Republicans Caught Between Christian Right and Gay Hypocrisy

Condi

Christian wingnuts are pissed that Condoleezza Rice referred to newly appointed Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul’s partner’s mother as Dybul’s “mother-in-law”.

Said the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg:

“We have to face the fact that putting a homosexual in charge of AIDS policy is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. But even beyond that, the deferential treatment that was given not only to him but his partner and his partner’s family by the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is very distressing…it’s inexplicable that a conservative administration would do such things.”

Sprigg also notes: “So, for her to treat his partner like a spouse and treat the partner’s mother as a mother-in-law, which implies a marriage between the two partners, is a violation of the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act.”

Interesting that I could agree with something Sprigg said, if for different reasons. I was irked by the fact that, though Rice’s gesture can be seen as pro-gay, without the laws to back it up, it’s also false and hollow.

This really shows the conundrum the Republicans have gotten into since the Foley scandal broke, by having to acknowledge that there are gays everywhere in the Party.

Comments

  1. sam says

    It’s so interesting that Laura Bush was there. She didn’t have to be. She also, in the past, said that gay marriage shouldn’t be politicized. If she’s really OK with the gays, though, I wish she would be much more vocal. She’s no Rosalynn Carter. Or Barbara Bush.

  2. Leland says

    Christ of the Andes! Here we go again with the FAIRYtale spin on how Laura and Condosleezy are political virgins with no shared responsibility for what their men folk do. Table scraps. Fucking table scraps thrown out to distract fools. Forget gay rights, how about the shared BLOOD they have on their hands for Iraq?

  3. Anon says

    It’s always bizarre how Christians think treating people badly is Christ-like. Didn’t Christ save an adulteress from stoning? Boo Hoo for them getting all upset over this.

  4. Larry says

    Aren’t there bigger problems in the world right now that Republicans should be focused on instead of how someone was introduced at a swearing-in ceremony? This is another attempt to try and energize their base to save the Republican majorities in Congress. And I hope it doesn’t succeed.

  5. peterparker says

    Sam,

    You said of Laura Bush, “She’s no Rosalynn Carter. Or Barbara Bush.” Honey, I have news for you. She’s not even Laura Bush. She’s a robot masquerading as Laura Bush.

  6. KJ says

    Okay kids, you do realize, don’t you, that if Secretary Rice had made no mention of Dybul’s mother-in-law, many of you would be having an apoplectic shock, screaming in high, strident pitches like Judge Doom at the end of “Roger Rabbit” about the oversight? Dr. Rice is very intentional in her public comments, knows the impact of the words she chooses, and I’m sure loses very little sleep over the reaction of the religious right.

    Laura’s attendance at the event was important as it symbolizes many Republicans’ support for the GLBT community in general and the importance of strategic intervention in the face of the AIDS pandemic specifically, many who have felt the frustration of the kowtowing to the religious right for political purposes. No, Laura is not her mother-in-law, who probably wouldn’t have liked her very much if she had been. However, did she know there would be cameras present and her attendance well recorded? Do ya think?

    Anyone who thinks that such women are simply the political toadies for their “men” really needs to meet more women.

  7. sam says

    Peterparker – funny.

    I did not mean to come off as some kind of apologist for Laura Bush, which I most certainly am not.
    If Laura really does have an opinion, I wish she would open her mouth and say so. I think this picture is more evidence of the GOP continuing to try to have it both ways with gays. Make nice with us in DC and then bash us on the campaign trail. Now that their closet has been exposed, this can’t work anymore.

  8. Leland says

    Fuck symbolism, KJ and fuck your defense of it as something more than what it actually is. Do ya think Rove said to Laura, “Our base is in a shambles. We need every goddamn vote we can get and don’t care if some of them have to come from fudge packers. You get along with lots of them who work for us. Why don’t you attend this swearing in? Doesn’t change any laws anymore than your lip service about not politicizing gay marriage did, and thanks again, for scoring those votes for us. Your being there doesn’t anything but give the giggles to some more childish queens who, despite the daily evidence to the contrary—what more do we have to do, start shooting them in the streets?—think we actually give a rat’s ass about them. You know what little girls many of them are for any kind of meaningless pat on the head. They’ll be wetting themselves all over the Internet. Sure some of the wing nuts will raise a stink but their likely to stay home in November anyway. We gotta rustle us up some of that dumb as dirt Brokeback crowd.”

    Symbolism, KJ, will not prevent gay federal employees from being discriminated against, nor private sector employees from being discriminated against in the many states in which such discrimination, as well as discrimination in housing and public accommodations, is still totally legal. Symbolism will not prevent Zeke’s family, as he’s so movingly explained, from taking his son away from his other father should anything happen to Zeke, or others from having the homes they have shared with their partners for decades taken away from them by their deceased partners’ families which happens much more frequently than people know. Symbolism will not get Gerry Studds’ surviving husband the pension benefits morally due him. Symbolism will not stop the Pentagon from discharging thousands of gays every year at, morality issues aside, the needless cost of millions of tax dollars. Symbolism will not restore the military jobs of the 55 gay linguists with crucial skills in the fight against terrorists. Symbolism will not stop LGBTs being attacked, some of them killed, in San Diego and St. Maarten’s and New York City or even down the street from the White House. Symbolism will not protect gay kids or even kids simply thought to be gay in our public schools from being terrorized so much that studies show that one out of every three frequently skip school to protect themselves. Symbolism will not prevent many of their parents from kicking them out of the house when they find out they’re gay. Mere symbolism will not stop them from killing themselves in such disproportionate numbers. Symbolism will not raise HIV/AIDS services funding in the US to adequate levels, nor empower realistic prevention programs not hamstrung by “abstinence only” insanity, nor do much to counteract the homophobia at the root of the failure of the Black community to recognize and acknowledge the disease decimating their female population. Symbolism will do nothing to stop one’s husband and the other’s boss from using us and our Constitutional equality as political bowling balls striking down our civil liberties in state after state like so many bowling pins. Symbolism is nothing more but a wilted rosebud thrown on the battlefield during a mere minutes-long cease fire.

  9. KJ says

    Oh Leland, Leland,

    Your “howler” was the type of “Judge Doom” screaming to which I was referring. It’s quite predictable, not terribly interesting, and does little to change anyone’s mind. As I attempt to teach my students, before debating, make sure that you can accurately put into your own words your opponent’s position. If you can not, then your are only talking to yourself. Not that that’s a bad thing.

    You should know that I am not a member of any political party, something that allows me, I believe, to observe the best and worst of each of the parties with at least a bit of objectivity. Your list of national and international concerns, for the most part is right on. Do you see anything in what I have written that is a defense of of the indefensible?

    If you had carefully read what I wrote, you would have noticed that I did not describe Laura’s attendance as “symbolism”. I said that her attendance “symbolizes” the views of many within the Republican party who feel betrayed by the sellout to the religious right. Perhaps for the more literally minded, I should have used the word “represented”. If you think that there are no such Republicans, then you know very few Republicans on a personal level and are enjoying the luxury of being able to think in categorical stereotypes.

  10. Leland says

    Oh, KJ-Wan Kenobi, thank you for sharing with us your enlightenment. Pray tell, how can something that “symbolizes” not be “symbolism”? But, seeing as how you almost corrected yourself [have you shared with your disciples Mark Twain’s observation that “the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightening and the lightening bug”?] by substituing “represented,” let’s address the fact that nothing I wrote, had you read it more carefully, implied that I believe all Republicans are homophobic. I didn’t even state that I thought Laura and Condisleezy are. I stated that their attendance and word choice, sincere or insincere, are meaningless in the absence of any ACTION on their part, and in the presence of the homophobic actions of those around them, previously known as the Mary Cheney Syndrome. You, as so many others, political and apolitical [thank you for implying that people who are members of political parties are incapable of, unlike toi, objectivity] make the mistake of believing that what matters most, what even matters at all, is that people “like us.”

    While it doesn’t hurt, alone, again, it is meaningless. I don’t care if individuals like or dislike my affectional orientation, my race, my age, my gender, my ethnicity, my religion, ad infinitum. I only care about the laws they implement that either do or do not mandate my equal opportunity regardless of those aspects of my self.

    “Personal level”? Pish posh. You can know every goddamn Republican on the fucking planet. You can wine and dine with them, work with them, worship with them, issue from their loins, or fuck them, as Ken Mehlman, Kirk Fordham, Cong. Kolbe, ad nauseum, apparently do, but the subject was substance not symbolism, real action not representation, real world not the toy set tearoom you and so many live in. Mommy, cluck cluck, that bad man yelled. Why is he doing that, Mommy? Doesn’t he know that he’ll upset the bon bons playing on the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay?

  11. Anon says

    Well, I think the closet symbolizes shame and fear, no?

    Actually, I don’t see laws able to protect kids from being kicked out of their homes by their parents, but symbolism may show either the parents or the kids a better way. And certainly, we all get irked by slights.

  12. Zeke says

    Let me apologize profusely in advance.

    I’ve recieved a number of emails asking me to repost a comment that I made at the other Condi Rice thread. Actually I’ve been asked to post it to this thread AND to the one about Gerry Studds husband since it applies to both.

    At this point I’ll only post it here. Hopefully those who care to read it will find it here. It’s long and I don’t know where to begin in editing it for this discussion so I’ll post it in it’s entirety. Pick out what relates and ignore the rest.

    This started out as a heated discussiom between myself and a Republican commenter RB. I, was angry and rude to RB initially but quickly, through dialog, came to respect him and honor him as a brother. Hopefully he won’t mind my reprinting this post here:

    To be clear, my accusing you of being a hypocrite was totally directed to the fact that you said getting the right to marry was not so important to you but failed to disclose, until pressed, that you had been married for 11 years. I don’t think there is any question that that was disingenuous.

    As to our histories, we are more alike than we are different my friend. I grew up in Mississippi, the son of a Southern Baptist pastor, Marine and right wing conservative, office holding Republican father and an even more conservative mother and a 100% Republican family. My family almost identically mirrors yours. My life experiences and my education, as with you, changed me, my thinking and my political affiliation.

    That’s what you and so many conservative gay people don’t seem to understand. You seem to be under the impression that all liberal gay people come from the womb glowing Democrat blue with a creamy pink center. You and others seem to assume that gay progressives and Democrats are single issue voters and that THE issue is who they HAVE SEX with. What I want you to understand is MANY of us grew up dyed in the wool conservative Republicans. LIFE EXPERIENCE and education slowly, and sometimes radically, transformed our ideals and therefore our political leanings.

    Gay conservatives so often make the argument that their sexuality is a small part of their identity and not the driving force of their political ideals. They often say that they are more driven by their financial needs or their concerns for national security and other things like that. That seems perfectly reasonable to me. My question to you is why is it reasonable to vote based on finances (taxes), national security, etc. but unreasonable to have one’s sexual orientation be a driving force in one’s political priorities? Why is it not possible that one’s sexual orientation can have a direct impact on how they look at issues such as finances, taxes and personal and national security? I suggest that one’s sexual orientation may actually account for a much greater portion, or at least contribute a greater influence upon one’s identity and political priorities than one might want to acknowledge.

    I think I understand where conservatives may miss the point of why voting through the lens of ones sexual orientation is perfectly reasonable. They, and to a great extent I think you, assume that that means voting according to who you like to have sex with. That is an absolute mischaracterization of what it means to “vote a gay Party line” by supporting gay positive policies and candidates.

    You see, where many conservatives, straight and gay, see only the SEX in SEXual orientation, I and many other liberals see our FAMILY VALUES as being completely inseparable from our sexual orientation. I love, adore, and have built a 15 year monogamous relationship with my husband who I married in Toronto in 2003. WE are raising my biological son as OUR son even though the state of Florida and Federal law considers me and my husband legal strangers and my husband and his son legal strangers. If something happens to me my husband, my son’s papa, will have ABSOLUTELY NO rights to custody. Though we have spent THOUSANDS of dollars trying give ourselves and our family the protection, the rights and the 1000’s of benefits that you, your wife and your children were given by simply saying “I do” there is NO way for us to protect the relationship between my son and his papa. The state of Florida forbids gay adoption, so there is NO way for my son’s relationship with his papa to be protected. If I die, my son will go to my family who disowned me years ago. If no one in my family will take him he will go into foster care and his papa will still have no right to the son that he has raised since birth.

    WHY? Because we are gay, we are homosexual. Period. No other reason. It’s the “gay” thing. So when I “TOW THE GAY PARTY LINE” as you refer to it, it means a whole hell of a lot more than voting based on who I have sex with. It is a vote for MY family values and a vote for MY FAMILY’S survival.

    You talked about how offended you get when you’re being attacked as a gay conservative. However you seem to be unaware of how offensive some of the things that you say can be to those of us whose sexual orientation is an essential part of our family structures. You ‘TOTALLY AGREED” with Mark, who was very offensive in calling people who find the things that I mentioned above important enough to speak out about “cry babies” who needed to get some balls. How could I not be offended by his words and your total agreement with them?

    The only thing that I want to get across to you my friend is we liberals are VALUES voters too even though the news media has perpetuated the misconception that only right wing, fundamentalist Christians vote their values. I believe that anyone who goes to the trouble to vote is a “values voter”. What else does a voter base his vote upon?

    It’s reasonable that some people vote for politicians who support their financial ideals or their national security ideals or other priorities but it is also completely understandable and reasonable that many people find issues of gay equality and gay rights to be a driving force for their political opinions. After all, when I pay more taxes but get less benefits than the straight, three times married, couple next door; when I pay higher car insurance rates than they do; when I pay thousands of dollars to get a portion of the rights that they get with a two week whirlwind romance and a simple “I do”; when my partner can’t inherit the property, that he helped to acquire, from the man that he spent his life with and who he took responsibility for, without paying huge tax penalties that the straight couple next door don’t have to worry about; you might say that my “gay Party line” is based on financial AND PROPERTY RIGHTS not too unlike yours.

    When I vote for people who support my right to a legally recognized and supported family and work tirelessly against those who would deny my family the security that comes from such recognition, you could say that I vote based on DOMESTIC SECURITY positions just like you.

    When I, as a gay war veteran, vote for people who believe that America should allow all of her qualified citizens who want to serve their country in the military to serve, regardless of sexual orientation INCLUDING the 55 Arabic linguist that have been discharged under DADT; and when I, as a supporter of national security who put his ass where his mouth is, support those who don’t believe our military should be used for political purposes and sent into harms way based on lies and misinformation rather than being used in Afghanistan to hunt down real terrorists or being strong, organized and ready to confront REAL threats like North Korea and Iran, you could fairly say that I vote a “gay Party line” for national security.

    I hope this helps you to understand me, and perhaps us gay liberals, better. Believe it or not, like it or not, every day you and your partner unknowingly enjoy many rights and privileges that the very liberals and gay activists that you seem to have so little respect for fought tirelessly for (even while you were playing it straight on the sidelines) and provided for you even though they were fought every step of the way by the conservatives that you hold in such high esteem.

    Don’t forget, you’re talking to a former conservative Republican here. Also don’t forget that many of the concerns that you mentioned are not being addressed by the current manifestation of the Republican Party. Goldwater/Reagan Republicans are leaving the Party in droves. Libertarians are leaving the Party by the boatloads. Why? Because it is no longer the Party of fiscal responsibility, true support for the military, states rights (beyond rhetoric and yellow ribbons), small government, individual freedom and separation of church and state that it once was. It has become a Party of big spending, meddling, big, centralized federal government and bat shit crazy, anti-gay, fundamentalist Christian nuts who are only using the Party to promote their power while the Party is using them for the same purpose.

    I suspect that this has not been lost on you and is probably one reason that you are deflecting a lot of your frustration with your Party onto the Democrats.

    RB, my friend, I appreciate your passion and as a gay father I HONOR your commitment to your family. I hope you will be able to see your sexual orientation in a new light; as an expression of your family values rather than as an expression of your sexual desires. I believe that if you do that you might better understand where many, but not all, of us gay liberals are coming from.

    And if you ever come to the conclusion that you would have a better chance of influencing change in the financial, tax or security policies of the Democratic Party than you have of changing the anti-gay policies of the Republican Party, come on over you’ll be welcomed with open arms, at least by me.

    As I stated earlier in this thread, I am a Democrat ONLY because they are the only viable opposition to the current, what I think is a disastrous regime. I work EVERY single day to change the things that I don’t like about the Party from within. That includes their fair weather support for gay families. I personally feel that there is a better chance of effecting that change within the Democratic Party than from within the Republican Party.

    Anyway, sorry for the sermon (I told you my father was a preacher). I hope you at least understand me better even if you can’t get your head around the “liberal” thing.

    Again, I wish you and your family all the best my brother.

    Peace.

  13. Eddie says

    Wow. What a thread.

    I’m simply convinced that Secretary Rice and the First Lady knew exactly what they were doing and that it would be seen and discussed. Yes, these women have voices, but in their respective roles, I believe this is as far as they can go, without risking those roles (well, Laura wouldn’t really get punished or censored) to communicate their own personal views and beliefs on the matter. I feel it speaks volumns, and I’m sure Rove is fuming. But their MO has always been a unified rank. So will we see this in-fighting? Absolutely not. But you know it’s going on.

  14. Zeke says

    I totally agree with Eddie. I believe that these ladies were publicly and intentionally demonstrating their personal feelings and even though I wish they would be even more vocal and public with their gay positive positions I am fully aware of the rules of the game of politics.

    Though I will always wish and fight for more and even though I disagree with Condi Rice on SO many other issues, I salute these women for the intentional and very public message of inclusion that they made at this ceremony. In the face of the religious right and their cronies on the hill, it undeniably took courage and determination.

    Sometimes we have to notice and appreciate a half full glass while at the same time tirelessly demanding that we receive the other half.

    And with that, I promise to shut the hell up.

  15. RB says

    I am glad Zeke reposted part of our dialog here! I have a tremendous amount of respect for where he is coming from and I understand everything he said. The conversation was extremely enlightening and provided a different point of view than I am accustomed. I am so frequently dismissed after I state that I am a republican that it angers me. It is as if I am not “gay enough”.

    While I remain a republican, I certainly feel as though I gained a brother in the same fight in Zeke. We must understand that there is diversity amongs us and we are different. DIFFERENT IS OK! We are working towards a common goal…recognition of our families. There is always more than one way to get to the same place. I applaud Zeke for his beliefs and the mutual respect that came from our exchange.

    I think that the reason George Bush never came swinging against abortion as other republicans did was because Barbara Bush would have ripped him a new one. Just an opinion, but there is something to the old saying if mother is not happy then no one is! Laura is a bright individual and Condi is far more capable than her current position. I think it is disingenuous to sell them short. The glass may be half full, BUT IT IS NOT EMPTY! Give them some credit for what she Condi said. We all had to crawl before we walked!

  16. KJ says

    Zeke and RB, agreed.

    Leland,

    Peace. Please forgive my arrogance and condescension. I come by them honestly and reparative therapy didn’t take.

    I’m glad you seem to have found objective discussions and analyses within a political party. I have yet to encounter it. George Washington didn’t trust political parties; I don’t either. While I have no difficulty assuming the best motives of individuals, unless proven otherwise, I cannot apply the same grace to political parties.

    Please notice I have not disagreed with your concern for substance; we (Meaning most readers of Towleroad.) all hope for that and have a part to contribute, and to question everyone’s motives only serves to rip apart and does not build consensus. We all wish for immediate changes to policies and laws that restrict human freedom. In my lifetime, and I’m going to guess that my age puts me in a group of older readers of Towleroad, I have seen a great deal of change for the better for the GLBT community, which had NO visible presence when I was a child. But none of it happened over night and without cost. Do I think all will be resolved to my satisfaction by the time I leave this earth? I doubt it. But I recently realized that when I take actions for GLBT equality to benefit myself and meet opposition, I get pissed. When I take those actions for those that follow, no price is too high and it makes me extremely grateful to those who have gone before and made things better for me. I know that sounds sanctimonious, but it’s true.

    I do not agree with you that symbolism is not important. If it weren’t, you would not have had the reaction you had when you “heard” me say that this event was important “symbolism”. I hear and agree with you regarding your point about symbolism without substance.

    However, when you do word play with my poorly chosen word, you do me a disservice and obfuscate my point. Given the importance of the position in the face of an international crisis, there are many of us, regardless of party, who would have gladly stood up with Dybul and his husband as he took the oath and we would have smiled from ear-to-ear as the Secretary of State of the United States said “mother-in-law”. Laura knew she was representing not only those in the Republican party opposed to a sell out to the religious right, but many others as well. These things are not done idly.

  17. Toto says

    In my opinion the comment by Condoleezza meant nothing. I think it was more of one of those situations where it was just less awkward to call the woman his “mother-in-law” than to say “his partner’s mother”. Its harder to illegitamize someone while they are in front of you. In life, there are people and groups that you would dismiss without a second thought in the presence of your peers or in the anonymity of the internet and press. But when you meet those people face to face its harder to say or do things that would indicate your opposing social or political views, especially when you are seen as worldly and courteous. I don’t think either Laura or Condi are homophobes, but I don’t think they actively trolling for more gay republicans. And if they were, wouldnt you find that a little insulting; simply showing up (to an event that is not specifically gay) and using a term makes all the anti-gay stuff go away?!

    It meant ZIP! Zilch! Nada! 0!

  18. Leland says

    Thank you, KJ, for your amplification. I, too, am older than the apparent typical Towleroader; old enough to be Andy’s father, in fact. That tremor you just felt was Andy shuddering. I mention it only to explain, in large part, why I have so little patience. Watching another episode on PBS last night of “Eye on the Prize,” the “should be required viewing” documentary about the Black civil rights movement in the US, I was reminded, as I had been in previous episodes of that “been down so long…” feeling that they, too, felt, and for much greater reason.

    Unfortunately, I am not the only gay man my age who can say he has been physically attacked, denied jobs and been fired from others simply because I am gay. While I agree we have come far since I first came out and became involved in a university campus gay group, it has struck me so many times in the last decade that we never understood then how far we really had to go; and, in direct proportion, how accepting 2006 progress by 1976 degrees of expectation is both unacceptable and counterproductive.

    In any case, like those Blacks, gay and straight, of course, on the buses starting in 1947 with inadequately sung Black gay icon Bayard Rustin; in Montgomery later; before the Lincoln Monument in 1963 which had been the scene of the symbolism of Marian Anderson’s concert nearly a QUARTER CENTURY before; later attacked on the Edmund Pettus Bridge outside Selma, and on and on, I am no more tired of disenfranchisement and exploitation than I am of hollow promises and hermetically-sealed symbolism.

    I in no way underestimate the importance of symbolism. In fact, I spent years, both in the anti Vietnam war movement and the gay rights movement arguing with others about the destructive power of the wrong symbols.

    But, sadly, I only see such laudatory response to Laura and Condi’s *presumed intentional symbolism [*in the absence of evidence to the contrary, some are only demonstrating an ability to read minds when they insist what was behind their actions] in the context of how heinous the empire is in which they operate. In other words, they would not seem so good if things weren’t so bad.

    Even were that not true, let’s say a Democrat were President who had neither demonized NOR done anything to advance gay rights—such actions would not be praised because, save for the “mother-in-law” reference, similar things were done years ago. As I referenced in another thread, Colon [sic] Powell recognized the gay partner of a foreign service officer at a swearing in five years ago, and he still denouces gay marriage and gays in the military at every opportunity. Seven years ago, then Secty of State Madeline Albright recognized Ambassador Jim Hormel’s partner. So, pardon me, if I’m unimpressed with Laura and Condi’s belated demonstration of civility. Repeat, they would not seem so good if things weren’t so bad. It is as if we are asked to celebrate a gay variation of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” in the age of “Brokeback Mountain.”

    How can we expect to get so much more if we celebrate so much less?

  19. Zeke says

    Leland, my friend, I understand your frustration, believe me I do, but we should celebrate EVERY ADVANCEMENT no matter how insignificant some may seem.

    That doesn’t mean that we should ever be satisfied with less than full acceptance and inclusion for ourselves, our families and our community.

    Nor does it mean that we should spend more time celebrating than fighting.

    Even though the pace of change is excruciating, frustrating and sometimes infuriating, we can’t allow ourselves to slap “better” in the face while holding out for “perfect”.

    No doubt that’s human nature. However human nature is often an impediment to progress.

  20. Charlie Cooper says

    FANTASTIC writing Zeke.
    It’s so great to see someone eloquently (and elegantly) express the gross injustice that is dished out to Gay and Lesbian people, not only in the US, but here in Australia too.
    I sometimes get so frustrated, so close to tears that there is nothing I can do to change the situation I find myself in.
    Sure, I vote, and I know that counts for something, but WHY should I have to live one day longer as a second class citizen?
    I am priveledged to live a comfortable middle-class life, but it doesn’t excuse the regular bullying and disdain that is dished out to my brothers and sisters.
    There is NO justifiable reason for not IMMEDIATELY awarding us exactly the same rights as our straight brethren. None at all.

  21. RB says

    I do think we must embrace “better” everytime we get it and not refuse it looking for perfect as Zeke stated.

    I believe we are dealing with individual’s faith and convictions and that is very hard to overcome. When someone asks me when I knew I was gay I respond by saying when did you know you were straight? It works most of the time. When George W. was asked what he thought about being gay he responded by saying he could not answer the question as he was not gay. I thought it was good answer. He truly cannot speak to the subject; he is not gay. He did not continue to voice opinion. He steered away. Has his actions spoken differently, maybe, but he could have thrown us under the bus in words as well. I do not think he cares what we are so long as we can do the job. Does his “faith” bar him from understanding gay marriage, YES! DO I think that beyond that he has some hidden adjenda, no. There, that is my opinion and that and a dollar will get you a coke.

    Faith runs deep. As I have stated before, I am a preachers kid. I was married for 11 years and while my mother loves me dearly as well as my partner and his child she still holds strongly on to her faith. She provides equal gifts on holidays/birthdays to his child that she provides to my two children. There is no difference in treatment, but she still struggles with her faith and her beliefs. I am thankful for her “better” and realize it could be worse.

    My partner, for example, has NO contact with his family! He has not seen nor heard from them in years. Do I reject my mother for being “better” than his parents and not being “perfect”? I am currently happy with what I have and hope for even better in the future. It is as hard for us to explain when we knew we were gay as it is for many to explain their faith. As a Christian, I have had to accept that. I believe that you are entitled to you opinion just do not step into my life and tell me how to live it.

    There are two sides to this coin and both run deep and are deeply personal. Until my mother accepts my partner as an equal as she did my ex-wife I will continue fight. She may never do that, but I will not be less happy with the treatment of our children until she understands the equality of our relationship.

    I know I will get backlash here, but so beit! I have always tried to find the positive in everything and it makes my day to day life easier. Again, Zeke, so different and yet so much alike. Great post!

  22. rudy says

    Zeke, RB, and all others here, You are making change occur by simply living your lives as out, proud, and good spouses, fathers, and citizens. People can only demonize what they do not know. That is where “faith” can be twisted into bigotry and hate. Your lives put the lie to such baseless discrimination. I have faith in the younger generations. Sometimes we older gays despair at the seeming lack of appreciation that young gays have for the struggles of those who came before. They were not subject to the same levels of fear, loathing, and discrimination that many of us endured. They did not attend weekly funerals as their friends and collegues died around them: a generation of incredibly talented, resourceful and effective gay leaders. What is right and just is not attainable all at once. We must take the little victories and celebrate the slow conversions. I have faith in the “young ones,” as my high school mentor quaintly but affectionately put it. I do not have children of my own (one of my very few regrets because my husband would have been a great Dad) but I have many neices, nephews, and children of cousins who know and accept us as a couple in equal stature to their parents’ marriages. This de facto recognition is growing and will eventually be reflected in law. Use the examples of your lives to help it to occur. And remember to vote, whatever your political persuasion. Make your voices and lives heard.

  23. mark m says

    Zeke, count me as another Southern Baptist from the South raised in a Republican family who, through experience and conviction, changed parties and philosphies. Thank you for voicing where many Gay Liberal are actually coming from.

    RB, thank you for your thoughtful views and for showing that there are many views in the Gay Community that deserve to be heard.

    Leland, keep fighting the good fight. When all is said and done, I may disagree with the way you voice your thoughts but your mission is pure and single minded.

    Having been a member of both Parties, I guess I am one of those Gays who believes any change — from either side is progress. I still believe that it is up to moderate Republicans to take control of the Party away from the “Religious Fright” that has controlled it for so long. That can only be a good thing for all Gays.

  24. Zeke says

    Gentlemen, I am overwhelmed by the heartfelt and passionate comments that have been made here. It is a testament to how powerful our words become when we speak from the heart with respect and embrace our diversity while fighting for the common cause.

    I honor and applaud all of my brothers and sisters here. I am so grateful that there are so many passionate, articulate and intelligent voices fighting on our side of the “culture war” that has been waged against us.

    From Leland to Pompeius, from Jimmyboyo to RB, from KJ to PeterParker, our side is powerful BECAUSE OF, and not IN SPITE OF, our great diversity. As long as we don’t forget who the enemy is, we can’t help but be victorious in the fight for rights and acceptance.

    I can’t help but sense that there is an awakening to this fact, at least in this tiny little Towleroad corner of the community.

    Hopefully this awakening will spread beyond this corner and we will all be the better for it.

  25. Zeke says

    Charlie Cooper, my heart goes out particularly to you my friend.

    Hang in their brother. I know you are frustrated with the pace of change in Australia. We in the US are as well. There IS something, besides voting, that you can do to change the situation that you’re in but it won’t change things overnight. You can live your life openly, honestly and respectably while passionately and publicly telling your story. THAT is the most effective political statement and the most powerful gay activism demonstration that ANYONE can make. I suspect from your comment you are already doing these things and for that I salute you.

    The winds of change are blowing in Australia. From what I’ve read recently, it seems that they are blowing even more powerfully than they are in the US. Time, truth and talent are on our side brother. Keep up the good fight Down Under. You’re not alone my friend. You have brothers and sisters around the world who have your back. I am one.

    Hopefully we will soon have our respective countries in the hands of more gay supportive governments. I’m pretty certain that Nov 7th will be a turnaround day here. I look forward to Australia’s deHowardization in the near future as well.

  26. RB says

    Thank you Rudy for the compliment! I have not always been out and proud and will be the first to admit that. I am living everyday better than before and continue to fight both personally and publically. I do think that my families existence and my conservative ways speak far greater to the straight world than my words. I am by far a more conservative parent than my kids mother, ironically, and people notice that.

    I have been told by many people that they misjudged me as they expected me to be more liberal on many subjects than I am based upon my sexual orientation. I want the straight world to look at my family, AND IT IS A FAMILY, and say, look at them, they look like us?! It is not out of fear or wanting to “blend in”, but because that is who I am. My daily existence includes getting three kids, 4,6 & 9, to adulthood well adjusted and happy. That is my role and responsibility. My very existence stands in contrast to what many believe to be “gay”.

    I began posting here out of anger for not fitting in either world. I will freely admit that I have learned far more from posting here than I ever thought possible. My thanks again to Zeke for his insight.

    I was just as looked down upon by the gay community for being a republican than I was by the straight community for being gay. What the hell, I had nothing to loose right? I have posted here before that many have said that I am not gay enough!? Ridiculous. I am gay and that is my reality.

    I simply want others to note that my “republican” gay family exists and for you to know that I am fighting like hell to get your “democratic” gay family recognized as well! On this subject we should not be fighting each other, but bigots within both our parties.

  27. Zeke says

    Rudy, I totally missed your comment earlier bubba.

    You are so right about what many of us older gay men, who have been out for years, have seen and experienced through the years: The “plague”, the fear, the activism, the funerals, the loss of half a generation of souls.

    Sometimes I really don’t think the younger generations, and those who came out later in life, fully realize and appreciate the struggles of a generation ago. The same could probably be said about what I don’t know about the generation before me.

    It’s so important that we keep our history alive through the generations.

    We’ll never get to where we’re going if we forget from where we’ve come.

  28. rudy says

    I am convinced that Andy’s blog is serving as a means to perpetuate our common history. It is a learning tool because it shows that we can be frivolous at times but we are not to be dismissed. We will demand our rights. Living our lives as decent upstanding citizens who happen to be gay is the greatest force working in our favor. When others assert that I am not like “those gays” I always respond that yes I am. “They” are my brothers and sisters and I will not let anyone disrespect my family and community. My relationship is no less valid and productive than heterosexual relationships, yet I have far fewer legal rights and protections. I explain that my partner and I have been together for almost three decades with little societal support whereas thousands of rights and privileges attend to heterosexual marriage but the divorce rate is still over 50%. We have gone through our lives together and will remain together as one familial unit. I tell them that my partner and I have each buried our mothers and one sibling. We have put each other through law school. We have bought, remodled and sold a home and improved every neighborhood in which we have lived. We have moved cross country three times. We donate time to raise money for and give pro bono advice to gay families. This is simply living our lives as we had been taught, with dignity and perseverance. I used to be slightly embarrassed by the “crazy gay activists” but have come to cherish their passion and commitment. We do not have the luxury of fighting amongst ourselves. Our common goal of basic human rights and dignity is too important. Sorry for the polemic. Thanks for the benefit of your insights.

  29. RB says

    WELL STATED RUDY! I have often wondered if anyone understood what you are saying. We are so different in our beliefs and backgrounds, but we are all still gay!!! We are the ones that can “pass” and we are ones that stand out. There is one common thread though. NONE of us will have rights unless ALL OF US HAVE RIGHTS! There is far too much fighting amongst us to miss this point. As I have said before, if all of us voted regardless of party it would be a better world. We will all sink or swim together. Remember, you can be Michael Jordan, but if your team loses every game it makes for a very long season! We must be united on something…WE ARE ALL GAY!

    It takes people like you to provide leadership for those that follow. We need your voice and I for one appreciate your thoughts!

    Take care…

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