Saturday, July 21, 2012

Finding The Forest For The Weeds


My husband loves to task me...and by "task me" I mean make sure that I have something to do and something to write about at all times. Sometimes this is a good thing, especially when I scan the news and can't find it in myself to emotionally connect with yet another wing nut spouting the same over-the-top garbage that we have all heard before. In those moments, I appreciate his ability to focus me. But some days.....oh well, I'm just gonna say it....it drives me nuts. Today was  one of these days when Jay has emotionally connected with a topic I thought long dead and yelled from across the house for me to come take a look.....Josh Weed, the Gay, married to a woman, councilor, and father of three is back in the news with a recent appearance on Nightline.

"Hey have you seen this video?", Jay says to me with excitment. "What video I ask?", wondering what in the world  could have made him so animated. Did Mitt Romney get caught toe tapping in a mens room?....Did NOM finally and permanently self-destruct?......no?   I came from the breakfast table to Jays computer to see what all the fuss was about and looked at the screen to see Josh Weed and family staring back at me with the headline Gay. Mormon, and Happily Married.  "Oh that story...I saw that weeks ago. why is that back again?"

And that simple comment was the one that opened the door to a debate that suprised me in the intensity of MY emotional reaction to it and incited a debate that still rages on in our home. but first....some background....


(Due to ABCnews.com's annoying amount of ads you can not turn off, I have removed the embedded video. the Original Nightline interview with the Josh and Lollie Weed can be found here)


Josh Weed and his family first popped up in the gay news blogs last month when he came out in his own blog The weed....as gay, Mormon, and happily married to a woman for ten years. Josh and his wife Laurel(Lollie) have three girls and the busy family life that comes with a family that size. In addition, Josh is also a Marriage and family therapist who also claims to tackle LGBT issues....and it is in the combination of his profession, his connection with the LDS church, as well as this high profile coming out that has ignited criticism and a firestorm of accusations over his life choices, credibility, and motivation for publicly coming out. Among those accusations is the claim that he practices ex-gay therapy...a claim that he refutes in a pair of youtube videos posted to his blog.

Josh claims that he knew he was gay from time he was thirteen and he came out to his family who were "accepting" and loving of him in his own words. Josh and Lollie were childhood friends and Josh has been out to Lollie since their early teens. Josh and Lollie have chosen to be married to each other even though Josh has been honest about his sexual orientation and both claim to be happy within their relationship. This has prompted the public at large to ask the question," Just how the hell does that work?!"    .....a now your caught up. Let's move on...


The reason that Jay brought this to my attention this morning was because he noticed the intense and blistering amount of comments directed at Josh ranging from outright judgement of him as a purveyor of the worst kind of self hatred to being considered an Uncle Tom for the LDS church. Jay had felt that Josh was getting a raw deal from gay people who are...in essence...judging him while simultaneously asking to be able to live our lives without judgment or discrimination.....all on the basis that we are being authentic to a truth we feel as core to who we are as human beings.

"Well...ok", I thought. all that is true. the problem as I saw it was expressed by John Dehlin at 4:30 in the video. Any mother faced with a child who is coming out to them will see a story like Josh Weeds and think, "Well, if he can do it, so can my child." And thus...even though Josh Weed may not espouse or support reparative therapy as he claims, the notion that with enough effort you can be happily and heterosexually married will encourage parents to ignore the warnings of credible medical organizations that condemn reparative therapy and plant their child right in the  middle of a program like Evergreen....the Mormon version of Exodus International. It is this indirect chain of events that lead one Towleroad commentor to suspect that Josh Weeds coming out was a subtler attempt by the LDS church to reaffirm the notion that LGBT people can change their orientation....



So why is he doing the media rounds? Why is he going for big time media outlets to tell his story of "being a gay man married to a women" other than to suggest "YOU CAN TOO!" and give ammunition to homophobic hate mongers.
Mormon Church plant? I think so.



But conspiracy theories aside, that people question that Josh can be gay and have a "robust" sex life with his wife is somewhat puzzling to me. their intimacy is emotional first...they obviously have a trust with each other that makes such closeness possible. And as someone who had sex with women before I came out I know that physical attraction is only one piece of the puzzle.....just ask all those straight guys doing "gay for pay" movies. This is not to equate Josh's sex life to that(sorry guys)...just saying that sexuality is more than one functional piece. But dam what it does to you when you are firing on all cylindars.....just sayin. That Josh and Lollie have a "robust" experience together does not confuse me or trouble me in the least. Good for them...go get it guys. As long as they are happy, the rest is none of our business.


Here is were it gets sticky for me......By the time I am blogging about a topic like this, I like to have my opinion somewhat formed. On this occasion I can not. When reading the comments in reaction to Weed on the various blogs it is easy to see that the notion that Josh could be honestly gay and also commit himself to a woman patently offends some of us as gay people. After having to work so hard to accept ourselves and working to build acceptance in a hostile society it seems like a gargantuan step backward to accept the subtext of Weed's coming out. "yes, I am gay but because my religion condemns it, I am putting it on a shelf and choosing to love a woman." This is the core belief of what is known as the "Side B" gay christian...someone who acknowledges their sexuality as unchangeable but chooses not to act on that for religious reasons. This can mean a lifetime of celibacy for some. That is a notion many of us reject. After all, if we are going to do the hard work of accepting ourselves as gay people, why in the world would we cut ourselves off from a life of love and intimacy..and, yes...sex. that is a part of the fullness of being a human being and part of the fullness of a loving relationship. As much as I want to accept others for their choice in how they live their lives as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered people...cutting love and closeness out of our lives in order to see ourselves as good people just doesn't feel like full self acceptance. And so...Josh and Lollie Weeds life can look to some of us like harmful compromise between religion and wholeness of self. In short...it pushes our buttons. And yet....




I looked long and carefully into their eyes as they spoke to each other. I watched their children. I looked at the way they sat together....I looked for anything that would have appeared to me like things were not what they seemed. And sure...I am no FBI profiler. I can't read a lie like the Mentalist. I am just someone who has been married long enough to know the little signs of people who know each other intimately.  I couldn't see anything other then the love for each other that they claim. And that love should trump all in my opinion. I can not condemn theirs and then ask someone else to accept my own...especially since I have no way to judge the veracity of anyones heart but my own. I looked at the pictures I selected for todays post and realised that I had taken nearly identicle ones with my own kids and for me, that means that I can't help but see my own family in theirs. 


As I made the point to Jay that Josh Weeds story will encourage others to emulate his, he made the point that others accuse us of doing exactly the same thing. And he is right in that regard, we often get accused of advancing the idea that all gays should get married...which is absolutely NOT what we are about and we have said it time and time again. The difference has always been choice....just as Josh Weed has stated that coming to terms with being gay can mean that we go through a mourning period for all those things we believe we will not be able to have...the point of what we do is to say, "why the hell not? If you want it, get out there and make it happen...because you absolutely can."......but that's if you want it. You don't have to be married to be a good gay anymore than you have to be married to be a good straight person. There again is that dam mirror showing me back to myself in the guise of Weed and his family. And yet...something in my gut is still screaming  "Nooooooooooo!"


But there again...it comes back to a matter of the sanctity of our ability to chose how we live our own lives on the condition that it does not cause harm to others... and just as I am asking society at large to accept that I am a gay man who wants to be married to another man and raise my two children...hell, as a gay man who is asking society to not discriminate against me just for being a gay man....how can I ever tell someone like Josh Weed that his family...his life...is wrong. If he loves them as I love mine...I can't.

So there we were, with Jay making point and I making some rather heated counterpoint. this was elevating beyond mere debate and raising some emotions in me. Can I judge Josh Weed....no. But neither can I fully accept that his story will not have negative consequences. The only solution I can see is for Josh Weed to write an open letter...or create a video response to all those parents out there who would use his story as a way to try to change their children into someone they are not....to all those kids who want to be someone they are not. Perhaps he should address them specifically and explain it in no uncertain terms why he did what he did....how that was his choice alone....and if he really believes in what he put in his ex-gay refutation videos, he will say it loud and clear that he believes that they are ok  just as they are...that he made his choice for himself..as did Lollie...but others do not have to follow their same path to realize their dreams for marriage and family. Their way is not the way...it was just their way....just as families like Jay's and mine are also.



In the end, we have to live our own lives and make our own choices for how we are going to live it. It is damned hard enough to find voices out there in the world that tell us we can be who ever we want to be as gay people....that being gay does not close the door to God, family, or anything you ever wanted to be or held dear. Accepting your sexuality should not ever mean giving up another equally important piece of your being...that is my opinion of the matter. My job...and my desire...is not to judge Josh Weed or his family because they are the same as me and mine....but I do think there are some things that he needs to make crystal clear to those who are most at risk of destroying themselves from the inside out....and do it in a medium as public and high profile as his coming out has been. Maybe then we will remember that love is the same on the inside no matter how it may look from the outside or how it may push us beyond the comfortable boundries of the world we accept.


Maybe this will finally settle that argument...debate with my husband and we can go back to agreeing about everything, all the time.......RFOL!....yeah right!...Whoo!....that was good. I think I may need a sit down now...


Until next time dear readers....



61 comments:

  1. As a gay mormon myself I can see why this guy choose the life he did and I do not judge him for it. It's his life and he can do what he chooses with it and I respect him for his choices. I only hope my family does not see it and thing "Hey Jimmy(me) can do that too! There's hope after all!" Luckily most of my family is smarter than that. I saw the blog by this Josh Weed from my sisters facebook shortly after I officially came out to her and that is how that thought came to me. But as I said they are usually smarter than that thought (I hope) Anyway good blog like always Bryan :)
    Jim (thatoneshyguy20)

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  2. This stinks from the head (not your essay, Mr Weed's story). The timing of this revelation is all too convenient in the light of Regnerus's bogus sociological "study" being released at virtually the same time.

    DOMA and Prop H8 are going before the Supreme Court and all of a sudden NOM (and Robert George) comes up with this bogus Regnerus "study" and the Mormons come up with Mr Weed and his BS.

    This is an attempt to sway the Suprem Court in the DOMA cases and the Prop H8 case to show that gay families are not worthy of legal protection (because, after all, the Regnerus study "shows" that children raised by gay parents don't do well) and anyway, gays can have heterosexual marriages if we just try harder.

    I call bullshit on Weed AND on NOM, Robert George, the Morman cult, and Regnerus.

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  3. hmm, well he can live his life however he wants, we should live ours without being discriminated against. I do not judge Josh either and i believe that what he's doing is not anyone's business. I of course as bisexual, want to be in a relationship, but it's been so diffuclt for me, especially here in Arizona. Being single sucks sometimes. Anyway, i don't understand people who makes a big deal with what one person does. "Oh you're gay, but you rather be with a woman, why?! You is wrong!" No, i believe it's his life. While i can understand that it's like saying, "We can admit we're gay but just choose to be heterosexually married instead which would make bigots think that we should just be happily married to the opposite sex instead of being happily married to the one we're loved. Also, i know you guys are never, "Hey, we should all get married." I never get that impression from you.

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  4. ok...some major corrections were needed here. hopefully it will make more sense now....
    Sorry guys.../bryan

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  5. HI Love your family. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Good luck on your movie!
    According to the Kinsey Scale of sexual behavior, sexual practices were observed to be fluid over time and involved different physical and psychological activity. The scale goes from being 100% exclusively gay to being 100% exclusively straight. The 50% mark would indicate bisexual behavior. The expression of human sexual behavior can truly be more broad than just a straight or gay label over time. At some point pple just know where their comfort zone is and stay there. So, let's just be compassionate and allow pple to be where they're at, for however long they need to be, and not be too attached to the outcome or labelling. We all want and need the same fundamental respect and dignity for our families, whatever the family looks like. However,most importantly in this case, promoting your family values on TV to shame others about their own sexuality is inexcusable. Cheers/M.

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  6. I've been asked to clarify my comment. What I am saying is that Josh Weed is a shill for the Mormon hate machine and that he, to phrase it baldly, is lying through his teeth.

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  7. This Josh guy, at least at a functional level, has to be more bisexual than he’s admitting to. If we look at the Kinsey Scale, a “1” is purely heterosexual, “6” is purely gay, so only “3.5” would be perfectly bisexual i.e., feeling an absolutely equal attraction to both genders. If Josh self-identifies as gay and yet has a robust sex life with a woman, he’s greater than a 3.5 but well short of 6. As I interpret the Kinsey Scale, the closer one gets to 6, the greater the difficulty one has functioning sexually with an opposite sex partner. When you get all the way to 6, you get to me. I have ZERO attraction to females. The thought of actually being sexual with a woman or forced to have to try makes me almost physically ill. Sorry, ladies if any of you are here. It’s not personal. You could be the most wonderful human being in the world. You could be absolutely, painfully gorgeous in a heterosexual man’s eyes. But, due to my biological wiring, it doesn’t matter. I CANNOT function sexually with a woman AT ALL any more than I can jump off a roof and not fall.

    Yes, Josh does have a lot of clarifying to do. His choices in life reflect what he is capable of doing considering his rather lukewarm gayness. He has no business representing himself as being strongly gay in the way you are, Bryan, and doubly absolutely not like the perfect 6 me. He should acknowledge that people who are strongly gay can’t change, can’t function sexually with a woman like he can and can’t be married to a woman without living in misery and just throwing both their lives and the lives of their poorly fulfilled wives away. If he isn’t willing to do that then, yes, he should be dismissed as just another instrument of the Mormon anti-gay hate machine, though he would be a more clever instrument of theirs than usual.

    BTW congratulations on your fundraising for qualifying your film for the 2013 Academy Awards. As of my posting at roughly 9:30 pm central time /7:30 pacific time on Saturday, July 21st, you are only $105 away from fully meeting your goal and you still have 11 days left. This shows us how enormously powerful the Depfox global family can be at fundraising. Such rapid and wild success suggests that, if only we were given the green light and were properly mobilized by a video or series of videos, that we could raise astonishing amounts of money to help save the life of a special someone you know very well who I’m talking about.

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  8. Dave first I have to say that I disagree with you that he is Bisexual I am 100% gay and had no problem having sex with females in high school. I have had more female partners in this life then male partners and would never call myself Bi. I enjoyed sex with females because I was having sex and could fantasies about all kinds of things during intercourse. "My Best Friend" As for our friend I agree with you a 100% but it is his choice and I am doing my best to respect it. We have hit $7k about 30mins ago Yea. Now tell everyone to stop donating. :O)

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    1. Jay,

      My comment about Josh’s sexuality is more nuanced than how you’re interpreting me. I didn’t say bisexual outright; I said MORE bisexual than he is admitting. There is a qualitative difference. In other words, I think he is well below being a 6 thoroughbred like me. Jay, if in high school you were then the 100% you say you are now, then your capacity to fantasize and completely dissociate your mind from what your body was doing had to have been enormous. I could never fantasize quite that well. No amount of delusion would ever allow me to forget for a second that I’m with the polar opposite of what I want. I’m no authority of course, but I would guess few 100 percenters would be able to pull off what you were able to. And yet how horrible to have to carry fakeness that far.

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    2. i think its far more primal than we think of, this drive to connect on any level with another human being, including sexually. i have not and have no plans to have intercourse with a woman, that said, i think i could and it be a perfectly enjoyable experience even with her being female (from my perspective). and it would make me no less gay.

      kinsey has been shown to be flawed, some of his methodology was very questionable, but that by no means indicates that his work has no value. it simply means that we need more reliable work done to verify or debunk his conclusions. the primary value, i think, was in simply getting the ball rolling, so regardless of whether he is correct on anything i say thank you.

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    3. I’m starting to get really confused here. There seems to be a maddening disconnect between people claiming they’re 100% gay and yet some of those people still have or, at least at one time, had the capacity to fumble through and sexually perform with a woman. We probably have at least three 100 percenters on this thread alone. I count myself as one and I am completely unable physically to have sex with a woman. Nothing makes me go limp down south faster than a woman. And judging by aNothWestView’s comment in effect that he can’t physically function sexually with a woman either, I’m going to award him with a 100% rating too. Yet we have Jay, who also self-identifies as 100% gay, yet he WAS capable of sexually performing with a woman. Are some “100%’s” greater than others? Why can some 100 percenters still perform with a woman while others can’t? Is it PURELY differences in the ability to fantasize you’re with a man while you’re trying to have sex with a woman so you still can manage to stay hard and even “finish?” Or is it that some men calling themselves 100% gay are giving themselves a higher rating than they deserve? Maybe some self-identifying 100 percenters are really only 90, 80 or 70% gay. In other words, while those people are much, much more attracted to men than women, they still retain some level of genuine attraction to women too. Maybe those people DON’T have to fantasize so hard to perform. Or is being gay much, much more about which gender you’re capable of having that ultra-intense emotional bond to that we call love and not so much about just physical performance?

      And now, Steeldrago, even you are now claiming you think you could physically perform with a woman too. Yet I haven’t heard you stake a claim to 100% that others have. Perhaps that’s a claim you shouldn’t be making in the first place.

      So I’m completely baffled and I invite the comment of anyone who has any insight into this.

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    4. I am going to have to agree with you on this Dave. We seem to be coming from the same page experience wise, I don't care how much of an connection there is on an emotional level (and I have had some extremely close female friends) or how sexual deprived one is, I could not have sex with a women. Maybe unlike you and Jay I am not able to totally mentally separate my self from the reality of what is going on. Lord knows I tried to force my self to have even the slightest sexual attraction to women all threw high school, and even though I was having no sex at all (none, zip, zilch you get the point) I still was unable to. The truth was that a women in a sexual since was and is enough to kill the most sexually aroused moment. (it dose not matter if she is what any straight guy would find hot as hell)

      I think that like Dave is saying, there is a nuanced range to sexuality and that for some it may be fluid at points in there lives. (although it has never been for me)and I think in the case of Mr Weeds he is not 100% gay but also not bi, but instead gay with bi tendencies. Just like to me it sounds like when jay was younger at least his sexuality was gay but with bi tendencies. In part because if he was at the point on the scale where I am he would not have been able to function with a women no matter how hot and bothered he was before hand.

      That is just my two cents on the subject, and it is not a value judgment against any one, it is just highlighting that sexuality is not as simple as the three labels gay, bi, and straight.

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    5. yeah i agree, the sexuality (and gender identity for that matter) are very complex and aren't simple as "Are you gay" "Are you straight or anything like that. I for one feel that i am Bi because i feel strong attraction to both men and women. I never really had any experience in romance department, but i've tried but i think most of the reason i was single is my own fault because i was too shy, i feel that i had a shell and i never believed i was worth loving. I do think Josh isn't 100% gay either, but slightly on bi perhaps. As for Jay and the women, i have no idea what to say.

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    6. Dave, the OriginalJuly 22, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      Hi aNothWestView,

      Is it okay to address you here by your real first name, Matt? Typing “aNothWestView” is a real chore.

      No, I’m like you. I am 100% sexually non-functional with a woman. To me, that is the essence of what claiming oneself to be 100% gay SHOULD mean. Any capacity to perform with a woman either means gay but with some, however small, bisexual tendencies OR powers to fantasize so great that they border on the hallucinogenic. This will be rather graphic—but you all expect that from me anyway, don’t you all? :-D :-D—but the rotten sushi odors inherent to straight sex and the sound of female sex vocalizations I would think would break any man-sex imaging trance one managed to achieve to keep physically functioning with that woman. My abilities to fantasize quite to that extent are pretty poor and I wouldn’t even be able to get “started” with a woman.

      I think another possibility is that someone who is predominantly and very strongly gay but nevertheless was able to function okay with a woman at one time, once he starts having man-sex and experiences how much better that is for him both physically and emotionally, he loses the ability to function with a woman afterwards. It would be for such a person an intolerable and unbearable step backward. Unless such a gay man has relatively stronger bisexual tendencies, maybe that thoroughly satisfying man-sex moves him afterwards all the way to 100%. So, sure, he can self-identify as 100% gay NOW and be correct in that self-label. But, by this logic, it sure would be hard to believe that such a gay man was at that full 100% level BACK IN HIGH SCHOOL when he may have been undergoing some gay-denial, struggling to try to be straight and was successfully having some straight sex then, even if it was only to “fit in.” Anytime one is at the 100% level, as I define it, pretty much precludes any ability to function with a woman at all.

      On this thread, we have 3 either self-identified or obvious 100 percenters. Of those 3, 2 are completely nonfunctional with women. Anyone else here who is gay hasn’t yet declared to what degree they’re gay. So we have an uncomfortably small sample size of course to be highly reliable, but we at least have some anecdotal evidence right amongst us that most 100 percenters ARE nonfunctional with women.

      Matt, I looked at your blog profile and saw you were into psychedelic music. Me too. In another thread here, I posted a whole bunch of musical links to predominantly obscure psych or space rock bands, but can’t remember where I put them. I still have them saved in an Outlook draft, so I’ll paste them into a comment in your own blog so you have easy access to them too.

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    7. Dave it is OK to refer to my by my real first name, I use it in my blog profile and on my YouTube channel, and yeah ANothWestView is a chore to type out lol.

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    8. i have in the past been very 'moody' down below. one minute im feeling it and the next not so much, i have also been all cylinders are go far more regularly. things have changed fundamentally and i have had some very interesting interactions and fantasies. i must say that part of my willingness stems from that guy i told you about dave. i would for him with out any qualms or upset whatsoever, in that moment. if the opportunity arose with someone i was emotionally and intellectually compatable with i dont believe i would say no..it may go nowhere, i dont know, and i am not seeking that out. there is still very much nothing like a great, sexy man to get me going.

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    9. Dave, the OriginalJuly 23, 2012 at 5:30 AM

      Well, with that description of yourself, you have to be less than 100% gay. Any capacity to function with a woman, especially if you don’t have to engage in near hallucinogenic fantasizing to be able to perform, places you somewhere below 100%. And that’s okay. This isn’t the Gay Olympics here where we compete on gayness. :-D :-D However, sometime ago—I think it was in the Kinsey thread dealing with that one actress who was mis-identifying her sexuality and initially made it sound like sexuality was a choice—I did a spoof where, being the perfect 6 on the Kinsey scale I am, I gave an acceptance speech for having received an Oscar for Best Nonperformance in a Heterosexual Dating Role. :-D

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    10. lol

      on the performance thing, victims of sexual assault frequently have biological responses that in normal sexual encounters are indicators of good things. sexual behavior is far more fluid than many think and i know a number of older men who have multiple children, some from different marriages/girlfriends that are solidly gay. we all have a number of internal and external pressures that drive our sex lives. there is no such thing as simple on this topic.
      i am the twilight zone and i exist on the edge of many things, partially to fuck with your mind, partially to fuck with my own. illusions and delusions of black and white, whatever form they take shall be shattered and in that shattering truth can be found, enjoy the pain it tells you youre alive. (and no you cant have that one its all mine)

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  9. oops that was Jay by the way.

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  10. I don't judge Josh, but I can't wrap my head around it ether. I mean to me in some ways it dose seem like he is denying a part of himself in order to be what he has been told he has to be to be good, but he also seems to be OK with it, yet one has to wounder as he gets older how that is going to work as so often it dose not work out.

    I can't imagine denying that part of myself, Well I can imagine it because I spent a good number of years, the worst years of my life, trying to deny that part of my self. And those are years that I would never want to live threw again.

    I am extremely close to my best friend and people who don't know us have mistakenly tough her and I where a couple, but I could never marry her, I love her and would be devastated if she was no longer in my life and I could not be around her, but there is that special part missing that I only get when I am in love with a another man. Then there is the other part for me that I can't wrap my mind around and that is them having sex, let alone a "robust" sex life. I just can't imagine having sex with a women, hell I tried to make my self be attracted to women when I was trying to be straight but I flailed totally at it, I have never thought of a women in that way or had the slightest physical attraction to a women.

    I do worry that it sends a bad message to many parents out there that their kids sexuality is changeable, and that is a dangerous thing in a world where ex-gay therapy exist and kids under 18 don't have the legal standing to refuse that kind of "medical treatment". It also risks sending a dangerous message to kids that are struggling with their gayness to, that they just have to work harder and they can be like him, but what happens when they work harder and fail, it is a dangerous mental space to be in. That is my two cents.

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  11. Gotta say, my wife and I both really loved your post. You were very authentic and thoughtful in your reaction to our story, and I appreciated the points you made. I do see similarities in our journeys and in the message we, respectively, are sharing. Also, I completely agree with you that the use of our story as a battering ram used against those who make choices that are different than ours is a horrific idea--we've tried to be very methodical in our refutation of such behavior, and we'll continue to do so. It's abhorrent. Our life is just that: a life. A good life, and one we find to be beautiful. But it's ours, and other people can and should choose for themselves what they feel is best.

    Anyway, Lolly and I both agreed you guys seem like people we'd love to hang out with, and the type of couple that would be fun to go on a double date with. So, if you're ever up in the Seattle area, drop us a line!

    Thanks again for your thoughtful post.

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    1. It's great to see you guys getting involved in what people have to say about your situation, and keeping an open dialogue. I hope that however the rest of your story goes it's what is best for you and your children.

      My story is very similar to yours, but after coming out to my wife, the ability to try and stay married as a gay man only lasted for about 6 months. Everyone is going to make their own decisions, but I hope that people do what's best for them, because I know that's not why I did what I did. I lied to myself about what I really wanted and who I was from the age of 13, just to please my family, and the LDS Church... The more I did the more it killed me inside.

      I am praying for those who are facing this dilemma and choosing what life they want to live, and hope they do it for the right reason. I also hope one day that families can accept the choices someone makes, even if they don't agree with them choosing to live as who they are, they need to love them as their child or family member.

      Jay and Bryan, thanks for all your thoughtful posts. *hugs*

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    2. One has to wonder if you (Josh) would have made the same choices if you hadn't been indoctrinated into your religion? It seems as though your religious beliefs are the only motivating factor in choosing to live a "straight lifestyle". If we lived in a world without religion, where people were free to express their sexual orientation without external condemnation, I honestly doubt your life would be the same as it is now. Of course that's just speculation on my part. Who knows, maybe they should have ended Will & Grace with the both of them getting married and having children. Will's human identity as a gay man is irrelevant when societal conformity (and the pleasing of an omnipotent being) is at stake.

      You also talk about your parents being totally supportive of your "coming out". But that's only in the context of being Mormon. They would either support you living as a celibate gay man for your entire life, or get married to a woman to please your God. There was never a possibility of the third (gay affirming) choice: falling in love with a gay man and creating a life and a family with him (Jay & Bryan). So it really wasn't as affirming as it would appear to be. It also explains why you made the choice you did. The only other option is untenable and cruel.

      I do have a problem with someone disregarding their sexual orientation (not acting out on it) in order to please their God. Did you ever ask yourself why God made gay people in the first place if he wants everyone to live a "straight lifestyle"? It really doesn't make any sense does it? If God didn't want gay people to be with gay people (kinda like Garanimals... you match up the sexual orientation of the people), don't you think he would have had the ability to make sure that gay people didn't exist? Of course, I'm trying to inject logic into religion which is futile. We live in a society that includes religious people that feel justified to kill gay people because God says homosexuality is a sin. So in essence, they're doing God's will. You can basically use the Bible to rationalize any behavior you want: like gay people marrying straight people. Since it's all based on faith, how can you possibly question anyone's motives?

      I read most of the comments on your original blog post, and was really disturbed by a woman who said, "If only a couple of my gay Mormon friends has read your blog before they committed suicide, they might have been saved." Whether it was your intention or not, you ARE giving gay people false hope. Because you and I both know that the vast majority of gay/straight marriages don't have happy endings (like Greg's post).

      "But it's ours, and other people can and should choose for themselves what they feel is best." -- Unlike most gay couples, you ARE free to live your life the way you want to live it, because you've chosen a heteronormative lifestyle. Yet you support a religion that doesn't follow the same philosophy that you embrace. In fact, your religion has gone out of its way to harm gay people's lives. I find that very troubling. If you truly supported the ideology of people being able to define their lives however they see fit (on the basis that it isn't harming any one else), I'm not sure how you can rationalize the support of your own religion.

      Just my two cents, from a non-religious outsider viewpoint.

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    3. faith is not truly blind. that is actually a hugely perpetuated falsehood. faith can be blind but it is based on evidence within one's life...frequently that 'faith' is misnamed as such and is used to alienate the unbelievers and to justify the brutalizing of those 'other.' more accurately it is bigotry and hate, cause you know 'nothing brings people together like a mutual enemy.'

      greg, thank you for sharing. i hope the pain you and your family have felt is rapidly falling away.

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    2. To each their own for there is far more to the connections between any two people than thoughts I have in my little brain. It is never just about sex, though no one should be forced into denying it for the sake of social conformity.

      If the weeds are happy with their lives then let them be, whatever that means for them (so long as they are being responsible to the obligations they have chosen to live with). We tend to be jealous questioning animals which is fine when channeled into self success and not allowed to fester into hateful viciousness directed at others.

      I do question what harm they are setting themselves up for if a circumstance arises similar to Dennis Quade's character in far from heaven. I’m not saying they cannot have a fully committed emotional connection...but that would imply that your friends are somehow a lesser emotional commitment than your spouse rather than just different. Socially we have made the call that 'friend' is not as valuable but I personally reject that.

      Mr. Weed calling himself a 'gay man' implies to me that there is a need that based on pure biology his spouse cannot meet. Yes he has the right to ignore that need and he may be perfectly happy to do so- I’m not reading his heart to find out. This particular need is far greater than any lifestyle choice like any of the 'kink' or joining a camping organization or getting married or staying single, etc. we look for fulfilling emotional connection everywhere, more or less. While I can fully believe him and the Mrs. Care for one another I just don’t believe that it is as complete as it could be.

      Go love, be happy and share that joy and grow more happy for the world, I will not require you to be bound to my thoughts- my truths are not exactly the same as yours.

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  13. Hello,
    This is amazing :) My dad recently came out after 24 years of marriage to my mother. So this is an issue that touches close to my heart. I am actually a graduate student in Communication Studies. I am looking to actually conduct a study regarding how identities are formulated after someone comes out later in life. There has been little to no research or even media regrading this even though it's a very important and unique issue. I am looking for people over the age of 30 when they began the coming out process. If you know of anyone that is interested please email me at a.fiebrantz@ttu.edu

    I hope it's appropriate that I posted this here. I am not trying to advertise any business or anything. I am merely an ally and a daughter of an amazing gay man. I've seen his struggles as he has come to terms with his identity and merely looking for others to begin research in this field.
    Thank you so much for your time.

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    1. you should also checkout and talk to the outlatbutgreat channel on youtube. they may be able to hook you up with more volunteers.

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    2. Dave, the OriginalJuly 23, 2012 at 5:43 AM

      That's a good idea. I watch the OutLateButGreat channel regularly.

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    3. Thank you al so much! I have posted and gotten into contact with the person in charge of the OutLateButGreat channel. She is going to encourage people to contact me. I have already gotten two women for my 2nd study. Hopefully I hear from some more people. I can't say how thankful I am that y'all are willing to talk to me about this.
      And if you've lost my e-mail it's a.fiebrantz@ttu.edu.

      Thanks Again!
      Aly

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  14. Also Aly if you would like to contact us we would love to help you I know a bunch of people that came out later in life after having families...just reach out to us at gayfamilyvalues@gmail.com

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    1. Garry said Aly interviewed him yesterday for 2 hours.... Whew..can't wait to hear about it....

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    2. Yes! :) My co-researcher interviewed him yesterday. The interview went really well. We're still looking for about 6 or 7 men to interview. So please email me if you know any!!
      Thank you so much
      Aly

      a.fiebrantz@ttu.edu

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  15. To all of you fellow GFV readers: Bryan's blog this week immediately brought back to memory a very special YouTube video that Jay made a couple years ago entitled "For You Garry." If you haven't seen it PLEASE go back and watch it! It is the story about a letter Jay received from a man named Garry who was gay..52 years old..married (30 years) and with four adult children. In the video as Jay brilliantly and emotionally reads the letter and you hear the outcry of a man stuck in a marriage that he clearly does not want to be in..admitting that he is gay..and pleading for help. Something about that vid really pulled on my heart so I decided to e-mail him back and tell him that if he ever wanted to talk I would be there for him. So he did and we exchanged many e-mails. Eventually we talked about what we both did for a living and where we lived. When he told me about the small town that he lived in in PA I was shocked because that is near where we go camping in PA every year and is only a 2 hour drive from Cleveland. So..I told him that the next time we went camping we'd love to meet him. We did! I found Garry to be a beautiful person just hungry for help and advice. The gaydar never went off..he was typical Western PA man's man into hunting and all of the other "guy stuff" they do out there.. We talked and talked and talked.. He told me he knew he was gay from a very young age but because of his very Catholic religion he had to try and marry a woman to see if somehow he could change. Nope..it didn't. We met him many times after that camping trip. My hubby..who is a psychologist gave him many tips. Guys..this story has a WONDERFUL ending!! He came out to his wife and kids. The kids are so supportive. I think his wife is relieved that his "lack of interest" was never about her..it was about him being gay. Fast forward..he met someone in their little town who we both love and he is having a blast harvesting vegetables..tapping maple trees for syrup and GAWD!!..extracting honey from bee hives!!! Just this week Garry texted me and said.."I just want to thank my saviors again.."
    So..what is the moral of this story? I say it is "be who you are" and you will find happiness." Again Jay..and I have told you and Bryan both this many times but thanks again for putting Garry's letter out there. You created a close knit of "friends forever" :) Jim from Ohio on the "Outlatebutgreat" channel on YouTube.

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    1. your story made my point so much more eloquently than i could have. thank you for sharing. bb.

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    2. Thanks Steel!! PLEASE ! Come to NY! Their vid is AWESOME and I hope more people see it.. Our crazy awesome friend Garry WILL be there..I'd love for you to meet him...

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    3. Dave, the OriginalJuly 24, 2012 at 5:51 AM

      Jim,

      I watch all the OutLateButGreat videos, but I’m thinking in particular the more recent one where Paul from Ireland came to Ohio and there was a group photo you showed with him, you and Dave AND GARRY. Actually, there’s more to Garry’s “happy ending” that you just barely eluded to. That someone Garry met is now his partner and Garry is super happy now, probably for the first time in his life. BTW from what I can tell from that photo, Garry’s pretty hot. A very sexy bear and, if you read me often here, you know I’m crazy for bears.

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    4. Yes Dave..I was surrounded by bears that evening. Garry is a handsome man. As Paul from Ireland said.."It was a great night with mates!!!"

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    5. Dave, the OriginalJuly 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      Well, I hope for Paul's sake his great night with mates had a "multidimensional" quality to it! :-D Perhaps his version of my Kansas City experience.:-) Say, I know how lonely Paul is in the part of Ireland he lives in. I don't know what England's immigration policy is toward Irelanders, but Manchester evidently has a thriving bear scene there. Paul could be so much happier and have vastly more dating options if only he'd move to Manchester.

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    6. Dave we are working on Paul. He is extremely fearful of being out yet he is out to friends and family. His little Irish town does actually have a gay bar and there is a support group there as well. I keep telling him that "Prince Charming is not going to come knocking on your door.." You need to let go of fear and put yourself out there. He is getting to that point..

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    7. Dave, the OriginalJuly 24, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      Is he really? Sounds like he has more coming out experience than I do and presumably the people he cares the most about have his back. He also can use my 3-prong coming out / bigot intervention strategy that I’ve repeated so much I should be either horse or a carpal tunnel basket case. It also should help that he’s a manly-looking dude. He hardly has the problem of looking so fabulous that he farts estrogen! :-D :-D With anyone new he feels he needs to come out to them, he can always point out that the only thing making them any different from him is a more favorable birth outcome. If he’s dealing with an irretrievable bigoted toxic prick, maybe he should be doing the walking away from them rather than the other way around. Having people like that in his life is about as useful as having a knife in the back. In fact, they’re strikingly similar. I still think he would be much happier in a larger, more urban environment. City people tend to be more socially progressive than more rural folk.

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    8. Dave, the OriginalJuly 24, 2012 at 9:15 PM

      Jim,

      I could be making unfounded assumptions here, but I’m presuming Paul likes bears because that seems to be what most bears are attracted to. If that’s true for Paul, have him check out:

      www.bearcentral.com Headquartered in San Francisco but has a global membership. Good for blog-related socializing and also functions as a bear community dating website.

      www.scruffapp.com Has a bear dating app for iPhones and Android. Used globally.

      Also have him watch this video from the Jonathan Robinson YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvv1ZWsycNw&feature=plcp on Scruff

      Just as Jay and Bryan have said in a past Ask A Gay Family video, gay dating websites need to be used carefully meaning be very clear in your profile what you’re looking for. If Paul wants to build something deep and long lasting with someone, he will need to say so in some way or the contacts he’ll get will tend to be for just quick hook ups.

      There also is a bear related comedy mini-series on the web scheduled to start August 1st called “Where The Bears Are.” A funny murder mystery kind of thing with hot, furry men. Go to http://wherethebearsare.tv/ . For now, there are a couple of videos to watch, including a series trailer.

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    9. my brotha-from-anotha-motha (his wife is black and went to mamaronek) has been trying to get me to go to NH for awhile and i have a place to stay till i get settled if i move up there, with a friend. i would love to go. alas i is a broke person trying to pay off bills, many of which are not really my own..damn the care-giving industry. it shall occur that i go and i will let you know when im in the area.

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    10. Dave, the OriginalJuly 25, 2012 at 6:16 AM

      Yeah, it would be great if move out of the theocratic South. You and I have talked about this through e-mail before. I think your long-term happiness depends on it. The more miles you can put between you and those vile, vicious homophobes down there, the better. I think New Hampshire might have marriage equality too but I’m not sure.

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    11. i knew for about five seconds but i dont recall now. my bfam asked his niece when her and her (female) fiance were gonna come up so he could marry them. nh has at minimum that not marriage thing-civil unions?- my brain is off a bit i need a nap.
      i want to go somewhere else and do my masters degree. i will leave here for a more gay/pagan friendly location. i shouldn't have to though, not on those fronts.

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    12. Dave, the OriginalJuly 25, 2012 at 7:12 PM

      Do you get more static from people in Texas for being gay or pagan? We might end up talking about this more by phone later this week, but others here might be interested to hear your answer.

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    13. i tend to hang out with fringe people so i dont get much on a daily basis. we also tend to be very focused on doing what we ourselves need to do here. its about even, cause 'them pagans have drunken orgies where satan rules absolutely and they have sex with men, women, animals, fruits/veg, children and black people, they is homosex'lls'
      in some ways it is very tolerant individually but-within my generation...you also have to make it where the straight people can have their illusions of normal, which is retarded.

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    14. Dave, the OriginalJuly 25, 2012 at 11:14 PM

      “Ahhmm lil o’ farmah Jethro from Odessa Tex-ass, an’ if ahh EVAH citchyo f***in’ genitals on mah produce, ahhmm gonna git mahh lil o’ shaw-gun an’ flame yo ass!! Gaul-aul-lee!!” :-D :-D :-D

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  16. Thanks Dave-I'll pass on the info. I know he has Scruff because he was getting "growled at" tons of times in Cleveland and Toronto!! :0

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    1. Dave, the OriginalJuly 24, 2012 at 10:36 PM

      I hope he has fun and good luck. American bears at least would find his Irish accent sexy. :-)

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  17. so the captcha just told me to 'rol a tit'...im not really sure how to do that, mine dont twist like that and i am certainly NOT doing that to mom....ummm. . . .uh...no? ty?

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  18. Dave, the OriginalJuly 25, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    Bryan,

    There is a problem on the Marriage Equality link on the gayfamilyvalues website. The marriage equality map just briefly flashes for a second or two and then disappears. Somebody really does need to get that fixed.

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  19. Dave, the OriginalJuly 25, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Bryan,

    I may be guilty of an "oops." The map and information is still there, but it's laid out at the bottom of a long page. It still is weird to have it way down so low. Many people might not scroll all the way to the bottom to find it.

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  20. Dave, the OriginalJuly 27, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    I just received a letter from my Republican pro-life and presumably homophobic congressman. So I went to his website and pasted in a fiery e-mail to one of his volunteers asking what the congressman's position on marriage equality is. For your benefit, I'm pasting in what I said.

    "What is Lee Terry’s position on marriage equality? As an Independent voter and a gay man, I am EXTREMELY wary of voting Republican when we are in an era where the bulk of the Republican party at the Presidential, Congressional and Senatorial level and the religious right are, for all practical purposes, one and the same. Some bigots may think that gay people deserve no rights being themselves because their orientation is a choice—something to change at will like the rest of you alternate flavors at Baskin Robbins—and they can just be straight at will and marry an opposite-sex partner. The anecdotal and scientific evidence are quite to the contrary. Admitted as an exhibit in the Golinski case challenging DOMA was a study where 93-94% of self-identifying gay men and 87% of gay women reported little or no choice in their orientation. As for the science, addressing gay biology for males, a 2008 National Geographic documentary showed that, whereas roughly 5% of the general population is gay, there is a 25% probability and a 50% probability respectively that a given male child will be gay if his fraternal or identical twin is gay. The pronounced disparity in probabilities among fraternal and identical twins versus the general population alone powerfully points a genetic or biological cause. While a specific gay gene has yet to be found, scientists do feel they’ve discovered the mechanism which causes gay orientation. Testosterone released in utero normally masculinizes both the body and the brain, particularly the hypothalamus, which scientists believe is the primary structure that controls what we are attracted to. If, either by insufficient amounts of testosterone circulating in the fetus or something preventing absorption by the brain, the hypothalamus didn’t absorb enough of that hormone to direct it toward its more customary “straight settings,” the resulting child WILL be gay.

    Here’s a YouTube video of the relevant part of that documentary:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saO_RFWWVVA

    Just as gay orientation has been shown to be biologically determined, the same holds true for straight orientation. And this means that all the cultural influences that conservatives are so deathly afraid of their kids being exposed to for fear it will turn them gay in fact DON’T MATTER. A biologically-made straight child will remain so no matter what they’re exposed to on TV, the Internet or out in society. And, likewise, a gay person can’t change his orientation either. He can’t pray it away any more than he can pray his eye or skin color away.

    Marriage equality is about CIVIL rights, NOT religious privileges. It’s only about the freedom of anyone to get a marriage license at CITY HALL, NOT SOME CHURCH in order that he may legally join his life with the one he loves, be that a woman or man. No church or individual with religious objections to marriage equality is forced to perform the ceremony. So why the fuss? Adam and Steve, who live down the street and got their marriage license at City Hall, aren’t going to hurt your marriage by so doing. It’s your job and that of your spouse’s to ruin your own marriage. And, until such time as the law compels you to divorce your opposite-sex spouse and remarry a same-sex one, you have no business claiming that “gay marriage” is something being forced on you because that is simply a lie. If “gay marriage” isn’t for you, then don’t get one. Simple.

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    1. Dave, the OriginalJuly 27, 2012 at 7:26 PM

      I had to remove the last paragraph of my e-mail to my congressman because my letter was longer than what the system here will allow me to post. So here now is that last paragraph:

      "Why does a conservative have such a blood lust for seeing to it that a devoted gay couple can’t visit each other in the hospital? What sadistic high does it give you to make one member of that union unable to make medical decisions for his incapacitated “husband” even when that husband views him as his next of kin and wants him to be able to make those decisions when he can’t make them for himself? Our your lives so empty that trying to ruin ours is the only way you can feel whole? You people need to mind your own business and leave us alone. And, no, you won’t be forced to watch any gay marriages because you are not welcome there!"

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    2. What a great letter Dave ..it was beautifully written. I wish more citizens would get involved with their elected officials-especially on the local level. Those people affect our lives..in a lot of ways more than the "higher ups!"

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    3. Dave, the OriginalJuly 30, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      In my final paragraph, I gave into my temper with them. They probably will dismiss me as irate, someone who's voting decision is already set in stone against this guy and I'm not expecting an answer.

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    4. Dave, the OriginalJuly 30, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      Actually, the damage has already been done on the state level here in Nebraska. Somewhere between 5 and 10 years ago, an amendment was added to our state constitution outlawing any relationship recognition of any kind for us. Stopping at just marriage wasn't enough for those swine. And that amendment received a 67% "yes" vote--a real disgrace. Nebraska college football is huge here--almost like a cult--and, because of the passage of this amendment, I hope Nebraska loses every game it plays forever more. I hope for humiliating defeat after defeat, just so we can get our homophobic nads kicked so we squeel like hyenas on helium! :-D

      Yes, you're right. I SHOULD move out of this state.

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    5. so, dave, i finally read your letter. i was a bit ambivalent there. i genuinely think its well done.

      i firmly believe that when the S.C.O.T.U.S. hears the gay marriage case, whichever it is, a significant portion of those marriage bans will be repealed, and some will be affirmed, though they are usually given time to come into compliance.

      whatever my opinions here is a link to some case law supported info.

      http://www.marriagelawfoundation.org/publications/Ave%20Maria%201.pdf

      it is 30 pages and i have not read all of it but the truth is marriage has been about more than procreation since time immemorial, there are property concerns and social order concerns..and more importantly it is in the states interest to support community building and marriage does that far more strongly than nearly any other institution. besides, those unalienable rights upon which our nation was founded includes our personal right, as i see it, to having socially legitimate relationships with the people with whom we choose - of many types; to accommodate this, recognition by the state, at minimum, is required, though it can be at different levels.

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  21. wow, You just take words from my mouth pertfect post...

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