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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

O Canada!

Canadian Parliament approves same sex marriage
Wed Jun 29, 2005

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's Parliament on Tuesday approved legislation to allow same sex marriages across the country, despite fierce opposition from conservative politicians and religious groups.

Legislators voted by 158-133 to support the bill, which makes Canada only the third country in the world after Belgium and the Netherlands to permit gay marriages.

Most Canadian provinces already allow same-sex marriages, and Canada has become a popular destination for gay and lesbian couples from countries where these unions are banned.

The minority Liberal government said it had to draw up the legislation after courts in eight of the country's 10 provinces ruled that a ban same-sex marriages was unconstitutional because it violated Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canada's relaxed stance on gay marriage, and on other social issues, stands in contrast to that of the United States, where President George W. Bush wants Congress to back a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages.

"We are a nation of minorities and in a nation of minorities, it is important that you don't cherry pick rights. A right is a right and that is what this vote tonight is all about," Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said shortly before the vote.

Thousands of gay and lesbian couples have already been wed in Canada. Some came up from the United States, although their unions are not recognized back home.

Church groups and the main opposition Conservative Party say the law is an attack on organized religion, and some have suggested that it could lead to the legalization of polygamy.

"(This) is effectively exposing people of faith to persecution and prosecution ... I want to make it very clear today that this is the beginning of the formal fight against the definition of marriage," said Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition.

Opponents say they fear churches and religious officials could be sued for refusing to carry out same sex marriages.

In fact, the legislation grants gays and lesbians the right to full civil marriages, but makes clear that religious officials would not be obliged to marry same-sex couples.

This did not do enough to allay the fears of some Liberal legislators, 32 of whom voted against the bill.

Martin ordered his cabinet to back the legislation, prompting junior minister Joe Comuzzi to resign before the vote so he could vote "no".

The bill still needs to be approved by the Liberal-dominated Senate upper chamber, but that is seen as a formality.

Some Liberal lawmakers admit they fear a voter backlash at the next federal election, expected early next year. Conservative leader Stephen Harper says opposing gay marriage will form a major part of his election platform.

But Harper's stance could also be risky. The Liberals won elections in 2000 and 2004 in part because they portrayed their right-wing rivals as extremists who would hack away at civil rights if elected.

Parliament broke for the summer immediately after the vote. Legislators will resume work on September 26.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Links of Interest
Equal Marriage
Egale Canada

See also
Military Gay Marriage in Canada

Just A Reminder

Tower Records Any Wednesday Cabaret Series continues Wednesday June 29, 2005 at 6PM at Tower Records Lincoln Center, Broadway & 66th.

Wednesday Evening there will be a full report on Bobbie Eakes' performance and the meet and greet which will be sure to involve some interesting folks!

See you there!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Middle America in Middle America

One of the good people who read this BLOG had this to say:
“… You really don't give the Midwest much credit. I am actually a hoosier … we had tons of gay folks living out in the ‘burbs with all us normal folks. In fact, my daughter used to baby-sit for a lesbian couple at the end of our building. ... Point being, maybe some of the older folks are homophobic, but the kids... they don't care, and I think that it's a trend, and a good one at that.”

Perhaps it is best to point this out right now
Definitions of MIDDLE AMERICA on the Web:
• The moderate, middle-class segment of the US population that comprises the largest consumer group.
• Antigua and Barbuda
• Meso-America, i.e. Central America
• Middle America is an American colloquialism used-- in contrast against "coastal America"-- to describe a region of the United States that, geographically, comprises the bulk of the nation.

Middle America in yesterday’s assessment of the Gay State of the Nation is best described as found in the first of the above definitions. There are no red nor blue states in this BLOG, there are only modes of perception.

The bane of the Culture in the United States is that it is based on an intangible sort of morality in that many people wait to be endowed with what the likes of Karl Rove or Benedict Ratzinger or Media Hype proclaim to be the group-think. It is a morality based on irrational fear and ignorance, it is a moribund morality.

Jon Stewart just pointed out that there were two events in New York City yesterday: the Gay Pride Parade and the Billy Graham Crusade and asked the question about which one wanted to convert others to their lifestyle.

Middle America is neither here nor there. Middle America is that huge cultural sponge which absorbs news about Pop Stars and Politicians day in and day out without paying much attention to what is reality.

It is hoped that the above reader originally from the MidWest will remain in the state of mind where the only conversion necessary is metric. Progress lies in the minds and hearts of intelligent people of whatever age no matter where they live.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

A Kiss On Which to Build A Dream

Queer As Folk even with its best of intentions is certainly not the be all and end all regarding Gay Pride, but it certainly helps. In last Sunday’s episode Emmett comes to a realization that many gay men are “accepted” only as asexual creatures who are very cute, funny and the best best friend a girl could have. Those non gay people who love the gay people depicted on their TV screens are hard pressed to think about let alone accept what it is that makes them gay.

No, it is not only sexual activity that makes a gay man gay, it is also love. Nevertheless it is impossible to separate heterosexual love from heterosexual activity is it not? Therefore men loving men by necessity is precisely the same.

Perhaps Emmett should not have gone on television to let people know the size of his penis and firmness of his butt and show off his underwear to boot, yet it was/is somehow important to let others know that all gay people come equipped with needs and hormones and physical expression is one of them. It would seem that AIDS and its aftermath would have cleared up all the confusion about what it is that gay men exactly do. If it did it doesn’t mean that the rest of America is ready or willing to absorb that knowledge.

Places like downtown New York are filled with jubilant people today celebrating sexual freedom more or less, because that is what Gay Liberation and Pride is all about. There is a Mardi Gras atmosphere. That is all well and good. What will Monday be like for Brian and Steve, Mary and Martha when they go home and want to share a kiss on their way to work like so many heterosexual Brian and Martha, Steve and Mary types do?

Queer As Folk serves both its viewership and the Gay Community well in that it depicts gay men and women not only in sexual situations but also in situations where honest affection is expressed. Will & Grace panders to those elements in the population where “Just Jack” is just that. There are no memorable moments of affection let alone sex there. Great guest stars like Patrick Dempsey, Dylan McDermott and Bobby Cannavale were gems thrown at asexual swine. Granted, QAF is a cable show where “frightening the horses” is a less likely scenario than Network Television. There were shows like OZ with a reputation for violence and nudity that actually depicted real affection between men. Scores of young women waited for each episode hoping that Beecher and Keller would kiss. Yes the undertones were powerfully sexual but what the viewer saw was real affection between men.

Over a decade ago when Interview with the Vampire was released, 25 years after Stonewall, while being viewed during a Saturday matinee in Hermitage, Tennessee there was very little response to the horrific violence being depicted, however when it simply looked like there was about to be a screen kiss between Antonio Banderas and Brad Pitt there was a loud moan and various sounds of disgust emitted from the audience. Mind you Brad and Antonio didn’t go all the way and do the horrible lip thing. The Republic was saved.

It’s little wonder Middle America will not allow homosexuals to marry. Allowing marriage acknowledges that homosexuals are just that, homosexuals.

A kiss is still a kiss on which to build a dream. Dangling prepositions notwithstanding it’s time to take the bull by the horns and give him a great big kiss.

Big Day in Stockton, California

June 26, 1956 Christopher Joseph Isaak came into the world and many people throughout the world are very happy because of it. His parents brought him into the world in Stockton, California, but it as if Ricky Nelson and Roy Orbison had a love child.

Mr. Isaak well known as a universal heart throb because of his exceptional good looks is an exceptional songwriter and performer empowered with sensitivity and a great deal of intelligence. His vocal range is noteworthy which graces a recording catalogue which began nigh on twenty years ago with such song titles as "You Owe Me Some Kind of Love," "Wicked Game" and "Shadows in the Mirror."

San Francisco Days is a stand out album as is Always Got Tonight. He tours practically endlessly and is a tireless performer to which those who have attended his concerts can testify.

Many of those who admire his talents also admire his great wit. The man who was born on what was to become Gay Pride Day had this say about masculinity and body image:

"Some men are ashamed of their body, but I’m not. I’m very secure with my masculinity. In fact, I’m very much a he-man, very Mr. Macho. I make Jack LaLanne look like a sissy pants.”

Happy Birthday to Dorothy’s son.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Continuing Drama and Carolyn Hinsey

Say what you will about Carolyn Hinsey, it does seem she cares about the continuing drama of Daytime Television’s Daytime Dramas. More often than not she comes down on what some may say is the right side, i.e. the viewer’s side, perhaps it is because she is the consummate viewer.

She has recently opined on One Life to Live and the recent plot re: Daniel Colson and his gay related crimes. She wrote in last week’s issue of SOD:

OLTL shot to No. 1 in the demos in the week Daniel was busted, and some people around here said it was due to the gay storyline. Wrong: The fallout from the gay storyline. Give me a clear villain (Daniel) and then let me watch a clear hero (Bo) close in on him with a beloved heroine (Nora) at stake and I’m in. OLTL played all the beats, roping in lots of young people (Rex, Jen, Marcie, Natalie, even Matthew) in a logical way. … I hope they keep Mark around. It would be interesting to watch him struggle to rebound from his relationship with his lover, the murderer, the same way Nora is. (We’re all the same, we all hurt, kumbaya)

Well, the ratings have fallen from their peak to levels that are well below pre-Daniel Colson’s gay-related storyline. Hinsey makes more than a few good points in the above article, but misses the mark. The ratings spike indicates that the young female demographic does for the most part enjoy gay storylines, not to mention the young gay demographic. The current very low ratings exist while Colson is experiencing his incarceration and Mark has disappeared into the woodwork. Bo and Nora are still there in hero and heroine garb but the ratings aren’t.

What the viewer got in compensation was a hokey reconciliation between Marcie’s brother and her father, which is more about Marcie than anything else. Perhaps it was about bringing back briefly Marcie’s other brother, Ron, since internet rumours have it that he is the copycat Killing Club murderer, an instance that would also be like a quick male orgasm without foreplay since the viewer has not been afforded the opportunity to get to know Ron Walsh.

Hinsey reinforces the concept of character development within a plot in order to allow viewers the opportunity to get involved. This is a great opportunity to have Nora bond with Mark. Nora the heroine who knows that homosexuality is not a disease in spite of her lying cheating murderous annulled gay husband. It would have been much more interesting than Nora and Bo continuing their derivative Hepburn/Tracy pairing and just maybe more profitable in the ratings department.

In the same column one of Hinsey’s readers wrote:

As an openly gay man in my twenties, I take great offense to GLAAD’s
statements criticizing OLTL. They’re upset because of a closeted gay character who killed to keep his secret? I’m more offended by the deluge of ‘flamboyant wedding advisors’ and sensitive best friends that most Soaps present us with. Kudos to OLTL for showing that not all gay men fit into neat stereotypes!

JB in the Berkshires

JB has brought up an issue that speaks to the matter at hand, but it might be important to add that Colson is a classic self-loather and perhaps a stereotype that is not, fortunately, very familiar to a gay man in his 20s. It is a very important stereotype – stereotypes, by the way, do exist – in that it is that demon we need to recognize before we can banish it. It is that demon which is the source of a great deal of homosexual drama pre-Stonewall.

In her current column Hinsey refers to Rex and Bo as the show’s supercouple. There is a male/male kinship happening there. The show deserves kudos for utilizing Lauvoisier’s talents and unwittingly perhaps developing a latently homosexual couple.

It should be remembered that this is a show that has missed opportunities in the past to develop so-called chemistry between pairings of people of all stripes. Hinsey declared that OLTL rocks. It’s obvious that it is one of her favourites. It can only be hoped that she, as Viki once declared to Dorian, will keep the show honest, so to speak.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Freedom, Pride

Me? I believe I’m a caterpillar buried deep down under the ground. The entire earth is above me, crushing me and I begin to bore through the soil, making a passage to the surface so that I can penetrate the crust and issue into the light. It’s hard work boring through the entire earth, but I am able to be patient because I have a strong premonition that as soon as I do issue into the light I shall become a butterfly.

-- Nikos Kazantzakis

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Daytime TV's Gay Murderer

Perhaps it’s a viewer’s own pretense to expect daytime drama to rise to the occasion of the depiction of gay people consistently and realistically since lately there has been much to be desired in the depiction of everybody no matter their sexual orientation, skin colour or gender.

Many viewers, it is suspected, have had a desire to see gay people integrated into the canvases of various afternoon serials. In the past, All My Children, One Life to Live and As the World Turns have made valiant efforts in that direction. During those memorable moments in Daytime TV history, the creative quotient was much higher than one might find in this not so memorable moment of the genre’s history.

Those stories centered around acceptance of gay people and AIDS while leaning toward the goodliness of the gay character and sometimes the not so gay characters involved in their lives.

Mark Dobies as
Daniel Colson
One Life to Live is currently at the tail end of a story involving a closeted, murdering politician, Daniel “Ted” Colson portrayed by Mark Dobies.

When Dobies came to the show his role was non-contractual and he was there as a prop to the long suffering Nora Gannon Buchanan. Colson was portrayed as an abusive, alcoholic father who had ambitions for Nora’s ex-husband’s position as the District Attorney and, as fate would have it, a position that would make him the boss of Nora’s other ex-husband, Police Commissioner Bo Buchanan. Nora and Daniel ran against each other for the position.

Colson’s is/was a character that seemed to be placed in any position that the current writing committee found necessary. Soon he was sober and ready to change his life. He and Nora were dating. Wait, then he was involved peripherally in the great baby debate as a pawn of Adam Chandler which emphasized his higher political ambitions when all of sudden he did the right thing and decided not to lie for the powerful Chandler family. Shortly thereafter he not only wants to marry Nora in a hurry but also wants to railroad his son’s love of life, Jennifer, into jail for the murder of Paul Cramer who set above baby case in motion; none of which was adequately explained unless mere political ambition can set in motion all of those things all at once. Colson, of course, became guilty of murdering the blackmailing Paul Cramer and eventually Jennifer Rappaport when she realized what he had done.

It seems de rigueur these days that daytime serials play fast and furious not only with facts but also with consistency of character development. Characters who hover about in the gray areas are the most interesting, so it isn’t necessary that characters be cast in either black or white. Gray is just fine for the Dorian Cramers and Erica Kanes of those worlds, although at times their claim to consistency can be quite tenuous. The aim of TV Executives, Show Producers and Head Writers is to achieve long lasting ratings. They are failing miserably.

The character of Daniel Colson has changed a lot since its inception mostly as a prop in order to recouple the Nora and Bo characters which is an alleged long term ratings boost. It has almost nothing to do with Colson’s homosexuality, which was a May Sweeps stunt for a short term ratings boost. Dobies is a trooper and the industry should do the man justice for his character’s being all over the plot driven map and the actor’s acquiescence. It is a fond hope that he continues to be gainfully employed. He did very well with what he was given. He was taken out of that gray area and was put in the very black, unredeemable area.

In Soap Opera Digest, Vol. 30, No. 21 in Thumbs Up! & Thumbs Down! “One Life to Live: The Daniel Dilemma” an editorial states:

OLTL’s decision to make psycho murderer Daniel a closeted gay man who kills people to hide his sexual preference is somewhat disturbing. We probably don’t need to add to some individuals’ already rampant fear of gay people with a story about a guy who would kill the love of his son’s life and trick an innocent woman into marrying him just to mask the fact that he sleeps with men.

What is shocking in the first place is that an editor would use the word, preference re: a person’s sexuality. What is also shocking is that suddenly Soap Opera Digest became a supporter of positive gay images on Soap Operas. There is a positive gay character in this story, unfortunately it is a character portrayed as naïf and unknowing whose motivations are not fully explained. If the so called Soap Press truly cares about the state of gay characters on Daytime TV, perhaps actually brokering for well written characters is what it should be up to.

All the positive proclamations and posturing come from heterosexual female characters on the show further emphasizing Colson’s downfall as a plot device for the saintly Nora to exclaim that homosexuality is not a disease. Thank you very much, but the American Psychiatry Association told us that over thirty years ago with all due respect to Hillary Bailey Smith who, also a trooper and very good actress who has endured turning Nora into the eternal victim. Is this the same woman who ran against Colson for District Attorney?

The trailing of Colson to a New York gay bar was not as comical as it might have been. Belief had to be suspended because it is very unlikely that a paranoid closeted public individual would go to a gay bar in Chelsea. Belief had to be suspended because it is unlikely that his very young lover, also very recently out of the closet, would take him to a gay bar for a special night out. Belief had to be suspended that the Police Commissioner with his snitch would go to a city outside his jurisdiction to find Colson drinking in a bar. It was enjoyable only from the standpoint of watching Woods and Lauvoisier work together. Unfortunately it was in a contrived situation.

Disney, ABC-TV’s parent company, is a gay friendly company and survived, so to speak, a Baptist Church boycott; it is, therefore, difficult to follow GLAAD’s lead in boycotting ABC. GLAAD endorsed the highly flawed Bianca Montgomery character and story on All My Children. It’s easy, a cheap shot if you will, to paint ABC and even the ubiquitous Brian Frons bogeyman with a homophobic brush. GLAAD gave an award to its positive depiction of Marcie’s brothers’ woes. It somehow got lost that her brother’s sexuality and Mark’s for the matter were all about Marcie.

Returning to basics it is better to say that whoever is writing at ABC-TV about a variety of subjects is not doing a good job*. It’s as simple as that. Ratings, at least in this case, are at an all time low in an ever increasingly competitive television market because the product is ever increasingly inferior. It has been a cliché for years to belittle Soaps because of their style and plot devices, and unhappily they remain in that rut. Those who continue to watch are those who are obsessed with the continuity of the story telling and often watch with the motivation of following a plot to its logical conclusion as evidenced by the tiny ratings spike that the baby switch story on All My Children engendered. It is looking more and more like that’s about as good as it gets. Those who are inevitably loyal to the storytelling are not necessarily as fierce in their loyalty as they once were.

The issue is not as some allegedly progressive editor in the so called Soap Opera Press might call rampant homophobia, but rather if the story is told well with all its elements in place. The Daniel Colsons of the world are real. Al Pacino gave a memorable performance in Angels in America as did James Woods in Citizen Cohn of a public figure who persecuted his own kind and died of the “gay cancer” which came to be known as AIDS. Jon Stewart has said something to the effect of if you want to meet gay men go to the anti-gay buffet. Just follow recent news events. Of course, it is seldom that these individuals resort to murdering their sons’ girlfriends, but is a fictional story. Governor McGreevey, although a day late and a dollar short in his “I-Am-A-Gay-American Speech” is the least despicable of all the possible self-loathing gay men in government who persecute their own kind. The persecution takes on many forms. It is useful to call to mind the AIDS activist slogan, Silence=Death. Colson’s story might have been more believable had it gone along the lines of those who take out their self-loathing in anti-gay public policy.

A recent real life story out of Columbia, Missouri has a closeted gay policeman allegedly murdering his young male lover. The judge in the case was quoted as saying that the case had more to say about the officer’s state of mind rather than Columbia’s which would have been accepting of having a gay officer on the force. Perhaps the Colson story will say the same thing about the state of mind of the community of Llanview, Pennsylvania. It should be hoped that Rick Santorum (R-Pa) is not their Senator.

So, what is needed are writers who are aware of the human condition and know how to express it. What the genre needs are actors and characters who can give us pathos. It doesn’t necessarily have to be original, very few creative efforts are. It is the expression that need be unique. The originality within this framework has to be devoid of knee jerk liberalism. The story of someone like the character that Daniel Colson turned out to be should be told; his young lover Mark’s story and his coming out needs to be told, but not through Marcie eyes – through his own.

Daniel Colson is a tortured individual who was an abusive, alcoholic father but was also driven to aspire to public office for all the wrong reasons. He was somehow able to win Mark who for all intents and purposes is a good person. Why does Mark love Daniel? Why does Daniel love Mark?

Nora can be applauded for reminding us in the middle of her own hysteria that homosexuality is not a disease. The disease is that Daniel brought himself to this precipice. Now we can begin.

Yesterday’s episode saw Daniel’s admission of guilt and his departure for Statesville Prison.

Frank Valentini, the Executive Producer of One Life to Live was recently quoted as saying that Marcie’s brother resolves the issues with his homophobic father in a special Father’s Day episode. That will bear some regard and we’ll do our best to do that justice.


*A notable exception may be John Loprieno. When his name appears on the writing credits, some characters seem more articulate and believable.

Airbase hosts 1st military gay wedding

CBC News
June 14, 2005

Two men were married in the chapel at Nova Scotia's Greenwood airbase in May, in what's being called the Canadian military's first gay wedding.

Lt.-Cmdr. David Greenwood, the base's head chaplain, said a sergeant and a warrant officer were married May 3 in front of about 45 guests.

"This couple had been waiting a very long, long time," said Greenwood, declining to give their names because he hadn't asked for permission.

In September, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled that banning same-sex marriages is unconstitutional, effectively changing the definition of marriage in the province to "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others."

The military has said it's willing to host gay weddings in jurisdictions where it's legal.

A low-key marriage ceremony

Greenwood, an Anglican, did not perform the marriage but he did make the arrangements for the service while a United Church minister from nearby Wolfville performed the vows.

"I looked after the co-ordination in accordance with our military policy of receiving the couple with dignity and respect," said Greenwood.

"I was there to preach and welcome the community on behalf of the base chaplaincy."

While most Anglican dioceses in Canada do not perform same-sex marriages, the Canadian church has postponed its official decision until 2007.

Greenwood said the ceremony was relaxed and low-key, and there wasn't a dry eye in sight when the couple signed the marriage documents.

Greenwood said he has been told that a second same-sex marriage may be in the works this year, at CFB Valcartier in Quebec.

Same-sex marriage legal in 7 provinces, 1 territory

In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Ottawa has exclusive jurisdiction to decide who has the right to get married in this country, but that religious groups are not obliged to perform unions against their beliefs.

Federal politicians are now considering a same-sex marriage bill.

Currently, same-sex marriages performed in seven provinces and one territory are legal and must be recognized. Same-sex marriages are not performed in Alberta, New Brunswick, P.E.I., Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, but the Nunavut government will recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.