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.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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The Oprah Wannbe, God and My Frustration

One of the most frustrating moments I remember, which I suspect is preserved on video somewhere, was an episode of a talk show in Johannesburg.

The host of the show, Felicia Mabuza-Suttle was an Oprah wannabe without either the personality or the intelligence. I had been on her show a couple of times and this was the last time I agreed to be there. The debate was on the rights of LGBT people and I was seated in the front row to participate in the "debate."

The room was hot, very hot. The TV lights were a bit much. And the problem was Felicia kept flubbing her comments, even while reading from a teleprompter. Over and over, the short introduction was repeated until she got it right, or until they could at least splice together something that made her look good.

She was no better during the show itself. And they taped far longer than anything they aired as they spliced bits together to make the show look coherent.

I was getting tired sitting there while she made one mistake after another. Even when she wasn't flubbing her questions or comments, she was inane.

I remember her walking up the aisle in the audience, waving her microphone and then coming up with the "profound" question of the day. She polled everyone as to what God thought about gay people.

I kid you not. Apparently, this creator-of-the-universe type being, was being subjected to an audience poll.

She literally asked the audience to vote by a show of hands. "All those who say God approves of homosexuality raise your hands." And then, "All those who say God doesn't approve of homosexuality raise your hands."

That was when I lost it and yelled out: "And all those who don't care one way or another raise your hands." I threw my hand in the air.

Even if I were to grant the the existence of such a being, which I do not, exactly what would an audience poll prove? Surely, if God were in favor, he wouldn't change his mind to become opposed, lest he offend Felicia's audience.

Surely, what such a being thinks is entirely unrelated to any hands-up poll. Nor do we mere mortals learn anything about what such a being may or may not think on the basis of such a poll. If 51% of the audience said God was peachy-keen with gays, would the other 49% suddenly realize they were wrong?

Instead of discussing actual issues, as they exist here and now, she wanted to spend precious time speculating about what a speculative being may be speculating on his own. Of what use was such a question other than to burn up time for a talk-show host who was in over her head.

When the rights of real people are hanging in the balance I suggest it is best to keep our feet on the grounds and look at the evidence. I sincerely doubt that if there is a God, that any of us actually speak for Him/Her/It/Them, whatever. Those who claim to do so are mere pretenders, acting as if they have divine sanction for their own beliefs. What we really need is facts and evidence, not faith.

A few months later I get a phone call from the South African Broadcasting Commission. They were taping another show with Felicia at their Auckland Park studios and asked me to participate.

I asked for a fax number to send in a written reply—yes, this was when faxes were still in use. I simply explained that while I was happy to participate on any other show, I couldn't possibly endure another marathon session waiting for Felicia to get her lines right. I noted that her questions were inane and that she wasted the time of her audience, her guests and her crew. And, I said, she was out of her depth when it came to discussing issues.

One of the virtues of faxes is they have a physical form, not just an electronic one. I was later told by someone at the SABC that this fax was widely photocopied and distributed throughout the building by staff who were glad someone finally said it. I just couldn't take her, or her show, seriously. The two things I will never forget were the endless retakes inflicted on everyone and her walking up the aisle, microphone in hand, taking a poll as to what God thinks. Even worse, she seemed to think that poll actually meant something.

Human rights, including those of LGBT people are serious issues. And there is a need for reasonable discussion. But those discussions have to be rooted in facts and reality.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Randal Paul Reestablishes His Conservative Moralism

Randall Paul is letting the Christian Right know he is one of them, not a libertarian. He starts with his desire to impose State control over every uterus because all life starts at conception. He brags about the multiple new laws he has tried to push through at the federal level to control abortion.

Then he ridicules Obama for, in fact, taking a position on marriage that doesn't differ from his own father's views about leaving the issue up to the states. Randall made the remark "I didn't think his views could get any gayer." He then invokes the Bible against it and then says that all gays are sinners and this is sin (you may as well be deemed a sinner for having brown eyes). He falsely claims we have 6,000 years of tradition, presumably on marriage. That indicates he knows as little history as his father. The kind of marriage Randal has with his wife didn't exist 6,000 years, 1,000 years ago, or even 200 years ago.

He invokes anthropology, which if he knew a tiny bit about it, would show that the structure of family and marriage has changed multiple times in history, and he implies that allowing gay couples to form marriage contracts is magically anti-family. I have never heard any one, including fake libertarians, explain how gay marriage contracts destroy anyone else's family.

Then Paul leaves politics to preach the need for a fundamentalist revival in America, apparently thinking he is elected to preach religion, not freedom.

Ron Paul has always been weak on social freedom issues, especially gay issues. Randal is even weaker, he is a full-fledged, out of the closet, social authoritarian who believes government should control moral issues like abortions and gay rights. He will not support deregulation of marriage laws to allow same-sex couples to enter marriage contracts. Every indication is that he would want more social regulations on marriage, not less.

Friday, May 11, 2012

How Deranged Are the Anti-Gays: Listen to this Nut

How crazy can an religious anti-gay nut be? Watch this. Try to follower her logic. And just remember, the choice is between Jesus, a celibate, and Judas, a homo. I kept waiting for Rod Serling to order me to not touch my TV dials.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What If This Happened to You?

It's been a year since Tom Bridegroom died. Shane Crone and Tom were life partners, but not allowed to marry. When they told their parents they were a couple, Tom received nothing but grief from his parents, including being assaulted by his father. Tom's mother came and claimed his body, cutting his partner out of all arrangements. He was not allowed to attend the funeral, though he was told he should pay the costs for transporting the body. He was not mentioned in the obituary. He was told that if attended the funeral that these good Christian relatives intended to harm him.  Something as simple and inexpensive as a marriage license would have changed this. It wouldn't bring Tom make to life, but it would mean his husband couldn't be cut out by a vindictive, bigoted family.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Stop Gay Marriage: Save the White Race????

State Senator Peter Brunstetter is one of the Republicans who drew up the anti-gay Amendment One that is on the ballot in North Carolina. His wife, Jodie, recently made comments as to why Amendment One was necessary to save the white race and claimed this is what motivated her husband.

According to two participants in the conversation Brunstetter that "my husband wrote Amendment One ... because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to reproduce." A second witness said she said: "The Caucasian race is diminishing. The reason that's a problem is that it was white people that founded this country."

When questioned about this Brustetter gave contradictory answers. Asked if she just told someone that the measure was to preserve the Caucasian race, Brunstetter replied, "No." But then asked if the woman was lying Brunstetter responded: "No. It's just that same sex marriages are not having children."Brunstetter then said she had not made it a racial issue at all. She was then asked: "You didn't say anything about Caucasians?" Her reply: "I probably said the word."

When the person recording the interview told Brustetter he was finding her answers confusing she claimed: "Right now I have some heat stroke going on. Um, there has been lots of confusion." Once again asked if she invoked "Caucasians" in her comments she said: "If I did it wasn't anything race related." (How is that possible?)

This illustrates the "any argument in a storm" mentality of the Religious Right. On one hand, they denigrate marriage equality saying that it will harm the children in these families. Yet, here Mrs. Brunstetter is arguing that the problem is gay people don't have children. She also seems to believe that gay people are all white. And that stopping gay people from marrying will magically increase white birth rates. (Actually, in the nations that allowed gay marriage all birth rates tended to go up slightly afterwards.)

Ugandian Gay Activist on the Limits of Law

Ugandan gay activist Frank Mugisha discussed the attempts by American fundamentalists to promote extremist legislation in Uganda directed at gay people. Their original legislation actually called for the execution of gay people found guilty of "repeated" homosexuality. This extremist legislation is proposed by fundamentalist Scott Lively, who also claims that homosexuals were responsible for the Nazi Party and the Holocaust, and rewrote history to try and prove it—mainly through misquotes, out of context claims, and attributing homosexuality to people without evidence.

Mugisha, who was speaking at Georgetown University, stated a basic principle that libertarians would agree with: "If I'm doing something that's not hurting someone, then it is my right to do it. If I'm doing something that that is hurting someone, then maybe that's when we need to draw the line and bring the rule of law. My sexual orientation does not hurt anyone."

In a related event Libertarian presumed candidate Gov. Gary Johnson was invited to speak at at Tea Party event in Boston, Massachusetts. Tea Party officials made sure to invite Rick Santorum and Scott Lively as featured speakers as well—Lively has no public history of being involved with tax issues or economics, his ONLY  campaign has been an obsessive hatred for gay people.

Johnson did the honorable thing by withdrawing from the event. His office wrote: "With all due respect to the organizers and their right  to invite whomever they wish, he has decided that participating would not be consistent with his strong support for marriage equality and gay rights."

Sadly, libertarian activist Carla Howell, did not make the same decision. While she is not a bigot, she did appear on stage on them foolishly mixing her own reputation with theirs.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Punch a gay kid for Jesus

Sean Harris is the head bigot at the Berean Baptist Church in Fayettesville, North Carolina. In this sermon he tells parents to punch their son's if they aren't butch enough. All of his rhetoric is violent or appeals to violent images or violent actions.

He says if you son acts "girlish" you have "squash it like a cockroach." Apparently telling the boy to go "dig a ditch, because that's what boys do" will solve the issue. If you don't, this "dude, this kid, will be acting out childhood fantasies that should have be squashed." "Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up, give him a good punch." "When your daughter starts acting too butch, you reign her in." So, when it comes to children his images are squashing cockroachs, cracking a boy's wrist and punching him."

Is it any wonder that fundamentalist sects are so often involved in child abuse cases. In this case Harris is suggesting that if a child appears to be gay or transgendered that the parent should use violence against the child. Would you trust that man near your kids?

If you don't believe me, listen to this part of his sermon yourself.

Harris is now backtracking as his comments have become public. He now pretends it was all a joke. Apparently the doesn't think "thou shalt not lie" is part of the Bible anymore.

Harris does say "The word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly." Apparently he finds that in the Bible but the part about lying doesn't seem to ring to a bell. Actually, the Bible doesn't mention effeminate behavior as ungodly. Fundamentalists like to make shit up.

 As you can hear in the sermon above, when he calls for hitting children who appear "effeminate" he is cheered on with "Amens" from his Troglodyte congregation. When one suggests punching children for appearing gay it not only upset s"gay activists" but people who are concerned about child abuse as well. Rosie Ryan, president of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina said: "This pastor is telling his congregation to harm their children." True, that is precisely what he was doing.

The church actually does support parents hitting their children but says "we reject the idea that bruising is ever the objective." Notice how carefully that is worded. It doesn't say that children don't get bruised from the beatings, it just says the beatings have objectives other than bruising.

He also claimed that there was "not an ounce of hate being communicated" in his sermon. Welcome to the Newspeak of fundamentalist Christianity. If you express hateful things about people you are doing so out of love because only you "love them enough to tell them the truth."

Fundamentalists tend to preach that hitting children is godly and ordained by scripture to protect them from turning to evil. So, Harris can tell the media that the teachers in his Christian school "never touches a child, other than to protect the child from harm" and mean it. There are entire books written by fundamentalists to explain how beating children protects them from harm and is necessary to help save their soul. They even give tips on how to conduct the beatings so as to not leave physical evidence, and why it must be done hidden from public views so others don't know of the abuse.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Classical Liberalism's Gay Past?

Is classical liberal history devoid of gay people? Given the prominence of gay people in the modern libertarian movement, it would be odd indeed if this were the situation. But, as it often the case with the histories of the private lives of individuals living in intolerant eras, it is harder to document such relationships. I would like to suggest two gay couples in the history of classical liberal thought. The first is that of Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) and Felix Coudroy (unknown to me). The second is that of Etienne de la Bo├ętie (1530-1563) and Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592).

I'm relatively sure, that Frederic Bastiat was probably gay. He married, but in a very odd way. The woman was wealthy and he needed the funds at the time for the family property. They married and then basically never saw one another after that, she pretty much disappears from his life. I believe he may have written her some notes now and then, but they never live together as man and wife. It was a property arrangement, as was often the case for the more wealthy individuals of the time.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Libertarians are Winning the Culture War

The so-called culture war is being settled by independent voters and the winner is—libertarians. A recent Pew survey shows growing support for marriage equality, gun rights, and steady support for legalized abortion. In all three areas independent voters support the libertarian position.

The Left is losing the gun debate. Conservatives are losing the marriage and abortion debates. The only group that wins in all three areas are libertarians.

Read more here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

All Men Can Be Husbands

Without getting into the debate on war and military participation, I think this short video will appeal to some people.

The issue is equality of rights before the law to enter marriage contracts. And this serves that purpose.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Libertarians and Bullying

Kenneth Weishuhn
The Sioux City Journal did the unusual. They published an editorial that they considered so important they devoted their front page to it. The issue at hand was bullying and the recent suicide of 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn.
By all accounts Kenneth was a happy boy. He was friendly and looking forward to life. Kenneth’s various Internet pages show this to be the case. But all that changed almost over-night. Kenneth told his friends he was gay. In rural, conservative, very religious Iowa, that turned out to be a mistake. While many teens find acceptance Kenneth was quickly rejected. Worse, he was insulted and threatened. They called him on the phone, they left messages on the Internet.

In four short weeks he went from being friends with everyone to being an outcast. And when you are 14, living in a small town, that can mean everything to you.

The Journal notes that the school system doesn’t seem to actually take bullying seriously. According to them only “2 percent of their students are bullied in any given year.” Surveys among students show the rates of bully to be significantly higher.

So what exactly do libertarians have to contribute to the debate?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

City Limits: a libertarian comedy

City Limits is a publicist’s nightmare: a comedy that makes you cry and a drama that makes you laugh. It has mystery, philosophy, politics, and religion wrapped up in camp humor. It’s a touch of everything, but it works.

Nothing is what appears to be, at least not when it comes to San Francisco. That is the first lesson that two young men, fresh out of a Kansas high school, learn when they arrive in the City by the Bay. Soon after arriving, Tony and Brian are faking reality with the best of them when they find it advantageous to pretend they are a couple.

However, there are always consequences to faking reality. Their charade puts the boys in hot water, endangering happiness of one of them, while leading the other to new levels of self-discovery. Along the way they encounter mobsters, drag queens, “exgays” and Ayn Rand. Finally, everything comes to a head when the Billie Ray Lee Evangelistic Crusade and Healing Caravan comes to town.

Absurd? You’d think so. But some of the strangest parts of this hilarious novel are based on real events. In San Francisco anything is possible. City Limits is hilarious tribute to the City by the Bay and the unique characters who make living there an unforgettable experience. Paperback, 223 pages. Save on the Amazon price by ordering here.

"I found it a delightful read and I highly recommended it." J. Tiritilli, San Francisco.

"This is a beautifully crafted story. It took me into a world I knew nothing about and then whipped me around on an extremely fun ride. I was left with an overwhelming sense of well-being and a renewed appreciation for the diversity of mankind. I read this in a single sitting on the front porch on a sunny fall day roughly a year ago. I laughed out loud, I read for pages on end with my mouth literally agape, and on more than one occasion I sobbed like a baby. When done, I sat quietly in bliss watching the wind in the trees with a huge grin on my face. It was as if the entire world were giving me a big warm hug." Frank, New Jersey.

"The author has a David Sedaris-like touch with humor, but it's not just a comedy. In a way it's a triple love story—there's a romance, there's the love story that is San Francisco—and for anyone who has ever lived in that city, it was like reading a tribute to a dear friend, and there's the love story of friendship. As the story unfolded, I don't know what I did more, laugh or cry. The characters are wonderful—I loved the smothering mother, Eunice, the marvelous Stella Delish, the limo driver, lovely Lizbeth, and both the young boys. I loved the crazy string of adventures that resulted from a well-meaning lie, and especially the surprise ending." E. Young, Vermont

Creationism and the Marriage Debate

One of the more prevalent arguments waged against marriage equality is historically equivalent to creationism. Creationists ignore science and argue, based entirely on their reading of Bible mythology, that the world is 7,000 years old and that species don't evolve. For them, reality has to fit their theology, not the other way around.

One of our projects at the Moorfield Storey Institute has been the fight for marriage equality. To do that, I've had to do something that opponents of equality fail to do: research. I've read a dozen or so decent histories of marriage, countless papers on the situation regarding the laws, and contemporary looks at what really does happen when marriage equality is realized.

In that study I realized that marriage and the origins of life are similar. There are two basic views. One assumes that marriage was created pretty much as it supposedly existed in 1950s America. There was a husband, who was a wage-earner, with a stay-at-home wife and 2.1 children. For good measure, there was a dog, a cat, and grandparents who provided babysitting when Mom and Dad had to attend a business dinner.