Baucus Endorses Marriage Equality

Say what you will about Max Baucus- and we have- but this gives me a moment of pride:

Fair is fair: he hasn’t always done what I would have liked (and it might take something much more major to get me over the healthcare debacle) but mad props for being the first elected statewide Montana official to stand for marriage equality. Thanks, Max. Click the link above to follow his Twitter feed.

Now for a Pride Present, I’d like to hear the other statewide elected officials following suit.

Hell, better yet, I want to see them in the parade this Saturday.

They’ve all been invited.

Update: Reader Karl Olson reminded us that “Pretty sure Justice Nelson came first, however, and by several years, and more openly. Nelson proved you could get a statewide vote with an unwavering pro-equality stance. Its history, but still relevant in the current fervor.”

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My Dissent Explained

Last week, I posted about my disappointment with Steve Bullock’s position on marriage equality- and there were several comments here, on other blogs and on Twitter debating whether we (progressives) could afford to not get behind the presumed Democratic nominee.

I simply want to say here, as I have in some responses on other platforms, that I am responding in the spirit of creative dissent. I am not going to lean back, say “Oh well, maybe someday he’ll get it,” act like nothing happened and proceed with business as usual. I’ve come too far- we’ve come too far- to do that.

When I moved back to Montana I made myself a promise- that I would never lie about or be ashamed of my thoughts, feelings or beliefs- even when they were unpopular or provocative. I also promised that, as a middle-aged gay man, I would do everything I could to ensure the continued, progressively advancing sense of dignity for all LGBT persons in the state of Montana. I’ve dealt with too many suicidal kids, too many disowned sons and daughters, too many shame-filled, damaged people to trust that politicians will, on their own, work to protect us.

They have to be convinced. And in order to do that, we first have to get their attention.

Looks like we did. Now, until something further is done, I’m voting for the candidate who most represents my views, just as everyone should. I’m against the death penalty, want women to make their own choices about their health, support legal recognition of same-sex relationship recognition/protection, and am a fan of higher education and preserving a clean planet. I want healthcare and insurance companies to be reasonable and efficient- and treat people with mental illness and substance issues with dignity and respect. I want the justice system to be fair to all citizens. I want church and state to be separate. I want the poor and disadvantaged to be given every chance to succeed.

I’m also a big fan of dialog, not diatribe. And dialog is about the expression of opinion, listening and responding accordingly. That’s all I hoped to accomplish. I am not out to derail the Democratic Party- and I will absolutely vote for the Democrat for Governor in the fall. The alternatives are too creepy to think about. I just wanted to be heard on behalf of the thousands of LGBT Montanans in this state- many of whom hold my views.

That’s all.

Now, about that Republican platform plank….

Waiting For Equality

By Amy White on Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 at 9:00 pm

The Big Vote: Pride Foundation's Kris Hermanns and Doug Exworthy surrounded by marriage equality supporters

Hundreds of marriage equality supporters, some driving for hours to get to Olympia, filled the Washington State Senate Gallery Wednesday night to witness the critical Senate vote that brings Washington closer to marriage equality. Supporters were not disappointed. The bill passed in the Senate 28-21.

“This is a huge win and historic day for all Washingtonians,” said Kris Hermanns, Pride Foundation’s Executive Director. “This has been a long-time coming and reflects decades of hard work and courageous leadership. Yet, we know that this is just the first step towards recognizing the full equality, humanity, and dignity of LGBTQ people and families in our state. We have much more work in the coming months to ensure that today’s vote creates permanent equality. ”

Though the bill is expected to pass in the House, and Governor Gregoire has committed to signing the bill, opponents of marriage equality – supported heavily by out of state organizations – are expected to collect enough signatures to force an anti-equality initiative for the November ballot that would seek to reverse the Marriage Equality bill.

Your support will be needed to ensure that Washington becomes the 7th state to allow loving and committed same-sex couples can marry. In the coming months, there will be lots of opportunities to get involved.

Right now, you can make sure you and your friends are following Pride Foundation page on Facebook and Twitter. You can sign-up to the Washington United for Marriage Campaign to share your story on why you support marriage equality. You can also join us for Lobby Day on February 16 in Olympia. Lobby Day will be the chance to thank legislators for their ongoing support and to gain further allies for the equality movement. Contact Christina at christina@pridefoundation.org to get involved today.

Making Change: (L-R) Kris Hermanns, Rep. Jamie Pedersen, Sen. Ed Murray, Doug Exworthy

Together we make make marriage equality magic!

Often Overlooked, Sisters Are At Equality Forefront

What do you know about nuns?

nuns

Image by neil1877 via Flickr

I’m not talking about the caricatured, stereotyped and ridiculous portrayals by movies, television and popular culture (Dead Man Walking and a few others excepted). You’ve probably seen pictures of nuns marching for civil rights in the sixties. You may heard of the selfless sacrifices made by sisters in the missionary field. And you may know a sister (or two) who have changed your life for the better.

I do. Several, in fact.

Sisters have been on the cutting edge of social issues (it can be argued) for over a thousand years- much of the hierarchy cannot claim even a fraction of the social justice work these women have accomplished. They have been working (often very quietly) to keep the fundamental message of Jesus alive- the message that compassion, dignity and respect is the only response to every human person.

What you may not know is this: they are also some of the fiercest advocates of social justice for LGBT persons.

New Ways Ministry, a Catholic organization dedicated to promoting understanding and dignity for LGBT persons, has an excellent blog post about the work of religious sisters for LGBT equality. Excerpt:

It’s no secret–though it’s not well-known, either–that high on the list of Catholic supporters of LGBT equality are nuns.  Communities of women religious have consistently been supportive of education, dialogue, and justice activities for LGBT people since the late 1970s.

After Vatican II, when nuns’ communities re-evaluated their charisms and ministries, they quickly realized that the church had long neglected lesbian/gay rights and that this was an issue that cried for justice.  They responded positively and actively.

Johnson’s article  highlights the reason that nuns can be so steadfast:

“American nuns don’t want to fight the official church, but neither are they likely to sacrifice the integrity of their consciences for the sake of peace.”

At New Ways Ministry,  we are indebted to our Sisters for financial, spiritual, and practical support over our 35 year history.  More New Ways Ministry programs have been held in convents and motherhouses than in any other type of Catholic facility by far.

Read the full post here– and follow their blog on Twitter– it’s a heartening voice in a religious climate that is often far from charitable.

So if you have a negative view about nuns, consider changing your mind. And if you know a sister who’s braving the forefront of equality- thank them. Send them this post, in fact.

We owe them more than we think.

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New Hampshire GOP’s On The Gays

Didn’t watch the New Hampshire Debate?

English: Logo from the television program The ...

Yeah, me neither. I thoroughly enjoyed the Twitterbate, though- the feeds of my Tweeps were hilarious. I was very busy watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory. But don’t think me completely irresponsible- I knew there would be some good summaries this morning. Here’s one of them.

Think Progress has compiled all of the candidates statements regarding LGBT persons/issues/paranoid persecution complexes into a single video. Fascinating viewing- especially if you’re a psychologist:

 

 

Hate, cont.

And now it’s coming from a so-called Christian church.

The Westboro Baptist Church- known for their “God hates Fags” signs at military funerals, has decided to picket Steve Jobs funeral. The Tweet:

Classy.

Never any mention of grace, love or hope from these people- just shameless grandstanding in the name of an “angry, hating” God.

I’m pretty sure Jesus would throw up.

Wherein I Become A Twit

Yes. It’s true. I joined The Twitter.

There are way too many easy jokes to make about it- especially the amount of uncouth words containing “t” “w” and, again, “t”.

Not to mention the fun with vowels.

We’ll see. If there are any experienced Twits out there, I would appreciate the help….