Category Archives: Legislation

Hope Will Never Be Silent

Hope Will Never Be Silent

This month, the USPS will start offering Harvey Milk postage stamps. Harvey Milk became a national gay rights hero in 1977 when he was elected to a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk’s belief that the U.S. Government should represent all areas of American society encouraged and inspired the gay community at a time when discrimination and homophobia was rife. Milk was instrumental in educating the public on the dangers and absurdity of Proposition 6, which would have made firing gay teachers mandatory in the state of California.

Milk was a highly respected civil rights advocate and loved human being. Sadly however, just eleven short months after serving the people of his district, Harvey was murdered (shot point blank in the head) by Dan White – an anti-gay colleague. Mr. White was eventually convicted of voluntary manslaughter; it was an appalling legal injustice.

What I find ironic is that although some deem our lives worthless, history has shown that we are some of the strongest, most resilient, and courageous people. For centuries we have been imprisoned, beaten, bullied, mocked and murdered. Gay people have been used as science experiments, and regularly regarded as less than human. According to FBI statistics, every four minutes in our nation a crime is reported from a gay person being harassed, bashed, bullied, etc. These reports often include death threats – and these are just the reports on record. Incalculable acts of gay bashing are never reported due to shame, humiliation, embarrassment, and death threats if they are reported. Gay people cannot, to this day, freely walk in their pride parades or get married without hearing insults, slander, and verbal attacks from scores of deluded people with bullhorns. Every day across the U.S., gay couples and their homes are robbed, egged, vandalized, and burned by hate-motivated arsonists. If you open a newspaper or do a quick online search, you will find gays are daily brutally beaten, burned, mobbed, assaulted, bashed, intimidated, even killed as acceptable “punishment” simply for the way they are born. Not too long ago, we suffered excessive and demeaning bar raids, including completely unnecessary and extreme brutality from police officers. We agonized silently, having no legal recourse or protection. As an invisible minority we had no voice and few allies.

Our community encounters countless double standards. I see many young straight couples passionately making-out in shopping malls but if a gay couple holds hands they’re “flaunting their lifestyle.” When anti-gay groups call for nationwide boycotts, it is deemed a righteous use of the free market in order to preserve morality, marriage, family, and the American way. But when the gay community exercises their right to boycott, it is then homofascist intimidation, intolerance, bullying, a stifling of religious liberty, and an attempt to deny others the freedom of speech. Sadly, the examples are many.

Despite these constant travesties to our community, we continue to boldly live in love, forgiveness, and hope. We are a community often fired from our jobs for who we are, yet the first ones to lend an ear to others in need. We are a community disowned by our families, yet first to give a helping hand to others lost. We are a people continually knocked down physically, spiritually, and mentally, but stand tall and proud while dusting ourselves off. Yes, we are that community. You can throw us to the wolves, but rest assured we’ll return leading the pack.

I will share my personal story at another time but in short, I lived on my own at the young age of fourteen, forcing me to leave school and work three low-paying dead end jobs to pay rent and bills. My future was looking miserable at best. I was too young to drive and too poor for public transportation. My seven day work weeks were long and grueling. Life was not easy and I never knew what the next day held, or if my tired legs could endure another day. I guess you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have!

In time I realized that although I had little say about my start, I had all the say about my finish. I went on to serve eight honorable years in the United States Military (four years in the Army and another four in the Air force). I returned to school, eventually graduating with a master’s degree in education (high honors). I moved to NYC and worked on various television and movie sets. I wrote and recorded a CD and performed at many venues, wrote and illustrated a now published children’s book “I Am Loved Right Where I Amhttp://www.jasonj.biz/author.php I joined a pop group and toured the nation – one such performance was for the wedding of Shania Twain’s manager. Pictures of the wedding, and our group, were featured in a nation-wide publication. I am happily married for almost twelve years with one child and one on the way. Most significantly, I remain steadfast in my relationship to my heavenly Father, and my daily renewal to follow His examples.

I share some of my life highlights not in any way to boast, or for a pat on the back. I share them simply as an example of how our community repeatedly turns our tests into testaments, and our messes into messages. Despite endeavors and accomplishments, I am habitually surrounded by naysayers. Our community and all our successes are persistently dismissed, debased, and disregarded. How cruel and unfair when others throw you out in the cold and then get upset when you learn how to get warm on your own.

If you are gay, or an ally, know that you are a part of magnificent and exceptional community. I always say gay people are like winning the lottery; one never knows when a winning ticket will emerge from the family. I hope your next post office trip includes a Harvey Milk stamp or two as your support speaks volumes and marks a better tomorrow. When the gay community is strengthened, every community is strengthened!

The great Harvey Milk is unfortunately gone, yet his heroism, fearlessness, and fortitude live on. Decades after his death, Milk is still opening hearts and minds and encouraging all to live authentically. Harvey Milk’s passion for equal rights put his own life in danger, and he knew it. While writing this post, John 15:13 came to mind, “No one has greater love than this, that one should lay down his life for his friends.” There are many scholarly interpretations of this superb verse; however my favorite is from Harvey Milk himself, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet shatter every closet door!”

Advertisements

2 Comments

May 1, 2014 · 4:13 am

“Married” is universally understood

Twelve years ago, on our first date, Eric and I spoke in length about the importance of our individual spiritual walk, and our wish to eventually have children. Four years later, while in Venice Italy walking side by side underneath an umbrella, Eric stopped to kneel and propose. Three years later (seven years to the day we met) we officially tied the knot in my hometown of Syracuse N.Y. in front of hundreds of cheering friends and family members.

One day while making lunch I felt a small pain in my lower back. Assuming it twisted the wrong way I ignored it. However the pain became increasingly unbearable. I called Eric (who immediately left a meeting) and came home. When Eric walked in and found me pale-white and on the verge of tears he swiftly assisted me to the car and rushed to the nearest emergency room. When we arrived at the hospital I was in the most indescribable pain, and in tears. I could not talk, walk or think. The medical personnel had many questions and asked Eric his relation to me. “My spouse” he uttered as they rushed me into a room and quickly attached an I.V. Although I have a pretty high threshold for pain, it was so intolerable all I could do was scream. All the while Eric stood at my bedside calmly speaking and responding to questions from nurses, doctors and billers.

Countless hours, and many tests later, I was discharged home with powerful pain medication where I would eventually pass my kidney stone. Though my physical pain eventually decreased my emotional pain for the gay community increased. While in the hospital Eric didn’t have to explain that he was my civil-unioned domestic partner lover (or any other grossly misunderstood and watered down term and the countless confusing state laws that vary with them). He simply said, “We are married.” The word “married” is universally understood. I am grateful to live in a state where all citizens are treated equally. My heart bleeds for the many across the U.S. that are not.

When I reflect back on our first date I am almost amazed at what has come to fruition. Here we are with one child and one on the way, happily married and living a very Christ-centered life in a state that respects everyone equally. While enjoying the blessed life that I live I vow to never stop fighting for all of my brother’s and sister’s rights to marry the love of their lives, regardless of where they happen to live.

2 Comments

March 20, 2014 · 10:19 pm

3 MUST SEE Videos

Out of the 16 Zillion videos out there, I narrowed them down to three that are very much worth your time.  If, after viewing, you do not feel as if you have been completely enlightened I will fully refund your money.  Just kidding.  In all seriousness, these videos are, at the very least, beyond thought-provoking.  God bless you

1) Mathew Vines is a young gay christian from middle america who God is using to shed light on this often dark and immoral world.  He brilliantly breaks down the 6 (often used) clobber passages in a very eloquent, detail-oriented, easy to understand and spiritually lead power-point conversation.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezQjNJUSraY  

2)   I could not recommend this next video more.  Dan Savage (syndicated columnist) and Brian Brown (president of National Organization for Marriage) very respectfully, intelligently and intellectually exchange their views regarding the freedom to marry.  This debate takes you on an eye-opening historical, spiritual, biblical and personal journey.   This is an absolute must watch for every American.  After watching, please share it with friends and family.  God bless you   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG804t0WG-c

3) Gay Christian Mathew Vines impeccably and concisely breaks down the 6/7 debatable clobber passages https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmp6lLct-fQ&feature=em-uploademail

1 Comment

Filed under Bullying, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Education, Equality, Gay, Gay bashing, Gay History, Homophobia, Homophobic, Homosexuality, Intolerance, Legislation, Marriage, Marriage Equality, Murder, Religion, Rights

Obama Supports Marriage Equality

Go Obama; the gay community’s President Lincoln!  Well I think it’s about time we have a just and brave President who actually believes in equality across the nation. I am however extremely saddened over Amendment 1. In North Carolina, it is perfectly legal to marry your FIRST cousin (well, unless he or she is gay) but yet your neighbors love and legal rights/responsibilities are to be voted on by strangers??? Very sad day for NC, the nation, the world! It is sick and shameful, especially because N. Carolina already has an existing discriminatory law banning same-gender marriage so the only thing this did was cause unnecessary conflict and tension between many people/neighbors. Not to mention MILLIONS of dollars were spent on this initiative and that is money that could have went to starving children, battered woman shelters (that are closing by the hour nationwide) and the list goes on. And we should not use religion as there are many faiths that interpret the sacred text to that of a more inclusive God and perform same-gender marriages. Are we not infringing on their religious freedoms?” I wish we would all live according to Luke 6:31″Do Unto Others….” I would not want my or my loved ones right to love and legal protections/responsibilities put on a ballot. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. – Abraham Lincoln

Leave a comment

Filed under Civil Rights, Equality, Legislation, Uncategorized

Marriage = 1 woman + 1 man from the beginning of time/creation!

Well, yes and no and not necessarily so….“It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.”  Genesis 2:18  

Marriage, (the state of being united in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law) is just that, a law binding contractual state issued license.  I in no way want to minimize marriage (and as a huge believer in God and the Bible I say this with all due respect) but Adam and Eve were not “legally” married.  The very first civil marriage license ever granted was in the mid 1800’s http://www.lambdaarchives.us/timelines/marriage/index.htm   long after the Garden of Eden was home to Adam and Eve.  Of course, they were blessed, meant/created to be together and certainly spiritually united/married.  Nevertheless, the state did not grant Adam and Eve a license thus legal civil marriage was not born in the Garden of Eden. Furthermore, the fundamental basis for Adam and Eve’s relationship/marriage was that of companionship.  Therefore, (If you want to use God/the Bible in your anti-equality discussion), companionship (Gods original blueprint for nuptials) is the essence of marriage.  Adam and Eve enjoyed a spiritual marriage and one based on companionship (Malachi 2:14) – thus throwing away the argument that gays want to “redefine” traditional marriage because just as the very first “marriage”, we want and strive for companionship as well.

            Gays cannot procreate and marriage is about procreation!

    “And the two will become one flesh” Mathew 10:8 & Genesis 2:24 – Many scholars believe this verse is less about a similar mindset (joining emotionally, spiritually, mentally) and more so about bearing children.  There is no osmosis with flesh.  It is impossible for two fleshes to “become one” – when a male and female (both fertile) become one flesh the outcome is a new creation – (one child, same flesh).  That being said however, we have done that.  We went forth and multiplied (and now live in an overpopulated world in excess of seven billion people and growing) consequently resulting in our natural resources terrifyingly overextended.  This is not to say that the Word is not applicable anymore – absolutely not – but it does speak on the culture, needs and laws of the time.  Besides there are many that cannot/will not procreate, are all of these people out of Gods will? Some examples of such people include infertile heterosexual couples, gay couples, senior citizens, those choosing not to have children etc, are they all out of Gods will and condemned? 

    In my opinion, if there is any condemnation involved, it should apply to the moral high ground many disturbingly hold.  Opponents could care less if two drug dealers, two murderers, two child abusers, two con artists etc get married as long one has a penis and the other a vagina http://youtu.be/OFkeKKszXTw. That is their SOLE criteria for codifying and legally defining a relationship. It is not about morality so much as exclusivity and marginalization of gays and lesbians. Side note; Gay couples can and DO have biological children as well. Being gay does not automatically destroy sperm and eggs.  Moreover, studies show that the children of gay parents are healthy in every facet of life…not because the parents are gay, but because their parenthood is (virtually always) deliberate. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20051012/study-same-sex-parents-raise-well-adjusted-kids Lastly, one in every two thousand persons is born intersexed (biologically half male and half female), are all who are married half-condemned?  If the “go fourth and multiply/procreate” sword is used against marriage equality, it is not a sensible weapon.

    Speaking of God’s will, I often cringe when I hear people speak on his behalf regarding matrimony.  Let us take, for example, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach’s words used against Richard and Mildred Loving in the case of Loving vs. Virginia, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”  Personally, I would not want to speak for Almighty God, especially when it comes to the intricate matter of love.  We had better be absolutely sure we know Gods will because we will unquestionably be accountable for speaking on His behalf.  Similarly, we are told that marriage equality is not Gods original plan and therefore unnatural and against His design. Well I have already touched on this but since we are still speculating, allow me a few speculations as well.    If we are to say that any deviation/variation of Gods original plan is unnatural, here is some food for thought; 

–          Adam was created from the dust of the earth – Genesis 2:7.  I cannot speculate as to what color dust was at the time (dust usually has a grayish tint) however, whatever color it was I imagine was the skin tone of Adam (having been created from it).  He also could have been a reddish-brown as “Adam” means “reddish brown.” Are we to assume any variation in people’s skin color today is “not Gods original plan/design” and therefore they are unnatural/ against God?

–           Adam and Eve were without a naval (as no umbilical cord was needed).  Are we to assume anyone currently having a naval is “not Gods original plan/design” and therefore unnatural/ against God?

–          Genesis 7 tells us that animals of the time were lead on the ark to procreate and populate the animal kingdom.  Are we to assume any hybrid or variation of animal from the ark is not Gods ultimate plan/design and therefore unnatural/against God?

–          God’s original design was foreskin.  We now know that (in today’s culture/understanding and some religions) there are certain reasons and benefits to circumcision.  Are we to assume all circumcised men are “not Gods original plan/design” and therefore unnatural/ against God?

    I will stop here with the hypotheticals, as I am sure you get the point by now.  Many things may have been originally created and/or for the purpose/reason/culture of the time.  God however, created us (whether Gay, Straight, Black, White, Left or Right Handed, Blonde/Brunette or otherwise – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” Jeremiah 1:5), with a mind and intellect to act accordingly and with fairness. Such intellect and fairness is expected especially in regards to progressive institutes such as marriage (“Do unto Others as You Would Have Done unto You” Luke 6:31).  In addition, many cultures have blessed same gender unions/marriages throughout history (Fujian’s, Romans, Galicia Spain, and ancient Greece to name a few.)

Lastly, Gods will for love is marriage.  Thus, if we want to stay in His will then perhaps banning divorce should be the goal, not discriminating against who wants in.  Side note: Massachusetts became the first state to legalize marriage equality and is currently a state with one of the lowest (if not the lowest) divorce rates in the country, an eyebrow raiser with today’s fifty percent (and rising) divorce rate.

Show me a Gay marriage in the Bible

If the logic of some who condemn gay couples is legitimate, (that since God did not mention other marriage models in Genesis, God must be against gay couples/marriages), we can use the same logic to prove any number of things, which are not true. Here is where such illogic takes us.

  1. The Genesis 2 marriage model says nothing about wedding gifts therefore God must be against wedding gifts.
  2. The Genesis 2 marriage model says nothing about wedding rings therefore God must be against wedding rings.
  3. The Genesis 2 marriage model says nothing about getting married in church therefore, God must be against getting married in church.
  4. The Genesis 2 marriage model says nothing about adopting children; therefore, God must be against adopting children.
  5. The Genesis 2 marriage model says nothing about gay couples therefore God must be against gay couples.

    Such “analysis” does not make sense. It goes against the inborn common sense we have as human beings. Reading into scripture, something scripture does not say and then teaching as doctrine, is false interpretation. It leads to wrong conclusions http://www.gaychristian101.com/adam-and-eve.html  If you are thinking the “Bible doesn’t mention Heroin either but we know it’s not good for us” than please feel free to click delete and move on.  Because red herrings like such are purely nonsensical distractions, I personally do not feel anyone should waste time trying to make sense out of nonsense and so I will not. 

Marriage is a religious issue and this is an infringement. 

    Civil marriage is not a religious institution but a legal one.  Religions are free to teach and do what they choose.  For example, a Jewish couple cannot stride into a church and expect to get married, but they can obtain a state issued marriage license. Divorced Catholics, although ineligible to be married again in the church, can still get a civil marriage license (fifty times over if they choose). The government does not issue bat mitzvah licenses, nor does it issue communion licenses. Those are matters of individual religious beliefs/choice. The state however, does issue civil marriage licenses.  Civil marriage has always been a legal or “law of the land” matter, since we let the non-religious marry, and always have. 

    I do however believe in religious exemptions.  I fully support the right of non-government funded religious leaders refusing to marry anyone he or she chooses for any reason.  Lastly, we must also consider the many faiths that read the Word and hear the voice of a more inclusive God and joyfully perform same-gender marriages. Are we not infringing on their religious freedoms by denying them the right to marry loving and committed gay and lesbian couples?

    In conclusion, once again, I must stress that I am first and foremost a born-again Christian (radical Jesus loving follower) and firm believer in the Word.  I live, eat and breathe biblical principles and try my best to follow its teachings and examples. Having said that, at the end of the day, we do not place our hand on the constitution to defend the Bible, we place our hand on the Bible to defend our constitution.  This is basis of our marriage fight; equal rights and protections as declared in the 14th amendment. 

    If I have not made my point ever so clear – one last time – there is a world of difference between a religious ceremony and a state-granted civil marriage license.  It is a matter of separation of church and state.  One is a legal document issued by the government, the other a personal choice of one’s belief(s).  Although politically I support separation of church and state, personally I pray fervently that all have a close relationship with their creator.  As for me, when I got married, a church service was essential.  Both my spouse and I are Christians brought up in the church.  After receiving our legal marriage license from the court house, our pastor was just as thrilled marrying my spouse and I (of ten wonderful years), in a beautiful church (including an incredible religious service and ceremony), as he was the heterosexual couples before and after us http://www.mywedding.com/ericjason/


31 Comments

Filed under Civil Rights, Discrimination, Education, Equality, Gay, Legislation, Religion

Stop Hijacking Our Fight

I want to begin this post by stating that I am no historian, theologian or expert in any related field.  This is my blog and simply my opinion.  I wanted to probe the term “Civil Rights” because as of late I have been hearing how the gay community has “hijacked” the term.  I began this process by first going right to the dictionary and copying the very first definition of each word.  Civil, “of, pertaining to, or consisting of citizens” and the word, Right, “in accordance with what is good, proper, or just:”  I then researched the term “Civil Rights and nowhere in my research did I find this term owned or patented by any particular group, it applies to the many that were denied equal rights in our nations stained past.  Let’s take a look at a few;

Woman’s Civil Rights –  Woman were denied the equal right to vote (suffrage); to hold public office; to work; to fair wages or equal pay; to own property; to education; to serve in the military or be conscripted; to enter into legal contracts; and to have marital, parental and religious freedom. Sadly, some of this fight continues today.

African American Civil Rights: African Americans were denied racial dignity,economic and political self-sufficiency, freedom, and the equal right to marry who they fell in love with regardless of cultural/ethnic background.  Sadly, some of this fight continues today.

Native American Civil Rights: Native Americans were denied the equal right to free expression of their culture, to travel, and land ownership Sadly, some of this fight continues today.

I could go on and on listing other communities/groups/cultures (Asian American Civil Rights etc.), but I am quite sure you get the point.  Bottom line: Civil Rights are just that, equal rights and protections under the civil law granted to ALL American citizens – No exceptions.  If one group of American citizens claim that another hijacked the term Civil Rights than we must conclude that the term was also hijacked from the Civil Right movement that preceded theirs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Civil Rights, Discrimination, Equality, Legislation, Media

My “It Gets Better” Video

http://www.youtube.com/user/JasonjDotBiz/videos 

I am sickened by the harassment, taunting and teasing of our gay youth.  Of all gays actually but primarily our vulnerable gay youth.  After hearing of Jamey Rodemeyers suicide, I created my own “It Gets Better” video.

Although my lack of eye contact is distracting, let it not take away from the sincerity of my message.  God bless you.

2 Comments

Filed under Bullying, Education, Gay, Legislation, Media, Religion, School, Youth