Gay IS the New Black

What I say is true. The sooner politicians and conservatives, in general, realize this, the better.

I’ve been told that blacks like me should be offended by this development. True enough, blacks don’t DO anything to qualify as black. It is an “accident of birth”. The nature/nurture mix of homosexuality is not settled science. So there is some logical truth to saying that the civil rights of black and gay are a false equivalency.

That said, so what?  Like blacks, gays don’t hurt anyone by being gay. Defenders of the original Indiana RFRA law present us with their own false equivalency. On Face the Nation former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum asked should a gay printer be forced to publish flyers from the Westboro Baptist Church that declare “God hates fags”?

Here’s the problem with Rick’s logic. The Westboro Baptist Church is expressing hatred toward gays. A gay wedding does not express hatred for Christianity. In fact a good number of gays are as God fearing and God loving as their straight counterparts. So, the REAL truth is “Christians of conscience” CHOOSE to be offended by gay marriage. Being a baker, florist, photographer or caterer doesn’t mean YOU have to copulate with someone of your own gender.

What further bothers me about the debate is this notion of religious conscience and freedom of religion. Do you REALLY think there aren’t atheists who find homosexuality repulsive and disgusting? Do they get to refuse services related to a gay wedding? I suspect not. So let’s get this straight. If I find homosexuality an “abomination” I can only act on my “conscience” if I attend church on Sunday’s? Is that it? Only the religious have a conscience?

99% of commerce arrangements work out naturally. Most folks regardless of orientation don’t want to do business with folks who don’t like them. In the rare case where a consumer insists on doing business with a particular merchant, that merchant needs to realize times have changed and you don’t get to refuse service based on who the customer chooses to love.

WITH THAT SAID…

I find it ridiculous that an angry vindictive gay consumer can bring a small company to its knees over this. Penalties should be capped, perhaps with a small fine. If a gay wedding cake upsets you that much, cough up a $100.00 fine and put your money where your “conscience” is.

Second, there is a difference between a “gay wedding” cake and a “gay” wedding cake. A merchant should be able to refuse to put two copulating figurines on a wedding cake. One would hope the baker would have the same reaction to two straight figurines copulating on a wedding cake. A blanket refusal to serve a group of people is different from refusing to provide services that current mores dictate are indeed offensive.

That is really the crux of the debate. Gays embracing traditional marriage has largely gained acceptance in this country and our laws should reflect that. Our laws evolve to reflect societal values. If Adam and Steve ask for a tasteful cake for their wedding just like Adam and Eve do, bake the damn cake and get over yourself. Or pay a fine. But you don’t get to say no because your “conscience” aligns with some religion.

What do you think? The bar is open.

Time For the Coming Out Party to be Over

When the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, announced he is gay last week my immediate reaction was

SO WHAT?

More than half the States recognize gay marriage. I predict within the next 5 years all 50 states will do so. More than ever before gay-bashers are viewed as Neanderthals.

All civil rights movements evolve. When they don’t, they actually set themselves back. When blacks continue to talk like we still live in Jim Crow America, we distract “the cause” from more productive actions that could improve our lot.

The gay community, by embracing marriage, has torn asunder the age old reputation of perverts and predators. Essentially many gays want what heterosexuals want – stability and long lasting commitment. Who in their right mind can argue with that?

Now it’s time for gays to embrace something else – decorum, the rules of polite society. A heterosexual who announces “I like women to play with my penis” is considered crude in polite society.

TMI – Too Much Information!!!

It’s time the same discretion extended to gays. You don’t want to hide your preference or “pass”? Here are some ideas:

1. If you’re famous, mention your partner in interviews.
2. Show up in public with your partner at events.
3. Get married and make sure to get your wedding announcement in the papers.

These and other methods are how heterosexuals make their preference clear. No reason why these same natural, polite methods can’t apply to gays.

Cook’s announcement struck me as superfluous and gratuitous. Tim, come to my home for dinner with your partner and I’ll figure out you’re gay. Otherwise I just want you to get iOS 8 to work on my iPhone 4S.

Coming out has become silly. The coming out party is over.

You just be you. I’m ok with that.

What do you think? The bar is open.

Libya and Lesbians

I thought I’d end the week with a couple of brief observations.

Libya

A little over a month ago we were treated to Mitt Romney’s ill-timed condemnation of the Obama administration for their handling of the Cairo and Benghazi uprisings, the latter of which resulted in the murder of our Ambassador Chris Stevens. Romney’s political posturing in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy received bipartisan criticism and rightfully so.  In the weeks following, various conflicting reports flowed from Washington concerning what actually happened in Benghazi, Libya. By the time this week got underway, conservatives even had me angry at the administration. I wondered why UN Ambassador Susan Rice “lied” on the Sunday political talk shows saying that the Libyan attack was prompted by an offensive YouTube video when by then it was clear we were dealing with a premeditated terrorist attack.

I’m actually surprised at myself for not seeing the Republican hand wringing over Benghazi for what it was, pure and simple election year posturing, exploiting a tragedy for political gain. What woke me up? Namely a couple of New York Times articles that make it clear the situation on the ground in Libya was far more subtle than we were previously being led to believe.

To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck the United States Mission without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video. That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist strikes of 11 years earlier. And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as members of a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence. – Election-Year Stakes Overshadow Nuances of Libya Investigation

The facts appear to point to an attack that was planned in advance, but not far in advance. There was no peaceful protest that grew out of control or was hijacked by extremists but the extremists did claim that the YouTube video motivated them. As is often the case, the truth is a muddy mix of facts that those with an agenda cherry pick from. And it must be acknowledged that the Administration, not wanting to emphasize a connection to established terrorist groups, cherry picked the YouTube video motivation. But they did not outright lie in doing so. Republicans, licking their lips that al Qaeda might indeed have flexed its muscles again, have stretched the truth:

Is it fair to link the Benghazi attack to Al Qaeda?

Only very indirectly. Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of Al Qaeda, had called on Libyans to avenge the killing of a Libyan-born Qaeda leader, and American intelligence officials have said they intercepted boastful phone calls after the assault from the attackers to members of the Qaeda affiliate in North Africa, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. – Clearing the Record About Benghazi

As usual, folks have rushed to judgment on Libya. I say let a proper investigation run its course and don’t concern yourself with coming up with an answer by November 6 in the hope of influencing an election.

Lesbians (and folks with other preferences)

I’ll be honest. I support LGBT rights but it doesn’t get my heart pumping as much as some other issues do. So I was surprised to be emotionally moved by a video put out by the Obama campaign featuring Jane Lynch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Billie Jean King, George Takei, Wanda Sykes, Zachary Quinto, and Chaz Bono. They described the pain of growing up different and the validation they felt due to several pro-LGBT developments under the Obama administration. Among other things, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the President’s endorsement of gay marriage gave the LGBT community a huge sense of progress.

Now I will be the first to admit that Obama’s saying he was alright with gay marriage was a clear election year pander. Sometimes a pander can move the ball forward. More importantly, the video got me thinking about Mitt Romney. Not since the days of George Wallace have we had a party platform and a candidate so intent on denying people’s rights.

I agree with the celebrities in the video that the Obama administration has taken several important steps in making this a more inclusive society. We cannot allow a Romney administration to take us backwards.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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