Archive for June 2008

Good Job, You’re Fired.

June 26, 2008

From the Dallas Morning News:

The coordinator of Collin County’s teen court program, a one-time political candidate who said his job was put in jeopardy earlier this year because he is gay, appears now to be out of a job.

Yes, that’s right, Justin Nichols, one time Plano city council candidate took a pay-off to leave his job as manager of a teen court adjudication program when it was revealed in The Dallas Voice that he is gay.

Wait, you say, is that legal? Surely it had to with his performance:

“He did an excellent job for the county and he’s decided to move on,” said Mr. Schulte, who declined to comment further.

Terms of the deal were not released.

County Commissioner Phyllis Cole, who cast the lone vote against the agreement, said she could not speak about the matter.

County Judge Keith Self also declined to comment, but said the teen court program would continue.

“I see no energy in the Commissioners Court to stop the teen court,” he said. “It is a successful program.”

So he did a good job, but it was a good job done by a gay man. Oh, and by the way, it is legal to fire someone because they are gay in Collin County, Texas. But thankfully, the same is not true here in Marion County, Indiana thanks to a Human Rights Ordinance we fought hard for a couple of years ago. And THIS is exactly why we did it.

A lot of people will criticize Nichols for taking the pay-off (basically hush money is what it sounds like), but I for one am grateful that he bilked tax-payers for their government’s homophobia. I hope it cost them oodles! Now that it has hit the papers, maybe they’ll be irked enough to vote some of these bozos out of office. Of course, anytime folks pull the “no comment” it makes me wonder what else is not being said. I’ll keep my eyes on this story.

I’m posting this for my brother- and sister-in-law, Ben and Lise, who moved back home to Indiana from Collin County, Texas, just in case he needed one more reason to be away from that bizarre conservative bubble.

Best Wishes Californians!

June 17, 2008

Today is the first official day that folks like me and John can get married in California.

The sweetest photos I’ve seen have been of Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, who have lived together for 55 years. Longtime fighters for equality, they are in their 80s now and Ms. Martin needs a wheelchair to move around. But San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom called and asked if they would be first in line (again – they married once before when the Mayor declared gay people could be wed in San Fran back in 2004, but those marriages were later ruled illegal).

I don’t know if John and I will live long enough to be legally married in Indiana, but knowing how important that would be to us, it makes me very happy to know that this sweet and hard-working couple were able to see it happen for them before they moved on to the world to come.

As Phil Vassar sings, Love is a Beautiful Thing.

This is How It’s Done

June 13, 2008

Katherine Patrick and Governor Deval Patrick- Photo by Marilyn Humphries

In a Bay Windows story, Katherine Patrick, the daughter of Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick and his wife, Diane, talks about coming out to her parents AFTER her father helped Massachusetts finally defeat a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

“Because, of course, he didn’t know that I was gay then,” the 18-year-old recalls. “So, for someone so publicly to fight for something that doesn’t even affect him was just like, ’That’s my dad,’ you know?” she says with a laugh. “That’s all I could think. I was very, very proud to be part of this family, and this state in general.”

Governor Patrick said,

“I don’t think we thought about who they loved – more that they knew what love was and that they would have love in their lives,” he explains.


Mom, Dad, A Little Help?

June 12, 2008

Sandip Roy has an op-ed piece titled Is It Time for Gay Arranged Marriages? Roy notes how immigrant parents might be finding the new California Supreme Court ruling comforting since evidently the biggest blow for many immigrant parents isn’t when their children come out as gay, but when they come out as forever “single.”

For my immigrant friends, being gay in California is not much of an issue. Being unmarried in their 30s and 40s is the real issue, the conversation-stopper at Indian potlucks, the thing that makes them stick out at Chinese banquets.

And never underestimate the power of a mother on a mission:

In 1993 my friend Aditya Advani went to India with his boyfriend Michael Tarr and complained to his mother that no one would ever come to his wedding. She promptly organized a ceremony. The family priest presided over it. “Openly gay and married in my parents’ drawing room at the age of thirty,” marveled Aditya. “Right on schedule as a good Indian boy should be!”

The whole idea of gay arranged marriages is kind of refreshing, though I’m trying to imagine what that would have looked like for me–yikes! There are many cultural assumptions that go along with arranged marriage I hear. I think it would be interesting to see how such a scenario plays out without the stereotypical power differentials inherent in male/female couplings.

What I most enjoy about the article is reading that at least some of these parents get that to deny gay marriage is to deny their children part in powerful and healthful traditions.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, as Roy suggests, socially conservative immigrant populations end up being same-sex marriage’s biggest advocates someday.

Time to Talk Issues – Obama on the Economy

June 10, 2008

Okay, I know not everyone who reads this blog is a political junkie, but I just love how readily available information about Obama’s economic policy is. It’s nice to finally see a rich, grass roots campaign. If you want to be informed or know where Obama stands on things, this will be a good place to come.

Here is a link to Obama’s position on the Economy.

Obama just launched a two week tour in which he’ll outline his positions in more detail. This is the first round of info. and it sets up future talks, which I’ll link to as well.

Below is a video of the speech. (33 minutes)

Time for Talk is Over – Hillary Needs to Move On

June 2, 2008

Found this video by Firedoglake over at Americablog. This woman (attending the Michigan and Florida DNC rules and regs meet-n-greet) may be a little loose at the seams, but her Ferraro talking points are all there. Must be seen to be believed.

Let it out honey, just let it out. John Avarosis says this kind of anger and disillusionment is a function of Hillary telling her supporters over and over again that she can still win. I tend to agree with him now. My favorite comment on Americablog in response to the video was,

You should have been there when she discovered there was no cream cheese for the bagels.

, which is a reference to the kinds of things discussed in a May 22, 2008 New York Times article titled As Obama Heads to Florida, Many of Its Jews Have Doubts. I have no idea if the woman above is a Jew, but the general tone of the article is this:

“The people here, liberal people, will not vote for Obama because of his attitude towards Israel,” Ms. Weitz, 83, said, lingering over brunch.

“They’re going to vote for McCain,” she said.

Ms. Grossman, 80, agreed with her friend’s conclusion, but not her reasoning.

“They’ll pick on the minister thing, they’ll pick on the wife, but the major issue is color,” she said, quietly fingering a coffee cup. Ms. Grossman said she was thinking of voting for Mr. Obama, who is leading in the delegate count for the nomination, as was Ms. Weitz.

But Ms. Grossman does not tell the neighbors. “I keep my mouth shut,” she said.

In addition to bringing to the surface a mess of misinformation and subverted racism, the article deconstructs the factual errors that surround Obama in Florida.

So their solution is to vote for McCain? If older Jews think Rev. Wright presents problems, maybe they should check out McCain’s preacher buddies, Pastors John Hagee and Rod Parsley.

From U.S. News:

The Rev. John Hagee, whose political support Sen. John McCain sought, has said that the Catholic Church is a “great whore” and that Nazi Germany “operated on God’s behalf” as part of a divine plan to drive the Jews to Israel. The Rev. Rod Parsley, whose political support McCain also sought, has described Islam as “the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil” and an “anti-Christ religion that intends through violence to conquer the world.”