SAME-SEX MARRIAGE – THE DOWNFALL of CIVILIZATION….

I have heard many religious leaders indicating that allowing same-sex couples to marry would be the downfall of civilizations.  People have even gone as far as blaming environment catastrophe’s due to states grating same-sex marriage.  Okay….let’s look at some statistics and facts surrounding the implementation and recognition of same-sex marriages around the world, here are some timelines: 

  • Netherlands was the first country to extend marriage laws to include same-sex couples.  A same-sex marriage bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2000, taking effect on 1 April, 2001.
  • Belgium became the second country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriages.
  • The provinces of Ontario and British Columbia in Canada legally recognized same-sex marriages in 2003 – Ontario (June) and British Columbia (July).
  • In 2004 – The Canadian provinces of Quebec (March),  Yukon (July), Manitoba (September), Nova Scotia (September), Saskatchewan (November) and Newfoundland (December) legally recognized same-sex marriages.  Nationally, Canada (July) legally recognized same-sex marriage as of July 20, 2005 – becoming the 4th country to do so.  Sandoval County, New Mexico, USA (February; discontinued, reinstated by statewide legalization in December), New Paltz, New York, USA (February; discontinued, reinstated by statewide legalization in July, 2011), Massachusetts, USA (May)
  • On July 3, 2005 – Spain became the 3rd country to officially recognize same-sex marriage legally.
  • 2006 – South Africa (November) recognizes same-sex marriage.
  • 2008 – California, USA (June, discontinued November and reinstated June (2013) and Connecticut, USA (November) recognize same-sex marriage.
  • 2009 – Norway (January) and Sweden (May) and in the USA, Iowa (January) and Vermont (September).
  • 2010 – The US States of New Hampshire (January) and District of Columbia (March) along with Portugal (June), Iceland (June) and Argentina (July) begin recognizing same-sex marriage. 
  • 2011 – New York, statewide (July).
  • 2012 – Denmark (June) and the US states of Washington (December) and Maine (December).
  • 2013 – The US states of Maryland (January), Delaware (July), Minnesota (August), Rhode Island (August), New Jersey (October), Hawaii (December), New Mexico (statewide) (December) and Utah (December, discontinued in January and reinstated in October, 2014) along with the countries; Brazil (May), France (May), Uruguay (August) and New Zealand (August).
  • 2014 – In the USA; Oregon (May), Pennsylvania (May), Illinois (statewide) (June), Wisconsin (June, discontinued 13 June and reinstated October), Indiana (June, discontinued 27 June and reinstated in October), Oklahoma (October), Virginia (October), Colorado (October), West Virginia (October), Nevada (October), North Carolina (October), Alaska (October), Idaho (October), Arizona (October), Wyoming (October), Montana (November), South Carolina (November) along with England of Wales (March) and Scotland (December).
  • 2015 – Luxembourg (January) and the US States; Florida (January) and Alabama (February).

So what has happened since the all these countries and many states have legalizes same-sex marriages?  Have economies collapsed?  Did civil war break out in these countries and states?  For those who are religious and God-fearing – has God caused biblical floods of epic proportions or burned cities to the ground for granting same-sex marriages?  I can confidently say – that, with the introduction of same-sex marriages, unions, partnerships (whatever you want to call them), nothing drastic has changed for any heterosexuals couple that have opposed this in the past.  The only thing that has changed is for those individuals in same-sex unions.  Same-sex couples have the same benefits and rights that are afforded to heterosexual married couples and are treated equally under the law.

Let’s look at Canada – Canada has been grating same-sex marriages since 2003 (in 2 provinces – Ontario and British Columbia).  Ontario is my home province and nothing significant has happened in the province since allowing same-sex marriages.  As a matter-of-fact, nothing has happened anywhere in which same-sex marriages have been granted.  Same-sex unions/marriages are not to blame for the huge spikes in the divorce rates between heterosexual couples.  Instead of focusing their dissent on couples who are in loving  and committed relationships, why don’t those who are so opposed to same-sex marriages focus their rage and dissention on the increasing divorce rates, homelessness, poverty, violence towards women, and other more pressing social issues?

My spouse and I have been together for over 20 years and married for 7….our relationship or marriage hasn’t infringed on the rights and responsibilities of anyone we know.  We made the decision to marry to ensure we were treated equally in the eyes of the law (not to mention the fact that we love one another).  My marriage is as equally meaningful as my parents, my sisters or my brother’s marriage.  That is all.

As I mentioned above, if people would just focus their energies on the real social issues that need our attention, this world would be a much brighter and positive one!  Let’s make that happen.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

 

GAY IS NORMAL…AS NORMAL AS STRAIGHT.

We all know that there are many religious ‘wing nuts’ that vilify homosexuality by saying that “it’s a choice” and that “if God didn’t want homosexuals, he wouldn’t create them.”  Well – I can tell you (as a homosexual man), I did not make the choice to be gay, I have always known I was attracted to the same-sex and (if there is a God), I am proof that He did want homosexuals because I exist.

Let’s take a look at some quotes made by those who hide their bigotry and hate against gays behind their religion:

“We will see a breakdown of the family and family values if we decide to approve same-sex marriage, and if we decide to establish homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle with all the benefits that go with equating it with the heterosexual lifestyle.” – Jerry Falwell
 
“Homosexuality is against nature.  Sexual expression is permitted only within marriage, between man and woman, male and female.  Anything else is an abnormality and is against nature.” – Pope Shenouda III
 
“I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option – it isn’t.” – Carl Paladino
 
“But the Bible speaks against it, and because the Bible speaks against it, we allow rampant sin including homosexuality and lying, and to me lying is just as bad as homosexuality, and we’ve allowed this sin to run rampant in our nation.” – Reggie White
 
“You know, those who are homosexual will die out because they don’t reproduce. You know, you have to have heterosexual sex to reproduce. Same thing with that church, it’s doomed, it’s going to die out because it’s the most nonsensical thing I’ve heard in a long time.” – Pat Robertson

“In fact, it’s the greatest threat to liberty of all kinds, whether it is freedom of religion, whether it is freedom of speech, whether it is freedom of the press, whether it is freedom of association, all of the rights that are enshrined in the First Amendment are threatened by the active, aggressive homosexual lobby and the homosexual agenda.” – Bryan Fischer

Now, let’s take a look a some quotes that are not exclusive, biased and filled with hate and fear.  These are sensible (and sometimes funny) and intellectual quotes regarding homosexuality:

“Like a majority of Americans in recent years, I came to understand that fear of homosexuality was leading our governments – including the one I ran as Governor of Mississippi – to deny the equal rights to an entire segment of our population that are afforded all of us under the Constitution.” – Ronnie Musgrove
 
“I think people feel threatened by homosexuality.  The problem isn’t about gay people, the problem is about the attitude towards gay people.  People think that all gays are Hannibal Lecters.  But gay people are sons and daughters, politicians and doctors, American heroes and daughters of American heroes.” – Hollis Stacy
 
“I don’t think homosexuality is a choice.  Society forces you to think it’s a choice, but in fact, it’s in one’s nature.  The choice is whether one expresses one’s nature truthfully or spends the rest of one’s life lying about it.” – Marlo Thomas
 
“Jesus never said a word about homosexuality.  In all of his teachings about multiple things – he never said that gay people should be condemned.  I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married.” – Jimmy Carter
 
“Homosexuality in Russia is a crime and the punishment is seven years in prison, locked up with the other men.  There is a three-year waiting list.” – Yakov Smirnoff
 
“What do you mean you don’t believe in homosexuality?  It’s not like the Easter Bunny, your belief isn’t necessary.” – Lea DeLaria
 
“Homosexuality is like the weather.  It just is.” – Andrew Sullivan
 
“I have no problem with it (homosexuality).  I don’t look on homosexuality as an aberration.  It’s just the way they’re born, and how could any relationship between two people in a committed relationship be wrong, regardless of gender?” – Andrea Thompson
 
“Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.” – Dorothy Parker
 
“If religion is against homosexuality, then it is against the will and happiness of people.” – M. F. Moonzajer
 
That last quote is very profound because it suggests that many who believe the religious assertion about homosexuality is against their happiness as they were created that way in the eyes of God.  How can you condemn someone from birth?  You can’t judge someone based on their genetic make-up – it would be like condemning someone for being born with blue eyes, darker skin or without eyesight.  People need to stop interpreting religious doctrine to serve their own hateful and judgemental purposes.  They also need to stop trying to divide people based on their unique differences and accept people for those differences.
 

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

 
 

LOVE IS GAY and LOVE IS EVERYONE.

How do you define love?  What does love mean to you?  Here is one definition of love according to the The Concise Oxford Dictionary, Ninth Edition:  The foremost authority on current English:

love (n)  – an intense feeling of deep affection of fondness for a person or thing

We all have felt intense feelings of deep affection for many people or things but there are varying degrees of love.  You can love a family member as affectionately and with the same fondness as a good friend.  You can have a deep intense love for the planet, a hobby, an animal or even an object.  But no love is the same as the love you share with that ‘special someone’.  What makes this type of love different is the emotional, physical and sexual intimacy you share which heightens the intense of deep affection to a whole different level.  This is the kind of love I share with my husband – Jason.  We have been together for 19 years and have legally been married for 6.  We had mixed emotions about getting married – were we doing it because it was legal in Ontario, Canada, were we doing it for the sake of being married, or were we doing it for no reason at all.  Jason and I got married for all of those reasons and so that we could be viewed equally under the law as our heterosexual counterparts.  That brings me to the story of Shane Bitney Coney and Thomas Lee Bridegroom.

The first time I heard of these two young men was when I came across a YouTube video entitled:  It Could Happen To You.  There are no words to describe the video – the only thing I can say about it was that Shane allowed me to feel his pain, his anguish, his suffering and his hurt.  I want to reach out and hug him, comfort him, do anything to help with the pain he was feeling.  Watch for yourself:

I watched this several times and imagined how I would feel if I was told that I would not be able to see my husband if he was ever hospitalized – I would be devastated.  Again, my thoughts went to Shane and I cried thinking about the despair he felt.  But, that despair was only the beginning.  Imagine not being able to properly say goodbye to the person you loved more than anything in the world – How would that make you feel?  My feelings of sadness for Shane turned to anger towards Tom’s family for not allowing Shane to attend his partner’s funeral.  How could Tom’s family turn their backs on a loving partnership of 6 years?  How could they cut 6 years out of a young man’s life and misrepresent their son in a different light?  I kept Shane’s video images in my head for a long time – especially since Shane and Tom’s story could have been mine and Jason’s story or the stories of so many other same-sex couples who are in loving, committed relationships.  I would say ‘prayers’ for Shane and lovingly send them out into the universe in hopes that they would reach him and give him the strength to carry on.

I was happy to know that a full-length feature documentary was being made about Tom and Shane’s relationship and the love they shared for one-another.  The documentary ‘BRIDEGROOM’ became a reality after much support from the likes of Brad and George Takei and Neil Patrick Harris and so many other influential people.  Over 6,500 people funded the film on Kickstarter.com and it became the most funded documentary in the history of crowd funding.  The film was written, directed and produced by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason creator of the critically acclaimed television series Designing Women.  The film was released in the fall of 2013.  For more about the movie, bios about the people behind the documentary, the official trailer – please visit the movies official website:  http://bridegroommovie.com

I hope that the hurt and pain that was left in Shane’s heart has decreased and I hope that Shane’s current devotion to removing the barriers of marriage inequality has somewhat filled that emptiness.  I know that nothing Shane does will ever bring Tom back – but, I do know that wherever Tom is he is smiling, knowing that Shane is standing strong and fighting for something they already had – A deep sense of love.  I tap 3 times on the desk my computer sits on in the memory of the love these 2 young men shared and for all the work Shane has/is doing for marriage equality.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!