Category Archives: Marriage Equality

Homophobes and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

(I realize you were all expecting Part Two of yesterday’s post today. Sometimes, as the man said, life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. And life happened yesterday and demanded I blog about it. Expect Part Two of the stats post…Friday. Maybe. Or Saturday. I don’t know. I have to go to Massachusetts tonight to watch a musical based on a Marx Brothers movie. Don’t ask.)

Yesterday, the Supreme Court met to vote on the constitutionality of two things: Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (known as DOMA) and Prop 8. If you’re on the internet at all ever, I’m sure you’ve seen people having changed their profile pictures on Twitter and Facebook to this:

“ARGH HOW WILL I KNOW WHO ANYONE IS?” you might have thought, if you had no idea what was going on. “WHY ARE ALL MY FRIENDS RED BOXES WITH PINK LINES?”

To show their support for marriage equality and the unconstitutionality of DOMA. Also, seriously, try being a theater person. I haven’t known who was posting what on Facebook for MONTHS. Everyone was a red box with pink lines. I’d be all, “Did Patrick post that or was it Dan? SOMEONE STRIKE EFFING DOMA DOWN ALREADY I MISS EVERYONE’S FACES!”

In case you’ve been hiding your head in the sand all ostrich-style for a while, here’s a quick DOMA/Prop 8 primer.

DOMA:

  • Allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states
  • Bars same-sex couples from receiving federal marriage benefits

Prop 8:

  • States that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” (which overturned the California Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples had the right to marry.)

To break these into terms you might understand if you are a homophobe:

DOMA, were it against everyone, and not just segregating the same-sex couples in a totally unconstitutional way, not to tip my hand about how I feel about it or anything (coughdirtyliberalcough) would say if you married your husband/wife in New York, you wouldn’t be recognized as a married couple in Mississippi. It would also state that if you married someone from England, he/she would have to return to England once their visa expired, and if you were dying, your husband/wife couldn’t make any decisions about your care, and if you were killed in a terrifying tractor accident, your husband/wife wouldn’t get your Social Security benefits.

Prop 8, were IT against everyone, just says you can’t get married in California.

Aren’t we lucky these aren’t against everyone, and just against those pesky gays.

Anyway, enter Edith Windsor.

Edith Windsor married the love of her life – a woman she’d been in a forty-year relationship with, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007. They lived in New York. New York (holla!) recognized their marriage as valid. When Thea died, and left her estate to Windsor, the estate tax was $363,053. Now, were they an opposite-sex couple, the estate tax would have been waived. But they weren’t. They were a same-sex couple. And, well, DOMA.

Windsor paid the tax. And promptly turned around and sued the Federal government for a refund.

Listen. The love of her life – FORTY FUCKING YEARS – had just died. And now the Federal government was telling her that their marriage didn’t count. Did she roll over and pay the money and weep about how unfair it all was?

Fuck that. FUCK THAT. She sued the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

And you guys?

Yesterday she won.

And they say there aren’t any more heroes.

The Supreme Court of the United States said that Section 3 of DOMA – the second bullet point up there – was unconstitutional. And from what I’m reading, it’s apparently only a matter of time before Section 2 (the first bullet point) goes bye-bye, too. (Oddly, Section One is just “This is called DOMA.” I’m not even kidding. We’ll let ’em have that section, if they want it.)

What does this mean?

Well, if you’re a same-sex couple married in one of the thirteen states that currently allow same-sex marriage (WHAT? THIRTEEN? BUT WHEN I WOKE UP YESTERDAY THERE WERE TWELVE! Yeah, wait a minute, slappy) you get the same benefits as a opposite-sex couple. You can pay taxes together, you can make healthcare decisions, you can have insurance together, you can stay in the country if you are an expatriate or an immigrant who married someone who lives here…same rules apply.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES OMG FIRE! OMG BRIMSTONE!

It means nothing changes. It means life goes on. It means you wake up tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow and you get to instill the same homophobic bullshit into your kids’ malleable little brains as you always have.

No one’s making you marry someone of the same sex as you.

Let me put it simply, in case I’m being too verbiose:

FOR YOU, LIFE GOES ON AS IT ALWAYS HAS, YOU SMALL-MINDED PIECE OF HOMOPHOBIC SHIT.

Now, let’s talk about Prop 8. See, Prop 8’s a pain in the ass because for a brief period of time, same-sex couples were allowed to marry in California, until people got all “WHAT OMG NO!” and Prop 8ed them and then they couldn’t get married anymore.

Right after voting Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of Merka voted Prop 8 unconstitutional as well.

Yesterday was the worst day ever to be a homophobe, you guys. If they weren’t such small-minded crapmonsters I’d almost feel sorry for them.

Californians of the same sex can feel free to marry again as soon as various little legalities are ironed out.

That means we’re up to 13 states that allow same-sex marriage here in America. Well, 13 and Washington D.C., so 13.0005 or whatever we call D.C., I suppose.

You are all aware that’s both awesome and terrible, right? Because that’s 26% of Merka. 26% more than we had when we started, but ONLY 26%.

Now, listen. I know what you homophobes are thinking. You got home yesterday. You kicked at your pets and you poured yourself some sort of stiff double beverage and you started saying the following to whoever would listen:

  • “The Bible says this is AGAINST GOD’S WILL!”
  • “Those damn gays! Who do they think they are? They don’t deserve any more rights than the rest of us!”
  • “Once gays marry, who’s next? Turtles?”
  • “Kids raised by the gays are more likely to become gay themselves!”
  • “The gay agenda is taking over Merka and I DO NOT LIKE IT!”

I am here to help, homophobes. Luckily, I grew up among you. I dated some of your ranks. I am related to some of you. I KNOW YOUR PEOPLE. I speak your LANGUAGE. I can HELP.

Let’s break this down, one by one.

“The Bible says this is AGAINST GOD’S WILL!”

Yes. The Bible says a lot of things. The Bible also says don’t eat lobster and don’t wear clothes that mix fabric types and to stone whores and, here’s the kicker, and I know this one’s going to shock you…treat others as you, yourself, would be treated.

That’s the one people tend to forget.

Would you want people screaming your marriage is against God’s will? Would you want people telling you you’re an abomination? Would you want people telling you your marriage is invalid?

Nope. Didn’t think so.

“Those damn gays! Who do they think they are? They don’t deserve any more rights than the rest of us!”

I totally agree with this one. Who DO they think they are? They DON’T deserve any more rights than the rest of us! Oh. Shit. Wait. That would mean…the right to marry whoever they loved…and get the same benefits as opposite-sex couples…and not get beaten up on the streets just for holding hands…and not get called names…and “faggot” wouldn’t be something you call a kid in school if he was feminine as the ultimate put-down…

Crap. Where would we STOP once we gave them the rights that the rest of us had? This IS a slippery slope.

“Once gays marry, who’s next? Turtles?”

I think we’ve talked about this a few times because Bill O’Reilly said on Fox News once that if same-sex marriage became a thing, then people would start marrying turtles.

That’s just absurd. Everyone knows turtles look awful in veils. Now FROGS, on the other hand…

(No one’s marrying a turtle. Or a goat. Or a frog. Listen, let’s liken this to when interracial marriage was banned, then allowed. Did people start marrying wildlife? No. They didn’t. So I highly doubt anyone’s going to wake up today all, “Part of DOMA got declared unconstitutional? I’m marrying the bear at the Country Bear Jamboree today, then, dammit!”)

Well, he COULD provide the musical entertainment at your wedding. That is a consideration.

Well, he COULD provide the musical entertainment at your wedding. That is a consideration.

“Kids raised by the gays are more likely to become gay themselves!”

I can answer this one without research. I know, right? It’s amazing how cool I am.

Children raised by same-sex parents are not more likely to be gay or lesbian. And do you know why?

Because being gay or lesbian (or trans, or bi, or what have you) ARE NOT CHOICES.

They are they way people are born. It’s hard-wired into your brain. Asking this question is like asking, “Are the children of same-sex couples more likely to be left-handed?” or “Are the children of same-sex couples more likely to be blondes?”

It’s the way you’re born. A gay child is just as likely to be born to a gay couple as a straight couple. End of argument.

“The gay agenda is taking over Merka and I DO NOT LIKE IT!”

OMG SPARKLES AND RAINBOWS THE GAY AGENDA!

You’re totally right, though. I’m going to tell you a secret that the gays don’t want me to tell you. See, I have many friends amongst the gays, and they entrust me with their secrets – and I am sharing one with you now. This may well get me kicked out of their special people club.

THE GAY AGENDA *IS* ATTEMPTING TO TAKE OVER MERKA.

And guess what it is?

Equal rights for everyone in the LGBTQIA community.

Full stop. End of sentence.

Equal fucking rights.

The right to marry the person they love. The right to have all the accompanying benefits that come with marriage. The right to be safe in their environment. The right to be accepted. The right to be seen as an equal member of the human fucking race.

Yes. The gay agenda. Look out, homophobes. It’s coming to YOUR TOWN.

And it’s deliciously accessorized. Possibly with a feather boa, or perhaps a pair of kickass motorcycle boots.

(Congratulations to everyone affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section Three of DOMA and find Prop 8 unconstitutional yesterday. Selfishly, a SPECIAL congratulations to my most-beloved gay and lesbian friends, married or not, who are now one step closer to being a citizen with full rights in the country they were born and live in. Thank you, SCOTUS, for doing the right thing; in a country where you never quite seem to know if the government is for or against you, you did the right thing not once, but twice today. And yes, I spent pretty much the entire day yesterday reading my Facebook feed and various news outlets and weeping in joy. We got it right. For once, we got it right.)


Stolen pantyhose and baseball movies

This is going to be super-short. No, seriously. I have two hours. That is not long enough. I have to get to bed. Job interview tomorrow which I JUST GOT like a couple of hours ago and I am not prepared. I’m not 100% sure what they do there. Their website is confusing. So when they ask me, “what do you know about our company?” I’m going to be all, “ah duh” and that always makes a super-good impression. Also, I think I have no more pantyhose. I lost a pair in the laundry room (HOW THE HELL DOES THAT HAPPEN? they went IN the machine but did not come OUT. Did someone sneakyfuck my pantyhose? If so, EW, I hope you waited until they were at least CLEAN, you gross bastard) and I put a hole in the other pair so I think I have none. Which means I have to find nice slacks somewhere in my closet because I’m pretty sure my ripped cargo pants that I pretty much live in aren’t what you wear for an interview. Well, at least the weather’s gotten cooler so I won’t be the hottest.

Gimme back ma pantyhose, gross creepers. Sheesh.

SPEAKING OF! This weather is GLORIOUS. It’s totally fall-like. Fall-esque. It’s supposed to get to between 30-40 degrees tonight. Oh, wait, let me put that in Celsius for my non-MERKAN readers. That’s how I roll. I’m all-inclusive. Ready? TRANSLATED FOR MY FRIENDS WHO ARE NOT HERE! “Tonight, it is supposed to get between -1 and 4 degrees Celsius here.” (That’s what Google tells me. How’d I do? Celsius confuses me, and I even grew up right next to Canada so always heard both versions of the temperature on the news every night.) Isn’t that the best temperature ever? It’s so crisp and cool and it makes me want pumpkin-flavored things and apples and cinnamon and to watch shows about ghosts and to kick piles of crunchy leaves.

Aw, beagle! Younger Brother’s dog is a beagle. And we had beagles when I was growing up. I am a beagle fan, yo. They are the HAPPIEST dog. So goofy!

I am having cable issues in Casa del Amy and cussing at the television. I find it distressing that the television can work fine ALL DAY LONG until I want to watch a program. DAMN YOU TELEVISION. Oh, and I called to cancel HBO today, because a., I’m not using it now that True Blood and Game of Thrones are over (for now, anyway), and b., it’s expensive, and the cable company does NOT like you to cancel channels, no no Charlie.

Not anymore, it’s not. Not here, anyway.

Me: I’d like to cancel HBO, please.
Rep: Oh! Well, let’s discuss what’s best for your cable needs at this juncture.
Me: What’s best is cancelling HBO, please.
Rep: Is there nothing on HBO you might like? They have many excellent programs on HBO!
Me: I would like to cancel HBO, please.
Rep: Why would you like to do that?
Me: It’s expensive and the show I was watching on it is over.
Rep: True Blood fan, were ya?
Me: Yes. (Why so folksy all of a sudden, is she from Bon Temps?)
Rep: Have you considered watching Boardwalk Empire? It’s about GAMBLERS.
Me: Ma’am, I’ve just lost my job. Please cancel HBO.
Rep: Would you like me to look into ways we can lower your cable bill so you can keep HBO?
Me: I’d like you to look into ways I can lower my cable bill AND cancel HBO.
Rep: Oh. No. We don’t do that. If you cancel HBO and Cinemax your bill goes down $20 a month.
Me: I still have Cinemax? Good grief, I thought that was some sort of free promo like months ago. Have I been PAYING for that?
Rep: …aaaaand thank you for calling Time Warner Cable.

The moral of this story is: read your cable bill line items, ladies and gentlemen. If nothing else, you’ll know you have Cinemax. I could have been watching soft-core porn for MONTHS!

I did a search for “Skinemax” but AH MY EYES MY EYES so instead here is a befuddled hedgehog. YOU ARE WELCOME.

I’m 17 flavors of cranky about that stupid Clint Eastwood baseball movie. WHAT BASEBALL MOVIE AMY? I don’t know. There are a million commercials for it whenever I turn on the television. Here’s my issue. I love Clint Eastwood in a tearjerker. Clint Eastwood makes me BAWL. Million Dollar Baby? Effing Gran Torino? LOVED. Listen, there is very little I love more in the world than a good cleansing cry. And I like him because he’s all gruff and reminds me of my dad. And I REALLY liked him before a couple weeks ago when he decided he was going to talk to a chair. I DON’T KNOW WHAT WAS HAPPENING THERE. See, up until a couple of weeks ago, I was totally cool with Clint, because he even made a “get-offa-my-lawn” quote about gay marriage in GQ last year: “These people who are making a big deal about gay marriage? I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of … Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.” Yeah, so it’s not SO SO SO in-favor, but he’s an old guy, and he’s crotchety. I was all “you go, old crusty Clint.”

Oh, I can’t even. I’m not even allowed to watch this movie again. It KILLED me the first time around. SO MUCH CRYING.

Then he started talking to a chair? That I guess was supposed to be Obama? I don’t know. I can’t imagine anyone thought that was a good idea. Was that scripted? Did he just start blabbering? He’s not going senile, is he? I think the Republicans realized  it was a mistake because no one (except my dad…oh, dad) thought that was a rousing success.

Anyway, so the baseball movie trailers started coming out. It’s got Eastwood, it’s got a father/adult child thing (TOTAL weakness of mine) and it’s got baseball. DAMMIT EASTWOOD. It’s like someone sat down and was all, “what would make Amy cry and cry? Ooh, ooh! I know! Eastwood, baseball, and dads and their daughters! Shit, throw in that cute chick from Julie and Julia, Amy loves her and has ever since she saw her in that goofy movie where she went to Ireland and fell in love with a man named Declan and Amy LOVES people named Declan with accents and Amy swooned and EVERYONE hates that movie but not Amy! No no not Amy no sir! Because she is a gigantic sap sap sapperton!”

This is Matthew Goode. He played Declan. He is PERFECTION.

I am a SUCKER for baseball movies. Stupid baseball movies. Stupid Field of Dreams. Stupid The Natural. (NO NO, I don’t mean it, Field of Dreams and The Natural! I love you!) You give me a baseball movie and I am DONE. All the crying. Every last bit of it. I am totally kind of the most mad at Clint at the moment, but DAMN if I don’t want to see that stupid movie. (And now I want to see Field of Dreams again. I want a chance to finally meet my grandfather so, so young in a field in Iowa. I want my dad to have a catch with him again.)

If you can watch the “Why don’t you introduce him to his granddaughter” scene without getting even a little emotional, your heart is a black lump of snowman-eye coal. Sincerely.

This is longer than I even thought I could get done and I still have time for a popsicle. Go go gadget typing. Happy day, you guys!


The Time the Otters Saved the World

I somehow have the day off today, and am waiting for an important phone call. The person who is supposed to call me only has my home phone number. So I cannot leave the house. I have a million billion errands to run and I CANNOT LEAVE THE HOUSE. This is killing me. In a little while if they have not called me, I’m going to have to call them and leave my cell phone number on their voice mail, which I think is probably unprofessional because it’s a very important phone call and that’s going to make me look like a fool (and also when I left the original voice mail DAYS ago it was all DO NOT LEAVE MULTIPLE VOICE MAILS but at the TIME I did not anticipate they would be SO SLOW ABOUT CALLING ME BACK DAMMIT), a fool I tell you, but I don’t get a day off very often and if I don’t get my shit done, I may not have another chance to do it this week, which means I will be eating toast for days. And I’m almost out of bread. In related news, I’m still the most impatient person on the face of the earth, and waiting – for ANYTHING – makes me itchy like I have hives. Somehow, when the patience genes were being handed out, I was not in the correct line. I’m sure I was in the line for hair that sticks up all over the place or crazy eyes or something along those lines. BAD CHOICE IN LINES, AMY.

No, my phone doesn’t look like this, goofy. It’s like a cheap Walmart cordless or something, I don’t know.

I know you’re getting a lot of random posts lately. Sorry. I have to write these in-between times and my brain’s kind of scattery. It’s the way things will be for a bit. Someday we’ll get back to normal here in Amy-land. Well, at least I hope we will. I can’t promise we will, but no one can promise anything, can they? Nope. They can try, but they’re liars, all.

I’d be remiss not to mention what today is. You all know what today is. I won’t go all “NEVER FORGET ALWAYS REMEMBER” on you. I’ll just say, I hate today because it makes me random-weepy and I assume that will happen until I am an old, old Amy with a million cats. I’m going to attempt to avoid the weepery today but I think we all know how that’s going to go. OK FINE. There will be a LITTLE weepery. I’m only human. Shush, today’s a hard day that brings back a lot of bad memories. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

HOWEVER! In much much happier news, it’s Jim and Mrs. Jim’s anniversary. Happy anniversary, Jim and Mrs. Jim!

In additional fantastic happy news, our Science Fellow, Andreas, is expecting a new baby!

Well, HE isn’t. That’d be super-sciency, wouldn’t it? GROUNDBREAKINGLY sciency. Tabloid-newspaper sciency. No no no. His fiancée is obviously the one who will be giving birth, of course. But he AND his fiancée are expecting their second baby in just a few weeks! Their first child is (and I am admittedly biased) absolutely wonderful and adorable and funny and also one of the most beautiful children to ever exist, and Baby Andreas the Second* (*probably not what they will name him, I mean, MAYBE, but odds aren’t good) will ALSO be wonderful amazing perfection, of this I have no doubt. YAY ANDREAS! Congratulations to you and The Fiancée! The world can only be a better place with more baby Andreases running around in it. This is TRUE FACTS.

In news of wonderful animals and science, guess who’s going to save the world?

Yes, that’s right. OTTERS!

Here’s how it goes down: the world needs kelp. Kelp is a good thing. Kelp can absorb twelve percent of the CO2 from the atmosphere. TWELVE PERCENT! That’s a lot of percent, yo. We have too much CO2 in the atmosphere because we’re dirty polluters and therefore we need kelp.

Also, it’s pretty! But I bet if you drive your boat into it your motor would get all tangled up.

Sea urchins like to nom on kelp. Now, I can’t hate on the sea urchins. Sea urchins are pretty kickass. They’re all spiny and pretty and someday I’m going to eat somewhere fancy so I can taste one because before I die I want to try ALL the seafood, all of it. But, because sea urchins are eating the kelp, and we need the kelp, this is a bad thing. This is where OTTERS come in!

Otters eat sea urchins! So by eating sea urchins, otters are protecting the kelp, and therefore SAVING  THE PLANET. So the next time you’re recycling your laundry detergent bottles or whatever, think what you COULD be doing. SAVING THE WORLD BY BEING AN OTTER. Wouldn’t that be so much better? Yes. I want to be an otter. They are adorable and fun, and they always play and frolic. And they’re saving the woooooorrrrlllldddd. Al Gore! Check it out, the otters are saving the WORLD. As it should be. I always knew we’d be saved by adorable animals. I mean, has Disney taught us nothing?

Look! This otter has a little buffet all set up on his belleh. I like this otter. He has style. And panache. He’s a bon vivanty otter.

Oh, I wanted to tell you about the egg situation at the theater I hinted about a few posts back. So I’ve worked on two shows where we had to have eggs onstage. Both were ick. Totally ick.

Listen, I like eggs a great deal. Especially with cheese. But not on a stage. Or in a box or on a fox, Sam I Am.

The first show was cooked eggs. The actor had to eat eggs in a breakfast scene. So I found these frozen scrambled eggs. If you cooked them in the microwave before the show, they were ok. I mean, they were cold by the time he got them, but they were palatable. He never ate much of them, but he wanted real eggs so they looked real (and if I remember correctly, eggs were mentioned in the script so it wasn’t like we could make him a fruit plate or something.) We’d refrigerate (or leave in the freezer) the eggs inbetween shows that he didn’t eat and warm them up and they smelled kind of sulfury and we were all, “P., maybe don’t really eat those eggs. P., we’re worried those are poison eggs. P., just pretend to eat the eggs. NO ONE WILL CARE, P.” and he still ate the eggs. (Only our kitchen smelled, though. Luckily the theater didn’t smell of weird sulfur-eggs.) We were so worried we were going to kill him with those stupid eggs. And they smelled TERRIBLE. I don’t remember what name-brand those frozen breakfast meals were, but I don’t recommend you get them because they were suspect.

It was something like this. But microwaved bacon is disgusting so we threw it away. I don’t think there was a hashbrown.

I know what you’re thinking. “Maybe it’s COOKED eggs that are the problem, Amy. Maybe you need to do a show with RAW eggs!” Well! I am here to tell you that we HAVE done that and IT IS NO BETTER. We did another show (P. was also in that one! but he was not involved in the egg-incident this time, HI, P.!) and in that show (one of my favorites I’ve ever worked on) the characters had to have a raw egg fight. Well, not so much a fight – there was no THROWING of eggs – but they had to smash eggs over each other’s heads. So there was the scene with the egg-smashery (and aw, those poor actors, they had to run offstage, clean egg out of their hair and change their clothing and run RIGHT BACK ONSTAGE, and they are very much in love and moved to New York together now, how cute is that?) and then, in the dark (well, I think there was a slight light, like a tiny bit of light) K. and I had to run out, also in costume (not FULL costume, just long skirts and long-sleeved shirts to fit in with the period of the show) and as quick as possible, with multiple towels, a mop, and a bucket of water, clean that stage up as much as possible in about three minutes so the next scene could go on as if nothing had happened. It was Keystone Kops up there on that stage. We were all muttering “eggshell over here” and “SO MUCH EGG OVER HERE!” under our breath to one another in the gloom and cleaning like house-elves on speed and tripping over one another and trying not to slip on the combination of egg and water. Which, if you didn’t get it all in the dark (and listen, we never did) it turned to glue, so the next day before the show when I had to sweep and mop the stage, I couldn’t get it off the stage. At least it never really started to smell, which is surprising. Even with all of that, oh, I loved that show. One of the best I’ve done in all my years in theater. I was so sad when it was over. I loved the cast, I loved the script, I loved the set, I loved the director, I loved working with K. We had so much fun.

Finally, let’s talk about a happy. Well, a happy thing to come from an asshatty situation. So apparently, there is a football team (don’t start with me, I don’t care about sports) named the Baltimore Ravens. I’d cheer for a team called the Ravens because it reminds me of Poe. In Maryland, there’s a ballot initiative to legalize gay marriage (GO MARYLAND!) A player on the Ravens came out vocally in support of that initiative. Why? Well, shit, who cares why? Because he’s a human and it’s the right thing to do? Whatever. His name is Brendon Ayanbadejo. I like that last name. It has a lot of character. After he did, Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. contacted the owner of the team (teams have owners? shut UP, I TOLD you I don’t know anything about sports, really? People OWN teams? What, can they invite them over to like, mow their lawn whenever they have a whim, or something?) and told the owner to “inhibit such expressions from his employee.”

“My name is Mr. Burns, and I hate gays. I HATE THE GAYS SO SCARY SO SO SCARY MAKE ‘EM GO AWAY MOMMA.”

WHOA NELLY. Is anyone else imagining Emmett C. Burns Jr. as Mr. Burns, all “release the hounds?” I am.

Anyway, so ANOTHER player, on ANOTHER team (the Minnesota Vikings) named Chris Kluwe wrote a letter to Mr. “Exxxxxcellent” Burns, and it is VERY VERY AWESOME. If you don’t care for cussing, well, probably don’t click on it. But if you don’t care about profanity, and you like people who aren’t afraid to stand up for something they believe in even though they’re aware it will probably piss some people off, I recommend you click on the link.

Some highlights:

“Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words…)”

“What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person’s right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word.”

“As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you’re going to say that political views have ‘no place in a sport’?”

“This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way shape or form, affect your life? If gay marriage becomes legal, are you worried that all of a sudden you’ll start thinking about penis?” (WHY DO YOU HATE FREEDOM? This made me laugh so hard I spit-took. Because it is a thing DAD SAYS. And MEANS. To ME. It is usually in this sentence: “Why do you Dumbocrats hate freedom so much?”)

And…best paragraph of them all:

“I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?”

Yes, you can totally get a Lustful Cockmonster t-shirt, here you go.

I don’t care in the least about sports, but I now have a major crush on Chris Kluwe. I did research. He is 30 so it’s not SO creepy. Research tells me he’s an MMORPG nerd and plays bass in a band (sigh, I do love me a bass player.) He unfortunately is married (…dammit) but that doesn’t mean I can’t crush on him from afar. I promise I won’t actually TOUCH him. Or lick him. Or anything to him. Just crush. Nicely. From afar.

I think we (by “we” I mean “I” because sorry, I have problems with this) might mistakenly assume football players to be unintelligent meatheads. I’m quite pleased to discover this is not the case.

NEW SECRET CRUSH!

OK, this is LONG. And guess what, the phone never rang. Well, it did, but it was only my job calling with hours for the week. Spoiler alert, there are a lot of them and they involve me waking up before the sun. I’m going to leave the house. The minute I do this phone is going to ring. You know it is, right? Sigh.


Consider this the slip that brought me to my knees

We were discussing Lent the other day on Twitter. I was cheering on some friends who are participating in Lent, while explaining that, although I find it beyond admirable whenever anyone goes through Lent, I no longer participate in the practice, because I am a stubborn ass when it comes to Catholicism. This brought up some curiosity as to why this is.

No, not why I’m a stubborn ass. If you could answer that question, you’d win the prize. I can’t even answer that question. Genetics? Nature? Nurture? My most influential role model growing up was (and remains) the most stubborn man I’ve ever come across in the history of ever; I’m sure that plays a part. My brain just being wired that way? I don’t know. I’m stubborn, and I can, and often am, a complete ass about it. There’s not a lot of rhyme or reason to it. I can’t often explain my actions to myself. Sometimes I even say, “Amy! Stop being such a stubborn ass!” TO MYSELF. It doesn’t often help. I just keep assing along.

No, why I’m a stubborn ass in relation to Catholicism was the question. I’ve touched on it now and again here, a few run-ins I had with various clergy members or things that have happened to me over the years in the church. There was the time I was kicked out of churchschool for standing up to the bully asshole priest who screamed at the Planned Parenthood employee; there was the time I was so mad at the games we had to play in churchschool I refused to participate, and therefore I became an object lesson for the entire congregation.

Neither of these explain why I refuse to go to church anymore. I still attended church after these occurred. I attended church right up until a little after grad school, actually. Then I’d had enough, so I stopped.

Now, before I start this, please bear in mind: I am not attacking the Catholic church, or any church, or any religion (well, except for maybe cults. I’m scared of cults. Or religions that are yelly about things. Or religions that get in my face. Other than that: you go, religion, you go.) This is MY PERSONAL TAKE ON SHIT. If you want to be an asshat and all “YOU HATE GOD” or whatever, you know what, go do that over there, or something, I don’t have time or energy to deal with your shenanigans.

It all came down to this: I could no longer attend an institution that was making me pray, on a weekly basis, for social issues to be resolved in a manner that was opposite to what I believed in.

Sure, there were other things. There was the time there a senile priest chased me out of the confessional screaming “GET ON YOUR KNEES AND BEG FOR GOD’S FORGIVENESS YOU HEATHEN” (wish I was kidding, you guys), there was the evil priest, for whom a special circle in Dante’s inferno is reserved, one where fingernails are pulled out OVER AND OVER AND OVER, who called my mom up at work and called her the Whore of Babylon (yeah, I know, right?) because she and my father refused to donate substantial amounts of money so he could get a new rectory; there was the time that same priest installed a rearview mirror in the confessional so he could see who was making confession even though it was supposed to be anonymous, I assume either for blackmail or gossip purposes. But those were individual incidents, and not indicative of the church as a whole. So I kept going.

Then there was the hypocrisy. I like rules. I approve of rules. I think, as a society, we could benefit from following the damn rules a little more often. But no one was following the effing rules of church, yet people were still GOING. People would be eating Egg McMuffins in their cars in the parking lot, then going in and receiving the Eucharist. THAT’S NOT THE RULE. You’re supposed to fast before you receive the sacrament. THOSE ARE THE RULES. People would only attend a mass here or there, usually the ones where you got goodies, like palms or ashes, and then be all, “Yep, I’m a good Catholic.” You attend ALL the masses and ALL the holy days. THOSE ARE THE RULES. People that I KNEW were horrendous human beings in real life would be at mass on Sundays. I’m pretty sure you were supposed to be at least ATTEMPTING to follow God’s teachings ALL WEEK LONG, not just piously showing up in church on Sunday. RULES. RULES. RULES.

But that was on them, not on me. So I kept going. Good Catholic girl, parents raised me to attend church, I kept going. Not saying I didn’t miss a mass here or there, especially in college when I was too hungover to get out of bed on Sunday mornings, but I made an effort. I tried to do my best. I still believed in what the church stood for, the greater good of it all. I kept going.

Years passed. It weighed on me, more and more. But I kept going.

Then this weird new practice started, and that was when I drew the line.

At the end of every mass, right before we could leave, we all had to stand there while either the priest or a deacon or one of the readers stood up and read off a list of things the church, as a whole, was praying for that week. And we all had to put our arms and hands up in a Sieg Heil salute throughout. No, I’m not kidding. Did I have the only church that thought this was a good idea? There have to be some Catholics reading this. Did your church make you pray for things while Heiling? Was this a thing? Is this still a thing?

So the first time I looked around, trying to catch someone’s eye to share the delicious insanity of “hey, we’re totally doing the Sieg Heil thing, this is cuckoo-bananas, right?” but everyone had dead, dead eyes. Like a cult. Like a dead cult. IT WAS ALARMING. It was grainy WWII news-reel footage of Hitler youth alarming. I did not like it one little bit.

So I just stood there and refused to put my arm up. I wasn’t Heiling ANYONE. I felt like I’d fallen into a bodysnatchers movie.

Then the person reading started reading what we were praying for. Poor people. Cool, I could get behind that. At the end of each statement we were supposed to respond something. At this point, many years later, I have no idea what that is. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, it was “Let us pray.” I don’t know what it was. I barely remember what I wore yesterday. (I’m lying. I wore my Dr. Horrible shirt and it was AWESOME.)

So, poor people. Cool, cool, cool. I mean, I wasn’t Heiling, but I could say “Let us pray” to that. Fine. Then something for more clergy members, or whatever. Some things that I was completely down with and found to be not-at-all-objectionable.

Then we got (and I’m working from memory and imagination, here, so bear with):

“Let us pray for the homosexuals; that they see the error of their ways, and find God. Let them come back to God and realize that the only true love and marriage is that which is found between a man and a woman.”

WHAT THE HELL.

I mean, I wasn’t an idiot. I knew the church was totally anti-homosexuality. But they didn’t usually SAY it. Not in MASS.

I wasn’t “let us pray”-ing for that shit, no no, not me. Not with over half of the people I loved more than anyone BEING those damn dirty godless homosexuals. So I just stood there, refusing to Heil, refusing to let-us-pray.And kind of getting a head of steam, honestly. And an Amy head of steam is never a good thing. They usually boil over. Someone gets scalded.

Then some other filler shit, then we got:

“Let us pray for the aborted babies, who have been killed, through no fault of their own, by their mothers. Let them enter heaven, whether baptized or not. Let the government see the error of its ways and outlaw this barbaric practice.”

AW HELL NO.

OK, first you attack my best FRIENDS, then you expect me to Sieg Heil away my right to frigging CHOOSE? Nope. Not going to happen. HEAD OF STEAAAAAM. Also, separation of CHURCH and STATE. You aren’t supposed to talk about the GOVERNMENT in here. Yes, yes, that’s not what that MEANS, FINE. Either way. STOP BRINGING YOUR POLITICS TO MY ALTAR.

And everyone else around me, dead, dead eyes, were just standing there, arms outstretched, mindlessly, thoughtlessly “let us pray”-ing. Probably not even listening to what was being said. Not even thinking about what they were throwing their words behind.

That was when I realized: there was a very, very good possibility I think too much to attend mass anymore. Because I overthink EVERYTHING. The rules. What’s being said. What the things being said MEAN. Why we’re doing certain things as opposed to others. Why there aren’t any female priests. Why priests can’t marry. Why there is so much pedophilia in the Catholic church. Why we’re Sieg Heiling to social issues that are the VERY REASONS I choose which political candidates to vote for, or against.

But I thought, maybe this is just a special-occasion thing. Maybe this isn’t going to happen every week. Maybe this is going to happen once in a while, and you can just stand here and 1967 conscientious-objector this shit out and all will be well.

Nope. Every week. Every week the same old “pray for the dead babies” and the “pray for the godless gays” and me standing there looking around the congregation for someone, ANYONE, who wasn’t just Heiling away their soul and not finding a single kindred spirit.

So I couldn’t go anymore. It was over for me. Just, over. Done. Other than once or twice (once because the priest mentioned in the link above was in town, and I wanted to see him because I loved him more than almost anyone, and a couple times for Christmas when my parents’ wheedling became just waaaaay too intense, before I finally put my foot down) I haven’t been back since.

Do I miss it? Yes. I miss the gorgeous ritual of it. I miss the routine. I miss the rules. I miss the pageantry and the iconography and the stories. But the magic of it was gone for me. I can’t stand behind an institution that hates women and believes that homosexuality is evil. I can’t. I wouldn’t put up with it from a politician in office, I wouldn’t put up with it from a friend, and I won’t put up with it from my church.

The worst part is, I don’t believe this is what Jesus would have wanted his church to come to, were he here today. Jesus was a progressive dude. He was all-inclusive. Back in the day, he was friends with tax collectors and whores, who were like the dregs of society, you know? He was the original hippie. And you’re telling me that a church, founded on this man’s teachings, wouldn’t change with the times and accept all people, regardless whether their plumbing’s an innie or an outie or who they choose to bed down with at the end of the night? Really? You think I’m stupid enough to go along with that?

I’ve tried other religions, because I miss the magic. I really do. I miss the belonging and I miss the belief in something. But my heart will always be with Catholicism. See, that’s why I say, don’t even attack me, because this isn’t an attack on Catholicism. I LOVE CATHOLICISM. I do. I just don’t like where it is, as opposed to where it could be. And I can’t, in good faith (heh, pun intended) back that horse.

Do I believe in God, I suppose, is your next question. And that’s a huge one, right? One that most people probably don’t even want to discuss. Well, listen, if there’s ever been a place to discuss it, it’s here, so I might as well get it out of the way. I believe in SOMETHING. I think there’s something out there. I’ve seen too many things happen that are too coincidental to be coincidences. I think there’s some sort of master plan, sure. It’s nebulous, but it’s in place. Somehow. What is it? What the hell do I know, I’m not in the inner circle. Is the higher power God? Jesus? Gaia? Buddha? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW. I don’t know if there’s even a name on it, honestly. I just think there’s something. SOMETHING. And I respect the right of everyone else to believe – or not to believe at all – in their somethings, or their nothings. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, and as long as you don’t get too shouty about it.

So yes. I’m stubborn as hell. I won’t go to church with my family when I’m home, which upsets them to no end. But it’s not like they think – because I hate the church. It’s not that at all. It’s because if I enter a church for mass, I’d feel like I was a hypocrite, no better than that guy chowing the Egg McMuffin in the parking lot before mass. I can’t stand behind some of their most basic beliefs, so the church is not for me. If it changes? If they decide to change with the times, embrace the social issues that are dealbreakers for me? Stop railing against homosexuality, accept a woman’s right to choose, allow female priests, and allow male priests to marry? Then yes. I can see myself attending mass again. Because I do miss it.

I’m a stubborn ass. I know that. I know that’s true. But I also know I don’t belong in a room of thoughtless people with their hands raised, saluting and praying for things that they aren’t even listening to, one eye on their watches, thinking about getting home for football. I have better things to do with my Sundays. I usually spend them at a theater. That’s a kind of a church, for me. More all-inclusive. More welcoming. And, if done well? Totally a religious experience.


What Are You Trying to Protect Heterosexual Marriage From?

“Well, fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.” –NYS Senator Roy McDonald, explaining why he decided to support the Marriage Equality Bill

I visited family this weekend, and as I live in New York, the topic of conversation with my mother turned to the Marriage Equality Bill that’s facing our Senate this week. I said how I’d been active in campaigning to get it passed (not as active as I’d like, as an aside – if I didn’t have to go to work, I’d be at the Capitol singing this week). Her response? “I don’t know why it matters to you. You’re not gay.”

Now, please, please note, my mother is not a homophobe. She’s remarkably open-minded about homosexuality. I don’t think she thinks the bill should pass, but she has religious objections to it, and isn’t loud and shouty about it. Someone we both love very much recently came out, and she’s been really wonderful about it.

My answer was, as my answers often are when confronted with something as huge as this, inadequate. I believe I stammered something along the lines of, “It’s important. It’s important for our state. And it’s right. It’s just the right thing to do.”

I’m one of those people who thinks of responses days later to things. Someone insults me and I wake up at 3 a.m. two days later with “Yeah, well, at least I don’t think accessorizing means wearing sunglasses as a headband!” (That’s a bad example, but you get the idea.)

My first belated thought was the Niemoller quote: “First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.  Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.  Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.” This is a bit of overkill, but the idea is sound. When it’s the right thing to do, it doesn’t matter if you identify with the group that’s being discriminated against. I’m not mentally challenged, but I take offense at the use of the word “retarded.” I’m not elderly, but I take offense at abuse targeted at that demographic. I’m not African-American, but I find the KKK abhorrent. I don’t have to have sex with women to think that marriage should be equal and available to everyone in my beloved state, regardless of the gender they love.

I am also a theater person, so of course, through the years, I’ve had the pleasure of being friends with a number of gay men and women. And I’m about to blow your mind right now, so hold on tight: THEY ARE JUST LIKE US. They work, pay bills, vote, contribute to society, have children – all the things straight people do. I know! Crazy, right? And? They also fall in love. But here in New York, they have to leave the state to get married. They can have a ceremony here, but they can’t officially marry. Most of the couples I know have gone to Massachusetts (and thank you, Massachusetts, for your awesomeness and proximity.) They’re not asking for anything other than equal rights. If you, as a straight person, fall in love with another straight person, you can marry him or her. It’s a given. You don’t even have to think twice about it. If you’re gay, it’s a process, and it’s work, and it’s labor, and it’s traveling out of the state where you’ve always lived, and where you choose to continue to live, to solemnize your commitment to the person you love, and coordinating that with family and friends. This is stupid and unfair and childish. It’s a matter of miles, for some people. It’s the matter of an arbitrary border, for the love of Pete.

Related to the above: spoiler alert, but gay marriages make you cry just as much as straight marriages do. It’s true. Because love is love, and when two people are committing to spend their lives together, and taking that crazy, insane leap into something that’s, statistically, got a better than 50% chance of failure, it’s awe-inspiring, and breathtaking, and if you have a heart, you cry.

I may not be gay, but I have family members who are; I have close friends who are; parents of close friends who are; role models throughout my life, from childhood to now, who are. If they’re not worth speaking up for, who is? I know they’d do it for me, without the slightest hesitation. These are the people who’ve helped me become the woman I am, who have helped mold me, held my hand through some of the toughest times of my life, laughed and cried with me, supported me, given me a place to go when I didn’t have one. They aren’t asking for a kidney (although I’d probably offer one of those to some of them, too, I’m not going to lie about that.) They’re asking for the same rights I have (a right, mind you, that I don’t even choose to use, and probably never will. I wish we could transfer our ability to marry to a couple that deserves it. I’d gladly give mine up.)

It is also important to note that I am not religious, although I was raised so, and do not identify myself with any organized religion. I was, however, raised so, as I mentioned. I know the Bible. I know the passages the religious protesters are quoting. However, the Bible was not meant to be a static document. It was meant to change as the times changed. There are many rules that Christians no longer follow; why have they latched onto this one as an absolute? It’s not even one of the Ten Commandments! If you’re going to argue that the Bible says it’s wrong, then you’d better not be eating shellfish or pork, or wearing clothing woven of two types of material, or you are a hypocrite. You can’t pick and choose. You do it all, or you do none of it. Don’t hide behind a book written before we had electricity. And Jesus was all about love, so don’t tell me that if he was around today, he wouldn’t be on the side of the homosexuals. He was a champion of people who were being treated unfairly and being downtrodden. I sometimes like to think of Jesus up in heaven shaking his head and saying, “Seriously! Stop putting words in my mouth! You know damn WELL the only thing I said that was 100% irrefutable was “love one another as I have loved you” and you KEEP IGNORING IT!”

Also, one last, small, tiny thing: straight people? It is none of your business, if homosexual couples want to marry. Who exactly died and left you in charge of the planet, really? No one is forcing you to marry someone of your own sex, so keep your eyes on your own test, ok?

If I could go back and say something to my mother, it would be this: “I’m doing this because it is the right thing to do; because it is the right time to do it; because I love my state and I love my friends and I believe they deserve the same rights and privileges as everyone else has; and because you and Dad taught me that if you see injustice being done, you don’t stand idly by – you do something about it. You leave the world in a little better shape than it was when you came in.”

(My title is from Iowa Representative Ed Fallon – read his speech here. Inspiring and wonderful.)


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