C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 6/30/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Via Joe.My.God., the Mormon-run Deseret News provides this graphic showing the spread of pro-marriage rulings in the year since the Windsor ruling:

Click to enlarge.

Also in the news:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Drive: Over the Rainbow

For this Pride weekend, the 45th since Stonewall - for all who hope the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pride 2014

As usual, the Empire State Building is lit up with the colors of the rainbow for three nights this weekend during NYC Pride. This year is the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that mark the beginning of the modern gay-rights era.  I'm sure nobody at the time ever thought they would see such a fabulous sight as this.

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Gods and Monsters

Steve Hayes reviews the 1998 film:
The underside of Gay Hollywood history is examined with love, sensitivity, and a lot of humor in Bill Condon's brilliant Gods and Monsters. Starring Ian McKellen as veteran gay Brit director James Whale and Brendan Fraser as a beautiful young gardener he takes a fancy to, the film deals with the relationship that develops between these two vastly different men, under the watchful eye of Lynn Redgrave as Whale's overprotective German housekeeper. The Oscar-winning screenplay examines the price that was paid for being an open homosexual in old Hollywood along with the loss of one's creativity, livelihood, and spirit as a result. It's funny, touching, and ultimately unforgettable.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, June 26, 2014

One Year On: Windsor v. United States

Man, oh man. It's been a breathtaking roll down the fast lane since the Supreme Court delivered its historic ruling in Windsor v. United States a year ago today.   At the moment, same-sex marriage is legal in 20 states plus the District of Columbia; in the other 30, plus Puerto Rico, lawsuits are working their way through the courts.  Here's the latest map from Wikipedia of where things stand with the states:

And here's a clip of plaintiff Edie Windsor, the nation's favorite octogenarian lesbian, explaining how she got to the Supreme Court, with a little help from her friends:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Landmark Marriage Victories: Indiana, Utah

Another fabulous day for marriage equality.  First up this morning was Indiana, reports Freedom to Marry:
U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down Indiana's ban on marriage for same-sex couples and becoming the latest judge in an amazing year of victories for marriage in every corner of the country. The ruling is the 21st consecutive victory in state and federal court for the freedom to marry since the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Windsor v. United States in June 2013. The ruling is the 17th win in federal court for marriage since June and comes just one day before the landmark first anniversary of the Windsor ruling.

The decision was issued in Baskin v. Bogan, a federal marriage case brought by Lambda Legal. Previously, Judge Young granted emergency relief for one same-sex couple by respecting their marriage.

Judge Young wrote in the ruling:
The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue. In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions – laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage – not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.
Full text of the ruling here.

FTM also says, "Judges have struck down marriage bans now in 9 states in the past few months: Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and now Indiana. More limited decisions in favor of the freedom to marry have been handed down in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, and Ohio. More than 70 cases are currently pending in state and federal court in every single state across the country."

The court did not stay its ruling, and marriages have started in Indiana.

And then a few minutes later, came this big news:
Today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, upholding a marriage ruling out of Utah in December. It is the first ruling by a federal appellate court since last year's victory in the Supreme Court and, unless reversed, will pave the way for the freedom to marry throughout the 10th Circuit, including in Colorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Kansas.

The ruling is stayed pending further action, which could include an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The ruling, written by Judge Lucero, reads:

Our Circuit has not previously considered the validity of same-sex marriage bans. When the seed of that question was initially presented to the United States Supreme Court in 1972, the Court did not consider the matter of such substantial moment as to present a justiciable federal question. Since that date, the seed has grown, however. Last year the Court entertained the federal aspect of the issue in striking down § 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), yet left open the question presented to us now in full bloom: May a State of the Union constitutionally deny a citizen the benefit or protection of the laws of the State based solely upon the sex of the person that citizen chooses to marry?

Having heard and carefully considered the argument of the litigants, we conclude that, consistent with the United States Constitution, the State of Utah may not do so. We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union. For the reasons stated in this opinion, we affirm.

Full text of the Kitchen v. Herbert ruling here.

Update, 9:45 p.m.:  ¡Caramba! The Mexican Supreme Court today struck down a ban on same-sex marriage in the state of Baja California.  Break out the Dos Equis!

Update, 6/27, 8:40 p.m.: The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals late this afternoon issued a stay of the Indiana ruling pending appeal.  So no more weddings in the Hoosier State for now.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Defrocked Methodist Pastor Reinstated

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, formerly pastor of a United Methodist church in Pennsylvania, who was defrocked last year for officiating at the same-sex wedding of his own son, was reinstated to the ministry today by an appeals panel, reports the Washington Post:
The nine-person panel ordered the church to restore Frank Schaefer’s pastoral credentials, saying the jury that convicted him last year erred when fashioning his punishment. He was then transferred to the California conference of the church, effective July 1.

“I’ve devoted my life to this church, to serving this church, and to be restored and to be able to call myself a reverend again and to speak with this voice means so much to me,” an exultant Schaefer told The Associated Press, adding he intends to work for gay rights “with an even stronger voice from within the United Methodist Church.”

The church suspended Schaefer, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, for officiating his son’s 2007 wedding, then defrocked him when he refused to promise to uphold the Methodist law book “in its entirety,” including its ban on clergy performing same-sex marriages.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 6/23/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

In other marriage news, Congressman Sean Maloney (D-NY), married longtime partner Randy Florke this weekend in their home state, in the presence of their three children. Congratulations to the happy couple.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Born This Way?

Dr. John Corvino, Chair of the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit, with some provocative thoughts on the born-this-way question:

What I Say: Your Head Trucker has much respect for Dr. Corvino's brainpower, but it seems to me he approaches the issue much too academically here. Unlike some people I've known who claim they "just don't remember" their childhoods in any detail, my memories stretch back in one long, unbroken stream of consciousness to before my third birthday. Of course, some details have grown dim or passed beyond recovery as time has gone on, like the name of my fifth-grade teacher - but more significant ones are still quite clear in my mind. And I am here to tell you that I was most definitely a little gay boy by the time I was 4 years old, maybe even earlier, long before the least suspicion of sex had ever crossed my mind. It had nothing to do with sex - it had to do with how I thought and felt about the world, and about myself, and how I acted, all unconscious of straightness or gayness.

There is a gay nature - that's the best word I can think of to describe what I mean - a gay nature that is evident in most gay men (even though some of us have learned to keep it tamped down and tightly wrapped unless we are with very good friends) and in gay little boys too. And that nature was already going full blast in me by age 4, as I said: wanting a toy washing machine for my birthday, then a toy kitchen for the next one; playing dress-up with my mom's old skirts and slips, her makeup and jewelry; preferring to play jump rope with the girls instead of softball with the boys; or picking out clothes at the department store with my mom, and by some unbidden, untutored instinct recognizing that, oh yes the yellow shirt will look good with the brown shorts, and the pale blue shirt goes with the dark blue pants; all the while wishing I could have a pair of the frilly pink socks across the aisle in the girls' department; and on one particularly memorable occasion, looking up at the stars and making a wish that I would NOT grow up to be a man - like all those men I saw on TV, all the time getting into fistfights and gunfights, and generally being mean and violent and brutal.  What an awful thought!  I wanted no part of it.

Of course it wasn't until many years later that I was able to look back on all those attitudes and behaviors, and see them as precursors of my sexual orientation - but they were. I'm not a biologist or psychologist or geneticist, and I can't say for an absolute scientific certainty what the efficient cause of my gayness is or was - but regardless of the mechanism, it was already there in me at such a young age that it only seems right to say that I was born that way, and in fact I do believe that that gay nature is something that is inborn, regardless of how many genes are involved or what precise combinations of genes and environment and anything else that might have a bearing on it might be - I know it was all there in me and perfectly naturally expressed by me long before I had any clue about sexuality or gender roles or what was or wasn't socially acceptable.

(A side note: my dad died when I was in high school, so we never discussed the whole gay thing. But I was blessed to have a mom who was totally supportive when I came out to her at age 24, and we did talk about it sometimes. I even asked her why she and my dad let me do all those girly things - which I caught grief for from other little straight boys. Mama smiled and said she and my father just figured I was going through a "phase" and if left alone I would grow out of it eventually - I think that was Dr. Spock's advice she was going on. But I never thought to ask her if she saw any difference(s) in me as an infant, before I was up walking around and learning to talk. It would be very interesting to know - but there's no one now alive who can answer that question.)

This me has always been gay deep down inside, since the very beginnings of memory and consciousness. The philosophers and biologists and psychologists and all the rest can dice it up in their theories however they please, but not a word of all that changes the fact that my real self, my essence, my nature was what we call gay from the start, or at least from such an early point that it might as well be considered the start for all practical purposes. 

Most assuredly, I did not choose this nature, no more than I imagine any little straight boy has ever chosen his nature. It's just me. And always has been. The simple, pure, uncoerced truth that has always been in me - has always been me. Surely I'm not the only one who feels this way, am I fellas?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Gay Nineties

A compilation of news videos about gay rights in the 1990's:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Where the Churches Stand on Same-Sex Marriage

Click to enlarge.

The chart above summarizes a new report by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center on official attitudes towards same-sex marriage held by major U.S. denominations. Another recent report by Pew discusses the hard-line anti-gay attitudes of most Evangelical church members, as shown below:

At its General Assembly in Detroit this week, The Presbyterian Church U.S.A., which already allows gays and lesbians to be ordained ministers, will consider resolutions to allow same-sex weddings in states where they are legal.

Update, 6/19: The Presbyterian General Assembly voted today 76%-24% to allow same-sex weddings.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life published the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey (PDF, 1.42 MB) in 2008, which offers a sweeping analysis of religious beliefs and denominational identification among American adults. A short summary of their findings is presented in this table:

And per the U.S. Census Bureau, it appears that adults make up 76.5% of the 2013 total population of 316,128,839. So you do the math.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Ant and the Grasshopper

I've posted this before, but the humor makes it worth repeating.  Give a listen if you have a few minutes:  the gay, ironic wit of Somerset Maugham is at its best in this short story based on the fable by La Fontaine and read by the gay old author himself.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 6/16/14

Matt Baume, wearing an inexcusably wrinkled shirt, reports:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Drive: Anything Goes

Just a gay little oldie to start your Sunday with a smile:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

He's Got the Touch!

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain - he works hard on these, so leave a word of appreciation in the comments sometimes, will ya fellas?

Bikes are Bad, Physio is Fun
Part 2 – He’s Got the Touch!

I’m glad you’ve joined us for this conclusion to my tale, as I undergo treatment for the cycling injury described last week in Part 1.   I shall be under the hands of my handsome young physiotherapist José, and believe me, that is fun!

The Physiotherapy Clinic is located in a quiet plaza, just off the high street in a nearby town. My doctor had prescribed ten sessions of treatment, so I took the paperwork to the clinic, where the receptionist booked the sessions covering a period of three weeks. Fortunately, she seemed to understand the hieroglyphics the doc had written on my prescription – all I could make out were the words electro and rodilla, Spanish for knee, - doctor’s writing, it appears, is the same the world over! See you next Monday, she said, and that was it, booked.

I walked to a small café across from the entrance to the clinic, not least because the waiter there had wonderful biceps and a cute bubble butt (hola Miguel!) Sitting outside, I could watch the comings and goings at the clinic. Every so often men in black two-piece uniforms, something like a Judo Gi, would come out to phone or have a smoke, then go back inside. I assumed these young men were some of the physiotherapists. They were all rather attractive.

The following Monday, I turned up, and having checked in, waited to be called in for my first session. A little nervously perhaps, I didn’t know what form the treatment would take, presumably some exercises and some electro. I had joked earlier with Russ about getting a handsome Physiotherapist, but with my luck I would get some old duffer with calloused hands! Enter young José, in a crisp, starched white uniform. Oh my! Those eyes, that smile! Was he old enough to be a Physiotherapist? Did I care? Let the treatment begin. Now!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Advisory Warning: lots of scrumptious studs here, but there is one tasteful NSFW shot. If it offends you guys, lemme know and I'll pull the vid.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Touch of Magic

This is the gayest ad for GM cars and Frigidaire appliances ever. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Gay Eighties

A compilation of news videos about gay rights in the 1980's:

Monday, June 9, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 6/9/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Updated marriage map from Wikipedia:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bikes Are Bad, Physio Is Fun

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain:

Part 1 - A Brief History of Cycling

Hello again dear reader, how’s it going? Let me introduce José, my physiotherapist. Well, he’s actually a model called Eddie Rodriguez, but his physical resemblance to José is uncanny, the same chiselled features, the same gelled hair and full beard, and those incredible green-blue eyes, so startling and unusual in a Spaniard. But why the introduction, I hear you ask? Well, it’s a universally acknowledged truth that the older you get, the more time you seem to spend in doctors’ waiting rooms. Not wishing to be an exception, I’ve done my best to support the medical profession this year one way and another, and young José is a particularly pleasant part of that tale. A tale of two halves, of cause and effect. In Part 1, a tragicomic story, we will be in the company of some young lycra-clad cyclists as I explain how I came to require José’s services in the first place. In Part 2, a regular BDSM Bromance, we will see more of José/Eddie as we enter the erotic world of the physiotherapy clinic. Now there’s something to look forward to; José’s getting excited already!

In my last but one post about Córdoba, I mentioned that Partner and I were going on to Zuheros afterwards. It is fast becoming our favourite country retreat, away from the hurly-burly of the coast. We intended to do some cycling whilst we were there, enjoying the rugged scenery as we exercised our equally rugged masculinity – you know the sort of thing. A testosterone-fuelled dream, man and machine against the wilderness, proof that we were still young in mind and body. Well, that’s how I envisioned it.

But pride comes before a fall, and this sort of dream rarely comes true. Getting older is not necessarily getting wiser! So please read on as I recount my Brief History of Cycling:

Friday, June 6, 2014

70 Years On: D-Day

Today, President Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, and other Allied leaders have gathered on the Normandy coast to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which, at great cost in the blood of soldiers, sailors, and airmen, ensured the doom of the Nazi tyranny and all the freedoms we take so casually for granted today. I hope that all my truckbuddies will take just a single minute out of their day to reflect upon the enormous sacrifice offered up on that cloudy, gloomy day so long ago now, when the future was far from certain, and the way forward so full of deadly peril.

An official newsreel showing the preparations for the invasion:

Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower's address to the troops on the eve of the invasion:

King George VI broadcast this message to Britain, the Empire, and the world on D-Day:

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's broadcast to the nation on June 6, 1944, the famous D-Day Prayer:

On the CBC, Prime Minister Mackenzie King spoke to the people of Canada:

And a personal viewpoint with vivid color film taken before and after the invasion by newsreel cameraman Jack Lieb:

Finally, Part 1 of a fascinating series of transcriptions of CBS Radio's live coverage of the invasion, with European reports relayed to New York:

Lots of recent video interviews with surviving veterans of D-Day are at the National WWII Museum website here, like this one:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Far Out

Click to enlarge.

From NASA:
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have assembled a comprehensive picture of the evolving universe – among the most colorful deep space images ever captured by the 24-year-old telescope. Researchers say the image, in new study called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, provides the missing link in star formation. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 image is a composite of separate exposures taken in 2003 to 2012 with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3.

Astronomers previously studied the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) in visible and near-infrared light in a series of images captured from 2003 to 2009. The HUDF shows a small section of space in the southern-hemisphere constellation Fornax. Now, using ultraviolet light, astronomers have combined the full range of colors available to Hubble, stretching all the way from ultraviolet to near-infrared light. The resulting image -- made from 841 orbits of telescope viewing time -- contains approximately 10,000 galaxies, extending back in time to within a few hundred million years of the big bang.

Prior to the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field study of the universe, astronomers were in a curious position. Missions such as NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) observatory, which operated from 2003 to 2013, provided significant knowledge of star formation in nearby galaxies. Using Hubble's near-infrared capability, researchers also studied star birth in the most distant galaxies, which appear to us in their most primitive stages due to the significant amount of time required for the light of distant stars to travel into a visible range. But for the period in between, when most of the stars in the universe were born -- a distance extending from about 5 to 10 billion light-years -- they did not have enough data.

All that is so big, and we are so small.  Kinda makes you stop and think, don't it?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Proud to Play

A spotlighted video on YouTube in honor of Pride month:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Gay Seventies

A fascinating compilation of news clips from the 1970's about those strange and scary social deviants who were popping up everywhere it seemed - the dreaded homosexuals.  Really brings home to my mind how far we have come just in my lifetime.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 6/2/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Drive: Come On Come On

Mary Chapin Carpenter, an American classic, a national treasure:

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