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!

 
 

WHY MY MARRIAGE WILL NOT AFFECT YOURS

I don’t understand why so many people are freaking out about ‘gay’ marriage – first of all, it is NOT a ‘gay’ marriage – it is a marriage between two people of the same-sex.  Traditionally speaking, the definition of marriage is a union between one man and one women.  For me, this definition is based on suppression and the lack of acceptance of two people in love and this suppression and lack of acceptance is rooted mainly on religious beliefs. 

If two people of the same-sex and in love threaten the sanctity of ‘traditional marriage’ – why are divorce rates around the world on the uprise?  Isn’t divorce a religious faux pas?  Let’s take at look at some marriage statistics:

United States of America

Men and women are marrying later in life than they were in 1960:

  • 1960 Men – Age 23
  • 2012 Men – Age 28
  • 1960 Women – Age 20
  • 2012 Women – Age 25 

Marriage continues to decline – Between 1970 and 2010, marriage has declined by 50%

Divorce rates is twice as much as it was in 1960.  Current estimates, suggest that 40-50% of recent marriages will end in separation or divorce.

Lowest Divorce Rates

  1. India (1.1%)
  2. Sri Lanka (1.5%)
  3. Japan (1.9%)
  4. Republic of Macedonia (5%)
  5. Bosnia and Herzegovina (5%)

Highest Divorce Rates

  1. Sweden (54.9%)
  2. United States (54.8%)
  3. Belarus (52.9%)
  4. Finland (51.2%)
  5. Luxembourg (47.4%)

The United Kingdom placed 35th (42.6%), Germany was 31st (39.4%), France placed 29th (38.3%), Canada placed 26th (37%) and Spain placed 13th (15.2%).

I have been with my partner for 20 years – we are celebrating our 20th year at the end of October 2014.  We didn’t have a huge desire to get married – but we did.  In 2005, Canada became the 4th country in the world, the 1st outside of Europe, to legalize same-sex marriage.  In March of 2007, my partner and I married.  Since then, there hasn’t been catastrophic earthquakes and fire hasn’t rained from the sky in protest.  My marriage hasn’t destroyed the marriages of so many of my heterosexual friends marriages.  Nothing major has happened as a result of me marrying my same-sex partner.

So, I ask again, what is the problem of two people in love marrying each other?  Why are so many, usually religious fanatics, so concerned about same-sex marriages when they should be more concerned with the increasing heterosexual divorce rates?  Marriage licences come from the state and not from religious institutions.  Under the law, we should all be treated equally and reap the same benefits as heterosexual couples do.  It is for this reason (and because we love each other very much) that my partner and I married.  I find that religion, for many people, is a justification for their fear, bigotry and sometimes hate.  I am not religious and consider myself more agnostic (there is no proof that God does/doesn’t exist) but I do know that anytime religion is thrown into any social or political issues – there seems to be much more violence and intolerance regarding those social or political issues.  Religion doesn’t and should never dictate laws.  I have no problem with the religious beliefs of individuals but those beliefs should be justification to exclude the rights and civil liberties of a few.

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

 

WHAT IS GAY LOVE? ISN’T IT JUST LOVE?

There is no GAY LOVE – it’s just LOVE!

There is no GAY MARRIAGE – it’s just MARRIAGE!

There is no GAY ADOPTION – it’s just ADOPTION!

There is no GAY ATHLETE, CELEBRITY, MOVIE STAR, POLITICIAN – they are just athletes, celebrities, movie stars and politicians!

Why do same-sex couples always have to endure the label of ‘GAY’ in front of everything that heterosexuals don’t even consider when they speak of the same thing?  It’s not ‘heterosexual’ love, or ‘heterosexual’ marriage or a ‘heterosexual’ relationship.  I don’t go to a heterosexual hospital, doctor, lawyer, real estate agent, hotel, auto shop, etc.  I don’t have ‘gay’ tears or ‘gay’ blood or a ‘gay’ smile – I just have tears, blood and a smile. 

So many people fear what they don’t understand and allow stereotypical behaviour to continue based on their lack of understanding and ignorance.  Many people automatically become angered, threatened or annoyed as soon as same-sex couples want to have the same rights and benefits as they do.  Most often cite religion as their justification for not allowing same-sex couples the same rights as they do.  

Two fathers posted an image of themselves getting their children ready for school via Instagram (The photo has now been circulating via Twitter and Facebook) and right away, the ignorant and hateful comments began.  Is it because they were of the same-sex – YES, undeniably.  Why can’t people see the picture as something beautiful – two men, assisting their children, loving their children, providing for their children but most importantly – being present with their children.  This isn’t ‘gay’ parenting – it is parenting at its’ best.  It is nurturing and something so many children lack today – a secure, healthy, happy and loving environment. 

Here is the photo that stirred so many feelings (and not all negative either) in so many people:

Kaleb, Kordale and family

(Thanks to Kaleb and Kordale – and family, for sharing such a beautiful picture with us.)

Love isn’t gay or straight – it is simply LOVE!  

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

 

GAY – THE GOOD and THE BAD

Here are some great ‘coming out’ videos……..enjoy and celebrate the diversity in everyone!

And here are some of those who don’t want people to be treated equally both due to the biases they hold regarding those who are born different from them:

Joy Behar makes a great point as I have said many times before – if ‘gays’ can pray the gay away – couldn’t straight people pray the straight away???? 

Bryan Fischer makes false statements and uses debunked research about homosexuality and same-sex families.

This is what the anti-gay legislation in Russia (and anywhere) leads to – violence against people who are deemed different because of being born gay and based on religious bias.  These kidnaps are becoming more common due to countries openly stating that ‘homosexuality is an abomination’.

People need to come together to fight against those who continue to repress those who they consider to be different from the “normal”…..being born black, a woman, or with a preference to the same-sex is not receive to incite violence against them.  People continue to hide behind their religious doctrines to incite this violence and to perpetuate this cycle of ignorance.   Think about this – what would you do if this was your friend or son, your daughter, your brother or sister or even your mother or father?

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

 

 

 

ADOPTION and SAME-SEX COUPLES

I recently watched the film entitled Any Day Now directed by Travis Fine and written by Travis Fine and George Arthur Bloom.  The movie stars Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt who play a gay couple that are granted custody of a boy with Down syndrome after his mother is sent to prison.  The movie is a touching and honest account of the trials and tribulations that the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community faced in terms of how society saw them.  Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) and Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope) were excellent in their roles as Rudy Donatello and Paul Fleiger.

Here is the trailer for the movie:

I made a conscious decision not to raise a family – that decision wasn’t because I felt I couldn’t, because I know I would be a great father, it was because I didn’t want to.  After watching this film, many emotions surfaced on the topic of gay adoption and how society views same-sex couples.  There are many people who believe that gay men and women would not make great parents because of their lifestyle.  Many believe that it is a perverted and deviant lifestyle and that we are all pedophiles who only love to have promiscuous sex.  They believe the stereotypes because that is all they know of what it is to be born homosexual.  Yes, there are same-sex couples who are not fit to have children just as there are heterosexuals who are also not fit to raise children.  It is not difficult to have a child, anyone can do it.  Not anyone can provide a loving and nurturing home however, if there are loving, committed people (who happen to be of the same-sex) that can do so, why are so many still not allowed to do so?  I believe it is because of the social stereotypes that are associated with being gay or lesbian (we know what they are).  I also believe that religion plays a big factor on the issue of homosexuality – many people have interpreted the bible to justify their hate, bigotry and intolerance for homosexuals which, in turn, perpetuates those stereotypes.

Basically – isn’t it in societies best interest to find a home for so many children in foster care?  Here are some statistics:

In the U.S. 400,540 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system.  115,000 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 40% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted. 

Around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans who have lost one parent.  There are 17,900,000 orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development.  These children are at risk for disease, malnutrition, and death.

Reference:  http://www.ccainstitute.org/why-we-do-it-/facts-and-statistics.html

With these types of statistics, why is there so much ‘red-tape’ in finding permanent, loving and stable homes for these children – including those who are in same-sex relationships?  When will society (along with religious institutions and government) act on the best interests of these children and resolve to finding loving and nurturing homes for them?  I believe that there are enough people who want to provide homes for these children – that isn’t the problem.  The problem is the process and all the ‘red-tape’ involved which only further hurts all those children who are waiting to be adopted by those who have so much love in their hearts to give.

Thank you to Travis Fine and George Arthur Bloom for their inspirational words.  Thanks to Travis Fine for making such a great and important film and thank you to all the actors (especially Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt) who gave all their passion to bring the words and emotions of Travis Fine and Arthur Bloom to life.  You are all conduits for positive change in this world.

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

IS THERE REALLY A NEED FOR GAY PRIDE PARADES???

As we head into the month of June – many countries around the world are gearing up for their Gay Pride celebrations, events and parades.  The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans-gendered) community has a lot to celebrate same-sex couples are able to marry in more countries around the world, gay athletes (especially males) are breaking down the stereotypes in the world of professional sports and each day, more people are letting go of their biased notions of what is to be gay.  Saying this – there is still many people who are threatened by homosexuality.  These people will do anything to block any rights for the LGBT community – they don’t want homosexuals to marry, they don’t want gays and lesbians to be protected against discrimination in the workplace, they don’t want their children exposed to LGBT youth, they oppose gays in the military to serve openly, they detest that young gay boys be allowed into the boy scouts – in fact, they don’t want gays and lesbians to live their authentic lives openly because of their own discomfort and prejudices.  Most people have these prejudices because of their strict religious beliefs (which is a completely different topic in itself).

Many heterosexuals and homosexuals believe that the parade is about people exposing themselves to the world, a big drug and alcoholic sex orgy of people flaunting their sexuality.  People have said such things about Gay Pride parades “we don’t have a straight pride, so why should they have gay pride”, “I don’t want my kids to see this kind of promiscuity”, “why should they have a sex parade?” and other comments of this nature.  So – do we really need to have Gay Pride parades and celebrations around the world?  ABSOLUTELY!  Here is why:

  • 1965, Everett Klippert acknowledges to police that he is gay, has had sex with men over a 24-year period, and is unlikely to change.  In 1967, Klippert is sent to prison indefinitely as a “dangerous sex offender,” a sentence which was backed up by the Supreme Court of Canada that same year.
  • Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau amendments to the Criminal Code which, among other things, would relax the laws against homosexuality.
  • Trudeau’s amendments to the Criminal Code pass, decriminalizing homosexuality in Canada
  • homosexuality isn’t something that reared its head in the 20th century – gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgendered people have been with since the dawn of humanity.
  • The Stonewall riots (New York, 1969) transform the gay rights movement into a widespread protest for equal rights and acceptance.  Patrons of a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn, fight back during a police raid on June 27, sparking three days of riots.
  • 1971, Everett Klippert is released
  • 1973, The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders.
  • 1977, Quebec, Canada includes sexual orientation in its Human Rights Code, making it the first province in Canada to pass a gay civil rights law.
  • Harvey Milk is appointed to the Board of Permit Appeals by San Francisco Mayor George Moscone – he becomes first openly gay city commissioner in the United States.
  • January 8, 1978 – Harvey Milk is sworn in as member of the San Fransisco Board of Supervisors.  He ran against 16 other candidates , he wins the election by 30% .  Milk begins his term by sponsoring a civil rights bill that outlaws sexual orientation discrimination.  Only one supervisor votes against it and Mayor Mascone signs it into law.
  • November 27, 1978, Harvey Milk and Mayor George Mascone are assassinated by Dan White, another San Fransisco city supervisor.
  • 1978, Canada gets a new Immigration Act.  Under the act, being a homosexual is removed from the list of inadmissible classes.
  • 1979 – 75,000 people participated in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Washington D.C., in October.  It was the largest political gathering in support of LGBT rights to date.
  • 1980 – The Democratic National Convention held at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Democrats took a stance supporting gay rights adding the following to their plank:  “All groups must be protected from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, language, age, sex or sexual orientation.
  • 1981, More than 300 men are arrested following police raids at four gay bath houses in Toronto, the largest mass arrest since the War Measures Act was invoked during the October Crisis.  The next night, about 3,000 people march in downtown Toronto to protest the arrests.  This is considered to be Canada’s Stonewall.
  • 1982, Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • 1984, The city of Berkeley, California becomes the first city to offer its employees domestic-partnership benefits.
  • 1988, Sven Robinson, of the New Democratic Party, goes public about being gay, becoming the first Member of Parliament to do so.
  • Delwin Vriend, a lab instructor at King’s University College in Edmonton, Alberta, is fired from his job because he is gay.  The Alberta Human Rights Commission refuses to investigate the case because discrimination based on sexual orientation isn’t covered by the Alberta Individual Rights Protection Act.  Vriend takes the government of Alberta to court and, in 1994, the court rules that sexual orientation must be added to the act.  The government wins on appeal in 1996 and the decision is overturned.  In 1997, the case went to the Supreme Court of Canada and on April 2, 1998 the high court unanimously ruled that the exclusion of homosexuals from the province’s Individual Rights Protection Act violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The Supreme Court said that effective immediately the act would be interpreted to include homosexuals even if the province doesn’t change it.  The Alberta government chose to use the notwithstanding clause despite pressure from conservative and religious groups.
  • In 1992, The federal court lifts the country’s ban on homosexuals in the military, allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the armed forces.
  • 1993, The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is instituted for the U.S. military, permitting gays to serve in the military but banning homosexual activity.
  • 1995, The Supreme Court of Canada rules on the case involving Jim Egan and Jack Nesbit, two gay men who sued Ottawa for the right to claim spousal pension under the Old Age Security Act.  The Court ruled against Egan and Nesbit.  However, all nine judges agreed that sexual orientation is a protected ground and that the protection extends to partnerships of lesbians and gay men.
  •  1995, a Ontario (Canada) Court judge finds that the Child and Family Services Act of Ontario infringes section 15 of the Charter by not allowing same-sex couples to bring a joint application for adoption.  He rules that four lesbians have the right to adopt their partner’s children.  Ontario becomes the first province to make it legal for same-sex couples to adopt.  British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia followed suit, also allowing adoption by same-sex couples. 
  • 1996, The Canadian federal government passes Bill C-33 which adds “sexual orientation” to the Canadian Human Rights Act.
  • 1999, The Supreme Court of Canada rules same-sex couples should have the same benefits and obligations as opposite-sex common-law couples and equal access to benefits from social programs to which they contribute.
  • 1999, Attorney General Jim Flaherty introduces Bill 5 in the Ontario (Canada) Legislature, an act to amend certain statutes because of a Supreme Court of Canada decision.  Instead of changing the province’s definition of spouse, which the Supreme Court essentially struck down, the government creates a new same-sex category, changing the province’s Family Law Act to read “spouse or same-sex partner” wherever it had read only “spouse” before.  Bill 5 also amends more than 60 other provincial laws, making the rights and responsibilities of same-sex couples mirror those of common-law couples.
  • 2000, Vermont (USA) becomes the first state in the country to legally recognize civil unions between gay and lesbian couples.
  • 2004, Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Massachusetts (USA)
  • 2005, Canada becomes the 4th country to allow same-sex marriage (the first outside of Europe).  Although same-sex marriage was legal in Ontario and British Columbia (2003), Quebec, Yukon, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador (2004) and New Brunswick (2005) – Civil Marriage Act, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Nunavut and the Northwest Territory (2005). 
  • 2011, New York becomes the largest US State to allow same-sex couples to marry.  The vote comes on the eve of the city’s annual Gay Pride Parade and gives new momentum to the national gay-rights movement.

I find it astounding how – like the civil rights movement – that this type of discrimination against a country’s people was even debated to ensure all were treated equally under the law.  How is it that we needed to debate that people of color should be allowed into the same public space as white people – I find it outrageous and appalling that it took people so long to realize that this was wrong in every sense of the word.  The gay rights movement is a movement to ensure that gays, lesbians, bisexual and trans-gendered people are treated equally and protected under the law.  We are not perverts or sexual molesters.  We are not any more promiscuous than those of the heterosexual preference.  We don’t have a ‘gay agenda’ just like heterosexuals don’t have a ‘straight agenda’…..the hate, bias, prejudice and violence only begins when you add religion into the equation.

Pride Parades – may not have the same ‘grass-roots’ message as it did 40 years ago and has become a huge opportunity for corporations to advertise their products, despite this and the media focusing their reports on scantily clad men and women, the parade and the message the LGBT community is trying to convey is that we are just like you.  I don’t hear people protesting the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans or Caribana in Ontario or Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, why?  Is it because those events are celebrations that are inclusive to all (mainly heterosexuals)?

In a world where 76 countries ban gay sex and 7 have a death penalty (as of June 2010) – Why is it that people still feel so strongly against those who want to celebrate their diversity without any fear of violence or death?  (In most countries).  Uganda held its first Gay Pride Parade recently even though the country has made it clear that they have no tolerance for homosexuality (remember the KILL THE GAYS bill?).  To me – this is the fundamental reasons for Gay Pride celebrations around the world.  France – recently favoured same-sex marriage, yet crimes against the LGBT community have increased.  Russia has insisted they will not tolerate gay propaganda and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has stated that he is opposed to same-sex marriage and will not be influenced by those countries who support it – this has also caused an increase in violence against LGBT people in Russia.

So again, I ask you, is there a need for Gay Pride Celebrations around the world.  I believe so.  History has shown that oppression was never the right route – because when you oppress people they will rise and in the long run, they will win!

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

 

WHICH NATIONS SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE?

New Zealand is the latest nation to pass legislation in support of gay marriage…..check these videos out:

New Zealand is the 13th nation that has legalized same-sex or gay marriage.  The other progressive nations are:  Portugal, Uruguay, Iceland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Argentina and Denmark.

It is wonderful to know many countries and people are moving forward with love, acceptance and wanting equality for all.  I am grateful to live in a world that is moving towards a more positive outlook on many social issues. 

I hope other countries follow in New Zealand’s footsteps!  Now let’s take the same approach to environmental issues!

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

 

A Beautiful Gay Marriage Video – Eli and David.

Beautiful marriage video……Thanks for sharing your video Eli and David.  Congratulations.

Note:  The cover of Steve Windwood’s “Higher Love” is re-interpreted by James Vincent Mc Morrow.

Together we can make the world a more positive one!

CAN WE CHOOSE OUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION?

Many people seem to think that gays and lesbians have chosen their lifestyle and that they are not born this way.  To those people, I ask:  “What day was it that you acknowledged that you chose to be straight?”   If it is that clear – then all straight people must have made a choice about their sexuality too, right?  Are straight people not born straight?  If not, that would mean that they can choose to be gay also.

So, how do I know that I didn’t choose to be gay.  We need to go waaaay back to before I was a teenager.  I can’t pinpoint the exact date or age but I do know that I was physically attracted to men for the longest time.  I didn’t have a reason – I didn’t know any ‘gay’ people and there was certainly no television programs that promoted or encouraged that lifestyle in the early 80’s.  As a matter-of-fact, it socially unacceptable to be gay. I know I had attractions to the same-sex because at an early age – I would get excited just by looking at men modelling underwear in department store catalogues whereas the women’s section did nothing to arouse me – but that didn’t make me gay.  I remember finding a pornographic magazine at a neighbour’s house and curiously flipping through it.  Again,  I found that the women in the magazine didn’t arouse me at all but that I did enjoy looking at the men.  But that didn’t make me gay.

Growing into my teens, I understood that being someone who was attracted to those of the same-sex was not a very popular notion to have.  Society mocked them, ostracized and even used violence against them and made them feel like lesser human beings because of their sexual orientation.  This was morally justified by most religious institutions.  Being gay or lesbian meant that there was something wrong with you – you had a condition that was previously treated with shock therapy.  Even today – people are told to ‘pray the gay away’.  This is not possible (at least for me it wasn’t).  So what could I do about all those feelings I had inside of me – where was I able to feel safe and be with like-minded people?  I had no clue.  All I knew about being homosexual was what I learned around me – homosexuals were “fairies”, “faggots”, “pussies”, “tinkerbells”, “dykes”, “women that wanted to be men” and “men that wanted to be women” and that “they should all be dead or killed.”  There was no way I wanted to be part of that.  This was a choice I made.

I thought “hmmm, I’ll just try to do what everyone else is doing”.  I tried dating girls and always felt that it was wrong – I like their company but there was no physical attraction what-so-ever.  I thought I fell in love but later realized that I wasn’t in love with that person, I was emotionally drained and just wanted to ‘give in’.  I was never going to be able to meet a man and be in a relationship with a man because men like me didn’t exist and if they did – they were forced to exist in secret.  This was a choice I made.

I did manage to connect with other gay people but it was always ‘in secret’ and always in public – shopping centres, subways and parks but people would never know because we learned to hide our attractions very well because our attractions were not acceptable.  It wasn’t until junior high school that I realized there were other gay people and that I could live my life without shame, fear and free from hiding – or so I thought.  Yes, there were other gays living openly and free but those kids were bullied, gay bashed and harassed on a daily basis and didn’t seem to be living too freely to me – I did not want to be one of them.  This was a choice I made.

I eventually met other gay guys who refused to be victims and who introduced me to the ‘gay village’ – a community of lesbian and gays who lived regular lives with their partners in what seemed to be domestic bliss.  I was astounded and felt a huge load lifted off my shoulders – there were others like me and they had what I have always wanted a home and someone to love without shame, hate and fear.  Then came AIDS.  AIDS was the ‘gay disease’ – it was God’s punishment for living a life of sin.  I was terrified.  It seemed like society finally found a reason to justify their hate and proof that this lifestyle was an abomination in God’s eyes.  I decided to continue to hide my ‘secret’.  This was a choice I made.

I eventually began a relationship without someone of the same-sex.  It was my first serious relationship and it happened to be with someone who was HIV positive.  I learned that I could have a ‘normal’, healthy and safe relationship without fear of being infected with the virus.  Through this relationship, I learned much about HIV and AIDS and also met some of the most incredible individuals I have ever met.  People of different backgrounds – gay, straight, bi-sexual, Caucasian, Black, Chinese, men and women who all had one thing in common – they were HIV positive.  Our relationship lasted 5 years and I have never seen him since but I do thank him for what that relationship has given me –  the ability to come to terms with my homosexuality and to live openly and authentically as a gay male.  That was a choice I made.

Today – I am married with a man who has been in my life for 20 years.  Despite all the hurdles and obstacles we have had to overcome individually and together, we have managed to build a life that I am completely proud of.  We fought judgement, hate and bigotry from friends, family and religious institutions.  I have conquered physical and emotional abuse.  I battled internal homophobia and almost lost the most important person in the world because of it.  Mostly – I have conquered my fear.  The same fear that paralyzed me to not live as my true authentic self.  I am so glad that I was born gay.  I am glad that I have learned all the lessons that I was supposed to learn because without them, I wouldn’t be that man I am today.  I did not choose to be ridiculed, hated, gay-bashed or bullied – I chose to live.

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