Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Battle Continues

A little catch up on this posting space; some things I'd already put up in LiveJournal.

The day after the election, when Virginians unfortunately voted YES to an amendment to our Bill of Rights (!) prohibiting marriage, I wrote the following letter to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

To all of those who voted yes on question one: Congratulations, you have managed to make discrimination and hate a "right" in Virginia. Yes, this new clause you have approved goes into our Bill of Rights.

Some of you have done this with the cry "we must protect heterosexual marriage!" What kind of marriage would that be? Do you want to protect somebody like pop icon Britney Spears, who gets a throwaway marriage in Las Vegas, then marries a man who is willing to just walk away from his pregnant girlfriend, has two babies of her own with that man and then decides to divorce him? Is that what you need to protect? Two years ago, when San Francisco and Portland Oregon briefly attempted to do the right thing and allow marriage for all, the same sex couples getting married were doing so to express their desire for a lifelong commitment to each other. How does this harm anybody? Massachusetts has allowed same sex marriage since 2004. What has happened? Nothing much, except that people who love each other can have their unions recognized by the state.

For those who cried "think of the children!" what is it that you are afraid of? That the children will see happy loving couples, living peacefully together? For those who somehow justify your bigotry by saying you are "pro-family," I ask, why then are you trying to prevent new families from being created? For those who would bring your religious beliefs into a purely civil matter, I simply will say that the God that I learned about is a loving God. When I was in Sunday school, I did not learn about hate and discrimination. I can only hope that you are prepared to face His judgment as you have so easily chosen to judge others.

Although I received a call the following day from the paper asking me to verify that I'd written the letter, a week went by before they actually published it. What they did publish was severely edited.

No picking on other people's g/G/od I guess.

I just walked out to my mailbox to pick up today's delivery and found a letter from "The Family Foundation," one of the key backers of the amendment. In true Rove-esque fashion, they attempt to shift the argument to a different place:

We believe that the best possible way to raise a child is with a man and a woman, married.

There are thousands of studies that show this. There will always be a Britney Spears scenario out there, but we strive for the best possible outcome for society. That's not bigotry or hate, simply asking the state to do what's best. Fortunately 1.3 million American's [sic] here in Virginia agree.

OK, assuming for a moment that these "thousands of studies" do exist, how is allowing a same-sex couple to marry in any way preventing a child from being raised by "a man and a woman, married"? How does allowing a same-sex couple to marry in any way affect somebody else's marriage? Again, why does an expression of LOVE scare these people?

I have not yet begun to fight.

For the good of the country

I had quite the long and detailed internal conversation with myself about making this post. In the end, I won!

Joe has a post up talking about Mike Jones, the guy whose information about sex and drugs provoked the downfall of evangelist Ted Haggard. Included in the post is a request to send a little something to Mike via PayPal, since he is now both unemployed and virtually unemployable. Reading through the comments on Joe's blog, it is clear that some people would like to sit in judgment of Mike because of his prior method of earning a living. Yet how would he have been able to reveal the information he did unless he was "working"?

I certainly will not attempt to judge Mr. Jones, because honestly, don't we call get judged just a little too much by the conservatives/Republicans/Christian Right/Voters in Virginia ?

As you know, you go to war against the hypocritical "Christians" with the homosexuals you have. They’re not the homosexuals you might want or wish to have at a later time.

Let's not leave Mike without any body armor. The email to direct PayPal funds to is ""

The place to debate the issue is not here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Honor Every Veteran

At the dance party this past weekend, they had beer mats that stated "Honor Every Veteran."

These had been printed by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. I have been aware of this organization and their work to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" for several years now. I had not, until this evening, supported their efforts with a donation.

On the back it says the following:
One million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have served in our armed forces. Yet, the Pentagon fires 2 people every day for being gay."


Regardless of my personal feelings about the United States being in Iraq, the fact is that we are there, and yes, I fully believe it is possible to support the troops without supporting the war, nor the Commander In Chief. I also freely admit to having quite conflicted views on military service, duty to country, fetishization of uniforms, etc. Those views are not the topic of this post.

Beyond that, frankly, I don't have a dog in this hunt. I have not served, and as far as I know, the few friends that I have who have served or are serving are not at risk from DADT. Maybe it's because I remember all to clearly the fear and isolation of being in the closet, which was of course a closet of my own choosing. The people affected by this policy are forced into a closet constructed by the US military, and if they dare to come out during their time of service, they lose their jobs. I feel that this is an important issue, and one I choose to put some effort behind.

So given the fact that the US is in both Iraq and Afghanistan, another cold hard fact is that there is a severe shortage of military personnel. One of the most critical shortages faced by the military is that of well-trained Arabic translators. Yet, since the inception of DADT, over fifty soldiers with that specific training have been dismissed; over eight hundred in total who have specialized skills.

A year ago, in an absolutely stunning display of ineptitude, officers at Fort Bragg even saw fit to discharge Bleu Copas, a well-trained Arabic language specialist, with no more evidence than some anonymous emails. He didn't tell, even though they did, apparently ask. Reportedly, they even went so far as to ask him if he was involved in community theater. What's next? "Do you own any CDs by The Pet Shop Boys?" "How many times have you seen The Sound Of Music?"

I urge anybody who is at all interested or affected by this to check out both the SLDN website linked above, as well as the SLDN blog.

Perhaps Robert Gates will finally do the right thing and repeal this useless policy. I haven't seen much on where he stands. In the meantime, I feel it is imperative to support those who choose to enter the US military, knowing the dangers of enlisting during wartime, and especially knowing that this policy can be used against them at any time.