Jos76’s Blog

Thoughts and musings on life in a gay marriage.

Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

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

Posted in Faith, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

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.

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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):                     

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  • 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. 

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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

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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 »

Miami, You’ve Got Style

Posted by jos76 on March 31, 2008

Dac is a musician. As I mentioned in a previous post, he is a classical musician for the most part, but he also dabbles in more contemporary music. Everyone in our church looks forward to his musical contributions, be it a classical piece or a contemporary song. I have gotten very good at standing next him as people come up and compliment him afterward. I love it because I am always so proud of him. I have no musical talent at all so I am always impressed by what he accomplishes. I don’t mean to make it seem like it is effortless for him. It most certainly is not. Dac spends hours practicing at home and makes sure that everything that he performs in church or in a concert is excellent.

After seven years, I have begun to get a bit of the music bug from him. I can’t carry a tune to save my life and can’t tell if I am singing too high or too low. When I ask Dac if I should I sing a note higher or lower, he usually responds, “Can’t you hear it?” to which I respond, “Uh…no.”

There is one song that I can mostly sing in tune and of all things it is the Miami song that Rose and Dorothy sang on an episode of the Golden Girls. This is possibly the gayest thing that I have ever admitted to. For those of you that don’t have the “gay gene,” the Golden Girls was TV show in the 80’s about four women in the golden years of their lives (50-80 years old). I’m convinced that the innate ability to sing this song must be genetically linked to the gay gene. What else could possible explain it?

There are times when Dac and I are driving down the street and one of us bursts out with the lyrics to Miami and we sing the entire song together. Maybe there are some things that are different between a straight and gay marriage after all.

Enjoy Rose and Dorothy singing the original!

Jos76

Posted in Faith, Fun | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

What is this all about.com?

Posted by jos76 on March 22, 2008

ABOUT.COM

One way of getting the word out about a blog is to post messages and comments on forums and message-boards.  I have been doing this for several weeks.  Maybe you are here because you clicked on the link in one of my posts on a forum or message-board.  If that is the case, thanks for stopping by.

One of the places were I posted a comment was on about.com.  This is a gerat site with lots of information and expertise on specific topics.  Each topic is managed by an “expert” in the field (I think about.com calls them “guides”).  After posting a few times, I got an email from the Gay Life Guide, Ramone, asking me if he could write an article about me and Dac and promote the blog on the site.  He said that there are many readers who would be interested in reading about a real gay marriage in Massachusetts.

Ramone sent me some questions and asked for a picture.  A few days later we were on the welcome page of the site.  You can see it HERE.  I’m the one on the left.

Thank you for the over 2,000 visits to my blog in the past two months.  It inspires me to keep posting.

Jos76

Posted in Faith, Family, Friends, Fun | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

There are Liberals in Texas

Posted by jos76 on March 5, 2008

One of the reasons that I wanted to start this blog was to show people in other states (and perhaps even other countries around the world) that life in a legal gay marriage is nothing out of the ordinary. Sure we have to deal with politicians dismissing our relationship and contributions to our community and economy, but for the most part we lead lives that are not very different from our straight friends and family. It has been several years since gay couples were granted the right to legally marry in Massachusetts and you can ask anyone in this state..nothing has changed.

The great thing about the Internet is that you can easily reach people far away and close to home. If you read through some of the comments, you will see comments from a man in Saskatchewan, Canada (on the About page) and from a guy who lives in the same county where I live (Bandittalks). There are also comments from both my mom and Dac’s mom.

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One of the best and most surprising outcomes of these posts has been recognition from a blog in Texas called Texas Liberal. This blogger wrote about my blog so that other Liberals (and non-Liberals) in Texas could see how normal and respectful gay marriage can actually be. You can see his post HERE.

It’s great to connect with the world.

Jos76

Posted in Faith, Family, Friends, Politics, What's Ahead | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »