Addendum

I don’t know how, but I lost a couple of sentences from the last post.

I’ve replaced it, but it should have read:

“…political bigotry and chicanery. And let’s not forget Jamee Greer, Mike Wessler, Niki Zupanic and all the representatives of groups who lobbied for human equality- they get all the abuse, ridicule and sleepless nights, but not enough recognition. Drinks and kidneys for them, too.”

Apologies

The Joke (on us) Has (at least for now) Ended.

Yes, folks, the circus that was the 62nd Legislature of the State of Montana has been officially closed.

It was one of the most contentious sessions in memory- and one of the most publicized. Sadly, for Republicans, it was mostly at their expense. Republican lawmakers introduced the most ridiculed and bigoted legislation in Montana history- giving the state its fair share of national media attention. Only some of it good.

Mostly it was about third-rate candidates such as Billy Bob Wagner, who introduced legislation to reinstate the gold standard, and was laughed at nationally on Anderson Cooper 360 for his ridiculous “birther” bill (but mostly for his stupidity). Then there was Kris Hansen, a “secret lesbian” who introduced one of the most pro-discrimination legislative actions to ever hit the aisles of the Capitol. Mary Cheney, anyone? And the Montana GOP, for no good reason other than to perpetuate hate and shame, voted to keep The Gays illegal- and we heard some of the most disgusting testimony to ever foul a Capitol microphone.

And don’t forget (as if I could) Janna Taylor’s ridiculous, ignorant and dangerous comments about HIV in the Montana prison system. In my opinion, the defining moment of the session. And that is a short list of all the craziness perpetuated at the time and expense of the people of Montana-a better list is here.

But I want to take a minute to thank the legislators who spent a great deal of their time and energy standing up for the rights of Montanans. Diane Sands, Carol Williams, Christine Kaufmann and Bryce Bennett all spent a lot of time defending equality and testifying against discrimination, bigotry and homophobia in this session. If you see any of them, thank them. Buy them a drink.

Hell, give them a kidney if they need one.

It is folks such as these- and all who testified, protested, blogged and wrote letters-, who keep our freedoms alive- and who stand in the face of political bigotry and chicanery.  And let’s not forget Jamee Greer, Mike Wessler, Niki Zupanic and all the representatives of groups who lobbied for human equality- they get all the abuse, ridicule and sleepless nights, but not enough recognition. Drinks and kidneys for them, too.

Let’s give Carol Williams the last word (for now):

“I’m proud of our work.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I will wish you luck in the next session probably trying to fix a lot of the things we broke this time.”

We’re Homo wners!

NOT our furniture

With all of the emotional upheaval of the last 10 days, I neglected to mention that Ken and I signed the papers on a beautiful house on the West Side of Bozeman. We’ll be moving in slowly- over the next 3 weeks, but it’s the first house I’ve ever (half) owned and we’re exhausted and excited and nervous.

I had a little moment with my Dad yesterday as we were moving in the dining room table- my Mom never got to see the house- and I missed being able to share that moment with them both.

But I’m sure we’ll feel her around….

Catholics And Marriage Equality

There has always been a strong sense of social justice in the catholic tradition- especially in the minds of the people in the pews. The great advocates of social reform and justice more often come from the laity and monks and nuns- persons more in touch arguably, with the gospel and real life in general. Mother Theresa, Dorothy Day, Francis of Assisi, all railed against the marginalization of human beings- creating real social change in the world. Bishop Oscar Romero and Pope John XXIII were the exception more than the rule.

So, it was with a lot of hope that I read this:

Last month, the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit group, reported that 74 percent of American Catholics surveyed supported the rights of same-sex couples to marry or form civil unions (43 percent and 31 percent, respectively). The telephone survey asked more than 3,000 adults to choose among three options: whether gay couples should be allowed to marry, should be allowed to form civil unions or should receive no legal recognition. By comparison, 16 percent of white evangelical Christians approved of same-sex marriages; 24 percent approved of civil unions. Among the general public, those rates climb to 37 and 27 percent, respectively — still lower than among Catholics.

Catholics have always had a great sense of the social justice elements of issues- a strong sense of the suffering of humanity, I believe. They take the mandate of service very literally- the Sermon on the Mount and the Corporal Works of Mercy were always stressed in my own religious upbringing.

Evangelical Christians are more likely to struggle with fundamentalism on this and other issues, citing (often unclear or inconsistent) scripture passages, and tending to ignore social science or scientific evidence in favor of the bible.

I do know one thing: Last week, at my mother’s Catholic funeral, I introduced my partner to everyone I knew and grew up with in that little church and we were received with nothing but warmth.

Nothing but.

If only the leadership would get it- and all those gay clergy (and bishops!) would share their experience- we might have a shot at addressing reality….

No matter- the people in the pews have always been ahead of the curve. It’ll happen eventually.

Same Sex Sunday 4/24/11

by Phil Reese

Though there will be fresh interviews every week, the SameSexSunday round table will be going on a brief hiatus until Pride Month, so Joe and I sought to make this week’s expert panel one of our best. We invited a crew of past all-stars that I think you’ll love.

Luckily, we have a brilliant crew with us, because there are some really important stories we need to dive into. This week, join us as we discuss the brutal apparently anti-transgender beating in a Maryland McDonald’s and a discussion of whether or not publicizing this video is helpful. We also dissect theTennessee Senate’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill attempting to silence public school employees from discussing “homosexuality” and all things adjacent in Tennessee’s K-12 schools. Finally, we also go full-force at the House Republicans’ incredibly expensive defense of DOMA: the legal landscape, the law firm behind the move, and what some activists want to do to send a message to opponents of equality.

We also get an update on the Chick-Fil-A anti-gay charity fiasco: is one university about to say goodbye to the chain because of their anti-gay giving?

Listen here!

My Mother’s Son

First, I want to thank everyone for the marvelous messages of support during the last week. Losing my mom was/is pretty rough. If you knew her at all, you knew she was a survivor, a character who didn’t like to be bored, wouldn’t take any shit- but dished it out beautifully- and loved to eat, to laugh and tell stories with the best of them. She and my Dad loved it when we were all home, or all together somewhere. We all like being around each other- and that says a lot.  You probably know that the apples didn’t fall far from the tree- her children are all like that in one way or another….

Dad and Mom

I loved my mother in ways that are complicated and extremely simple at the same time.

She was my best friend- and the biggest gadfly I endured. She cheered me on when I needed it, cheered me up when I felt like shit and told me exactly what she thought if she felt I was making a mistake- well, she told me what she thought no matter what I did, said or thought myself. And as she got older, she did it so much more gracefully. She didn’t intrude as much as she simply reminded- and after 45 years of knowing her style, I really came to depend on her perspective in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible 20 years ago.

She was a gentle woman with babies and old people. She simply loved them, and they loved her. I’m not sure why. But there were a few times I was at my wits’ end with my mother and then I saw her interact with Sars or a baby- and it reminded me that deep inside, she had an immense capacity for love that her manner sometimes became a smokescreen to protect. She endured pain in a way that I was amazed by. That smokescreen also helped shield us from the hurt and the painful physical issues she navigated daily.

I never doubted her love for me. I don’t think any of us did-even when it was not so easy. We mostly saw through the smokescreen- as did all those close to her. She loved fiercely- she was often deeply offended at injustice in the world- and she did what she could to help out. If you were a friend, or family, or a stranger in need, she always did what she could- it was her at her best.

I like to think I got some of that.

As I bless her presence in my life- now changed a bit- I am so grateful for the many things I have been given by my family. My brother, sister, father and mother have all left indelible marks on my heart and in my life- good ones, fantastic ones. And I will always be grateful. As I grow older, those marks become lines that intertwine with my own loves and ways of seeing the world- being there for others and letting them be there for me. That’s just the way it works. For you, too, I imagine.

But for me, it mostly started with Mom. The love I felt as a child didn’t diminish over time- it just changed a bit. She always did the best she could in my best interest. And it was important to her that I knew she was interested in my life. And accepting- even of the things she didn’t quite understand. She loved Ken like she loved the people my siblings married- they were family and that was that. She trusted me because she raised me to be a conscientious person- someone who acted out of compassion, not spite. We fought sometimes, because she taught me not to give up, ever- even with her, especially if I felt I needed to make my case. She gave me more gifts that I’m sure I’ll notice as life goes on. Thet’s what I’m looking forward to.

This firstborn son had a unique relationship with his mother. It’s like that with almost every mother and child, but no two are ever alike. That woman, my mother, will be forever intertwined in every relationship I have- just as she always has been.

I’ll just notice it more now.