Kentucky County Clerk Jailed

Well, the saga goes on in Kentucky where Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk has refused to grant marriage licenses to gay couples is now in jail. Marriage licenses have been granted by subordinates under threat of jail and Davis says they aren’t valid.


Sidebar: Speaking of marriage and setting up household. If you are on a budget, get great used appliances from They are like new and can save you a ton of money. (more…)

Gay Marriage and Health Benefits Problems and More

A friend who is a lobbyist in Annapolis for LGBT issues pointed out an article in NewsMax Finance. NewsMax Finance is a fairly conservative organization and their article was about Gay Marriage and some probable unintended negative consequences for both gay and straight couples of the Supreme Court ruling making gay marriage legal in all 50 states.


Lost Health Benefits?

Why would it be bad for health benefits. Gay spouses will now be able to visit in the hospital, and have access to benefits that were only available to straight couples before. However, up until now many large companies had health coverage for the domestic partners of unmarried workers. This was for both gay and straight.  Based on surveys of large companies, as many as one fifth of them may no longer cover coverage for unmarried domestic partners. (more…)

Great Baltimore Bachelorette Party

We were in Baltimore recently for a bachelorette party for our friends, Rachel and Sarah. What a great time, and they went all out. We were picked up by the most amazing limousine we have ever seen. If you ever need a limo in Baltimore, you need to give these people a call, Baltimore Limo ( It wasn’t just your normal town car. This thing was amazing. All 12 of us fit in comfortably. There was this amazing blue fiber optic lighting that looked like we were in some kind of futuristic movie. They had a bar area and we brought along several bottles to get the party started. Heck, it was so nice, we could have just stayed in the limo and partied all night. (more…)

Mormon Church Bans Gay Marriage

Well, the Mormon Church definitely does not agree with the Supreme Court. Although Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are probably in agreement with the Mormons on this. The Mormon church has just come out that gay marriage is a form of apostasy. Tough news for gay Mormons who are married.


Apostasy is an act or repudiation of the beliefs of a religion. There are variations on the meaning but that is the basic idea.


Rule Update Saying No to Gay Marriage


This became known through an update of what is known as Handbook #1. It is the administrative guide used in the church and is only given to LDS bishops and stake presidents. (What is a stake? The smallest group which is like a congregation is called a ward or branch. A stake is typically made up of 5 to 12 wards.)


It says that anyone in a gay marriage is an apostate and subject to church discipline and in fact the leaders should seek these people out and discipline them. This probably means end the marriage or you are expelled from the church, excommunicated, whatever the right term is.


But Be Nice to Gays


Earlier this year, the church put out an announcement about gay marriage, probably in response to the Supreme Court ruling. It said that church facilities and ministers could not take part in any gay marriage ceremonies, receptions, etc. However it said that anyone in a gay marriage was to be treated with respect. They said Jesus taught us to be kind and friendly to all people whether we agree with them or not.


Kids Banned Too!


They went even further by going after the children. It said that any child living in a house with a co-habiting same sex couple, whether married or not, could not receive a name from the church or be blessed or baptized. It also doesn’t matter whether the child is natural or adopted.

Ellen Page & Ted Cruz

Ellen Page cam out as a lesbian in the last year. She recently made a visit to the Iowa State Fair where Ted Cruz was grilling pork chops as part of a campaign swing.


The two of them went back and forth for five minutes and it was captured by the national media. However, it probably makes no difference one way or the other. Conservative media portrayed it as a victorious put down of Ellen Page and liberal media portrayed it as showing how out of touch Cruz is.


It was like the two of them were from different planets and were talking different languages. Page saw it as a discussion of gay rights and Cruz saw it as a discussion on religious persecution and freedom. Neither one seemed to hear the other.


Page started by asking Cruz what he felt about LGBT people being fired because they were gay or trans. Cruz came back with how horrible it was that God fearing Christians were being persecuted for their beliefs. Page said no, they are being persecuted for their discrimination. Cruz said no, they were being persecuted for living based on their faith.


Page said the arguments being used to discriminate against LGBT were the same that had been used to discriminate against minorities which is now illegal. Cruz came up with a story about an Iowa couple who wouldn’t hold a same sex wedding at their business. Cruz then came up with an odd hypothetical story about a gay florist refusing to sell flowers to  two evangelicals who were going to get married. Page said the gay florist should sell them the flowers.


The conversation then got stranger. Cruz asked where gays were being persecuted. Page said all over the world. Cruz said they are being killed by ISIS and Iran and there is no outcry and the Obama administration is sending millions of dollars to the country. Page said that was not true and that gays were being persecuted worldwide, including Jamaica. Cruz said Jamaica is not killing gays. Why isn’t Obama raising the issue? Page said she would love to talk to President Obama. Cruz then says, “Then we agree.” Page said not at all and to stop twisting her words.


Pretty much that was then end of the conversation. Basically red meat for both bases with little accomplished.


Christians Not Being Christian

Well, the US has gay marriage not but many advocates say there are still issues that need to be resolved before equality can be achieved and LGBT people don’t have to live in fear of prejudice and reprisals and losing their job. In many states it is legal to fire someone for their sexual preference.


BUT, If you think it is bad here, you are wrong. It is actually pretty good and getting better all the time. Especially when you compare the US with many Mid East and African countries.


The frustrating thing is that the antigay sentiment is being fueled by missionaries from the US who don’t like the trend in acceptance of gays in the United States. It is also being fueled by money from right wing Christian zealots in the US. Some people are wondering if they could be held liable for the deaths in Africa of gays killed by the hatred that these “Christians” from the US have stirred up.


The odd thing is that in different African tribes there was a place for a third sexuality which was essentially gay men. They were accepted and played an role in the functioning of the tribe. But with the teachings of the missionaries, antigay sentiment seems to be spreading and becoming more virulent. In some countries there is even the death penalty for homosexual acts.


It was refreshing to hear President Obama speak out on his recent trip to Africa. He managed to walk a very fine line of pushing for change and not insulting the leaders he was speaking to, or coming off as a heavy handed American trying to dictate to them. It definitely didn’t hurt that he is African American and his father was Kenyan. It gave him a vantage point and credibility to speak to these African leaders that no prior American President has ever had. He pushed for tolerance for gays and the need for women’s rights. It would be nice if the African leaders listened and turned down the heat some on the gay community.

Supreme Court Approves Gay Marriage

Who says the Supreme Court is not a political body. They proved it once again with the vote on gay marriage. Roberts was against it but some feel he was secretly glad that it was approved. His objections seemed to be more on technical legal grounds. Scalia is a different story. He was apoplectic and is probably convinced that this is the end of America. He also complained about an activist court. That is ballsy considering the number of activist decisions he has been involved in from deciding a Presidential race to considering a corporation to be a person and allowing unlimited money into political campaigns.


On the other hand, the usual swing vote, Justice Kennedy, wrote the majority opinion and compared the decision to allowing whites and blacks to marry. If Scalia had been a justice for that decision, we know where he would have come down on that one  as well.


Battle Isn’t Over

But, the battle isn’t over. In many states there are still no workplace protection for gays. It is still entirely possible that if they get married, they can be fired for being gay. That is allowed by the law in over half the states. Naturally the Catholic church was against this decision as well as conservative Christian groups and the Mormon church. One judge in rural Alabama decided that in order not to marry gays and at the same time to not go against the Supreme Court, he wasn’t going to issue any marriage certificates at all.


The decision made sense in that it didn’t force the decision down the throats of various religions and require them to perform religious ceremonies marrying gays. Each church/religion can make their own choice about how they want to handle gay marriage. But gays can no longer be denied marriage and can get married in a civil ceremony or in a denomination that allows it.


Gay and lesbian couples will get marital rights now in all states, although straightening out the paperwork might take a little while. One area where there might be problems is with parental rights. States have no problem with biological parents but in a lesbian couple, only one is the biological parent and for gay couples most likely neither is the biological father although it is possible one could be. In Utah, there is a legal case where the state has been sued to have both lesbian parents names on the birth certificate.

Caitlyn / Bruce Jenner

Annie Liebowitz is an amazing photographer. Did a great job on the photo of Caitlyn Jenner. This whole “event” has raised awareness of transgender issues more than anything we can think of. Many people have commented how acceptance of gay marriage just snowballed over the last 5-10 years and the opinion of society changed more rapidly than any would have predicted. The question is whether this new awareness of transgender issues will cause a movement in how society views transgenders.


Social Conservatives Lash Back


The Washington Post has an article about the conservative reaction. It apparently has steam coming out of their ears that a person who won an Olympic gold medal, was on a Wheaties box and celebrated for his masculine prowess is being accepted as a woman and being proclaimed as courageous. They see it as another example of how they are losing the culture wars. And they are nervously awaiting the Supreme Court decision that could make gay marriage legal in all 50 states.


Republicans – Where are they?


Many top Democrats including President Obama and Hillary Clinton have had positive things to say about Caitlyn Jenner. In contrast, none of the Republicans running for President have had anything to say on the topic. They are in a quandary because part of their base is dead set against gay marriage and transgender issues while many have accepted it. So how do they make a comment without alienating one or the other part of their base?


Rick Santorum made an accepting comment and caught heat for it. Mike Huckabee on the other hand made a typically tactless statement about how he wished he could have said he felt like a woman so he could go in the girl’s locker room for showers. He has rightly taken a lot of heat for that statement although a lot of social conservatives probably silently agreed with his underlying sentiment.


One Republican strategist said to just avoid the topic, wish him or her well and shut up so you don’t offend a large part of the US population one way or the other.


Conservative Talk Shows


Naturally, Rush Limbaugh was all over this. He basically said people shouldn’t be talking about this and encouraging this kind of behavior. Steve Deace, another talk show host said Republicans would lose in 2016 if they didn’t come out against this. The way Limbaugh sees it, acceptance of Jenner is making Republicans and conservatives into outcasts and weirdos.


There was further vitriol when ESPN announced that it would give Jenner is Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS. The conservative blogosphere felt it should have gone to Noah Galloway who is now a distance runner after losing limbs in Iraq.


Many conservative pundits claimed America was going to hell in a handbasket and that our moral compass was out of wack. They feel society has lost its way and needs to revert to proper moral values. They probably claimed the same thing when blacks and whites were allowed to marry.

Gayness: Nature or Nurture

AllPsych has an article on this topic of whether nature or nurture causes someone to be gay. Not clear if the article is by Ryan Johnson or Dr.Christopher Heffner. It is rather lengthy and at times a bit confusing . We will attempt to summarize here.


Originally the Amererican Psychological Association (APA) listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. The article makes the valid point that a lot is still not known and is poorly understood. In other words, there is no definitive answer yet.


Alfred Kinsey was one of the first to do some research. He found, not surprisingly, that how you worded questionnaires or surveys influenced the answer. After some tweaking, he found that 30% of males had taken part in a homosexual act leading to an orgasm at a minimum.


Biological Theories

Karen Hooker selected gays and heterosexuals, matched by age, IQ and education. Then she did 3 different psychological tests on them and found no difference. Because of this the APA removed homosexuality as a disorder.

In 1975 a statement that homosexuality was not a mental disease was released. Finally, in 1994 it said homosexuality was not a mental illness or moral depravity. Instead, it was how some people express love and sexuality.


DF Swaab, in 1990, found differences in the hypothalamus between gays and straights. About the same time, Laura Allen found other differences in the hypothalamus between the two groups. In 1991, Simon LeVay also looked at the hypothalamus and found yet another difference and that gay men and women were similar and different from heterosexual men.


Another biological experiment was also interesting. The theory was that levels of neuroendocrines affected sexuality, particularly androgens. Female rats given high levels of androgens behaved like males and were attracted to females and tried to mount them. Male rats with restricted androgens were passive and would submit to other male rats.


J. Michael Bailey and Richard Pillard studied twins and homosexuality. 52% of monozygotic twins were both gay, 22% of dizygotic twins were both gay and 5 % of adopted brothers. (We wonder whether being twins would decrease the androgen available to each and therefore increase the likelihood of being gay.) Later studies found the same in women.


Dean Hamer researched whether gayness might be an X linked gene. He studied 40 gay men and found an amazing concordance in 5 areas of the Xq28 region of the X chromosome. The odds were 1/100,000. He postulated and found that there were many more gay men in the mother’s part of the family tree.


Nurture Theories

Sociobehaviorists don’t believe the biological argument. They say it depends on how the person is raised. In Crete and New Guinea all boys went through homosexual experiences as part of the culture. But in this case, you could say it was forced on them.


Psychoanalytic theories say it is due to parental and family dynamics. But you would think with the negativity around homosexuality, it would lead people to be heterosexual 100% of the time.


David Halperin and Jean Foucault are two main social theorists on the topic of homosexuality. He  believes the reason is unresolved Oedipal issues. Discounted by the main psychological community he has believers in groups such as conservative Christians. Foucault says homosexuality was a rarity 100 years ago when it morphed from sodomy to a sort of interior androgyny.


Although these arguments don’t make much sense to us, there is still a lot to learn and it is possible there are impacts of both nature and nurture or environment.



Conservative / Republican Conflicts

Linda Greenhouse wrote an editorial in the New York Times which we will summarize here with our own editorial comments. It assumes that the Supreme Court will decide the case in favor of gay marriage and hypothesizes about what next.


Conservative Christians will probably claim that they are being victimized and discriminated against. As if they have never done the discriminating. When Indiana passed a law recently that allowed discrimination based on religious beliefs, the state backpedaled fairly quickly when businesses pressured them. She says this was a minor defeat because the federal government has no statutory protection for gay people against discrimination. This is where we were puzzled because sex is a protected class. If you go here on the EEOC website, it claims there are protections.


Apostle Mike

Mike Huckabee  is running for President but based on his statements, he can’t seriously think he is going to win. He told a group of ministers that the US is moving quickly towards “the criminalization of Christianity”. Wow! He is praying for the Supreme Court justices as a “biblical duty” because “Christian convictions are under attack.”


Apparently Republicans don’t always love big business because after Indiana, he said that corporate bullies should stay away from his state of Louisiana. He supposedly wants to run for President too, but you have to wonder.


There were 100 friend of the court briefs in the Supreme Court case. In just one of them, 379 companies put their name to the document. There were a lot of Silicon Valley companies but a lot of old blue chip companies like Pepsi, P&G, Alcoa, Dupont, Dow and on and on. They want their employees to be treated consistently across states and not discriminated against in some states. They said it makes hiring the best people difficult.


So, how is the Republican Party going to handle this? The majority of Americans support gay marriage and for young Republicans it is 61%. How do they deal with this and not alienate a core of their base who oppose gay marriage?


Twisting like a Pretzel

They will probably do the same thing as Ted Cruz, another Presidential hopeful who is making contradictory statements to different audiences. He went to a fund raiser for him in NY hosted by 2 gay businessmen and supposedly said that if one of his girls said she was gay, he would love her just the same. Then he proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow states to still ban gay marriage no matter what the Supreme Court says.


Lyndsey Graham,who has been around longer took a slightly more subtle approach and on several occasions has asked why polygamy shouldn’t be allowed if gay marriage is allowed. But he also said he would go with what the Supreme Court decided.


George F. Will seemed concerned by Huckabee’s statements and referred to him as Apostle Mike. If the Supreme Court decides for gay marriage, the Republicans should thank them. It lets them off the hook with their base and allows them to focus on other topics that have general appeal to the population. Gay marriage is a no win proposition for the Republicans.