Two years ago Kim Davis, the county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, denied David Ermold a marriage license because he was gay, despite it being legalized.  

Last week she had to watch as he signed up to run against her in the next election.

Alabama did the right thing last night. Let's hope Rowan Country, Kentucky can do the same. 

Fear not. This is not an example of bigotry as I initially thought. It's simply stupidity.

Behold. The White House published this photograph of First Lady Melania Trump and the other spouses of NATO leaders at the Royal Castle of Laeken in Brussels during the recent NATO summit.

Initially left off the captioned list of names was the First Gentleman of Luxembourg, Gauthier Destenay, who is married Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, making Bettel the first European Union head of government to marry a same-sex partner. 

The man in the photograph is gay, and his name was the only name left off. 

I was inclined to assume that the omission of Bettel's name was an act bigotry given Trump's complete abandonment of his campaign commitment to the LGBTQ community, but in addition to the omission of Bettel, Melania Trump's name was listed twice, Brigitte Macron, the first lady of France, was listed as “Brigitte Trogneux,” and the year of the photograph was listed as 2917.

The trifecta of stupidity. 

So the omission was probably typical Trump incompetence rather than Trump bigotry.

Though possibly both.  

This should not be surprising coming from a President who didn't know that Frederick Douglass was no longer alive.

A President whose administration who invented The Bowling Green Massacre, the Swedish Incident, and "alternative facts."

A President who continues to assert that his Electoral victory was one of the largest in American history when it was actually one of the narrowest. 

A President whose administration managed to unbelievably include a typo in Trump's official Presidential portrait.  

It's almost always correct to assume the worst from this President. It's just difficult to determine if the worst is the result of his complete incompetence or his despicable nature. 

Unfair assumption #28: Parents who threaten to disown their children based upon their marital choices are the lowest form of human life.

You know these people.

These are the parents who will refuse to attend their child's wedding and sometimes disown a son or daughter for failing to marry someone who shares their religious belief, racial composition, socioeconomic standing, national or cultural origin, or does not conform to their heteronormative expectations of marriage.

They are the despicable cretins who think that their assumptions about who their child should fall in love with and marry should have any bearing on their child's actual life or future. 

In many cases, these misguided parents lose their sons and daughter for years (or lifetimes) over this ridiculous nonsense.

Even worse, their child may miss out on the possible love of their life when they inexplicably conform to their parents' selfish tribal wishes.

Credit people like my in-laws, who didn't bat an eye when my wife - their Jewish daughter - agreed to marry me, a former Christian-turned reluctant atheist. Instead, they embraced me like a son and have stood by my side ever since.

Many parents would have made Elysha's life exceedingly difficult for marrying outside the religion. I know people in circumstances like these. I also have gay friends who have experienced similar exclusion from their parents, and I know people who were only permitted to marry a person from the same country of origin.

I will be forever grateful to my in-laws - Barbara and Gerry - for their rational, loving, open-minded, unquestioning acceptance of me and our relationship. 

I know that to most people, my in-laws acceptance and embrace of me this seems like a no-brainer. The only reasonable reaction to our engagement and marriage. But I know that in many cases, across many dividing lines, parents are oftentimes less than reasonable, incredibly selfish, and sometimes downright disgusting in situations like this. 

Serious question: Why isn't religious hypocrisy used more often against the opponents to same sex marriage?

For the last couple months, I've been writing the occasional post - titled #Biblebuffet - indicating the hypocrisy of people who oppose same sex marriage for religious reasons.

If you use The Bible to oppose same sex marriage, don't forget to execute adulterers, people who work on Sundays, and any woman engaging in premarital sex. All of these edicts are stated in The Bible just as explicitly as opposition to same sex marriage, and oftentimes within the same book of the Bible.

I was going to write another post today, but instead, I just have a question:

Why is this argument not made more often?

When someone like Ted Cruz argues against same sex marriage on religious grounds, why don't his opponents ask him why he isn't also stoning those who work on Sunday?

Or at least attempting to reinstate the Blue laws, making it illegal to conduct business on Sunday?

This seems like a perfectly logical argument to make, but I never hear it. And as someone who has read The Bible from cover to cover three times, I assure you that I could continue to write #Biblebuffet posts for years without running out of bizarre edicts and inexplicable prohibitions contained within the text.

Why not highlight the hypocrisy of bigots who hide their bigotry behind a religious text filled with equally clear prohibitions that no sane person would ever follow?

Seriously, what am I missing?

I'm also stunned that no one brings up Jesus when it comes to same sex marriage, because a complete reading of the first four books of the New Testament - the section on Jesus's life on Earth - makes sit abundantly clear that he never treat homosexual men or women with the same hatred and prejudice as people like Ted Cruz do today.

The man who opposed so many things in the Old Testament by advising his followers to turn the other cheek and "love thy neighbor as yourself" (also stating that there is no commandment greater than this) would never support these bigots and their crusade against same sex marriage.

No one ever talks about this. They allow religious zealots to treat The Bible like a breakfast buffet, picking and choosing convenient sections while ignoring others in order to support their own bigotry without ever challenging this hypocrisy. 

I want to know why. Seriously. What am I missing?

From the mouths of babes...

Clara tells me that she doesn't like Donald Trump. She says that she heard him say mean things to "a lady named Megyn Kelly" on CBS Sunday Morning.

"Megyn asked a question, and Donald Trump started making mean compliments about her."

Then she told me that she doesn't like Ted Cruz because he's not nice to mommy-mommy and daddy-daddy families.

Not to get too political, but if Clara can figure this stuff out...

If you're using The Bible to support your opposition to same sex marriage and transgender restroom choice, you're simply obsessed with penises and vaginas.

It's not often that you can cheer on corporations for all the good they do, but on Monday, under increasing pressure from major corporations like Unilever, Disney, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and the NFL, Gov. Nathan Deal announced he will veto a bill that critics say would have curtailed the rights of Georgia's LGBT community.

House Bill 757 would have given faith-based organizations in Georgia the option to deny services and jobs to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. 

Also on Monday, a federal lawsuit was filed against the North Carolina governor and other state officials over a new law there that blocks transgender individuals from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity and stops cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gay and transgender people.

I can't help but think that if these conservatives would just stop obsessing over penises and vaginas, the world would be a lot better place.

And it really is an obsession. Same sex marriage. Transgender restroom choice. All of this amounts to where and how a person chooses to make use of their genitalia - even though said usage is almost never being done in public and does not impact the lives of these genitally-obsessed bigots in any way. 

It's an obvious and bizarre attempt to legislate the use of genitals, often based upon a religious text that also forbids the tattoos and the trimming of beards and calls for the stoning to death of anyone who works on Sunday. It's buffet-style Bible reading, and these people are choosing penises and vaginas over the pork tenderloin every time.

Let's put it this way:

If opponents of same sex marriage and transgender bathroom choice are basing their positions on religion - and in these cases, they have said as much - but these same opponents are also shaving on a regular basis, doing business with people with tattoos, and working (or even doing business with people who are working on Sunday), then this isn't really about religion or God or The Bible.

It comes down to a simple and bizarre obsession over penises and vaginas.

These people can't stop thinking about, obsessing over, and desiring command of our nation's genitalia. They are penis and vagina enthusiasts. They are seeking dictatorial control over the parts of the body typically concealed by underwear. 

All of this trouble because the conservative movement can't get their minds and hearts and heads out of other people's pants. 

Truly. It makes no sense.

A goal for 2016: An agreement that these parents are awful, disgusting, rotten people

Can we all agree that parents who actively oppose their child's interracial, inter-religious, or same sex marriage are awful people? 

They are still mothers and father, perhaps still worthy of love and respect, and possibly possessing many admirable and endearing qualities, but they are also awful, disgusting, rotten people.

We can all agree to this. Right?

Because if enough of us agree and make our position loud and clear, perhaps these parents will at least be shamed into keeping their awfulness to themselves and stop making their children's lives so difficult.


A note to my children regarding the shame and embarrassment of 2015

When you read about the year 2015 in the history books, little ones, please remember this:

Yes, it’s true. It is still perfectly legal in much of the United States in 2015 to terminate a person’s employment because he or she was gay.

But please know that many of us – and perhaps even most of us – are nothing like the bigoted, cowardly elected officials who allowed such laws to persist.

I don’t know a single person who supports this form of discrimination, little ones. I know these bigots exist. I see them on television from time to time, holding up grammatically incorrect and poorly spelled signs and expressing their support for the predominantly old, white men who either believe in this form of discrimination or are too cowardly to stand by their own convictions and oppose their constituency.

image   image

The country is changing fast, little ones. Same sex marriage is now legal in a majority of the states and for the vast majority of Americans. Ten years ago, there was just one state where same sex marriage was legal. The shift in attitude has been profound.

I have no doubt that by the time you are my age, the ability for an employer to fire an employee because he or she is gay will seem as archaic to you as Jim Crow seems to me. And like Jim Crow, a large majority of Americans opposed those laws at the time, too. But changing the law is oftentimes more difficult than changing attitudes and beliefs. 

Thankfully, the country is changing more quickly than anyone would have ever imagined. Just not quick enough if you are gay.

It’s a shame when people pose as Christians and give Jesus a bad name.

A Walkerton, Indiana, pizza shop is the state’s first business to declare it will not service gay weddings after the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law last week.


“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” Memories Pizza’s Crystal O’Connor told a local news station. “We are a Christian establishment.”

It’s astounding that a person could claim to be following the teachings of Jesus and believe that discrimination based upon sexual orientation is something he would support.

Recently Washington Post book critic Ron Charles tweeted this:

Seriously, how do you study the Gospels and conclude that Jesus wanted his followers to turn away people they disapprove of? #Indiana

I replied to Charles, offering a possible (and probable) explanation:

In all likelihood, there has been no study of the Gospels. At best, this pizza shop owner has probably listened to out-of-context selections of the Bible, read to her on Sundays by a person who is employed by an organization that discriminates based upon sexual orientation and demands that its employees teach this doctrine to their congregants.

This does not qualify as study. At best, it amounts to biased, second-hand browsing. At worst, it’s a form of indoctrination.

Study requires a careful examination of source materials. It requires an open mind and skepticism. It requires a person to ask difficult questions and give serious consideration to opposing views.

Not exactly the way that services are typically run on a Sunday.

I am not a religious person. I call myself a reluctant atheist. I have spent a great deal of time in Catholic and Protestant Churches and attended Sunday School and Vacation Bible School for years, but I simply could not find the faith required to believe. I desperately want to believe in a benevolent God and a glorious afterlife, but I have yet to be able to do so.

But I have read The Bible cover to cover three times – twice in college and once on my own – and based upon those careful readings, I can conclude that there is no way in hell that Jesus would supported the position taken by this pizza shop owner.

If the pizza shop owner actually sat down and read and studied The Bible from beginning to end, the message of Jesus becomes abundantly clear. I may not believe that Jesus was the son of God, but I think he was a brilliant philosopher and teacher whose belief in accepting all people regardless of their differences is clear and profound.

Jesus – without a doubt – would stand against any opposition to same-sex marriages.

Still, I suspect that Jesus would happily eat a pizza from Memories Pizza – especially if their pizza is good – because amongst the many things that Jesus espoused was his belief in both acceptance and forgiveness.

Crystal O’Connor may be wrong about her interpretation of The Bible, and her position on same-sex marriage may be bigoted, but that doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t be able to make a living. It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t make good pizza. I suspect that she is probably a good person – better than me – but misled by a church that picks and chooses its Scripture in order to support its own discriminatory positions.

Let’s be honest:

Any institution that places the text of Leviticus over the teachings of Jesus can hardly be called Christian.

A race to the bottom: Which state will be the last to legalize same sex marriage?

Over the weekend, a judge overturned Alaska’s ban on same sex marriage.

On Tuesday, Alaska and North Carolina began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples for the first time.

Thirty states and Washington, D.C. now allow some form of marriage for same-sex couples.

Can you believe it? This seemed impossible just a few years ago, and now a  majority of Americans live in states that permit same sex marriage.


The states that are still resisting same sex marriage must understand by now that resisting is only delaying the inevitable.


As the number of states in which same sex marriage is still illegal continues to shrink, we have to ask ourselves:

Which state will be last to legalize same sex marriage? And does that state want to carry the stigma of being the last to recognize this right?

Depending on how you define integration, Alabama, Arkansas, or Mississippi were the last states to integrate their school systems. Alabama has the unfortunate honor of often being thought of as the last to integrate, with Governor George Wallace refusing to do so until the military intervened and forced his hand.


Isn’t that amazing? The military had to forcibly integrate schools in Alabama and other parts of the South.

I can’t imagine that the people of Alabama are proud of this moment in their history.

Alabama is one of 20 states that in which same sex marriage is illegal. It’s currently engaged in a race to the bottom.

Which state will earn the unfortunate distinction of being the last to allow this basic human right? If these politicians in these final 20 states were smart, they would try like hell to avoid being the last. It’s an honor that no state should want.

Unfortunately, intelligence and wisdom tend to be in short supply when it comes to the bigots and hypocrites who struggle to keep these bans in place, so it’s likely to be a shortsighted, clawing, ugly battle to determine which state is run by the largest percentage of them.

Exit the bigots

The Boy Scouts of America have lost six percent of their members since changing their policy on gay participants, the group recently announced.

Some may think this is bad news.

I think the opposite.

They’re merely weeding out the bigots.

It’s true that in some cases, unbiased boys may be denied the benefits of Scouting because of their bigoted parents, but I think the greater  percentage of the decrease in membership is the result of the elimination of bigotry.  

As a former Boy Scout who loves Scouting and owes a great deal to the organization, my hope is that they reverse their decision on allowing gay adult leaders soon, too.

Scouting may lose another 6% of it’s membership or more by allowing openly gay adult leaders to serve, but I’d much rather see a smaller organization that adheres to the tenets of the Boy Scout Law and Oath than a larger organization populated by bigots and fools.


Big news does not mean big numbers when it comes to same sex marriage.

Arizona, Idaho and Kansas are the three most recent states to attempt to legalize discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

Arizona’s law passed through the House and Senate before the governor vetoed the bill.

The Kansas bill passed the House on a clear majority before dying in the House.

The decision on the Idaho bill, which is the most egregious of them all, is pending.

It’s easy to see these state legislators take positions against same-sex marriage and civil rights and think the sky is falling, but before you start sounding like Chicken Little, remember this:

The combined population of these three states barely exceeds the population of New York City.

Legalized discrimination is big news, as it should be, but these three states combine for a little more than 3 percent of the total US population.

The most recent polling indicates that 53% of Americans now support same sex marriage and 17 states now recognize same sex marriage with three more pending appeals.

It’s true. The sky is falling. It’s just falling on the bigots. 


Public opinion is irrelevant when it comes to matters of right and wrong

The Daily Beast’s David Frum writes:

Maryland will settle same-sex marriage the right way: at the ballot box. In November, Marylanders will vote on Question 6, an initiative to amend the state constitution to allow same-sex marriage.

I could not disagree more.

Equality, basic human rights and common sense should not be dependent on public opinion. The legislation of issues such as same-sex marriage should not rely upon voter turnout, television advertising, and campaign fundraising to decide the matter. It should be decided by a fair minded, politically neutral court comprised of men and women who have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Actually, same-sex marriage should just be legal from a standpoint of basic human decency and common sense, the same way that kissing your grandmother, climbing a tree or hugging a friend did not require legislation in order to be legal. But absent this, the matter should not be reliant upon the whims of the electorate. Human beings live too damn long, are too narrow minded and are too likely to carry their bigotry to the grave with them. Reforms like the legalization of same-sex marriage often must be forced upon the citizenry, regardless of public opinion.

For example, interracial marriage was legalized in 1967 by the United States Supreme Court even though only 20% of Americans supported it and 73% expressed disapproval of interracial marriage at the time. Twenty-seven years after the Court legalized interracial marriage, a majority of Americans still opposed it, but public opinion did not matter. The Court had done the right thing, regardless of what the public believed or continued to believe more than two decades later.

In fact, it was not until 1997 that a majority of Americans expressed support for interracial marriage. Had the country allowed the ballot box to decide the issue, interracial couples would have been required to wait thirty additional years before being granted the same rights as intra-racial couples. 

Public opinion should only go so far. When it comes to doing the right thing,  do the right thing, regardless of what people think, any way you can. 

Want to settle the same sex marriage debate the right way?

Just legalize it and tell the bigots to shut the hell up.

Stop delaying the inevitable. Same-sex marriage is going to happen. Don’t be left standing with the ignorant and bigoted few.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant recently criticized a predominantly white church in his state for refusing to allow a black couple to wed in its sanctuary because they were “uncomfortable with a black ceremony.”

Bryant called that decision "unfortunate" and "disappointing," and said that it would likely taint the state's image in the eyes of others.

This same governor, however, does not support same-sex marriage in his state, seeming to possess no fear over the likely taint that his state’s image is already suffering in the eyes of others.

Regardless of what you believe about same-sex marriage, I do not understand why people like Phil Bryant cannot see that legalized same-sex marriage is coming to every corner of this country, just as it has already arrived to most parts of the industrialized world. To stand against same-sex marriage only serves to delay the inevitable. More importantly, you risk being known as the last of the bigots to oppose the marriage of two people who love each other, regardless of their sex.

Are Bryant and others who oppose same-sex marriage unable to see how this fight is no different than the civil rights battles of the 1960s and the shame associated with being forced to integrate your public schools by the National Guard?

Are we surprised that the church that is “uncomfortable with a black marriage” is located in one of the last states to segregate its public schools?

Support for same-sex marriage has increased steadily for more than a decade, with supporters first achieving a majority in 2010. An August 2010 CNN poll became the first national poll to show majority support for same-sex marriage, with numerous polls after it echoing this finding.

Those who oppose it seek only to delay the inevitable and risk being compared to men like George Wallace, who later recanted his opposition to racial segregation but not before his name was forever linked to it.

If you’re opposed to same-sex marriage for religious reasons, I urge you to open your Bible and take an honest look at the Book of Leviticus. Read it from beginning to end. Yes, it declares that homosexuality is an abomination. But it also says, in the very same book, that wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread and cutting your hair are offenses punishable by death, and that owning slaves is perfectly legal as long as they come from a country other than your own.

If you’re wearing polyester or getting haircuts on a regular basis, or if you oppose the human slave trade, maybe you can also find it in your heart to accept that same-sex marriage is just as benign. If you can pick and choose from the Book of Leviticus, why not add same-sex marriage into the column with crew cuts and cotton blends?

Pick and choose better, damn it.

If you claim to oppose same-sex marriage for religious reasons but are simply using religion as a cover for your bigotry and intolerance of people unlike yourself, that’s a whole different story, and not one easily corrected.

Ignorance and cowardice are powerful forces to overcome.  

Nevertheless, there will come a day, not too far down the road, when our children or grandchildren will look back on this period in the history of the country and wonder why so many people were so concerned about two men or two women getting married, much the same way my generation looks back on the concepts of separate drinking fountains and separate lunch counters and segregated schools and wonder what the hell those people were thinking.

I write this today to urge you to reconsider your position if you are opposed to same-sex marriage. Your ranks are rapidly thinning as more and more people move to the right.

Not the conservative right, but the side of the righteous.

Change is inevitable. Don’t be left standing alone.

But I also write this today so that when my children and grandchildren look back on this period in the history of our country, they will know that I was not one of those people who opposed the marriage between two men or two women.

My children and future grandchildren will not wonder what the hell I was thinking. They will know that I was thinking the same thing they were thinking:

What the hell is wrong with you people?