Should gay people refuse to file Federal Income Tax to protest discrimination? Kevin Boyle and Charles Merrill think so, and they have backed up their conviction by launching a new website, Gay Tax.Org.
"According to the General Accounting Office, there are over 1,049 protections and incentives extended to straight married couples, none of which we get," Merrill told The New York Post. "I'm just doing the same thing that Mahatma Gandhi did in India and the colonists did during the War for Independence."
Merrill and Boyle announced that they would not pay Federal or North Carolina Income Tax on over two million dollars worth of stock sales and income for 2004, because of unfair discrimination in the Federal and State Income Tax Codes.
I think this couple makes a great point when they say this is "taxation without representation." Please check out their site and show your support as they act to fight this injustice.
A pro-gay Florida church launched a campaign this week to identify supporters of a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage by publishing the names and addresses of 400,000 Florida residents in 60 counties, the Miami Heraldreported today.
The Internet campaign by Christ Church of Peace, a nondenominational church in Jacksonville, has been denounced by right wing groups that support a state ballot initiative that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Gary Debusk, pastor of Christ Church of Peace, said the church began the "Know Thy Neighbor" effort Monday to encourage dialogue and prevent voter-signature fraud. As the head of a congregation that supports same-sex marriage, Debusk said he also wanted to add a new perspective to a debate that he said has been dominated largely by religious conservatives. "It's time for another voice that is Christian to be heard," he said.
Christian groups such as the Fort Lauderdale-based Center for Reclaiming America for Christ and the Florida Family Policy Council have denounced the website as a misguided effort to intimidate activists.
"It's a gross invasion of people's privacy," said John Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council, an offshoot of James Dobson's national Christian conservative group Focus on the Family.
John Schumpert, a founding member of Christ Church of Peace, said he hopes the website will offer those who oppose a marriage amendment the chance to look up friends and family members who signed and engage them in dialogue.
"The information is really there for people to use in a positive manner," he said. "You cannot legislate to take away someone's rights or permanently deny them rights under the cover of darkness."
I'd be curious to know what readers of this site think of this tactic...
The conservative National Review Online wrote an article on the ex-gay ministries. They acknowledged that these groups are not the panacea some right wing groups claim they are:
"What they aren't is what many conservative evangelicals seem to want them to be: the ultimate answer to the gay-rights movement. The groups' problems are deeply embedded in their self-understanding."
The writer, Eve Tushnet, also observed the double-speak that is so common in these groups:
Mike Haley, the director of gender issues for Focus on the Family and probably the speaker at the conference with whom I disagreed least, told me afterward that one small-group session had discussed chastity. "We don't want people to believe that change means you have to be married and have to have kids," he said, and then added, "The opposite of homosexuality isn't heterosexuality, the opposite of homosexuality is holiness. We're not trying to create people from homosexual to heterosexual." These statements don't line up with what I heard at the conference; but it's much easier to be nuanced in one-on-one conversations than in lectures to big audiences.
Actually, when I speak in front of audiences my public rhetoric matches my private rhetoric. Speaking the truth certainly helps one find such consistency. As they say, when you are honest, you never have to remember what you said.
Finally, how can Focus on the Family call the conference "Love Won Out" and then have Mike Haley say that, "The opposite of homosexuality isn't heterosexuality, the opposite of homosexuality is holiness." This is outrageously mean-spirited. He is basically saying that gay people are unholy. His rhetoric is not only offensive and false, but it is a supreme insult to the countless GLBT people of faith. If this is what Haley calls "love," maybe he and I define the term quite differently.
The Crystal Meth Working Group took on the drug with a dramatic full-page ad in today's New York Times. The headline screamed, "GAY MEN & CRYSTAL METH, A MANIFESTO. The text read:
"Crystal Meth poses a threat to different communities, both in this country and around the world. The U.N. says that 35 million people use meth, making it the second most frequently used illicit drug behind marijuana.
While most gay men have never used meth, approximately 15% have. By chemically blocking inhibitions, it leads many to take sexual risks, resulting in more infections of HIV, syphilis and other diseases.
We've watched as meth worked its way into our lives as an "innocent" party drug and then established itself as a serious threat to our health and prosperity. We've seen it cripplee our friends and loved ones, destroy the lives of our youth and mentors, and corrode the spiritual fabric of our community. The bottom line, meth is hurting gay men. How can we stand by and do nothing?
An array of respected GLBT leaders signed onto the campaign including, NGLTF's Matt Foremen, Michelangelo Signorile, Rufus Wainwright and David Mixner.
I think this campaign is a great idea. This drug is flat out evil. It has turned much of the Midwest into a trailer park meth lab and turned gay nightclubs into zombie rooms. Enough is enough. It is time we stand up and say that this drug just plain sucks. Let's stop killing ourselves. Okay?
"IN DEFENSE OF BIBLICAL MARRIAGE" The Presidential Prayer Team is currently urging us to: "Pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to Biblical principles.
With many forces insisting on variant definitions of marriage, pray that God's Word and His standards will be honored by our government."Any good religious person believes prayer should be balanced by action. So here, in support of the Prayer Team's admirable goals, is a proposed Constitutional Amendment codifying marriage entirely on biblical principles:
A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5.)B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chronicles 11:21) TO READ MORE CLICK HERE
A rare schism has evolved in the 'ex-gay' community over the refusal of archconservative and 'ex-gay' preacher DL Foster to apologize for his decision to continue to invoke images of Adolph Hitler while writing about gay, Jewish activist and founder of Truth Wins Out Wayne Besen. Foster's attacks have been attacked by Alan Chambers, head of the nation's largest 'ex-gay' organization, Exodus International, PageOneQ has found. Foster was also rebuked by well-known 'ex-gay' blogger Randy Thomas.
Remember the anticipatory exuberance that gripped the world as Y2K approached? There was a feeling, among the non-apocalyptic crowd, that humanity was crossing an important threshold. It was the dawn of the computer age and modern man was going to evolve and advance civilization.
For a brief moment, there was great hope that people in our rapidly shrinking world would join together for the common good. Technology was all-powerful, the United States seemed like a lovable superpower and a rapidly democratizing world would bring a century of peace and prosperity.
The optimism of the time was predicated on the assumption that we had actually learned from the horrors of the previous millennium, particularly the bloody meat grinder known as the 20th Century. The past hundred years had brought us two World Wars, Imperial Japan, the holocaust, Stalin, segregation, McCarthyism, Vietnam, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Ayatollah Khomeini and Saddam Hussein. (This is the short list)
This great evil was countered by the remarkable courage of the past century's heroes. We had extraordinary spiritual teachers, such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr., to show us a better way. They imparted the wisdom of peace, the power of knowledge and strength through compassion.
Unfortunately, we are now six years into the new millennium and it looks eerily similar to the worst aspects of the 20th Century. In many parts of the world, horror has replaced hope, poverty has eclipsed plenty and pessimism has erased optimism. In large part, Iraq has become Vietnam and Bush has morphed into Nixon. Darfur is the new Rwanda and Congo is, well, the same miserable Congo it has always been.
In the Middle East, Israel and the Palestinians are still in a tug-of-war over an overheated sand trap. Women are treated worse than pets in the rest of the region - they can't drive or vote in Saudi Arabia and the Taliban is keeping women from attending school in Afghanistan.
After freedom was briefly put on the pupu platter, former KGB official, Vladimir Putin, returned with the main dish of gulag goulash. He has slowly rolled back democracy and strangled freedom out of the people and the fledgling press. It is heartbreaking that the fall of the iron curtain has been replaced by Putin's iron fist.
In such a tyrannical climate, it is no surprise that Gay Pride in Moscow was cancelled. However, it was still shocking to watch police turn a blind eye while a few brave gay activists were harassed by nationalistic skinheads. Excuse me, but wasn't it Nazis, not gay advocates that killed (with the help of Stalin) up to 20 million Russians during World War II?
Likewise, Poland is now run by a right-wing government that uses nationalism to oppress minorities. The New York Times reported that parliamentarian Wojciech Wierzejski said that Gay Pride participants should be "bashed with a baton." Hasn't Poland been on the other side of the authoritarian baton long enough to know better?
What is most disheartening is that the 20th Century taught us the recipe for demagogic intolerance. Yet, we, as a collective people, passively watch the concoction bake and then get fat off the corrosive cake.
The ingredients are always the same: Ruthlessly ambitious politicians, a cup of nationalism, a heap of wrap-yourself-in-the-flag religious certitude, a pinch of intolerant bigotry, a spoonful of militaristic chest-thumping and a sprinkle of historic revisionism.
Sadly, even Japanese politicians are taking their nation down this perilous path by purging teachers who will not whitewash history. Under the banner of "conservative values" (sound familiar) history books are being rewritten to put Japan in a more favorable light. These pages of propaganda disingenuously recast World War II by using the more positive term the "Greater East Asian War."
But all the revisionism cannot change the fact that Tokyo's aggressive nationalism led to the despicable rape of Nanjing and the launching of a war that ended in atomic destruction. It is simply incomprehensible why anyone in Japan would flirt with transforming this prosperous and peaceful nation into a warrior state. Perhaps we are a weak species that just can't seem to kick the deadly, but seductively intoxicating, pipe dream of absolute power. We can't resist fervently waving the flag, even, in the end, if it means this banner will be draped over our coffins.
Meanwhile, in the United States we are in war and debt, yet we have spent the last two weeks debating distractions. While families are having trouble affording gas, the Senate has wasted precious time grandstanding on the "flag desecration amendment" and trying to write gay families out of the Constitution.
Why did we even bother with extravagant millennium celebrations, when the new world we were supposed to be molding is turning out to be a bloody rerun of yesteryear?
Today, Alan Chambers from Exodus International rightfully distanced his organization from DL Foster, who portrayed me as Hitler. I thank Mr. Chambers for this clarification and for taking DL to task. I appreciate this gesture and I am glad we both agree that some behavior is beyond the pale:
I just emailed DL and asked him to retract his statement and to apologize. There is plenty we can disagree on without attacking one another.
I pray that DL will take my advice and make amends.
Conversion therapist Warren Throckmorton made a stunning admission in the "comments" section of his blog. He claimed that "ex-gay" really means a person who says he is straight, even though he is STILL attracted to the same sex (SSA). In the real world we call this "false witness."
"Ex-gay usually really means 'I no longer identify as gay even if I have SSA,'" wrote Throckmorton.
Throckmorton is a Christian "therapist" who created an "ex-gay" film starring Joann Highley, an admitted demon extracting exorcist.
A website by a right-wing preacher and self-professed 'ex-gay' DL Foster has posted a picture of the executive director of Truth Wins Out, Wayne Besen, that has been modified to make Besen appear like Adolph Hitler, reports PageOneQ.
Foster's blog Perspectives In Motion, has a post dated June 10th in which Foster refers to Besen's new organization as "Wayne Besen's Final Solution." Later in the post, Foster points out that Besen is Jewish:
In the press conference, Besen (of Jewish descent) claimed that 'ex-gay' ministries could not be trusted or tolerated in our tolerant society. To back up those claims he presented evidence that 'ex-gay' leaders invariably go back to being gay. Richard Cohen, John Paulk, Michael Johnston and uhhhh those two guys who "fell in love" left their wives, got AIDS and lived happily ever after. Proof positive, he asserted that 'ex-gay' ministries were shameless snake oil salesmen.
Next time the ex-gay ministries tell you how much they love homosexuals, please remember this Hitler picture and commentary by DL Foster.
Four youths were charged with a hate crime assault on a gay singer who was attacked as he left a Manhattan gay bar, police said on Sunday. Kevin Aviance, 38, who scored No. 1 dance hits on the Billboard charts with "Da Da Din" and more recently "Alive" in 2003, was attacked late Saturday and kicked by four youths who called him "faggot."
Aviance told the New York Post from his hospital bed that he was especially distraught by the assault because he had been scheduled to perform at a host of gay pride events next week in advance of the city's Gay Pride march on June 25.
"I'm supposed to be doing all this stuff. With my jaw wired shut, what can I do?" he was quoted as saying.
There is the misperception that hate crimes only happen in rural, conservative areas. But even in liberal places, such as the East Village, hate crimes occur. The lies spewed by our opponents reach impressionable youths in all corners of this nation. Let us wish Kevin a speedy recovery.