Monday, January 11, 2010

Self-promotion time - My Kevin Jennings piece makes The Huffington Post

And I thought that it would be a boring Monday.

With all of the wild happenings of today ( the Proposition 8 trial, Sarah Palin joining Fox News, Republicans trying to smear Harry Reid, Mark McGuire and steroids), please forgive me for focusing on a little bit of selfish news.

The Huffington Post ran a piece I wrote about the unsuccessful attempts to remove Obama appointee Kevin Jennings.

I wrote it last weekend and I hope that it will be seen as THE definitive piece of the entire kerfluffle:

Despite a heavy December effort last year by various groups, i.e., Big Government, Gateway Pundit, Fox News, etc., the push to get Obama appointee Kevin Jennings fired died back in October when the charge that he aided and abetted the sexual abuse of a child turned out to be a false accusation and an embarrassment to the right.

When President Obama initially appointed Jennings to be the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education, I doubt he realized that his political enemies would attack Jennings with the unrelenting stridency of the Greeks attacking the city of Troy.

But they did and it made for an interesting part of 2009 as members of the right pored through Jennings' past writing and speeches in an attempt to find reasons to have him dismissed and, by extention, embarrass the Obama Administration.

As the situation progressed, it became less of a campaign fueled by righteous indignation and a desire to protect children (which it never was in the first place) and served as an example of the mad goings on in Washington as well as the depths some people will stoop in order to push a lie.

Not too many people are aware of this, but some on the right had bad blood with Jennings long before his appointment to the Obama Administration.
 Jennings, an openly gay former teacher, founded GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Network), an organization largely responsible for gay student awareness in high schools, most specifically through the annual Day of Silence in which participating students take a vow of silence during the day to bring attention to the bullying of gay students.

However to some on the right, specifically the religious right, acknowledging the simple fact that gay students exist is a problem (they like to use the word "recruitment" a lot) and daring to devote any iota of attention to the problems these students face because of an unsupportive environment is akin to the plot of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

For years, organizations such as Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, and the rest of the usual suspects have unsuccessfully tried to either eliminate or undermine the Day of Silence with the most recent failed attempt being the Day of Truth, in which they encourage students to tell the truth about homosexuality.

Of course the truth to them encompasses either citing discredited Paul Cameron studies or legitimate studies taken out of context.

The fact that Obama chose Jennings, a man whom they have already had negative history with, was probably something that they couldn't stomach from the get-go.

You can read the rest here.

And I would be remiss if I didn't thank Pam Spaulding for her help in getting this published. I owe you big, Pam. When is your birthday again?

Bookmark and Share

Some people actually support the Ugandan anti-gay bill and other Monday midday news briefs

Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill Still Has American Defenders, Death Penalty And All - Yes some people actually still support this monstrosity.

Pope calls gay marriage an 'attack on creation' - I wonder how he feels about the molestation of children by Catholic priests?

Damn! - The Supreme Court kicks us in the ass. Why is it the pro-Proposition 8 folks don't want a public view of the trial?

Gay Muslims made homeless by family violence - An issue which deserves much needed attention.

Welch: Election of Gay Mayor a Sign of America's "Cancer of the Soul" - Hey Britt Hume! THIS is why so many people have a negative view of Christianity.

Bookmark and Share

Prelude to controversy - SOMEONE is not happy over Martha Stewart's focus on gay weddings

I call this post a prelude because I am merely introducing the controversy. The parties involved, one being a online friend of mine heavily involved in it, will no doubt make their feelings known on his site.

 Last year, Martha Stewart Magazine featured its first gay wedding - the June wedding of blogger Jeremy Hooper of and his husband, Andrew Shulman.

It was a nice piece free from any criticism of which I was aware of . . . that is until now.

A blogger by the name of The Barefoot Bride not only criticized the showing of this wedding but also encouraged people to write in and complain to the magazine:

I understand that one reader’s views, opinions, and purchases can not change the course of an entire magazine. However, I believe that I speak for a majority. A very large majority. As marriage amendments protecting marriage as between one man and one woman have been passed across the country, the facts speak for themselves – America as a nation does not support same-sex marriages. If you are also disappointed in this article as much as I am, I would encourage you to write to MSW and let them know. A magazine without input from its readers is not serving its readers.

***Note: I just wanted to clarify that I don’t hate homosexuals. I actually know a couple gay and lesbian people and they’re great folks. This, however, does not mean that I agree with their lifestyle choices. I don’t un-follow Twitter feeds or unsubscribe from great blogs just because the writer believes that same-sex marriages are fine – differences are differences. However, as a paying customer of Martha Stewart Weddings, I would like to be able to read the magazine without having to see photos of homosexual couples being intimate.

Now throughout her screed, she emphasized (over and over again) that she has a right to her opinion. And that she is in the majority regarding her opinion about marriage equality.

No one is disputing the fact that she has a right to her opinion and the idea that she is in the majority is irrelevant. What galls me is this statement:

I may not always agree with the lifestyles and life choices made by all the people featured in every publication I read, but I do not appreciate picking up my favorite magazine to see photographs of homosexual couples being affectionate. For someone who believes that same-sex marriage is wrong, such articles and/or photos are offensive – and something I certainly would never knowingly pay money for.

So to her, it's not enough to feel that marriage equality is wrong. She has a problem with lgbts being publicly affectionate.

Would she rather we shake or hands or better yet get all clandestined with our affections as if we have something to be ashamed about? Why should we conduct our lives in accordance to her ignorance?

The Barefoot Bride invited people to write in their comments and this worries me.

There are some in our community who have a tendency to shoot from the hip, speak without thinking, and throw out nasty comments.

For the most part, people have behaved themselves with the exception of an ignorant few.

However, I can just picture Maggie Gallagher salivating over this mess in eagerness to create another martyr of the pushy gay community, another person supposedly "victimized" for speaking out against marriage equality.

So if anyone weighs in, please be polite. Or better yet, be dignified like Jeremy when he asked the following:

As one half of the couple featured in the mag, I'd like to know why, exactly, you think you are more entitled to freedom than my husband or myself. And please don;t start with the religion: We are talking about CIVIL marriage. Church ceremony is an ancillary (if oft utilized) component. Gay and lesbian people are fighting for the civil component, gladly leaving the church discussion up to the individual denominations/sects/etc.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, and share them with my readers. Let's have an open discussion about why my rights as a tax-paying citizen should be denied by personal religious whims. You can reach me at

Jeremy Hooper
Good As You

Oh, and PS: People of many different faiths (including a nun in full habit) were at our wedding. Where is respect for *their* faith views?

I'm sure Jeremy is going to weigh in on the controversy via his site in the same dignified candor. I can't wait to read it.

But as for the rest of us, instead of writing to The Barefoot Bride, write to Martha Stewart Weddings and tell them how much you support the magazine's decision to run a gay wedding.

Because this situation is not about The Barefoot Bride. It's about us.

Bookmark and Share