Tag Archive | LGBT

Happy and Gay #comingoutday

In honor of National Coming Out Day I am posting a sermon I wrote in 2013

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Opening words – a poem by Kathleen Bonnano:

You can try to strangle light:
use your hands and think
you’ve found the throat of it,
but you haven’t.
You could use a rope or a garrote
or a telephone cord,
but the light, amorphous, implacable,
will make a fool of you in the end.

You could make it your mission
to shut it out forever,
to crouch in the dark,
the blinds pulled tight—

still, in the morning,
a gleaming little ray will betray you, poking
its optimistic finger
through a corner of the blind,
and then more light,
clever, nervy, impossible,
spilling out from the crevices
warming the shade.

This is the stubborn sun,
choosing to rise,
like it did yesterday,
like it will tomorrow.
You have nothing to do with it.
The sun makes its own history;
light has its way.Happy and Gay

Sermon notes:

“You can be anybody you want to be, you can love anyone that you will. You can dream all the day never reaching the end of everything possible for you.  The only measure of your words and your deeds will be the love you leave behind when you’re done”

I cried the first time I heard that song – and the second time.  OK, I cried today too.

Tears can be from pain, but they can also be tears of joy.  My tears are happy tears.

I am so glad that I am gay!  Don’t you wish you were? You don’t have to answer than just yet.  Maybe later you can answer that question, but not yet.

It is pride weekend, and while I know a lot of you identify with the slogan, “straight but not narrow,” this morning I want to lift up how wonderful it is to be in a relationship with someone of the same gender.

As much as I appreciate the reasoning behind the argument that being gay is not a choice, it also bothers me.  It leads to quickly to the idea that no one would choose this life, that what gay people need is tolerance and pity, after all, we were born this way, and we just can’t help it.

I don’t pretend to understand the science behind the argument, and I also know that many gay people have tried really hard to become heterosexual and have failed both miserably and painfully.

It may not be a choice, at least for everyone.

But I want to say clearly and proudly today, that if it is a choice, it is one I am both happy and proud to have made.  It is GOOD to be gay.  Yeah, there is a lot of discrimination; it would be great if the larger society were more accepting.  It is getting better, but even when it was really terrible, even when it was illegal everywhere in the world, it was still worth it.

It may surprise some of you because I am so young at heart, but I am in my 60’s – early 60’s, very early 60’s.  I was 15 in 1965 when I fell in love with my best friend we will call Kathy. We were in Rainbow Girls together if you can believe it.  Anyone know about the Rainbow Girls?  It is an organization for young women affiliated with the Masons and Eastern Star.  Job’s Daughters is another one; the boys were in DeMolay.  We would dress up in floor length formals, and conduct very serious rituals.  In 1965, the rainbow was not yet a symbol of Gay Pride – that did not happen until 1978.  I like to think the creators of it got the idea from me. Not true, but I like to think that, because I was, and still am, a Rainbow Girl. I just don’t wear floor length formals anymore.  Floor length clerical robes, yes, fancy formal dresses, no.

As young girls often do, Kathy and I shared our hopes, our fears, our troubles, and our souls.  One night we hugged each other and neither one of us wanted to let go.  We knew something was happening while we held each other, but it took us awhile to figure it out.

In 1965, in a small town, we didn’t know any other gay people, any other lesbians.  There weren’t any on TV and it wasn’t mentioned in the newspaper.

We did know that if you “wore green on Thursdays it meant you were queer.”  That was the playground taunt when I was growing up.  But what is one to do if March 17th falls on a Thursday?  If you didn’t wear green on St Patrick’s Day, you would get pinched.  Get pinched or be queer?  Any sensible person would choose queer.

Seriously, we knew enough to know that what we were doing was not something that others thought was OK.  But we knew it was wonderful; we were, after all, in love.  I wrote in my journal the following question: “How can anything so wrong be so right?”

We were good for each other and we were glad that we were both girls.  If one of us had been a boy, our parents would never have let us spent the night together.  We had a whole lot of sleepovers in the year and a half that we were together.

After Kathy and I broke up, she was a year older and we began to have different friends and interests, I dated a few boys.  I even lived with a man for three years while I was in college.  That was OK.  I like men, but to be honest, for an intimate relationship, for a life partner, for me, women are just better.  I decided to come out and to identify as a lesbian.  It was a decision, a choice to lead a more fulfilling life.  Because of that choice, I was lucky enough in 1975 to fall in love with my dear Anne.  It has been good, not perfect, no one’s life is perfect, but Anne and I have had a very good life together.  We have had children, children that always knew they were wanted.  Lesbians don’t tend to get pregnant by accident.   Having children was a choice, a choice I would definitely make again.

If being gay is a choice, it is also one I would make again.

Frankly, being gay is so great that heterosexuals really should be jealous of us.  You have all heard the line, “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.”  If you are part of a same gender couple, at least you live of the same planet!

Seriously, there are so many gender related cultural attitudes and approaches to life that it is just easier to understand and get along with someone of the same gender.  There is also the fact that we are still a male dominated society, and with same gender relationships, the external power differential, including earning capacity, tends to be less.

If you live with someone of the same gender, you also don’t have to argue about whether or not to put the toilet seat down.

If you are close to the same size, you can even share clothes without anyone else noticing.  We did that some before I gained so much weight, but then again I have always like purple more than Anne does.

No two people are exactly the same, but the standard gender roles require a lot more negotiation in heterosexual relationships.  Our oldest son, when he was about 12, made the comment that he liked having two moms partly because it gave him the freedom to be who he was.  He could like cooking, he could like doing yard work, and could just be whoever he was. He wasn’t locked into a stereotypical gender role just because he was a boy.  He’s a heterosexual and he is going to make some woman a wonderful husband one of these days.

 

Studies show that children raised by same gender parents turn out pretty much like other kids do with the small, but not insignificant difference, that as adolescents and as adults they are more accepting of all kinds of differences. We need more people like that in the world.

When our kids were small the other mothers we met would often comment as they saw us both changing diapers and dealing with the kids that they would love it if their kids had an extra mom to help with all the mothering duties.  Not that men can’t do those things, and not that there aren’t some dad’s, both straight and gay, who are awesome at all the nurturing tasks, but for at least most of those women, their husbands were just “helpers” and the childrearing duty was not fully shared.  They said they were jealous and I think they really were.

There are also all the straight women friends who, when their relationships with men just didn’t seem to work out, have told us that they wished they were lesbians because it just seems a whole lot easier.  They were jealous of what Anne and I have together.

Jealousy can be a good thing.  It is much better than tolerance, and it is certainly better than disgust.

The point of this sermon is not, however, a recruiting effort.  Yes, I think it is great to be gay; it makes me happy.  But even if straight people have it harder in some ways, they can be happy too, and the real message is that we all need to find the good that is in each of us, in each of our lives.  There are advantages and disadvantages to almost everything.

A lot of things have and will break our hearts.  There is so much that we would change if we could, about the world and about our own lives.  There is loss, and there is grief, discrimination, and oppression. There are tragedies of all kinds in life. Most of us would like more of something in our lives.  More time, more money, better health, better weather, more peace, or more excitement, there is always something that we think will make our lives better.  I’d love it if we had marriage equality throughout the world.  I would love it if all churches were as accepting of diversity as this one is.  We can work for the changes we would like to see.  But in the meantime, let us count our blessings.  Let us be happy with who we are and what we are doing.

Each of you has positives in your life.  Recognize them and celebrate them.  Celebrate who you are, a complex human being with a complex life.  Know that there is a river than runs in each of our souls; we are all somebody.  Don’t get stuck in the negative messages.  No one is less than anyone else.  We all have inherent worth and dignity.  Relish it, enjoy it, be who you are. The song Beth sang addresses a young child,

“You can be anybody you want to be, you can love anyone that you will. You can dream all the day never reaching the end of everything possible for you.”

But the message of the song isn’t only for children, although I wish all children could hear it.  We all can continue to dream. Our dreams need have no ending; no limits imposed by others who would tell us that they know better than us what our lives should be like.

We have only to remember that “the only measure of our words and your deeds will be the love we leave behind when you’re done.”

Stand on the side of love.  Choose to stand on the side of love.  It is the only thing that really matters.  Amen and halleluyah!

Traumatic Stress #Orlando

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People understand post-traumatic stress syndrome a little better these days, primarily I think because so many of our combat veterans suffer from it.

It is one thing, however, to fall to the ground when you hear a car backfire, your body reacting as if it is still in a war zone, and it is quite another to have those feelings while you really are still trying to survive a war.

Many women and some men were triggered by the Stanford rapist story.  1 in 3 women have suffered a sexual assault.  They know it can happen to them again.  They know the perpetrator will likely go free.  They are living in a war zone.

People of color are triggered when the police shoot yet another unarmed youth.  They live with that violence everyday of their lives, knowing it can happen at any time to them or to their children.  They know the perpetrator will likely go free.  They live in a war zone.

There are so many terrorists who are out to do harm to some group or culture they have decided is not worthy of life, of freedom, of love.

Some terrorists allege they are Muslim, but terrorists, people whose acts terrorize whole communities, come in many forms.

The Santa Barbara shooter wanted to kill women.  He, like every single rapist, was a convert of radical patriarchy.

And what of the white Christian terrorist who murdered people at prayer in a black church in Charleston?  What of the white Christian terrorist who killed the people at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, or the one who murdered George Tiller while he attended church services?

What of Dan White who assassinated Harvey Milk and George Moscone in their city hall offices in 1978?  (The memory of that day came to my mind this week, as did the fact that White only served 5 years for the crime.  Clean-cut white Christian men, almost always get a pass no matter what they do.)

What of the white racist terrorist who killed his Muslim neighbors?

And now Orlando, yet another trauma, yet another massacre committed in a sanctuary.

Terrorists strike a lot of places these days: movie theaters, schools, shopping malls, marathons, and even army bases.  These traumatize almost everyone.  But those of us who live on the margins, who are not straight white cis-gender Christian men, suffer a deeper trauma.  We are specific targets and we know it.  And we know that some will cheer when we die.

There are ways to survive in war zones.  The answer is not more guns.  The answer is more love.  I am going to keep reaching for love.

And I am going to remember Harvey’s words and keep fighting to burst down the doors of racism, sexism, ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and any attitude or philosophy that defines any human being as somehow less worthy of life, of freedom, of love.  Blessings on all of us, who know, deep down in our gut, as Audre Lorde said so well, “We were never meant to survive.”

Grief #Orlando

 

 

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Where will our grief go

If our tears should ever dry?

Where will our fear go

If our heartbeats ever slow down again?

Where will our rage go

If our bodies ever stop their shaking?

 

Our lives, our loves, are a river

Try to damn it though they do

Kill us with bullets and Bibles

Ban us from bathrooms

And let the white rapists go free.

 

Hearts breaking,

Bodies shaking

Still we flow

On forever on

Until we finally swim free

In that warm sea

Filled by our tears.

 

Sometimes I Feel Like an old Bull Dyke….

“Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long way from home.” That song has been running through my head lately, only with the words I used in the title above.

I am a minister.  Being a minister is always hard work.  There is a reason people struggle against a call to ministry.  “Oh no, not me, God, send somebody else.”

But we are called.  We know it deep in our bones and we have to say yes to that call.  Resistance to that call is futile.

Ministers are called to serve, to comfort, and yes, sometimes, to challenge and confront.  I am serving in a specialized kind of ministry, a ministry with a congregation that has a troubled history and long established patterns of dysfunctional behavior.  Ah, but it is also a congregation with a proud history, and it is filled with people yearning for something more that what they have been.   Old patterns are hard to change, however, and this ministry has required me to point out systemic problems and to be relatively firm in maintaining what I consider to be appropriate boundaries.

I never expected this particular ministry to be easy.  I never expected people to agree with everything I thought should be done or not done.  Reasonable and caring people can disagree about how to do things, and any change also brings some loss with it.  Pain and anger are so close together in most of our hearts.  Some anger is to be expected.  I have felt strongly, however, that if I did not raise the issues I thought were important, then I would be failing this congregation in the ways that matter most. Ministry should not be about just coasting along, about taking the path of least resistance, about always doing what some or even most of the people say they want.  Passover is almost upon us. What would it been like if Moses had said, “oh, ok, you all don’t like it here in the desert, sure, let’s just go back to Egypt, no problem.”  And no, I don’t think I am a Moses.  But you know, Moses didn’t see himself that way either: “Send someone else.”

I also expected that some in the congregation would have issues with a minister exercising any real authority, even and perhaps especially over worship.   Quality in worship is important to me.  Mediocre just isn’t good enough to offer to folks that are hurting or who are seeking more meaning in their lives.  We need to hold our worship time as sacred.

What I did not expect, although maybe I should have, was the way the criticisms would play out.  Very little is about actual things I have done or not done.  No, the real critique is pretty much all about my style.

My style is pretty direct.  I grew up working class, among people who said what they thought.  I am also a lesbian, a dyke if you will, and although I don’t identify as transgender, I definitely don’t fit many of the feminine stereotypes.  I come off as both assertive and confident.  I always try to be respectful, but when I have an opinion, I express it clearly.  This style is freaking a few folks out.

It didn’t occur to me for quite a awhile, but in the last week it has become pretty clear that part of the dynamic going on between me and a small group of my congregants is simply because of who I am and what this congregation has experienced in the past.  I am their first openly gay minister.  I am also only the second woman minister in their over 50 years of existence.  This is very unusual for a UU congregation.  We have as members a few gay men, a handful of trans folk, and a number of people who identify as bisexual.  So far anyway, I have met no one else here who is an open lesbian.

This congregation has a history of expressing suspicion and hostility toward most of their ministers.  I expected that as well.  But there is an undercurrent in a lot of it that I don’t think would exist if I were either a male or a straight minister.  Hostile people will use whatever weapons they have available.  Homophobia will come out, if it exists, during a conflict, just as racism will.  Even among liberals and self defined radicals and progressives.  It is in our culture and individuals can’t always help it, but it is also important to name it when it happens.

I have been accused of “unwelcome touching.”

I have been called a bully.

I think they were really calling me a bull dyke.

I think they are afraid of me.

I hope I can find a way to walk with them through that fear.  It isn’t everybody. It is only two or three people that seem to be acting out of a deep, maybe even a subconscious, fear.  One won’t agree to talk to me directly, even with a facilitator.  There are a number of other people that don’t agree with me about one thing or another, but they are willing to talk with me about those issues. That’s normal, respectful, and reasonable.  If we can talk to each other, we can also listen.  Ministry is about listening as well as leading.  That, too, I know in my bones.  What I am hearing now from a few people is fear.

We’re all a long way from home.  Give us the courage we need for the journey,

 

The Gender Games @theBFUU 2/01/15

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How many of you have seen or read, “The Hunger Games”? Quite a few of you have, I see. I haven’t read the book yet, and probably won’t go to see any of the movies. I get a large enough dose of violence just reading about world events.   Watching violence on the big screen just freaks me out.

But from what I have learned from reading about it, the hunger games are very deadly.

So, unfortunately, are many of the gender games we play.

It is much more than just stunting the potential of more than half of our population. We do that when we limit the possibilities and career paths open to girls. We are still guiding them mostly toward the caregiving roles. We are also stunting the emotional growth and the career possibilities for our boys, trapping them in the stereotypes of what it means to be a man.

 

That is deadly enough because it means that we are killing people’s spirits by not allowing them to flourish into their own individuality, with their own unique gifts.   It is a huge loss for the person and a huge loss for the world.

 

The rules of the gender games are enforced primarily by social pressure. If someone really breaks the rules, however, the penalty can be not only violence, but too often it is death.

 

When Malaya Yousafzai broke the rules in her native land of Pakistan by trying to get an education, an attempt was made on her life. That young girl’s courage and persistence should inspire us all.

 

How much would you risk to get an education? How much would you risk to be what your culture tells you is not only impossible but wrong?

 

Every year, on November 20th a day is set aside internationally to remember those who have been killed in the last year because of their gender identity. Transgender Remembrance Day reminds us that Pakistan is not the only country where the penalty for breaking gender rules is violence and death.

 

For many years, I have held either an evening service on that day, or addressed the issue during a Sunday Service. We missed it this year here at the fellowship; there were just too many other things going on at the same time.

 

Part of the format of a Transgender Day of Remembrance service is to read the list of names of those people who have been killed in the last year. It is always a partial list. It also includes only those who have been murdered, not those who took their own lives.

 

I want to lift up the story of one young person who died by suicide on December 28 of this year.

 

Leelah Alcorn was born Joshua Ryan Alcorn on November 15, 1997

Alcorn was raised in a conservative Christian household in Ohio. At age 14, she came out as trans to her parents, Carla and Doug Alcorn, who refused to accept her gender identity. When she was 16, they denied her request to undergo transition treatment, instead sending her to Christian conversion therapy with the intention of convincing her to reject her gender identity and accept her gender as assigned at birth. After she revealed her attraction toward males to her classmates, her parents removed her from school and revoked her access to social media. In her suicide note, Alcorn cited loneliness and alienation as key reasons for her decision to end her life and blamed her parents for causing these feelings. She committed suicide by walking out in front of oncoming traffic on the Interstate 71 highway.

Alcorn arranged for her suicide note to be posted online several hours after her death, and it soon attracted international attention across mainstream and social media. (info on Leelah Alcorn from wikipedia)

 

Dominic wrote an original song about Leelah, which he will sing during the offering.

 

Leelah was a victim of our static gender roles no less so that those who have been murdered by direct violence. She broke the rules by not living within the cultural norms of how women and men should be.

 

Those norms are maintained by violence, and people who appear to be transgender bare the brunt of that violence.

As horrible as these crimes are, it is important to understand that that they are not isolated aberrations. They are not simply crimes committed by warped individuals. They are part of the gender system. It is hard to call it a game because it is so deadly, but they are only the most obvious means of social control and punishment for when you break the gender rules.

 

You know this. How many of the men here have been called a sissy when you were young simply because you dared to shed a tear or two? How many of you were beaten up or called a faggot because you were lousy at sports?

 

Girls are called dykes if they are too assertive. If they are brave, they are told they have balls.

 

It is crazy. It is mean. It does damage to people’s souls and their sense of wholeness and worth.

 

It is where a lot of homophobia comes from I think. If gay people have all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that heterosexuals do, then what will we threaten our children with if they want to do something that is out of the norm for their gender?

 

Telling a child that they “must be gay,” loses all of its negative punch if it is no big deal to be gay.

 

There may be some natural differences between the genders. Anne and I have three children. One of our sons is an accountant and the other is a chemist.

Our daughter has been a special education teacher and she is now working for an educational non-profit. They all seem well suited as individuals for what they are doing, even though they have chosen careers that match the stereotypical gender roles in our culture.

 

Our children should be able to choose the lives they want for themselves, but we have to make sure that they are real choices, not just the results of the limitations imposed upon them because of their gender.   We always told our kids that they could choose to be and do whatever they wanted. There was no guarantee of success, but ours was definitely a family that did not have specific gender roles that they felt compelled to follow.

 

Which is why the legalization and acceptance of same gender marriage really is a threat to traditional marriage. It isn’t a threat to heterosexual marriage at all, but it does directly challenge traditional gender roles. Guess what, though, all you straight couples who try and equalize the power dynamics within your relationships, you too are a threat to traditional marriage.

 

Congratulations! It is work well worth doing for your daughters and for your sons.

But let me go back to the issue of violence for a minute. The violence against people who are transgender is the most extreme example of punishment for breaking the gender rules. Anti-gay violence is another.

 

We also have sexual violence, usually used against women and girls, but sometimes against men as well. Some have referred to it as a culture of rape. Women and even young girls are sexualized to the extent that their bodies are seen as primarily objects of sexual desire. Fashion and popular culture play into it. Girls are cautioned not to go out at night unless they are in a large group or have a male escort. The risk of assault and rape is high, so it is understandable that parents offer this advice. The fear of rape limits the choices of women. It too is a form of social control based on violence or the threat of violence. The killings in Santa Barbara last year were only an extreme example of why women (#yesallwomen) too often live in fear.

 

Let me share some statistics:

 

Average number of rape cases reported in the US annually 89,000

Percent of women who experienced an attempted or completed rape 16%

Percent of men who experienced an attempted or completed rape 3%

Percent of victims raped by a friend or acquaintance 38%

Percent raped by a stranger 26%

And perhaps the scariest statistic of all:

Percent of rapes that are never reported to authorities 60%

 

That is a truly horrifying number. All the numbers are disturbing because violence is disturbing, but why are so few rapes reported?

If someone is robbed or their home is burglarized, it is almost always going to be reported to the police. People are not afraid of admitting that their wallet was stolen. They know that no one will say it was their own fault.   No one will consider them “damaged goods.”

 

So we have the violence of rape, coupled with the social stigma that, in some circles at least, becomes attached to the victim. No wonder young women are afraid to go out alone at night. No wonder some boys learn that they don’t have to take no for an answer.

 

But some young women do go out at night. Some, like Malaya dare to learn what girls are not supposed to learn. Some young men learn that no means no and that the freely given love and respect of an equal is so much sweeter than anything they can demand or try to force.

 

The gender games don’t have to be so violent. We all really can be just who we are, respected and treasured. We need to recognize the courage of those who dare to live authentic lives. I am so proud of and grateful for the openly transgender people who are a part of this community.

They are heroes who refuse to play the gender game by someone else’s rules.

 

In my sermon blurb describing this service, I said there were theological issues about this topic.

You will discover, if you haven’t already, that I think there are always theological issues. Defining God as male is a problem. It is also not an accident that the religious institutions that refuse to ordain women are also the most homophobic and trans-phobic. If you need examples, think of the Southern Baptists, the Missouri Synod Lutherans, the LDS church and the Catholic Church. Think of all but the most liberal of the many Muslim groups. The rules of the gender game were written by these conservative faiths so unlike our own.

 

Our Universalist ancestors believed God loved everyone, no exceptions. Our Unitarian ancestors believed that every human being had the potential within them to be divine.

Namaste. Namaste.

 

Holly Near wrote a song that has the words:

 

“Something changes in me when I witness someone’s courage. Something changes in me anytime there’s someone standing. For the right to be completely all the good things that we are

 

Do not forget the children, they are singers in the storm

And when their hearts are threatened, well a fire is bound to start. It wakes us up at midnight, we feel an ancient pain

And I do believe that loves directs the flame”

May we let love direct our own flames. May we let its bright light shine upon the gender games and help us know we can play by healthier and happier rules. Blessed Be

Got to be Tough

You’ve got to be tough

She said

Or you would not

Have survived

Yes I am

I said

For survive I did

 

Hard headed yes

With few illusions

But tender hearted too

True strength

Is brave enough

To risk everything

For love

 

 

 

 

 

Bouncing Toward Equality

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Marriage equality and my emotions go up and down, up and down, bouncing like a red rubber ball.   It made me think of this song.

THE CYRKLE- “RED RUBBER BALL”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xA0WM9iC-E

They say that justice is a journey, and the arc of the universe bends toward it.  Well, Unitarian minister Theodore Parker said that and Martin Luther King repeated it – a lot.  The last several months, however, have been more of a roller coaster.  Judges rule, marriages happen, stays are issued, benefits are given and then taken away.  Adoptions granted and then suspended.  Who says they care about children?  Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Idaho, etc, etc. There are too many states to name where the emotions and lives of GLBT are being batted around like a tether ball.  Waiting to hear from Oregon today.  It is time to untether the rope and let freedom fly free.  Hit it out of the park.  Follow the arc.  May it be so.

 

 

Two Utah Children Two Tragedies

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There were two more tragedies this week in Northern Utah involving young children.  A three year old girl shot and killed her 2 year old brother with a rifle that their father had left in the living room.  (news article) The family living room was transformed in an instant into a dying room.  It was clearly an accident, but the parents and especially this young girl will carry this trauma inside them for the rest of their lives.

A couple of days later, another child was run over in his own driveway by a relative who did not see him behind the car.  (news article).  The boy was apparently playing with other children in his front yard.

I do not want to bring more grief to the parents of either of these two children, but “accidents” like these two happen almost every week around here.  They are preventable. If parents have guns in their homes they need to keep them under lock and key, not sometimes, but all the time.  Don’t let your kids play in the front yard until they are at least school age.  If you don’t have a fenced back yard, take them to a park or keep them in the house.

Utah parents worry about school shootings, but so many more children are killed by accidents like these in or outside their own homes.  It is frightening how often they happen here.  When I was living in California, I only recall one instance of a child being run over in their driveway and  I don’t remember any who died playing with their parent’s guns.

For a so-called “family friendly” state, Utah needs to take a lot better care of the children.

Utah’s “gold standard” families can be very dangerous for kids.  I wrote about this same issue last December (here)

Justice Sometimes Requires a Wrecking Ball

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Sometimes justice requires a wrecking ball.  The walls and structures of oppression need to come down.  Of course those in power want to maintain it.  Of course they are upset when courts don’t rule in their favor.

Utah is like that.  They are grasping at straws as the walls of their carefully constructed culture come crashing down around them.  Young Mormons are leaving the church in droves because of the rigidity of thought.   Thank you, internet, for enlarging their world.

The state’s case against marriage equality is truly bizarre.  It would be funny if real people weren’t being hurt.  If children were not being denied the right to have two legal parents, simply because their parents are of the same gender.  Utah does not allow anyone who is “co-habiting” to adopt.  It doesn’t seem to matter what is best for the children.

From the court case:

*See full news article (here)

“To allow the “difficult policy choice” about marriage rights to be made by “judicial fiat” would not be akin to the “narrow” decision that ended bans on interracial marriage, but instead would unleash “an unprincipled judicial wrecking ball hurtling toward an even more important arena of traditional state authority,” the state said.” 

“That wrecking ball would impose “novel” and “corrosive” principles about marriage and parenting and would undermine state sovereignty, according to the 120-page reply brief the state submitted to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals just minutes before its midnight deadline Friday.”

The arguments and images sound like hyperbole because they are, and they also show just how terrified the Utah state officials are of any change at all that might threaten Utah’s patriarchal theocracy.   They then name the risks of marriage equality:

“Those risks include: fewer and shorter heterosexual marriages; an increase in fatherless and motherless parenting; reduced birth rates and more out-of-wedlock births; less “self-sacrificing” by heterosexual fathers; and increased social strife, the state said.”

Utah’s birth rate could stand to drop a bit, not that marriage equality would help with that.  Those 10 kid families put a real strain on the schools – which our legislature barely funds.  I am really not clear how letting LGBT people get married can do any of the things listed.  And, nothing like trashing all the single moms and dads out there, most of whom are doing fine jobs parenting their kids.

Same gender marriage does threaten the patriarchal norms of Utah, however.  A marriage of equals runs totally counter to the culture here.  It might make heterosexual women think they can challenge the status quo even more, that they can have a real voice in the public square and in their marriages.   Some of those women might even start asking to be admitted to the LDS priesthood.   Oh, that is already an issue.

Racism, sexism, homophobia have got to fall –  even if it requires a “judicial wrecking ball.”

Read an earlier post on Utah’s “Gender Diversity” (here)

Arizona and Texas Too

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The tide is rolling in

Make no mistake

The world is changing

The seas are rising

At long last

The shoreline shrinks

Fear’s last stand

Will not delay

Fate for long

An ocean of love

Is breaking now

Across the land

It’s not too late

To learn to swim

Come on in

The water’s fine