Saturday, October 6, 2012

Discrimination Does Not Equal Protection

How many times have we heard this idea repeated over and over, in state after state, as a lame excuse for why LGBT people should not be married. Advancing the false notion that marriage is primarily about making and raising children and not about the adults involved...while it has worked to mobilize voters against marriage equality...also denies the notion that LGBT have families and children of their own or that any person regardless of their orientation could get married for...*gasp* not only to procreate. It's a bread and butter talking point for anti-equality groups that has been so reused and so taken apart and disproven that I am shocked that it still finds traction with anybody. What about older couples, infertile couples, or people who just don't want kids?...we marry them as long as they are opposite-sex couples. So what gives? Well...that's because it's not about preserving some abstract idea of marriage that straight people don't even follow as much as it is about preventing LGBT's from a place at the table.

A pair of articles on Think Progress caught my eye today that...while they are very different stories in themselves...The first being an anti-equality TV spot featuring Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk, who thinks that gays already have enough protections and the second is a legal challenge to the recently signed law in California making it illegal to practice ex-gay therapy on parents. Both stories seam light years a part,and yet both speak volumes about what marriage equality opponents truly want to protect...and I don't think the answer is children. First up is Mr. Birk who's YouTube video is no longer able to be embedded but who's words now have a life of their own...
(emphasis mine)
Birk: "I'm Raven's Center Matt Birk....Marriage is not easy, but it has lasted throughout the ages as an honored institution because it provides a unique foundation for societies and children. Marriage is more than what adults want for themselves, it's also about the next generation. Marriage is...and should remain, between a man and a woman. Gay and Lesbian couples already receive benefits in Maryland. Like hospital visitation, state health benefits  and tax breaks. We don't need to redefine against Question 6."

In deed, if more couples regarded their marriages as "more than what they want for themselves"...or "about the next generation", we would probably see much less divorce than we do now and the lives of a lot of children would be immeasurably better. I don't disagree with Mr. Birk on this point and I know that no other LGBT person does either. When a child comes into your life, however that happens, you think about things in your life as you never have before and how they will impact your kids. It doesn't matter if it's the food you put on the table, what you watch on TV, were you live, or how you take care of yourself. Those issues no longer just concern you...they affect a person who is now looking to you to take care of them and keep them save both physically and emotionally. You don't have to be married to be a good parent...but besides recognizing the relationships of two people to each other, marriage provides safeties and protections for couples and children that domestic partnerships just don't. Gay families and our children are just as in need of those protections and considerations and leaving them out is not considering the health and well being of children at is leaving the some kids out in the cold because you don't like their parents.

But while we are on the subject of parents...that brings us to our second article. The one that show's the true face of the anti-equality movement. Recently, California passed a law making it illegal to practice reparative therapy on minors....this has all kinds of anti-gay orgs up in arms and filing their own legal challenges to the law. However, it is the latest lawsuit brought by the Liberty Council that has caught my attention...precisely because it involves the same people who would cry about protecting children...and then it turns out that one of their kids is gay. What happens then? The answer for some is ex-gay therapy...and when that is made illegal you sue the state on the grounds that you can't have a "relationship" with your children unless they can brainwash the gay out of them through reparative therapy(via Think Progress):

SB 1172 directly interferes with John Doe 1’s and John DOE 2’s rights to self-determination, and the right of their parents to determine the upbringing and education of their minor children, including the well-being of their spiritual needs. [...]
Because of Dr. Nicolosi’s SOCE counseling, the DOE 2 family has become closer and exhibited a greater degree of family unity. [...] Dr. Nicolosi’s SOCE counseling with Doe 2 has had an important impact on John Doe 2 and his parents and has substantially helped their relationship. [...] Dr. Nicolosi believes that if he is prohibited from continuing his SOCE counseling with Doe 2, then Doe 2 will suffer an immediate regression in his understanding of his same-sex attractions and will suffer difficulty in continuing the development and healing of Doe 2’s relationship with his parents.

The implication of this passage is that if John Doe 2 comes to a better understanding of his sexuality, his parents will no longer accept him.....and then what? the development and healing of a relationship signal that there is a possibility that both of those processes could fail and no relationship be possible. Then John Doe ends up estranged and/or homeless?! and even if Dr. Nicolosi won the right to continue to practice his quakery...what happens to John Doe 2 when even the best Dr. Nicolosi can do fails to change him? Will they blame their kid as having not worked hard enough?....or accuse him of turning his back on his family in favor of a life of sin? The fault is not John Doe's and it never was. It is this lack of support and understanding that leads so many LGBT kids to suicide. They look around them at their lives and families and feel different...broken. For this difference they blame themselves and from that self hatred, tragedies are born. Can someone explain to me how in the hell this is ensuring the health, well-being, and proper raising of children because to me it looks like a cascade failure to love. "We can't accept you as you are so we will change you. Worse, we will make you change yourself in order to keep our love. And if that doesn't work we will blame you for the whole thing instead of treating you like the gift that you really are."
As I read the words of people like Matt Birk and all the other talking heads who espouse the same idea, I can't help but think that....while they do love their families and children as much as I love mine...what it comes down to is not protecting marriage or procreation, because both of those things will continue unabated. It can't really be about protecting children if your willing to boot them to the curb for the possibility of being gay. 
It is that gayness that is the center of all that is objectionable. As much as it is couched in terms of "protecting" this or's not about protecting anything but a vision of the world without gay people in it. "Not in my neighborhood...not in my workplace...not in my country...not in my family", is the message that is received loud and clear no matter what nice language is employed to soften the blow. That is not protection, that is exclusion, and those two things are light years apart.
In the end, I don't know John Doe(1 or 2), nor do I know their parents. All I have is the text of the legal brief they have anonymously attached themselves to. I don't know what's in their hearts. What I do have is a snootful of the people attempting to use children against me as if families like mine will cause the entire institution of marriage and family to fail. They talk about us as if family and love don't matter to us. They treat us as if their is no danger in the world and no discrimination. And for this they have their faith to justify it all.
But would that they were in the shoes on John Doe 2 for a time. Would that they had to relentlessly analyse themselves and their sexuality and question why they are different or if there is something bad in them that made them that way. Would that they look deep within themselves and realize that neither they nor anyone else chose to be what they are for feel what they feel. No one should have to fear to lose their family and friends to be true to their heart and find love. Neither  should anyone have to hate themselves for they way that they were born. I do not wish that on them or anyone. but if they did...perhaps they would understand what their child is going through and then learn to love him no matter what. "Marriage is more than what adults want for themselves"....but then perhaps, what they would want for their gay son would be a lifetime of happiness, and the possibility of marrying the one that they love. That would be truly protecting marriage and family.
I am glad that California no longer forces children to have to go through reparative therapy. Maybe then they can have the chance to see that who they are is not something to be ashamed of and have a better chance at life. And one day, I hope that the world will realize that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people love and have families and children just like they do. That we are not against family but that we are their family. One day I know the world will understand that. but the waiting is hard sometimes and lives hang in the balance.
Until next time dear readers......


  1. The Right has a ridiculous view of marriage. They couldn’t give a damn about the couple themselves. They just want it to be a man and woman only, with the woman serving as a relentless and rapid-fire breed sow in competition with the ever-whacky Mrs. Duggar, and her litter of twenty-some kids, to spew out as many little soldiers for Jesus and the GOP as humanly possible. Love between a couple has to come first and, if it isn’t present, provides a diseased environment to raise children in. Parents who don’t get along but still stay together aren’t fooling anyone, including their kids. I know this from personal experience.

    The evidence for a biological cause for being gay is pretty overwhelming and I would hammer the Right with that continuously and without mercy. When confronted with a bigot, if I am not in physical danger, I am EXTREMELY confrontational back. Sending a bigot who gets in my face running home crying to Mommy and later wetting the bed is what I live for! Getting reparative therapy for sexual orientation is like seeking spiritual counseling for eye and skin color dysphoria. If someone wants to waste his money and be tormented to the point of suicide by a Bible banging spiritual terrorist masquerading as a therapist, at least allow the victim to reach adulthood so he can at least make his own misguided decisions. But don’t make minors captive to this. His gayness isn’t the problem. The problem is the bigoted scum he unfortunately has for parents. But for their abuse, he probably wouldn’t consider such therapy in the first place.

  2. Bryan, What you have argued, carefully and repeatedly, in your videos and on your blog, is that the exposure of a real family, yours, is one answer, one response, to the homophobia, hypocrisy and fear, expounded in hazy emotional soundbites, by people like Matt Birk. I'd like to see you and Jay representing Gay Families at the HRC. Have you connected with them at all? I feel strongly that that is a platform you should be a part of. With regard to anti-gay therapy for unprotected youth, well, we may have the cart before the horse. It won't be long before such Inquisition practices will be shown for what they are naturally as our human and civil rights fall into place. I'm afraid the legal challenges to the CA law may prevail at this time. We'll see. Your rhetorical style grows stronger and your writing is appreciated. Thanks.

  3. I really hate this comment system. I typed up a lengthy comment regarding this and when I went to publish it, it then demanded a log-in when I logged in my comment was lost. Bah!

    1. It is frustrating BUT, if you copy your comment first, only one step, it won't zing you again. I learned the hard way.

    2. Tom,

      You might have had your cookies on high when you tried to publish the first time. That never works here. Bring them down to medium. Also, as a precaution, it's better to compose your comment in your home email and then paste it in. That way, if anything goes wacky, you still have something left to re-paste and you'll keep the work level down.

  4. in my opinion based on my experience, it is a misguided belief that family is a broken system of abuse that allows the religious right to continue espousing what is obviously false bullshit. its not really a surprise when you understand that most people in this country come from families that were grown out of children raising children for generations.
    the very odd thing occurred where someone lived long enough to really understand the problem there but by then their babies had babies of their own because thats what mom and dad did, o and uncle mel and his 'friend' are not the marrying kind(though they have been together for 20+ years and whenever anyone else in the family needed something they were there).
    if you have not, check out the matthew vines video on youtube, it is over an hour long but it refutes the anti gay text of the bible in terms of versus a loving committed relationship. it is well done. my experience is outside the christian world view anyway but he points out things i saw long ago when i was going to christian churches.

  5. The "reparative therapy carpetbaggers" will just move to another state where it is legal to sell their snake oil. They found out a long time ago that by demonizing people and then promising to heal them from the demons brings in a lot of cash...

    I wonder what special "tax breaks" gay Marylanders have that none of us have ever heard of before? Hmmm...

    1. wow jim, spoken like a true southerner

      and derisive laughter echos through many halls in response to this behavior that mankind engages in.

      we have special tax breaks somewhere? are we supposed to redecorate the governor's mansion or something to get them?

  6. on that other line, you know the one involving doctors and surgeries and that other(?) crazy person.

    he lives!
    dave made it through the surgery hes finally up and about today, though as expected not very well.
    his dad had sent me an email saturday but i wanted to wait for some confirmation, things can change quickly in the icu.

    now to heal and do the follow ups. those are very important, dont not do the follow ups..ive seen that road thank you.

  7. its not a surprise at all, really, but i saw a sign the other day telling people to vote 'for the kids on nov. 6' oi. i thought about tagging it 'LIES!!!' just because im occasionally darkly lit like that. if i thought it would do any good i think i would have.

    1. i have to make a correction, i assumed it was an ad about national politics, instead its the local school bond issue. oops! lol

      my opinion is this, we would be able to do a whole lot more if we werent paying an administrator better than half the presidents salary to pander to the local rich mom's association. instead he should actually be doing his job for about a quarter that amount(assuming you have a house and a good car, you could live well for 10 years here on 100k) while the rest of that money goes for teachers, facilities and equipment.

  8. I'm glad to hear about Dave....I hope he is back to his old rascally self again soon :) ..../bry

    1. Don’t look now, but His Rascul-ness is back! The hospital just couldn’t take any more of me and was having quite a problem having strung-out grannies on Geritol trying to cop a feel of my buns a flashing out the back side of my hospital gown. There was one really hot, bearish male nurse there who can ride me anytime he wants! :-D Really gorgeous…. I’d love to make him howl….repeatedly! :-D And you know how I love them noisy…. :-D And hearing me isn’t going to do their tinnitus a lick of good either! :-D :-D I’ll continue checking my YouTube and gmail accounts, but I’m switching back to my home email as my primary account.

    2. Well, seems that Dave is completely back on track again! :D

  9. What the right fails to understand is that a civil marriage is about establishing a new next of kin status between two unrelated people who are in a relationship and they want that relationship recognized by the state in case something should happen that others might challenge the existence of such a relationship and all the legal things that a join partnership comes with such as join ownership of property, visitation right and who is legally able to make health decisions for the other person in case of an emergency. These are rights that they just seem to take for granted in a marriage that they would deny to homosexual couples. I think that any couple that is denied a marriage license should take the said government to court to sue for damages and bankrupt the state that would deny them equal rights until they do the right thing.

    As far as reparative therapy goes, it seems that homosexuality is a condition suffered not by the patient, but by only those that hate homosexuality. It seems more productive to treat those who hate homosexuality with treatment than to try to change someone to be more like themselves.