Monday, January 16, 2012

Bayard Rustin - Gay man in the Civil Rights Movement

Today is the national holiday celebrating the birthday of the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

While he definitely embodied the civil rights movement and the promise this country made about equality better than anyone I ever know, let's not forget those who aided him along the way, particularly the architect and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington as well as one of his personal aides, Bayard Rustin. Rustin was a genius, a man before his time whose gay orientation stood in the way of him getting the recognition he deserved. That is until now.

Of course the irony is that even if Rustin had gotten the recognition he deserved before he died, he probably wouldn't have cared. He was a man devoted to fighting injustice anywhere he saw it:

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'LGBTQs of color reflect on MLK Day' and other Monday midday news briefs

NOM's reliably reductive Frank Turek claims = FALSE - To me, it's not just the fact that NOM repeats lies here which is depressing, it's where the organization is repeating the lies. Forbes magazine is highly regarded and highly read. We need to understand that sometimes truth means nothing if you can't get it in an arena to be heard.

Habemus Santorum! - In case you haven't heard, the religious right have picked Rick Santorum as their candidate. Whoop te do.

MLK Day Reflection for LGBTQ Justice in the Black Church - Awesome piece by Rev. Irene Monroe.

Why We Cannot Wait: NBJC Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Another awesome piece by Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO, National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)

Gay Straight Alliance Taking Hold In Earlier Grades: Report - This is excellent news!

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Faith leaders deliberately mislead about marriage equality

It's bad when religious leaders spread deliberate lies. From the Kansas City Star:

A coalition of almost 40 religious leaders has published an open letter that seeks to recast the battle against same-sex marriage as a fight on behalf of religious freedom.

The religious leaders, predominantly from conservative Christian churches and Orthodox Judaism, say their concern is not that legalizing gay marriage will force their ministers to perform same-sex weddings; they say they doubt that will happen.

Rather, they wrote Thursday, allowing same-sex couples to marry would wind up “forcing or pressuring both individuals and religious organizations — throughout their operations, well beyond religious ceremonies — to treat same-sex sexual conduct as the moral equivalent of marital sexual conduct.”

“There is no doubt that the many people and groups whose moral and religious convictions forbid same-sex sexual conduct will resist the compulsion of the law, and church-state conflicts will result,” they warn in the letter, titled “Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together.”

The leaders include Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; and H. David Burton, presiding bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The signers note that religious adoption agencies already have been required to place children with same-sex couples, and religious institutions are being told to provide insurance benefits to gay partners.

So they have abandoned the phony claim of being "forced to officiate over same-sex weddings." That's good I am not familiar with the idea of religious institutions being told to provide insurance benefit for gay partners.

However, I am very familiar - as no doubt many of you are - with the false claim that religious adoption agencies would be required to place children with same-sex couples.

It's always interesting to me that when folks make these claims, they deliberately omit the fact that these religious institutions are receiving tax dollars (which come from gays and lesbians as well as heterosexuals) to provide their services. These religious institutions seem to want the money but don't want to abide by the rules which come with this money.

If these groups want to discriminate with adoption services, then why can't they do it with private funds. As a gay man, I think I have every right to cry foul when my tax dollars are going to an institution who don't think that there is anything wrong with using my money to discriminate against me.

Don't be fooled by this letter. As the article says:

The thrust of the letter is to frame opposition to gay marriage in terms of a battle for religious freedom, an argument that many religious groups believe could gain some traction with the American public, even as Americans increasingly — and perhaps inexorably — grow more accepting of same-sex relationships.

It's not going to work, guys.

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