Tag Archives: LGBT

Gay E-Marriage Annulled: Wedding Couple Disappointed and Fearful

 

dot429 EXCLUSIVE by Xiaolu Ning – Reprinted with permission

When Mark Reed and Dante Walkup celebrated their wedding in an e-marriage  ceremony on October 10, 2010, they thought they had uncovered a loophole in the laws that prohibit gay marriage. The ceremony, officiated by Washington, D.C. Reverend Sheila Alexander-Reid over Skype, took place in Texas and included over 80 guests.

Reed and Walkup had spent months researching the legality of an online marriage.  Last year, they discovered a D.C. law dictating that only the officiant—and not the wedding party—is required to be present in D.C. during the solemnization of the ceremony.  According to Reed, he and his partner filed for marriage and planned their wedding after they had verified this stipulation with D.C. court authorities.

The couple was shocked when they received a letter from a D.C. court last week informing them that while gay marriage is legal in D.C., their marriage was not because they had not been physically present in D.C. during the wedding.  “We were stunned because the court had annulled our marriage without contacting us or our officiant,” Reed says.  “There was a total lack of due process of law.”
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Hate Kills: The Tragic Tale of Clay & Harold

What a country. Yes, the good old Yew-nited States is the land of the free, the home of the brave, the bastion of equality under law for all. Unless you’re gay, that is.

The story that follows is so outrageous and features such cruelty and evil that it literally made me retch.  Even while writing this, tears are streaming down my cheeks. But write I must: The level of man’s inhumanity to man and the assault on basic decency portrayed in this real-life nightmare is so overwhelmingly offensive that however disgusting it is, it must be told. People need to know the reality of 21st century life for LGBT people in the US — and folks, it isn’t pretty.

In case you didn’t watch the video, here’s the gist:

Clay, 77, and Harold, 88, were a devoted pair for more than 20 years. As we queers were warned to do in the 1990s, the couple attempted to protect their relationship and family from hateful hets. They spent thousands and thousands of dollars in government and legal fees to draft wills, powers of attorney, medical directives, etc., to ensure that no one could violate their union or dispute their family status. As time passed, the men aged, and Harold’s health began to deteriorate. And when Harold fell ill, those legal protections turned out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Despite the couple’s carefully prepared documentation, California’s Sonoma County methodically put Harold into a nursing home and forced Clay — who was healthy — into a different facility. Their rented home was seized, all their worldly possessions sold behind their backs. Clay was forbidden to see his longtime love (after all, according to the law, these men were strangers, and certainly not family). Harold ended up dying alone shortly thereafter.

Now, Clay is mourning by fighting: He is suing Sonoma County and other entities involved in taking away his home and goods and in keeping him away from his lifemate, his partner, his love — the person who would have been his husband, save for hate-filled, fearful, and  ignorant Californians.

My assignment to you: Tell everyone you know. Attention must be paid to the story of Clay and Harold. This sick, twisted tale illustrates quite clearly that marriage equality is a necessity, not tomorrow or next week or next year, but yesterday. It demonstrates exactly why “the people” cannot be trusted to make decisions about what rights other citizens are allowed to have. That we are still unequal under law in 2010 is unacceptable to any decent human.

Yes, I am saying flat out — if you don’t support equality under law, you are not a decent human being.

Don’t give me the religion crap: Being religious doesn’t mean one must agree to uphold or demand inequality in law. If your deity has a problem with queers, he, she, or it does not need your help or your government’s help to punish us. We are talking about civil law; your god has no power here.  At least, he or she or it should not. Don’t the religionists get juicy tax exemptions and a whole passel of governmental kissing-up: the pledge, the prayer breakfasts and invocations that communicate that good Americans are godly Americans, the money, etc.?  That isn’t enough? Apparently not, which means that these ignorant bigots have yet another sin for which to atone:  greed.

It’s time for all good people to come together in honor of Clay and Harold and all the people treated in such horrific fashion. How? By saying goodbye to complacency and apathy. By putting a stop to this injustice. By taking action.  How can you not? People are dying because of this hate!

Please, share the story of Clay and Harold with everyone you know, particularly lawmakers and the right-wing, antigay folks with whom you must deal. Our bigoted brethren must know the results of their hateful actions, philosophies and doctrines. They must be told:  Harold and Clay loved each other for more than 20 years. Now, Harold is dead and Clay is alone, all because they dared to love each other and the state of California just could not stand it.

Enough with the bigotry already: You’re making the American people look like hateful killers. Natalie Maines rightly was ashamed of being from the same state as the bigot and war criminal George Dubya Bush. I am ashamed to have been born on the same continent as those who had a hand in destroying Clay and Harold’s home, their family, and their lives. Contradicting David Bowie, this is America — a land of hate, a land that would rather gays be dead and alone than equal.

I’ll repeat that, because people need finally to get what I’ve been bitching about my entire adult life: The US is and chooses to be a land of hate, a land that would rather LGBT people be dead and alone than equal.

How sick is that?

Blogathon #53 – Good Night, Sweethearts

Well, Blogathon 2009 was in many ways a much better experience than my last go-round, which was plagued with technical snafus and more. This year, the worst thing was the quiet audience, followed by three extra hours I had not anticapated. But that’s all okay: Given the reason behind this adventure — raising funds and awareness of nonviolent direct-action organization Soulforce — it was a privilege. If you were here for any part of it, I very much appreciate your interest and virtual companionship. And if you’ve made a donation to the Soulforce effort, you have my undying gratitude. If you have not done so, it is not too late. I beg of you — do some good in the name of justice, peace, and equality for all God’s children:  Pledge to help Soulforce. Once the link goes dormant, contribute via their online donations page. You will be glad you did.

Belated thanks to the Blogathon crew and sponsors; to Mel, Gary, and the entire Soulforce family; to Jeff, Christy, David, Shawn, and God, to all the artists, writers and wise ones showcased; to all those site visitors who shared in the experience by sending emails, tweets,   and comments. Most of all, thank YOU for reading any or all of the 27 hours’ worth of writing, which is below. I pray you will take it all to heart and help Soulforce.

Wishing you love, light, grace, justice, and peace…

peace sign tiedye

Blogathon #52 – On Nonviolence

Great thinkers have said much on the subject of the wrongness of violence. Here is a selection of their wisdom:

“The powerful bless the status quo and call it ‘peace.’ The powerless protest the status quo and are imprisoned for ‘disturbing the peace.'” – Jim Stoffels

“Once we see another group of people as –‘the other–’ and subhuman, not at all like ourselves, we reactivate humankind–’s long history of tribal, state, and religious war. . . . Those who die in any holocaust die because of an idea: the belief that certain people are different and not fully human and therefore it is all right to kill them.” – Michael Werner

“No, it is not easy to grasp that the only way to suffer less is to love more, especially in politics. At the risk of seeming weaker. Yes, at the risk of seeming weaker I shall not build an atomic bomb, I shall not give my enemy a whack in the eye to show that I am stronger, I shall not make war, I shall not squash my tomatoes and apples with a tractor to keep the price up, I shall not destroy forests to build factories, I shall not poison the sea. If love is the rule of my politics and the thrust of my action, yes, I really shall suffer less and I shall cause less suffering in others.” – Carlo Carretto

“Violence is the weapon of the weak.” – Rev. Ralph Abernathy

“Without question, the 20th-century has been a century of the greatest advancement man has known. The sad part is that we still are no further along than when we came out of the caves and bashed each other on the head to settle an argument. Whether it’s between two people on a Manhattan street or nations going to war, we still kill each other. How can we claim civilization has made any progress if, despite the greatest art and mechanical marvels, we can’t dispense with murder as a final argument? So I am disappointed that we haven’t done anything about that. My hope for the 21st century would be permanent peace.” – Walter Cronkite

“Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolhardiness, as with the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. The one who has love, courage, and wisdom is one in a million, who moves the world, as with Jesus, Buddha, and Gandhi.” – Ammon Hennacy

“War is a coward’s escape from the problems of peace.” – Thomas Mann

“War, and the preparation for war, are the two greatest obstacles to human progress, fostering a vicious cycle of arms buildups, violence and poverty.” – Oscar Arias Sanchez, former president of Costa Rica, Nobel Peace Prize 1987

Thirty more minutes until Blogathon 2009 comes to a close: Don’t wait – pledge to support Soulforce’s justice work.

Blogathon #51 – A Very Cool Story

I shared this piece from the 7/6/2003 Portsmouth (Ohio) Daily Times during Blogathon six years ago. It still resonates, so let’s share it again.

Freedom Rings Differently In Us Allby Rick Greene, PDT Managing Editor

Hunter T. had always dressed very conservatively, but today was different.

He traded in his slacks and button down for a pair of shorts and a loud shirt decorated with an American flag.

“Nice threads,” Sylvia W. said as she walked up to the bar at the Downtown Coffee Shop. “Independence Day wasn’t lost on you, was it?”

Hunter smiled and replies, “Nope.”

Quentin C. grabbed a seat and had a dejected look on his face and it was clear he wanted someone to inquire.

Rufus took the bait.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

Quentin then talked about what a wonderful Fourth of July weekend he was having before it got ruined. He mentioned a round of golf, a cookout, a swim in the pool and the fireworks show.

“But when I was down there at the fireworks show on the river, I saw two men together,” Quentin said. “You know, TOGETHER.”

The other three looked at him with raised eyebrows thinking there had to be more to the story. Sylvia pressed him.

“So? So what?” she asked in an almost aggravated tone. “What’s the big deal?”

Quentin then went on to explain it wasn’t that he disliked homosexuals, but he did not agree with the lifestyle. He was particularly upset with the Supreme Court’s decision last week that made a ban on gay sex unconstitutional.

“What business is it of yours!” Sylvia said. “I mean really, what impact does it have on your life if two gay men – or gay women – have sex? Those people you were talking about might contribute to the community, contribute to their church, be good, caring people.”

She wasn’t finished. Much to the contrary, she was getting wound up in a way that wasn’t unfamiliar to the regular customers.

“People like you are the problem around here,” Sylvia said in a way that let Hunter and Rufus know her anger had just gone up a notch. “You can’t accept diversity. If people are different from you or do things differently than you, it has to be wrong.”

Rufus thought Sylvia was getting a little too personal so he intervened. As usual, his gentlemanly manner settled everybody down.

But it wasn’t that he disagreed with Sylvia. He put his arm around Quentin, in a kind of fatherly manner, and pointed out the window.

“Do you see that?” Rufus asked, as he directed Quentin’s attention to the American flag that hung on the pole outside the shop.
“Fifty stars for 50 states. They’re filled with people of all sorts of backgrounds and cultures with all sorts of religious views and belief systems.”

Quentin took a deep breath as if he was about to respond.

“Wait,” Rufus interrupted. “Just wait.

“You remember the Declaration of Independence, don’t you? ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ and all that,” Rufus said as a light breeze began to lift the flag. “What do you think that means?”

Rufus answered his own question by telling Quentin it wasn’t that long ago when people viewed blacks, like Rufus’ ancestors, in the same regard Quentin had for the two gay men.

“Do you understand son?” Rufus asked. “Do you understand?”

. Rick Green can be reached at (740) 353-3101, Ext. 244 or by e-mail.

Gotta get more Kleenex.

But first, a plug: Please give your support to Soulforce by sponsoring this blog during Blogathon 2009 – 26 hours down, one hour to go!

Blogathon #50 – Soulforce’s Spring 2009 Catholic Action

Soulforcers hit the Big Apple this year to send a message to Roman Catholic leadership: Open the table to your LGBT brothers and sisters. How were our nonviolent, faithful activists received? Check out this video, which recounts the first day of the NYC action:

Spring 2009 Catholic Action – Video Day 1

Be a part of this important work for justice — we have an hour and a half of Blogathon 2009 left:  Pledge!

Blogathon #49 – In the Belly of the Beast

In 1998, I went undercover to study fundamentalist Christian ex-gay ministries from the inside. It was a frightening, yet eye-opening experience that taught me a lot about seeing opponents as human beings, which is a huge part of theSoulforce credo. They may be wrong, but those who oppose and abuse us are people too. We must remember that. My investigative report, “The Other Side of the Rainbow,” appeared in Baltimore City Paper in March, 1999, and has been reprinted numerous times on the Web and in print. (The linked version is on the old GayToday site.)

I share the link because the ex-gay movement is a huge matter of concern to Soulforce. (Read my piece and you’ll understand.) The organization, along with other pro-justice groups, will present the Anti-Heterosexism Conference in November to address the issues and expose the myths and dangers of “pray away the gay” efforts. More on the conference here. Want to do your part to help in Soulforce’s truth-telling mission? It’s Blogathon 2009 — pledge!