Pope Francis Takes Step With Gay Rights, Akin To Bill Clinton

It is clearly a sign of either how much weighty news or bombastic rhetoric is created each day when the words of Pope Francis expressing support for same-sex civil unions is not the event that would create continuing top-of-the-fold conversations. While following the news of a pope creating a major and truly significant break from his predecessors regarding gay people, a correct position for religion, and all of society, I was aware of just how hard it is to steer headlines away from the chaos of this year. That, in and of itself, is a story we need to ponder.

But the words from Francis are powerful and very important. He made a public statement that the world-wide church needed to hear. “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” Francis said in the documentary, “Francesco”.

“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

As a gay man, but not a Catholic, I have a range of feelings about the pope’s words. While many in the world have moved far beyond civil unions for gay people to the socially responsible and correct legal construction of gay marriage there is still much work to be done for allowing freedoms with sexual identity. In regions of the world where bigotry still has a grip and the Catholic hierarchy is less tolerant of homosexuality, this message was most important to be planted by a pope.

Words matter, as I often note on this blog when talking about leadership. I have long approved of the tone and focus of Francis, knowing the Vatican requires more light and less dogma. But it also needs to be stated that until church doctrine is changed the words of a pope will not alter the harm that is done to gay members of that faith.

Traditional Catholics are wedded to the idea a smaller church that holds to never-changing doctrine is better than a larger church that wishes to adapt to a modern world. As a person of faith, I can grasp the over-arching argument traditionalists hold, but know the best path taken comes down to applying Jesus’ teachings in our lives.

I view the opposition to bigotry as more powerful and uplifting than the harsh restraints and words of damnation. I am inspired by those in religious callings who speak about income disparity, racism, or poverty, as this pope has done continuously. The old and worn-out tropes about contraceptives, abortion (and gasp!) homosexuality are not connecting to younger people who do not live in the cloistered world–and have no desire to do so.

I thought of President Bill Clinton this week when this news of Pope Francis was reported. In the 1992 presidential campaign, he spoke about the need to not dismiss or undermine gay people in our military. From his promise the Clinton administration moved to enact ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. It was not a President Truman type moment regarding the military, but it was a start. From there larger steps were taken as the years progressed. That is how governments and large institutional changes begin and evolve.

With a first step.

When tolerance is too often threatened and marginalized in the world there is really only one way to greet the words of Pope Francis. With a smile and two-thumbs up.

Now step two……

Marriage And Laughter

Old-couple-laughing

At times I think of people who have had starter marriages.  It always seems a sad term to be used in our society.  But the fact remains there are far too many of them–those first marriages that last five years or less and ends without the couple having any children together.  I guess we should be glad no children were created as that would just add to the sadness of the divorce.

Coming from a home where marriage was meant to last, (my parents would have celebrated 60 years together at the time of mom’s passing) and coming from my own personal experience of a relationship/marriage going on 20 years, there is strong recognition that the totality of events that unite two people makes for the best path to happiness.

I know of what I write as James and I have spent more time together than most couples ever will.  Other than when he was in front of a college classroom (about 8 hours a week) our days have been spent together.   Just this weekend we mentioned that the idea of being bored is something we have never experienced as a couple.

This weekend I read an interview in The New York Times with Bob Newhart.  He was asked about how to make marriages last.

You and Ginny have been married for 56 years. Incredible in this town.

It is and it isn’t. Among comedians it’s not unusual. Buddy Hackett, Jack Benny, George Burns, Alan King, they all had long marriages. That’s why I think laughter is the secret to longevity of relationships. If you can laugh you can get through it.

I can completely–100% echo–Newhart’s statement. Laughter is so much a key to life and healthy spousal relationships.

I recall many years back very late at night James and I got into one of our laughing jigs.  We were talking about some event or other and the giggling started.  The laughing grew louder.  The old lady who then lived in the upstairs condo started pounding on the floor to stop any sign of merriment.  Failing that she then started slamming doors.  Which only made our laughter the richer.

Smiles and laughs take place in this home soon after waking up and continues well into the night.  I often ask James if “anyone else on this street is laughing like this?”  We tend to think not.  We also know that loving the simple things in life is the key to being content and happy.  From loving the fireflies in summer as darkness sets in, to the long walks and country drives I think couples miss so much by not laughing along the path of life together.

As young couples prepare for marriage and attend counseling classes, I would suggest the religious figure in charge of the meetings devote time to the need for laughter every day.  That should not be a new concept or one hard to understand.  But clearly, with the high rate of divorce from starter marriages, it is a lesson needing to be learned.

And so it goes.

California Should Vote No On Justice Carol Corrigan For Anti-Gay Votes

There are so many races of import come the mid-terms in November.   Gay Americans have a stake in many of them.  One of those races is for the California Supreme Court.  Justice Carol Corrigan must be defeated.

There is no way to defend her actions.

In 2000, Prop 22 passed which defined marriage in California as between one man and one woman.

In 2006, thanks to the leadership of then-Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom the matter ended up in the courts.  A trial court threw out the gender requirements, and then a series of cases went to the California Supreme Court which came to be known as the “Marriage Cases.” In a 4-3 ruling, Carol Corrigan issued a dissent saying she supported marriage equality, but that it should be decided by proposition.

The 4-3 decision temporarily legalized marriage equality in California and 18,000 couples got married.  Then, Prop 8 happened.

It was then that Justice Corrigan ruled in favor of sustaining Prop 8 as the law of the land.  simply unacceptable.

Corrigan voted twice against marriage equality and she took a misguided position in the second case which eventually took the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn in 2015.

As a result of her legal rulings against the civil rights of the LGBT community this is more than enough cause to not retain her as an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.

About Donald Trump, Jr.’s Divorce Papers Being Served….

The divorce news about Donald Trump, Jr. has taken to the front page of NY paper. This paper is owned by Trump family friend and strong supporter Rupert Murdoch.  LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON.

So many gay men and women fought hard to secure marriage rights.  They grasp the meaning of a soul-mate and what vows mean.  Those are just cheap words to the Trump family.

Years before Vanessa Trump filed for divorce from Donald Trump Jr., their marriage was rocked when — around the time she was pregnant with their third child — he cheated on her with a contestant from “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

Page Six has exclusively learned that Don Jr. — then a so-called “adviser” on the NBC show — fell for busty Danity Kane star Aubrey O’Day while filming “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2011.

Sources say that Vanessa — who filed for divorcefrom President Donald Trump’s eldest son last week after 13 years of marriage — was devastated when he told her that he planned to leave her for O’Day.

Vanessa was pregnant with their third child, Tristan, around that time.

Another Fox Anchor With His Sexual Misconduct Making News

It never seems to end when it comes to men treating women poorly at Fox.  And a married man, too!

The latest takes places as Fox Business anchor Charles Payne has been suspended by the network while it investigates sexual harassment allegations made against him by a female political analyst. Payne, who hosts Making Money on the network and appears on various other programs, has acknowledged what he described as a three-year “romantic relationship” with a married female political analyst who frequently appeared on Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel from 2013 to 2016. Payne admitted to the extramarital affair in a statement to the National Enquirer published Wednesday that included an apology to his wife, children and friends.

Yes, that should clear the air for all with a public apology of caddish behavior along with the ripping of the marriage vows.  Classy is not an adjective for Payne.

Support For Same-Sex Marriage Grows

Not even Justice Gorsuch can stop the movement.

Pew Research Center: “Two years after the Supreme Court decision that required states to recognize same-sex marriages nationwide, support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally is at its highest point in over 20 years of Pew Research Center polling on the issue. By a margin of nearly two-to-one (62% to 32%), more Americans now say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry than say they are opposed. …

For the first time, a majority of Baby Boomers favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Currently, 56% of Boomers favor same-sex marriage. … Blacks have long been less supportive of same-sex marriage when compared with whites, but the share of African Americans who favor same-sex marriage has risen 12 percentage points since 2015, from 39% to 51%. … For the first time, a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents do not oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Today, 48% of Republicans and Republican leaners oppose same-sex marriage, while 47% favor this. … Overall, white evangelical Protestants continue to stand out for their opposition to same-sex-marriage: 35% of white evangelical Protestants favor same-sex marriage, compared with a 59% majority who are opposed.”

What Is Wrong In Texas When It Comes To Same-Sex Marriage?

Progress is so hard for some to handle.  The last portion of the story is most telling.

In a rare reversal, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court accepted a gay marriage case Friday after pressure from state GOP leaders and grass-roots activists.

The state’s highest civil court had rejected the case in September with only one of nine justices dissenting, prompting a backlash from opponents of gay marriage who saw an opportunity to strip away same-sex spousal benefits offered to employees of state and local governments. 

Three leading Republicans — Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton — joined the effort, filing a brief that urged the high court to reconsider because the case offered an opportunity to limit the impact of the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage.

On Friday, the state court reinstated the case, accepting a rarely granted motion to rehear without comment and scheduling oral arguments for March 1.

Neel Lane, a lawyer for two same-sex couples who had challenged the Texas same-sex marriage ban, said the court’s reversal was telling.

“It is clear that, emboldened by Donald Trump’s victory, Texas Republicans are targeting the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. Sadly, the Texas Supreme Court has folded under their pressure,” Lane said. “If the Supreme Court is vulnerable to this kind of pressure, then gay and lesbian citizens should expect no aid or comfort from any corner of state government.”

Spurred by religious and social conservative leaders, opponents of same-sex marriage also barraged justices with emails making it clear that some GOP voters saw the case as a litmus test for party loyalty and Christian values.

When I voted for you, I thought that you would uphold the Republican platform to protect the family unit for my children. Obviously, that was a correctable mistake on my part,” one email said.

Perhaps the taxpayers in Texas might opt to ante up more education dollars if there are people who feel the role of a court is to uphold any political platform and thenwould be so dumb as to suggest a thing in a public email.

This is also another example of why supreme court justices should not be elected–a position I have long held and argued.

How Many Gay Couples In Your Zip Code? Find Out With Most Detailed Map Of Gay Marriage in America

Hat tip to Dan.

Place your mouse over the map of the United States and follow the zip codes to allow insight into how many same sex marriages exist.  The numbers are surely higher than this map as only those couples who file taxes jointly were counted for this data.  Yet it is most revealing how far we have come as a nation.

For Madison (or those who live in the 537 zip codes) there are 511 same-sex marriages or 1.15% of all married couples.  There are 366 female couples and 146 male couples.  There are 44,575 married couples in total.

For the area of my hometown, Hancock, and the Coloma area and all those in the 549 zip codes there are 140 same-sex couples with 88 females 52 males.

But a new research paper published by the Treasury Department on Monday has found an interesting way around these problems: tax records.

By linking the tax returns of same-sex couples who filed jointly in 2014 with their Social Security records, researchers are able to give us the most accurate picture of same-sex marriages to date. And their estimate is this: In 2014 there were 183,280 same-sex marriages in America, roughly a third of 1 percent of all marriages.

The data also reveals another, more subtle geographical difference in male vs. female same-sex married couples. The top 20 cities for male same-sex married couples are more likely to include dense city centers like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, while the top 20 cities for female same-sex married couples tend to include smaller and medium-size cities like Springfield, Mass.; Madison, Wis.; and Burlington, Vt.