Saturday, February 26, 2011

What a Week!

I am a newcomer to the gay scene.  I’m ashamed to say that, like Saul (Paul), it wasn’t too, too long ago that I was, controlled by my closeted conservative false persona, casting verbal stones at gay rights activists.  Then, I had my “Road to Damascus” experience: my coming out, which (along with a political awakening that I’ll describe in a later post) altered my entire world view.  I have since repented of the sins of my false persona. 

Because of my Saul-like past, and because I am so new to the gay scene, I have not heretofore commented on my blog about gay rights initiatives and issues.  Rather, I have sought to learn and have kept a respectful distance (and silence) from those who have been out for a long time and have done much to advance the cause of gay rights.  

I felt, however, that I couldn’t let this week end without, in some small way, commenting on what has transpired this past week in Hawaii, in Washington, in Maryland and even here in Utah. I also wanted to share some quotations that I have gleaned from various sources that I thought deserved be shared. 

 After careful consideration, including review of a recommendation from me, the President of the United States has made the determination that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), 1 U.S.C. § 7, as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment.”

~ Eric H. Holder, Jr., U.S. Attorney General

"This bill represents equal rights
for everyone in Hawaii,
everyone who comes here.
This is to me the essence
of the aloha spirit.”

~ Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie,
Signing legislation permitting same-sex civil unions in Hawaii

"We agree that there are more pressing issues to be addressed this legislative session than narrowly defining the family, restricting the right to contract and stripping non-discrimination protections passed by 11 municipalities.”

~ Brandie Balken
Executive Director, Equality Utah,
Commenting on the decision of  Utah Rep. LaVar Christensen
to abandon three pieces of controversial legislation

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“ … I’ve come to a deeper understanding of the wisdom of referencing God as the ultimate source individual rights, but I also see now that that’s not the source of this passage’s power.  What this passage does, in a heroically aspirational way, is elevate basic rights—the right to Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness—above all else.  The existence of these rights is not open for debate.  They cannot be put up for vote.  The majority, even in a democracy, cannot take them away from the minority.  All men are created equal, and they have certain rights, full stop.  Notice that not only are these rights set safely beyond the reach of government—they are put beyond the reach of everyone, and that includes those who think God has informed them otherwise.

“This is an incredibly important concept.  We are not so much a “Christian” nation as we are a nation where certain unalienable rights have been put out of the reach of religion, Christianity included.  We are not a great nation because we believe in the right God, we are a great nation because everyone is free to believe in whatever God they choose, as long as—and this is critical—as long as everyone understands that their right to impose their understanding of God ends where others’ rights begin [emphasis added].”

- Brent D. Beal

"The most distinctive mark of a cultured mind is the ability to take another’s point of view; to put one’s self in another’s place, and see life and its problems from a point of view different from one’s own. To be willing to test a new idea; to be able to live on the edge of difference in all matters intellectually; to examine without heat the burning question of the day; to have imaginative sympathy, openness and flexibility of mind, steadiness and poise of feeling, cool calmness of judgment, is to have culture."

- A. H. R. Fairchild

"Neither your past nor your present experiences dictate your thoughts. Your thoughts about your experiences become habituated in your brain’s neural pathways. It’s not just your experiences that are important; it’s your thinking about those experiences that makes all the difference. The quality of your thoughts ultimately dictates the quality of your life."

— David G. Arenson

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