Category Archives: Family

Poltical Re-Gifting

Apparently the President of Change (perhaps he means "spare change"?) is counting on the idea that no one is going to check too closely when he issues these pandering crumbs tot he GLBT community. The Office of Personal Management policy paragraph (below) regarding "new" benefits available toObama - benefits regifter domestic partners? — these benefits have been available for YEARS !!!!

For civil service employees, domestic partners of federal employees can be added to the long-term care insurance program; supervisors can also be required to allow employees to use their sick leave to take care of domestic partners and non-biological, non-adopted children.

Nothing new here.

1) See the OPM website which permits long term care to be extended "Qualified Relatives" that includes:

 

QUALIFIED RELATIVE- The term ‘qualified relative’ means each of the following:
The spouse of an individual described in paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4).


A parent, stepparent, or parent-in-law of an individual described in paragraph (1) or (3).

A child (including an adopted child, a stepchild, or, to the extent the Office of Personnel Management by regulation provides, a foster child) of an individual described in paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4), if such child is at least 18 years of age.

An individual having such other relationship to an individual described in paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) as the Office may by regulation prescribe.

 

2) During the Clinton administration — guidance was requested about whether sick leave could be used to take care of same-sex partners and/children. The answer came back that a federal employee could use their sick leave to take care of, attend doctor appointments, or even attend funerals for anyone who had the "close approximation of family". This was a guidance memo — not policy — but it has been available since the mid 1990's.

 

According to one Lisa Polyak of Baltimore, Maryland, the reason we know this is that she has worked for a Department of Defense Agency for 23 years and even DOD allowed her to take sick leave to care for her partner and her non-biological child.

 

In a word: what a bunch of NOTHING.

It’s none of your business!

…and furthermore…if the churches continue to actively lobby against these particular legislations and participate in the electoral process by taking sides, we need to demand that their nonprofit status be TAKEN AWAY! They have a right to their opinion…but they don't have a right to my tax dollars to promote it.

Dissent

Marriage Lest the news of Proposition 8 be the ultimate buzz kill for today (which it sort of is), it's worth reading the opinion from California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, who was the only judge dissenting in today's 6-1 decision upholding Proposition 8. Moreno, who was actually rumored to be on Obama's shortlist for the open Supreme Court vacancy that this morning went to Sonia Sotomayor, had this to say:

 

In my view, the aim of Proposition 8 and all similar initiative measures that seek to alter the California Constitution to deny a fundamental right to a group that has historically been subject to discrimination on the basis of a suspect classification, violates the essence of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and fundamentally alters its scope and meaning.  Such a change cannot be accomplished through the initiative process by a simple amendment to our Constitution enacted by a bare majority of the voters; it must be accomplished, if at all, by a constitutional revision to modify the equal protection clause to protect some, rather than all, similarly situated persons.  I would therefore hold that Proposition 8 is not a lawful amendment of the California Constitution.

It's nice to know that at least one Judge has his wits about him.

Proposition 8 contradicts California's equal protection clause.

Witt Pratt – Maker of Beauty.. Rest In Peace

Witt_cat I just received word that a good friend, Witt Pratt, a dear deep luscious soul of great beauty and creativity, is no longer alive in this world.  I'm in a state of shock with the news.  He was such a delight in my life and even though I didn't know him long before he moved from the city, he gave of himself with every interaction.  He was the sort of guy who would light up every room he walked into.

I had the chance to interview him for White Crane a few years ago.  I so loved interviewing him for the issue, which was on "Craft."  He was a friend, but he was more importantly, a man who had dedicated his life to making beauty without making any excuses for it:

65_wittpratt Well, I think that whether its hobby or salvation or occupation or preoccupation, it depends on how we look at it. I do believe that as difficult as it may be that it is possible for us to decide that we would rather spend our lives expressing ourselves in that way. In my case the expression is with knitting, in somebody else’s case with making really amazing cakes, or whatever. Sometime ago I decided to do that. But it took a conscious decision and it took a lot of conscious effort to bring what had been a hobby or a pastime into a more enriching and focal position in my life.

By its own being, it is creation in motion. Like so many things if we take the time to notice, when you’ve got a ball of yarn, which to many of us represents nothing short of infinite possibility, the world just opens up before you. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have found this for myself. Knitting can be practical, it can be nonsensical, it can be insanely complex or completely simple. There’s beauty in all of it if you take the time to notice it. I’m thankful to be able to notice that and just want for everyone to find something in the world that they can notice that enriches them similarly.

The excerpted interview is here: http://www.whitecranejournal.com/65/art6510.asp

In his memory, whether you knew him or not, I invite you to pay attention to your surroundings, to speak about the beauty you see, to go out of your way to make others happy in their day.  This was what he taught me by his presence and his example.  My thoughts are with his beloved Gary who I know is deeply missing his fere, his companion, his heart.  I know he was so close to his beloved mother Bobbie, and my heart goes out to her as well.

Yank the Tax Exemption for the NY Archdiocese!

 Marriage Equality Would someone please explain to me… why the new, pinhead, Archbishop of the New York Roman Catholic Archdiocese gets to comment on specific legislation being considered in the NY State legislature? Specifically the bill introduced by the Governor for Marriage Equality.

If I am not mistaken aren't 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations specifically forbidden to lobby or act on behalf of specific legislation or candidates? Here's the relevant passage:

"An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation."

So if Archbishop Dolan…or any other church…follows through on this threat, shouldn't the IRS yank the New York Roman Catholic Archdiocese's tax exemption?

There are too many ways to count the ignorance (and make no mistake about it…they are ignoring reality in favor of dogma) of the Catholic Church and it's pointy-headed old men, but here are four things the Archbishop doesn't know about Marriage Equality:

1. There are few biblical verses that address homosexuality at all, and most of those are not directed at homosexuality per se. Opponents of same-sex marriage routinely cite seven verses in the Christian Bible as condemning homosexuality and calling it a sin. But when taken in context, these lessons speak not against homosexuality itself, but rather against rape, child molestation, bestiality, and other practices that hurt others and compromise a person’s relationship with God.

2. Jesus never said one word against homosexuality. In all of his teachings, Jesus uplifted actions and attitudes of justice, love, humility, mercy, and compassion. He condemned violence, oppression, cold-heartedness, and social injustice. Never once did Jesus refer to what we call homosexuality as a sin.

3. The Bible never mentions or condemns the concept we call same-sex marriage. Although opponents of same-sex marriage claim that lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender unions violate biblical principles, no verses in the Bible explicitly address gay marriage or committed same-sex relationships.

4. Those who claim a “biblical definition of marriage” as a model for today ignore various marital arrangements in the Bible that would be illegal or condemned today. The Bible is filled with stories of polygamy and husbands taking concubines. In accordance with the culture and laws of the past, women were often treated like property that could be traded or sold into marriage. Today we understand that these examples of marriage reflect the cultural practices of the time rather than a spiritual model for today.

A Request: Meaningful Connection

We get letters…

Recently a woman in Wales wrote about her brother, a Gay man:

Bristol My brother M. has told me he is unhappy and lonely. He has told me he is weary of doing the rounds of the gay clubs (he's 48) and would like to connect with a community of  mature thoughtful gay men, with a view to a long term relationship. He has not been able to find such a group as yet. If you have any data on any groups in the Bristol (southwest Britain) or Birmingham (midlands Britain) area, it would be gratefully received.

We don't really do personals anymore (the magazine used to offer a free one with each new subscription). And, aside from the obvious observances about "looking for love in all the wrong places"…perhaps there is a reader out there that has some information I could pass along to this loving sister?

To my mind this is a question of community…how do we connect with one another? Which becomes even more difficult as we age (no matter one's sexuality). And so many Gay men "of a certain age" lost lifelong connections and friends pre-HAART HIV therapies. A generation of elders was wiped out. Every death of an elder is like a library burning…

This is not the first letter of this sort we received. Only recently a reader in Chicago wrote, asking if we Connections1 knew of any like-minded circles of Gay men. We have always encouraged the use of the magazine as a stimulus for face-to-face communities, the creation of circles of friends…Harry Hay's Circle of Loving Companions is our original model. And White Crane originated with a circle of Bob Barzan's friends in San Francisco, gathering at Bob's apartment to talk about everything under the sun (and share food!) How do we connect with one another?

How do we connect with one another in meaningful ways? Sex works very nicely when you're twenty…but what happens to Gay men's community when you reach 40…50…60…?

If you know of any groups of Gay men in southwest or the midlands region of Britain, please write me at bo@gaywisdom.org

And more than that, if you have a similar interest in your area…rural or urban…will you let us know? We would like to help in creating those connections.