Editor’s note: This article is by David Mailloux, with whom I co-founded “The Great Nationwide Kiss-In” last summer. David is now a board member with Join the Impact Massachusetts, and a co-founder of The Maine LGBT Civil Rights March. He is also my friend.
The voting for Crate and Barrel’s “Ultimate Wedding Contest” ended last night, with same-sex couple Jonathan Howard and Gregory Jones coming in a very close second-place. Final voting results, which count for just 20% of the judges decision, were 21,562 to 20,759, a difference of only 803 votes, or just 3%.
I know you technically don’t know me from Adam, but you do know me. I come into your stores every single day. I look like the mild-mannered academic who wants a nice set of dishes for his next dinner party with the folks who might recommend him for tenure. I look like the quiet, closeted accountant who needs a new kitchen set since his mother has heckled him for years to purchase a new one. I look like the fortunate college student whose parents make six figures each and every year, who can afford to shop in your store weekly with his allowance to deck out his perfect apartment. I am the boyfriend who dreams of registering with your establishment in the days after successfully proposing marriage to the man he loves.
The bottom line: I am gay. And every single one of the people I described is gay. But they could also be straight, with just a tiny switch of the pronouns or modifiers. That’s what I’m talking about here. One of the top couples in your Ultimate Wedding Contest is gay. They are two gay men who live an ordinary life with extraordinary circumstances. They are a psychologist and a retail store manager who live in Washington D.C. but their love, their future marriage isn’t recognized in 90% of the states in this country, nor is it recognized by the country they call home.
I live about 500 miles away from Jonathan Howard and Gregory Jones, and I am an activist. My primary goal in this lifetime is to see a time where Jon and Greg, these two regular 20-something guys, can be married and have their marriage recognized throughout our land of the free and home of the brave. In order for them (truly) to be recognized, we have to change the viewpoint of our society. We have to educate our citizens in the reality that gay men exist, they are real, they have not chosen who they are as much as straight people have chosen who they are, and they are deserving of the beautiful reality that many straight married couples live every single day.
Jon and Greg are in love, as much in love as any straight couple would be. Their love is undeniably, unquestionably real. They have spent nearly three years with each other in both the best and worst of times. In August of 2008, as Jon walked home from a fun night out on the town with friends, he was attacked by a random group of men who clearly held issue with his sexuality. He and one of his best friends were beaten in the middle of what is arguably the friendliest neighborhood for gay men in the city of Boston. When Jon was discovered by a passing motorist, an unidentified man was stomping on his head, and one of his best friends was running for his life, covered in his own blood from this disturbing attack. And as that passing motorist jumped out of her car and approached the scene, Jon lay in the street, nearly dead, because someone hated the way he was born.
I write this through tears because no human being alive should have to suffer through such an experience. I write this through tears because Jon is just an ordinary guy, this sweet and real human being, who happens to be gay and he suffered through this disturbing attack on his well-being, and his confidence, and his life, worse than anyone I know might have experienced. But, when this happened, the beautiful partner he had chosen just a year before stood by his side. He found his unconscious partner in the middle of the night at a local hospital, stayed with him, and brought him home when it was all over.
And through the tears and the nightmares and the trial of his attacker and the regular life they lived in between, they stayed in each other’s arms. They never strayed. They believed in the power of true love. They emerged from an existence fraught with hurt and pain as activists, believing that nobody should have to experience their hurt, believing in a world where their love would be recognized as real and as solid as anyone else’s.
I know these boys who now live in D.C. and I consider them my brothers in a fight that I may never win in my lifetime. I often wonder if my time is limited, if I might never experience the love, the passion, the beautiful realities and disasters of their relationship. I possess a jealousy that one should never have of their friends, but I feel that jealousy with love and admiration at the same time. I believe in their love. I believe in their lives.
And even though they might not have the highest number of votes at 11:59 p.m., CDT on March 31, 2010, I can assure you: they are your guys. They are your winning couple. And not only that, but they are very likely the beginning of the end of our struggle. Because they are a gay couple in love, two men who live like everyone else, who deserve your recognition – these two 20-something guys who have a lifetime of beauty and sharing and… undoubtedly… many sets of Crate and Barrel dinnerware ahead of them.
Jon and Greg are the beginning of the end of our struggle because they took their beautiful love and dared to put it in the spotlight. They will change the landscape with their ordinary, yet extraordinary world. And they can make many people realize that they are just like everyone else. And once they alter our landscape with their love, once they educate people with their normalcy, they can encourage a life worth living for thousands of gay and lesbian couples throughout this beautiful country who have feared the everyday reality of Anytown, USA. And the equality for which I have bled, for which thousands upon thousands of gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender people have bled and died, may very well happen.
Dearest contest coordinators, it may sound as if I’m suggesting that you make a political statement with your contest, but I’m really not. I’m just asking you to realize that two gay men, just as well as any straight couple, can represent you, represent your company with the grace and ease that will bring you both success and fame. Besides that, though, I have a dream that the battle my friends and I, my brothers and sisters have fought will not be in vain. I pray that I’ll live to see the day that a couple like Greg and Jon can find the recognition they deserve, in light of the pain they have suffered. I have a dream that our society will recognize that Greg and Jon are as regular, as ordinary, as beautiful as any other couple in the world.
Someday, there won’t be talk of gay marriage or same-sex marriage. Someday, couples like Greg and Jon will be married in every one of our 50 states and nobody will think twice about it. The horror of the early days of their relationship might be forgotten, replaced with the realization that they are exactly the same as their brothers and sisters nationwide. And they will walk into your store and not even think twice about who they are, because their lives will recognized as simply, as perfectly as everyone else.
Please think about this. Please choose my friends, my brothers as the winning couple. Please step alongside us and change the world. In the end, we will have made a difference. We will take the first steps together. And they will be beautiful.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
White House Mocks GOP With ‘Worst Person You Know’ Meme After Matt Gaetz Blames McCarthy for Shutdown
In a rare move the Biden White House on Wednesday mocked House Republicans with a popular internet meme to highlight remarks made by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz that show how the Florida Republican is blaming the impending, likely shutdown of the federal government on Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Congressman Gaetz specifically says “We cannot blame Joe Biden” and “We cannot blame House Democrats” for it.
Gaetz, who did not vote to hand McCarthy the gavel back in January, for weeks has increasingly been targeting the House Speaker. Last week he threatened he would get McCarthy removed as Speaker, going as far as to say he was “out of compliance.” On Tuesday a reporter found a resolution with links to Gaetz declaring the Office of the Speaker “vacant” on a baby changing table in a House restroom.
Fox News’ Liz Elkind reported on Gaetz’s comments via social media, “MATT GAETZ pins shutdown on McCarthy: ‘We will have a government shutdown and it is absolutely Speaker McCarthy’s fault. We cannot blame Joe Biden for not having moved our individual spending bills. We cannot blame House Democrats. We can’t even blame Chuck Schumer in the Senate.”
The White House reposted them, and the “worst person” meme, known as the “Heartbreaking: The Worst Person You Know Just Made A Great Point.” The meme was published in 2018 by Clickhole. a satirical website.
The federal government will shut down in 10 days if Speaker McCarthy cannot pass legislation to keep the government funded after September 30. That legislation will need to be acceptable to the Senate, and President Joe Biden. House Republicans, intent on stripping funding for Ukraine, defunding Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigations, along with the Dept. of Justice and FBI, are digging in their heels amid “chaos” and “infighting.” Some have called it a GOP “civil war.”
See the White House’s post below or at this link.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 20, 2023
‘Brazen and Misguided’: Schumer Decimates Tuberville’s ‘Act of Desperation’ – and Threatens to Hold Senators in DC
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took strong action on Wednesday, slamming U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville, vowing to get several officers in the U.S. Armed Forces confirmed to top posts, and threatening that if the Georgia Republican lawmaker who has blockaded well over 300 military promotions does not release his holds he will hold Senators in D.C. over the weekend.
“In an act of desperation, Sen. Tuberville is trying to use a procedural step to overcome his own holds,” Majority Leader Schumer wrote on social media Wednesday afternoon, before delivering a floor speech. “You read it right. His own holds.”
“He is trying to make himself the gatekeeper of which officers are promoted or languish,” Schumer added. “We can’t allow this to continue. We’re taking action.”
On the floor of the Senate he added: “We cannot allow Senator Tuberville to decide which of our dedicated and brave service members get promoted and which get to languish. Which military families are able to settle in their new posts, and which must remain in limbo. We cannot we should not allow that to be the case.”
“So I have just filed cloture on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Army Chief of Staff. These men should have already been confirmed. They should already be serving in their new positions,” Schumer said. “The Senate should not have to go through procedural hoops just to please one brazen and misguided senator.”
“But this is where we are. In the end, the Senate will overwhelmingly vote to overcome Senator Tuberville’s blockade of these three nominees by voting for cloture then the Senate will overwhelmingly vote to confirm them,” he vowed. “And these three honorable men will finally be able to assume their positions and the abortion policy that Senator Tuberville abhors will remain in place. Senator Tuberville will have accomplished nothing.”
It is rare for a Senate Leader to target one member of the body, and even more rare to do so by name, but Senator Tuberville’s blockade, which he began in February, has harmed military readiness, according to multiple top Pentagon officials and former officials.
Tuberville has said he has blocked at least 319 military promotions, which require Senate confirmation, in response to the Pentagon’s policy of reimbursing service members who need to travel out of state to obtain abortion health care services. Many GOP-majority states have imposed abortion bans, forcing out-of travel.
But Schumer’s reference to “gatekeeper,” and later, in his floor speech saying, “which of our dedicated and brave service members get promoted,” may also refer to Tuberville’s unprecedented personal attacks on individual officers awaiting promotion.
Last month the Georgia freshman Republican Senator targeted over 20 individual U.S. Military officers, promoting an attack on their remarks supporting diversity and equity programs, or even, in one case, blasting one officer for their “celebration” of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Tuberville, who denied holding up hundreds of promotions is having a damaging effect on the military and morale, also has said he is blocking these promotions because the Biden administration is “woke.”
Recently, Tuberville told Bloomberg News each military officer’s promotion takes two hours of voting by the Senate, which could take them up individually despite his block. Tuberville falsely said voting on all the promotions would take “no time at all” to complete.
Watch Majority Leader Schumer below or at this link.
Majority Leader Schumer (D) says the Senate will vote on stalled military promotions individually:
“The Senate will overwhelmingly vote to confirm them … and the abortion policy that Sen. Tuberville abhors will remain in place. Sen. Tuberville will have accomplished nothing.” pic.twitter.com/zBxzcJrGkZ
— The Recount (@therecount) September 20, 2023
Fetterman Vows to GOP ‘Jagoffs’ He Will ‘Save Democracy by Wearing a Suit’ but He Has Two Conditions
Amid several days of right-wing, Republican, and Fox News outrage targeting U.S. Senator John Fetterman after Senators were told they may now wear casual attire on the floor, the Pennsylvania Democrat is promising to “save democracy by wearing a suit,” but he has two conditions.
Senator Fetterman stands at least six feet eight inches tall and weighs in at 270 pounds, according to The Washington Post, which attempted this week to debunk right-wing conspiracy theories that he has a “body double.”
He is known for wearing Carhartt sweatshirts and shorts more often than suits and ties, and after he was elected last year many in the media worried how he would transition to the more formal restrictions expected of sitting U.S. Senators. As it turns out there is no actual “dress code” that applies to Senators, and some, like Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), have taken advantage of that fact on occasion.
Ted Cruz came in t shirt and shorts and nobody said boo. pic.twitter.com/PSRqhKm48x
— Myron Nelson (@Myronnelson) September 19, 2023
Some, like one menswear editor, have taken the opportunity to mock other unique dress aspects of some political figures.
i hope republicans institute a stricter dress code
1. no low-rise pants with short jackets and insane shoes
2. no black dress shirts with light-colored ties; no suits without a jacket
3. no tan shoes with dark suits; no dress sneakers or “fun socks”
4. no scotch tape on ties https://t.co/rAMx7S8uia pic.twitter.com/AkXYfWkoQf
— derek guy (@dieworkwear) September 20, 2023
On Tuesday Sen. Fetterman mocked his detractors, including Fox News, which has aired at least several segments on his casual attire while suggesting the relaxed enforcement of the already non-existent “dress code” in the nation’s top deliberative body is an example of the “decline of standards in everything.”
One of Fetterman’s detractors has been having her own challenges this week: U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), caught vaping, taking photos, and allegedly engaged in sexual groping during a performance of a family-friendly musical.
In response to a Fox News social media post that claimed “People are furious after the Senate dropped its dress code requirement,” Sen. Fetterman said: “I figure if I take up vaping and grabbing the hog during a live musical, they’ll make me a folk hero.”
On Wednesday, Fetterman continued his colorful remarks, while mocking his critics – namely, House Republicans – who, he suggested, feel sweats are the end of the American republic.
The House is currently mired in “chaos,” a word Reuters, Fox News, MSNBC, The Hill, Axios, The Washington Post, and others have used to described the state of Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s conference just eleven days before what appears to be a likely shutdown of the federal government. It appears less and less likely Republicans will be able to pass legislation that will keep the government open after September 30, and continue funding Ukraine’s defense against Russia.
“If those jagoffs in the House stop trying to shut our government down, and fully support Ukraine, then I will save democracy by wearing a suit on the Senate floor next week,” Sen. Fetterman wrote.
See the social media photos above or at this link.
- News3 days ago
‘Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party’: McCarthy and Far Right Republicans Mocked as GOP Divide Grows Even Greater
- News2 days ago
Legal Expert Points to Another Trump Confession That ‘Got Very Little Attention’
- News3 days ago
‘A Nazi Movement—All the Way to the Top’: Critics Denounce Trump’s Antisemitic Attack on ‘Liberal Jews’
- News2 days ago
‘Grabbing the Hog During a Live Musical’: Fetterman Mocks Fox News and Boebert Over Dress Code Outrage
- News2 days ago
‘Another Alleged Instance of Obstruction’: New ‘Rock Crusher’ Revelation Makes Case Against Trump Even Stronger Expert Says
- News3 days ago
Boebert’s ‘Explicit Groping’ Video Response Shows She’s in a Panic About Re-Election: MSNBC Panelist
- OPINION2 days ago
‘I Dress Like He Campaigns’: Fetterman Smacks Down DeSantis Amid Sweeping Right Wing Attack on His Attire
- News16 hours ago
‘Knock It Off’: Matt Gaetz Thinks Merrick Garland Should Tell the President to Not Allow Hunter Biden at State Dinners