Gay Rights

GOP and Marriage Equality

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The Supreme Court put an end to the marriage equality question and legalized it in all fifty states. In reply, the GOP Candidates for President collectively lost their heads. Scott Walker is calling for a Constitutional Amendment as well as saying the Supreme Court really didn’t have the power to do this. (Don’t any of these guys actually read the Constitution?) Bobby Jindal is calling to abolish the Court, while Mike Huckabee is calling for a revolution.

This is why I still can’t vote Republican. They are not the party of ideas. They are not the party of progress. They are the party of pandering. 60% of Republicans are against marriage equality, while 60% of the nation is for it. When that many people are against, what else can they say?

The sad part of this is that one of the far right, no new ideas candidates will become the GOP’S candidate for President. Any Democrat will look like a far left socialist in comparison. The GOP is the party of my youth. I loved Nixon and, had I been old enough, I would have supported Reagan. I admire Eisenhower and, next to Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt is my favorite President. But, men like them can never lead the Republicans again. They were men of strong convictions and intellect.  They valued learning. Now, we have Scott Walker who couldn’t make it through college and doesn’t understand how the Supreme Court has the right to knock down unconstitutional laws. This is who the GOP wants running the country?

The GOP’S tired Gays, Guns, and God bit has to go. Not just in Presidential Candidates, but throughout all their politicians. The way Congress has spent the last six years fighting President Obama on every issue is insane. Their policy of repeating the same tired vote to eliminate the ACA is insane. Their calls for even lower taxes of the wealthy and corporations is insane. They refer to Social Security as an entitlement like it’s a bad thing. Jeb Bush blames single moms for welfare and pretty much the GOP follows along, totally ignorant to the fact that welfare doesn’t work that way anymore and hasn’t in almost twenty years. Walker, that bastion of no intellect is gutting the education of the state of Wisconsin.

Should I go on?

What I don’t understand is how any reasonable, intelligent adult could support the Republicans. How could you look at the problems of today and still support this group of men from the past?

The thought of it is insane.

Holder is Wrong

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I’m going to make this quick. When Eric Holder said that state Attorney Generals can choose to not defend anti-gay laws, he was wrong. Absolutely wrong.

State Attorneys aren’t paid to decide which laws to uphold and which ones to not defend. It’s wrong to think they shouldn’t defend a law.

Apparently,  J.B. Van Hollen, the state attorney for WI – a Republican and a jackass – didn’t appreciate Holder’s comment. He said it isn’t Holder’s job to give advice. This from the hypocrite who only defends laws when he feels like it. Look it up – he refused to defend a Wisconsin law with which he disagreed at least once.

AZ Ban On Gays

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AZ Governor Jan Brewer says she’ll do the right thing for her state, when asked about the passed bill allowing discrimination against gay people based on religious beliefs. That probably means she’ll sign it into law. Probably not the smartest move, but think about it – if people who support gays and gay people don’t go to AZ because of the ban, won’t that hurt their tourist industry? You would think those people would be speaking up.

You have to admit that the law is well written. You have to have a strong religious belief. That means the law can’t be used in the reverse. Who has a strong religious belief against straight people?

My final thought on the matter is this: why gays? I don’t like drug use – can I discriminate against someone who takes drugs? And, how will the owners know the difference between two lesbians with their children and two sisters with theirs?  There have been times when Cheryl and I have travelled with the boys that people have thought we were sisters. Or, since the boys are older, just two Grandmas out for the day. How are they going to know? Gay people don’t generally travel in packs with “I’m Gay” signs all over their bodies.

The legislature in Arizona is just pandering to the haters of their constituency. And, thankfully, that’s a dying breed.

$4,800.00

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Today is National Coming Out Day. I don’t celebrate it. I mean, who else is left for me to tell I’m a lesbian? My entire family knows, as do my friends, and my employer knew from day one – when I put a picture of Cheryl on my desk. Personally, I think this day should be National Stay Home Day. I think missing the 36 million gay Americans at work and school would make a larger impact, as we are everywhere.

Anyway, because of my feelings, I’ve decided to write about the $4,800.00 that will no longer be in my pocket once I cover Cheryl’s health insurance via my company’s domestic partnership policy. This is not money that pays for the insurance itself – this is the taxes taken straight from my paycheck because Cheryl and I cannot legally marry in our state and even if we could, the Federal Government won’t recognize it.

$4,800.00 may not sound like a lot of money, but think about the things we won’t be able to do with that money. $4,800.00 works out to $400 a month. That’s a car payment. $400 a month is ten tanks of gas. It’s ten visits to restaurants in Racine. It’s books and toys for our grandchildren. One month’s amount is a new smart phone.

Taxing my insurance coverage for Cheryl,  while not taxing a straight, married co-worker’s insurance coverage for their spouse isn’t right. It’s unfair taxation.

$4,800.00 a year will raise the total federal taxes on my income to over $12,000 a year. This is well above Mitt Romney’s tax rate of 14%.

I wonder how the people in charge can sleep at night by overtaxing American citizens. I know people who claim that I shouldn’t be a one issue voter, but they don’t get it. This isn’t just about receiving a legal document – this is about taking money out of my pocket unfairly and unjustly.

Chick fil-a & Rights

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Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the chicken company’s anti-gay marriage stance. If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably been bombarded with images either in support of or against Chick-fil-a and its President, Don Cathy.
Here’s the thing those supporting the chicken company won’t tell you: this isn’t about Mr. Cathy speaking his mind. This is about Mr. Cathy and his company giving more than $3 million to anti-gay hate groups.  This isn’t new, no matter how much the supporters of the chicken company wants you to believe.
And, this isn’t gays picking on poor Mr. Cathy because he spoke his mind. We’re all for free speech. Mr. Cathy wants to hate gays – fine, let him. If he wants to give money to hate groups I have no problem with that, either. However; when he gives that money out of his company’s coffers, he is taking the money his customers gave him for their purchases. I don’t want money that I worked hard to earn going to support groups that want to outlaw my way of life. When there are other companies out there that make chicken better than Chick-fil-a, why would I spend my money there?
Now, I try hard not to shop or support companies and businesses that disagree with my beliefs.  I don’t shop at Wal-Mart. I try to shop locally and stay away from National chains as much as possible. I try to purchase American made products. I try to purchase green products. Do I always succeed? No, I don’t. I don’t think anyone can, unless they’re completely self-supporting, grow their own food and make their own clothes.
If you want to make your own decision and keep eating from the chicken company – go right ahead. No one is stopping you.
But, don’t believe for one second that Chick-fil-a is some sort of victim in all of this, because they’re not. The gays didn’t come out and attack them first.
And, one more thing : I should admit that I’ve only eaten there once in my life. I honestly thought it sucked, so this is one boycott I’m happy to support – I had no intention of eating there ever again.

Gay Marriage: Not a Single Issue

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A good friend of mine posted on a Facebook status regarding gay marriage and voting that some people don’t just vote a single issue. Now, he’s a little misguided because I know plenty of people on the right that vote Republican solely because they’re anti-abortion. And, I know plenty of people who voted Democratic because they were against the war in Iraq. Quite frankly, I agree with my friend: one shouldn’t vote just one issue.

But, when you’re gay, gay marriage isn’t a single issue. It affects nearly every single issue out there for gays and lesbians.

Point 1: Taxes. Everyone complains about how much they pay in taxes.  If you’re a straight married couple with no kids, making what Cheryl and I make, you pay around $1000 less in Federal income taxes than Cheryl and I do. Between the two of us, we paid more than $10,000 in federal income taxes – roughly 16% of our joint income. This means we paid a higher percentage than Mitt Romney.
The Republican tax plan? It will cost us a lot more, while lowering taxes on people who all ready pay less than we do and, I’m ignoring the other items, like lowering taxes of the rich.
You want tax equality? Let the gays get married.

Point 2. Social Security. I earn a substantial amount more than Cheryl. Therefore, I pay more into Social Security than she does. If we were allowed to legally marry, she could apply for Social Security under my name. However; because we’re not legally married, she can’t.  She, also, won’t receive any death benefits if I happen to die first – unlike her legally married, straight counterparts.  In the land of equality, this stinks. A man can marry a woman, stay married for ten years and divorce her and she can file for his Social Security. That same man can marry another woman, stay married for ten years and wife #2 gets a piece of his Social Security pie. His benefits are never reduced. 

Point 3. Healthcare. Taxes. If I take my employer provided healthcare benefits for Cheryl, like millions of straight married couples do all over the country, I will pay income taxes on the employer cost of said healthcare. You want to fix healthcare in this nation? Start by eliminating the domestic partner taxes on healthcare.

See, I’m not asking for special rights. I am demanding equality. The right wing yammers on and on about fairness and freedom, but it’s just talk. They don’t believe in equality. 

Further, there are more issues than just these three that is affected by one’s marital status. Gay marriage may not be important to straight people, but it is literally the most important issue to gay people. It affects everything about our lives.

If you care one iota for your gay friends and family, you’ll vote Democratic this fall. Until we’re all equal, none of us are equal.

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Workplace Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

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I once had a boss tell me to stop talking about being gay.  I was confused by his request.  I rarely discuss being gay while at work. I had a couple of co-workers tell me that I was full of gay pride. More confusion.

It turns out in both cases my gay pride and my talking about being gay stemmed from the fact that a picture of Cheryl sits on my desk and if you ask me what I did this past weekend,  I’ll answer in the plural.

There are a lot of people who claim that they “support” gay rights, but we should just shut up about being gay.  To these people, a discussion that includes a mention of my wife counts as “gay talk”, but a discussion about their wife doesn’t count as “straight talk”.

This morning, I didn’t say a word to my co-workers other than a cheerful good morning. Every single one of them mentioned either their spouse or their children. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Now, my current co-workers are neither the boss  nor the co-workers I mentioned earlier.
I’m mentioning them to make a point – people can’t get through a day at work without mentioning their private lives.

In 29 states, you can be fired for being gay. Think about that – a productive worker can lose their job for being gay. There are people who say big deal. Then, don’t mention you’re gay. Or, I’ve heard the argument that a business owner should have the right to not hire someone.  Well,  it works both ways: if you can be fired for being gay, you van be fired for being straight.

  Congressman Steve King (R-IA) is proposing a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell for the workplace, since it worked so well for the military.  And, that brings me back to my original premise: We all discuss our personal lives at work and we shouldn’t have to hide who we are.

We need to end workplace discrimination. We need to pass ENDA, so that you can’t be fired in any state.

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Happy National Coming Out Day!

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Today is National Coming Out Day.  This is the day when gay people are encouraged to come out to someone.  I do that everyday, as most gay people should.  When I started my new job, I put Cheryl’s picture up on my desk.  As my new co-workers would stop by, a few would ask about the picture.  I’d just tell them that she’s my wife.

Tammy Baldwin once said (and I’m paraphrasing) that if you want to live in a world where you can put a picture of your wife on your desk, put a picture of your wife on your desk and you live in that world.  In other words, come out, come out wherever you are.

Some straight people don’t understand the big deal.  They lie and tell you that their sexuality isn’t public and what’s the big deal.  What they don’t understand is that their sexuality is very much public.  They go into work and complain about their wife or brag about their kids – they “announce” that they are gay.

It’s funny or ironic.  Two of my current co-workers, whom I like very much, think that I am very prideful because I had no problem mentioning my wife.  Yet one of them is married and he doesn’t see that it isn’t prideful, he does the samething.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s a nice guy; he just doesn’t understand.

We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.  We can only get there if we come out.  Take a chance.

There is one more thing:  Why don’t we seriously get together and all stay home from work or school next year?  Instead of National Coming Out Day, we could have National Stay In Day.  I believe that it would do three things:

  1. It would show how many of us there are.
  2. and show how the straights couldn’t live without us.
  3. Watch all the homophobes show up for work, so no one would think they were gay!

So, National Stay In Day – who’s with me?

Gay Agenda is the same as the Straight Agenda

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I saw a comment on Huffington Post where the commenter stated that she didn’t like the gay agenda.  Her comment was on the article of how the Republican Candidates for President stood silently (probably booing inside), while the audience booed a gay soldier.

I posted the following to her, but apparently, it wasn’t approved.  I decided to post it here. I want to set the record straight, so to speak, on the gay agenda.  Pay attention and feel free to pass this along to your friends and family.

What part of the “gay agenda” don’t you like? I’m gay and I don’t have any agenda beyond being able to have the right to live my life like anyone else. My wife should be able to draw on my Social Security, just like a straight woman can draw on her husband’s. My wife should be able to inherit our house without tax repercussi­ons, just like a straight woman. We should be able to file our federal taxes together, visit each other in the hospital (without jumping through hoops) and make the necessary health and financial decisions like any other married couple. 

If wanting to have the same rights as everyone else means I have an agenda, okay, I guess I have one.

What part of MY agenda don’t you like? What part of I pay taxes too means that I don’t get to live like any other taxpaying, God fearing American?

It’s time we stop hiding behind crap lines like “gay agenda” and start realizing that this is America, where we are all considered equal.

Regarding the cowardly GOP Candidates for President, I wrote my opinion here.  They are sad excuses for American citizens – every last one of them.