay Rights
A lot of people think that if SCOTUS rules in favor of legalizing same sex marriage all of our problems are over. However, there is a lot to consider.
There are a number of ongoing realities to take into account. There is no federal law protecting L.G.B.T. Americans against discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodation. That means that, in some places, they can be legally married but then legally fired for doing so. The prevalence of serious health issues and homelessness among L.G.B.T. youth remains disproportionately high. And the global human-rights abuses against L.G.B.T. people are, of course, staggering.
The rest is here. It’s an interesting article that takes what you already know to another level. I don’t always link the the New Yorker because I often find them too elitist…pee elegant…for my own taste. However, this mentions a few interesting points that everyone should know.

American Star
American Star II

Hawaiian Gay Votes Against Gay Marriage; Indy Mayor Against Marriage Ban

Hawaiian Gay Votes Against Gay Marriage

One of Hawaii’s openly gay representatives, Jo Jordan, made history this week by being the first openly gay person in power to actually vote against marriage equality in Hawaii in what has often been a contentious fight at best. The reason why she voted against the bill is not because she’s anti-same sex marriage. It’s really because she isn’t certain the law is as strong as it should be and as a legislator her solitary goal is to create an absolute law that can’t be challenged down the line.

“I’m not here to protect the big churches or the little churches, I’m saying we can’t erode what’s currently out there. We don’t want to scratch at the religious protections at all, because if we don’t create a measure that’s bulletproof, or as close to bulletproof as possible, then the measure will go to the courts. And they will interpret it however that may be. A judge will make assumptions and make a ruling, and that will become the law of the land. So you really want us to create the legislation.”

As anyone can imagine, Jo Jordon has not been all that popular with the LGBT community for obvious reasons. I’m not even sure how to comment on this one. I would imagine that if a few other LGBT people in power agreed with Jordon and backed her up it might sound less extreme. However, right now same sex marriage is about to pass in Hawaii in spite of Jordon’s protests, and Hawaii will then become the 16th state to have legalized same sex marriage.

I guess only time will tell if she was right or wrong.

Here’s another article about Hawaii, and why this bill is so significant in Hawaii. I didn’t know the fight for same sex marriage actually began in Hawaii years ago.

But the step in Hawaii has special resonance because the contemporary battle over same-sex marriage was born here two decades ago. Such marriages existed nowhere when Ninia Baehr and Genora Dancel, along with two other couples, filed what seemed like an utterly quixotic lawsuit seeking a marriage license. To near universal shock, Hawaii’s Supreme Court granted them a victory in 1993, ruling that a refusal to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry was discriminatory and illegal.

I’m not really surprised that I don’t remember this. To be perfectly honest, I’d already been with Tony for a full year in 1993 and at the time actual legal marriage was not even on our proverbial radar. In other words, we didn’t think that way because we had been conditioned to not think that way. And people like is basically did the best we could with circumstances we didn’t even know we could change.

Indy Mayor Against Marriage Ban

The Mayor of Indianapolis, Greg Ballard, came out publicly against Indiana’s gay marriage ban and he signed a resolution to prove it. As it stands now, in Indiana marriage is between one man and one woman, and now conservative groups want to make this even stronger by creating a measure that would make it even more difficult to legalize gay marriage there.

Indiana already limits marriage to being between one man and one woman. Indiana lawmakers are set to consider amending that definition into the state constitution during the upcoming session.
If successful, the measure would then be placed on the ballot for consideration by voters next November.

They also want to leave it up to voters, much like Gov. Chris Christie wanted to do in NJ recently.

If successful, the measure would then be placed on the ballot for consideration by voters next November.

The problem with leaving something like this up to voters is that anyone who is anti-gay and doesn’t want to see LGBT people have the same equal rights as everyone else gets to decide the rights of innocent people and that’s just not fair. I personally don’t want a Christian bible thumping zealot deciding my fate, just as that same Christian bible thumping zealot would not want ME deciding his or her fate.

What is highly interesting about this whole thing with Greg Ballard, at least it is to me, is that Ballard is a Republican mayor, and yet he is still against a marriage ban. Ballard has also been a guest, in a front row seat, at a gay wedding.

When Democratic councilor Zach Adamson recited his wedding vows at a multi-faith ceremony in Indianapolis last weekend, Republican Mayor Greg Ballard and wife Winnie were there in the front row to witness it.

Adamson and his long-time partner Christian Mosburg had gotten legally married in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 19, but they returned to Indiana — where same sex marriage is banned — last weekend to repeat their vows.

You can read more here.

As a side note, I’ll be posting something brief about New Hope Mayor, Larry Keller, very soon with the recent results of the local election. I posted about how Mayor Keller refused to marry a gay couple here in PA last month in several places. His decision started local firestorm that probably won’t end for a long, long time.

What Is Heteronormativity?

What Is Heteronormativity?

This is how it’s defined by wiki:

Heteronormativity is the body of lifestyle norms that hold that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life. It presumes that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or only norm, and states that sexual and marital relations are most (or only) fitting between people of opposite sexes. Consequently, a “heteronormative” view is one that involves alignment of biological sex, sexuality, gender identity, and gender roles. Heteronormativity is linked to heterosexism and homophobia.

This is from Civil Liberties Blog:

Definition: Heteronormativity is the cultural bias in favor of opposite-sex relationships of a sexual nature, and against same-sex relationships of a sexual nature. Because the former are viewed as normal and the latter are not, lesbian and gay relationships are subject to a heteronormative bias.

Two similar definitions, no argument with either of them. But if you take all this to another level, and talk about heteronormativity in a different context outside of its classic meaning, it’s gets interesting.

I ran across a post earlier today that talked about heteronormativity and owning the American Dream…in this case it was home ownership and laws. The post talked about LGBT home ownership and how it seems to be promoted through the concept of heteronormativity, and I didn’t find anything fundamentally wrong with it on the surface. The only issue I had was that it didn’t go into anything more than text book details, and clearly was not written by an LGBT person who has had any personal experience within the LGBT community. In other words, the extent to which the issue of LGBT home ownership and things like taxes went into only touched the surface and the author has no idea how complicated it can get. This is especially true with same-sex marriage not being legal in some states, where same-sex couples are required to pay inheritance taxes when one partner passes…unlike heteronormative couples.

To give two examples of how complicated this can get:

I knew a lesbian couple who were together for forty years. When one passed away the other avoided paying federal and state inheritance taxes because the one who passed away willed the property to a local museum as charity. She also made a provision in the will that the surviving partner would be able to live out the rest of her days in their home. Upon the surviving partner’s death, the home then goes to the museum. This is perfectly legal to do.

I knew a gay couple who did something I can’t repeat in writing here. They had friends in the county courthouse; the surviving partner did not pay inheritance taxes.

And the heteronormativity concept, or how the government and society promotes this with laws, is not just about inheritance taxes and tax benefits, because this comes into play:

When gay couples purchase a home and they are not married (and I would assume this is the same thing for straight couples who don’t marry, too…a growing trend in our society), it’s not always a 50-50 ownership as it is with heteronormative couples. In many cases I’ve known gay couples who have an agreement where it’s an 80-20 partnership, or whatever arrangement they’ve worked out. This means one of the people in this same-sex relationship owns more than the other, or, in most cases one has more control over the other…control being the key word here. This happens a great deal in gay culture, where one is more powerful than the other. And because so many gay men are held back and kept down all their lives, they are willing to suffer through anything to get that stability…even abuse from a controlling partner. In some cases there are gay couples in long term relationship and one of them never knows what it’s like to own anything tangible. He or she lives with the fear of losing everything every day of his or her life. So the way in which gay couples have been dealing with home ownership and finances has varied throughout the years, and now that gay marriage is legal in so many places I think that’s going to change and evolve into a more heteronormative lifestyle, which is this case comes down to protection and security that are promoted by these heteronormative laws.

And with that change comes a certain amount of heteronormativity. In this case it goes far beyond the proverbial American Dream and that proverbial white picket fence. In this case both partners in a same-sex relationship will be held to the same standards and laws as any married straight couple, if the same-sex couple is allowed to marry legally. And that will make them equals in a way many gay men and women haven’t been equals in the history of this country within their own gay culture, and yes, even those who have been in long term relationship because they didn’t know what else to do to survive. I don’t think I’ve seen this portrayed any better than in the recent HBO film about Liberace, Behind the Candelabra. If Liberace had been married to his younger partner, you can be damn certain he would have been paying alimony and the partner would have received some kind of property. But in that case, Liberace held all the power, as many wealthy gay men and women without his notoriety do all over the country. And those who do not hold that power usually wind up with nothing in the end, despite anything they put into the relationship.

I know many won’t understand this at a glance, and I’m NOT promoting heteronormativity by any means. I’m just stating examples of how sometimes heteronormativity in a convoluted way helps gay couples, and here’s an example I think is something most of us have either experienced or seen. I have a family member, a male, who bought his home with money he’d saved working while he was single. When he met a woman and married, she came to the marriage with nothing of financial worth (no tangible assets). Nothing wrong with that. Many couples start out that way, and these two were both still very young. As time passed, they had kids, they both worked hard, and dreamed of HEA. However, at one point in the marriage the wife decided she wanted a divorce. Of course it was more complicated than that, but I want to keep this simple. And when she divorced the man she received half of everything he owned, including his property and his pension, which is how this works in the state of New Jersey. If this had been a gay relationship and the same-sex couple had not been legally married, the partner who came to the relationship with nothing tangible would not have received anything…unless he was particularly litigious. Most of the time they still get nothing in the end.

There is this concept out there that all gay couples are these perfect people incapable of any wrongdoing. When the fact is that there are just as many sleazy abusive gay men and women as straight men and women. And one thing legalizing same-sex marriage will do for many vulnerable gay people is to protect them and give them the same rights as straight couples. And in this case, the concept of heteronormativity isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. I always see the argument that heteronormativity is a negative thing, and that it’s promoting an agenda that may or may not be fair to everyone. But the fact is that gay and straight couples are not all that different by nature, especially when it comes to anything that involves finances and property…or gender power. And even though all gay couples work out various arrangements just like straight couples (pre-nups), it’s virtually impossible for them to keep their finances separate if they remain together for a long period of time.

So this notion of heteronormativity can get more involved than what’s just on the surface. I try not to get into things that are this text book technical in fiction, but here on the blog I think it’s important to talk about these things sometimes no matter how complicated they are, because there are many gray areas that people who aren’t gay don’t realize. And while I despise the general concept of heteronormativity in the classic sense because it promotes this image of what we are all supposed to be like, there are times I think it’s important to have laws and rules that also protect gay people in the heteronormative sense from some of the issues that have been in gay culture for a long, long time.

I actually know gay men who will state that they will not even entertain the idea of taking a partner unless he can come to the relationship with his own money and pay his own expenses…or half of the expenses. You don’t hear that often in the heteronormative world, especially now with changing roles where women are starting to earn more money than men. 

Refused Gay Wedding at Texas Establishment

Refused gay wedding at Texas establishment

With the recent SCOTUS ruling regarding same sex marriage, a lot of new issues have been popping up, some of which can only be expected, unfortunately. Like certain businesses refusing to hold gay weddings, or bake wedding cakes for same sex marriages.

KFOX 14 reports that Monico Ramirez and Jonathan Luna had planned to book El Paso’s Grace Gardens for their forthcoming reception. But as soon as the venue’s staff found out Ramirez and Luna were a same-sex couple, the pair says they were told it was a no-go.

This particular case gets a little more complicated and it becomes a case of he said she said, but this isn’t the first time same sex couples have been refused, and I doubt it will be the last.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, two gay men in Iowa who sought a wedding reception venue were reportedly turned away by the owners of Gortz Haus in Grimes, who argued they had a right to turn away same-sex couples because of their faith and religious convictions.

So, same sex couples are going to have to vet where they plan to wed and celebrate to avoid embarrassing, degrading situations like this. But I think this statement by Jonathan Luna bothered me the most in the article.

“They made me feel bad because there was another couple there, but they were a normal couple, and they gave them the packages and everything. We really wanted it to be there, but they refused the services for us.”

My heart goes out to these guys. I don’t think there is an LGBT person on earth who doesn’t know and understand that kind of hurt. But Luna and the rest of us have to stop thinking of ourselves as not being “normal” like the other couple to which he refers. We are just as normal, and we deserve to be treated just like everyone else.

You can read more here.

Spike Lee Kickstarter Fail; Oxford Dictionary Adds Gay Marriage; UK Same Sex Relationships

Spike Lee Kickstarter Fail

They are saying that this summer has been the worst in years for feature films, and box office sales are down record levels in some cases. It’s not completely dismal, and some things are working, but that seems to be thanks to the biggest stars that always seem to draw people into the theaters, not the content of the films. I know that when I see Greg Kinear’s name on a film, I’m going to like it.

This is telling, and a sign of the times. It’s been happening in publishing for the last five years:

But the movies are undergoing yet another period of transformation. With the increasing appeal of cable and digital entertainment, and the bottoming-out of the home video market, Hollywood has tried to lure moviegoers with bigger (and more expensive) 3-D extravaganzas.

As usual, there’s rebellion in the works from filmmakers who feel marginalized by the studios’ shrinking purview. Spike Lee on Monday announced that he would seek financing for his next feature film through the online crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter.

People are spending thousands of dollars to design custom home theaters and they either stream or buy/rent on demand now. Tony and I haven’t watched a DVD or a video in ages. We either stream or rent on demand. Most of the people I know do the same thing.

But that line about Spike Lee and kickstarter bothers me. I’ve been a supporter of kickstarter before, in many cases. I think that it’s a great way for “starving” artists to get a jumpstart and prove to the world they have talent and that talent always wins out in the end. I’ve even contributed to a few projects. But when I see people like Spike Lee taking hard earned money from people who haven’t got a fraction of what he’s worth, it really irritates me. In other words, mortgage the mansion, spend and invest your own money, and back your own projects, Spike. That’s what I do with my indie books, because it wouldn’t feel right taking money from people that way to me. In other words, Spike, put your OWN money where big your mouth is.

These Hollywood people who have started hocking people on kickstarter really bothers me to no end. It’s as if they have this sense of entitlement, and it’s changing my opinion of kickstarter. There’s an old saying that goes something like this, and it reminds me of Spike Lee begging for money: He cried poor mouth with two loaves of bread under each arm.

Oxford Dictionary Adds Gay Marriage

I’d heard that the Oxford English Dictionary was thinking about revising and adding gay marriage, but now it seems official.

Evidently, they are constantly watching words all the time to see how they change and how they reflect what we are trying to communicate. Communication is constantly evolving, and many times the changes are indicative of common usage.

As it stands, defines marriage as being a ‘formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognised by law, by which they become husband and wife.’
In a reference, it says marriage could also be ‘(in some jurisdictions) a union between partners of the same sex’.

UK Same Sex Relationships

In this article, they dive into same sex relationships and the issues that can, and often do, arise. The problem is that those in same sex relationships aren’t always prepared for what’s coming along, and they tend to jump into relationships without knowing anything. This is one reason I’ve been so worried about younger gay couples running out to get married right away. And I’ve posted many times about how older gay couples were excellent role models for Tony and me when we first started out.

They are asking people for advice in what looks like an interesting survey. I would have taken it myself, but it says the survey is nationwide in the UK, and I assume that doesn’t include US residents. In any event, I found some of the definitions about how they define same sex relationships to be excellent.

Researchers at Sunderland and Leicester Universities invite you to take part in a UK-wide survey, to understand what you do when things go wrong in your same-sex, bisexual and/or trans relationships. Recent Equality legislation requires that services respond appropriately to those in same-sex, bi and/or trans relationships who might need help or advice. We believe that the best way to ensure this is to ask you about your experiences and what you need, so that we can feed that back to them.

What’s a Street Team? Delaware Gay Marriage

What’s a Street Team?

I’ve been hearing the term Street Team for at least the past five years and I’ve never really paid much attention to it. First, the books and stories I write are predominantly erotic gay romance and my readership tends to be discreet. So I never thought it would be a viable way to promote erotic romance of any kind. And, a Street Team always seemed like so much work to me that it might take away from my writing time, which always comes first and foremost on my agenda.

For a long time I used to wonder why a relatively unknown author with a relatively small start up e-press, or a self-pubbed author, would have a book released and all of a sudden over fifty reviews would show up on Amazon and other social media the same day of release. Even the shadiest author can’t put up THAT many fake good reviews in less than one day, nor could he/she find that many family members or friends to write great reviews for them. So that wasn’t plausible. And these reviews are always stellar…we’re talking things like, “This is the best book and the best author I have ever read in my life.” And yet I’m always thinking quietly, “Who the fuck is this?”

I often read books by national bestselling authors with huge publishers the day they are released. And then when I’m finished I have to wait to leave a review on Amazon for a few weeks because I don’t want to be one of the first 100 to leave my review…especially if I’m not fond of the book. And most of all, I know from my own personal experience with my own books that reader reviews on web sites like Amazon take time to trickle in…weeks and months sometimes.

So when I see these small books by unknown authors getting over fifty reviews on the same day I wonder what’s going on. And the only thing I can come up with are Street Teams. I would guess (and hope) the author with a Street Team hands out as many review copies as possible and that’s how he/she gets the great reviews all in one day, because I don’t find it plausible that all those people would read a long book in one sitting. I also wouldn’t want to think that Street Teams just put up review without reading the book. And I don’t want to speculate on anything else with regard to sales ranks. In the same respect, I’m far from being an expert on this topic, but this definition below seemed to sum things up well for me.

So by definition a Street Team is a group of fans who canvas/haunt/stalk places and promote you. For writers that would be internet sites, blogs, book stores, cafes, libraries, and of course word of mouth. Basically your Street Team is creating buzz about your work. They can go armed with paraphernalia i.e. bookmarks, fliers, promo items like pens, magnets and key chains or just a smile and a recommendation. My understanding is this concept was first hatched by fans of rock and roll groups who wanted to spread the word. It is a grassroots type of operation. And in this business we know it’s all about the buzz.

I would imagine, by this definition of Street Team, this is why I’m probably seeing unknown authors on social media getting an unusual amount of attention. In some cases I’ve seen support that doesn’t even make sense. I have never used a Street Team, and I don’t know any other authors personally who use them. But I could be wrong about that. Because of the nature of Street Teams there are allegedly many authors who don’t mention the fact that they have Street Teams. But not all. Some are open about it, and if I did ever decide to do something like this I would be open about it, too. I think that’s only fair to readers. In other words, these Street Teams are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. I would like to think they really are fans of the authors, but they are also getting something in return from the author. This article explains that part of the process well:

Of course I offer free stuff as well. They get swag for being part of my group and then I offer gift cards and chocolates here and there as a way to say thank you for all the promoting they do. But I’m the type of person who likes to be part of their lives – so when they lose a loved one, when there is a wedding, Easter, Christmas, birthdays…they are not JUST my street team – they have become my friends.

It sounds like the perfect set up, and for all I know it might be. But one thing that I would worry about with a Street Team would be how I’m being promoted and represented by them. I don’t like the idea of giving up that much control, and I don’t know how I would react to people writing things about me or my books, on my behalf, and turning me into someone I’m not. That might work out well for some authors in the short term who only have a few books out they want to promote so they can garner sales and attention at any cost. But if you’re in this business for the long haul, like I’ve been for the past twenty years, you want your image (or brand) to reflect who you are over a long period of time. And if someone starts posting things on facebook to promote me in a way I wouldn’t normally do it I would feel as if I’ve lost control of my career to a certain extent.

And to be perfectly honest, even though I’m curious about Street Teams and I’m by no means knocking them, I have to admit that those small authors who I’ve seen on social media where an aggressive group of fandom promotes them aggressively are not people I pay much attention to for a long time. At first I’m curious. I think this might look interesting. But when it starts becoming too fake, I stop paying attention. And I think most people feel the same way I do about those things on social media.

Something else I’m curious about is whether or not small publishers use Street Teams to promote their businesses in a general sense. In the past five years or so I have seen more than a few small start up e-presses pound onto the scene with aggressive attacks on social media that always leave me wondering. The problem is not everyone admits to this, especially not small aggressive publishers. And since I can’t find any information on that topic, I can write a viable post about it.

It’s also hard to find information about how readers feel about Street Teams. That’s an important factor to me, too. I think it’s hard to find this information because most readers who follow authors on social media don’t know the authors are hocking them with Street Teams, and most readers think all the attention the author is getting is because he or she wrote a great book and people fell in love with it. I would be willing to bet most of the people reading this post never heard of a Street Team until now. In that respect, whether you like them or not, Street Teams can be valuable for a short period of time. Only I can’t help wondering how valuable they are over a long span of time if the author or publisher truly wants to build a long term career in a specific genre.

Now that I’m curious about Street Teams, there will be more to come as I learn more about them.

Delaware Gay Marriage

Gay marriage is now legal in the State of Delaware. I find this particularly exciting because Delaware isn’t far from Buck County, PA, and I often go there to visit friends, family, and do some shopping (it’s also sales tax free).

In New Castle County, state Sen. Karen Peterson and Vikki Brandy became the first legally married same-sex couple in the state, signing their marriage certificate this morning, according to the Wilmington News Journal.

You can read more here.

I hope things keep moving this quickly. I recently learned Senator Daylin Leach of Pennsylvania introduced a bill for same sex marriage in PA.

Leach: “There is absolutely no rational reason in my view that same sex couples should not get married … should not have the same rights … I don’t know why some sort of ‘marriage light’ or second class citizenship should be imbued upon same-sex couples.”

SCOTUS Update on Gay Marriage

The most recent article I read says that SCOTUS will rule on gay marriage on Tuesday now. Most say the same-sex marriage cases won’t happen until last.

The justices did not rule Monday in the legal challenges to Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay marriage, or the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids federal benefits to same-sex couples.

The court is expected to issue rulings again Tuesday starting at 7 a.m. Pacific time.

You can read more here, and get more updates tomorrow here.

I find it interesting just waiting for the rulings. It feels as if there’s that proverbial quiet before the storm. Those who really care about this issue, and those who are affected by it the most, seem cautious to even speak about it.

Gay Film "I Do;" Marriage; David W. Ross

We used to have a fantastic indie video store in New Hope that always had plenty of gay indie films that closed about four years ago, so when I spotted the gay film, “I Do,” with David W. Ross on Verizon on demand last night I rented it without even looking at the previews.

And I wasn’t disappointed this time. The basic plot revolves around a nice looking British guy, David W. Ross, who has been living and working in New York since he was seventeen years old. The only family he has left are his brother and sister-in-law. I’ll stop there, because I don’t want to give out any spoilers. But as the film progresses the British guy finds himself fighting the INS in order to remain in the US. He ultimately decides to marry his best lesbian friend in order to get a green card. Then when he least expects it, he falls in love with a guy he meets at a party…who happens to be a legal US citizen but is also from Spain.

The plot is actually much more complicated than what I’m stating now, and as I said I don’t want to give out any spoilers. But the issue of gay marriage comes into play because the gay British guy falls in love with a guy he wants to marry, who happens to be a legal US citizen and a legal citizen of Spain, but he can’t marry him because gay marriage is not legal in the US.

They mention gay marriage being legal in New York, and I think they did this on purpose. The fact that gay marriage is legal in the state of New York is absolutely worthless in this case, just as it is worthless in many other aspects in all states where gay marriage is legal. It’s great on an emotional level, but when it comes down to the pragmatic issues in life we all face eventually it leaves gay couples with very little protection. Because the US government will not recognize a same sex marriage, the character in the film is unable to get a green card if he married a man he loved anywhere in the US. The key word here is federal.

This is just one reason why I say I’m happy but I’m not jumping up and down whenever gay marriage is passed on a state level. Until same sex marriage is legal on a federal level gay men like the guys in the film, “I Do,” are still going to face the challenges of inequality on life changing levels. I actually know a couple in Florida where something exactly like this happened to them. They now reside in Germany.

In this film, even though I won’t say what happens, the British guy is left with two options. He can remain in the US and marry a woman and pretend to love her so he can get his green card. Or he can leave the country, go to Spain with the man he loves, and live there where gay marriage is supposedly legal.

It’s an interesting film to view, especially right now with SCOTUS ready to hand down rulings this week on same sex marriage. I have no idea what to predict at this point.

As a side note, David W. Ross is excellent in the film…he starred in it and he wrote it. And, this is a film about gay men, written by a gay man, starring a gay man for those who are interested in the details. I’ll watch it again many times.

You can follow Ross on facebook, here.

David W. Ross is an English musician and actor. After moving to London at the age of 17 and seeking work as a film extra, his photo was spotted by Ian Levine, a boy band producer, and Ross was signed to A&M Records U.K., as one of the four members of Bad Boys Inc. The group released one self-titled album, which spawned five hit singles, including the Top 10 smash “More to This World”.

Photo attribution here

UK Votes In Favor of Bill Legalizing Gay Marriage; Speach by David Lammy

Lawmakers in the UK voted in favor of a bill that would mean legalizing same sex marriage. Thanks to the Internet, I heard about it through a reader.

From my inbox:

It was nice to arrive home and find that the vote ended up in favour, I think by about 2/3 🙂 I hope the US gets its arse in gear on the subject soon!
A majority of UK lawmakers have voted in favor of legalizing gay marriage.
Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior British officials threw their support behind the bill Tuesday ahead of a key Parliament vote on the divisive topic.
The bill would enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies, provided that the religious institution consents.
And there was a fascinating speech given today by David Lammy, you can read here. Below is just a small part of it…thanks to this blog reader who let me know about it.  
Before I begin, let me say that as a minister, I had the privilege of taking through the Gender Recognition Act through this House.

I want to say to the Minister that taking through a Bill that can affect so many people’s lives in such a positive way – that makes an indelible mark on our living, breathing constitution in the process – is an enormous privilege that will live with her for a long while to come.

Mr. Speaker, it is impossible not to feel a sense of history today.

It was the Houses of Parliament that commissioned, deliberated and published the Wolfenden Report over half a century ago.

It was in this Chamber that Leo Abse fought tooth and nail for its recommendations to be implemented and homosexuality to be decriminalised.

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