Connect with us

Same-Sex Marriage: How Allowing Gays To Marry Could Rescue California

Published

on

How allowing gays to marry in California could rescue a
state teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Guest author Terry Angel Mason explains.

“Today, you would think that because I am an African-American, that I would have awakened with a new zest for living, a belief that all things are possible and a renewed hope in America, the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. But instead, I felt a chilling numbness emotionally very similar to the kind of feeling that I experience when someone close to me in my family has just died!”

These were the words penned in my Pulitzer-nominated book, “Love Won’t Let Me Be Silent,” after Proposition 8 passed in California, amid the euphoria and jubilation of electing America’s first African-American President. At that time my feelings were very conflicted because there was a part of me that was overjoyed because Barack Obama had been elected. Conversely, another part of me was in complete despair because of the bigotry and hatred that would later take on the form of denying same-gender-loving people the right to adopt children in other states and/or the right to wed the person of their choosing; in addition to the countless suicides, abuse and extreme acts of violence committed against LGBT community – all the direct result from the implementation of this hideous Bill!

Prior to the passing of Proposition 8 (aka Prop. 8), African-American clergy, Catholics, Evangelicals, Mormons and some non-denominational Christians urged their parishioners to vote “YES” on Prop. 8, ignoring and completely disregarding the fact that thousands of LGBT people attend their churches and participate in every aspect of ministry, pay their tithes, and have an undying devotion to the ministry. Parishioners were told, “We must do everything we can to preserve the Institution of marriage.” Oh, if they would have only acted earlier with the same fervor years ago, perhaps heterosexual Christians would not lead the country in divorces and separations — long before Prop. 8, gay marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships were ever established.

Yes, you heard me right! I was amazed to discover that born-again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce. These statistics have been the case for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps is that when these divorcees publicly announce their divorce, many of them are rejected by their community of faith rather than provided with support and healing. It is apparent that many Christians are quick to criticize gay unions, having forgotten to remove the beam from their own eye before trying to get the speck out of their brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5). And what of the Bishops, whose stories garner constant media attention in the Black churches throughout our great country? The same Bishops, who bash from the pulpit, are on their third and fourth marriage, cleverly cover up sex and drug scandals, and violently abuse their wives. The media is constantly exposing the fact that more and more of these same Bishops are committing adultery and fathering illegitimate children with women in their congregations, other than their spouses. And let’s not forget to mention the ones who are on the downlow (meaning they are closeted gays) who cheat with other men!

What is even more alarming is that HIV/AIDS and poverty in the African American and Hispanic Communities is staggering! Furthermore, many, if not most of these same Pastors, Bishops, Priests and ministers who encouraged their parishioners to vote “Yes” on Prop 8, don’t even have a food pantry for their members, senior care programs, effective HIV/AIDS outreach programs and sadly, no prison ministry rehabilitation program; a tragic oversight, especially since there are over 170,000 inmates in the California penal system (many of whom are Black and Hispanic). Yet, they thought nothing of spending over 60 million dollars to oppose same-sex unions, money that they could have and should have used to fund much needed programs like these! Moreover, another glaring example of the Church’s misdirected priorities, are the many cases of their parishioners being evicted out of their apartments and homes, unable to procure financial support from their home churches. The same home church that will justify and miraculously produce money to fight Marriage Equality issues like Prop 8!

One reason I always cringe when I hear Pastors bash the gay community from the pulpit is because little do they realize, had it not been for the gay community, little or nothing would have been done to combat the AIDS virus, and the death toll would have been even more catastrophic. It should also be noted that because the African-American and Hispanic American heterosexual community is disproportionately affected by the pandemic, subsequently, their faith community offers little to no services. As a result of working hand-in-hand with many AIDS organizations, I can attest to the fact that thousands of heterosexual males and females frequently access HIV treatment and Case Management services provided by the gay community — whom by the way attend these same churches. I am extremely grateful to the gay community for responding so compassionately and effectively to those suffering from the virus because the majority of services and medications that are offered today is the direct result of their resolute response. The LGBT community continues to effectively and compassionately minister to the needs of people from all walks of life; doing what many Evangelical Christians have failed to do, even today!

As a child, I was taught to believe that the Constitution created by our founding fathers would always protect the rights of the people. Even if, humanity somehow lost its way in the muck, mire and rhetoric of misguided souls and redneck politicians, I believed that somehow, truth and justice would prevail and win out in the end because after all, did we not elect an African-American President? Isn’t that proof? I know that such a belief to some may seem naïve. Still, deep down inside, I keep hearing the chant of our forefathers boldly declaring to my heart and consciousness these empowering words that I refuse to cast aside: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness . . .”

These words became a reality on June 24, 2011, for the people of New York when their State Senate approved marriage equality legislation, despite of the disgraceful passing of Proposition 8 in California three years earlier. All the despair I felt back in 2008 when Prop. 8 passed was a stark contrast to the immense joy that I experienced yesterday along with the multitudes from every race and gender, who exuberantly celebrated in the streets of New York after such a long awaited victory. But all the euphoria wore off when I awakened this morning, and was slapped in the face by the reality that I still lived in California. I wiped the sleep out of my eyes, showered, got dressed and boarded a train headed to luncheon that a circle at my church was giving for the fathers and mothers in our congregation.

Even though I have been blessed financially and have garnered international attention and media acclaim as an author, I have chosen not to move out of my present neighborhood. I like the interaction with the people I meet and it keeps me in touch with my community and aware of the things that people living in my neighborhood experience in their day-to-day struggles to survive. It also allows me to experience firsthand what is like to be black, gay and Christian, all of which I am very proud of!

Because I am well known in my community, (though many adamantly disapprove of my sexual orientation and interpretation of scripture), it affords me the opportunity to dialogue with ministers, local politicians, and with the movers and shakers in my community and I am often able to effect change because I live among them. Admittedly, it isn’t easy and I often become discouraged because of their close-mindedness and deep seated homophobia and think of retreating to a more upscale community where same-gender-loving people are more accepted and celebrated, but I just can’t do it! I can’t do it because of the lingering homophobic plague stalking my community that endangers the lives of children and youth I see going to and fro on a day-to-day basis. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to intervene to stop fights and bullying on buses and trains (one of the primary reasons I use public transportation). I realize that this is dangerous and often places me in great jeopardy, but I refuse to sit idly by and let another innocent child or young adult be abused by a hateful, ignorant person, simply because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender! The reality is that in these situations, few people are willing to come to the aid of our children, even if they feel the bullying or abuse is wrong or inappropriate and this saddens me – but I refuse to be one of those people!!!

What is perhaps more devastating about the passing of Prop. 8 is not only the negative social effect it has had on our community, but also the devastating financial affect it has also generated because we missed the tremendous window of opportunity for financial gain and the potential to create many much needed new jobs. You see my brothers and sisters, prejudice and intolerance is unfortunately a double edged sword because it tragically eliminated the possibility of California bringing in an estimated 385 million dollars of revenue over a ten year period, if same-gender-loving people had been allowed to marry. Statistically speaking, married people often accumulate more wealth and have more to spend on property and consumer goods, which bolsters tax revenue.

Thank God that in New York, Governor Cuomo had the wisdom and good sense to see the tremendous economic potential and opportunity that his state had to improve its economy. He wisely acted by seizing this opportunity to sign the Bill into Law only hours after it had been passed. It was a good thing that he did, because wedding plans are likely to generate an estimated $284 million dollars to the state’s economy, according to a report by the Independent Democratic Conference.

In the wake of New York’s good fortune, California now teeters or the brink of bankruptcy, unable to balance its budget, barely even able to keep the doors of its schools and higher learning institutions opened, due to mismanagement of funds and overspending, and sadly, because of missed opportunities. Even though Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn overturned Prop 8, the matter is still not resolved because the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has been sitting on the matter. I believe the delay is due to Prop. 8 being a very contentious issue and the Commissioners themselves are conservatives and fear the wrath of right wing conservatives that could result should they overturn the proposition. In the meantime, California’s economy is in critical condition and on financial life support! Moreover, it is in desperate need of an economic boost. Many single people in the LGBT community are still being unfairly denied the right to marry the person they love and receive their entitled constitutional and federal benefits. Perhaps, the courageous move on the part of New York and Washington, D.C. lawmakers will embolden them and motivate them to do what they already know in their hearts is the right thing to do and overturn Prop. 8. Their courageous intervention would rescue our failing economy which is currently in desire straits and preserve the integrity and promise of our Constitution by courageously granting equal rights to same-gender-loving people – accomplishing the very objective that we elected them to do!

 

Terry Angel Mason is an international author and Civil Rights Activist who champions Civil Rights for same-gender loving people here and all over the world. His gifted and exceptional use of prose and poetry has given him a unique platform in which he passionately utilizes to brilliantly shine the light of justice onto the dark and hidden areas of sexual oppression and discrimination. His first breakthrough book, “Love Won’t Let Me Be Silent” propelled him to world-wide recognition, touching the hearts and minds of thousands of men and women, inspiring them to stand up for their God given rights. What makes Angel Mason so distinctive and effective as an activist is that he blends an innate zeal for justice with a spiritual insight molded and tempered by love. His literary voice is never strident nor shrill, but still emotionally powerful and compelling! Angel Mason clearly frames and illuminates the critical issues that impact the lives of same-gender loving people everywhere.

Follow Terry Angel Mason on Twitter.

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

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.

News

Where Kamala Harris Stands on Securing Dem Endorsements and Cash After Biden Announcement

Published

on

Vice President Kamala Harris, now the Democratic Party’s leading presidential candidate, said Sunday she will work to “earn and win” the nomination after President Joe Biden’s historic decision to pull out of his re-election race. In under twenty-four hours she has managed to secure the almost unanimous endorsement of House and Senate Democrats, Democratic governors, and a cash haul reportedly of over $75 million.

In the weeks after Biden’s damaging debate performance, critics demanded he prove he had the mental and physical capacity at 81 to continue the race and win the election. But even after numerous speeches and interviews, the goalposts changed, and critics pointed to his poll numbers. On Sunday afternoon in a letter he announced he would not continue his campaign. Shortly thereafter, he endorsed Vice President Harris.

Some Democrats had pushed for an open convention, with many rank and file members engaging in a kind of “fantasy football,” matchups promoting their favorite candidates for the top of the ticket and their running mates.

Fox News late Monday morning reported, “Democrats thrown into chaos as they face tight deadline to replace Biden,” but there has been little chaos.

READ MORE: Anti-Harris Propaganda Begins, Expert Cites Kellyanne Conway as Example

All of the major potential candidates who might have opposed Harris have now declared they would not run against her, making her path to the nomination, while not certain, extremely likely. Delegates will still have to choose.

Most of those major top-of-the-ticket potential candidates who have now endorsed Harris are believed to be under consideration to be her vice presidential running mate (links to endorsements): Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, U.S. Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Governor Wes Moore of Maryland, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Late Monday morning Gov. Whitmer declined to be considered for the vice presidential slot, according to Crain’s Detroit reporter David Eggert.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, considered one of the top potential contenders for the nomination but not a potential running mate, quickly announced he would not oppose Harris and endorsed her: “Tough. Fearless. Tenacious. With our democracy at stake and our future on the line, no one is better to prosecute the case against Donald Trump’s dark vision and guide our country in a healthier direction than America’s Vice President.”

Harris also earned the endorsement of Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois, also considered one of the top candidates who might want the nomination.

READ MORE: ‘Wake Up People’: Trump ‘Elevating Criminals’ as MAGA Wants to ‘Wreck America’ Says Expert

Colorado Governor Jared Polis appeared to endorse Harris in a self-deprecating social media post.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (I-WV), 76, endorsed Harris on Monday, after reports suggested he had called former acting DNC chair Donna Brazile to learn the process for entering the nomination race. ABC News reported Brazile told Manchin, “I had to remind him that to put his name in nomination he has to sign a form that he’s a Democrat.”

Writer and former Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Charlotte Clymer has been tracking the Harris endorsements since Sunday. Late Monday morning she writes they include: President Joe Biden, Former Secretary of State and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, and former U.S. Secretary of State and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, along with current Cabinet Secretaries Pete Buttigieg, Miguel Cardona, Jennifer Granholm, and Gina Raimondo.

And, “at least 33 of 47 Democratic senators,” “at least 159 of 212 House Democratic members,” “at least 18 of the 26 Democratic state and territorial governors,” “all 57 state and territory party chairs,” “all DNC delegates for Louisiana, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and South Carolina,” “SEIU, American Federation of Teachers, and too many other organizations to list here.”

“I don’t think folks appreciate what we’re seeing from the Ds right now,” observes political scientist and strategist Rachel Bitcofer. “Newsom, Whitmer, Shapiro- every top tier Democrat- has put personal ambitions aside to come out and help the party coalesce around Kamala Harris.”

Political commentator Bob Cesca adds, “And they’re putting their ambitions aside for what could end up being 8 more years.”

CNN’s Haley Talbot, known for her spreadsheets, early Monday afternoon reports former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama have yet to endorse Harris. She adds the “holdout” list includes seven Democratic and one independent U.S. Senators, just 18 Democratic U.S. Representatives, and four Democratic governors.

But key among the Democratic holdouts are Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Political commentator and writer Keith Boykin at 10:05 AM Monday, citing data from ActBlue says, “Democrats have now raised $75 million since Vice President Kamala Harris announced her campaign for president yesterday.” Clymer commented, “Vice President Kamala Harris may very well raise $100M in a 24-hour period. Flat-out bonkers sum.”

ActBlue declared Sunday, “the biggest fundraising day of the 2024 cycle.”

See the social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

 

Continue Reading

News

Anti-Harris Propaganda Begins, Expert Cites Kellyanne Conway as Example

Published

on

The attacks against Vice President Kamala Harris, now the leading candidate to become the Democratic Party’s 2024 presidential nominee after President Joe Biden’s historic decision to exit his race for re-election, have begun, as one expert on authoritarianism and fascism points to former top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway’s remarks Sunday as an example of the racism and propaganda voters can expect to see.

“Pay attention to propaganda narratives that will consolidate in next days. Propagandists know you should build on existing prejudices when introducing a new hate object or theme,” writes Dr. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history and scholar on fascism and authoritarian leaders.

“Here Conway invokes racist stereotypes already familiar to many in MAGA,” she adds, pointing to remarks Conway made (video below) just hours after President Biden’s announcement Sunday afternoon.

READ MORE: ‘Wake Up People’: Trump ‘Elevating Criminals’ as MAGA Wants to ‘Wreck America’ Says Expert

“She had disastrous staff turnover as vice president,” Conway told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “I check it on the daily. Her public schedule, gentlemen, rarely has anything on it or one or two things on it. She does not speak well. She does not work hard, and she should not be the standard bearer for the party.”

Conway was the first woman campaign manager to land a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, in the White House, and later served as Senior Counselor to the President. Her record includes coining the terms “alternative facts,” and the nonexistent “Bowling Green massacre.” Statista looked at presidential turnover from President Ronald Reagan to Trump and found Trump’s record is higher than any president in modern history, including at the cabinet level.

“Kellyanne Conway is parroting the racist stereotypes,” responded Adam Cohen, Vice Chair, Lawyers for Good Government, “[that] Black people are stupid and lazy.”

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

“Of course, she will vociferously deny it,” he added. “But too late-we already know exactly who Conway is.”

“After all, she spent years promoting Trump.”

Ben-Ghiat on Sunday night also responded to a New York Times headline, “Some Black Voters Say They Wonder if a Black Woman Can Win.” She warned: “It’s starting.”

George Conway (Kellyanne’s ex-husband) last week created an anti-Trump political action committee, the Anti-Psychopath PAC. He commented on her Fox News remarks late Sunday night: “Not everyone can express themselves as eloquently and with such exquisite turns of phrase as Donald J. Trump.”

Watch Conway’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

Continue Reading

News

AOC Slams Anti-Biden Efforts: ‘My Community Does Not Have the Option to Lose’

Published

on

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most-powerful voices in the House Democratic caucus, re-asserted her support for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as some congressional Democrats along with pundits, pollsters, and strategists have called on the President to quit his campaign.

The 34-year-old progressive New York Democrat in a nearly hour-long live video recorded after midnight declared her opposition to those proposing an “open convention,” where the Democratic nominee fro president would be decided, despite the 2024 primaries which Biden and Harris won. She blasted the numerous Democrats anonymously calling for Biden to end his campaign, and slammed those who have little to lose who appear to be behind the movement to oust the President, and those who have already concluded the Democrats cannot win.

“I will say, what upsets me is people saying, ‘we will lose.’ ”

“For me,” she continued, before taking a long, thoughtful pause, “I don’t care who – to a certain extent – I don’t care what name is on there. We are not losing.”

READ MORE: House Dem Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Hispanic Caucus Campaign Arm Rally Behind Biden

“I’m about you, but my community does not have the option to lose. My community does not have the luxury of accepting loss in July,” she said before stressing, “of an election year.”

“Like, my people are the first ones deported. They’re the first ones put in Rikers,” she continued, referring to the infamous New York City jail. “They’re the first ones whose families are killed by war. And this is horrific. I’m not here to like say everything is amazing. Okay, I’m not here to say that like, oh, you know, to lie to people. What I am here to say is that we need to live, we need to make decisions in the conditions that we have before us.”

“Most of the Ocasio-Cortez’s nearly hour-long Live session focused on the risks of forcing Biden to step aside, including potential legal challenges from Republicans and ballot access deadlines in various states. ‘I have not seen a scenario, an alternative scenario, that I feel does not set us up for enormous peril,’ she said,” Business Insider reported.

“If you’re falling out of a coconut tree, God bless you,” she said. “If you’re riding with the President, God bless. I’m not an open-convention person. I think that is crazy.”

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez also made headlines by pointing out that she believes if President Biden were to step aside, Vice President Kamala Harris would also be targeted by some of the same Democrats trying to oust the President.

“I’m just going to say it: If you think that there is consensus among the people who want Joe Biden to leave… that they will support Kamala, Vice President Harris, you would be mistaken,” she added. “They are interested in removing the whole ticket.”

To those Democrats leaking opinions or being quoted anonymously, she had a few strong words.

“That’s b*llsh*t. If you have an opinion, say it with your chest and say it in public,” she said. “That’s a bunch of horsesh*t.”

Her Instagram Live remarks have over 80,000 likes and 6000 comments.

What her full video and the short clip above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.