On December 19th the Courier Journal in Louisville published an editorial in opposition to the actions of the Archbishop of Louisville, the Most Reverend Jospeh E. Kurtz. Archbishop Kurtz has contributed personal funds and has used funds from the Archdiocese of Louisville to oppose marriage equality in California and Maine. Here's the Archbishop on youtube talking about his opposition. Here is the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops statement in opposition to our relationships. The video and the statement are full of the usual lies told by bigots in opposition to our rights.
On December 28th, Chris Hartman, Director of Louisville's Fairness Campaign, provided a feature editorial to the CJ detailing some of the other problematic actions of Archbishop Kurtz. In particular Chris mentioned the new strategy of prelates threatening to use the charitable work done by the Catholic church as a goad to coerce secular cooperation. The Catholic Church in Washington DC pulled the same stunt in its unsuccessful attempt to thwart marriage equality there.
On December 29th the Archbishop protests and declares his innocence. It's more of the usual. Does the Archbishop of Louisville support civil unions and domestic partnerships? That's what his letter implies. I just can't wait to see him lobby for that in Frankfort and Washington.
Actually. He is. It comes as a shock to no one but me that actor Hal Sparks, Queer as Folk's Michael Novotny, is from Franklin County. You know, Frankfort--the place with great big marble government buildings and unbridled homophobia with a dash of the establishment of religion for one and all. That's the one. Straight boy from small town Kentucky plays gay boy on TV for five seasons and is really good at it. Film at eleven.
Well, actually not. You'll need to rent Queer as Folk from Wild and Wooly if you don't own it already. It's probably in reruns on Logo, Insight Channel 127, I think. I don't have cable. You'll have to look it up. And you should. You should watch Queer as Folk even though it's in reruns and all the actors have moved on to other projects and this is not a paid commercial endorsement.
You should watch it because it's very, very gay. Love it or hate it. Despise the characters or decide they're just like the girls, or guys, you know at the bar or the gym or sitting next to you on the couch. Wonder what it would be like to have a mom like Debbie Novotny or Jennifer Taylor. Would you really want to date Brian? Seriously? How about Ben? Queer as Folk gives you something to think about and there's eye candy. Oh yes indeed there is eye candy. It's a guy-centric show so you gals need to brace yourself for that. I have to admit I haven't kept up with L Word so I get there are different dynamics at work. All the boys are pretty; they spend a lot of time at the bar and the gym. Money doesn't seem to be a problem for any of them and the mythical land of Liberty Avenue is lined with gay friendly and gay owned businesses and surrounded by a gay ghetto where you can swish down the sidewalk holding hands and know you're surrounded by other community minded folks. That would be the queer community not the "live by our rules or go to hell" community that one keeps finding oneself unfortunately mired in here in Kentucky. Queer as Folk is not exactly set in the real world.
So you only watch things set in “the real world?” Right. You might want to go back to your knitting. Anyway, before Queer as Folk what exactly did we have? Will and Grace? Yeah. OK, except that I get around more than Will and I'm a big fat queen with smart mouth and short attention span. Big Gay Al from Southpark? Tara and Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Willow started out with Oz. Remember? Here’s a little history lesson. Queer as Folk hit the airwaves in the US in 2000. The good citizens of Kentucky wrote gay marriage out of our constitution in 2004. Voters in California wrote gay marriage out of their constitution in 2009. Do you seriously think the real world is ready for us and we don't need a place like Liberty Avenue to at least think about?
And that reminds me. Queer as Folk had a life before it debuted on Showtime. It’s actually a remake. Queer as Folk was originally created for the BBC and started out there with a two series (as in seasons) run. Their Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh was Canal Street, Manchester. The names and some of the characters changed when they came across the Atlantic to the US but you can probably recognize everyone and the story if you set down and watch it. The up-tight and prim were shocked by Queer as Folk UK. I guess it was OK for Mr. Humphries to mince across the screen in Are You Being Served? but Stuart and Nathan (their Brian and Justin) lock lips and the howls of outrage drowned out the chimes of Big Ben. You can thank Russell Davies for all of this hoopla. Mr. Davies went on to re-invent Dr. Who after creating Queer as Folk. He also created Bob and Rose (a bisexual couple? It's difficult to say), and, one of my favorites, Torchwood. Does it matter that Russell Davies is openly gay and has a partner? You bet. The lead actor in Torchwood, John Barrowman, is also openly gay and had a civil union with his spouse in December 2006. It's illegal in Kentucky but we wish him well anyway. Barrowman's character, Captain Jack Harkness, is openly bisexual. It's complicated. You'll have to watch.
Hal Sparks was in Louisville in February of 2009. He was the Valentine's Day headliner at the Improv Comedy Club in Fourth Street Live. I missed it. The good folks over at LEO, however, caught up with Hal and asked him how he was doing and what was going on in his life. He's in a band. He was going to skip out and visit his mom and sister while he was in town. He doesn't play Louisville very much but has been in Lexington quite a bit. I did some checking around to see what the other QAF alumni are up to. Gale Harold (Brian) is in Desperate Housewives now. Randy Harrison (Justin) and Scott Lowell (Ted) are doing theater. Peter Paige (Emmett) is directing. Life goes on. I was surprised to discover that Russell Davies left the BBC in April 2009 and moved to Hollywood. Who knows what he's cooking up. I'll get back to you on that.
I've been reading about Prop 8 and I'm not sure what I
How does this effect Kentucky? Not at all. Kentucky has one of the most bigoted and regressive marriage laws in the nation. In 2004 Kentucky voters decided to reserve marriage and any other "legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage" to heterosexual couples. California still has domestic partnerships that are substantially equivalent to marriage.
Can the California Supreme Court's decision be appealed? Yes and no. It cannot be appealed under the constitution of the state of California. It can be appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
What about the same-sex couples that are already married in California? They're still married. The California Supreme Court ruled that the ban approved by voters was not retroactive and marriages performed before the proposition was approved by voters are valid.
Are same sex couples that got married in California or get married in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Iowa or Vermont still married if they move to Kentucky? No. They are not. Even though the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution of the United States clearly states "acts, records and judicial proceedings or copies thereof, so authenticated, shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the US" the US Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 to specifically exempt states from their responsibility to recognize marriages performed in other states if the persons getting married are of the same sex. States are still required to accept marriages of opposite sex couples of different races or religions even though many states have laws that specifically make those types of marriages illegal. DOMA is unconstitutional on its face but has never been appealed to the Supreme Court. President Obama has also decided to renege on his campaign promise to ask Congress to repeal DOMA.
Does this mean that all civil rights are subject to popular vote? No. Other unpopular minorities in the United States are protected by the due process clause of the United States Constitution. Due Process has, however, been attacked by Justices Scalia and Thomas. The possibility exists that as public opinion waxes and wanes on the acceptability and unacceptability of identifiable groups that they could also lose their civil rights in a popular vote without recourse to the courts. One wonders how, for example, separate but equal and other odious ways of enacting racial segregation would have been overturned without due process protection since segregation was a popular practice and received overwhelming majority votes in its time.
My sainted mother always said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." And then she'd throw something at me because, well, you have to do things to get my attention and my mom was a woman accustomed to being heeded. Meanwhile, back at my point if groups like the Camp Meeting Association (Ocean Grove, New Jersey) and the North Coast Women's Care Medical Group (San Diego, California) want to offer a public service and take public payment then they are required to abide by the non-discrimination laws and everyone's right to access a public accommodation.
But then that wouldn't be news worthy and juicy, would it? So now you have you to go see the "Gathering Storm" commercial from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to really get a flavor of the issue. Browse to your favorite search engine and check it out. I'll wait. OK. Isn't it creepy? Yeah, I thought so too. It's also a pack of lies but, hey, NOM must protect, uh, something, doctors and children and churches or something. Wait, oh yeah, straight-people-only marriage.
The things that scares NOM is that gay Americans (and lesbians and bisexuals and transgender folk and queer Americans and all those other Americans) get to be citizens of the US even though NOM really, really doesn't approve. See how we're right back to the kitchen thing. NOM has deluded itself into thinking it owns the kitchen. NOM only wants the right people to have rights. And by "right" people they mean Christians and not just any Christian but just those with the right kinds of beliefs and practices. Usually that included "practicing" on other people. Fortunately, it just doesn't work that way. We're all in the kitchen together and if NOM can't stand the heat then they need to go back to their churches (or whatever) and hate freely and without hindrance. Westboro Baptist does it all the time. There's a role model for you. We'll all free to believe as we please but out in the harsh glare of the public domain all Americans get to be citizens whether NOM likes it or not.
Here's how it works. If you're a non-profit organization and you rent out your pavilion on the Jersey shore for dog shows, concerts and graduation parties then you have to rent it out to lesbians that want to have a commitment ceremony too. Did you notice a church being punished? No, neither did I. NOM is lying to you. Then there's the "punished" doctor. If you're the Women's Care Medical Group and you treat women, left, right and center then you don't get to say, "oops, sorry, we don't treat lesbians." It doesn't work that way and we're all pretty happy about that. And then we have that Massachusetts parent that fears her son will learn that gay marriage is OK. Well, guess what? Gay marriage is OK in Massachusetts as is interfaith marriage, interracial marriage and civil marriage. Civil marriage is a civil issue and your faith doesn't get to dictate which civil rights other people get.
Michelle at http://michelelee.net/blog/ brought this to my attention. You should check out her coverage as well.
Following in the footsteps of Representative Stacey Campfield of Knoxville, Tennessee, the powers-that-be at Amazon.com have decided that gay people are dirty and need to be stricken from the record. "Don't say gay" was a bad bill for the Tennessee state house and it's a bad policy for Amazon.com. Towleroad and Pam's House Blend are following the story closely. They are much better at tracking hot news item than your humble clamour.
That's not to say I don't have an opinion.
There is no caste system (officially) in the US. Yet there are repeated attempts by religiously motivated bigots and other groups that would prefer gay people (and lesbian, trans, bi, queer and questioning folk and probably their allies) disappear off the face of the earth to turn GLBT people into low caste Untouchables (I think the word is Dalit but I need to verify that) in the US legal and social system. Campfield's "Don't say Gay" bill, NOM's scary (but funny) ad that uses HS film class special effects and tries to implant the meme that rights for some are threatened by rights for all and lumping anything with gay characters, gay content or gay focus in with "the porn." Because, you know, if you're gay it's all about sex and nothing else.
This has got to stop. Gay marriage is OK (and legal) in many entire countries and some US states. I think we'd be better off with federal civil unions and leaving marriage to churches (my church performs gay marriages) but that's a different article. A gay character in a story does not automoatically mean the story is porn or even erotica. The drive to marginalize the GLBT community by bigots that use religion as their cover story is having an unintended effect. It's marginalizing them and creating a climate where religion is once again being equated with superstition and rigidity at a time when a faith perspective is crucial to maintaining balance and connection in a complex and overwhelming world. The misuse of religion by people like The Most Rev. Peter Akinola (Anglican bishop of Nigeria) and Scott Lively (blame the Holocaust on homosexuality) while other believers stand idly by and let them get away with it is damaging religion in general and Christianity in particular.