Friday, June 1, 2012

13-year-old Heads for Olympic Tryouts, After the Pride Parade

Jordan Windle has a decent shot at competing in the Olympics, which is far more impressive when you realize he’s just 13. But he has qualified for the Olympic diving trials later this month.  And diving experts have their eyes on him. Everyone agrees that if this isn’t his year he will be the force to reckon with in four years time.  At 13 he has plenty of time to perfect his diving skills.
But, before the Olympic trials, Jordan has another project. He is going to be the grand marshal of the Pride Parade in Indianapolis. He won’t be alone. He’ll be there with his two dads.

Jordan was born in Cambodia and lost both his parents when he was 1 years old. When he was two Jerry Windle adopted him. And then, they spent some time with doctors and hospitals taking care of multiple medical issues the boy had. Living in Florida at the time, Jerry enrolled Jordan in the summer camp at the Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame, and coaches spotted Jordan’s talents.
Jordan and his two dads.
Jerry sent his son to private school, which had a diving program. But one coach and diving star Greg Louganis urged the father and son to move to Indianapolis to train at the USA Diving’s National Training Center.
Things had become slightly more complicated as Jerry was dating Andres Rodriguez at the time. Jordan settled that issue during dinner one night. He asked Andres: "Are you going to join our family? Can I call you Papi?” Soon, Jordan and his two dads were moving to Indianapolis where he trains all day and attends school in the evenings and on weekends. Diving is something that Jordan loves, intensely.

He’s still very young and he’d beat the odds to be on the Olympic team this year, but come the games in Rio de Janeiro he’ll be the one to beat. Jordan is realistic: "I am going to try my best to make it to London for the 2012 Olympics, but my goal is to be a member of the 2016 USA Olympic Diving Team."

Meanwhile he is a determined advocate for the rights of LGBT people and their families. He made a “It’s Gets Better” video where he speaks of being orphaned and then adopted by a gay man. He urges gay kids to realize that life does get better and that they should stick around because, as he put it, there could well be a kid just like him who would love to have you as his father, or mother.

And, while it is customary to end a short piece like this, on a high note, I should remind you of something. Under U.S. laws, especially the Defense of Marriage Act, it is illegal for the government to treat Jordan the same as other children in his position would be treated. A combination of state and federal laws will disadvantage Jordan if tragedy strikes.

Unless Andres has been allowed to adopt Jordan, which is not allowed in some states, then he is of no relation to Jordan. If Jordan had a medical emergency, under those circumstances, Andres would be unable to make the medical decisions necessary if Jerry were unavailable. If Jerry were to die, and Andres has been unable to adopt Jordan jointly, then Jerry’s fundamentalist relatives might be legally entitled to split the family.

When conservatives and theocrats fight gay marriage they are also targeting the families these marriages create—including children like Jordan. When they say, “It’s all about the children,” they lie. It’s about their hate, and they will hurt the children in order to achieve that.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gay Fathers, Four Kids, Harassed by Neighbors

A gay couple and their childen are being harassed in Gilbert, Arizona. Gilbert is not exactly your typical town. According to the Census, Gilbert has a higher percentage of "families" than any other city in America. But it is also heavily Mormon, with 10 Mormon churches in the area and one of their Temples just north in Scottsdale with a second Temple being built in Gilbert itself. Of course, they had no trouble get zoning regulations waved. The new Temple looks something like a power plant with an upside-down ice cream cone on top with a gay trumpet player on the very tip. Inside they will conduct their "secret" ceremonies that are meant to guarantee that each Mormon will become a god in the afterlife and be given their own planet to run like the millions of other gods.

Now, Mormons are vehemently anti-gay. Since the millions of Mormon gods are supposed to have sex through eternity with their multiple wives (Mormons still believe polygamy will be practiced in the alleged afterlife) there is no real room for homosexuals in their theology. Joseph Smith didn't think to invent a doctrine on gays when he was making the rest of it up. That neglect on his part means lots of gay Mormon youth have a very rough time of it, with many killing themselves when faced with the tidal wave of disapproval that the church brings down on them. Mormons also run programs in an attempt to "cure" gay people.

Given the intensity of anti-gay attitudes within the Mormon sect, Gilbert would not be a good fit a gay family. In recent years I've only been subjected to one anti-gay slur, and that due to having a "No on Prop 8" bumpersticker. For that reason a car drove past and the occupants screamed "faggots" at the the top of their lungs. It was in Gilbert.

The couple say they have called police nine times but that police indicate that they are have a problem because they are gay and have hispanic children. The children have gone to stay with an Aunt out of fear.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Zach's Two Moms & Terence's Two Fathers

Zach Wahls on his new book My Two Moms. And below, Dutch singer Terence Uphoff (with the help of English subtitles) sings about his Two Fathers.

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Another Baptist Preacher Says Kill All Gays

Curtis Knapp, who pretends to be a "man of God," is pastor of the New Hope (sic) Baptist Church. In a recent sermon he says America needs a revival——no doubt because so many people are disgusted by the raw hatred that fundamentalist Baptists show in public. Knapp told his congregation (and I have verified this by listening to the sermon):
"They should be put to death. That's what happened in Israel. That's why homosexuality wouldn't have grown in Israel. It tends to limit conversions. It tends to limit people coming out of the closet. — 'Oh, so you're saying we should go out and start killing them, no?' — I'm saying the government should. They won't but they should. [You say], 'oh, I can't believe you you're horrible. You're a backwards neanderthal of a person.' Is that what you're calling scripture? Is God a neanderthal backwards.. in his morality. Is it his word or not? If it's his word, he commanded it. It's his idea, not mine. And I'm not ashamed of it."
Notice the claim that gays are "converted" to being gay. When fundamentalists claim that gays recruit, and that they are ought to indoctrinate children, these people are actually describing their own tactics. They really do go out and try to convert and they set up fundamentalists "schools" in order to indoctrinate children. Every Sunday they hold special indoctrination classes they call Sunday School. Every week they go out harassing neighbors, door to door, "witnessing" to them, whether they like it or not. Unlike gays they will stand on street corners with bullhorns screaming at traffic going by about the need to "repent" and join their little cult.

Fundamentalists actually do seek out converts. Heterosexuals can't be "converted" to being gay. Gays can't be converted to heterosexuality. There is no need to "indoctrinate" people into being gay—either they are, or they aren't. But fundamentalism does rely on conversions and indoctrination.

Here is a little video from a fundamentalist church, I still need to track down which church. A very small child is brought onto stage to sing for them. The lyrics are:

The Bible's rights, somebody's wrong
The Bible's right, somebody's wrong
Romans one, twenty-six and twenty seven
Ain't no homos going to make it to heaven.

Watch the reaction of the fundamentalists in the audience. As soon as the kid uses the term "homos" and says they aren't going to heaven, the congregations starts cheering and applauding and jumping to their feet. Fundamentalism has always been driven, not by love of God, but by rabid hatred for someone else. Over the years the objects of fundamentalist hatred have evolved. It was blacks, Catholics, Jews and evolutionists. Visit a fundamentalist bookstore and you will see entire sections that are nothing but attacks on other religions and people. Book after book will tell you why everyone, who isn't a fundamentalist, is basically evil.  Gay people are just the latest of groups to be on the list of groups hated by the alleged Godly. Update: The church in question goes by the name Apostolic Truth Tabernackle and is in Greensburg, Indiana.

Please join our Facebook page here. There are a lot of shorter news links that you will find of interest which are only posted on the Facebook page. This blog page specifically deals with shorter pieces on gay issues. Our more general site has more in-depth articles on various issues and can be found here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Anti-gay Pastor Previously Endorsed Lynching Gays

"The Bible says they are worthy of death. He's only preaching the word," those are the words of ignorant fundamentalists. Anyone who thinks, "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," is actually an argument is incredibly naive.

As you may remember this "pastor" wanted all gay people rounded up and incarcerated in concentration camps with electric fences, on the assumption that if this were done all homosexuals would die and cease to exist.

The sermon below is another one preached by Pastor Worley. In that sermon (below) he said:

I’m God’s preacher. I just believe the book. Living in a day when, you know what, it saddens my heart to think that homosexuals can go around, bless God, and get the applause of a lot of people. Lesbians and all the rest of it? Bless God, forty years ago they’d have hung ‘em, bless God, from a white oak tree, wouldn’t they? Amen.

That sure sounds like approval of lynching people for being gay. People who have not experienced these churches do not realize precisely how hateful they are. Over and over I have heard them saying that gay people should be killed. So-called libertarian Gary North, a Christian reconstructionist, says gays should be stoned to death and argues this is consistent with libertarianism because the executions will be conducted by the community, not the state.

The reality is that Christian fundamentalism, like Islamic fundamentalism, is an inherently intolerant, violent faith.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Little Reminder About What DOMA Really Does

The so-called Defense of Marriage Acts is one of the most blatantly discriminatory pieces of federal legislation around today. Until DOMA marriage was defined by the states, not by Congress. Republicans, pretending to uphold the powers of the states, changed that. Now state definitions are ignored for all federal matters.

What this means is that billions in extra taxes on imposed on gay couples that are not imposed on straight couples. A widow who inherits her husbands estate is taxed at a very low rate compared to the surviving partner in a gay relationship. A straight American can sponsor their legally-wed, foreign-born spouse. A gay American can NOT sponsor their foreign-born spouse even if they are legally wed. In this piece at the Moorfield Storey Institute blog, we explain how DOMA imposes massive costs on private businesses and punishes them economically if they hire gay employees.

This video highlights another result of DOMA. We all know that the odious Don't Ask, Don't Tell legislation, that discriminated against gay people in the military, has been repealed. But DOMA mandates that the military pretend that the gay people they know exist, are not in relationships, even when they legally marry. That impacts the spouses of gay military personnel in various ways.

Consider the case of a service member who is sent to Afghanistan. If he, or she, is killed while on duty, the military will inform the surviving spouse, but ONLY if the spouse is of the opposite-sex. DOMA mandates that the military ignore all marriages, no matter if they are legally entered into, between same-sex individuals. If the service member is killed the military will not call the spouse of a gay service member as they are NOT considered next-of-kin.

If the service member comes from an anti-gay family, they, not the spouse, will be informed. And they have the option of whether or not to inform the surviving partner about the death. Sadly, there are bigoted families that will refuse to allow the spouse to know. That is the point this commercial brings home. Only the gay spouse of a service member could be the last to be told their partner is dead. They are the mercy of the family of the service member. If that family is fundamentalist Christians they may well choose to have the body sent home to them for burial. They can decided to bury the deceased without ever informing the spouse of the arrangements, the place of burial, or even that their partner has died.

THAT is what DOMA does. Spinning this as a defense of "states' rights" is not going to change the nature of DOMA. It is FEDERAL legislation, that ignores the states when it comes to defining marriage. That is not protecting their rights, it is stripping them of those rights. It imposes billions in regulatory costs, subsidizes discrimination against gay people (see the Storey blog post on this) and mistreats millions of gay Americans.