Friday, December 19, 2008

Out for the Holidays

The most exclusive all-gay New Year's cruise everWe are on two week vacation. It is practically a repeat of last year’s holiday vacation. We are spending a week at a gay resort in Fort Lauderdale, FL called Pineapple Point. A week later we head to St Thomas to board TravelPride’s gay New Year’s Cruise in the Caribbean. [Last year’s cruise]

First night of Chanukah starts Sunday night when we are gone. We will miss having our latke dinners with family and friends. Enjoy the holiday videos instead.

Seattle Men's Chorus Ensemble sings the Dreidel song.


Oy Vey, My Son is Gay! Sung as Oy, Holy Night.


Finally, The 12 Gays of Christmas


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Anti-gay companies

[UPDATED October 2013] Many anti-gay businesses and their owners or top managers will gladly take (fleece) Gay Dollars. They may offer a product or service that looks friendly, fun or enticing to the GLBT community, but they use their profits to turn on you and stab you in the back by supporting anti-gay causes or to deny equal benefits.
This list is meant to educate the public so consumers can make informed choices. Some of these choices one makes might include the following actions:
 - quietly take your business elsewhere;
 - demonstrate, boycott or picket the business;
 - contact the management of the company to inform them why they have lost your business;
 - educate your friends and families about the company's discriminatory policies;
 - write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper or magazine about the inequality;
 - blog, post or twitter about it.
Eventually corporate leaders and businesses will learn that anti-gay bigotry is bad for business.

A-1 Self Storage Company: Terry Caster is the owner. It is a family (third generation) run company. They have over 40 locations in California. The Californians Against Hate blog reports: “Mr. Caster and his family have contributed $693,000 to the Protect Marriage campaign. That makes the Casters the 2nd largest individual donors to Yes on Prop 8.” [GuyDads]

AutoZone Inc: Does not offer domestic partner benefits to their employees. The company can discriminate against and exclude same-sex couples in ways they can't do to opposite-sex (married) couples. A Fortune 500 company. [HRC buyers guide]
NOTE: AutoZone offers domestic partner benefits where state law requires it. Their HRC Index ranks them at 15 for their non-discrimination policy while competitor Pep Boys ranks a much higher score of 65.

Barilla Group is the world's largest pasta maker. The company chairman, Guido Barilla, says his company will not feature gay families in advertisements for his products because he likes the "traditional" family. If someone disagrees, well, they can go "eat another brand of pasta." He also said "I have no respect for adoption by gay families.." [Huffington Post]

CBRL Group Inc. (Cracker Barrel restaurants) Operates 579 full-service Cracker Barrel restaurants and gift shops in 41 states. The business has a long history of discriminating against gays and blacks, both as employees and dinners. It had an HR policy from 1991 until 2002 that said "It is inconsistent with our concept and values, and is perceived to be inconsistent with those of our customer base, to continue to employ individuals in our operating units whose sexual preferences fail to demonstrate normal heterosexual values.” Seventeen workers were fired because they admitted or were assumed to be gay after the first few months that the policy was created. [Wikipedia] A spokesperson in 2008 said Cracker Barrel “welcomes all guests, and our equal opportunity employment statement clearly states that we will not tolerate discrimination based on sexual orientation." However, it does not offer diversity training, domestic partner benefits or any support for their GLBT employees. It has a Corporate Equality Index score of 15/100. [HRC]

Chick-Fil-A: (fast-food restaurant chain) Provided monetary (almost $2M) and in-kind donations directly and through it’s charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, to virtually all of the major organizations fighting against marriage equality and GLBT rights. These groups include the Marriage & Family Legacy Fund, a group devoted to opposing same-sex marriage, Focus On The Family, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Family Research Council, and Exodus International. []

Dish Network: Company shareholders recently (6/08) shot down a proposal that would bar the company from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation. Dish Network also chooses not to carry LGBT cable networks Logo and Here! [Queers United] NOTE: as of 5/09 Dish HD customers can get Logo.

Domino’s Pizza: While Domino’s does not directly contribute to anti-gay activity, founder Tom Monaghan has contributed heavily to initiatives and organizations that oppose the rights of GLBTs. He is a co-founder of the Thomas More Law Center, which is advocating in court to restrict access to domestic partner benefits, and in 2001 financed a ballot proposal in Ypsilanti, MI to remove sexual orientation from that city’s non-discrimination ordinance. David Brandon, the current board chair, also opposes gay marriage. The current CEO, Patrick Doyle, donates to conservative and Republican causes which are known for their anti-gay stances. [RedeyeChicago]
Competitor Pizza Hut, owned by Yum! Brands, scores a 70 on the Equality Index compared to Domino's score of 35.

ExxonMobil: Eliminated domestic-partner benefits for same-sex partners when the two companies merged in 1999. It is the largest Fortune 500 company that does not offer domestic-partner benefits. It also refuses to ban discrimination based on orientation and gender identity. [HRC buyers guide]
On HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, ExxonMobil received a score of -25. In contrast, oil and gas companies such as Chevron, BP, Shell, and Spectra received scores of 85 or higher. For 14 straight years shareholders have refused to adopt protections for LGBT employees.
UPDATE Oct 2013: The company announced it will begin offering benefits to legally married same-sex couples in the U.S. The company says it will recognize "all legal marriages" when it determines eligibility for health care plans for the company’s 77,000 US employees and retirees. ExxonMobil still does not include LGBT employees in its official non-discrimination policies.

Gold’s Gym is another company that betrays LGBT people. It has a huge gay membership and markets itself as gay-friendly. But the billionaire CEO that owns Gold’s Gym, Robert Rowling, is a major supporter of a new political organization, American Crossroads, run by Karl Rove. Rowling reportedly gave them $2 million through both his corporate and personal accounts. The organization funds anti-gay candidates around the country such as Sharon Angle who said homosexuality would lead to the destruction of the United States, and called gay people "sodomites" and "perverts." Another recipient was Rep. Roy Blunt in Missouri, who has voted against the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and is in favor of banning gay adoptions in Washington, D.C. []

Golfland Entertainment Centers: The Kenneys, the family that owns and runs this business, were big donors to the “Yes on H8”. Together they contributed over $35,000 to take rights away from gays, lesbians and their families. They run a chain of family fun centers in California and Arizona. [GuyDads]

Hobby Lobby is a privately held retail chain of arts and crafts stores based in Oklahoma. It cites its commitment to “honoring the Lord” on its website and closes its 500-plus nationwide locations on Sundays. Profits from the company are funneled to virulent anti-gay and pro-life organizations. The company hides behind “Christian values" claiming scripture as the inspiration for hate. [] (online insurance quote-comparison portal): The Company is a major sponsor of Bill O’Reilly’s radio talk show and Bill gives voice to their commercial. In addition to selling insurance, they provide information about the insurance industry. In an article on the business website entitled “Top five ways to kill yourself and get away with it”, They lists the number one way to kill yourself: “1. Being gay.” []

Jelly Belly Candy Company: The company chairman, Herman Rowland Sr., has donated thousands of dollars to an anti-LGBT campaign that is working to repeal a California law that protects transgender children. [Huffington Post]

Meijer Inc. (Retail supercenter) Owns 180 huge grocery and general merchandise stores in the Midwest. It is a family owned business. The only good thing to be said about Meijer is "they don't engage, that we know of, in any activity that would undermine the goals of equal rights for GLBT people," said Jay Smith Brown, a previous HRC director for communication strategies. It has a very low Corporate Equality Index score of 15/100. It does not offer diversity training, domestic partner benefits or any support for their GLBT employees. [HRC] Sounds like gay banner website but, in fact, is an on-line seed and lawn care retailer. Troy Hake, the president of Outside Pride, sent a homophobic manifesto to the participants of his company's email list, trying to rally them in a full-on campaign against "the whole CBS homosexual cartel". He says he is not a bigot but is tired of homosexuals rewriting history. [The Consumerist]

Request Foods: A frozen-food maker and supplier to Campbell’s Soup works hard to keep civil rights away from gays and lesbians in their community. In a political ad they ran to defeat a local nondiscrimination policy, they accuse gay people of being psychologically disordered, suggest that people can spontaneously change their sexual orientation, and argue that gays and lesbians don't deserve civil rights because homosexuality is destructive to society. Request Foods president Jack DeWitt has also contributed thousands to the hate group Family Research Council's political action committee. []

Salvation Army: This “non-profit” religious organization is anti-gay and actively lobbies against pro-gay legislation in the US and abroad. The money you put in that red kettle is going to anti-gay evangelical Christian lobbyists. They believe that since they're a "church" they have the right to not hire gay people because they are sinners. Salvation Army reserves the right to discriminate in hiring, promoting, and firing gay people, and in the benefits they provide their employees. And they come right out and admit that "practicing homosexuals" are not welcome in the "church." []

Urban Outfitters: Richard Hayne, the Chairman of the hipsterish Urban Outfitters, is a notably right-wing Republican who generously supports GOP candidates and causes that vote for legislation against gay marriage. His company also operates stores under Free People and Anthropologie name.
NOTE: Glen Senk, the CEO of the parent company, Urban Outfitters, Inc., is an openly gay man who has been in a committed relationship for over 30 years. However, Richard Hayne is still the founder and current chairman and does indeed have a record for supporting right-wing Republicans like Rick Santorum who are against abortion and gay rights. [NYMag]
NOTE 2: The company recently teamed up with NCLR and Equality California to make pro-marriage equality t-shirts with the profits supporting marriage equality. But the company only rates a 15 on HRC index for their non-discrimination policy. [Queerty]

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.: Does not offer domestic partner benefits except in locations required by law. Wal-Mart is the largest retail seller of books but refuses to carry any LGBT titles in their stores. [HRC buyers guide] However, they do sell an "ex-gay" children's book. [Edge] Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke and his wife signed petitions to ban adoption for same-sex couples in Arkansas. []

Two-faced corporate supporters

There is a new twist in anti-gay corporate behavior. Companies that internally support and champion equality in the workplace while profits (and marketing and lobbying dollars) go to fund anti-gay groups, organizations and politicians in the community.
These companies find it to be good business practice to offer and promote their in-house equality programs. To recruit and retain talented and committed employees many big businesses offer clear and defined non-discrimination policies for LGBT employees that are above and beyond the federally protected classes such as age, race, sex, religion, national origin and disability. The overwhelming majority of them also provide benefits to same-sex partners and spouses of employees. In addition, many of the companies seek out and submit information to be included in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. Despite their high Corporate Equality Index score, the companies and their senior executives undermine their commitment to equality by supporting and donating to bigots and haters.

Retailers Target and Best Buy along with conglomerate 3M (Scotch Tape, Post-its, Scotchgard, Nexcare) are three such hypocritical and disingenuous companies. Despite initially earning Corporate Equality Index scores of 100%, they have made significant campaign donations ($100,000 to $150,000) to an organization that backs the election of an anti-gay candidate who says that LGBT people should be treated like second-class citizens. [DailyFinance]

There are also several high-profile companies that refuse to respond to HRC's invitation to be rated. They include Pottery Barn and West Elm, each part of Williams-Sonoma; Bed Bath & Beyond; Tyson Foods; News Corp., owner of Fox News and HarperCollins Publishers; and several others.

Some formerly anti-gay companies have seen the light and changed their ways:
Bolthouse Farms (juices, dressings and package carrots sold at upscale markets such as Whole Foods): William Bolthouse, founder and former owner, donated $100,000 to the Yes on 8. Although Mr. Bolthouse claims he is no longer connected with the company, his son-in-law is chairman of the company and it markets itself as a fourth-generation company.
UPDATE: The LA Times reports, since feeling the pressure from the gay community, Bolthouse has instated a "diversity program designed to support inclusiveness in its dealings with all stakeholders including the LGBT community." Bolthouse Farms has also extended medical benefits to same-sex partners of gay employees, according to the Californians Against Hate statement.

Brown-Forman Corp. (liquor distributor): Brands include Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodkas, Herradura Tequila, Sonoma-Cutrer Wines, Fetzer Wines, Korbel Champagne, Bolla Wines, Bonterra Wines. Does not offer domestic partner benefits to their employees. Fortune 1000 company. [HRC buyers guide]
UPDATE: Brown-Forman began offering domestic partner benefits in January 2009, amended their EEO policy to include gender identity or expression and have created a GLBT Resource Group, among other GLBT efforts. These changes reflect a genuine desire, on the part of our leadership, to create an inclusive organization.

Cinemark: Alan Stock, Cinemark’s CEO, gave $9,999 to the "Yes on 8" ( campaign. Cinemark has 2700 movie screens in North and South America. In northern California they mainly operate under Century, CinéArts and Cinedome name. [GuyDads]
UPDATE: CEO Stock retired from the company in 2012 and the company now offers domestic partner benefits. [Deadline , DallasVoice]

Coors Brewing Company (now Molson-Coors) An early boycott campaign that started in 1973. The LBGT community along with others began protesting Coors’ antagonistic hiring practices. Polygraph tests asking about sexual orientation were often required. The Coors family has a long history of supporting extreme right wing anti-gay groups and politicians. Finally in 1995 to counter falling sales, Coors was one of the first major corporations to adopt same sex domestic partner benefits. They also hired Mary Cheney as a marketing representative and began advertising in the gay press. [BAMN]

Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami: Three years after a lesbian complained she wasn't allowed to visit her dying partner the South Florida healthcare center now ranks high in how it responds to gay patients and families, according to a report released by the national Human Rights Campaign. HRC has dedicated its 2010 annual Healthcare Equality Index report to Janice Langbehn and partner Lisa Pond. On Feb. 18, 2007, Pond suffered a fatal brain aneurysm shortly before they were to sail with their three children on a Caribbean cruise for gay families. After Pond's death, Jackson Memorial Hospital became a national lightening rod for gay-patient rights. In April 2010, the White House said hospitals accepting Medicare and Medicaid payments will be required to let gay and lesbian partners have the same visiting rights as heterosexuals. Also, partners will be allowed to help gay patients make critical health decisions. [Miami Herald]

Ken Garff Automotive Group (53 dealerships based in Utah but operates in six states): Two week boycott called because of $100,000 family donation made by the family run business in support of Proposition 8.
UPDATE: The boycott was called off following a series of meetings that included face-to-face discussions between company principals John and Robert Garff and Utah philanthropist Bruce Bastian, a leading gay-rights advocate. The Garff company would be formally adopting "a non-discriminatory company policy, even though they are pretty much there already." John Garff, the company's CEO, has insisted that his mother's $100,000 donation was a personal gesture and in no way reflected the company's political stance. [California’s Against Hate]

The Generations Network (the parent company of and Family Tree Maker): Initially refused to recognize same-sex families in their software. Their support desk said: “…same-gender relationships are unable to be entered in our genealogy software …because genealogy trees are intended to trace biological relationships or bloodlines. As two persons of the same gender are unable to have biological children, they cannot be entered as spouses or partners.”
UPDATE: After a threatened boycott the CEO, Tim Sullivan, announced “Our desktop software application called Family Tree Maker, which [in addition] to ancestry is one of our key businesses, is built in a way that permits this, and we’ve recognized for some time that we absolutely want the service to reflect how anyone defines spousal relationship or how anyone defines a family.” He added that they expect to support same-gender relationships and all family stories by the end of the first quarter of 2009. []

Manchester Grand Resorts: Doug Manchester, owner of San Diego’s Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel and Grand del Mar Resort gave $125,000 to Yes on Prop 8 campaign. []
UPDATE: The boycott cost the resort about $7 million dollars in lost business. Manchester offered a $25,000 cash gift to a national organization that supports only civil unions and to make $100,000 in hotel credits to GLBT organizations. Gay groups turned down the blood money. The hotel was sold in May 2011 to Host Hotels and Resorts, thus severing Manchester's financial ties to it. The company is said to be “GLBT friendly and supports the GLBT Community.” In November 2011, Doug Manchester bought the San Diego Union-Tribune (now called U-T San Diego) where he now promotes his anti-big government, anti-tax, pro-developer agenda. 

RockStar Energy Drink: Rock Star is a family business. Russell Weiner, CEO of Rock Star, is the son of Michael Weiner, known better as extreme right-wing radio talk show host Michael Savage. [Typical Savage response: “you’re one of the sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig.”] Savage helped formulate the drink, drawing on his long-time background as a botanist and herbalist. Wife and mother Janet Weiner is the chief financial officer for both Savage Productions and Rockstar. [QueerActivism]
UPDATE: After weeks of intimidating bloggers with legal cease and desist orders, the company announced in July 2009 a change in tactics. RockStar denounced Savage’s hate-filled speech and pledge that the company will be more LGBT friendly. Corporate policies will include non-discrimination clauses and domestic partner benefits. They are donating $100,000 to LGBT organizations to make up for the lawsuit threats and to prove their commitment to LGBT rights. [The Bilerico Project]

Anti-gay conservative and religious hate groups have been threatening major corporations for years. These groups include: American Family Association (AFA), Focus on the Family, Alliance Defense Fund, Americans for Truth, National Organization for Marriage (NOM), and Concerned Women for America.
They have called for boycotts of businesses and demanded that supportive companies cancel sponsorships to GLBT causes, roll-back rights and benefits to gay employees, etc. Some of the companies that have faced their wrath: Ford, McDonalds, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Hallmark, PepsiCo, Home Depot, Starbucks, JC Penny.
Local businesses in my area that contributed to the “Yes on 8” proposition that took rights away from gay and lesbian couples. These contributions derive from corporate or owner/family donations.CAMPBELL- Cornerstone Technologies, IT engineering services
- Lambert & Sons Floor Covering, residential and commercial flooring
- Money Mailer of North San Jose, a direct mailer
- John Ludwig DDS Dental Group, general dentistry
- Daniel Moore Financial Svc, insurance agent
- Mid-Peninsula Periodontics, periodontal and dental implant care
- Packard, Packard & Johnson, whistleblower and false claim lawfirm
- Rodney Norling DDS, general dentistry
- John McCleve DDS, general dentistry
- Patte Peregrina, realtor at Coldwell Banker
- Wickstrum Porperties, nonresidential building operator
- Bahl Homes, home builder and tract developer
- Nicholas LaPorta Agency, Farmers Insurance agent
- Peter Giannini, CPA; accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping services firm
- Allegis Capital, venture capital firm
- Bob Anderson State Farm Insurance, insurance and financial services
- D & M Motors, Inc., general car repair
- Lee Aldinger Insurance, insurance services
- Osborn Capital Management, real state developer
- Phillip Fletcher DDS, general dentistry
- Robert Wheatley Properties, real estate developer, home builder
- Willis & Company, commercial property services
- WSJ Properties, real estate management
REDWOOD CITY- Castle Insurance Agency, insurance broker
- Apple Gilroy, Inc. (dba Apple by the Bay), a restaurant
- ASAP Collection Services, adjustment and collection services
- Camden Pet Hospital, full service veterinary hospital
- Cortes & Sowards, management and leasing commercial real estate
- Garage Doors Incorporated, custom made garage doors
- Homer & Phillips A Law Corporation, estate planning, tax attorneys
- Itty Bitty Imprints, custom ceramic tiles of baby hand or footprints
- John R. Fishbein PhD, marriage & family therapist
- K & S Bay Concrete, contractor for foundations, driveways, patios, and walks
- Kitchen Masters, kitchen design and remodel
- Kevin W Calvert DDS Inc, general dentistry
- Law Offices of Steven R Pogue, family, estate, civil and personal injury law
- Maximum Roof Care Corp., roofing contractor
- Micrel Inc., IC solutions and semiconductor manufacture
- Paul Middleton Insurance Agency, State Farm agent
- Platinum Roofing, Inc., corporate re-roofing contractor
- Wightman Engineering Services, manufacturer of precision parts and assemblies
SUNNYVALE- Ball Internet Consulting LLC, custom programming for the web
- Donald Call DDS, general dentistry
- Joyce Kim Optometry, eye health care provider, laser vision correction
- Kiwk Keylock & Safe Inc, locksmith
- Krodel Realty, realtor
- Test Enterprises Inc, developer of test systems for semiconductor manufacturing
- F. David Crain Insurance Services, surety bonds
- Mc Manis and Associates Inc, general contractor under Mobile Homes-Improvements

Proposition 8 contributors. Doing business with companies that supported California Prop 8 reaffirms that it is acceptable to discriminate. See the following websites for more information:

More local names and businesses that help bankroll a despicable campaign of lies, misinformation and fear mongering are listed in previous blog entry below.
Please check the database ( to see if your accountant, insurance agent, realtor, dentist, or lawyer is on the list of supporters of “Yes on H8”. You might be surprised. Some of our friends were.
RELATED: HR professionals that support discrimination and/or fear homosexuals.
NOTE: I have edited and updated this entry a number of times as I learn new information.

For a review of Anti-Gay Non-Profits see:
Short list of companies supporting Marriage Equality

Monday, December 15, 2008

Contrasting Weekends

The first weekend in December we had the gayest time in San Francisco. We drove up from the peninsula and found a great parking space in the Castro. We then shopped the Castro neighborhood for a couple of hours. E found several great bargains. It was a beautiful sunny day and people were out everywhere.
We then saw the 4pm showing of "Milk" at the Castro Theatre. If at all possible, make a point to see the movie at the Castro Theatre. It is a visual landmark all through the movie. We both enjoyed the film tremendously and cried through it. Actor Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones was my favorite performance.
We then rushed off to Paul K's to have dinner and to socially catch up with another couple. The restaurant features fancy Mediterranean cuisine and is located on Gough, a few blocks up from Market Street. One of the waiters at Paul K’s is an amazing artist. Richard Freeman always has wonderful works displayed on the walls. After a delicious meal, our friends went off to a holiday work party.
Golden Girls Christmas ShowsWe had tickets to see the 9pm show of "Golden Girls Christmas Shows". We last attended a “Golden Girls” performance a couple of years ago. Back then the show was performed in one of the actor’s living room. Now the show has grown and moved to a small alternative theatre space. It features four drag queens doing 2 complete episodes at a little theatre at Mission & 11th. It is hysterical and you shouldn’t miss it if you enjoyed the TV series. It is playing thru 12/27. (info at The episodes are: "Twas The Nightmare Before Christmas" - The girls try to get away for the holidays and "That's For Me To Know" - When Blanche wants a hot tub.
While walking back up Market Street to the Castro where our car was parked we decided to stop and visit one of the gay clubs along the way. We stayed up until the bars were nearly closed. Our sinful splurge for the evening was a slice of greasy pizza at 2am. We didn't get home until after 3am.

The second weekend in December was our family weekend. We spent Friday and Saturday night at a bed and breakfast in Hayes Valley area of SF with the two youngest kids. Friday night we all had dinner at a local Italian restaurant with our oldest son who lives nearby. Saturday, Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge on a calm, clear night with a full moonwe along with the young kids and their oldest sister who also lives in SF, attended the “family concert” at the San Francisco Symphony. We were very impressed with the study guides and books received ahead of time from the symphony about that day’s program. I think E and I learned more about the development of orchestras that the kids did.
From there we visited the SF main library, Union Square and had drinks at the Slanted Door in the Ferry Building.
We finished the evening with a dinner cruise and dance on the Bay. All week the weather report said it was going to rain on Saturday, but it turned out to be a glorious, still night on the bay with a full moon shimmering down on us.
On Sunday, the five of us went to check out the new Contemporary Jewish Museum. We saw exhibitions on “In the Beginning: Artists Respond to Genesis” and “Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered”. We also had a wonderful lunch in their café.
We finished the afternoon at 42nd Street Moon to see their production of “Franklin in Paris.” It is a forgotten musical from 1964, which dramatizes Franklin’s efforts to get Louis XVI to recognize the fledging United States as a nation. It was a cute/fun production.
Holiday dinner cruise

Sunday, December 07, 2008

What happened to November?

Yikes! Well into December already and I have not chronicled November. Other than Thanksgiving, all I wrote about was Prop 8. You would not know that November was a busy month for us.

GuyDads at a costume ballDuring the month, we were out and about attending a multitude of cultural events:
- 2 musicals ('Flower Drum Song' and 'Girl Crazy')
- 3 plays ('The Quality of Life', 'Six Years', and 'The Seafarer')
- 2 operas ('The Elixir of Love' and 'Boris Godunov')
- 1 musical review of Stephen Schwartz songs
- 1 symphony, Mahler’s No. 8, 'Symphony of a Thousand'

We also attend a costume ball and auction that our local repertory theatre hosted in their scene shop. We sponsored a table of 10 gay friends.
- We were invited to two dinner parties.
- Attended one movie (Bolt).
The few evenings we were not out, we spent the time watching the first season of HBO’s “Rome” on DVDs from Netflex.

But the biggest activity for the month was a trip to Tennessee. Two weeks before Thanksgiving we traveled to Paris, TN to visit E’s family. It was an excellent visit and a lot less stressful than Elvis' black leather suit from his 1968 comeback TV specialvisiting on a holiday like Thanksgiving. We made a side trip with E’s mother to Memphis. None of us had ever visited Elvis Presley’s Graceland before. It was a hoot…and much smaller than you would expect. We also visited the National Civil Rights Museum that is housed in the motel Martin Luther King was assassinated at in 1968.
E and I spent our last night in Tennessee in Nashville. Every time we fly in or out of Nashville we make a point to spend some time and money on Church Street, Nashville’s gay business district. We bought gifts at fabulous GLBT bookstore, OutLoud!. Drinks at Tribe and dinner at neighboring Red.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Peninsula AIDS Memorial Grove

Ed and Eddie at the Peninsula AIDS Memorial Grove

Sunday was a warm, pleasant afternoon. We decided to do a hike and picnic at Huddart Park in Woodside, CA. The five mile hike ended at the Peninsula AIDS Memorial Grove.

The contemplative space designed by nature is dedicated to the memory of those who have courageously fought their battle with AIDS, and in honor of all those whose lives have been affected by AIDS. The kids hiking on the trail at Huddart ParkA plaque at the grove remembers and honors almost two dozen people that died of AIDS. Of the plaques with dates, most were men that died between the years 1992 and 1996. If they lived, they would be in their 50's today.
AIDS plaques at Peninsula AIDS Memorial Grove in Haddart Park, Woodside, CA
Curtain call for SFGMC concert seen from the nose-bleed section of Davies Symphony HallTonight we are seeing the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus 30th anniversary concert. They are premiering "New World Waking!" by Steve Schalchlin. Special Guests include Jennifer Holliday, Kim Kuzma, Piper Laurie, and the Community Women's Orchestra.
UPDATE: Somewhere downstairs on the main floor of Davies Symphony Hall was blogger Joe.My.God. We didn't get to see or meet him. He inspired one of the movements of "New Wrold Waking!"

Friday, November 28, 2008

GuyDads Thanksgiving 2008

We had three of our kids and five friends over for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving dinner:
Warm apple soup with spiced croutons
Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish
Spiced cranberry and Zinfandel relish
Mustard rubbed roast turkey, 22 pounds
Herbed bread stuffing with mushrooms and turkey sausage
Fruit and nut stuffing
Sliced Brussels spouts, green beans, new potatoes and chanterelle mushrooms sauté
Roasted vegetable galette with olives
Old fashioned sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping
Turkey Chardonnay gravy
Whole-wheat dinner rolls
Pumpkin cheesecake with pomegranate sauce
Zinfandel port cookies
Dark-chocolate bark with pistachio and dried cranberries

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Supporters of Prop 8 in my Neighborhood

Defend EqualityI think this will be my last list of names. I am tired of going through the database.
This is a list of major individual supporters that contributed $5,000 and above that live within 30 miles up and down the SF peninsula. These are people who didn’t have better things to do with their money than to spend it to take legal rights away from gay and lesbian couples. These are neighbors that really disapproved of my marriage to my husband. They must have felt threatened by it. They were worried that somehow a recognition of my relationship would weaken theirs.

My reasons for researching and listing donors to the Yes on 8 are two fold. First, the Yes people tried to blackmail and shake down..."out" major donors that supported the No campaign. But more importantly, the Yes on 8 campaign was all about trying to instill public fear and hatred of gays and lesbians. The campaign collected and spent millions of dollars to get this message out. These donors help bankroll a despicable campaign of lies, misinformation and fear mongering. They deceived the public that same-sex marriage would hurt children and punish churches.
In the not so distant past, you could make similar fear mongering statements openly about Jews or Blacks and other minorities. One could openly support causes that were hostile to these minority groups. Today it is no longer publicly acceptable or tolerable. You keep your bigoted beliefs to yourself. Gays are the only group you can bash in public and get away with it. It is time for that to stop. One way is to shame these people in public so they don’t do it again.

Their donations to Yes on 8/ are political contributions. They are a matter of public record. The State of California makes the information available to anyone. You can look up yourself and see how much we donated to the No on 8 cause. Political contributions are not tax deductible. They are not like gifts you make to a church or charity. You can not write it off on your taxes. Anonymous gifts are not allowed. Campaign reform laws require that the giver provide their name, address, occupation and employer. If they don’t comply, the gift should be returned.

Rose Adams, San Jose, CA, Self-Employed, Quilter, $5,000
Loretta R. Allred, Atherton, CA, Allerd Investors, $50,000
Larry Arnett, Morgan Hill, CA, Space Systems, Engineer, $5,000
Lynette Atkisson, San Francisco, CA, $5,000
Blaine Bowman, Saratoga, CA $10,000
Kristin W. Bowman, Saratoga, CA, $4,950
Michael R. Brand, Palo Alto, CA, Executive VP & Partner, Cornish & Carey Commercial, $15,000 
Philip Carmack, Santa Clara, CA, Nvidia Corp, Senior VP $10,000
Brooke Carmack, Santa Clara, CA, homemaker, $15,000
Jeffrey Christian, Morgan Hill, CA, Phoenix Deventures, Engineer, $5,000
John Crawford, Saratoga, CA, Intel, Computer Architect, $5,000
Lloyd Dickson, Sunnyvale, CA, $5,000
Kenneth Eldred, Portola Valley, CA, CEO of Living Stones Foundation, $25,000
ETS & Associates, Gilroy, CA, $5,000
Daniel Faulk, Morgan Hill, CA, Director and CPA at Crawford, Pimental & Co, $5,000
Cynthia J. Goodsell, Los Gatos, CA, Account Ability, CPA, $5,000
Lee D. Green, San Jose, CA, K-Swiss, Inc., Attorney, $5,000
Hardester Family Partnership, Investments, San Jose, CA $22,500
Edward Helvey, Gilroy, CA, NMHCS, Executive $25,000
Merrill Higham, Belmont, CA, Higham, Richards & Vranes, CPA, $5,000
Richard L. Holbrook, Foster City, CA, Holbrook Global Investors, Investment Advisor, $5,000
Joy N. Hulme, Monte Sereno, CA, Children’s book author, $9,677
Lorraine S. Hulme, Los Gatos, CA $9,977
Laurel C. Hulme, Los Gatos, CA, $4,950
Richard A. Hunter, San Jose, CA, $5,000
Betsy Johnson, Mountain View, CA, $5,000
Kurt D. Johnson, Redwood City, CA, $5,000
Teri L. Jones, Saratoga, CA $24,500
Robert Kenney, Sunnyvale, CA, Golfland Entertainment, VP, $5,000
Ms Louise Kenney, Sunnyvale, CA, $5,060
Brent R. Knudson, Los Gatos, CA, PLGA, Investor, $5,000
Gene Lamoreaux, Sunnyvale, CA, KLA-Tencor Corp., Engineer $8,000
Susan Lathrop, Fremont, CA $9,900
David Lee, Sunnyvale, CA, Netapp, Manager IT Service, $5,000
Ronald K. Lindsay, San Carlos, CA, Lindsay Properties, LLC, Real Estate Developer, $5,000
Parley J. Livingston, Atherton, CA PJMB Commercial, Property Management, $25,000
Sandra Loesch, Gilroy, CA $35,000
Randal Mack, San Jose, CA, Mohler, Nixon & Williams, Accountant, $5,000
Jeffrey Marr, San Jose, CA, Cisco Systems, Engineer, $5,000
R. Dean Merkley, Santa Clara, CA, D & K Real Estate, Realtor, $5,000
Joseph Moran, Los Altos, CA, $100,000
Alan L. Olsen, Fremont, CA, Managing Partner, Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., $25,000
Ronald Packard, Los Altos, CA, Packard, Packard & Johnson, Attorney, $5,000
Robert W. Peterson, San Jose, CA, Bank of America, Executive, $5,000
Charles Pope, Santa Cruz, CA, Seagate Technology, Financial Executive, $5,000
Gloria P. Pope, Santa Cruz, CA, $5,000
Douglas B. Quist, Sunnyvale, CA, Nvidia, Director of I.T. $5,000
Anita S. Roundy, Saratoga, CA $25,000
Judy Salmon, Palo Alto, CA, Palo Alto Unified School District, Teacher, $5,000
Nancy L. Saunders, Los Altos, CA, Netapp, HR Operations $30,000
Cheryl D. Smith, Saratoga, CA $25,000
Bob Sundstrom, San Jose, CA, Intuitive Surgical, Director $30,000
Michele C. Sundstrom, San Jose, CA, $5,000
Kenneth I. Talbot, Sunnyvale, CA, Northrop Grumman, $5,000
Jeffrey Wise, Atherton, Pro Solutions Inc, Menlo Park, $9,900
Jack R. Wheatley, Palo Alto, CA $25,000
J. Robert Wheatley, Palo Alto, CA, Robert Wheatley Properties, Property Manager $19,000
Robert Wheatley, Los Altos Hills, CA, Robert Wheatley Properties, Manager
Lisa Wheatley, Los Altos Hills, CA $6,000
David J. Wilson, Morgan Hill, CA, CTS Advantage, Owner, $5,000
Jaquetia Zinn, San Jose, CA $25,000

Links to databases,0,2463893.htmlstory

One last time, don’t forget to check the database ( to see if your accountant, insurance agent, realtor, dentist, or lawyer is one of the homophobic supporters of “Yes on 8”. The religious and social conservatives have been calling gay rights and same-sex marriage a cultural war for years. We can no longer remain quiet or placid.
"I swore to never be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim; silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." --Elie Wiesel

Sunday, November 23, 2008

When HR (Human Resources) attacks gays. Yes to H8

In thirty states it is legal to fire someone for being gay or assumed to be gay but not here in California. This state has enacted statutes barring sexual-orientation discrimination in the workplace. In many companies it is the function of the HR department to administer, train, and educate the employees about the laws and policies. They cover workplace harassment and discrimination, diversity training, and compliance with state and federal laws. It is the responsibility of human resource managers to conduct these activities in an effective, legal, fair, and consistent manner.

What do you do if the person in HR is a bigot, supports discrimination, fears homosexuals, or believes in church over state in the workplace?
I think it is important to ask management if the HR person’s actions are damaging the reputation and goodwill of the company.

Let’s look at some HR people in California that contributed to the “Yes on 8” campaign that striped rights away from gays and lesbians.

One of the most outrageous is the HR person at NetApp. Nancy Saunders lists her occupation as “HR Operations”. She made two donations. One was for $5,000 and another for $25,000. She gave away $30,000 to say YES to discriminate and take rights away from same-sex couples. She must really dislike gays.

Employer, Donor Name, City, Occupation, Amount
Blue Coat Systems, Alyssa Lunny, Sunnyvale, HR, $250
Cannon Fabrication, Wayne Munyer, Riverside, HR, $300
Chevron, Justin Hutzley, San Ramon, HR Business Partner, $300
City of Livermore, Kaylin Larson, Livermore, HR Technician, $2,500
City of San Clemente, Sam Penrod, Oceanside, HR, $1,000
Coca-Cola, Tara Dominguez, Kerman, HR, $250
Eli Lilly & Co., Lara Johnson, Ladera Ranch, HR, $250
Gen-Probe Inc, Gary Peck, Encinitas, HR Dir, $1,000
Graphtec America, Eileen Rose, Cypress, HR Mgr, $500
Home Depot, Richard Reep, Shingle Springs, HR Mgr, $5, 000
Imax, Rachel Lathy, Beverly Hills, HR Dir, $550
Infogain, Roxane Mortensen, Saratoga, HR Mgr, $500
Irvine Scientific, Allison Snow, Huntington Beach, HR Mgr, $500
Kaiser Permanente, Patty Freitas, Castro Valley, HR Analyst, $300
Kakimoto & Nagashima LLP, Sondra Christensen, Long Beach, HR Mgr, $250
Kyocera Wireless Corp, Sean Ristine, Escondido, HR Dir, $500
Life Generations Healthcare, Leann Hansen, San Diego, HR, $500
LSI Corp., Jeanne Wright, Los Altos, HR Rep, $3, 500
Mindspeed Tech, Jared Baker, Huntington Beach, HR Dir, $300
Moreno Valley Unified, Denise Gibson, Moreno Valley, HR, $500
Newport Corporation, Brandon Borland, Huntington Beach, HR Rep, $1,000
Northgate Gonzalez Market, Alan Bagley, Tustin, HR Executive, $2,500
Orange County, Lafayette Bartlett, Irvine, HR Mgr, $700
Rogers Poultry Co, Terry Carter, Whittier, HR Mgr, $800
Sharp Healthcare, Steven Stagnaro, San Diego, HR, $280
Shell Oil, Rulon Mc Kay, Danville, HR Manager, $500
Sheraton Hotel, Roxanna Brassfield, Buena Park, HR Mgr, $1,000
St. Jude Medical, Beverly Van Scoyk, Thousand Oaks, HR Mgmt, $1,000
UPS, Steve Nielson, Laguna Niguel, HR Mgr, $2,500
USA Presort, Melissa Rawlins, Stockton, Employee Relations, $295
Whole Foods Market, Joshua Webster, Fresno, HR, $1,000

Don't forget to check the database ( to see if your accountant, insurance agent, realtor, dentist, or lawyer is on the list of supporters of “Yes on H8”.

UPDATE: Interesting discussion about censoring HR in Human Resource Executive Online. "How can HR executives protect their companies from fallout when an employee takes an unpopular and public stand on an issue? And what happens when it is the HR executive's own viewpoints that draw fire?"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Century and CineArts Theatre CEO supports second-class status for same-sex couples

Cinemark CEO, Alan Stock gave $9,999 to the "Yes on H8" ( campaign. Cinemark has 2700 movie screens in North and South America. In northern California they mainly operate under Century, CinéArts and Cinedome name.

Movie theatres in the California Bay Area where the profits helped to support YES to bigotry, YES to discrimination, and YES to second-class status for same-sex couples:
Corte Madera - Century Cinema
Daly City - Century 20 Daly City
Fremont - Cinedome 8 Fremont
Hayward - Century Theatres at Hayward
Larkspur - Century Larkspur Landing
Milpitas - Century 20 Great Mall
Mill Valley - CinéArts @ Sequoia
Mountain View - Century Cinemas 16
Newark - Cinedome 7 Newark
Novato - Century Rowland Plaza
Palo Alto - CinéArts @ Palo Alto Square
Pleasant Hill - Century 16 Downtown
Pleasant Hill - CinéArts @ Pleasant Hill
Redwood City - Century 20 Downtown
Richmond - Century 16 Hilltop
San Bruno - Century at Tanforan
San Francisco - Century Centre 9
San Francisco - CinéArts @ Empire
San Jose - CinéArts @ Santana Row
San Jose - Century Capitol 16
San Jose - Century 20 Oakridge
San Jose - Century 24, Century 25
San Jose - Century Berryessa 10
San Leandro - Century 16 Bayfair
San Mateo - Century 12 Downtown
San Rafael - Century Northgate 15
San Rafael - Century Regency 6
Sausalito - CinéArts @ Marin
Union City - Century 25 Union City
Vallejo - Century 14 Vallejo
Walnut Creek - Century 14 Downtown
Headquarters: 3900 Dallas Pkwy, Suite 500, Plano, TX 75093

Please check the database ( to see if your accountant, insurance agent, realtor, dentist, or lawyer is on the list of supporters of “Yes on H8”. You might be surprised. Some of our friends were.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Family owners of A-1 Self Storage support discrimination

A-1 Self Storage Company is owned by Terry Caster. It is a family (third generation) run company. They have over 40 locations in California.

The Californians Against Hate blog reports:
“Mr. Caster and his family have contributed $693,000 to the Protect Marriage campaign. That makes the Casters the 2nd largest individual donors to Yes on Prop 8.

"This guy must really not like same-sex marriage," said Fred Karger, Campaign Manager of Californians Against Hate in his published blog in The Huffington Post. "Mr. Caster and many of his eight sons and daughters and their spouses have given a combined total of $693,000 to the Protect Marriage campaign between January and November 4, 2008."

If you stockpile your stuff in a rental storage facility and you believe in equality for all, be careful in choosing a company.

Bay Area locations of A-1 Self Storage where the profits go to YES to bigotry, YES to discrimination, and YES to second-class status for same-sex couples:
- 131 Baroni Ave., San Jose
- 3260 S. Bascom Ave, San Jose
- 2900 Monterey Rd , San Jose
- 1415 Old Oakland Rd., San Jose
- 1337 Old County Rd., Belmont
- 5296 Concord Blvd, Concord
- 301 High Street , Oakland-Alameda

Please check the database to see if your accountant, insurance agent, realtor, dentist, or lawyer is on the list of supporters of “Yes on H8”. You might be surprised. Some of our friends were.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Boycott Golfland - Big funders of Prop. 8

Attention miniature golf fans and arcade gamers. The family owners/management of Golfland Entertainment Centers were BIG donors to the “Yes on H8”. They contributed over $35,000 to take rights away from gays, lesbians and their families. The database of Prop. 8 contributions ( list the following:
- Robert Kenney, Sunnyvale, CA, Golfland Entertainment, Vice President, $5,000
- Ms Louise Kenney, Sunnyvale, CA, retired, $5,060
- Daniel Kenney, Campbell, CA, Manager Golfland Entertainment, $300
- Jason Kenney, Sunnyvale, CA, Manager Golfland Entertainment, $99

By doing internet searching I discovered that Fred Kenney of Granite Bay, Calif., is listed as the company's president and chief executive. Interestingly, Cynthia Kenney, a homemaker, lives at the same address as Fred Kenney in Granite Bay. She gave a total of $25,100 to pass Prop. 8.

There are 9 Golfland Entertainment Centers throughout California and Arizona.
-- Golfland USA at Sunnyvale, CA
-- Golfland Emerald Hills at San Jose, CA
-- Golfland at Milpitas, CA
-- Golfland SunSplash at Roseville, CA
-- Golfland Golden Tee at Castro Valley, CA
-- Golfland Camelot at Anaheim, CA
-- Golfland Sunsplash at Mesa, AZ
-- Golfland Waterworld Safari at Phoenix, AZ
-- Golfland Big Surf at Tempe, AZ
Corporate headquarters: 1486 Enderby Way, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Golfland will take anyone’s money and claim they are fun for the whole family. But they will use the profit to say YES to bigotry, YES to discrimination, and YES to second-class status for same-sex couples. Unknowingly, we took our children there for a day of fun this summer. I now feel like I’ve been stabbed in the back by Golfland. We will not return.

Please check the database to see if your accountant, insurance agent, realtor, dentist, or lawyer is on the list of supporters of “Yes on H8”. You might be surprised. Some of our friends were.

Notes about the Prop 8 database (
Anonymous gifts are not allowed. A campaign reform law requires that the giver provide their name, address, occupation and employer.
Political contributions are a matter of public record. They are reported to the government and are available to the general public. They are accessible from several sites on the intenet.
I have noticed the following ways some people try to obscure their contribution:
- Misspelling of their name, address or employer. Insuring the correct or consistent spelling of any of the required fields does not seem to be a limitation.
- Making the contribution under the name of a lesser know spouse or family member is common.
Political and campaign contributions are not tax deductible and cannot be counted as a charitable donation.
Contributions that don’t follow the reporting guidelines are returned.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

California Musical Theatre: Artistic Director Scott Eckern

This is stupefying. The Artistic Director of Californai Musical Theatre, Sacramento’s oldest professional performing arts organization and California’s largest nonprofit musical theatre company is a donor to the “Yes on Hate” campaign! He gave $1000 to the Yes on 8! This is from a man whose job it is to select the musicals and hire the actors and designers. He hires and works with thousands of gay men. (Believe it or not, there is a very high proportion of gays working in musical theatre.)

Hard to believe that Scott Eckern supports YES to bigotry, YES to discrimination, and YES to second-class status for same-sex couples. This is an attack on gays everywhere.

I have read his bio. He is obviously Mormon. But has he not learned anything from the people he works with or from the shows he has produced? Mr. Eckern seems like a smart, intelligent and successful man. I am amazed that he is a naive and simple believer of the Mormon doctrine, Religions and faiths can change. My religion, Reform Judaism, has grown and changed with the times. Even I know that the Mormon faith has made social progress. It use to promote polygamy and taught blacks were inferior.

We first started to make trips to Sacramento to see a musical at California Musical Theatre. (Read here and here) We discovered that the Sacramento area is blessed with a wealth of theatre companies. As long at Mr. Eckern is at California Musical Theatre we will no longer be patrons of that organization. We will make sure our friends and theatre colleagues in the Bay Area know about this as well. We love these other theatres in Sacramento: B Street Theatre, Capital Stage, and Sacramento Theatre Company.
UPDATE: Mr. Eckern announced his resignation as artistic director of the California Musical Theatre on Nov. 12, 2008. He says he will make a comparable donation to the Human Rights Campaign. He also revealed "I chose to act upon my belief that the traditional definition of marriage should be preserved. I support each individual to have rights and access and I understood that in California domestic partnerships come with the same rights that come with marriage. My sister is a lesbian and in a committed domestic partnership relationship. I am loving and supportive of her and her family, and she is loving and supportive of me and my family."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lies, Money and Tyranny

Next to the presidential race, the California Proposition 8 campaign was the most expensive and divisive campaign this year. It appears that both sides raised and spent a total of $75 million dollars. We made a five-figure donation to the “No On Prop 8” campaign to help counter the attacks. It was the largest gift we have ever given to a political cause. We spent thousands of dollars on a second “official” wedding. We combined the ceremony with program of speakers that talked about the importance of marriage equality. The wedding event motivated our 400 guest to raise an additional $20,000 for the cause.

I am angry and depressed about the vote and the colossal waste of money. Instead of prohibiting committed couples marrying, the religious right (Mormons, Catholics, Southern Baptists, etc.) could have spent their money on helping the "widows and orphans", the hungry, the homeless, the sick, the uneducated, the poor.

I am also pissed that these religious organizations used lies, misinformation and distortions to fool millions of voters to vote for bigotry, discrimination and to create a second-class status out of a minority of its citizens. Shame on African-Americans and other California minorities that forgot and ignored their own historical marriage battles.

The maddening thing about same-sex marriage ban voter referendums is that majority rule was never intended to be the ideal American way to legislate laws regarding constitutional changes and civil rights. Historically, federal and state constitutions were intended to protect and further freedom and the civil rights of the individual. Under no circumstances was it envisioned that the ballot box or constitutional law would be used to limit the rights of any individual. Otherwise you run into First Amendment issues.

Fearing the tyranny of the majority, particularly with regard to the rights and freedom of the individual, the nation's founders developed a system of checks and balances designed to make the courts the final arbiter of justice and interpreter of the constitutionality of laws; provide the executive with the power to veto bad legislative decisions and even temper the power of the ballot box.

Californians Against Hate has a website listing the “Dishonor Roll” of donors that gave $5000 and more to “Yes on 8”. This is public information that comes from the California Secretary of State’s Office. There are places on the web you can lookup all donors to Prop 8 (LA Times)—pro and con. Learn who your friends and enemies are.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Day: The good and the bad

THE GOOD: We have an inclusive president. In Obama’s acceptance speech, he stated:

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

“It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
MORE GOOD: Dozens of openly GLBT candidates were elected to public offices across the country on Tuesday, according to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. The group, which endorsed a record-breaking 111 candidates in 2008, said more than 70 percent of its endorsed candidates had won their races by early Wednesday. Details at

THE BAD: Anti-gay marriage propositions all passed in Florida, Arizona, and California. Arkansas made same-sex adoption illegal. What a major disappointment. Here in California, I feel like the voters have more concern and compassion for the rights for chickens and farm animals then for their fellow gay and lesbian citizens. Proposition 2 had a big win for protection and humane treatment of farm animals.

The Mormon Church must be doing “high fives” over their marriage win. For a mere $20 million dollars, they got to slap down the marriages of gays and lesbians in California. Glad to know they are doing “god’s work”.


My friends, Jon Stewart has a marvelous take on it all:


Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Truth and Fears for churches and ministers about Prop 8

The Fear: Churches will be sued if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings that are open to the public. Ask whether your pastor, priest, minister, bishop, or rabbi is ready to perform such marriages in your chapels and sanctuaries.

The Truth: There are two issues here:
1) allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in church-owned facilities, and
2) religious officiants performing same-sex marriages.“Yes on 8” supports want you to think your “pastor, priest, minister, bishop, or rabbi” is going to be forced to perform marriages that are in direct conflict with your church’s beliefs.

Issue 1: Same-sex marriages in church-owned facilities.
It’s highly unlikely that a same-sex couple would want to get married in a facility owned by an organization hostile to equal rights — just as, say, a Muslim couple would want to be married in a place where the pastor preaches that Islam is evil. Which is probably why we’ve never heard of a Muslim couple suing a Christian church for denying access to a church hall (or a Christian couple suing a synagogue, or a Jewish couple suing a mosque, etc., etc., etc.).
If the facilities are “open to the public,” then yes, the owner could be sued for refusing to allow access to same-sex couples — or anyone else for that matter.
The solution: Don’t rent your church hall to the public.
The real bottom line: Whether your church gets sued for its discriminatory practices or not has absolutely nothing to do with Proposition 8.

Issue 2: Religious officiants performing same-sex marriages.
To require any church to perform any civil marriage is unconstitutional — that is, it violates the United States Constitution.
No church can be forced to perform any marriage. The Catholic Church will not, and cannot be forced to, perform a marriage for a non-Catholic couple, nor for a divorced Catholic (a Catholic whose previous marriage was annulled by the church, yes, but not a civilly divorced Catholic). The same goes for every other church — and applies to secular officiants as well (i.e., an atheist officiant cannot be forced to perform a religious ceremony).
The only way to “force” any clergy member to do anything against the tenets of his or her church is by way of a constitutional amendment to strike the Free Exercise Clause from the First Amendment, or to repeal the First Amendment altogether. That isn’t going to happen.
Now, if you want a real slippery slope that will threaten religious freedom in the United States, then a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (state or federal) is the way to go.

First, forcing the government to declare which marriages are legal and which are not based on the religious ideology of any one group restricts the religious freedom of every other religious group. That means if, say, Catholics could force the government to abide by Catholic doctrine, all non-Catholic marriages would be null and void. (Sure it’s a stretch, but according to the radical righties, nothing’s “impossible”… right?)

Second, if the righties want to argue that marriage is a “sacred” religious institution, they run the risk of invalidating their own authority to perform legally-recognized marriages.

The Fear: Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages will be sued for hate speech and could be fined by the government.

The Truth: This is a lie, combined with irrelevant fearmongering. I could sue Pat Robertson for hate speech right this minute (anybody can sue anybody for anything, especially in California), but I wouldn’t win. His hate speech (and everyone else’s) is completely protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There are yelling-fire-in-a-theatre exceptions (e.g., inciting violence), but Fred Phelps will still be free to scream “God hates fags” all he likes.
In fact, ministers will still be free to tell their congregations how to vote on ballot initiatives like Proposition 8, without worrying about losing their federal tax-exempt status. (The only kind of politicking preachers can’t do in an official capacity is promote specific candidates. That’s why bully-pulpiteer James Dobson spun off “Focus on the Family Action” from Focus on the Family; Dobson is quite open about its purpose: “Focus on the Family Action is a new cultural action organization that is completely separate from Focus on the Family, legally. It has been created by separating out of Focus on the Family those activities which constitute lobbying under the IRS code…”)
Again, Proposition 8 has no impact on existing hate-crimes laws (there are no specific “hate speech laws”).

The above summary is from the Lavender Newswire story, “Six Big Lies the Freedom-Haters Are Spreading About Proposition 8.” I have edited it down to the two most common issues that I find that Google searches bring to my blog.

There are many individual Christian Churches that support “No On Prop 8”. They include churches from the following denominations:
Episcopal Church
Lutheran Church
Metropolitan Community Church
Presbyterian Church
Unitarian Universalists
United Church of Christ
United Congregational Church
United Methodist Church

Friday, October 31, 2008

High Tech for Gays

A group of high tech Silicon Valley leaders have taken a stand for equality. In a recent newspaper ad they say: “We are committed to equality and fairness. We are opposed to Proposition 8 because it would change our state constitution to take away rights from one group of people. It would set our state, and our country, back in the fight for fundamental fairness and equal rights.

"Please join us by reaching out to friends and neighbors and asking them to stand for fairness: Vote No on Proposition 8 on November 4th.”

Silicon Valley Leaders Say NO on Proposition 8: (titles are for identification purposes only)
Sergey Brin, Founder, Google, Inc.
Bill Campbell, Chairman, Intuit Inc.
David Filo, Founder, Yahoo! Inc.
Chuck Geschke, Founder & Chairman, Adobe Systems, Inc.
John Morgridge, Former CEO & Chairman, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Pierre Omidyar, Founder and Chairman, eBay Inc., Founding Partner, Omidyar Network
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google, Inc.
Jerry Yang, Founder, Yahoo! Inc.

LEADERS (partial list)
Deborah Barber, Principal, Jackson Hole Group
John Battelle, Chairman & CEO, Federated Media
Larry Birenbaum, Former Senior Vice President, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Lorna Borenstein, President, Move, Inc.
Larry Brilliant, Executive Director,
Owen Byrd, President, Byrd Development
John Chisholm, Chairman & CEO, CustomerSat, Inc.Barry Cinnamon, CEO, Akeena SolarTod Cohen, Director of Government Affairs, eBay Inc.
LaDoris Cordell, Administrator, Stanford University
Sue Decker, President, Yahoo! Inc.Jack Dorsey, Chairman, TwitterDavid Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development & Chief Legal Officer, Google, Inc.
Donna Dubinsky, CEO, Numenta, Inc.
Alan Eustace, SVP, Engineering and Research, Google, Inc.
Naomi Fine, President & CEO, Pro-Tec Data, Inc.
Rachel Glaser COO/CFO,
Carl Guardino, President & CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Andre Haddad, CEO,
Jeff Hawkins, co-Founder Palm, Handspring, and Numenta
David Karnstedt, Investor Scott Kaspick, Managing Director, Kaspick & Co.
Steve Kirsch, Serial Entrepreneur
John Koza, CEO, Third Millennium
Ross LaJeunesse, Head of State Policy Western US, Google, Inc.
Gary Lauder, Managing Partner, Lauder Partners Venture Capital
Laura Lauder, General Partner, Lauder Partners Venture CapitalLen Lehman, Investor
John Luongo, Former CEO, Vantive CorporationRoger McNamee, Managing Director & co-Founder, Elevation Partners
Ken McNeely, President, AT&T CaliforniaMichael Moritz, Partner, Sequoia CapitalSusan Packard Orr, CEO, Telosa Software, Inc.
Randy Pond, Executive Vice President, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Amy Rao, Founder & CEO, Integrated Archive SystemsJana Rich, Managing Director, Russell Reynolds Associates, Inc.
Miriam Rivera, Former Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Google, Inc.Dan Rosensweig, Investor
Dan Rubin, Partner, Alloy Ventures
Hilary Schneider, Executive Vice President US Region, Yahoo! Inc.Len Shustek, Chairman, Computer History Museum
Jeff Skoll, Former President, eBay Inc.
Stephanie Tilenius, SVP, eBay North America
Joy Weiss, President & CEO, Dust Networks
Steve Westly, former California State Controller & former SVP eBay Inc.
Evan Williams, CEO, Twitter

What can you do?
Give as much as you can afford. You can easily donate at

- Vote No on Proposition 8 in California
- Vote No on Proposition 102 in Arizona
- Vote No on Amendment 2 in Florida

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jews for Gays

Jews for Marriage EqualityAt times it may not seem like it, but not all religions are against gays. The Jewish Reform and Reconstructionist movements have embraced and supported gay marriage for decades. Although the Conservative branch is not there yet, there is dialogue, learning and small changes happening. Unfortunately the small Orthodox movement is firmly on the side of the Mormons, Catholics, and Evangelicals. They can not reconcile “equality for all” with their religious beliefs.

The week before our wedding (October 19), the Board of Directors of our synagogue, Congregation Beth Am, endorsed the following resolution:

“The California Constitution should guarantee that every Californian be treated fairly. Congregation Beth Am of Los Altos Hills opposes any initiative that would amend the state constitution in an attempt to ban marriage for gay and lesbian couples in California.

“This action is consistent with the core values of the Reform movement: affirming the dignity of all persons, and standing up for equality under the law and civil rights for gays and lesbians. It is also consistent with our long-standing practice at Beth Am to recognize and marry same- sex couples. Additionally, The Union for Reform Judaism’s Pacific Central West Council has urged their California congregations to get involved in the campaign to defeat Proposition 8.”

In a recent press release:
“The Union for Reform Judaism’s Pacific Central West Council (“PCW”) passed a resolution last week opposing Proposition 8…In so doing, the Northern California based Council joined the URJ Pacific Southwest Council (“PSW”), headquartered in Los Angeles, which had passed a similar resolution in June.

“The PCW’s “Protection of the Freedom to Marry” resolution, mirroring the language of a 2004 PSW resolution supporting the freedom of gays and lesbians to marry, calls marriage “a basic human right and an individual personal choice” and declares that “the State should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and to share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage.”

“Rabbi Linda Bertenthal, Co-Acting Regional Director of the PCW and Senior Associate Director of the PSW, explained the importance of this issue to the Reform Movement as follows:

“The Reform Movement holds that we are all created equally in God’s image – male and female, straight and gay – and that all are therefore entitled to equality and fairness. And we know that God created human beings to be in relationship, which makes marriage truly a fundamental freedom. We cannot and will not stand idly by when Proposition 8 threatens to take away such a fundamental freedom and to hurt the gay and lesbian members of our community; we are called to protect the freedom to marry and the equality of all.”

Conservative Rabbi Sheldon Lewis was one of the speakers before our wedding. In his remarks, he said the following:

“Now we have much less patience with racial injustice, with inequality for women, and with keeping the handicapped trapped within severe boundaries. Torah and Halacha (Jewish law) have learned deeply from our age, and they are evolving. No religious stream within Judaism has been impervious to these changes. A key sign of vitality for every religious tradition is its capacity to stretch itself in every new age. We simply have to acknowledge, I believe, that our need to grow our tradition in light of new insights will never cease.

“Surely marriage equality for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters marks an urgent new frontier for Torah and Halacha. Verses in the book of Leviticus have brought untold suffering. I am so very sorry that these ancient strictures and the prejudice they represent have caused and continue to cause such pain for so many in eras past until this day. I am so sorry that it often takes so very long for us collectively to take a new look and commit to higher and more just values. I am so sorry that I personally took so long to realize my error and to continue to assume that our tradition was wise in this area. Now it seems so clear. God’s creation is so wondrously diverse. The Divine Image in every person is expressed in uncounted ways. Homosexuality is part and parcel of God’s creation. To deny any person the right to live fully and joyfully, to discourage or to prevent any person from finding a lifetime partner with whom to fashion a home in love, to hinder that couple from receiving the full benefits of the law in our society, and to place obstacles before two people to celebrate their commitment legally and publicly simply fly in the face of God’s justice and compassion. We need to recalibrate our tradition in light of our new learning. We are blessed that today in this sanctuary and in this age, we are taking steps to do just that.”

Jews for Marriage EqualityUPDATE: Along with the Reform and Conservative movements, ADL, Hadassah, and the American Jewish Committee, the board of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley voted on October 2 to add its name to the website
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