My take on the Superbowl boycott

Quite a number of people are upset about CBS’s ad-sales decisions about the Superbowl and have called for a boycott or direct complaints to CBS.

I don’t like it either. I don’t like the hypocrisy of denying the United Church of Christ a spot because of their activism (anyone can attend their churches, even gays) but allowing the Tebow ad, sponsored by Focus on the Family. Or selling space a nasty anti-gay candy bar ad two (or was it three?) years ago, but not allowing a gay dating service — Mancrunch; sounds like a candy bar — the same.

But I have a hard time getting worked up. I never watch the Superbowl, and reviewing the stated advertisers have a hard time thinking of those — apart perhaps Coke — that I buy often enough to give up in a boycott. (Indeed, I’ve already boycotted domain registrar GoDaddy for its president’s go-go-Gitmo beliefs, Hooters-quality advertising and miserable terms of service. Use instead.) Why spend social capital using my spending power, pitting big corporations against others. Not my fight. And the wrong approach. (I would complain to the candy bar company if that ad was current. But the Fairness doctrine is dead — such a shame — so there’s no trying to appeal to that.)

The CBS use of the public airwaves to perpetuate anti-gay bias in CBS’s business is my business. God knows the Right uses FCC complaints to get attention to what jerks their chain. Time to learn FCC regulations and get used to making complaints where it might get some attention.

The marriage bill should not be signed in any church

Good news — Mayor Fenty will sign the legislation which allows same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia tomorrow. From there, it must survive thirty legislative days in Congress before coming law. I’m hopeful, though all it would really offer Jonathan and me is the dignity of the title of marriage, and the opportunity to have our marriage recognized in a few other states.

The bad news? It will be signed at All Souls Church, Unitarian. To recap, I’m

  • a resident of the District of Columbia
  • a Unitarian Universalist minister
  • a gay man in a domestic partnership, who will benefit from this act

In short, I care about this legislation and I care about the symbolism.

This act is fundamentally about civil marriage. Yes, religious professionals have rallied on both sides, but where so-called religious liberties have been touched, it has been to protect anti-gay forces. It’s no secret this was the politic way to get this passed. But it’s precisely by conflating religious and civil marriage that gays lose in the public sphere.

Signing the act in a church — any church — is counter-productive and a confusion of symbols.

Stonewall forty years on

On this day, in 1969, the public phase of the gay liberation movement began with a much-storied Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Viilage. Tons and tons has been written about it. And that’s why most annual gay and lesbian events are usually in stifling hot weather.

It was also the day I due to be born — I was late, and turn forty later this week — so when I think of this movement, I plot it against my own lifetime.

So the public, loud, organizing, sacrificing, activist face of gay liberation has been around longer than I have been. As biblical scholars know, forty is a number that shows everything has changed: forty days of rain, the forty years in Sinai, Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness.

And life, especially related to civil rights, has improved in the last forty years. But for most GLBT people in the United States, there aren’t any protections, especially where it matters most: in housing and employment discrimination, in adoption and immigration, in retirement and survivorship matters, in taxation and — far too often — in personal safety.

It is still possible to build a (Republican) political career in the United States by attacking GLBT people, both because of public bias and pathetic (Democratic) opposing response. For what other group can you do that?

So when gay people, like myself, try to hold President Obama accountable for pushing reforms

  • we’re not “stepping out of line”
  • we’re not “distracting the President from more important things”
  • we’re not “brats”
  • we’re not “co-opting [someone else’s] civil rights movement.”
  • we’re not going to fund those who won’t help us
  • we do expect the repeal of disciminatory laws
  • we do expect our families to be respected — at least before the law — on par with other families

Enough is enough. I’m not going to wait until I’m eighty.

Stay ready for the fight.

Funding to force the "fierce advocate"

The President claims he’s a “fierce advocate” for The Gays. Uh, sure. There has been too little action from the White House over LGBT issues — except for the much-discussed DOJ brief that seems like it was airlifted out of the last Administration.

I’m not keen to wait. American history shows that those who wait die ignored, and often bitter. I’d rather fight.

I’ve heard some say that the President is implicitly forcing the LGBT community (to do list: come up with better name) to force him into action. It galls me, but that’s how the game is played.

So —

  • No money for Democrats. I’m talking to you straight allies. No money. And say why. I mean it. This is the time in the process that straight liberals tend to get weak knees. Don’t cave.
  • Give money instead to LGBT 501(c)(4) organizations. They’re the ones who can engage in grassroots activism more effectively. Lobbying rules inhibit 501(c)(3) charities, and the (c)(4)s — because donations to them are not tax-deductible — have a harder time raising funds.
  • Let’s not expend (too much) political capital on DADT. An unpopular though, perhaps, but that’s something the Administration should be able to do on its own because it has broad popular and increasing military support. Repealing DOMA and LGBT immigration reform is a harder sell.

I made a small donation to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, the (c)(4) twin to the (c)(3) National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and would like you to give money, too.

And then be prepared to call, email and fax your members of Congress and the White House.

Good news: no marriage recognition referendum

Whew! The District of Columbia Board of Election and Ethics (DC BOEE), citing a 2002 amendment to the D.C. Human Rights Act, ruled that there can be no referendum which could repeal D.C. Council-passed legislation recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Imagine that! there can’t be ballot action to remove human rights!

Coverage at DCist and the Washington Blade, which has details on a possible legal challenge.

Oh, happy day. Now, an equal marriage bill is almost certain. I’m very happy. Should I mention I’m credentialed to preform marriages in the District of Columbia?

Rally tonight for equal marriage

Just got back home from an hour-long rally at Dupont Circle, organized under the banner of Join the Impact — I wondered, why not outside the White House — in opposition to the Proposition 8 decision in the California Supreme Court. But the strong subtext was preparing the assembly — I’m guessing there were about a thousand people — for the fight that will surely come to D.C. when a marriage quality bill passes the D.C. Council this year, as it most surely will.

Despite one speaker’s promotion of the Dallas  — which I dislike for its secularism — there were two clergy members who spoke. (Links following.) They were well cheered, in part I don’t doubt because they were each clear and charming speakers. A gift worth recalling in this everything-by-social media age.

Maine and D.C.: more good news

So Maine’s lower legislative chamber has joined the upper chamber to pass an equal marriage law. I hope the governor does the right thing and signs it. It would bode badly for Democrats if he vetoes it.

But really, I’m happier that the D.C. Council has passed a bill to recognize the legal marriages between couples of the same sex from other jurisdictions. I’m guessing that the Congress won’t overturn the act, and I rather think silence is more likely than reassuring voices.

The next step? Full marriage rights in D.C. But that’ll surely stir up a storm — and outsider’s money besides to antagonize the situation. Funny, for instance, how the minister former mayor, turncoat-Council-member and laughing-stock Marion Barry got was from the suburbs. Makes you wonder about his commitments.

But enough of him and that for now — a good day for D.C. and Maine.

Hurrah for Vermont; also D.C.

First, let me thank my office mates to visited me or contacted me about the veto overturn in Vermont. It is good news that not only has a state legislature voted for same sex marriage — California did that — but was able to overcome a veto.

So with Iowa, that makes four states where Hubby and I could get married.

And should we choose to do so, we would likely have our marriage recognized at home. A bill to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions passed the District of Columbia Council unanimously. Unless the Congress steps in and overturns the vote of our democratically-elected representatives, it should become law in about a month.

(D.C. domestic partnership law puts domestic partnership on par with marriage; this is widely seen as an entre to our own marriage law.)

D.C. Council Votes to Recognize Other States’ Gay Marriages” (Washington Post, 2009 April 7)

I wanted to celebrate that, for fear it would get drowned out in the news from the little-larger Green Mountain State.

Good, good news.

Vermont and Iowa and churches

If you missed it, please review Massmarrier’s latest take on the prospect of a Vermont governor’s veto of the marriage bill state lawmakers passed. In sum? Review the Iowa decision and drop the faith-n-feelings argument.

And a note to the Christian opponents of same-sex marriage: the under-30s are judging you and the faith based on your reckless holy war. You’re rather late to the “defend traditional marriage at any cost” game, and civil marriage is hardly an element of apostolic faith.

In your wake, you’ll see generation of people indifferent to marriage — which has far more to do with the culture than courts or legislatures — who then will be hostile to the Christian church. Ugh, thanks for that.