Mar 13, 2008
Our elected officials
Perhaps you think this post is about the scandalous Eliot Spitzer. No. He is simply another liar and a cheat whose crimes hurt mostly himself and his immediate family. No, here I speak about the Oklahoma state rep who gave this speech:
What really moved me to write, though, was a letter to this hateful Representative (Representative!) Sally Kern. h/t: Jami The letter (below the fold) was written by a graduating high school senior (not gay) who takes exception to the Representative's remark that homosexuals are a bigger threat to the United States than terrorism. He lost his mother in the OK City bombing. Read the letter.
On April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City a terrorist detonated a bomb that killed my mother and 167 others. 19 children died that day. Had I not had the chicken pox that day, the body count would've likely have included one more. Over 800 other Oklahomans were injured that day and many of those still suffer through their permanent wounds.
That terrorist was neither a homosexual or was he involved in Islam. He was an extremist Christian forcing his views through a body count. He held his beliefs and made those who didn't live up to them pay with their lives.
As you were not a resident of Oklahoma on that day, it could be explained why you so carelessly chose words saying that the homosexual agenda is worst than terrorism. I can most certainly tell you through my own experience that is not true. I am sure there are many people in your voting district that laid a loved one to death after the terrorist attack on Oklahoma City. I kind of doubt you'll find one of them that will agree with you.
I was five years old when my mother died. I remember what a beautiful, wise, and remarkable woman she was. I miss her. Your harsh words and misguided beliefs brought me to tears, because you told me that my mother's killer was a better person than a group of people that are seeking safety and tolerance for themselves.
As someone left motherless and victimized by terrorists, I say to you very clearly you are absolutely wrong.
You represent a district in Oklahoma City and you very coldly express a lack of love, sympathy or understanding for what they've been through. Can I ask if you might have chosen wiser words were you a real Oklahoman that was here to share the suffering with Oklahoma City? Might your heart be a bit less cold had you been around to see the small bodies of children being pulled out of rubble and carried away by weeping firemen?
I've spent 12 years in Oklahoma public schools and never once have I had anyone try to force a gay agenda on me. I have seen, however, many gay students beat up and there's never a day in school that has went by when I haven't heard the word **** slung at someone. I've been called gay slurs many times and they hurt and I am not even gay so I can just imagine how a real gay person feels. You were a school teacher and you have seen those things too. How could you care so little about the suffering of some of your students?
Let me tell you the result of your words in my school. Every openly gay and suspected gay in the school were having to walk together Monday for protection. They looked scared. They've already experienced enough hate and now your words gave other students even more motivation to sneer at them and call them names. Afterall, you are a teacher and a lawmaker, many young people have taken your words to heart. That happens when you assume a role of responsibility in your community. I seriously think before this week ends that some kids here will be going home bruised and bloody because of what you said.
I wish you could've met my mom. Maybe she could've guided you in how a real Christian should be acting and speaking.
I have not had a mother for nearly 13 years now and wonder if there were fewer people like you around, people with more love and tolerance in their hearts instead of strife, if my mom would be here to watch me graduate from high school this spring. Now she won't be there. So I'll be packing my things and leaving Oklahoma to go to college elsewhere and one day be a writer and I have no intentions to ever return here. I have no doubt that people like you will incite crazy people to build more bombs and kill more people again. I don't want to be here for that. I just can't go through that again.
You may just see me as a kid, but let me try to teach you something. The old saying is sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you. Well, your words hurt me. Your words disrespected the memory of my mom. Your words can cause others to pick up sticks and stones and hurt others.
Mar 12, 2008
Do you think I'm in the wrong business?
Stolen from GM at Lobal Warming. As she said, I'm not in Spitzer's league, however...
Mar 09, 2008
Gun Control, the Pink Pistols, and the Supremes
I just came across this WaPo story about a case currently in front of the US Supreme Court. For the first time in over 70 years the Supremes will decide a case grounded in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
It seems like every day we're hearing yet another story about someone killing a group of people -- often relatives or schoolmates -- with a gun. We truly have an epidemic of violence, gun violence, in this country. There are people out there who sincerely believe that the way to curb this violence and to protect themselves and their families is to put more guns in the hands of our citizens.
I am not among them. My limited understanding of the English language and my limited understanding of Constitutional interpretation lead me to believe that the beginning clause, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," was put there for a reason. The second clause, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" cannot stand alone. But, I admit that the amendment is ambiguous. After all who are these "people" whose right to bear arms cannot be infringed upon (possibly members of the well-regulated militia)?
When this debate was a hot topic 40 years ago, the bumper-sticker slogan of the gun nuts was "Guns don't kill, people do". Yikes. That kind of thinking scares me. Guns have the ability to turn a temporary passion into a permanent condition and regret. If I'd have had a gun in the house at the time, I never would have confronted the fact that I hate knives and I wouldn't be here now to appreciate the beauty that life has to offer.
The Pink Pistols do not speak for me.
With the Supreme Court examining for the first time in 70 years the right to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment, a group of gay and transgender gun owners called the Pink Pistols could not miss out on a chance to tell the justices about its special needs. ...
The Pink Pistols brief, for instance, said that Heller's argument that he has a right to own a gun for self-defense is especially relevant for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people.
"Even in their homes, LGBT individuals are at risk of murder, aggravated assault and other forms of hate violence because of their sexual orientation," the brief states. "In fact, the home is the most common site of anti-gay violence."
Mar 08, 2008
I am the luckiest person I know. I am going take a small tangent here and elaborate on that. My Girl asserts that she is the luckiest, by virtue of her having found me. I'll grant you that she's lucky. However, to resolve this dispute we decided that the people who know us best would be in the best position to say who got the better bargain. So, we agreed that my mother and my daughters would be the judges (this was a couple of years ago, even before we were married). She agreed to this! As I knew they would, they ruled -- after we each presented our cases as to why we thought we were the luckiest -- that I was, in fact, that person. I assert that it's like binding arbritation and not subject to appeal. Nevertheless, she continues to protest. ::sigh:: Have you ever been married to a lawyer? It can be difficult. LOL!
Anyway, rather than drag you through the whole long story, I'll just tell you that I got to lobby as part of my birthday. As you can see from my prior post, I was in DC the past couple of days. I lobbied Congress as part of the Servicemembers' Legal Defense Network's annual Lobby Day for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I got assigned to a team of lobbyists that included a recently retired Major General and a retired Command Master Chief Petty Officer. I was the most experienced lobbyist in the group, however, and I really enjoyed myself and I really think we helped nudge the effort forward incrementally.
I spent the first night in a hotel just across the street from the apartment I lived in while I was working for SLDN. Then, I had dinner and spent the night with the Girl's brother and sister-in-law the second night. What sweet, lovely people they are. The next day, yesterday, was my birthday and I spent it with a small group of first-time lobbyists. It was a nice birthday present for me to be there. I had a great time.
I got home last night early enough for a late dinner and presents opening. Among my presents were a new digital camera, a brand new Wii, a ten pack of movie DVDs (I love and collect movies), a new Rainbow Law Center shirt, and a new Tigers baseball cap. On my computer, I got e-cards from my sister and my sweetheart and a dozen or so e-mails or other e-birthday wishes (Facebook is a cool way to remember someone's birthday and jot them a wish). I even got a phone call from my youngest daughter. All in all, a delightful birthday.
As I said, I'm the luckiest person I know.
Mar 05, 2008
March is a travel month for me.
I fly to Washington, D.C. today to take part in a two-day training and Lobby Day for the Servicemembers' Legal Defense Network in the ongoing effort to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That means I'll be in DC for the start -- but not the finish of -- my birthday this Friday. That's after we drive up north to Saginaw to attend a hearing for a client this morning.
Next week, I'm a panelist on the subject of Don't Ask, Don't Tell at the American Medical Student's Association national convention in Houston, TX. I got invited to this panel because a good friend of mine is the LGBT chair for the organization. To my delight, this will give me the opportunity to have dinner with my dear friend Jami.
Then, beginning on March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day for the Irish among us -- we leave for a 2 week road trip. It seems this is becoming a March tradition. First stop, St. Louis where we drop off MIL so that she can pack a few more things to bring back. She's still not ready to shut down her house there and pack everything up. We think she really likes the idea that she's still got that place to go stay once in a while.
Next stop is in the western part of the Florida panhandle where we'll spend a day with The Girl's dad. He is an interesting character and has seemingly completely accepted me. They don't have the best father-daughter relationship I've ever seen. She tries, but he makes no return effort. Makes me sad, that.
Then, down to Spring Hill to visit with my step-dad and middle kiddle. He's lonely and somewhat isolated since my mom died. We sent him to Daytona for his 80th birthday earlier this year. He's a huge race fan. Thankfully, he is still in really excellent health. We'll spend a couple of days there. We'll get only one day with my middle kid, Melody. She's been off work for a couple of months following a car wreck where she was rear-ended while stopped at a stop sign (her 3rd or 4th wreck, all but one of which were where someone hit her). She just started back to work and is crazy busy playing catch-up (despite her classes being covered by a substitute teacher while she was off).
After that, it's to Orlando for some fun at Sea World and maybe another attraction. By coincidence a very good friend of ours will be down there (who is, coincidentally, also a school teacher -- in a catholic school, however). We're going to pick her up in Orlando and go to Lakeland to watch a Tigers spring training game at Joker Marchant stadium. This will be the 3rd year in a row we've done that and it's always a blast. I am excited about baseball season starting back up. Come on Spring!
Then, we turn around and head back to St. Louis to pick MIL back up. A night or two there and it's back home by March 31. 55 total hours of driving and over 3,000 miles.
April will be here quickly.
Mar 01, 2008
As good as cash! (?)
One of the unexpected perks of this new law practice (can you believe it's almost a year old now?), is that people actually appreciate what we do. Since we began, we lost one case that we believe we should have won but, most of the time, we've been able to accomplish our clients' goals.
We've drafted agreements (co-parenting, artificial insemination, domestic partnership, etc.), we've defended gay parents' rights to overnight visitation with their kids, we've helped them better protect their families in this hostile state (Wills, Powers of Attorney, guardianship, etc.), and we've represented clients in actions against discriminatory employers.
To our delight, we've received many thank you notes and cards. The following is an email we recently received and is representative of what people have said.
We would like to personally thank you and Mary for doing the work that you do. For over a year, [my partner] and I have tried to find a lawyer who understood our needs. Our search was fruitless and we were left feeling very confused and rather defeated by the legal world. I just can't explain how great we felt leaving your office. Protecting our family [is] more important to us than anything else. Your work is helping us find piece [sic] of mind. Thank you for that.
We like to get paid, don't get me wrong. But this type of payment is almost as important to me. This is the type of psychic reward that motivates us to go the extra mile.