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mrnicegay

I have some work to do. Work that will include coming out to more people, publishing the names of pro prop 8 donors and filing complaints with the IRS to have the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ (Mormons) tax exemption revoked. More on the last two later. First, a note from HRC:

Dear Eliot,

On Tuesday night, our community felt the emotions of electing a pro-equality President and expanding our numbers in Congress and state houses across the country, but the next morning our hearts were broken as the dust settled and it was clear we lost the marriage ballot measures in California, Florida and Arizona. I will certainly provide you with further insight in the coming days to how we effectively organized and motivated LGBT voters in elections throughout the country, but today, as we find ourselves in this agonizing intersection of victory and defeat, I felt it was important to try and give some perspective about our losses.

I’ve drafted the following op-ed that I wanted to share with you. I know that mere words aren’t enough to provide the salve for our wounds that we desperately need but perhaps they will begin to shape a path for how we move forward. And for those of you who gave your time and resources, your sacrifices were not in vain. You’ve helped lay the foundation for the victory that will one day be ours. And I thank you.

You can’t take this away from me: Proposition 8 broke our hearts, but it did not end our fight.

Like many in our movement, I found myself in Southern California last weekend. There, I had the opportunity to speak with a man who said that Proposition 8 completely changed the way he saw his own neighborhood. Every “Yes on 8” sign was a slap. For this man, for me, for the 18,000 couples who married in California, to LGBT people and the people who love us, its passage was worse than a slap in the face. It was nothing short of heartbreaking.

But it is not the end. Fifty-two percent of the voters of California voted to deny us our equality on Tuesday, but they did not vote our families or the power of our love out of existence; they did not vote us away.

As free and equal human beings, we were born with the right to equal families. The courts did not give us this right—they simply recognized it. And although California has ceased to grant us marriage licenses, our rights are not subject to anyone’s approval. We will keep fighting for them. They are as real and as enduring as the love that moves us to form families in the first place. There are many roads to marriage equality, and no single roadblock will prevent us from ultimately getting there.

And yet there is no denying, as we pick ourselves up after losing this most recent, hard-fought battle, that we’ve been injured, many of us by neighbors who claim to respect us.

By the same token, we know that we are moving in the right direction. In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 22 by a margin of 61.4% to 38.6%. On Tuesday, fully 48% of Californians rejected Proposition 8. It wasn’t enough, but it was a massive shift. Nationally, although two other anti-marriage ballot measures won, Connecticut defeated an effort to hold a constitutional convention ending marriage, New York’s state legislature gained the seats necessary to consider a marriage law, and FMA architect Marilyn Musgrave lost her seat in Congress. We also elected a president who supports protecting the entire community from discrimination and who opposes discriminatory amendments.

Yet on Proposition 8 we lost at the ballot box, and I think that says something about this middle place where we find ourselves at this moment. In 2003, twelve states still had sodomy laws on the books, and only one state had civil unions. Four years ago, marriage was used to rile up a right-wing base, and we were branded as a bigger threat than terrorism. In 2008, most people know that we are not a threat. Proposition 8 did not result from a popular groundswell of opposition to our rights, but was the work of a small core of people who fought to get it on the ballot. The anti-LGBT message didn’t rally people to the polls, but unfortunately when people got to the polls, too many of them had no problem with hurting us. Faced with an economy in turmoil and two wars, most Californians didn’t choose the culture war. But faced with the question—brought to them by a small cadre of anti-LGBT hardliners – of whether our families should be treated differently from theirs, too many said yes.

But even before we do the hard work of deconstructing this campaign and readying for the future, it’s clear to me that our continuing mandate is to show our neighbors who we are.

Justice Lewis Powell was the swing vote in Bowers, the case that upheld Georgia’s sodomy law and that was reversed by Lawrence v. Texas five years ago. When Bowers was pending, Powell told one of his clerks “I don’t believe I’ve ever met a homosexual.” Ironically, that clerk was gay, and had never come out to the Justice. A decade later, Powell admitted his vote to uphold Georgia’s sodomy law was a mistake.

Everything we’ve learned points to one simple fact: people who know us are more likely to support our equality.

In recent years, I’ve been delivering this positive message: tell your story. Share who you are. And in fact, as our families become more familiar, support for us increases. But make no mistake: I do not think we have to audition for equality. Rather, I believe that each and every one of us who has been hurt by this hateful ballot measure, and each and every one of us who is still fighting to be equal, has to confront the neighbors who hurt us. We have to say to the man with the Yes on 8 sign—you disrespected my humanity, and I am not giving you a pass. I am not giving you a pass for explaining that you tolerate me, while at the same time denying that my family has a right to exist. I do not give you permission to say you have me as a “gay friend” when you cast a vote against my family, and my rights.

Wherever you are, tell a neighbor what the California Supreme Court so wisely affirmed: that you are equal, you are human, and that being denied equality harms you materially. Although I, like our whole community, am shaken by Prop 8’s passage, I am not yet ready to believe that anyone who knows us as human beings and understands what is at stake would consciously vote to harm us.

This is not over. In California, our legal rights have been lost, but our human rights endure, and we will continue to fight for them.

Warmly,

Joe Solmonese
President, Human Rights Campaign

Protest sign photo above via towleroad.

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Cool PSA with Wanda Sykes. Hillary Duff has also done one with teen girls.

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I’m back from vacation and returning to a semi empty house was weird. No wife and no dogs. All of their stuff is gone too. It made me pretty sad but I am looking forward to Bell Guy moving in tomorrow. Saying goodbye to her a couple weeks ago was tough. Saying goodbye to the dogs last Friday seemed even worse. I think it was because I know I will see her again, maybe as early as a day over Thanksgiving weekend,  but I am not so sure about the dogs. I’ve had about ten months to prepare for all of these changes but I do not think I could really prepare. It was a nice vacation but I am looking forward to all of the moving being over with and getting settled again with Bell Guy. We will put the house on the market after Labor Day but have also talked about buying my wife out. We’ll see.

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Well, I’m not really moving. But maybe I should since the California Supreme Court had the sense to overturn the voter approved state ban on same sex marriage.

To be clear, this ruling makes California the second state to allow same sex marriage, behind Massachusetts.

I heard on the radio that because the ruling was close, this will not set a precedent across the country. Instead, it will allow both sides of the argument ammunition for their cause.

There is a movement underway in California to change the state constitution to restrict marriage to those of the opposite sex. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is opposed to such a change.

Look for an appeal to the US Supreme Court. In the meantime, I’m happy to celebrate a victory.

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I am having some challenges keeping up with reading your blogs. I know I used to leave lots of comments. I am going to try to catch up this week.

I appreciate all of you leaving the thoughtful comments about me feeling violated when Bell Guy read my blog. Bell Guy and I are fine – I have completely forgiven him – and had a good weekend, which I’ll get to in a minute.

I am waffling, even as I write this post, as to whether I want him to read it in the future. I am so private but I also know it is probably better that he really know where I am always coming from, especially with the pending divorce and all of the upheaval that is coming up this year for me. Therefore, I am going to tell him to read it as he wishes.

Onto the weekend…

A few weeks ago, Bell Guy surprised me with hockey tickets to Saturday night’s game. Unfortunately on the way to the game we were in a minor car accident. How there was virtually no damage considering how hard we hit I still do not understand. Bell Guy was driving and was really frazzled but we continued on our short journey.

Considering he had never been to a game in the arena before, Bell Guy picked some amazing seats. We were only five or so rows up and right at the blue line. Sitting that close you really are able to see how big, fast and skilled NHL players are. Ironically, we only took pics of the mites on ice (little kids) players during the intermissions.

caps1.jpg

(I especially like the bald guy in front.)

We had a ton of fun and the home team won pretty big. (Bell Guy decided he would try to act butch while at the game. That lasted about five minutes until a disco song was played and his cover was quickly blown.) I used to be a big hockey fan and had season tickets for a few years up until the strike and then I lost interest. Bell Guy really liked the game so we are going to try to go back and see a couple more games this season. Who knows, maybe we’ll even make the playoffs. God knows it has been too long.

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On Monday, I saw a platonic ad on Craigslist from a guy asking if anyone wanted to go shopping with him. Although I had to work that day, I figured there was nothing to lose and sent him an email that night.

He responded and we have been chatting in the evenings and a little during the day since Tuesday. He has read parts of my blog and is aware of my situation and seemed like a pretty cool guy. He also knows that I am looking for some gay friends. We decided we wanted to meet for dinner and did so tonight.

While I had seen pictures before tonight, and thought he was hot, I was not aware of how hot he is. He’s smokin hot. I have never noticed lips on a guy or a girl before. Never paid any attention. Until tonight. That man has the most amazing lips I have ever seen in my life. For that reason, he will be known as Sexy Lips (SL Guy) from now on and I know he will read this and laugh at that awesome nickname.

I thought the conversation at dinner went really well. There were never any awkward pauses and, although I am a huge introvert, I tried really hard to be outgoing tonight. I know that I need to step out of my comfort zone every once in a while in order to be happy and I did that tonight.

SL Guy was so open and honest and that was so refreshing to see. I cannot explain what I mean by that except to say that he is comfortable with who he is and shows it. It was really good for me to see that.

Now to extraordinary part. I thought that I had a type of guy I was attracted to. Part of this type included being attracted to super masculine guys. Well, I would not categorize SL Guy as super masculine. Masculine, yes, but he did not fit the type of guy I had in my mind. In fact, had I met him on the street or somewhere else, I probably would not have pursued him, even though I am really only looking for friends now.

Well, I had this awakening tonight. I realized how totally fucking stupid my thinking has been. I have no experience with guys but somehow I have a type? I ordinarily would have dismissed someone like SL Guy and completely missed the outstanding person that he is. People like SL Guy do not grow on trees. I do not know him that well yet, but that I do know. He is special. He is the total package. I am attracted to him.

I know I am not the only person that prejudges. We all do it to a point. However, I learned tonight that I must fight that habit or I will lose opportunities to meet some really cool people. It’s all about stepping out of that comfort zone and getting into a curiosity mindset instead of judgmental one.

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One Month

I just realized that it has been exactly one month since I came out to my wife and began this blog. I have no regrets. A huge weight has been lifted off of me. I can finally be truthful to myself and to her. God knows I’ve slept better the last month than I have in close to two years.

I sincerely appreciate the support that all of you have shown me. My journey has really just begun and I look forward to sharing the rest with you.

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