December 23, 2008


I'm Coming Out

I've been called out, and now my closet door can no longer remain shut. I'm here to announce to the world that as a happily married heterosexual, I'm gay.

As a heterosexual I do not fully relate to being gay, but as long as the theocracy mongers of America continue their assault on the lives, liberties and pursuits of happiness of the gay community then I will continue to be gay.

I guess I'm lucky in that this is a decision that I can make of my own free will, and when/if ever my country comes to a peaceable understanding of the equal rights and protection of ALL its citizens, then I can decide once again to not be gay. So I stand with those who are so unfortunate as to have no choice in being held in contempt by an uncaring and ignorant multitude of stone-throwing sinners.

There are so many points that made my decision to come out rather simple. Many revolve around the recent boil of debate over California's Prop 8 and its surface attempt to define marriage and, just a scratch below the surface, define it by a narrow, traditional religious worldview. When people talk about the sanctity of marriage in one breath, and tradition in another, they forget what those traditions actually are, for marriage hardly has a pure and glorious history. It's rarely been about love, and even more rarely has it been about choice. For millennia and still today women have married the men they were told to marry and spent their lives being miserable. The men got married to women for a variety of convenient and expedient reasons, then promptly went out and got a cartload of mistresses to fool around with.

As for religion, the Christian church explicitly avoided anything to do with marriage until the Council of Trent in the 16th century, and there the primary interest was for the Roman Catholic church to introduce barriers to reformation. Let's not forget all the family squabbles that were settled by marrying the children of the warring sides together, or the marriage of close cousins to keep royal bloodlines "pure" (and ugly and inbred). And what of the still-current tradition of marrying barely pubescent girls to much older men for the purpose of pumping out "legitimate" babies? If one girl died in childbirth, you just haul another one to the alter and start the bed springs bouncing again.

The way I see it, since there is no state religion, then as far as the state (which issues licenses and regulates the social benefits and responsibilities of married couples) is concerned, marriage is a legal contract and not a religious one. It is a contract that smooths out all sorts of estate and power of attorney issues as well as some legal aspects concerning minors. It's a pretty decent deal for all involved (unless someone tries to dissolve the contract, in which case it's usually just a pretty decent deal for the lawyers). Still, so long as the state intertwines marriage with inheritance, child custody, durable powers of attorney, etc., then the government should have no say in which adults do, and which do not, get to be in a binding contractual arrangement simply based on whether or not the people have matching sex organs.

I often wonder why gay marriage is such a hot button issue, but then I also wonder why people try to impose their will on complete strangers. If a church doesn't want to bless/recognize gay marriage then that's their prerogative, but I can see no logical argument for why it would support denying two loving partners to enter into this form of legal contract. I do understand that the most zealous anti-gay practitioners want to live under a theocracy. They want their religious law to be everyone's law, and they want to be free to use their bigotry to oppress others without comment or complaint. And so I stand.

What is the impetus for this all? I admit that my mind has wavered over the importance of the decision by President-elect Obama to invite Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren to deliver an invocation at his inaugural on January 20. My liberal sensibilities were typically incensed by the thought of having such a high-profile individual that represents the worst of the two-faced evangelical establishment. Someone referred to Warren as "Jerry Falwell in a Hawaiian shirt," which, from what I know of the man's homophobic bashing and foamy hatred of all things not Jesusified, I count as an accurate characterization. But being new to this gay thing I considered that maybe we queer folks were making too much of this, that Obama is merely "reaching across the aisle" (to employ one of the top 10 cliches of 2008) to help heal the scars our nation has endured from the right-wing authoritarian religionists these past eight years. Bullshit, I've decided. This is political fence-sitting at best and at worst paranoid pandering.

BTW, this was initiated by stalwart ex-pat (and bloggy shit/conscience-stirrer) Ser Kelso de Panama, who has dubbed it the HETEROSEXUAL ANTI-WARREN SELF-OUTING PROJECT. One point of conviction for me was this very well-put notion of his: "Ultimately, a kind of cowardly president is a good non-leader for a cowardly nation whose soon-to-be-governing party has not had an idea or principle yet that they've been willing to put the smallest effort into defending when challenged by the Republicans or the MSM."

I am encouraging snazzy corresponding blog badges for the project participants, but for now the reward to any willing participants is the satisfaction of knowing that you and your good heart stand on righteous ground. And aside from any schtick this project may be reduced to, I think the call was put forth best by Keith Olbermann just a week after the vote on Prop 8:

You are asked now, by your country and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate. You don’t have to help it, you don’t have to applaud it, you don’t have to fight for it. Just don’t put it out. Just don’t extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don’t know and you don’t understand and maybe you don’t even want to know, it is, in fact, the ember of your love for your fellow person. Just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too. Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don’t you, as human beings, have to embrace that love? The world is barren enough.

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I can see the headlines now....

I will never understand how we are supposed to "tolerate" bigotry as if it is a valid point of view.
dude, why don't you have a column somewhere? yeah, i know, we all have our "columns" now (the 'net be such a glorious thing). but a blog ain't good enough -- you should be PAID to "column." I say.
I feel brave, empowered enough to admit this here. Now.

I like dick.

I am a proud, straight woman.
Most excellent.

I'm totally gay. Except for the sex part cuz that's kinda ick. But the rest of it? Absolutely!
I think this issue should unite liberals and conservatives. This is America, who the hell thinks that they can get off by giving the government the power to tell us who we can and can't marry. It's asinine

Merry Xmas to you O'Tim, and the rest of the clan.

I have added all 5 of you to the list of those "OUT AS GAY AGAINST RICK WARREN." I have no included anybody's disclaimer because you must have some skin in the game if you are against bigotry. As O'Tim and Freida-Of-The-Bees have noted, it's easy enought for a hetersexual to do this. We have to show the minimum respect by standing up. We cannot use any "I'm really not gay, but...."

That's not strong enough. That's why I list all of our blog names with no qualifications at all. If we're standing up as GAY with the queer community the least we owe is to allow for some ambiguity as to each of us come what may.

If anyone wants off the list please respond to on my most recent post and I will remove you with no criticism or judgments.
Good post!
The church made marriage a sacrament in the 14th century, and priests had performed marriage ceremonies for a long time before that, though.
Since the Dark Ages on the Terran continent of Europa, it has been widely recognized that a man’s word is worth less than an equal measure of horse manure. At least the manure can be used to fertilize crops. However, a large and ferocious Deity that can launch lightning bolts out of the sky and set alight bushes with fire that speak to men would not be the sort of contract arbiter with which one would wish to truck miserably. In short, fealty, became necessary to bind men to their word. From fealty a 6th Century notion came marriage before G—d and in the sight of the nobles or a civilian magistrate.

The need for the church to involved in contract law therefore was because given a chance the average Joe Six pack of Mead back in the glory days of gathering filth would run off and bugger the neighbor’s sheep, his daughter or a friendly looking knotty pine without a second thought as to a penance or a fine. Throw that easily angered and quick to punish with boils Deity who could also take your entire cushy Afterlife away and the knotty pine no longer looks so appealing.

Coming into the modern age, for what it is, on Terra the established Christian powers in the United States seek to replicate the necessity to swear on a Bible or a religious relic the fealty of man and woman joined in the bonds of marriage. Today the law dictates what the punishments are, in divorce court, for seeking sexual satisfaction in someone other than your spouse, making living arrangements with another or spending money irresponsibly. The only other means by which to dissolve a marriage is by being physically, mentally, or verbally abusive.

Marriage therefore in this secular gilded age is nothing more than a contract between two people and the State. Those who are religious invest the ritual with the religious trappings of their choice but even they no longer fear the long arm reaching out of the clouds Zeus-like to smite them if they stray from their marriage bed. Even evangelicals fear divorce lawyers far more than they fear G—d. And O’Tim you touch on a very important point that many on the religious periphery of American politics tend to forget from time to time. Despite America being a nation of people, 78.8% of which define themselves as “Christians” there is no state religion which takes precedence over all others.

As a well trained member of the Hellac bar I have a simple but rather boring answer for you regarding why gay marriage is such a hot button issue for the white and the Christian and the working to upper middle class. The first part of the answer has been covered many times at the Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork and that is the nature of homosexual intimacy. The second part of this boring and brief answer deals with the sheer crushing volume of privilege that white society, at large in America, has lost in the last 100 years.

The last part is that this is one of the few issues that white Southerners and Black Southerners who diverge on everything else can have some agreement upon based solely on religious ideology. On taxes, war in the Middle East, education you name it Christian blacks and whites differ to the point that Democratic liberalism appeals far greater than Republican conservatism. Church going blacks in the west and Midwest are far more likely to be pro choice than their Southern counterparts and they cast the issue aside to vote for Democrats well over 72% of the time locally and nearly 90% of the time congressionally.

Consider how many people in the 1950s who stood up for the civil rights of black men and women and the right for black children to receive a proper education would curse the names of many who now sit in judgment of acts of intimacy that allegedly define “marriage under G—d.” I find it laughable that in the 21st Century that civilized, or so-called at least, human beings are still having such tribalist arguments about who does what in the dark and whether that makes their tribe less shiny and clean. I am old, ancient even, to men whose lives are truly short and brutal even in the golden age of wireless on Terra. I watched the New World come screaming from the blood soaked womb of North America in the 17th Century and cheered for the Massachusetts men who tarred and feather the taxman at Boston harbor. I wept for the plight of slaves and I poured unguents in the wounds of many a Union soldier in the dark woods and called out so that they could be rescues as I dodged off into the shadows. I have on my desk the proudest trophy of them all; a simple spark plug from a 1954 Chevrolet 210 coupe that belonged to a man to be sent on a mission to kill with a bomb in 1965. Had that car started I have been told by the Oracle at Acheron American history would have taken a far darker turn than it did with all the murder and mayhem of assassinations and Vietnam. On that rainy day in April 1965 the man in question was going to make an attempt on the life of none other than the King of Rock and Roll while he filmed the movie “Harum Scarum.” Now I did not find this out until many decades later over dinner with the Oracle. I was just sent to the hotel where the car was parked and told to make the car unusable without making it look visibly damaged.

I think the religious right is looking too hard at the future outcome and not focusing enough on what their polemics do to a nation of free people. Freedom and Liberty should come before religion in any republic. Many times in the past I have said that America might wish to think twice securing an Empire abroad because its citizens are not yet willing to bear the responsibility of being Imperial Citizens just yet. The willingness of a large bloc of the religious people in said nation to bar the rights of gay couples to marry proves that point quite well.
Well said, C.E. Consider yourself owed one "letter to the editor."
Superb post. Consider me another pillow biter for the cause!
I stand with you in your gay-ness, my big gay brother. To do otherwise would be against everything I believe in.
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