GA 2007: Unionized hotels

According to Hotel Workers Rising, a campaign of UNITE HERE!, the following Portland, Oregon hotels have unionized workers (direct link):

Portland Hilton
921 SW Southwest 6th ave
Portland, OR 97204

The Benson Hotel
309 SW Broadway
Portland, OR
Phone: 503-228-2000

The Paramount Hotel
808 SW Taylor
Portland, OR 97205
Phone: 503-223-9900

The Hilton is an official UUA hotel. I think it’s where I stayed in Portland on Day Job Business and liked it very much: not unreasonably priced, either.

GLBT readers note SleepWithTheRightPeople.org, “an alliance of the LGBT community and UNITE HERE!” for more information and (I think) a perfectly fair and moderate tipping guide.

Will the ex-gay crowd help one day?

I listened to an interesting 2005 half-hour documentary about gay history from Radio Netherlands entitled “Pride and Prejudice.” (I got this as a MP3 podcast feed but I’m not sure how I got it.) It reviewed the state of gay (male, mostly) self-worth and self-identity from the Victorian era to the pre-Liberation (post-1969) period in as good terms as one can in thirty minutes. I was glad to hear the real live voices of older gay men who had tales to tell.

Recall that homosexuality was classed a disease, that this was seen as progress from its status as sin, and that some medical professionals tried to treat or cure it. As the documentary reported, there were gay men, even ones who lived relatively open lives, who sought a cure. (This comes out in the 1970 film, The Boys in the Band, which inspired how this blog is ironically named.) An interesting tidbit is how psychological texts with records of well-adjusted gay men became best sellers, even if the research was predicated on an insult that many of the readers understood but excused. So rare were the voices that described their lives. And as we know, with a few irregular holdouts, the medical and psychological professions have come around. In short, it’s society that has the problem.

Consider the ex-gay movement. From what I’ve read recently, it seems to know it will not make bona fide heterosexuals from its victims. At best, it tries to eliminate the practical and mental sin that separates gays from God — as they see it — and some of the participants, missing that closeness with God, will “take the cure” on its own terms. But I’ve known a lot of gay people who live faithful lives with a real, vibrant and healthy nearness to God.

In time, I can imagine the ex-gay cause splintering into a continuation of its current, ill-fated mission; a movement of deliberately celebate gay Evangelical men (perhaps living in a supportive community); and an ex-ex-gay movement that tries to cultivate gay relationships on a tight reading of scripture (I don’t see modern gays described in the commonly-recapitulated biblical injunctions) a mutually-accountable mode of sexual ethics and a lively spiritual practice.

It may be wishful thinking to hope the ex-gay-ers might morph into something wholesome, but God has a habit of leaving no follower unshaken.

For spying on gay bars, I suppose

I was one of those Washington residents that all the wire services (here’s a short article from the VOA) say were stunned when they (we) saw the blimp overhead this morning. Goody: first Iraq and Afghanistan, now us.

I’m note sure what else to say about the spy security craft, except that it was almost overhead when I was waiting for my bus this morning. It was closer to the Seventeenth Street row of gay bars and restaurants, though, so the “stand and model” crowd at JR’s would have benefited more from our Government’s interests.

The blimp. Photo: US Army

Liturgical options when same sex marriage arrives

I’ve heard that a colleague in Massachusetts has wondered what kind of ceremony is proper (or indeed, necessary) for a couple married in that church, but outside the benefit of law, once marriage licences are issued same-sex couples.

Golly: I wish I had that problem, but even though I don’t, might I offer an opinion?

There needs to be a ceremony, however simple, so that the couple may contract marriage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Until May 17, no same-sex couple, however devoted or ommitted, has had the opportunity to contract marage this way, and so in a real sense any prior service was different.

So what kind of service? The closest parallel we have is the blessing of a civil marriage, which is the same action in reverse. To review: the couple would have been married by law, and come to the church as married couple. The minister has the sole role of ecclesiastic agent: to bless, to lead prayers, and often times to lead the couple to exchange rings.

With the coming wave of previously-blessed same-sex marriages the minister serves as an agent of the court. (Indeed, from the couple’s point of view, there’s no particular reasons to return to church. The court clerk could officiate, but who are we kidding? You go to church to get married, right? Don’t bother correcting me in the comments.)

This suggests the service should be as business-like: perhaps in the pastor’s office, church parlor, or alternately, drawing from custom and if it was convenient, in the couple’s home or the pastor’s home
(really) with the following outline.

  • “Dearly beloved, on September 30, 1770, James Murray and Ted Potter vowed before their friends and a congregation of the First Church in Thule to be of one spirt and one flesh, to have and to hold one another from that day foward, and and meet today to be wed under the law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. . . . ” In short, make public an account of what the couple has previously done, and I’d be sure to quote the actual vows they made.
  • Ask each member of the couple if he or she consents to be married to the other under the law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Sure this is a conditional statement, but since it was a condition that didn’t hitherto exist, it seems right. On reflection, I might phrase this to say “extend your marriage under the law . . . ” Again, I wish I was in a position to have to wrestle with this!
  • Then, a simple, mutual “I take you [name] as my [husband or wife]” leaving out all the other conditions, seeing as they were vowed at the first service.
  • The minister declares them married.
  • Optionally, a prayer of thanksgiving, a blessing or both ends the
    service.