Jos76’s Blog

Thoughts and musings on life in a gay marriage.

Marriage or Civil Union

Posted by jos76 on June 14, 2008

We hear so much about the word “marriage” these days. We usually hear it along with terms like “traditional” or “institution.” With the whole debate about gay marriage, those who are not in favor call for a more socially conservative view of “traditional marriage.” There are those opposed to granting gay couples the title of “married,” but are okay with civil unions. Then there are those that oppose any form of union for gay couples. I did some research (actually the Log Cabin Republicans did most of it it for me) and found out what “traditional” marriage really is and has been in history.

Many socially conservative, extreme right-wing politicians and religious leaders latch on to this idea of a return to traditional “marriage” and make statements like, “It is an institution that has been the norm for years and should not be changed or challenged.” Given what marriage has been historically and traditionally, Dac and I are not really interested in the “marriage” label. Civil Unions are fine with us as long as we can keep what we earn, give each other what we have earned, and visit each other freely.

Here are some examples of “traditional” marriage that should (apparently) not be changed. Dac and I are fine not having to adhere to these norms that the social conservatives think are important to retain in our modern society.

  1. An adult man would be allowed to marry a 12 year-old girl.
  2. Someone could be forced into a marriage arranged by their parents.
  3. A person would not be allowed to marry someone of another race.
  4. Men could treat their wives as property to be disposed of at will.
  5. A husband would be allowed to have multiple wives.
  6. A person could not marry someone of a different religion.
  7. A person could not marry someone from a different economic class.
  8. It would be impossible to divorce, no matter how physically or emotionally abusive your spouse.

Jos76

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Working from the Inside

Posted by jos76 on June 7, 2008

Now that Obama is the Democratic nominee for President in the November election, I have begun to compare McCain and Obama on “the issues.” I have not yet decided who to vote for. I never thought that I would be in a position to actually vote Republican. I guess that I have been a single issue voter in the past and voted for the the Democrat because he was also more pro-gay, regardless of his stance on other issues facing the country.

I’ve become quit interested in the Log Cabin Republicans recently and I am impressed with the work that they do. The Log Cabin Republicans are the nation’s only organization of Republicans who support fairness, freedom, and equality for gay and lesbian Americans.

As I have looked into this group further, I discovered that they are working to change the Republican party ideology so that it remains fiscally conservative instead of socially conservative, which has nothing to do with the origins of the Republican Party. The name goes back to Lincoln’s presidency, thus the reference to the log cabin. The work that they do rivals that of GLAAD, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the HRC. The difference is that the LCR work from within the party, rather than from the outside. This is bold and brave work in my opinion.

Many might see this as self-hating or internalized homophobia, but I do not. This is a group that believes in the fundamentals of the Republican Party, such as individual responsibility, lower taxes, a strong national defense, limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. When you take the (new) socially conservative ideology out of the picture, this makes sense…at least to me. The LCR works from the inside, using the language of the party.

Log Cabin Commercial with Cheney

Log Cabin Commercial with Reagan

This does not mean that McCain will get my vote because he does not have a great record of supporting gay people (actually, he has a bad record). Civil Unions are the way to go in my opinion and McCain may have indicated that he is supportive, but it is unsure. I’m just thankful that the LCR is helping to make this a non-issue when voting. They are working to see to it that one day all Americans will be able to vote based on the quality of the candidate rather than on whether he/she (the voter) will lose or gain rights as a result of the election.

Jos76

Posted in Politics, What's Ahead | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Some of my best friends

Posted by jos76 on May 31, 2008

About seven years a go, there was a new sitcom called Some of My Best Friends.  The title comes from the familiar phrase that I heard so many times in college, “Some of my best friends are gay.”  My read when hearing this was, “You don’t scare me.  I know people like you.”  The TV show starred Jason Bateman and Danny Nucci.  Jason Bateman played a character named Warren who is a twenty-something writer living in New York.  He is a writer who has just ended a relationship with his boyfriend.  While looking for a roommate, he comes across a straight, Italian guy from Brooklyn and he decides to move in.  The comedy and mayhem ensue.

The character of Warren is a normal guy for the most part, even a bit conservative.  He has a friend (played by Alec Mapa) who is his more flamboyant side-kick.  I have seen all seven (yes, seven) episodes of this sitcom.  It only lasted a few weeks.  Compared to Will and Grace, it is much better written and funnier.  So, why did Will and Grace last several years while this show was cancelled after only seven episodes?  My guess is that it is because the characters of Will and Jack represent what people think gay men are like and they believe the over-the-top, flamboyant, promiscuous lives that these characters lead.

The character of Warren, in my opinion, much more closely represents regular gay men who are looking for, or are in, a relationship.  But, people may not be ready to accept the normalcy of a gay relationship and still choose to look at gay people as a source of comic relief.  Don’t get me wrong, I think Jack and Karen are funny (the show should have been named Jack and Karen instead of Will and Grace), but this representation of gay people does not help our cause.  Unfortunately, this is all that the viewing public is ready for.  Maybe in a few years we can get another show about a “regular” gay character that lasts more than seven episodes.

Scene with Jack from Will and Grace

 Scene from Some of My Best Friends

Posted in Friends, Fun, The Past, What's Ahead | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Blog Tag

Posted by jos76 on May 24, 2008

A Blog Tag is when different bloggers answer questions about themselves.  I wrote these answers a few weeks back.

I was tagged by Normal Boy, so here it is.

The rules of this tag:
A: The rules are posted at the beginning
B: Answer the questions about yourself
C: Tag 5 people, let them know in a comment on their blogs that they have been tagged.

What were you doing 10 yrs ago?

I was living in Falmoth, MA on Cape Cod.  I was in my first full-time teaching role in a 7-12 independent school.  I was teaching French, Italian, and Drama.  I was 21 years old and right out of college.  Falmouth was great…in the summer.  In the winter it was very boring because most people moved off-cape.  I spent four years there before eventually meeting my partner Dac (on-line) and moving to the Boston area.

Snacks I enjoy:

Five things on my to-do list today:

I’m on vacation from work, so …

  • Get the oil changed
  • Get an inspection sticker
  • Buy cat food
  • Clean out the car
  • Get traveler’s checks for our trip to Paris on Friday

Things I would do if I became a billionaire:

  • First, invest it all
  • Second, take the dividends and capitals gains and give it to charity (HRC, GLSEN, Heifer, MS Foundation) and use the rest to buy a house with a library, and music room for Dac.
  • Use the capital to help friends and family get out of debt
  • Travel

3 bad habits:

  • Eating chips very loudly
  • Being indecisive
  • Workaholic

5 places I have lived:

Jobs I have had:

  • French teacher
  • Italian teacher
  • Drama teacher
  • Summer Camp Director
  • Residential Manager of a Group Home
  • Tour Guide (in Boston for French Travelers)
  • Tutor

Things people don’t know about me:

  • I (almost obsessively according to Dac) check stock market news every day.  I’m fascinated by it.

I tag these bloggers:

 That was fun!

Jos76

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By the power invested in me

Posted by jos76 on May 17, 2008

We had a lot of choices with our wedding ceremony.  Dac and I chose everything from the color of the chair covers to the words of our minister.  As a mentioned in a previous post, we were married by Dac’s sister-in-law’s father who is a (now retired) minister in the Unitarian Universalist Chruch.  He also married Dac’s brother and sister-in-law.  How many families can claim that the same minister married two of the siblings in one family, let alone one of the siblings having a gay wedding?

Prior to the ceremony, Rev. F sent us several versions of same-sex and heterosexual wedding ceremonies.  We looked through all of them and pieced together the best parts of all of them into our ideal ceremony.  The ceremony began with Pachelbel’s Canon (played on piano and cello by friends of Dac’s from high school) as Dac and I came down the isle on the arms of our mothers.  Dac went first, he’s younger.  Then Dac’s mom’s best friend, CC, and another friend of ours sang Ubi Caritas to set the mood for the ceremony.

massachusetts_seal_192x192.jpg

One important part of the ceremony was the very end, when the minister pronounced us married.  It was so great to actually hear him say:  “By the power invested in me by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you married.”  This was a very traditional ending to a not-so-traditional ceremony, but it was very powerful to be able to make this claim in front of our family and friends.

Posted in Faith, Family, Friends, Politics, The Past | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Not the most popular kids in school

Posted by jos76 on May 10, 2008

Family is so important.  Growing up and dealing with teenage angst can be near impossible without the help and support of friends and, most importantly, family.  Dac and I have been lucky.   I do think that it is important, though,  that we all understand that it is not always so easy for the young gay kid growing up in a difficult situation.  These statistics are from Lamda Legal (A National Civil Rights Organization) and GLSEN (Educators Network):                     

lambda-legal.gif

  • Gay youth are 4.5 times more likely than non-gay peers to skip school because they feel unsafe.
  • 31% of gay students had missed at least an entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe based on their sexual orientation.
  • Nearly one-third of LGBT students drop out of high school to escape the violence, harassment, and isolation they face there – a dropout rate nearly three times the national average.
  • Gay youth are 4 times as likely than their non-gay counterparts to have attempted suicide.
  • 84% personally had been verbally harassed at school (that is, called names or threatened) because of their sexual orientation.
  • 39.1% had been physically harassed (by being shoved or pushed) and 17% had been assaulted.

As supported as Dac and I are now, we look back at our school days and unfortunately identify with many of these statistics.  I’m sure that any parents would not want this for their child.  This, however, does not stop many extreme-right socially conservative politicians (Huck, Mitt, Bush, …to name a few) from working toward a school system that excludes any positive recognition of gay people. 

glsen_logo.gif

I’m sorry if you came hoping to get something a bit lighter this week, but I saw Bill O’Reilly on TV today saying we should not “teach kids about being gay in school,” and I had to use this opportunity to show how misinformed he (and FOX news) really are.

Jos76

 

Posted in Faith, Friends, Politics, The Past, What's Ahead | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The game-time decision

Posted by jos76 on May 3, 2008

rsvp.jpg 

Once we figured out where and when our wedding was going to take place, we had to get to work on the details.  We were very lucky to have many people help us with various aspects of the ceremony and the reception.  We decided to use two ballrooms at a Marriott hotel about twenty minutes from our house.

One of the easier projects was deciding whom to invite.  This was simple.  We did not have to worry about all those extended family members that we met once when we were seven years old.  We just invited all of our friends and family that have been supportive of our relationship.  Dac and I are very fortunate to have the support that we have, so the list grew pretty quickly.  We have both made it a priority to always work with and for people that respect us.  Now, we live in Massachusetts where it is practically illegal to disrespect our legal marriage, but we have just the same been very lucky in finding employment situations in which we do not have to hide each other.  Because of this, about half of the people that we invited were colleagues and our supervisors.

One day, just before the day when we had hoped to get all of the RSVPs back, Dac came home a little upset.  When I inquired what the problem was, he told me that one of his co-workers told him that he would not be able to attend.  This was a relatively new co-worker, but just the same one that Dac had come to know quite well and respected a great deal.  When he asked him why he couldn’t make it, he replied, “I don’t believe in gay marriage.”  This came as a total shock to Dac who did not see this coming.  If either of us had the slightest idea that someone was not supportive, he/she was not invited. 

Dac inquired further and found out that the guy was Catholic and his priest had told him that he should not attend the wedding because it was not in line with the Catholic conception of marriage.  It seemed a bit odd that this person had befriended Dac and had even asked about me several times, only to withdraw his support at the last minute, based on the advice of his priest.

Needless to say, the friendship between Dac and his co-worker was never the same.  However, there was no bad blood.  This entire situation was just a reminder to us that no matter how much support we have, we must keep a thick skin because you never know how things might turn out. 

Jos76

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If They Only Knew

Posted by jos76 on April 27, 2008

Dac and I spent the weekend away at a retreat.  There is group of people in our church (an open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ) who were looking for a way to get together to talk about their spirituality and to engage in fellowship.  I’m always a little hesitant with the word “fellowship.”  I guess it is because I always think of old ladies sitting around drinking tea or some kind of tent revival situation.  The only other time I hear this word is when we talk about the “fellowship hour” that follows our Sunday morning worship services.  And, I must say, there are lots of older ladies sitting around drinking tea.

But, I got a very different perspective on the idea this weekend.  We all formed a very interesting group.  It ended up being five couples and our minister.  We went to the Deering Center.  Written on the sign, as you approach it on the winding New Hampshire road, is “Christian Family Camping,  Conference and Retreat Center.”  For most gay people, it would be a scary concept to even consider pulling in.  However, Dac and I went in the fall with another group and we found that it is a very peaceful place and every person who works there (and volunteers there) embodies true Christian values. 

Among our group were three gay couples (two female and Dac and I), and two straight couples, both couples are parents and one even has several grandchildren.  We were all welcomed with open arms and had a great experience.  I had a short conversation with the owner before leaving and told him how much we love going there.  He said he was happy that we had such a great experience and told me that he wants to make sure that everyone feels welcome, regardless of where they are on their Christian Journey.

Dac and I are sad to hear how most people automatically assume that Christian=dislike of gay people.  We understand why this is since so many fundamentalist groups do in fact disagree with our relationship, but we strive to also let people know that there is a place in the Christian Church for everyone.  We have an Ichthus (the Christian fish symbol) on our car and I’m sure that when people see it they think, “they are gay haters.”  If they only knew!

Posted in Faith, Friends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
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