Thursday, April 30, 2009

Details from Québec

Details from a late March visit to Québec City, where the light promised spring and the air remembered winter.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reflections on Marriage Equality in Vermont

My Letter to the Editor that appeared in the April 27, 2009 issue of the Addison County Independent:

After the bill giving gay couples the right to marry in Vermont passed recently, despite his veto, Governor Douglas said, “This is not a time for congratulations; it’s a time for moving on.” I disagree. It is a time for congratulations. And, while it is also time to move on to other matters, it’s worth taking note of our legislators’ achievement.

When I was growing up in Vermont in the 1960s and 70s, I never dreamed that my hometown newspaper would one day carry a story affirming my right to marry the man I love. From an early age, I knew that I was gay—or rather, I understood that I was different. I had no reference for what being gay meant, no role models to show me the kind of life a gay adult could lead. When I finally found references to homosexuality—by sneaking peeks at Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* *but Were Afraid to Ask, for instance—I could only imagine a future of loneliness and shame. Love and marriage weren’t even on my radar screen.

Fast forward to 2000, when Vermont became the first state in the US to legalize civil unions, allowing gay couples some of the rights and protections taken for granted by straight couples. By this time, there were gay characters on TV, in movies and in books. A few celebrities began coming out. And, for the first time, a young person in Vermont could grow up knowing that not only was it possible to have a loving, committed relationship with a person of the same sex, but that relationship could be recognized by the state.

Yet, the recognition wasn’t equal. As far as we had come, the simple right to civil marriage was still withheld from gay people. It remained an impossible dream. The message was clear: we will give you selected rights and benefits, but you are still less than, still other.

Now, because of the actions of our legislators, a young gay person in Vermont will know from an early age that he or she can form a family and that family will be treated no differently than any other family under state law. One day, a young gay person will take the right to marry as a given, just as a young straight person always has. By then, it won’t be called gay marriage. It will simply be called marriage.

Throughout this legislative session, Governor Douglas called the marriage bill a “distraction.” He said marriage should be restricted to a man and a woman without bothering to fully articulate why. Instead, he chose to trivialize the issue and imply it wasn’t worth his or the legislature’s time. He never acknowledged the bill’s deeper meaning for either its supporters or its opponents.

Fortunately, our legislature, unlike our governor, recognized that marriage equality is not only about benefits and protections, as important as those things are. They understood that the question of whether gay couples should have equal access to marriage is the civil rights issue of our time. S.115 became the most discussed bill this session not because it was a distraction, but because it mattered. Marriage matters. The fact that Vermont is the first state to successfully grant gay couples the right to marry through the legislative process, rather than by a court order, matters.

While Governor Douglas failed to see the significance of what happened in Vermont, people from across the country and across the world rightly viewed our legislature’s action as a huge step forward towards marriage equality in the US. We join Canada and Massachusetts and Connecticut and Iowa in lighting the path to a future where all gay kids can grow up unashamed.

Let’s, as Governor Douglas says, move on. But, let’s first congratulate our legislature for seeing this bill in broad human terms and for once again making Vermont a civil rights leader.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Idiots of the Week ~ NOM

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the gay-obsessed anti-gay group whose aim is to portray the straight Christian majority as victims, seems not to have realized that when you make an absurdly over-the-top ad with incredibly bad acting and even worse "special" effects, the intention of the ad will die and the parodies of it will come alive, much like a gathering storm! I wonder if these "actors" will put this spot on their resumes? I'm guessing no. There are countless parodies on YouTube, but, as is often the case, nobody taps into the idiocy of the right wing zealots better than the play-it-straight Stephen Colbert.

And we worried that comedy would die with the W. administration.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Idiots of the Week ~ Republican Tea Baggers!

Following on the heels of their choice to have April Fool's be the day they decided to reveal their alternative budget, the Republicans continue their irony-deaf attempts to show Americans how wrong Obama's policies are for the country. Of course, they have every right to do so, every right to protest. And they're planning a big protest for April 15, tax day. Legitimate enough. But their theme for the protest: a riff on the Boston Tea Party, complete with calls to "tea bag" Obama, and everyone else. First off, as Bob Cesca on The Huffington Post, and others, have pointed out, the Tea Party analogy isn't quite right. But even if the aim of the protest was in synch with the meaning of the original Boston Tea Party, when you put "tea bagging" into your slogan, well, the protest automatically becomes a joke. The best part of the joke is that those who created it--the perpetually humorless right wing--clearly had no idea what they were doing. You mean tea bagging has a double meaning???? Uh-oh. So, for those who are still clueless about the alternative meaning of tea bagging, here are some clues:

A "Prison Break" star attempts to explain to an obviously clueless Regis, only to have in-the-know Kelly cut to a commercial break. Presumably, Regis now understands that Lipton's aren't the only tea bags in town.

Here, a FOX newswoman earnestly explains tea bagging; cruelly, she didn't share this explanation with the FOX male talking heads, who are urging, without giggling, the FOX faithful to tea bag en masse.

For those Republicans who still need visual aids to comprehend what they've done, Andy Cobb provides remedial education, complete with illustrations.

It will be difficult for the Republicans to top this, but i'm sure they have the balls to do it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Emmylou

Happy Birthday, Emmylou. Still going strong at 62.