Friday, May 30, 2008

Condi visits the Farm

Condi at the Farm

On the Friday morning before Memorial Day Weekend we were all greeted by bomb sniffing dogs and secret service guys. At first we thought one of the presidential candidates were going to visit.

Turned out Condoleezza Rice was the guest. She was in the conference room across the hall from me. The 'buzz' is she is looking to come back to "The Farm" after she is done with George. She use to be Provost here. Maybe she will join her old pal, Donald Rumsfeld, as a Hoover fellow.
We have heard from friends that know Ms Rice that her dream job would be NFL commissioner. She is quoted by ESPN saying "I think there's no more interesting and better-run institution than the NFL. "

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Unconventional Vegas

We spent the second weekend of May in Las Vegas. I had not been to Las Vegas since I was a kid riding in the backseat of my parents’ station wagon fighting with my brother. E, on the other hand, has been there about eight times on business and vacationing with family and friends. Every time he goes, he says he will never go back. Fortunately, it has been six years since he had last been there and his resistance was down. The reason we decided to visit now was to check out the Blue Moon Resort, Las Vegas' only hotel exclusively for gay men.

Nice room at Blue Moon Resort in Las VegasThe Blue Moon Resort was pleasant. The resort has a lot of good attributes and one major negative. The rooms are nicely decorated with a comfortable bed. The grounds, pool and sundeck are attractive. Amenities include 10-man Jacuzzi enclosed in a poolside cave with waterfall, clothing optional heated pool, steam room, showers, locker area, video room and a break/internet lounge. They offer a typical nice motel continental breakfast and Sundays feature an afternoon BBQ. Both the overnight and day pass guests were diverse and friendly. The staff was helpful when you tracked them down.

Exterior of Blue Moon Resort, Las Vegas' only hotel exclusively for gay men.The depressing part is the location. It is located in the industrial district about 4 blocks west of Circus Circus. There is nothing around other then warehouses, light industrial businesses and a couple seedy hetero strip clubs. Nothing. No fast-food, sandwich shops, convenience or liquor stores. And it is 45 minute walk to the Strip or a $12 cab ride.

Despite the location, we had an enjoyable and restful time. We especially enjoyed sitting around the pool all day reading and watching the guys go by. We would stay there again or visit with a day pass.

What made our trip unconventional was that neither one of us gambles or likes to stay in over priced luxury resort/hotel rooms. Other than eating at some wonderful restaurants on the Strip, we did not check out any of the other gay bars or clubs (8 1/2, Piranha, Gipsy, Krave, etc.) We were not there to see shows (very irregular for us). Las Vegas Little Theatre's production of Dog Sees GodWe are saving our big ticket buys for when we see a dozen Broadway shows in NYC in July. However, we could not resist a local community theatre production we read about in the gay press. The Las Vegas Little Theatre was doing a production of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead”. The show is a funny parody of the Peanuts gang now in high school that covers topics such as drug use, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion and sexual identity.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gay Bible Verses and References

And the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. It is time to celebrate and acknowledge the uniquely spiritual same-sex relationships and devoutly queer individuals in the bible. I am amazed at how many Christians love to stone people different from them with their "deeply held religious beliefs" and selective Bible verses. It is all so negative, hurtful and unloving. Even to refute and counter their small minded beliefs is a negative exercise. Instead, I have pulled together the stories of a number of homosexual Biblical characters and several positive Biblical messages dealing with same-sex relationships. Let's call them "deeply held gay religious beliefs."

The Bible hosts numerous same-sex intimate relationships and holy unions. Such relationships were just as common then as now:
* The story of David and Jonathan (1 and 2 Samuel) is the best known relationship of several queer-friendly stories in the Bible. David, soon to be the 2nd king of Israel and writer of many of the Psalms, was an accomplished warrior and slayer of Goliath. Jonathan was the eldest son of Saul, the first king of Israel. Their celebrated covenant/love story encompasses more chapters on the Bible than any other love story. This powerful and intimate story suggests that same-sex couples are affirmed and blessed by God. Christian genealogies list David as an ancestor of Jesus and his grandfather was the son of Naomi. When Jonathan is killed in battle, David laments, "Greatly beloved were you to me; your love for me was wonderful, passing the love of women."

* Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:13-18) is another. Ruth loved Naomi as Adam loved Eve. She pledged everything to be with her and take care of Naomi. Ruth's vow to Naomi has been used to exemplify the nature of the marriage bond. Throughout Christian history, her words are often read at weddings and used in sermons to explain the ideal love that spouses should have for one another. The fact that one woman to another originally spoke these words tells us a lot about how God feels about same-gender relationships.

* Daniel and Ashpenaz (Daniel 1:9) is a brief story that tells of the love between Ashpenaz, the chief of the court officials of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and the young prophet Daniel, the Prince of the Eunuchs. In the verse Ashpenaz showed "mercy and engaged in physical love" with Daniel. When reading about Daniel and Ashpenaz, it is important to remember that they were both eunuchs. Don’t assume that eunuchs couldn’t be gay. Men can retain their sexual drive if castration or physical damage occurs after puberty. The book tells of how Daniel and his young Judean companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were inducted into Babylon during Jewish exile. Daniel is known for his prophecies of great world empires, "the writing on the wall" and Daniel in the lions' den. No other romantic interest or sexual partner of Daniel is mentioned in the Bible.

* Two New Testament accounts relate the story of Jesus’ encounter with the gay Roman centurion whose "pais" (beloved or same sex lover/servant) is sick at home in bed (Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:2-10). This scripture reveals the day Jesus met and blessed a gay man. The centurion's relationship has a vivid gay subtext that Jesus would have known about, and yet accepts the bond between the two men without comment and heals the pais-same sex lover. This is one of many stories where Jesus looked beyond the conventional moral response. This and other stances would prove deeply troubling to the religious and social authorities of the time.

* Lydia of Thyatira (Acts 16), the independent, Gentile businesswoman, seller of purple cloth (a rare, expensive product) and the first European Christian was most likely a lesbian. A liberated woman, autonomous from male control, was unheard of at the time. There is no mention of a husband, children, or being widowed. Lydia is noted to have led a women's collective to whom Paul preached. She supports Paul on his missionary journey and Paul baptizes her and her household.

* Saint Paul the Apostle, founder of Christianity as a world religion distinct from Judaism and writer of many of the epistles in the New Testament (Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon, Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus), lived a lifestyle that brings his sexuality into question. Many scholars have suggested that Paul himself was a homosexual. He was torn by multiple conflicts. He wrestled with what he desired intellectually versus the desire of his body or as he called it, a “thorn” in his flesh. Paul pushed himself and his followers to a legalistic religion of control. He lashed out when that system was threatened. He had a pejorative attitude toward women. He rejected marriage as an outlet for his passion and had no sympathy for heterosexuals who couldn't control their sexual desires. Meanwhile, his stormy relational life was focused on men, such as Timothy, Barnabas and Silas. Today, Paul would be viewed as exhibiting the traits of a conflicted, closeted homosexual.

* There has always been speculation about the sexuality of Jesus of Nazareth. Did he or didn’t he experience the full range of human emotions and feelings associated with sexuality? And if he did, were both women and men part of the experience? Sexual activity of Jesus and the disciples is not given any overt attention in the gospels.  Any conclusions on that subject are pure speculation. Nevertheless, Jesus was very comfortable sharing intimate affection and friendship with members of his own sex. 

Two men were especially close to Him.
* The first was Lazarus (John 11), a bachelor brother living with two spinster sisters. Lazarus was referred to by Jesus' friends, when speaking to Jesus, simply as "the man you love," He was so dear that Jesus would weep openly at his tomb and perform, for him, his most astounding miracle, raising him from the dead in the very shadow of Jerusalem and provoking the fatal wrath of the religious authorities.

* Apostle John, the beloved companion of Jesus was one of the twelve apostles and the author of the Gospels of John and the book of Revelation. John was originally a fisherman and a disciple of John the Baptist. He later became a disciple of Jesus and was the only one that remained with Jesus at the cross of Calvary.  He is among the "inner three" who were with Jesus on special occasions: the Transfiguration, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the preparations for the Last Supper. John never married unlike the other disciples. In his gospel John never refers to himself by name.  He describes himself on five occasions as "the one whom Jesus loved." John continually draws the reader's attention to this special affection and fondness that Jesus exhibited toward him.  In the account of the Last Supper he is depicted reclining next to Jesus, with his head near or on Jesus' "bosom."

Throughout the centuries, theologians have discussed the obvious relationship between the disciple John and Jesus. It is not a modern interpretation. For example:
 -- Aelred of Rievaulx, a 12-century English writer and Saint, in his work Spiritual Friendship (1160), referred to the relationship of Jesus and John as a "marriage" and held it out as an example sanctioning friendships between clerics.
-- James I of England (1566-1625), who sponsored and authorized a new translation of the Bible into English (KJV Bible), defended his close relationship with the young Duke of Buckingham by saying: "I wish to speak in my own behalf and not to have it thought to be a defect, for Jesus Christ did the same, and therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had his son John, and I have my George.”
-- Others who have given voice to this interpretation of the relationship between Jesus and John were two Age of Enlightenment (18th century) thinkers: French philosopher Denis Diderot and English philosopher Jeremy Bentham.
-- In 2005, US Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson discussed the possible homoerotic inclinations of Jesus in a sermon. "Interestingly enough, in this day of traditional family values, this man that we follow was single, as far as we know, travelled with a bunch of men, had a disciple who was known as 'the one whom Jesus loved' and said my family is not my mother and father, my family is those who do the will of God."

These stories speak from the Bible to our changing world today! God has included positive stories about gays.

David’s and Jonathan’s holy union covenant contained four identifiable components of marriage: the bonding of two souls in love, the familial aspect of their relationship, a mutual exchange of obligations and covenant oaths between David and Jonathan. David and Jonathan were bound to each other by their love. Jonathan’s soul was “knit” to David’s soul.

David and Jonathan lived in a culture that accepted their relationship without a second thought. They conducted their relationship openly. Their story played a prominent part in the narrative of 1 and 2 Samuel. This prominence is further evidence regarding social and cultural acceptance at the time the story was told and written. The biblical validation of their holy union is that David "was prospering [acting wisely] in all his ways for the Lord was with him," and that their covenant was made, "before the Lord." If God viewed their relationship poorly, these pieces of textual evidence simply would not exist. Through their story and others, God affirms and sanctifies same-sex, same-gender holy unions.

Paul insists that 'the one who loves another has fulfilled the law' (Romans 13:8)The apostle Paul says, "Test all things and hold fast to that which is good." Paul reminds Christians that they are under a new law: the law of Jesus, a law of love that requires us to do more than just avoid murder, adultery, lying, cheating, and stealing. Paul tells us what God wants is not strict adherence to a list of laws, but a pure heart, a good conscience, and a faith that is genuine.

Paul teaches that through Baptism all relationships have, in a sense, become “same-sex” relationships, because “there is no longer … male and female” (Galatians 3:28). Same-sex marriages symbolize this more directly than heterosexual marriages, though both can symbolize it in their own ways.

Paul also insists that “the one who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8), that “nothing is unclean in itself” as long as we don’t regard it as unclean (Romans 14:14). That’s why Christians no longer worry about whether it’s OK to breed mules or wear a mixed-fiber shirt. That’s why most Christians allow eating rare steak too, even though the practice is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments and in early canon law. There doesn’t seem to be any good reason not to apply the same insight to same-sex marriages.

Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. Christian weddings have already allowed a Christian definition of love in Christ’s gender-transcending body to redefine marriage. Marriage is no longer a transfer of ownership from one male to another. It’s now become primarily a prayerful, permanent, life-welcoming, mutual, self-giving, physically intimate commitment between two people. Same-sex marriage simply carries this insight to a very fitting conclusion.

Thousands of years ago, David and Jonathan joined with each other in a holy union that was affirmed and validated by God. The time has now come for our state and federal governments to follow God's lead and legally recognize the validity and sanctity of our relationships.

Thanks to the following writers for their above inspirational words: Christopher Hubble and Rev. Dr. Charles W. Allen.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Activist Tips for Gay Marriage

After celebrating the California Supreme Court decision, there will be a lot of work to do to insure that we do not lose this right.

According to news reports, same-sex couples could tie the knot in as little as a month. But the window could close soon after because religious and social conservatives are pressing to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November that would undo the Supreme Court ruling and ban gay marriage.

Poll after poll shows significant differences in public attitudes towards gays and lesbians across potentially adversarial subgroups of the population. People in these subgroups, even the most conservative and religious, are more likely to describe themselves as having positive feelings towards gays and lesbians when they know someone personally over people that say they don’t know any LGBT folk. This is one of the major reasons to be out to family and friends. It is much harder to oppress and hate someone you know.

It is important to join the conversation right away. Whether you get your news from on line national news outlets or your local newspaper’s Web site, take a moment to post thoughtful comments at the bottom of Internet news stories about the ruling.

Don’t forget to write a letter. Send it to the editor of your local newspaper. Even if your letter isn’t published, editors make their selections based on the views of the letters they receive — so the more they hear from the LGBT community, the better.

Letter writing tips
Editors will always choose a short, pithy letter over a lengthy, rambling treatise. So make your letter short, punchy, and to the point. Focus on keeping your letter to 100-150 words.

Personal stories beat out statistics 9 times out of 10. Our inclination is to use statistics to support our argument because we assume readers will make decisions based on facts. That is not the case. People form opinions based on emotions and values. And the best way to communicate values and emotions is by telling a (short!) personal story.

Use every opportunity — meaning every sentence — to communicate your most important message. Ultimately, the “Letters to the Editor” editor has final say over which of your sentences stay and which of them go. Don’t risk the chance that your key message will be left on the editing room floor.

Use your letter to respond with your key messages rather than to react to the messages of the opposition. If you repeat the language of the opposition, you are giving their voice one more opportunity to be heard. A letter that begins, “The court’s decision on marriage is not about special rights,” will reinforce the idea that the court decision is exactly about special rights. You wouldn’t give the opposition money to run a commercial against us; don’t give them a voice in your letter, either.

Your letter should always include your complete name, phone number, and the city you live in. Your phone number will not be published, but many newspapers will call to verify that you actually wrote the letter.

Although newspapers usually accept letters by fax and snail mail, many editors prefer email. Why? Because it means the difference between an editor spending five to ten seconds to cut and paste your letter, compared with five to ten minutes to retype it. Email also arrives faster than snail mail. When sending by email, paste your letter into the body of an email. Never send attachments.

Thanks to NCLR for the letter writing tips!
From Equality CaliforniaLet California Ring” website, tips on how to have a conversation with neighbors, co-workers, and family members about why we all deserve the freedom to marry.

10 Ways to start conversations about the Freedom To Marry:

The freedom to marry isn’t just about the legal right to marry but about the opportunity to celebrate love and commitment in a supporting, understanding, and accepting society.

1. Think about it--what if you were told that you couldn't marry or do something that was personally and profoundly important to you? How would that make you feel, change your relationship, your future plans, your life?

2. In a free society, two people in a committed, trusting, and loving relationship expect the freedom to marry and the honor and support that come with marriage.

3. People can have different beliefs and still treat everyone fairly.

4. Having the same opportunities to realize hopes and dreams is a cornerstone of freedom.

5. Even if we disagree on marriage for gay and lesbian couples, does that mean it should be illegal? Is it for us to judge other people?

6. Should we close the door on marriage and full inclusion in society for some people?

7. Not everyone wants to get married, but right now the government is making that decision for gay and lesbian people.

8. Does excluding someone from marriage impact their family's perception of their relationship?

9. Domestic partnerships don't provide the same security as marriage. They exclude people from marriage and create a two-tiered system at odds with the principle that separate is not equal.

10. If two people want the responsibility and commitment of marriage, is it the business of government to tell them they can't marry, whether they are gay or straight?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The changing state of marriage

GuyDads and familyCalifornia Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision to legalize same-sex marriage. “In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.

We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.

Celebrating loveMarriage equality is an emotional and political issue for many people. Let us not forget the legal precedent and historical context for it. For the last 150 years or so, the American democratic process has changed and reshaped marriage. Despite what the Republicans and religious bigots say, marriage has constantly gone through and survived many activists' attacks and come out just fine.

Early American settlers brought a variety of marriage traditions. Common-law, civil ceremony and other informal arrangements were more customary among the lower classes because they had little property to protect. Virginia was a colony that stayed with the customs of the church and did not permit anyone to have a civil marriage ceremony as they followed the Church of England. By the end of the eighteenth century both religious and civil marriage ceremonies were legal in America. However slaves, a substantial percentage of the population, were forbidden to marry.

Up until the 1860's in America, women were considered property of their husbands. They could not own property or sign contracts. Their work, income, and creations belonged to their husbands. Changing this was against many religious beliefs and cherished social values. The Bible says a woman should be subject to her husband. Women wanting the same rights as men was wrong. These changes were going against God, the Bible and the sacred institution of marriage according to the majority of the American public. As late as 1940, married women were not allowed to make a legal contract in twelve states.

And then, not satisfied with just a few rights, women wanted the right to vote and then divorce. More hell broke out in the 60's when women had access to contraception and the right to choose. Marriage and the values of the American family was under an attack it might not survive said the conservatives and religious intolerant.

Marriage came under attacked on another front in 1948. California was the first state to effectively repeal the anti-miscegenation statutes, allowing blacks and whites to legally marry each other. A poll taken at the time showed that less then 5% of the public were in favor of the decision. Nineteen years later, 1967, the activist judges of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously the state laws prohibiting interethnic marriage were unconstitutional. It took until year 2000 for the last state, Alabama, to change its constitution. Even then 40% of the voters were against it. It has always been challenged that racial intermarriage would be a threat to the holy and scared institution of marriage. A judge in 1965 said "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." (Click here for more information.)

Same-sex Jewish weddingI suppose it should not be surprising that the same conservative and religious extremists are still around using the same arguments today. In time same-sex marriage will just be latest evolution of the institution.

Pictures are from our religious wedding ceremony almost three years go in June.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mother's Day poem

Earlier this year my mother found a box of poems I had written to her as a child. Here is one I wrote to her for Mother’s Day. I must have been 7 or 8 years old at the time. In the poem there are references to the tropical fish tank we had, my fights with my brother and my mother's love of Pepsi.

To Mom
To a nice Mother on a nice day
Who likes to have her own way.
She bakes a lot of cake
And she is the last one awake.
She likes to buy fishes
And does not like to wash dishes.
She knows how to spell
And helps me real well.
She likes to drink pop
And slows down when she sees a cop.
She knows what is right
And she stops our fights.
She likes to go places,
But she can’t remember faces.
This is by your son,
Just having some fun.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Just try to keep up with us

We are on a roll. It has been a busy couple of weeks. Since Passover we have attended a new works playwrights' festival, the symphony, plays at three different theatres, two museum exhibits, a couple of Giants games and two fundraising benefits.

Gilbert and George, Fates 2005We spent the last weekend of April in San Francisco. Our friend that has just finished writing his novel invited us to be his guests for the weekend. He prepared a wonderful meal on Friday night and introduced us to several of his cool friends. That Saturday we visited the Annie Leibovitz photography exhibit at the Legion of Honor museum (through May 25th). We were not impressed by it. You see her pictures all the time in magazines and ads. The show did not add much. We then made a quick drive over to the deYoung Museum to finally see Gilbert and George exhibit. Over the last couple years we have visited other cities where the exhibit was showing, London and Munich, but we never caught it. To be honest we were apprehensive about seeing it based on the descriptions of it in the press. We visit a lot of museum exhibits around the world and have seen many of the new and modern works. Gilbert and George just did not sound that interesting. Boy, were we wrong! It is challenging but playful and cheeky. Go see it before it leaves San Francisco (through May 18th). And rent the headset tour. That evening we saw a play at New Conservatory Theatre Center.
A sunny afternoon at the Giants gameSunday, we did a 5 mile run along the Embarcadero waterfront and then took our host and another friend to a sunny afternoon game at AT&T Park to see the Giants play.

Last weekend we attended two of the four benefits we have scheduled for May. Saturday night was the Spring Gala for Adolescent Counseling Services. ACS partners with public and private agencies to provide an integrated network of services for teens and families in our community. Over the past 30 years, ACS has helped approximately 20,000 teens and their families find their way through and beyond the challenging adolescent years. We almost didn’t make it when we walked out into the garage wearing our formal tuxedo wear and discovered that our hot water heater was leaking. We spent several minutes struggling to turn off the water and shut down the water heater. We made it to the event on time but spent most of Sunday morning getting the darn water heater replaced.

Family at Facing History and Ourselves benefit dinnerSunday night’s benefit was for Facing History and Ourselves. Facing History and Ourselves is an international educational and professional development organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. The dinner in San Francisco featured Dr. Terrence Roberts. Roberts was one of nine black teenagers that faced angry mobs as they tried to enter Central High for their first day of class in September 1957. The nation watched as these brave individuals, who became known as the Little Rock Nine, battled immense racism and hatred for their right to go to an integrated school. The story of the Little Rock Nine provides insight into the consequences of challenging long-held beliefs about race.

Coming up this week is a play at ACT and another benefit; this one on Thursday is for Outlet. Outlet is a support and empowerment program for LGBTQ teens, with support services, leadership training, community education and advocacy. Friday we leave for another getaway weekend. We are going to visit the gay resort Blue Moon in Las Vegas.

How Loving Changed Marriage

Mildred Loving, a black woman whose anger over being banished from Virginia for marrying a white man led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling overturning state miscegenation laws, died on May 2 at her home in Central Point, Va. She was 68. -NYTAlthough I seen this on several gay blogs already, I don’t think it can be repeated enough. Mildred Loving, a woman of color that married a white man, died on May 2nd. They were arrested and sentenced for the “crime” of loving each other and getting married. Her and her husband’s 1967 Supreme Court case against the state of Virginia resulted in the overturning one of the last segregation laws still on the books.

Almost seems unbelievable today, but not too long ago it was considered morally and legally wrong for people of color and white people to marry each other. Judges, politicians, ministers and churches spoke out in favor of keeping laws to prevent interracial marriage. Mixing the races was forbidden in the Bible and would hurt the institution of marriage. The same arguments are still used against gays and lesbians.
Mildred Loving made the following statement in June 2007 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia.


Loving for All
By Mildred Loving

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed. The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Healthy May workout ;-)

Received the following information from an e-newsletter from Men’s Health. Usually the email is full of work-out tips and diet suggestions. This week’s was a different kind of work-out:

May gives us a reason to celebrate solo
May means Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, yes, Mother's Day ... and masturbation?
That's right—May kicks off National Masturbation Month, as deemed by the people at Good Vibrations in 1995. And while we're not one to pass up sex, going solo does have health and sexual benefits.
A 2003 Australian study found that men who ejaculated more than five times a week were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer. Regularly flushing your system, so to speak, keeps your semen healthy and prevents the build up of cancer-causing chemicals.
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