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September 21, 2014

Equal Rights in Anchorage. A Small Step on a Long Road.

Last night was the Anchorage Assembly meeting in which the public was invited to give testimony about ordinance #64, which ensures non-discrimination in housing, education and employment for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered persons.

Pastor Jerry Prevo of the Anchorage mega-church the Anchorage Baptist Temple was the one organizing those in opposition to the passage of the ordinance.  We all knew it was going to be a dramatic evening.

As I was heading out the door, I remembered that I’d gotten something from Equality Works in an email saying to wear blue.  So, I quickly ran upstairs and changed into a blue shirt.

I arrived at the Loussac Library a little late.  As I drove down 36th Ave., I was reminded of a sunny day last fall when 1500 people had gathered here with Obama signs, speaking out and telling the world as best they could about why they were not supporting Sarah Palin for VP, even though they lived in Alaska.

As I approached, I saw a group of teens all wearing red.  Some were holding signs that had a stick figure of a man and then a plus sign, and then a stick figure of a woman.  There was a little blonde girl, about 7, who had a sign that said “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.”  I wondered what conversation her parents had with her about what she’d be doing this evening, and about what her sign meant.  I wondered what part of “love” meant denying employment, education and housing.

On the opposite corner was another group of red teens, standing right next to a group of blue teens with letters spelling out E  Q  U A  L  I  T  Y.  Dueling ideologies between teenagers who, under different circumstances, could have been friends.  It all seemed very strange already.

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Then I saw the sea of red by the Assembly Chamber doors.

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I realized at that point that the red color was supposed to be some kind of organized statement.  It made me very glad I had changed out of the red shirt I wore to work today.  I walked down the road flanked on both sides by people with printed out signs, and red baseball caps, and red shirts who were chanting “Equal rights, not special rights.”  I wondered what was so special about being renting an apartment, or not getting fired from your job because of who you love.

There was a blue crowd I hadn’t seen at first, which made me feel a little better.  As the evening progressed, more and more “blue” people showed up, and they didn’t look quite so outnumbered.  I was to hear later that many of the red shirts were bussed in from the ironically named ‘Church of Hope’  in the Valley.

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I worked my way into the lobby, and the energy inside was just as strange as the energy outside.  I did see former governor Tony Knowles, gubernatorial candidate Bob Poe, and soon-to-be gubernatorial candidate Ethan Berkowitz all there to show support for the ordinance.  I don’t know where our current governor is, but I suspect if she had been present at this event, she’d have been wearing red.  I felt optimistic that in this one room I could see three talented, capable people I would MUCH rather have in that office in Juneau, who had actually showed up for civil rights.

Miss Alaska and Mrs. Alaska were both there in tiny dresses and tiaras to support those who were opposing the ordinance.  I don’t get that excited about beauty pageants, but aren’t these women supposed to be representing the whole state?  Why, I thought, were they here in full regalia on such a divisive issue?

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Mrs. Jerry Prevo, and Mrs. Alaska

The usual progressive voices were also there, showing support and gathering the experiences they will use to share their unique perceptions of the event on their own blogs.

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~~~Linda Kellen Biegel, Phil Munger and Shannyn Moore~~~

There was no way anyone else was getting into the Assembly Chambers.  They were packed, and nobody was leaving.  I decided to go back out and get some air.

I was stunned at the number of children that were there waving red signs.

equality38

I stood for a while looking at them, and I wondered how many of them were gay.  One in ten.  I picked out one little boy, and imagined it was him.  He will grow up among people who think like this.  As he becomes aware, he will think that he is wrong, and bad, and unlovable.  He will remember this day when he and his family stood holding signs.  He may try to hide who he is.  His parents, standing next to him right now, may not accept him.  He may be afraid to tell them, and live his life as a lie.  Or he may deny who he is and try to fit in,  and trying hard to prove that he isn’t what he is.  He may even bring his wife and kids to rallies like this.

A stroll through the parking lot revealed an interesting range of bumper stickers all across the range you might expect at this event.

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When I returned, the line to the overflow room was short, so I waited and got in.  I heard plenty of testimony on both sides.  I heard a minister that almost moved me to tears, talking about how we don’t have to agree with people to agree that everyone deserved basic human rights.  I heard a minister who told us how Jesus didn’t condone gay behavior.

I heard mothers talk about the discrimination their children had had to endure for being gay.  I heard a transgendered woman bravely speak up about her life facing challenges most of us can’t even imagine.  One in 12 transgendered people will be killed.

I heard an African-American man who said to the gay community “don’t mix up your civil liberties with my civil rights.”  He said that the LGBT community had no idea what real discrimination was like.  I didn’t know it was a contest.  Later I found out that a father of a gay son told that man that he had marched on Washington twice to fight for that man’s rights, and now he had to watch this man speak out against the rights of his son.

I heard several people ask, “Where are the reports of all this supposed discrimination?”   There were several times when these people gave testimony either right before or right after someone who had a very moving story about the discrimination they had suffered.  It was strange how those prepared remarks, written at the kitchen table, probably sounded good to them at the time, but now rang hollow when spoken in the presence of real people with real stories.  And there is no reason to report discrimination, and no reports filled out if that act of discrimination is legal.  I guess they didn’t think of that either.

I learned later that while people were inside the building testifying that there was no problem and no discrimination, outside a man in a red shirt physically attacked a man in a blue shirt.  He was arrested and taken away.

I heard a Christian woman speak her truth and talk like Jesus.  She was full of love and tolerance, and a deep sense of social justice.  I wanted to hug her.   I heard many people who said they were Christians who sounded like anything but.  I found myself with a lump in my throat on several occasions; sometimes in sadness, sometimes in joy, sometimes for no reason I could put my finger on.  Each speaker had three minutes, and you never knew what the next three would bring.  It’s the closest thing to a non-stop emotional roller coaster I’ve ever seen.

After a while, it was just overwhelming.  Back out for some air.

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I stood with my back against the wall, just breathing and trying to let all that I’d heard settle in.  Someone yelled “Pervert!” from the red side of the street to the blue side.  It all seemed like some strange sporting event.  Red vs. Blue.

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A guy with a sign started walking back and forth on the street, leading a group of children and young adults in a chant.  “Go straight!  Straight is great!  Go straight!  Straight is great!”  I stood there, and they passed by and several people made eye contact with me while they were yelling,  as I stood there in my blue shirt.  My inner voice yelled back, “I AM straight.  You do not have to be gay to recognize injustice.”  But I knew they were not in the mood to listen.

I wondered if any of the testimony I’d heard inside helped people to understand anything.  Maybe there were a few people in the audience that all of a sudden realized that LGBT people are…. people.

I saw a sign that said:

We must live together like brothers, or perish together as fools.

- Martin Luther King Jr.

That was a good note on which to leave.  The Assembly will meet again next Tuesday to hear more testimony.   More hours made up of three minutes.

A group met afterward at Villa Nova.  It felt like we needed each other to talk with, to decompress.  It felt like we needed nourishment of several kinds.  We shared our observations of  those who, for whatever reason, came to the discussion from a place of division, and judgment, and superiority.  And we celebrated those from our community who rose up in eloquence and a sense of social justice.

A curtain was pulled back on the inner thoughts of this community.  The good and bad were laid bare in the Klieg lights. I don’t know where this will all lead, but it’s obvious that the discussions need to happen and that we are taking a small step forward on a very long road.

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[Thanks to all the Mudflatters who spontaneously live-blogged this event on last night's thread.  It's amazing that people all over the world came together to share this event with Anchorage.  I did not even realize there was a live stream, but was so pleased to see everyone tuned in!  This issue is so much larger than Anchorage.  Deep thanks again.]

Comments

comments

Comments
133 Responses to “Equal Rights in Anchorage. A Small Step on a Long Road.”
  1. Sean Egan says:

    HAHA That’s my car!!! And I DID pass organic chemistry the first time. Friends got jealous, made me a sticker, slapped it on and I couldn’t get it off! (That and I’m just vain like that)

  2. Flash says:

    Greetings, I just stumbled onto the mudflats. I am lesbian, have a beautiful partner. Married in Canada and California.. Just want to thank especially the folks who aren’t gay that came out and supported us Tues.
    I was just at the midnight sun brewery and they have a one bathroom for all sexes. Wonder how Prevo feels about that :)
    thanks again you all

  3. Lori says:

    Really excellent post! Thank you!

  4. kdip says:

    The APA recently released a statement that there are no genetic causal markers for homosexual activity. Nature or nurture, according to APA, may play a part. Behavior defines the person in that situation, unlike being black, Eskimo, Irish, or male or female. Therefore, homosexuality is a choice. Good or bad choice depends on one’s other choices. This is America, founded because of choices. However, the culture can change with our choices, also predicated on other choices.

  5. nebraska mudflatter says:

    @Paula:

    “Sorry to all of you who suffer due to ignorance and religious slander and closed minds and hateful people…”
    ——————————————————————-

    As with all oppression, discrimination and hate, it is not only the intended recipients (LGBT, persons of color, with disability, etc) who suffer. ALL of humanity suffers– every one of us losing something, including the oppressors. That is the insidious evil of hate.

  6. txindygirl says:

    bucfan – you are absolutely right. hate is taught and when we teach our kids to hate others, eventually, they’ll turn that spotlight on themselves. tragically for some, it’ll be at that stage in life when they are trying really hard to fit in. that ol’ “love the sinner, hate the sin” is just code for “it’s okay to hate that one.”

  7. txindygirl says:

    123 ValleyIndependent Says:
    June 11th, 2009 at 3:38 AM

    I have also noticed that true Christians don’t have to tell me. I can figure it out from their behavior.
    ————————————

    The Bible says it best: we will know them by their fruits.

  8. Bonnie says:

    I’m ashamed to admit many years ago I exploited my children to stand with signs in front of our neighborhood theater that had just reverted to a porn palace. I even had my dog wearing a sign. When the threats started I took them all home realizing the danger I had exposed them too. The porn addicts aren’t the best caliber nor are cause crowds.

    I hope the Assmebly persons take the high road.

  9. ValleyIndependent says:

    Pat,

    I have noticed that people who tell me “I’m a Christian.” usually aren’t. (My Jewish friend wants to know why some Christians do this. She notes she doesn’t run around telling strangers “I’m Jewish.” I had to tell her I honestly don’t know.)

    I have also noticed that true Christians don’t have to tell me. I can figure it out from their behavior.

  10. blooper says:

    Pat, Washington: Thank you for voicing your tolerance, you are like a breath of fresh air! :)

    Ultimately, I think that these hard core Christian groups are going to have to realize that they are in the extreme minority. Well organized they may be, but eventually they are going to corner themselves into a dark, intolerant corner. I wouldn’t be surprised to see (in 100+ years or so) cloistered, small communities of ‘true believers’ who have totally cut themselves off from mainstream society, cutting out all LGBT influences, or non-believers for that matter. If that’s the way they want to go, all the power to them. The greater segment of society will be all the wiser.

  11. All l Saw says:

    Rapture Republican or Prosperity Christians pretty much sums them up to me.

    Making the rest of the world follow along while they destroy civil society and the earth just to make Jesus come back in their lifetime is evil.

    I wasn’t there but I’m pretty sure Jesus looked a helluva lot more like Obama and nothing like Jerry Prevo.

  12. All l Saw says:

    To Pat:

    The churches that practice tolerance tend to do it quietly, lightning rods are only good for catching lightning – and not much else.

    Prevo is a media whore. I think he should lose his tax exemption for endorsing a political issue.

  13. All l Saw says:

    to mlaiuppa:

    I call them Rapture Republicans, (the rapture part indicates that they are trying politically and socially to bring about the end of the world and force the 2nd coming of Christ). They are very much aligned with the far rightwing in Israel and Netanyahu who would rather perpetuate violence that they know will endanger their own families at some point than make concessions to avoid it.

    The abortion doctor killing, the violence at the Holocaust museum… I have no doubt its a movement that will become very organized once they see the chaos that it creates. Just like the stupid Tea Parties. Stupidity, ignorance and especially HATE are contagious when most people don’t bother to form an opinion and instead adopt the opinions of others without question. Being a follower is much easier, less thought and no accountability for ones decisions.

    They really have nothing to do with real conservatism or republicans, can you imagine Lisa Murkowski wearing a red shirt and marching around with hate speech? Ted Stevens? John McCain? George W. Bush? I mean shit, even the Dark Prince himself, Cheney thinks gays should be able to marry.

    I also like to refer to the Prevo types specifically as Prosperity Christians, as long as they get to buy all the shit they want, God is happy.

    Nothing much conservative about spending us into oblivion in Iraq (by means of foreign contractors and massive graft and corruption). Bush and friends had a massive stimulus plan, the only difference is it all went overseas and to Big Pharma (i.e. Medicare Rx). Even less conservative trying to legislate morality, and intervene in the end-of-life choices of one woman, (i.e. Terri Schiavo). Marriage is nothing more than a contract with no larger obligation than helping ones spouse through the end of their life, but that didn’t matter when Terri’s parents wanted to usurp her husbands right to do just that. Marriage is only sacred if we can monitor/legislate/judge the goings on of our neighbors bedroom.

    They’ve created a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby we scale back civil rights until the point of revolution – reminds me big time of Charles Manson: kill rich white people, incite a race riot by placing the blame on black people then hide in a cave until the chaos settles and kill the black people in a coup. They also love to deny Global Warming (which should really be called Global Poisoning). If the weather and/or contaminants kill us all, God must’ve wanted it that way.

    BTW are lesbians sodomites? I’m so confoozed about how one goes about regulating sexuality.

  14. It’s so disturbing to see people acting this way, while claiming that they are Christians. As a Christian, active in my church (Presbyterian), and community, I am so frustrated when these groups try to make it seem like they have the right to make choices for everyone else because they are “Christian”. So am I, but I’m not going around dictating how others should live their lives. I first encountered the venomous attacks of some of these people when we used Harry Potter as a theme at day camp – which everyone who participated enjoyed, btw.

    I was so annoyed to learn that one woman came down into camp while I was gone and the first thing she said was “I’m a Christian.” My reaction when they told me about it was “Well, did any of you say, ‘so am I, and your point is?’ ” They dealt with her, more tactfully than I might have done, so it’s a good thing I wasn’t there. I’d already had that conversation several times by then.

    So, when groups like Prevo’s show up, has anyone tried to get people from a church that is not anti-everything to stand up for the civil rights of people? Not all churches are so narrow-minded or mean-spirited, nor are these groups representative of all Christians. I think they need to be shown that just saying they are Christian doesn’t mean they are, nor does it give them the right to decide for anyone else or pass judgement on others.

    And I, too, found it very disturbing seeing so many young kids there with signs that probably meant nothing to them. It’s just not right or responsible parenting to use one’s children in such a way.

    Thanks for the report, AKM.

  15. bucfan says:

    TxIndygirl, you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. All those children in the red shirts and holding the signs are being taught to hate someone for being different. And as some of them come to the realization that they are “different” they are torn between who they really are and the good Christian they are expected to be. They come to hate themselves and turn into people like Larry Craig, Foley, Rev haggard, Jim West, the anti-gay gay mayor of Spokane,
    Washington, crusaders against the people who have accepted themselves and choose not to live a lie. Or tragically, as some do, they cannot accept who they are and take their own lives. I once heard Al Franken ask this question “Is it harder to be black or gay? The answer is gay, because you never have to tell your parents that you’re black”

  16. All l Saw says:

    Jerry Prevo makes me want to scream a long string of obscenities – but then I realize that would make me just like him, sans the collection plate after I’m done.

  17. Magpye says:

    “I heard a minister that almost moved me to tears, talking about how we don’t have to agree with people to agree that everyone deserved basic human rights.”

    That was the rector of MY church! I am so proud of him, and of another of our priests who will speak next Tuesday. I am looking forward to my chance to speak next week, too. I sat through the whole thing, having arrived early enough to get a seat in the chambers, and was alternately moved, amused and angered by the testimony I heard. I pray that some of those there heard things that touched their hearts and minds.

    My husband was sorry he didn’t have a sign to hold up – he arrived later and spent most of his time in the lobby and out on the street. Next week he plans to bring one that says “Love the intolerant, not the intolerance”. Last night, he faced down a rude redshirt with a megaphone who was yelling hateful things by shouting Bible verses at him – “Faith, hope, and love abide… and the greatest of these is love!” (1 Corinthians 13.13, slightly abridged). The rude man went away.

    (If you’re reading this – hi, Aunt Patti!)

  18. TBNTJudy says:

    honestyinGov,

    Thank you for the link to Eva Cassidy. More goosebumps here.

  19. mlaiuppa says:

    Well, it is my understanding that civil rights are protected under the Federal Constitution and Bill of Rights and the states cannot nullify any of those rights. Like wise local ordinances. So good luck Anchorage. You can’t say it’s OK to fire someone or refuse to rent to them because of their sexual orientation. It’s illegal under Federal law and you can’t change that.

    So it will be very interesting to see how this turns out.

    Of course, if anyone that’s gay is mentally challenged or masochistic enough to wish to join Rev. Prevo’s private club and the good Reverend refuses them membership, that’s a whole other thing. He can certainly make a big media splash publicly denying them admittance to *his* “Christian” temple.

    We really do need a moniker for these non-Christian “Christians”. Fundamentalist just doesn’t seem adequate.

  20. txindygirl says:

    Thanks AKM! Very moving post. I wish I could have been there. I have a sister who is gay, and it angers me to know she can’t live her life out loud… ya know, like those self-righteous types. Fortunately, she lives in a state where the folks are more open minded, so I don’t fear that she’ll have housing or job issues.

    It is nauseating how young children are taught to hate… and how many of them (at least 10%) are being taught to hate themselves. Yeah, I’ll pass on that kinda “love.”

  21. stef g. says:

    A 501c3 is allowed to lobby and advocate on issues related to it’s core purpose. The IRS does not give a specific percentage of income that is allowed to be spent on this. I think @ 5% is usual. I understand the ABT’s annual budget is $30,000,000.
    The IRS definition of ‘Political Activity’ relates to supporting or opposing candidates. This is not allowed at all. Prevo has violated this in the past.
    They are also allowed to get involved in ballot issues related to their core purpose.
    In 1998, the Mormons gave a half million to our opposition on the state constitutional amendment restricting marriage. They could legally have given twice that. (it sure helped our fundraising :) )

    Thanks for the pictures and the narrative of what was going on outside, in the chamber, we did not know if we were allowed to keep out seat if we went out, until Debbie had the police chief make an announcement about it. She also mentioned that people had been bussed in from the valley. We had heard a rumor, from the Aronno’s about it, turned out to be accurate. From inside, I thought just our side was doing the chanting, I didn’t know what force the opposition was in, and that it was in response to them. I felt a little embarrassed about it.

    Shall I make an Equality Works button with Ak Muckraker on the top?

  22. Physicsmom says:

    I’m awed by the outpouring of compassion and good will here in contrast to the vitriol at the Anchorage Library yesterday. Many have said things I agree with wholeheartedly, but I was particularly struck by the reference to Shannyn’s article calling these religious fanatics “anti-Christians.” That is precisely what they are. They cleave to the Old Testament and pick and choose from the New Testament as it suits them. I feel sure the prophet Jesus would be appalled by their behaviour and beliefs today. I’m a fallen-away Catholic, secular humanist who raised my daughter the same way. I am so proud of her openness and generosity of spirit. I wish I could raise all the children who were compelled to participate in the protest. We also have many gay people in my family, including my brother. When he came out, my only concern was for his safety in this crazy, unloving world. How these people could think that one would choose to be vilified is just astounding. So nice to have people to stand together with in this fight; one that shouldn’t have to be fought in the 21st century in the United States of America. But fight we will, and with the help of our friends like the Mudflatters, and the next generation, we will prevail.

  23. bucfan says:

    Red shirts? Maybe they should have worn brown or black shirts. Would have fit their cause much better. Okay, and which Mrs Alaska was it since they just picked a new one? Was it the outgoing one? And did you see Billy Bad A** standing in the street leading the chants with his shades, black vest, blue jeans and Billy Ray Cyrus haircut. He is also in the picture of Linda and Prevo on her site. He is standing there doing the ain’t I cocky pose? He looks so tough, he must be a man’s man. Or overcompensating. Just sayin. And in the bigger picture, our military is booting out highly qualified personnel because they are gay, and this hurts readiness. On the other hand the Army and Marines are willing to give wavers to convicted felons so they can enlist. That must make sense in bizarro world. Oh, and today, Randi Rhodes played the clip of Sarah wanting oil prices to stay low and just laughed and laughed.

  24. honestyinGov says:

    I was not familiar with IZ before… but the clip was very nice.

    If you like that song here is another clip of “Over the Rainbow” done by Eva Cassidy. She has a beautiful voice and you can read her complete story if you Google her.

    She passed away of cancer just as her career was taking off. Sad story…. beautiful voice. ” Songbird” was a very good album.

  25. Ladybirddeb says:

    Perhaps the only good thing about such a vile public display from the Religious Right is that it will motivate more Americans to step forward from the silent, complacent masses in order to publicly disassociate themselves from the white hoods — oops! I mean the red shirts. Would somebody PLEASE explain to these people the concept of separation of church and state? Political statements that begin with “I’m a Christian” or “The Bible says…” are appropriate only for a Christian Theocracy, not a Democracy fundamentally based in the rights of the individual and the separation of church and state. I really wish that legislators would have the courage to say to everyone who states “I am a Christian” at a public hearing: “Your religious affiliation is completely irrelevent to the formation of public policy.”

  26. mlaiuppa says:

    Not Miss Alaska.

    Mrs. Alaska.

  27. akgrrl says:

    modee:

    See my #56 post. A limited amount of lobbying for issues IS permitted for 501(c)(3) nonprofits. I am unclear on exactly how much “limited” is. Any support of a candidate, however, is strictly prohibited.

  28. modee says:

    I just looked on the Miss Alaska website and they are a non-profit. How can they then send official representation to this political event? Also how can Prevo charter busses to bring people in to protest. Seems to blur the line on non-profit. My question is the obvious-Can both organization’s non-profit status be challenged because of these actions?

  29. Marnie says:

    What do red plaid manly shirt remind me of.
    “I’m a Lumber Jack” Monty Python

  30. IZ has been a favorite of mine for a while. I was so bummed to learn of his passing.

  31. jojobo1 says:

    I also no longer go to church ,I say my prayers at yhoe and red the good book by myself when I feel the need. as I believe Linda stated People that claimed to bge Christians turned me off with their unchristian ways Just like this church group. Jesus taught love for you friends and to turn the other cheek and these perople are saying they are christians LOL what a laugh. .I watched men and women both go to church every sunday then go to the bars and get drunk and drive or have affairs with friends spouses,That makes you a christian ?I don’t think so. Treat others as you would want to be treated is a very good motto to live by. How these Taliban Christians could bring their little ones into this is beyond me ,some of those children seemed awfully young to even understand what was going on.But then again I guess the Taliban starts them out very young and brainwashes them from birth on.Great article AKM

  32. Paula says:

    And IZ dsinging over the rainbow, saved as a fav, always a joy no matter how many times I hear it. No one does it like him. Tears…snif…it’s all good.

  33. Marnie says:

    Anthony Woods is on ActBlue as well

  34. Paula says:

    To all those willing to share their stories here, thanks so much. A true shame that we even need to have this topic on the agenda. Sorry to all of you who suffer sue to ignorance and religious slander and closed minds and hateful people…

    Lots of love to you all. Big embrace. A few tears. Then a smile. We shall overcome!

  35. TBNTJudy says:

    nebraska mudflatter:

    I just watched the link you posted of Iz. I have seen it before, and yes, I am in tears. Thank you for sending me there.

  36. Marnie says:

    39 UK Lady Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 12:43 PM
    I struggle to understand why these so called churches get tax exempt status when they have such an influence in politics. We stamp on it right away if a member of the clergy tries to pontificate on a political matter.

    I also don’t get why the redshirts are so afraid of gays, do they think it is catching, are they afraid they are so weak the will succumb?.”

    Did you read Shannyn Moore’s article? it still up on her site.
    http://shannynmoore.wordpress.com/

    What she says more eloquently than many commenters have is that the “Christianity” being preached in many conservative churches actually isn’t Christianity, since it is based on the Old Testament. And I will add that it isn’t Judaism either.
    They are preaching the history of the violent, sinnful, faith that the New Testament supplanted – but calling it Christianity.
    They are the anti-Christians.

  37. Gramiam says:

    Mattie Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 3:37 PM

    No doubt palin would be wearing that red leather jacket. She wouldn’t want to make her “BASE” mad.
    *********************************************************************************
    In honor of our AKM’s wishes……….Sarah WHO???????????
    Wonder what would happen if all of a sudden we all just ignored her existence.

  38. Marnie says:

    37 Mae Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 12:33 PM

    Your son is blessed with loving parents. He sounds like he is great kid. Unfortunatey you are right to be concerned, as all parents are, but maybe a little more for a child who is brave enough to be diferent. There is just so much hatred and violence in the country.

  39. TBNTJudy says:

    nebraska mudflatter Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    “Brudda Iz . . . went to his funeral.”
    _________________________________
    I had to step away from the computer to run some errands, nebraska, but when I read your post, I got goose bumps all over my body. I read about Iz when I discovered him, and he and his family are so incredible. What an honor to have him lie in state before the funeral, and I’ve seen the videos of when his ashes were scattered. I wish I could have been there. I have the album “Facing Future,” which I discovered while watching a youtube video of some guy’s first trip to CA. Some of the background music I recognized as having a ukulele in it, so when I read comments on his video, someone mentioned Iz. I HAD to have the album. I love all the songs, but the one that gets me the most is called, I believe, Hawai’i 78. I just wish I knew what the words meant. I can listen to that song, cranked, all day long. Goose bumps!

    It’s a long way from Hawaii to Nebraska. Interesting move?

  40. Me says:

    My family too has a predisposition to being gay. My cousin tells me it is a sexual demon. I say it is a blessing.

  41. Marnie says:

    17 Blue_in_AK Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 11:43 AM
    This is a test. My comment disappeared — and it was a good one.

    Mine did too. Twice. I copied and pasted a thrid try and I think it went through.

  42. CO almost native says:

    Thank you, AKM, and those who went to the Assembly meeting, or blogged last night, or shared their stories. The son of my best friend is gay; he’s a very creative TV writer in Hollywood and his partner was the creative producer for “Milk”. She was floored when- she finally told us- I and my daughters said “So? We’ve always known…and love him for who he is.” (H is conservative Repug, but agreed with us.)

    Jesus weeps at the hate in our country today; He would never send anyone away. Besides, guess who found the tomb was empty? Not an old white guy–how about two women, one was a prostitute…

  43. nebraska mudflatter says:

    sorry, wrong thread!!!

  44. nebraska mudflatter says:

    Hot off the press in Nebraska: Nebraska doctor plans to offer 3rd-term abortions in Kansas!

    http://www.journalstar.com/news/nebraska/doc4a301b024e73d683832192.txt

    This is the Omaha physician who worked at Dr. Tiller’s clinic when he had procedures that could not be done under NE law.

  45. InJuneau says:

    sauerkraut–yeah, drat, me too…and they look good on me. :( Oh well, at least I don’t live up there where I really couldn’t ever wear them any more…

  46. sauerkraut says:

    KO coming on for the first round… and Palin vs. Letterman is on!

    All those red shirts… I’ve got lots of red shirts. Guess I’ll have to wear something else lest someone think I am one of the No People.

  47. Mattie says:

    No doubt palin would be wearing that red leather jacket. She wouldn’t want to make her “BASE” mad.

  48. Mattie says:

    In this day and age we have to vote on equality for jobs and housing? I am sad and stunned.

  49. Mattie says:

    It’s just this kind of closed minded hate that caused the shooting in DC today. Fox news and the anti gay retoric is to blame. They just keep pounding people with their hate until somebody snaps.

  50. nebraska mudflatter says:

    @TBNTJudy:

    Brudda Iz . . . went to his funeral.

    “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I cry just hearing it in my head. And what a beautiful song for today.

  51. Ennealogic says:

    I watched about 4 hours worth via the Internet last night and posted my comments on my blog.

    All I can say is, the extremist right-wing, anti-abortion, anti-gay conservatives really need to realize they are but a small faction among many, and I will not let them smother the rest of us with their Taliban ways. Church and State have no business joining hands. Otherwise, the promise of our nation is totally empty.

  52. TBNTJudy says:

    nebraska mudflatter Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 11:58 AM

    “I remember having cars swerve to “pretend” they were going to hit us. Being spit upon. Being called names I had never even heard. Feeling hate I never knew existed in my home.

    The “Christian” outsiders took the aina (land), the language, the music, the dance, and the Queen away from the Native Hawaiians. Then they took the aloha.”

    God, this makes me so sad and so angry. Your story, along with all the others posted here about how they faced discrimination, and worse, makes me ill. I am not a violent person, but I just want to grab these fools and choke them.

    By the way, I’m am a lover of Iz. Sometimes I cry just listening to him. I wish he were still here.

  53. Blooper says:

    Whoops, italics gone wrong. Sorry. :)

  54. Blooper says:

    I love it how ‘the red shirters’ try to twist the issue in their favor by claiming the ordinance will take away from their rights. Typical pretzel logic.

    Also, they claim this ordinance will grant LGBTs ‘special’ rights. Uh, excuse me? So would they have considered the woman’s right to vote a ‘special’ right as well back the early 1900′s? Or blacks to marry whites a special right?

    These rights are not special in the context that the vast majority of the populace gets to enjoy it, red shirters included. Their reasoning baffles me.

  55. lynnrockets says:

    #67 akgrrl

    That makes things look even more antiquated.

  56. Blooper says:

    KJ in NC (Re: IRS): Check out post #25. :)

  57. nebraska mudflatter says:

    @carolyn:

    Howzit! I posted at #24 about the first time around in Hawaii, thanks for mentioning that you just went through it again with the civil union issue (and it looked sure to pass!!!). We were the first, and I was so proud that we were going to be the first! Grrr . . .

    I know that growing up in Hawaii shaped my world view in a wonderful way, with diversity all around. I still feel pain when I think of the hate spewed by those groups, but know there are so many good people there like yourself continuing to fight! Mahalo!

  58. leenie17 says:

    It amazes me that anyone can honestly still believe that being gay is a “lifestyle choice”. Why on earth would anyone ‘choose’ to subject themselves to the pain and discrimination that society often inflicts on people who are LGBT?

    I was raised a Catholic but I no longer practice any formal religion. As a child, I witnessed some of the most unchristian behavior from some of the most ardent church goers, and I could simply not reconcile what I believed was truly Jesus’ message with what I saw them practice.

    During high school and college, I was involved in the fine and performing arts where I was, true to the stereotype, among the minority as a straight person. I am now in a profession and living in a city that have larger than usual percentages of people who are LGBT. I have many friends and colleagues who are gay and they happen to be some of the most generous, caring and honest people I know. Their families are among the most stable and loving I know. To deny them the most basic of rights is just unimaginable to me.

    BuffaloGal’s experiences as a young woman reminded me of two friends who came out to me and were shocked when I had little or no reaction to their announcements. In both cases I knew, or at least strongly suspected, long before they ever said anything. And in both cases, the fact that they were gay didn’t negate the reasons I was friends with them in the first place. One of those friends told me waaayyy back in high school in the late 1970s when that kind of revelation was earthshattering. I remember my heart breaking for him when he described how some members of his family had rejected him. I would hope that we’ve come a long way since those dark days, and I sincerely wish the greatest success to all the people working so hard to establish equal rights for EVERYone in Anchorage!

  59. Marnie says:

    For any constructive discussion of the legal status of marriage to be carried out we need to remember that the legal state of marriage is a privilege granted by the government when certain legal formalities are met.. It is separate from a religiously recognized state of marriage. The two functions are completely separate.

    If proper legal documents are dealt with, a legal and a religious marriage can co-exist. But a legal marriage does not require religious recognition and a religious marriage that does not conform to legal requirements is not legal.

    Since the Constitution guarantees equal rights and protections under the law, it would seem to be a Constitutional issue that certain persons, who would other wise be able to meet the legal requirements of marriage, are denied a right and all its many legally recognized privileges.

    We get so caught up in the hatred and prejudice of the religious right that we forget that this is not really a religious issue, and we allow them to win the PR battle.

    If some brilliant and brave politician or spokesperson could get that point across we might be able to better deflect the psyco-babble of the hate mongers and pressure/shame politicians to follow the Constitution.

  60. Blooper says:

    BB: If I understand it correctly, the Anchorage assembly has a slight liberal edge,
    so I would put my money on this ordinance passing.

    The assembly used to be more even, or even conservative, but elections in 2008 changed that with the likes of Mike Gutierrez and Elvi Grey Jackson, among others. Expect Dan Coffey (Dan Sullivan’s pal) to vote against it.

  61. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    Lynnrockets………it’s the states who resist any change, evolving is not in their vocab. Many states are behind the times, sad, I know, but that’s what this is all about. I moved from progressive Colorado to Missouri 3 yrs ago, MO is at least 15 yrs behind CO. I can remember when CO was very redneck back in 74 when I moved there, signs on stores and restruants like hippies or long hairs stay out, lol. There is hope.

  62. carolyn says:

    our legislature in hawaii recently gave in to the red-shirt-clad mormon-funded protestors, many of whom were children, and banned gay marriage. of course our state was horrified! we tell the world that we celebrate our ethnic differences and are able to live happily together, yet we turn around and deny some tax-paying their civil rights. The action will be corrected – it will just take time. Meanwhile the rest of us suffer the embarrassment while other states are legalizing it.

    best protest sign I’ve seen: “Jesus had two dads, why can’t I?”

    aloha…..

  63. Ripley in CT says:

    Re: 51-GA Peach a/k/a Lance the Boil aka Crust Scramble

    It definitely is genetic, I don’t need any scientist to tell me. There are way too many in my family, me included, to deduce otherwise. ON BOTH SIDES!!! I was doomed!! :)) Even my godparents are both gay, and were not “out” when I was born. They don’t know each other and are from opposite sides of the family tree. I really had a destiny, I think!

    Even though it’s very hard sometimes, especially when dealing with bigots (like I am doing right now in my extended family). But, I know what kind of person I am, just like all those people at that rally in blue shirts.

    I do hope that those children learned something different, and asked questions. Children have unique perspective and perhaps one child had one question for one adult that made them stop and think for a minute.

  64. Linda says:

    unfortunately, all the hatred spewed toward people who are “different” from them turns many people off to organized religion. i am one. i am 57 years old and spent my formative years in an evangelistic church during the civil rights movement years. i asked questions that no one could intelligently answer such as “why doesn’t the golden rule apply when we’re dealing with black folks?” and “doesn’t that ‘jesus loves the little children’ song actually mean that jesus does love all the little children (and grownups) regardless of color?” then i watched church members get into fights with one another, kick pastors and other congregants out of the church, etc. by age 16, when i had a job, i asked to be scheduled to work on sunday so i’d have an excuse not to go to church. later i became agnostic and now i just say i’m an atheist. i am a highly principled, very loving, very humanistic atheist however. i have friends and relatives who constantly try to woo me back into various churches, but i just cannot stomach it. the things you saw at this meeting are perfect examples of why some of us cannot do it. i love your statement about the lady who spoke who actually sounded like jesus — if only all christians could examine their words and actions and truly compare them to their messiah — i.e. “what WOULD jesus do?” is that really so difficult?? apparently . . .

  65. akgrrl says:

    #57 lynnrockets: I hate to say this, but I am always sort of shocked when I read about a state recently voting on an equal rights law for gays.

    —————————–

    Sadly, this is a proposed ordinance only for the city of Anchorage. I highly doubt the State of Alaska would ever get such anti-discrimination law through GINO’s red veto pen, also.

  66. nebraska mudflatter says:

    @aussiegal:

    I respect your perspective– so refreshing from what we are hearing from so many “Christians” around here. Regarding the Bible and homosexuality, as I understand most references are from the Old Testament, but there is really nothing from the teachings of Jesus. This was the source of a brochure a Lutheran Church distributed once at a Pride Parade: “What did Jesus really say about homosexuality?” And the brochure was blank. The back had an invitation to worship.

    I was driven from Christianity at a young age when a young, male pastor “forced” me to convert. I felt as though I had been raped, literally. So I have to profess ignorance about the Bible, though my partner is well-informed and spent 20 years working with faith-based peace and justice organizations. I guess I have a hard time with the focus of the evangelicals here on the Old Testament, when my understanding is that “Christians” are followers of Jesus’ teachings, and he seemed to mostly talk about love and justice– actually challenging the Old Testament edicts. As Mohammed did with Islam, really challenging the old tribal ways of the region and building on Jesus’s teachings.

    Sadly, here as in the Muslim world the old “eye for an eye,” grim, oppressive, patriarchal ways are at the forefront again.

  67. clark says:

    BB at 61 — the public’s not voting on it [fortunately -- blue would probably lose]. the 11-member anchorage assembly [sort of like a city council] is. i’ll bet it passes, 6-5 or 7-4.

  68. KJ in NC says:

    I must be on a roll today. I thought I would look up to see if the color red was associated with Joel’s Army. I didn’t find anything but if you Google Joel’s Army Palin you get 8 links. Her church is part of Joel’s Army.

    truthalliance.net/Archive/tabid/67/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1472/Default.aspx – is the best. I didn’t have the stomach to watch the videos but maybe later. Knowledge is power.

    I had read that “destiny” is another term for Joel’s Army. The word “bold” is also a code word. Palin uses them all the time.

    I may be behind all of you on this subject but it explains a lot and is even more frightening than her base incompetency should she ever get elected to something.

  69. Ripley in CT says:

    Thanks AKM, not just for going in our stead, but for being passionate. For feeling. For understanding.

  70. bronislawa blumschaefter says:

    BTW, AKM and you other Alaskans – how do Prop 60′s for passage look? I’ve never been to Alaska but my understanding is that it’s home to both a large number of “live and let live-etarians” and a big population of fundamentalist Christians. Who votes in greater numbers?

  71. bronislawa blumschaefter says:

    You are a credit to your faith, aussiegal (#58). I just don’t understand why so many people use religion as an excuse for hate and intolerance: don’t they see the contradiction?

  72. lynnrockets says:

    @ nebraska mudflatter

    You said, “Sure enough, Faux News has a news story tonight on the drama about the penguins and “the attempts to make them go straight!” Even gay freakin’ PENGUINS scare the wingnuts!”
    ______________________________________________
    Does Fox News believe that the Red Wings are also gay? Now I’m curious about the Boston Bruins.

  73. aussiegal77 says:

    Civil rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals & transgender people should be obvious. People, regardless of who they are or who they love should have the right to a place to live, go to school and have a job. WHAT is it about this that makes so called Christians so riled up? What do they want? An isolated community of homeless, uneducated, unemployed LGBT people? Does that even SOUND sane??!

    I’m a Christian and I believe in what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. But this isn’t about the Bible – it’s about the law and civil rights. I can see the difference, why can’t my fellow Christians? Shame on them to deny basic human rights to their fellow Americans. This is NOT what Christ died for.

  74. lynnrockets says:

    I hate to say this, but I am always sort of shocked when I read about a state recently voting on an equal rights law for gays. Maybe it is because I am from Massachusetts and we have had these anti-discriminatory laws on the books for so long that I cannot even remember their passage now. However, when I hear of a state this late in the game that still hasn’t passed such legislation it seems like hearing about a state that still has Jim Crow laws in effect. It seems almost unreal to me or as if I’m hearing about some alternative universe. I guess I just have a difficult time processing that New England is that much more liberal than the rest of the country.

  75. nebraska mudflatter says:

    Maybe a little OT, but . . . not completely. You’ve probably heard the recent story about a (committed) pair of male penguins in a German zoo that nested eggs that were abandoned by a “straight” penguin couple. The gay couple are one of like 6 gay penguin couples at the zoo, and they are fiercely protective of their little ones, evidently. When I told my partner this story the first thing he said was, “The conservatives will go nuts. The ‘March of the Penguins’ was a sort of inspiration to them.”

    (My partner testified on behalf of the Quakers in the Hawaii Legislature during the gay marriage debate, and he worked on a farm doing education programs for children and saw A LOT of same sex interest – even across species. But had to stomach listening to evangelicals say that homosexuality exists no where in nature!)

    Sure enough, Faux News has a news story tonight on the drama about the penguins and “the attempts to make them go straight!” Even gay freakin’ PENGUINS scare the wingnuts!

    So, this being Pride Week, let’s think of our gentle feathered friends and remember that the “March of the Penguins” is not about conformity, but beauty.

  76. Village Reader says:

    Thank you for the write up. I was also moved to tears when you described the father confronting the man about descrimination against his son. Very well written. I also agree with you. You don’t have to be gay to realize descrimination.

    Thanks

  77. akgrrl says:

    #50 KJ in NY: What about the IRS? Did I miss something?

    Unfortunately, according to the IRS website, a 501(c)(3) organization, which includes religious organizations, may engage in some lobbying [attempting to influence legislation], but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status. However, they may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

  78. GA Peach a/k/a Lance the Boil aka Crust Scramble says:

    My family has a genetic predisposition towards ‘gayness’. My niece is gay, my 2nd cousin is gay, my precious, smart 3rd cousin, gay, committed suicide. My great-aunt was ‘different’. When my niece ‘came out’ to my sweet Momma, my Momma opened her arms, then spent serious time with her God (she’s a Southern Baptist) and her Bible. She determined that love is all there is and that that is Jesus’ message. As a family we celebrated my niece’s commitment ceremony with her partner. We would’ve been that much happier if the state had recognized their commitment as a sanctified marriage.

    It saddens me that instead of embracing ‘the different among us’ we stunt our growth by insisting that everybody think the same as us. And seeing those children being forced to participate reminds of that ‘and the sins of their fathers’ Bible quote.

    It’s been said here before and I’m probably misquoting, “sunshine is the best disinfectant.” Justice Brandeis

    Disinfectant can hurt like hell.

    Thanks, AKM, for this report.

    Also, too, (nod to sarah) under this new administration, I’d go after that ‘home-grown terrorist’ church’s tax-exempt status tooth and nail.

  79. KJ in NC says:

    Blooper 45 and 46: Thank you for your information but I am confused. What about the IRS? Did I miss something?

  80. KJ in NC says:

    I don’t remember who had the link to Anthony Woods, but I just sent a donation. Thank you for letting me know. What a guy! West Point and Harvard, major volunteering—it is all there. Bless his heart and I hope he wins big. That is the kind of person we need in politics: intelligent and caring.

    I, too, felt so sad at the children and wondered who among them was going to know or already knew he or she was gay.

    And did you ever notice how “hate” and “hatred” is the only word conservatives seem to know. Even when they are talking about liberals (whatever all these labels mean): liberals hate Palin, etc. The Claire Boothe Luce letter had two “hates” and one “hatred”…all in one letter. Scary and sad.

  81. Mirage 18 says:

    The use of ‘red shirts’ is interesting, as it does not bring a positive connotation for those familiar with history.

    In the 19th century there were white paramilitary group in the U.S. south known by that name. So, is that the reason the ABT chose ‘red shirts’ for their symbol?

    I don’t know if this is the reason that ‘red’ was chosen or not, but in a day where extremist views are playing themselves out in violent ways (Dr. Tiller’s assassination and now the U.S. Holocaust Museum), I ponder if the use of ‘red’ has an underlying message.

  82. BuffaloGal says:

    Thanks for the kind words! It was so long ago and things only got better as the years went by. Not only personally but socially overall. My kids grew up with the gay issue being a non-issue. It’s great to see a new generation for whom that’s the case. Like this wonderful AKM post says, ” Small steps on a long road” . Thanks again for bearing witness last evening, to all that did.

    And, on an OT note, here is an open discussion with Kathleen Parker who wrote yesterday’s article about Palin. She held her own really well :

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/06/10/DI2009061001111.html

  83. Blooper says:

    P.S. According to the decision in the article: “Tax exemptions are provided to religious and charitable organizations because they perform services that would otherwise have to be funded from tax revenues, and because they foster the moral and intellectual development of the community, the decision says.”

    If what is coming out of the ABT is considered “moral and intellectual development of the community”, I say whomever came to this conclusion really needed to see the display at the Loussac Library last night in Anchorage.

  84. Blooper says:

    If any of you are interested, here’s the link to a 2008 ADN article referencing the status of tax exemption laws in Alaska for religious institutions and homes of teachers that are owned by the Anchorage Baptist Temple. The ACLU, Ray Metcalfe, and others tried to have this exemption declared unconstitutional. Unfortunately, they did lose this case.

    http://www.adn.com/189/story/455453.html

  85. 10cats4me says:

    So glad that many were there in support of gay and lesbian rights. I have been friends with gays and lesbians most of my life one way or another. I just cannot understand how people can be so hateful. Takes me back to an old reference to what is the emotional gain that they get from this. It’s more than likely both financial and some kind of belonging in this strange group. I really think the IRS needs to step and look these groups over about their stepping into the political realm.

    So sad to see the children in there. So much anger and hate.

    Got upset about the shooting here in DC earlier and posted a note. We see so many odd personalities who come here to protest one thing another. I have seen many groups over the years. But not the shooters from out of town. There have been lot of shootings in DC lately and the politicians are trying to break the strong laws. What little protection that is here will be lost.

  86. SmallSteps says:

    BuffaloGal: thank you for sharing, and know that you have many true friends here at the ‘flats :)
    Mae: I’ll send a prayer out for your son’s safety. I’m glad you don’t let your fears stop your son. He is right to be brave and strong. God bless him!

    AKM and everyone who was there last night: Thank you!! I have a dear childhood friend who is gay, and other friends who’ve become part of my life along the way, who just so happen to be gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered. One of my hubbie’s dear friends came out to him in college and it was funny/ironic. Friend was worried as hubby was the treasurer of the Young Repubs, but his response was, “Ok. You’re my friend. Guess being gay is ok!” We were with you all in spirit last night, and will be again on the next go-round.

  87. austintx says:

    Hooray For Anything says at 3:56 pm, June 10th, 2009
    Here’s a lesson to you all: if you’re going to bash gay people, it’s better to do so while while wearing clothes than not wearing clothes.
    ***************************************************
    One of the great comments at wonkette on the gay bashing boob that is the EX Miss California.

    http://wonkette.com/409081/gay-hating-boob-job-fired-from-ms-california-job

  88. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    I posted this on the open thread not knowing AKM had opened this thread, it belongs here……..it’s pat robertson’s advice about why some christians may have gay children.

    http://digg.com/d1tNW4

    “Or, alternatively, you can seek out the advice of a doomsday-predicting, despot supporting, Scotland fearing, snake-oil selling, idiot religious fanatic!

    Here’s a video that documents some parents who have chosen the latter path, and who sought out the advice of 700 Club huckster Pat Robertson. Let’s see what he had to say:”

  89. crystalwolf aka caligrl says:

    Blooper Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 12:02 PM

    One other thought: The Anchorage Baptist Temple is currently a tax exempt organization (and owns several other tax-free properties). I think it’s high time that if they intend to be influential in the realm of governmental policy they should start paying their share of taxes.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    That is a very GOOD idea! Last year the Mormon church did this same thing to cali and now their tax exempt status is being questioned! If they want to preach religion fine, but stay out of politics! I say go after them!!!!! Maybe if Jerry pervert is threatened with losing tax exempt status he will STFU!

  90. tspey says:

    Hypocrisy runs deep at ABT. I went once as an invitee of a friend to Sunday School when I was ~12 years old. I remember the ways in which the teachers taught and kept the kids interested or singing. Most of it involved candy but when it moved on to coins and cash the first thought in my pre-adolescent brain was ‘this is rediculous’ and never went back. Unfortunately, ABT is a major force in numbers in regards to local and even state politics.

  91. UK Lady says:

    I struggle to understand why these so called churches get tax exempt status when they have such an influence in politics. We stamp on it right away if a member of the clergy tries to pontificate on a political matter.

    I also don’t get why the redshirts are so afraid of gays, do they think it is catching, are they afraid they are so weak the will succumb?.

  92. mae lewis says:

    Years ago, when Civil Rights Organizations marched in the South for voting rights for African Americans, we had friends who were part of a similar movement in our northern big city. They were a married couple who posed as who-be renters, responding to an ad for a vacant apartment. The apartment was viewed earlier by a very lovely African American couple who were told that the apartment had just been rented. When our friends showed up, surprise, it was still available. People in their group used the same kind of tactics in applying for jobs, getting seated in restaurants, and so on. Ultimately, these cases were brought to the courts, maybe the ACLU was involved, but it seems like it’s been years since these were divisive issues. Our city does not allow this form of discrimination. And let’s be clear here. Restricting one group of people from something that everyone else has an equal shot at IS discrimination.

    So what’s going on in Anchorage? Are restaurants allowed to refuse to serve a couple of guys but an “opposite couple” (the former Miss California’s jargon) would be OK? Rent an apartment to a couple of guys going to school– how can you tell if they are room mates or something else? When I looked up the Equal Rights Amendment, which should have been ratified years ago, I notice that both houses of Alaska’s legislature voted for it. So what’s the problem now? It’s really sad that The Red Shirts have dragged their children into this, teaching them hate before they are able to form their own opinions. You may have to get my friends up there to do their apartment and job thing and force a few cases through the courts. It was only a year or so ago that the Supreme Court of the US decided a case from Texas regarding the privacy of consenting same sex adults, in favor of their right to privacy in their own bedroom.

  93. Mae says:

    I’ve spent a good part of my Anchorage living, protecting my children from Prevo’s bus, which used to drive the neiborhood on Sunday mornings.

    My son is a mothers dream and a fathers pride. Everybody loves my son, He is the total charmer. As a parent, he has never made me worry. Except when he went off to math and science summer camp and it was the real first time away from home.

    I saw my son on the news last night. There he was, speaking up for himself and others like him. I knew he was going to go. He told us, in a very nice and thoughful way. He knows I worry.

    He made me so proud. Cause he thinks for himself and doesn’t let others make up his mind. Just like we taught him. But I, as a mom was so scared. Would if one of Prevo’s followers decides to beat him up or harm him?

    There he was. Standing proud and gentle, thinkin for himself and others like him.

    But I’m a mom, and I don’t want anyone to hurt him cause of his sexual orientation. I saw the rabid kids wearing red and yelling. My gosh, I had to turn away.

    I live in North Mat Su Borough. I await my son to drive down that drive way and give us a update on how he thought things went. I know he will. he knows he can talk about it with us. I’m happy to provide a place for him to “decompress”, to not be questioned or judged, to sit in a garden and watch the birds eat worms…

    But those people in red, seem like the type who will harm him. As a mom, it worries me.

  94. Blooper says:

    EyeOnYou: Thanks for the shoutout. I think it’s definitely one of those inconvenient truths that the ABT would like to brush under the rug. :)

  95. nebraska mudflatter says:

    BuffaloGal– the blessing in disguise is that now you truly know who your friends are.

  96. EyeOnYou says:

    BuffaloGal~ BIG HUGS headed your way!!

  97. Blooper says:

    BuffaloGal: It’s amazing how so many people we know turn out to be ‘fairweather friends’ (and family). I’m simply speechless after hearing your moving account.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  98. EyeOnYou says:

    Blooper Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 12:02 PM
    One other thought: The Anchorage Baptist Temple is currently a tax exempt organization (and owns several other tax-free properties). I think it’s high time that if they intend to be influential in the realm of governmental policy they should start paying their share of taxes.

    _________________

    I say this statement deserves a round of applause!!!

  99. 24owls says:

    Thanks AKM – this event was obviously more than just differing viewpoints, I felt your pain and the need for a breath of fresh air and space. I couldn’t listen or watch or read the other mudpuppies comments for very long, even if my spirits were lifted by a brave soul with a personal story, the hatred was too much, too overwhelming, too sickening. I went outside, took a deep breath of crisp air and looked skyward and found myself saying “you know God, supposidly that boy of yours was going to come back to Earth and rid it of all the sinners. Now, I may not believe in that but if it is true then please send him along now because he needs to kick some butt of all the haters that are using your name in vain – what part of love thy neighbor don’t they understand.” Then I stood there and thought a moment – I could count the number of times I’ve talked to the heavens in my 50 years on one hand and two, I wonder if I mixed up the daily mushrooms with “special” mushrooms on my salad today. I will have to grab a glass of wine and investigate that.
    Thanks AKM for all you do -

  100. BuffaloGal says:

    I’m a 48 year old gay woman who came out 20 years ago in the pre-Ellen years when gay pride parades were still held tentatively , if at all.

    I started by telling my family. My Mother promptly banned me from visiting because I could “influence” the 2 foster children she was caring for. My brother responded that he would have preferred I had told him I had cancer. (at the time I was waiting on biopsy results). After a few more horrified reactions I decided to try a different approach, as a social experiment.

    The next person I decided to come out to was a good friend who happened to be very conservative. ( but back then it wasn’t so dang scary). I sat her down, told her I had news and then went ahead and gave it to her. I watched the shock set in, the horror, the sadness, etc. I watched her body language change to that of being on the defensive and ready to bolt. She said things like , ” why would you even say that?! Omigawd!! Tell me it’s not true!”

    And so …. I did. I laughed and said, ” Naw. I was just messing with you. I wanted to see how you’d react.” Sure enough she exhaled heavily and broke into almost hysterical laughter. ” You scared me to death!! I would’ve never talked to you again if you were gay. You’re a jerk, you know that ??”

    “Yep. I am. And I’m also very much gay. I wanted to see what your true reaction would be. ”

    And, true to her word, she’s never talked to me again, even after knowing me all her life. Funny stuff , fear is .

  101. Paula says:

    I’m always suprised to see these pictures of beautiful salads and fine wine and linens. Still have that image of “In Alaska we eat raw meat with our bare hands” kind of thing stuck in my head.

    A black man opposing gay rights, kind of like women supporting Palin. Who can explain it?

  102. Mag the Mick says:

    My one small hope is that the council members saw the full force of hate in Anchorage and will have no choice now but adopt the measure. Back during his campaign, President Obama gave a very moving speech about race in America. I want him to give another now on hate.

  103. austintx says:

    22 Freakout in Kansas Says:
    My mom’s the same way, but she’s 86 and all she does all day is watch Fox News, so I know where her crazy’s coming from…hell, I’d go nuts too if all I did was watch Fox all day long!
    ************************************************************
    Oh , I know what you are saying. I check in on a friends Mom that lives close by. That tv is blaring Fox everytime I swing by. I know her well enough to say “Why do you watch that s^*t ??”
    Stock answer every time is “They know what’s goin’ on.” sigh….

  104. akgrrl says:

    I drove by the Loussac Library yesterday, and just overcome with the sea of red hate. Not realizing the extend of hatred that still exists today, I hadn’t planned on attending. I am so glad that I wore blue that day because I could do nothing else but stop and show my support and spend hours singing and hugging and letting the world know that there are stronger powers than hate.

    No matter what the outcome of the vote on the 16th (if the vote will even take place at that time), please show your support for the wonderfully diverse community of Anchorage and attend the Anchorage Pride Fest that will be held on Saturday, June 21st. More information can be found on their website.

    Thanks to AKM and all the Mudpuppies for their support, and especially their humor.

  105. Blooper says:

    One other thought: The Anchorage Baptist Temple is currently a tax exempt organization (and owns several other tax-free properties). I think it’s high time that if they intend to be influential in the realm of governmental policy they should start paying their share of taxes.

  106. nebraska mudflatter says:

    I was born and raised in Hawaii, when “aloha” meant something. With the diversity of cultures we tended not to think in overly divisive terms. In Polynesian culture there is a concept of a third gender, the “mahoo,” kind of like the native American “berdache” (sp?). Waikiki had a thriving gay scene that was where any of us could feel welcome and alive. We had transgendered kids in school. Heck, a boy was nominated homecoming queen the year after I graduated from high school. We were the first state to assert that denial of marriage rights to LGBT persons was unconstitutional. Then came the flood. The Mormons, Catholics, Virginia Beach evangelicals . . . and millions of dollars from out of state to change the State Constitution. I remember scenes like you’ve shown here AKM, standing on street corners with signs. I remember having cars swerve to “pretend” they were going to hit us. Being spit upon. Being called names I had never even heard. Feeling hate I never knew existed in my home.

    The “Christian” outsiders took the aina (land), the language, the music, the dance, and the Queen away from the Native Hawaiians. Then they took the aloha.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” –Mohandas Gandhi

  107. Freakout in Kansas says:

    Why are conservatives so full of anger and hate? I always thought it was ok to have differing opinions and even normal to argue about them in a rational way. You can’t do that with today’s conservatives…they don’t hate the different ideas, they hate the people who have them. One of my best friends from college is a die hard Republican but we’ve always had good debates and been able to get along. It’s like something snapped in him this last election…we’re no longer able to communicate without him attacking Obama (as a person) and calling me a stupid liberal who’s going to get what I asked for because I voted for him. I’ve told him please let’s not talk politics anymore because he gets so crazy about it, but he just keeps right on doing it.

    My mom’s the same way, but she’s 86 and all she does all day is watch Fox News, so I know where her crazy’s coming from…hell, I’d go nuts too if all I did was watch Fox all day long!

  108. mlaiuppa says:

    My state representative is openly gay: Christine Kehoe. She was a fabulous city councilperson for my district and she’s been a great representative.

  109. mlaiuppa says:

    Have none of these people seen “Blazing Saddles”?

    “…but I won’t hire or rent to the Irish!”

    I understand that along with the LGBT issue there was also an issue of renting to the military? Seems to have gotten lost in the mob.

    Now, if that had been going on in front of my house, I would have put the German National Anthem on the loudspeakers and stood in front of my house with my arm stiff and raised to the sky. (With maybe a comb held on my upper lip.)

    And I really do have to question what kind of “contest” is going on here. Do people of color think that if LGBT are granted the same rights they fought for and won, that somehow they’ll lose their rights or the fight will have somehow been cheapened?

    Christian Taliban. Call a tool a tool.

  110. marzapan says:

    AKM,

    Thanks for the brilliant write-up. It is so difficult to wrap one’s mind around that kind of hate and open discrimination.

    Mudflatters,

    If you are looking to channel your frustration on this issue into a more positive place, I would like to suggest that you learn more about Anthony Woods, a decorated Iraq war vet who like so many others was discharged from the military under DADT. Woods is running for Congress in CA. He’s not running as the “gay candidate”; he’s just a smart, accomplished young man who happens to be openly gay.

    http://www.anthonywoodsforcongress.com/home.html

    He also has a Facebook page, of course.

    He has an uphill battle as he is running against a couple of entrenched Sacramento politicians; but then again, Sacramento politicians aren’t very popular right now, so there’s hope!

  111. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    oops.. whenever and wherever

  112. Blooper says:

    I’m sure others have noticed this, but I think it’s worth pointing out that it seems most of the ‘blue side’ went through the trouble to create their own signs while the sheeple in red were mostly carrying pre-made signs, no doubt provided by the religious juggernaut Anchorage Baptist Temple.

    I have to draw the conclusion that those wearing red at this event tend not to critically analyze issues their bread and butter issues and are all too willing to march in lock step to a backwards ideology. I suppose hate & intolerance needs mindless conformity to thrive.

    Oh, and with their deplorable behavior (yelling hateful epithets, physically attacking the blue side), those against the ordinance clearly disproved their own ignorant point that this ordinance is not needed.

    I am glad that AKM took a calm, measured approach in responding to this event, even though I”m sure just being there was enough to get any fair-minded person’s blood boiling. That is of course the objective of the red side, to provoke a heated response (violent or otherwise). But that would just be playing into their hands, and I think as a group we are better than that. One just has to keep in mind that they are on the wrong side of history (and humanity) and that equal rights for ALL will prevail in the end.

  113. Blue_in_AK says:

    This is a test. My comment disappeared — and it was a good one. :(

  114. austintx says:

    12 AlaskaDisasta Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 11:36 AM
    Sad how so many find it so much easier to hate.
    ***************************************************
    Self-loathing. Obviously.

  115. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    The absolute pain of seeing and hearing about those children is mind bending. But we knew this wasn’t going to be easy – we stay and fight and do what we need to do. We spread good thoughts, words and light whenever possible – whenever possible. And I thank AKM and everyone who participated in this pivotal issue in Anchorage. It does matter A LOT.

  116. Blue_in_AK says:

    AKM, my first thought was for the gay kids in that crowd of red, as well. It’s hard to imagine growing up gay in such an atmosphere of intolerance. I was also struck by how many of the anti’s twisted civil rights and constitutional language in an effort to elevate THEIR freedom (of religion) over the rights of the GLBT community to fair treatment in the secular world. They don’t seem to realize that their rights end where another person’s rights begin. It was amusing to listen to them complaining about the “hurried” nature of this ordinance, when Anchorage has been discussing it since 1975. I was cheered, though, by the many expressions of support, and I appreciated the probing follow-up questions that were asked by Dr. Selkregg, in particular.

  117. BigSlick says:

    I am really disturbed by the way the children were bussed in by Prevo for this demonstration of ignorance and hate.

    Did anyone else find themselves wondering if any laws were being broken?

    Like, were the kids paid?

  118. AlaskaDisasta says:

    Sad how so many find it so much easier to hate.

  119. CorningNY says:

    What’s happening in Anchorage is a microcosm of what’s happening all over the US. People need someone to blame for all the “bad things” that are happening in the country today–even if those are only imagined–and it’s so much easier to target those who are not like you rather than look for the root causes, or–heaven forbid–look in the mirror. Blame and hatred are the easy way out. I’m still shocked–well, not really shocked, more horrified–at a visceral level that people can hate an entire group of others for one reason. There are certainly people I REALLY dislike–but that judgment is made strictly on an individual basis, as it should be.

  120. Far fromFenway Fan says:

    This is an issue that clearly shows that all is not well in Anchor Town. The issue may be specific but the theme is the same from the Right: Live as god says. Unfortunately god seems to have “said” a lot of things that are now illegal.

    The most hard hitting part of your post was the realization that 1 in 10 of those youngsters protesting will turn out to be on the wrong side of the street. It’s NOT a choice, it’s biological, it could happen in YOUR family. It HAS happened in mine.

    AKM, thank you. Thank you for seemingly always being there and writing incitefully and thoughtfully about the issues.

  121. MissSunshine says:

    I also posted on Gryphen’s page that it might ultimately be a good thing that the red shirts decided to drag their kids along.

    Once they can see the “opposition” are merely other human beings, not alien space monsters, any over the top accusations made by Prevo would sound pretty false.

    Hats off, to those brave folks in blue, who were willing to stand up and speak out.

  122. CrazyInAlaska says:

    I was there also, and I couldn’t agree with you more, it was an emotional roller coaster! And I too, was very shocked to see all the young children in red. And we wonder where and how children learn to hate. I witnessed the making of it last night. It was very, very sad, but what made me the saddest was how thankful the gay community was to my husband and myself for coming out to show our support. Why should they have to thank us? It was the right thing to do.

  123. 10cats4me says:

    Some white supremist idiot just opened fire at the Holocaust museum downtown. Great, guns everywhere, hate or shoot, what christianity! Sarah’s world.

    Her roots are in white supremist country. She carries it with her like a misty cloud of evil and calls it religioun. What perversity!

    So much for denying what the DHS head said!

  124. Mel Green says:

    I’ve got a list of blog posts so far reporting on last nights events at my Assembly report 1. I’ll be posting a longer post later about my own experiences last night, with pics — I was inside the Assembly chambers. You can see the photos now at my Flickr photostream.

    Thanks for the great support, everyone.

  125. Lori in Los Angeles says:

    Yes, we were able to see it and hear it live AKM – If you get a chance to read our live blogging, you are sure to be amused and impressed! My hubby could not figure out what had me glued to an Anchorage, AK meeting for hours. Well, I see the entire event as a slice of what is to come if we let the Churches/religion decide our laws. So, this is a huge issue (most of us outside AK are dumbfounded that discrimination is allowed against a class of citizens).
    I predict that if the Fundies get away with this, they will pick another group to attack and take down next (adulterers? non-church goers?). If the behavior spreads nation-wide (which I suspect could happen when I hear talk on Fox Noise of revolution and secession – well, I was wondering ‘How will THEY know who to shoot at?” And last night I got the answer – by the color of our shirts. Just like in the civil war.

  126. wavelength says:

    Brave blue folks! In a smallish city where people at least recognize lots of other people, it takes courage and conviction to stand in the light – especially when the pro-discrimination side comes from a more vigilante, confrontational mind-set.

    Well done.

  127. Andrea says:

    Just curious, who paid for all the prefab No on 64 signs? And the red sign that said “Don’t Make this a Hate Issue”. What are they thinking? I hope that all your efforts come to fruition and 64 is passed.

  128. InJuneau says:

    Thank you for reporting, for being there for justice, for being there for all our friends and family members who need equal treatment, for being you. I couldn’t watch on the ‘tubes, as I was tending to the garden and yard, but I was there in spirit with all of you fighting for what is right and true and good. I can’t imagine having to go through it again in a week…

  129. Misift in Texas says:

    You poor thing AKM! Just reading your experience left me feeling a little seasick from the emotional roller coaster ride. I hope the decompression session helped!! HUGS to all those in blue!!

  130. austintx says:

    Thank you for the report. We were there via the tubes. I had to go sit in the hot tub after……..can only imagine how you felt after being there firsthand……….looking forward to the 16th { I think } to tune in again to show support.

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