January 12, 2013

Saturday Shorts: PFLAG, Gay Sins, And Marriage Equality

LGBT Activist Jeanne Manford the founder of PFLAG
3 LGBT news stories you might have missed this week.

1. Jeanne Manford - The founder of PFLAG has died.

The LGBT activist and founder of Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG),  Jeanne Manford, died Tuesday in Daly City, California.  

Jeanne’s gay son Morty Manford was physically assaulted during a gay rights demonstration during the early 1970’s, as the New York Police Department stood by and idly watched. This outraged Jeanne, and she wrote a letter to the New York Post, articulating her complaints. She wrote in her letter that “I have a homosexual son and I love him.”

Morty invited his mother to the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade in 1972, which was a precursor to the annual Gay Pride Parade.  

According to Carol Kuruvilla, a reporter for the New York Daily News, Jeanne decided to march in the parade with her son.

Jeanne walked right next to Morty during that march, carrying a sign that read “Parents of Gays: Unite in Support of Our Children.” Parade participants approached her with hugs and tears, asking Jeanne to speak with their own parents and help them cope with coming out.
The sign soon inspired other parents to rally to her side. Twenty people attended the first PFLAG meeting, which was held the following year, according to PFLAG. The group, originally called "Parents of Gays," evolved into a supportive community that tried to help parents better understand their LGBT children.
Although Morty lost his battle to AIDS and died in 1992, Manford continued to fight for LGBT rights.
Just 11 months after Morty's death, Jeanne walked in a Queens pride parade with Daniel Dromm, who later became a New York City Councilman. The two founded the Queens chapter of PFLAG in 1993.
Dromm remains "eternally indebted" to Jeanne for helping his own mother come to terms with his homosexuality.
"Jeanne was the epitome of what it meant to have unconditional love for your son," Dromm said in an interview with the New York Daily News. "That was radical in those days. She was a parent to all gay people."
What an incredible woman that the world has lost. She was motivated by the love she had for her son, and was determined to make the world a more hospitable and accepting place for everyone, at a time when the LGBT community was completely ostracized and ignored.

The world was a better place with Jeanne Manford in it, and she touched countless lives through her work with PFLAG. As far as I’m concerned, t
his woman was, and is, a saint.

RIP Saint Jeanne



Lifeway Research survey results homosexual behavior January 2013

2. Is “homosexual behavior” a sin?



The Lifeway Research organization published the results of a November 2012 survey that asked participants the question “Do you believe homosexual behavior is a sin?”

Considering that being LGBT is NOT a sin, and loving someone is NOT a sin, it shouldn't be a surprise that fewer Americans think so.

When they asked the question in September of 2011, 44% of the respondents said yes - they thought “homosexual behavior” is a sin. In 2012 when they asked the same question, 37% of the survey participants affirmed that they believed “homosexual behavior” is a sin. In a little over a year there was a 7% shift in public opinion, which is a significant development in the eyes of the pollsters.


In a press release, the Southern Baptist affiliated research group attributed the shift in opinion to President Obama expressing his support of marriage equality. [emphasis mine]

Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, pointed out halfway between the two polls President Barack Obama changed his pre-election position concerning gay marriage.
"The president's evolution on homosexuality probably impacted the evolution of cultural values - there is a real and substantive shift, surprisingly large for a one-year timeframe - though this was hardly a normal year on this issue," Stetzer said.
The November 2012 survey also reveals Americans in the South (40 percent) are the most likely to select "Yes" to the question "Do you believe homosexual behavior is a sin?" as are Americans who attend religious services at least about once a week (61 percent), and those calling themselves "born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christian" (73 percent).
Americans who never attend religious services are the most likely to say they do not believe homosexual behavior is a sin (71 percent).
The president changed so many people's minds in an instant? Highly doubtful.

Stetzer is obviously concerned about the survey results, and the effects of the culture war that anti-gay religions are currently embroiled in. "The culture is clearly shifting on homosexuality and this creates a whole new issue: How will America deal with a minority view, strongly held by Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, and so many others?"

It’s an interesting question. The LGBT community is a minority group that Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons have been criticizing, debasing, slandering and bullying for years. It’s interesting to me that this Baptist research group is starting to think about how the public perceives them, as most Americans reject their archaic and bigoted views.

The Southern Baptists always call being gay or LGBT “homosexual behavior,” because they incorrectly believe that we’ve made a conscious decision to learn a behavior that they view is sinful. I’ve asked some Baptists to explain what they mean by “homosexual behavior,” and the response is always the same. A blank stare.

I would love to know what the results of their survey would be if they asked the question properly. In a real world study, they would ask “Do you believe that being gay or LGBT is a sin?” I bet they’d really be shocked by the shift in opinion if they framed the question properly.

After I post this online, I’m going to go out and behave like a homosexual!



Two men marrying

3. What do political insiders from each party really think about marriage equality?


In a marriage equality survey, conducted by the National Journal,  Washington, D.C. political pundits, insiders, and politicians were asked the following question.

Which statement comes closest to your political views on gay marriage?

1. My party should support it
2. My party should oppose it
3. My party should avoid the issue
4. Other

Democrats

1. My party should support it:           97%
2. My party should oppose it:              0%
3. My party should avoid the issue:    2%
4. Other:                                                1%

Republicans

1. My party should support it:             27%
2. My party should oppose it:              11%
3. My party should avoid the issue:    48%
4. Other:                                                14%

Comments made by Democrats were all pretty similar, and generally expressed the sentiment that marriage equality is going to be the law, so accept it and embrace it. One individual remarked “It is the issue of our generation, and it’s better to get it right, than to continue to pretend it’s not a fundamental right.”

A Republican who feels that the issue should be avoided said “The lines have been drawn on this. Such a polarizing topic, and given other pressing issues, this is a red herring with dynamite taped to its back. No good can come from messing with it.”

And a GOP participant who is opposed to marriage equality stated that “Principles require courage. No one, even gays, will—or should—respect a party without principles. And there are very sound and practical reasons for Christian, Jewish, and Islamic opposition to homosexual marriage.”

Republican supporters of same-sex marriage commented “Wouldn’t it be fascinating if, for once, the Republicans were on the front side of a historic wave, rather than thrashed around in the undertow?” And another stated “We can’t be a party that supports a zone of personal freedom and then try to use federal power to curtail it. Plus, we increasingly look prejudiced, and not a little stupid, on this issue.”

It would be fascinating, as the minority GOP view is very stupid indeed.




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