Friday, February 27, 2004

It's Up to You New York

Gay wedding mania continues to sweep the country. As announced Thursday, the mayor of New Paltz, New York performed marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Twenty-one couples were married just a few miles north of New York city. Although Governor Pataki tried to have the ceremonies stayed, the state attorney general declined.

Governors just aren't having much luck with their attorney generals these days. I wonder if they're all getting, "not tonight governor, I have a headache."

I must admit that whatever the reason or final legal standing of these marriages, I'm enjoying this form of protest and display of support for gay rights. Plenty of people are getting upset over public officials not upholding the laws, but this ver much feels of the love-ins of the 60's and the non-violent protest tactics of Dr. King and others.

I engaged in a brief discussion with a radio personality who said that Mayor Newsom of San Francisco should be arrested. This person asked me if I would be upset if some mayor in Alabama flaunted the law and started arresting gay people because of their sexuality. Wouldn't I want this mayor stopped and arrested? Of course I would. I believe that if any of these elected officials are breaking the law, they should be prepared to face the appropriate legal ramification. However, it is still a far cry from marrying someone to throwing someone in jail for no legitimate reason. No person is being hurt in these marriages. The couples involved likely understand that their official status could be yanked away at any time.

So, if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to register at William-Sonoma.

Universal Appeal

The Reverend Edward Frost, senior minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, wrote in a recent op-ed piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

"The state's position is that it makes laws for the public good, and marriage, the "bedrock" of our national public health and well being, is in grave danger. The president says this "sacred institution between a man and a woman" must be preserved at all costs.

To that, let me just say this: Britney Spears.

It isn't necessary to jump through the state's hoops to enjoy, as George Eliot wrote, "two human souls joined together to strengthen each other." But if being married means a public declaration to enter into a long-term partnership, share responsibilities and care for each other, then marriage provides a vase to hold those promises and intentions, and helps preserve and support them.

Why should John and George, or Harriet and Julia, not enjoy for the rest of their lives together all the rights, privileges and protections Britney and Jason enjoyed for 55 hours?

Because homosexual relationships are an abomination in the sight of God? What is in the sight of God is in the eyes of the beholder and ought to have nothing to do with what is legal or illegal.

Because same-sex marriage would undermine and devalue traditional marriage? Please. People have been doing that for centuries.

Because the Bible, the Quran, our sacred Scriptures do not support marriage between men or between women? This suggests our laws ought to be grounded in religious faith.

The ground of law, at least in a democratic state, is the agreement of the majority of the citizens. Therefore, laws stating that marriage must only be between a man and a woman are based on common agreement -- much as were the laws saying people of color could not drink out of certain water fountains, or that women could not vote.

I've been around long enough to remember how unthinkable it was, for most people, that people of different races -- or even different religions -- would marry. There is nothing absolute about marriage being only between a man and a woman. Whatever laws there are asserting such a thing are not ordained of God or grounded in nature, but are expressive of public views and values. And public views and values change when enough citizens change their opinions."

Read the full article here.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Captured Lightning

The inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty identifies her as "Mother of Exiles." Along similar lines, Jesus of Nazareth was well known to have included the excluded. He brought the love of God to people declared unclean and social outcasts. George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, who claims identification as both an American citizen and Christian believer, betrayed both his nationality and faith on Tuesday, February 24, 2004.

President Bush, in his official biography is noted as the former governor of Texas who "earned a reputation as a compassionate conservative who shaped public policy based on the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, strong families, and local control. " On February 24, Mr. Bush decimated his own record as being compassionate and an advocate of limited government and local control. Conservatives have traditionally favored reducing the power and influence of the federal government. Mr. Bush ran on a campaign continuing that traditional stance. However, Mr. Bush obviously has no qualms about also abandoning his political heritage and philosophy.

This past Tuesday, Mr. Bush became the first president to publicly call for the restriction of civil liberties against one particular group of citizens. Mr. Bush held a special press conference to specifically denounce homosexual Americans and proclaim them a second rate citizens and not worth basic human liberties. The President attempts to hide his bigotry and intolerance by pretending his actions do not impact the dignity, worth, and citizenship of American citizens:

"Our government should respect every person and protect the institution of marriage. There is no contradiction between these responsibilities. We should also conduct this difficult debate in a matter worthy of our country, without bitterness or anger. "

The President slaps every gay American in the face and then calls for a debate without "bitterness or anger." Mr. Bush, you will not get that debate. I, and plenty of other gay Americans have every right to be outraged and indignant at this declaration of war on our persons. We will not be silent and passive on this issue; we are, to use a famous movie line, "mad as hell and not going to take it any more."

Mr. Bush, you seek to keep us captive to your ideals of what is right and wrong. You seek to keep us captive to the moral imperatives of the religious right. You seek to keep us captives in our own nation. Mr. Bush, you will find that, like Lady Liberty's torch, you have captured lightning. And this lightning will strike a thousand times over.

The call to defend marriage is not a new one. This same call was used as recently as 1967, when interracial marriage was illegal. Interracial marriage could cause you to be arrested in some states. Public opinion showed opposition to permitting interracial marriage. Allowing blacks and whites to marry would lead to the break-down of the institution of marriage. A Virginia judge declared that God intended to separate the races and upheld a ban on interracial marriage.

The first time the ban on marriage was struck down in any state was in the same state where such laws are being challenged today, California. The California Supreme Court decided that such a ban made us "human beings...bereft of worth and dignity." Years later the United States Supreme Court decided that marriage is a "vital personal right" and that it belongs to all Americans. Today, we have a president that would strip us of that right.

I wonder if the President and his supporters would just as quickly smear the judges on the 1967 Supreme Court with the term "activist judges." These judges, and especially the Californian judges, went against popular opinion. They went agains what many felt was the will of God. Were they "activists"? And if they were, was it such a bad thing? Were judges who allowed black children to attend the same school as white children "activist judges"? Mr. Bush, in his limited intelligence, likes to hang on phrases he thinks sound profound. As typical, the phrase is utterly meaningless. Judges on a daily basis interpret law and redefine how those laws are applied in court cases. The Massachusetts Supreme Court did nothing different than they do on any other day, except deliver a decision that is unpopular with the President and religious right.

The President stated, like many of the religious Right, that the amendment is necessary to protect the institution and definition of marriage. Like his supporters, Mr. Bush has failed to identify how exactly gay marriage undermines this institution. When Press Secretary Scott McClellan was asked to clarify exactly how the President sees gay marriage as being undermined, he offered no further information. Indeed, I've yet to hear an explanation, satisfactory or otherwise, on how same-sex marriage damages marriage.

What exactly is the President trying to protect? Mr. Bush calls marriage "the most fundamental institution of civilization." He also is trying to "prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever." I'm curious to which meaning and which particular institution the President is defending? Is he trying to defend the polygamous marriages of the Old Testament or the business-contractual arranged marriages of the New? If Mr. Bush finds a religious reason to combat same-sex marriage, shouldn't he take the advice of the Apostle Paul and work diligently to prevent marriage all together? In these same verses, Saint Paul advocates no remarriage after divorce and complete subjugation of the wife to the husband. Would Mr. Bush like to re-enact American laws that denied married women property and voting rights?

Perhaps the President seeks to protect the institution that brings us "The Bachelor", "Married By America", "The Littlest Groom", "I Married a Millionaire"? Perhaps he wants to protect the Michael Jackson / Lisa Marie Presley or Britney Spears /Jason Alexander institution? Or perhaps the President is slightly too late to keep the meaning of marriage from changing. Perhaps the President fears change, but as Henry David Thoreau once said, " dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change nor accident."

Perhaps the President really has no strong conviction on the issue, but sees it as an opportune diversion from more pressing issues such as the intelligence debacle on the weapons of mass destruction, the continued occupation of Iraq, the continued loss of American lives in Iraq, the failure to institute a stable government in Iraq, the slumped economy, or the net loss of jobs the President will experience over his tenure. Perhaps the President's only conviction is a complete lack of conscious about toying with people's lives for his own political gain.

The notoriously even-keeled Senator Rick Santorum (a name I think would look fine upon a mental institution: the Santorum Sanitarium), recently revealed the truth about marriage: "Marriage is not about affirming somebody's love for somebody else. It's about uniting together to be open to children, to further civilization in our society." Sorry to step on anybody's fairy tale romance there. I suppose the Senator would favor a ban on marriage between infertile heterosexuals, or just those who, unaware of marriage's true purpose, chose not to have children.

I don't entirely disagree with the Senator, however. I don't need a government to recognize my love for my husband. I don't need a court to declare my commitment to another man. What I need is the ability to go through life with the man I love with the same rights and responsibilities that any other married couple would have. I need the government to ensure that when he is sick, I will get to see him in the hospital. I need our employers to give us the same benefits they give to married couples. I need to protection to make sure the house we both invested in goes to the other one upon the death of the other. I need basic life assurances that any other loving, and even non-loving, (and I must add non-procreative) couple receives from the government.

At one point I was content with the idea of civil unions giving us those benefits. Yet even this issue was fought by conservatives and the Religious Right. Their unwillingness to compromise has shown me that anything other than full marriage bestowed upon me by the federal government is at best a "separate but equal" arrangement. An arrangement that our highest court has already decided is unconstitutional. Anything less than my right to marry another man in any state I choose and travel to any other state and have that marriage recognized makes me a second-class citizen. Anything less denies me of rights the Supreme Court has already stated I should have.

Recently, the President laughingly proclaimed that "No president had done more for human rights" than he had. Perhaps he is correct. Perhaps he has finally put such pressure on the gay community that we are no longer willing to be captive to our second class citizen status. Perhaps he will have given us unprecedented human rights, even if we have to snatch them out of his hands.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Dialing for Civil Rights

About two weeks ago, the Human Right Campaign advocated calling the White House comment line because the news was that the President was on the verge of announcing his support for a Constitutional amendment (looks like they were correct, unfortunately). Below is the text I read to the operator I spoke with. I was cut off after a certain amount of time, so the part I was able to articulate is bolded.

If you would like to call the White House on this or any other issue of importance, the number is 202-456-1111

It has come to my understanding that the President is prepared to fully endorse and lend his support to the Musgrave anti-marriage amendment to the US Constitution. I am requesting that the President refuse to support this or any other such amendment. This amendment is blatant act of discrimination and bigotry against gay Americans. This amendment is morally and civilly wrong. This amendment seeks to classify gay and lesbian American citizens as having fewer rights and protections than other American citizens.

President Bush has in the past identified himself as being compassionate, a defender of human civil liberties, and a man of God. His endorsement of this amendment invalidates all of those claims. This amendment restricts civil liberties and would be the first amendment to do so in American history

Most Americans do not support a constitutional amendment on this issue. President Bush has always claimed to be representing the values of the American people. Americans do not value this amendment. Americans realize that more pressing issues face us today such as the economy, the hunting of terrorists, and finishing the war in Iraq. I ask President Bush to return his focus on these important issues, which are the true concerns of American citizens.

This amendment is Anti-American as well as Anti-Christian. The religious right does not speak for all or even most Christians in America. This amendment is hateful and Jesus did not preach hate. If President Bush considers himself Christian, he will immediately separate himself from this amendment.

Again, I repeat that President Bush, as the leader of our great nation, should not lend any degree of support to the Musgrave anti-marriage amendment which promotes a homophobic agenda and seeks to deny productive, loving, and stable American citizens our proper rights and protections.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Curb Appeal

Leonard Pitts is one of my favorite columnists. He presents a fairly liberal viewpoint in a very reasonable, level-headed manner. He is always thought provoking. Here's one of his recent articles on the gay marriage activity going on currently.

Tired of waiting, gay couples decided to act

It 's a little-known fact that Martin Luther King Jr. didn't really lead the March on Washington.
What actually happened is that the marchers, a quarter million strong, grew impatient waiting for the event to begin and stepped off the curb ahead of schedule. When they found out what had happened, King and other march ''leaders'' had to scramble to catch up. Freedom was in the air and the marchers saw no need to wait for permission to move.
Forty-one years later, that vignette from another era offers an irresistible analogy to frame what has been happening these past few days in San Francisco.
Public opinion seesaws between tolerance and intolerance, courts and legislatures debate civil union and marriage and abruptly, thousands of gay and lesbian couples decide to stop waiting for other people's decisions.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom makes the quixotic decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and suddenly gay men and lesbians are rushing as fast as planes, trains and Nikes will carry them, to the city where Tony Bennett left his heart.
Critics say the mayor has acted in defiance of state law, but Newsom calls same-sex marriage ``inevitable.''
In the long term, he might well be right. In the short term, it's a dicier question. The issue is being fought in the courts even as we speak and nobody can say with authority how it will come out. Gay marriage may move forward to legality, may move backward to prohibition; it remains to be seen.
The one thing that seems beyond debate is that the issue is indeed moving.
And there is, I think, something uplifting in the manner of that movement. Meaning that it comes not at the behest of some charismatic national leader or the bidding of some strident national organization. People are moving, rather, two by two, moving upon decisions made at dinner tables and in front of televisions, moving upon a conviction that now is the time.
Drops of water melting into a flood. The flood hurling itself against a wall, intolerance.
When you get past selective application of biblical injunctions and pious invocations of moral concern, that intolerance usually boils down to this curious bit of reasoning: Discrimination against gays ought to be allowed because, unlike skin color and culture, homosexuality is something people ''choose'' and therefore, can un-choose.
So, critics say, society ought not be required to extend civil rights protections to gay people. Rather, gay people ought to be required to change.
The most absurd of the many absurd things about that argument is this: It asks us to believe a man might have his choice of a sexuality that is accepted and celebrated and one that will leave him open to ridicule, estrangement, physical abuse, job and housing discrimination, and the loss of basic legal protections ... and he would take the second one.
If that's not the dumbest thing I've ever heard, it's definitely in the top 10.
Granted, science has yet to figure out what causes homosexuality. Its roots may be psychological, may be physiological or may be, as I suspect, a combination of both.
But ultimately, it doesn't really matter, does it? Whatever causes a man to be gay or a woman lesbian is obviously powerful enough that they have no real choice in the matter. The people who have been flocking to Mayor Newsom's city did not decide to be gay. Anyone who is watching them with that thought in mind is missing -- probably on purpose -- the point.
What they have decided is that they are human beings worthy of human dignity.
What they have decided is that they are tired of waiting for people to get that.
What they have decided is that it's time to step off the curb.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Wildmond Thing

I never considered how amusing the American Family Association might be. In my attempt to follow up and verify a news article I ran across, I started searching their website and was surprised at how funny the whole site was. The claims made on the website are more outrageous than the supermarket tabloids they are, apparently, crusading against. And here I thought they were devoting all their time to stopping gay marriage. I'm glad to know the National Enquirer is taking some of the heat too.

The following is an unaltered headline from one of their pages:
Supermarkets educate children in a "trail of sex."
Kids corralled like cattle and force fed doses of porn

Who knew? I obviously need to change grocery stores, because mine certainly doesn't have any "trails of sex." Although quite frankly, given the looks of most cashiers, I can't say I'm too disappointed, but there is the occasionally cute bag boy.

In this same article the AFA claims that: "Once inside the "chute," our children are bombarded by the company's complete lack of respect for traditional family values. It is here grocery managers, like cattle wrangling cowboys, start branding the minds of parents and children alike with images and descriptions of casual, social, and noncommittal sex from magazines like Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Redbook."

5 minutes ago: Saddam Out: Kim Jong-il In: grocery managers

My sister reads Glamour. Maybe she's a communist. Hmmm.

Slightly more outrageous than this claim and the spelling errors that pepper the "news items", is this statement:
"A Christian attorney says homosexual groups are teaching student activists in public schools to use provocative behavior to goad other students into acting hostilely toward them."

""Their goal is to transform American public schools into centers of pro-gay activity and training," he says. "They want the schools to advance the gay agenda through 'sensitivity training,' 'diversity' days, [and by] including homosexuality in curricula, etcetera."

"Lively says student activists who flaunt their homosexual behavior in front of students considered to be "rednecks or jocks" often succeed in forcing their school to adopt an anti-bullying policy that embraces a pro-homosexual perspective, because if the school does not take action they are likely to be sued"

Remember, kids, homosexuals like to be beat up. So don't do it; they'll only get off on it. The pervs.

What is flaunting anyway? Is that like patting a "jock" on the butt during a workout? Nah, nothing gay about that.

This entire evening of entertainment was brought to me looking for the AFA's poll on gay marriage. Although I couldn't fin that poll, I did find a poll asking if visitors would be willing to boycott MTV. I guess Jesus says to make sure you can win a boycott before you begin one. Was that in the book of Numbers? By the way, you don't get to vote "no," you just get to tell them you would support one. Just to be sure you want to support the boycott, they link you to "very offensive" dialogue. The dialogue is about whether one of the Real World cast members has a large, um, member not in a cast. Unfortunately, the article just leaves you hanging about how low the guy hangs. I had to read through it twice just to make sure I was sufficently offended.

Whatever happened to just turning off the television or monitoring your children?

I still didn't find the poll I was looking for. According to the February 14 Q-Notes, a Charlotte based gay newspaper:

The American Family Association, originally said on its web site that it intended to report to Congress the results of its internet poll on gay marriage. But now it is porbably not going to follow through...after nearly 60 percent of the more than 825,000 votes tallied expressed support of gay marriage. "Homosexual activist groups went ot the trouble of skewing this particular poll," said Gary Glenn directore of the AFA of Michigan. "Perhaps it is some comfort to them." The organization considred pulling the poll off its webs site but decided instead to leave it as a wake up call to "traditional American families (who) do not realize the seriousness of this threat." said Buddy Smith, executive assistant to the chairman of the AFA. "We were surprised they hijacked the poll," said Smith.

The warning must have expired because I couldn't find a trace of it on the website. One imagines that had 825,000 votes been hijaked by religious fundamentalist in support of the amendment, they would have still shown the poll to Congress. Perhaps the outcome of this poll is why you can only vote "yes" in the MTV boycott poll. Perhaps the outcome of this poll is because most Americans are not as crazy and paranoid as these people seem to be.

Putting Up with Dick when You Don't Like It, a website established to fight the amendment of the United States Constitution in regards to gay marriage, has set up a sister site, This website seeks to call Mary Cheney, out lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, to activist service in the ranks of amendment opposers. A similar website and movement was very successful a few years ago with, which managed to finally help in the removal of the notorious Dr. Laura's television show.

Mary Cheney has been under heavy fire recently from many gay activists. Gay journalist Michelangelo Signorile recently wrote a scathing article calling Mary on her invisibility and inactivity at this turbulent time for gay rights. He's not the only one questioning her absence, and now this website has emerged, promoted with a rather humorous graphic of Mary's face on a milk carton. Perhaps the most shocking part of this whole affair, however is, as one friend commented, Mary's tragic hair.

I am no apologist for Mary Cheney. I believe she could be doing a world of good by publicly supporting gay marriage and opposing amendments to any constitution, federal or state. Mary could make a decided impact in this whole issue. By remaining quiet on this issue, choosing instead to quietly run her father's campaign, she chips away at her own soul and smashes her self-dignity.

Despite my belief that Mary should be on the front lines with other gay activists, I am ashamed of these tactics and villifying columns. We need to act better than the opposition, and quite frankly, we are have sunk past the gutter to Karl Rove levels. Now, that should scare you.

In his article Signorile writes: "So let’s get to the point: What the hell happened to you? Are you just another spoiled rich brat—the lesbian Paris Hilton—worried about getting a chunk of those 30 million Halliburton bucks should Dad’s heart conk out?"

While I understand Signorile's frustration (I feel it too), this is nothing more than an ad hominem attack. We can call Mary to action without resorting to being children in a school-yard. And while Mary's hair on the milk carton is tacky, it is no moreso than the carton itself. The campaign could have been launched without being so abrasive.

Perhaps more disturbing to me than Mary's absence is all this energy being directed towards bringing her forward. The Dearmary website is asking for donations in order to print full page ads in the New York Times and Washington Post. These ads cost around $55,000. Why gather this amount of resources to attract the attention of somebody who undoubtably could be a dynamic spokesperson, but who has no real governmental authority. Ultimately, Mary Cheney holds no office and wields no power to make change.

An implied understanding seems to be that Mary has not discussed these issues with her father. We simply don't know and ultimately it doesn't matter. The Vice President just a few years ago stated his position that the federal government should not be involved in this issue, which he has now retracted by supporting the President's threats to back a constitutional amendment. Clearly, Dick Cheney held (and I believe still holds) a belief that would give his daughter some rights, but has compromised himself and his love for his daughter by advocating the President's discriminatory stance. I doubt a public statement from Mary would impact the Vice President's stance the slightest.

Out politicians (Barney Frank) and relatives of politicians (Candace Gingrich) have been outspoken on issues of our community. And we see the impact those with power and those close to power have made. Not a criticism of these individuals, they can only do so much without a wider base of support. We would be better focusing our attention on winning the support of individuals with real power who would support us. We should be focusing on the American public and demonstrating that Rome did not fall because of too many bridal registrations at Pottery Barn.

Supposedly Mary Cheney helped convince some of the gay public to vote for her dad and George W. during the 2000 election with promises of moderation and compassion towards our community from these seemingly hard-line conservatives. And, so apparently, this vitriolic response is anger re-directed at Mary from that false hope. The only people these activists should be angry at are themselves for believing that promise in the first place.

Sunday, February 15, 2004


Moms hold a special place in most boy's hearts. I think this is often especially true for gay men and boys, who are often characterized or stereotyped as "Mama boys." And I, for one, am proud to be labelled as such. In the realm of Mom-dom, my mother is probably as close to perfect as Moms can get.

My sentimentality was triggered this week when I recalled the story of a young gay man whose parents had taken him out of a college environment he was thriving in, sent him somewhere to be "repaired" and then forbade him to contact his friends at the college, straight and gay alike, because they "made him" gay or at least encouraged it. I was also recently thinking about the writings of Christopher Priest who has written several essays on the expectation his ex-wife's family put on him, as well as his own family, during holiday periods.

My mom has always been the great peacemaker in the family, between myself and others, as well as with other members of the family. When I have been in serious relationships, my mother has never put expectations on me for being home at any specific time. She has never pressured me to spend more time with my family than with other families involved in my life or how I should be doing that. She has never asked me to stop being gay or told me it was wrong or said any one bad thing about it. She has welcomed my boyfriend into her house as she would anyone else. And she has helped his assimilation into the overall family, working some kind of wonderous magic towards that end.

Peter's mom is a wonderful woman as well. She's a great source of support for him, a delightful and funny human being, full of energy and enthusiasm. She has welcomed me warmly, generously and openly. She even likes Godzilla movies. (My own mom loves old horror movies and it was her love of these films that sparked my own love for classic, and some more modern, horror and suspense movies.)

Some of my fondest childhood memories are sitting in the kitchen of my grandmother's house after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner listening to my mom, grandmother, and aunts talk while the men went into the living room to watch football and the younger kids went off to play. I miss those times, especially now, since as an adult member of the family I could contribute to the conversation. But then I just listened and watched.

All of this said, in effect, to present the following excerpt from the New York Times (February 15, 2004). The article chronicles the search to replace Harvey Firestein as "Edna," the mother from the current Broadway hit "Hairspray" (based on John Water's classic trash classic). Michael McKean who many may remember as "Lenny" from "Laverne and Shirley" or later a cast member of Saturday Night Live, or possibly from several hysterical movie roles (This Is Spinal Tap, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind) was chosen.

I have no idea about McKean's sexuality nor any interest in it, in the article, McKean comments on how playing this role in drag relates to the recent death of his mother. His thoughts touched me quite a bit as I reflected on my own mother and how, possibly, being gay has allowed me a special perspective and closeness to my mother that I might not have otherwise enjoyed.

The real challenge for Mr. McKean will be to give the jokes their full due by finding the womanliness in his maleness. It's a job that seems timely to him. "I keep thinking about that lovely quote from Wilde," he said. " `All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.' So this gig is for my mom. She would have loved it."

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Penguin Season

Don Wildmon is at it again.  As a fomer Tupelo resident, I apologize.

Last spring, the Rev. Donald E. Wildmon of Tupelo, Miss., decided to hold a summit meeting of the Christian conservative movement.

Mr. Wildmon felt the movement was losing the culture war, he recalled in an interview on Friday. Since plunging into political activism nearly 30 years ago, Christian conservatives had helped Republicans take control of Washington but did not have enough to show for it, Mr. Wildmon said. At the same time, the election of Republican politicians had drained some of the motivation out of its grass-roots constituents.

So Mr. Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association and a crusader against sex and violence in the media, sent an e-mail message inviting about two dozen other prominent Christian conservatives to a meeting in Arlington, Va., last June. About 14 people turned up with no set agenda, Mr. Wildmon recalled.

"All we knew was we were going to get together and see if there were some issues of concern that we could agree on and combine our efforts," Mr. Wildmon said.

"The first thing that popped up," he said, "was the federal marriage amendment."

So, because another religious leader is losing his power base (although not in the scandalous way that so many of them tend to do ala Jim Bakker or Jimmy "Great Balls o Fire" Swaggart), gay marriage becomes a moving target. I'm reminded of the old Looney Tunes cartoon where Bugs and Daffy argue whether it's duck or rabbit season. The Rev. Wildmon plays the befuddled Elmer, not really caring who he shoots so long as he gets to shoot someone. In his own Fuddian epic, the Rev. Wildmon hunts for his raison detre and suddenly its penguin season.

Don is going after gay marriages. And, well, apparently, to paraphrase Annie Lennox, "penguins are doin' it for themselves."

There have been many famous gay marriages down the ages: Chip and Dale, Chip & Reichen from THE AMAZING RACE, Segfreid and Roy, and now, Roy and Silo

[These] two chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan, are completely devoted to each other. For nearly six years now, they have been inseparable. They exhibit what in penguin parlance is called "ecstatic behavior": that is, they entwine their necks, they vocalize to each other, they have sex. Silo and Roy are, to anthropomorphize a bit, gay penguins. When offered female companionship, they have adamantly refused it. And the females aren't interested in them, either.

At one time, the two seemed so desperate to incubate an egg together that they put a rock in their nest and sat on it, keeping it warm in the folds of their abdomens, said their chief keeper, Rob Gramzay. Finally, he gave them a fertile egg that needed care to hatch. Things went perfectly. Roy and Silo sat on it for the typical 34 days until a chick, Tango, was born. For the next two and a half months they raised Tango, keeping her warm and feeding her food from their beaks until she could go out into the world on her own. Mr. Gramzay is full of praise for them.

"They did a great job," he said.

And apparently these guys have received their copy of the homosexual agenda because they have recruited.

Roy and Silo are hardly unusual. Milou and Squawk, two young males, are also beginning to exhibit courtship behavior, hanging out with each other, billing and bowing. Before them, the Central Park Zoo had Georgey and Mickey, two female Gentoo penguins who tried to incubate eggs together. And Wendell and Cass, a devoted male African penguin pair, live at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.

Maybe it's just something in the water in New York. Not surprising with all the musicals running around willy-nilly up there, especially with Rosie and Boy George leading the charge (well, I guess not any more).

Fag hags even exist in the animal kingdom apparently:

[S]tudies showed that adult male dolphins formed long-term alliances, sometimes in large groups. As adults, they cooperate to entice a single female and keep other males from her. Sometimes they share the female, or they may cooperate to help one male.

We all have one, don't we? And sometimes we have to share her with our friends. After all, you may be the style-guru, but it's really Paul who know just how to apply that mascara.

The article does prudently state that animal behavior shouldn't necessarily be a barometer for what is or isn't genetic in humans or for constructing social or ethical policy. As the New York Times point out, lots of animals kill the young of other animals (and sometimes their own). Just because it happens in nature doesn't mean we're going to legalize the mowing down of toddlers even when they chatter on in a movie theater. Perhaps we can do something about the parents,however.

Still, with this kind of behavior in the animal kingdom, it becomes a stretch to say that homosexuality is caused by some type of mental perversion or social ill. With these specific examples, it seems hard to argue that homosexuals do anything to destroy family structures. Rather, they nuture it:

Marlene Zuk, a professor of biology at the University of California at Riverside...notes that...homosexuality may have an evolutionary purpose, ensuring the survival of the species. By not producing their own offspring, homosexuals may help support or nurture their relatives' young. "That is a contribution to the gene pool," she said.

And you always thought that your Uncle Bill (three dollar Bill as your dad used to call him) was only good for being the only fun relative you had.

So, wow, look at the complete and utter destruction gay penguins are causing the fabric of penguin society. About as much as loving gay couples cause to human society. The religious right constantly harp that gay marriage will destroy the traditional family, but never quite elaborate on how that will be accomplished. Quite frankly, we'll be too busy planning our far-more-fabulous-than-our-neighbor's house-warming/Christmas/cookout/Fourth of July party that everyone on the block must attend.

I've always thought that the leaders of the religious right were merely power-hungry. They can't stand giving up the power they have over their constituents, so they make up threats to keep them coming back for more. In the past it was slavery, then Communism, then often fighting black civil rights. Now the coffers are getting low and the sheep are shrugging their shoulders, so the next beast of the apocolypse must rear its ugly head.

Duck, Don and Silo, it's penguin season!

All quotes from the New York Times (2/7/04 & 2/8/04)