Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More on Marriage Equality

Hi Friends and Neighbors !
Phew!  Has this been a month. . ..end of semester, final exams - oral and written --  grading, paper work up the wazzoooo. . . . . .wooo wooo. . . closing up my 'spaces on campus' for the summer. . . .then finally moving home to The Dunes. . . ..finalizing plans and details on my "summer job". . . . more on that later. . . ho ho ho. . . no no no, I am not taking that strip job at the A-House!
It would drive away business.  LOL  My summer job is very prosaic, trust me.
More later. . . .= promise and threat.   ciao ciao - - -  justin

Are Christians Right About Gay Marriage?

By Jay Michaelson 17 hours agoThe Daily Beast
Are Christians Right About Gay Marriage?
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Are Christians Right About Gay Marriage?
Same-sex marriage is becoming a national inevitability. A cascade of court opinions, significant public support, not to mention increasingly sympathetic gay couples and increasingly implausible opposition—all these and more point to an emerging national consensus that “gay marriage” is actually a form of “marriage.” It’s not exactly clear when the hump took place—but we definitely seem to be over it.
Which leads to a perfectly logical question: What’s next? Moderates and liberals have argued that same-sex marriage is No Big Deal—it’s the Same Love, after all, and gays just want the same lives as everyone else. But further right and further left, things get a lot more interesting. What if gay marriage really will change the institution of marriage, shifting conceptions around monogamy and intimacy? On the other hand, what if the domesticating institution of marriage changes—and even erases—the more libertine tendencies of gay culture?
Obviously, we now know that the sky doesn’t fall when gays get married. Contrary to the hysterical claims that same-sex marriage would threaten marriage in general, 10 years of experience in Massachusetts have shown the opposite: The divorce rate has gone down, and straight kids aren’t suddenly turning gay.
At the same time, there is some truth to the conservative claim that gay marriage is changing, not just expanding, marriage.  According to a 2013 study, about half of gay marriages surveyed (admittedly, the study was conducted in San Francisco) were not strictly monogamous. 
This fact is well-known in the gay community—indeed, we assume it’s more like three-quarters. But it’s been fascinating to see how my straight friends react to it. Some feel they’ve been duped: They were fighting for marriage equality, not marriage redefinition. Others feel downright envious, as if gays are getting a better deal, one that wouldn’t work for straight couples. Maybe they’re right; women are from Venus, after all. Right?
If you think about it, actual monogamy has never been the Western norm. A monogamous ideal, sure—but men could always sleep around, hire prostitutes, and even have long-term affairs with few societal consequences. After all, it’s not single men who’ve made prostitution the world’s oldest profession.
Really, it’s only in the last hundred years or so that monogamy has been taken so seriously, starting with the first wave of feminism and the 19th-century temperance movement. (There’s even prostitution in the Bible, for heaven’s sake, as well as polygamy and concubinage, all of which are approved, or at least tolerated, by the Biblical texts that describe them.) The results have been disastrous. Of course, one can’t blame the 50% divorce rate on monogamy—regarding women as chattel unable to control their own destinies surely played a larger role—but it surely can’t be helping. 
What would happen if gay non-monogamy—and I’ll include writer Dan Savage’s “monogamish” model, which involves extramarital sex once a year or so—actually starts to spread to straight people? Would open marriages, ’70s swinger parties, and perhaps even another era’s “arrangements” and “understandings” become more prevalent? Is non-monogamy one of the things same-sex marriage can teach straight ones, along with egalitarian chores and matching towel sets?  
And what about those post-racial and post-gender millennials? What happens when a queer-identified, mostly-heterosexual woman with plenty of LGBT friends gets married? Do we really think that because she is “from Venus,” she will be interested in a heteronormative, sex-negative, patriarchal system of partnership?
If not, the future of marriage, in fact, may turn out to be a lot like the Christian Right’s nightmare: a sex-positive, body-affirming compact between two adults that allows for a wide range of intimate and emotional experience. Maybe no one will be the “husband” (as in, animal husbandry) and no one the chattel.  Maybe instead of jealousy, non-monogamous couples will cultivate “compersion” to take pleasure in their partners’ sexual delight. And most dangerously, maybe marriage will be only one of many forms of such a compact; maybe people will choose their own intimate futures without coercion from the state. The horror!
Despite my own condescending tone to the ninnies of sexual repression, I want to admit a certain discomfort with this more radical vision. We are still a messed-up, male-dominated society that has trouble dealing with sexuality. Sure, polyamory works well for a few hyper-educated urban elites. But what about douchebags? What will sexual liberation look like at the bottom-feeding, lowest common denominator? 
Will women be even more objectified, assaulted, and leered at? Is the future one long Miley Cyrus video?
Could be. But radical traditionalists aren’t the only ones fearing the consequences of same-sex marriage.  So, it may surprise you to learn, are radical progressives.
“Marriage will never set us free,” wrote academics Dean Spade and Craig Wilse last September, just as the current wave was getting going.  For them, as for 30 years of radical critics including Yasmin Nair, Michael Warner, Lisa Duggan, John D’Emilio, Katherine Franke, Kenyon Farrow, Gayle Rubin, Sally Kohn, and the “Against Equality” collective, same-sex marriage is a step backward for LGBTQ people and others whose agenda is liberation rather than assimilation.
Why? Because marriage is a patriarchal, sexist institution that should be discarded rather than reformed. Because it is, as Spade and Wilse say, a “tool of social control used by governments to regulate sexuality and family formation.” Because it has, in the past, been a tool of racism and colonialism, and in the present, is a means of rationing health care. This is, as Warner named it, “the trouble with normal.”
Perhaps most importantly, normalizing marriage is a narrowing, rather than an expanding, of sexual possibility. Radicals point out that gay liberation in the 1970s was, as the name implies, a liberation movement. It was about being free, questioning authority, rebellion. “2-4-6-8, smash the church and smash the state,” people shouted. 
Can you imagine that being chanted from the General Electric float at the pride parade? Today’s LGBT movement is, at most, about equality—that is, about assimilation. Its defining symbol is the equal sign. Liberation promised greater-than.
If your agenda is liberation, then the vision of same-sex marriage, in which gays become domesticated and live happily ever after, is a kind of nightmare. It is, at best, the squandering of a revolutionary potential, but at worst the growth of exactly what we were supposed to have shrunk: repression, patriarchy, convention, religion. And this is exactly why it appeals to conservatives like Ted Olsen (the former solicitor general under George W. Bush who has won several key marriage cases), pundit Andrew Sullivan (conservative at least in his early writings), and David Blankenhorn, the former intellectual leader of the traditional marriage movement who did an about-face last year. In various ways, these folks have all espoused a relatively conservative social agenda—family, white picket fence, monogamy—and supported gay marriage as a means to achieving it. 
Notice, by the way, that the ultra-conservatives and the radical liberationists share the same vision of LGBT liberation. Whether as dream or nightmare, both see it as destroying conventional notions of church and state. The only question is whether same-sex marriage will speed or slow the process.  And, of course, whether it’s for better or for worse.
The mainstream LGBT movement, meanwhile, still insists that neither of these futures will come to pass. Don’t worry, they say, we’re not out to smash anything. 
Who’s right?  Only time will tell. 
Personally, I’m not on board with either the progressive or the conservative doomsday scenarios. Unlike the radicals, I don’t think straight people need the gays to perpetuate (or destroy) the institution of marriage, and I don’t think gays were ever as liberation-minded as the romantic history suggests. And unlike the conservatives, I don’t think a few non-monogamous gay couples will turn the world into Studio 54; once again, philandering televangelists don’t need queers to teach them how to sleep around.
But I do like the notion of same-sex marriage as a liberation gateway drug. Inclusion of LGBT people within institutions like marriage will eventually transform those institutions, just as including women, non-whites, non-Anglos, and non-Christians has done. The experiences and perspectives of LGBT people are different from those of straight people, and different in a good way. 
So, if I had to predict, I’d go with a gradual realization of the conservative nightmare—only it won’t be a nightmare, and plenty of straight people will thank us for it. Maybe gays will preserve marriage precisely by redefining, expanding, and reforming it—and maybe then it can be palatable to progressives, as one of a multitude of options.
We can entertain these divergent visions of the future because same-sex marriage was really a campaign, not a movement. For a moment, it brought together liberals, progressives, and even some conservatives.  But now that its goal is within sight, the center cannot hold. 
And then, things get interesting.
Related from The Daily Beast

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    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    Posted: 19 May 2014 05:25 AM PDT
    ASI109xzxxSometimes events overtake us.  Whether it is an out-of-the-blue surprise like the exposing of an affair or the accumulated discontent that comes from neglecting the health of a relationship, we are suddenly facing a confrontation. Something has changed so much that one partner or the other is no longer certain he wants to be in this relationship.  The relationship is in crisis.

    Gay couples often don’t have a lot of support.  Family and friends may be of marginal help, but too often there is the expectation that, well…breakups happen. There are often none of the legal complications that cause heterosexual couples to work for a while before dissolving their marriage. Gay couples are too often left to their own devices. That makes it imperative to get to work on the relationship as soon as possible.

    Try to avoid making hasty or drastic decisions or threats. If something has happened which brings up a great deal of emotion – hurt, fear, anger – express what you are feeling without making threats. Take a few deep breaths. Stay grounded.

    Arguing about blame can be tempting – particularly if one of you feels deeply wronged by the other. It is easy to get self-righteous when the other person has done something pretty awful. You are certainly entitled to your feelings, but understand that you may have to face a choice: you can prove that you are right, or you can try to resurrect your relationship. Making the latter choice may mean broadening your idea of what “winning an argument” looks like, but choosing to prove your point and punish your partner may mean letting go of a relationship that still has value to both of you. Choose wisely!

    Listen to your partner. This can be difficult if you feel attacked or betrayed, but try. What do you imagine he is feeling? See if you can listen to his feelings as well as expressing your own.

    What do you need right now? If you need something from your partner, see if you can make a specific request that can be translated into action. If he needs something from you, ask him to be specific, too. Avoid general complaining, replacing it with a call for doing something concrete. If you have faced a similar crisis before, what do you remember about what was helpful then – or what mistakes you would like to avoid?
    Be cautious about venting your frustration and anger with friends. Friends who get the impression you are breaking up with your partner are likely to say things they will regret later. (“I never liked the jerk.”) This is ultimately not fair to your soon-to-be-former friends, nor is it helpful to you or your relationship.

    If you value your relationship, you will do well to avoid these sorts of relationship emergencies if at all possible. That may mean making an agreement ahead of time (ideally, at the time that you are first making a commitment to each other) never to talk about breaking up in a moment of anger; if you have to face that possibility, you want to make the decision in a clear-headed way and not the heat of the moment.

    Remember that couples often wait so long to get into counseling that relationship counselors sometimes joke among themselves that they are “love’s undertakers.”  Don’t wait that long to start caring for your relationship.

    John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly toGAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. - www.bodymindsoul.org.

    Thursday, May 15, 2014


    Posted: 15 May 2014 05:05 AM PDT
    Rotini_dinner_for_two_150Who can resist rotini pasta, fresh tomatoes and creamy Alfredo sauce baked with loads of shredded cheese?  Prep time: 20 minutes - Start To Finish: 55 minutes.
    2 cups uncooked rotini pasta
    1 cup milk
    1 container (10 ounces) refrigerated Alfredo sauce
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
    2 cups shredded provolone cheese (8 ounces)
    2 medium tomatoes, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
    1 tablespoon Progresso® Italian-style dry bread crumbs
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
    1 .  Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 2-quart casserole. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.
    2 .  Stir milk into Alfredo sauce; stir in 2 tablespoons basil, the cheese and 1 cup of the tomatoes. Pour mixture into casserole. Sprinkle with remaining tomatoes.
    3 .  Bake uncovered 30 to 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Mix bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon basil; sprinkle over top.

    Saturday, May 10, 2014


    The Very Thought Of Him - GAYTWOGETHER.COM - click to enlarge(click to enlarge

    Posted: 08 May 2014 05:25 AM PDT
    Gay Relationships: Are We More Than Just Friends? - Part OneDear Brian:
    I have been out of the dating scene for 10 years after having been in a long-term relationship for that length and it has since ended. I find it difficult being back on the singles’ market.
    I currently find myself in a strange situation; I have met a guy through the Internet. On our “first date”, I set the context of our encounter by saying that I thought from having left a long-term relationship that it was important for me to be friends and to be interdependent rather than codependent as was my previous experience.
    So now seven weeks have passed, we’ve been on a number of dates, but haven’t kissed. I am waiting for him to make a move. I’m fearful and I don’t want to ruin anything if it is meant to be a friendship, although I would like more. How long is too long to know someone before “stepping things up” and how do you decipher whether it’s a friendship or if there’s potential for a relationship?
    'Back On The Scene Again'
    Dear 'Back On the Scene Again':
    Yes, it can be quite a difficult challenge when transitioning back into the dating scene after having been in a long-term relationship for the length that you were involved in. Feeling rusty and out of practice, it can be overwhelming navigating through those waters again, particularly with the difficulties inherent in finding compatible matches. Not only this, you’re likely still going through a grieving process over the loss of your 10-year relationship even though you initiated the breakup.

    So my first bit of advice to you is to relax and breathe! There’s no rush and it’s a process you have to go through. Becoming preoccupied with the dating challenges will only serve to frustrate you and create more angst and desperation that could sabotage your efforts to find healthy dating partners.

    Being new to the scene again and wanting “to do it right the first time around” is commendable and it sounds like you’ve done your homework by realizing the importance of pacing and taking things slow. There does need to be a balance with this, however, otherwise many men will perceive a lack of interest if the signals aren’t expressed that you’re interested.

    This new guy you’re dating sounds like someone you’re intrigued with and would like to see developing into more than “just friends.” While going slow is important, you want to beware of over-thinking it and communicating it too much to the guy you’re seeing.

    My concern is that it’s possible your guy may have interpreted your statement on the first date of being friends and interdependent as a barrier you put up towards getting close. Try to be mindful of ways you may be projecting your past relationship mistakes onto new dating encounters.

    It’s important in the early stages of dating that you make the contacts light and gradually build in more self-disclosure as you screen the person to determine their suitability; this way, your disclosures match the level of intimacy that’s developed in your progressive meetings with your new dating partner. It’s possible your statements may have come across as “too heavy” and your guy may have interpreted what you said in such a way that now your relationship with him is defined as purely a friendship because that may be what he thought you were surmising.

    After two months with no movement, that may be the case. But don’t fret, my friend! All is not lost!  It’s also very possible that he, too, shares your interest, but is waiting for you to make the first move because of what you said and he’s letting you be in control of the pacing since you expressed the need initially.
     ( Part Two Tomorrow - "Becoming More Than Just Friends" )

    © Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
    The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
    Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc. http://thegaylovecoach.com

    Picturing Guys Twogether - "Love Is Never Wrong" - GAYTWOGETHER.COM - click picture to enlarge

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

    Openly Gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson Announces Divorce

    Religion News Service  | by  Sarah Pulliam Bailey
    Posted: 05/04/2014 10:18 am EDT Updated: 05/05/2014 6:59 pm EDT
    Print Article
    (RNS) Bishop Gene Robinson, whose 2003 election as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop rocked Anglican Communion, has announced his divorce from his longtime partner and husband.
    Robinson, who retired in 2013 as the Bishop of New Hampshire, and his partner of 25 years, Mark Andrew, were married in a private civil union in 2008. The announcement was made public Saturday (May 3) in a statement to the Diocese of New Hampshire.
    “As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for us — not a decision entered into lightly or without much counseling,” Robinson wrote in a letter. “We ask for your prayers, that the love and care for each other that has characterized our relationship for a quarter century will continue in the difficult days ahead.”
    He explained his views on marriage and divorce further in a column for the Daily Beast.
    “It is at least a small comfort to me, as a gay rights and marriage equality advocate, to know that like any marriage, gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples,” Robinson wrote.
    Hundreds of parishes left the Episcopal Church in protest of his controversial consecration.
    “Whenever you choose to or are called into living a public life, one of the prices you pay for that is public scrutiny, so it’s not surprising that people will pay attention to this,” said Susan Russell, an Episcopal priest at All Saints Church in Pasadena, Calif., and past-president of the LGBT advocacy group Integrity USA.
    Robinson, 66, is now a fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.
    “My belief in marriage is undiminished by the reality of divorcing someone I have loved for a very long time, and will continue to love even as we separate,” Robinson wrote in his column. “Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot.”
    Due to changes in New Hampshire laws on same-sex marriage, Robinson became legally married to his partner when they didn’t opt out of the change in state law, according to Russell.
    In 2012, the Episcopal Church voted to allow bishops to permit priests to bless same-sex marriages. Russell said further discussion about the church’s canon law and prayer book in relation to LBGT concerns will be held at the denomination’s convention next year.
    Robinson went public with his sexual identity and divorce from his wife in 1986. He has since been open about the heavy toll he has faced under public scrutiny. Four years ago, he underwent treatment for alcoholism.
    Robinson declined to speak further in an interview.
    Critics say Robinson’s actions defied scriptural authority and thousands of years of Christian tradition. His divorce could fuel the fire, said Douglas LeBlanc, an Episcopalian who reported on Robinson’s consecration when he was an editor at Christianity Today.
    “I’m sure there might be some conservatives who might say, ‘We told you so all along, if you depart from church teachings on homosexuality, you’re opening the door to all kinds of chaos,’” LeBlanc said. “In many ways, I think you are. But I think it’s imperative to say, the House of Bishops is not lacking on heterosexual sin.”
    The Episcopal Church’s deliberations on same-sex marriage will likely continue regardless of Robinson’s divorce, LeBlanc said. Some, though, might seize on the news of his divorce.
    “People will perhaps rub his nose in this for the rest of his life when he’s debating folks on the sexuality wars,” LeBlanc said. “It probably won’t shock a lot of people and will sadden a lot of people, too.”
    Robinson is no longer the only openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. Bishop Mary D. Glasspool was consecrated in Los Angeles in 2010.
    In the past decade, the Episcopal Church followed the decline in other mainline Protestant denominations and lost about 10 percent of its members. It had about 1.8 million members in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available.


    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    "Doncha know this. . . ?"


    93 Percent Of Straight Men In This Study Said They've Cuddled With Another Guy

    Posted: Updated: 
    Print Article

    Yes, straight men sleep together.
    That’s according to a new study out of Britain on the changing social habits of heterosexual males. Published in the journal of Men and Masculinities in March, the study revealed that 98 percent of the study’s participants -- all white, college-age male athletes -- have shared a bed with another guy. In addition, 93 percent also reported having spooned or cuddled with another man.

    James Franco recently took a "bed selfie" with friend Keegan Allen and posted it to Instagram.

    Study co-author and sociologist Mark McCormack, of Durham University, says the study’s results exemplify changing conceptions of masculinity in contemporary culture. As homophobia decreases, McCormack says, straight men are acting “much softer” than those from older generations -- something he and Eric Anderson, of the University of Winchester, set out to examine.