gay rights

Nick Benton's Corner: The UCC's New President

Posted with permission of writer Nicholas Benton, owner/editor of the Falls Church News Press.

Whither the role of religion and spirituality in the current roiling cultural soup that is America today? The Obama grass roots revolution of progressive values and the faith-infused notion of "hope," and the pushback from the still-solid religious right are at odds in an economy where one out of six are unemployed or underemployed, when a third of homeowners are sacked with mortgages that cost more than the value of their homes, and a third of households have at least one person residing within it that is out of work.

Nick Benton's Corner: The Blade's Immineent Rebirth

Posted with permission of writer Nicholas Benton, owner/editor of the Falls Church News Press.

The sudden demise this week of the storied Washington Blade, the nation's oldest gay-themed newspaper that only last month hosted a gala party to celebrate its 40th anniversary, is tragic on an array of levels.

Nick Benton's Corner: The Blade's Immineent Rebirth

Posted with permission of writer Nicholas Benton, owner/editor of the Falls Church News Press.

The sudden demise this week of the storied Washington Blade, the nation's oldest gay-themed newspaper that only last month hosted a gala party to celebrate its 40th anniversary, is tragic on an array of levels.

Nick Benton's Corner: "Equal Protection" for Lesbians and Gays?

by Nicholas Benton, Owner/editor of the Falls Church News Press

Tuesday was another one of those roller coaster days that moved between an extreme new high and a troubling low in the evolving cultural history of the nation.

President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to become the first Hispanic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court marked yet another high-water mark in the dizzying transformation that has been unleashed on American society since Obama's inauguration only a few short months ago.

Nick Benton's Corner: Outrage Against "Outrage"

Outrage Against "Outrage."

by Nicholas/Benton, owner/operator of the Falls Church News Press

In knee-jerk, archetypical fashion, a big, bullying newscaster threatened to punch out a homosexual in front of live TV cameras in Northern Virginia last week.

Nick Benton's Corner: The Sad Case of the Falls Church

Posted by permission of Nicholas Benton, owner/editor of the Falls Church New Press.

The Sad Case of the Falls Church

by Nicholas Benton


It is sad that it has come to this. Millions of dollars were raised earlier this decade from the congregation of the Falls Church Episcopal Church in Falls Church, Virginia, toward an $18 million goal to build a new "parish life center" for education and fellowship on property acquired by the church in 1999.

Now, contributors of those funds are being asked to redirect their use for a legal defense of those in the congregation who voted to defect from the Episcopal Church, USA, in December 2006 to continue occupying the historic, existing church site, while veritably banishing from it the "continuing Episcopalian" members of the original congregation.

The lawsuits over the control of the church property, and that of other sites in Virginia where anti-Episcopalian defectors have taken control, are now advancing toward the Virginia Supreme Court, with papers filed this week. Beyond that, no matter what the ruling there, the case will almost certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, as it is a matter of grave importance to the viability of the internal structures of almost all mainstream Protestant denominations nationally.

Why Rick Warren Really Matters

Oisted with the permission of Nicholas Benton, owner/editor of the Falls Church News Press.

Why Rick Warren Really Matters

by Nicholas Benton

It is misguided to view the persisting flap over the inclusion of the Rev. Rick Warren in the upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama as primarily a gay rights concern.

In fact, it is a matter that cuts to the quick of the 233-year cultural struggle since 1776 from which Obama emerged as America's president-elect this November, and that's why it really does matter so much.

That said, one should ask whether, in the name of embracing differences, it would be appropriate to open the inaugural ceremony with an invocation by an outspoken racist.

Prejudice is prejudice, and bigotry is bigotry, especially when directed against an entire class of persons with perceived undesirable attributes, be they skin color, nationality, religious preference or sexual orientation.

The same simple reality fundamentally applies to the subjugation or determination of the inferiority of women by men.

Rick Warren is the very embodiment of all the above, and not as some unenlightened plumber, but as a high-profile quasi-celebrity figure, who because he speaks from behind a minister's collar using religious terminology, thinks he can get away with spouting barely-disguised hate with no consequence.

Nick Benton's Corner: The Dismal Choice of Rick Warren

<Posted with permission of Nicholas Benton, Owner/Editor of the Falls Church News Press>

The Dismal Choice of Rich Warren

by Nicholas Benton


The decision by the Obama transition team to invite the snake-in-the-grass Rev. Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church of Orange County, Calif., to deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration Jan. 20 has drawn fully justifiable, heartfelt pain and anger from Obama loyalists all across the land.

It is one thing to take a pragmatic approach to cabinet appointments, seeking a "team of rivals," based on their experience and talents in governing.

It's another thing, entirely, to reach out, embrace and give an unprecedented national spotlight to a man who stands as a bellicose spokesman against equal rights. Warren was a major ringleader of the effort to deny equal rights to gay and lesbian Americans in the passage of Proposition 8 in California last month.

His values, rooted in Christian "exceptionalism" and class-warfare hypocrisy, stand in stark contrast to those of the vast majority of the millions of Americans who, uplifted by the new hope they found embodied in the election of Obama, will be flooding the nation's capital to catch a glimpse of the inauguration.

I wasn't planning to battle the crowds, anyway. But were I younger, free to blow a full workday and willing to endure a severe shortage of porta-potties, my passion for attending in person would have been dealt a serious, if not fatal, blow by learning of the inclusion of such a bigoted thug as Rick Warren on the program.

Who knows, maybe Obama chose Warren in a deliberate attempt to thin out the crowds. Many, many Obama devotees feel as I do on this subject.

LGBT Community Needs to Fracking Chill on Obama and Warren

Minor adjustment by GreyHawk: reduced picture slightly and inserted break before the second section. -- GH

Most here have heard the indictment that Barack Obama's inauguration will include a "humiliating" (Maddow) slap at the LGBT community for the incoming administration's political benefit.

Rick Warren, pastor and author (at right), will deliver the invocation at Obama's swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol steps.

Warren possesses a bright mind, and happens to hold benighted and bigoted views on gays perforce making the man an ignoramus popular in rightwing circles.

Warren's delivery of the Obama invocation has brought down a shower of condemnation from the civil rights community summed up by Rachel Maddow and John Aravosis of AmericaBlog [wouldn't bother reading Andrew Sullivan ...—"[It's] shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now... ."—Sullivan is of the couldn't-make-of-his-mind-to-support-Bush-or-Kerry fame in 2004; and Sullivan's a disingenuous showboat anyway].

Include Warren

Nick Benton's Corner: The Harvey Milk I knew

<posted with permission by Nicholas Benton owner/editor of The Falls Church News Press.>

The Harvey Milk I Knew

by Nicholas Benton

On the 30th anniversary of his assassination, a true American civil rights hero has finally been introduced to a wide national audience with the release of the outstanding, Oscar-worthy film, "Milk," in theatres this week.

The film is a gripping docudrama about the intense, six-year political rise of the passionate and charismatic homosexual-rights advocate Harvey Milk in San Francisco, until his life was taken in a dual assassination of he and the city's mayor at City Hall on November 27, 1978. By getting elected to the city's Board of Supervisors the year before, Milk became the first-ever openly gay person ever elected to public office in the U.S.

I knew Harvey Milk personally, especially in the 1972 and 1973 earliest years of his community organizing, and was on the same citywide ballot with him when he lost an earlier campaign for San Francisco supervisor in 1975. It was in that race that Mayor George Moscone was elected mayor, beating out, among others, current U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who came in third.

Queer Eye for the G.I.

by Jeff Huber

William S. Lind, co-creator of the Fourth Generation Warfare concept and director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism, says a lot of smart things about national security, but he doesn't say any of them about the issue of gays and women in the military. My admittedly limited experience of the gay lifestyle hasn't endeared me to it: my older male dog humps my younger male dog, my younger male dog humps my leg, and I pay all the bills; an arrangement, come to think of it, not so different from my experience of marriage. So I don't, so to speak, have a dog in the fight over whether gays or women should be "allowed" to serve in the military, but Lind makes such a cock and bull argument against it I feel obliged to apologize on behalf of the entire heterosexual male community.

In a pair of recent opinion pieces, Lind asserts that we shouldn't let women and gays in the armed services because if we do, "men who want to prove they are real men will not join."

Lind's relative manliness doesn't necessarily add to or subtract from his opinion's validity, but unnamed sources who knew him when assure me that the closest he ever came to wearing a uniform was dressing his G.I. Joe doll in one.

Nick Benton's Corner: Proposition 8's Pyrrhic Victory

Posted by permission of Nicholas Benton, owner/editor of the Falls Church News Press.

Proposition 8's Pyrrhic Victory

by Nicholas Benton


While the optimism and hope generated from last week's historic presidential election returns have the nation, and much of the world, still aglow, there's one segment of the pro-Obama population whose emotions are mixed, at best.

A mean-spirited effort led by religious fundamentalists and Mormons to quash a court ruling in California legalizing gay marriage resulted in a statewide ballot referendum that narrowly passed in the same historic election.

A massive mobilization nationally by lesbian and gay organizations and their friends, albeit overshadowed by the Obama tidal wave, raised millions in a full-forced effort to defeat the infamous Proposition 8, but it could not match the fundraising and zealous efforts of the religious right.

Anger and disappointment have eclipsed the joy of Obama's victory in the passions of millions, nationwide, as a result. Huge, simultaneous demonstrations are being planned in major cities from coast to coast against the Proposition 8 vote to disenfranchise the rights of significant segment of U.S. society.

Nick Benton's Corner: Two Posts

all posts from Falls Church News Press by permission of Nicholas Benton owner/editor.

F.C. Makes Virginia History by Electing Gay Afro-American

Written by Nicholas F. Benton

Virginia history was made in the Falls Church city election Tuesday. By being elected to the City Council, Lawrence Webb has become the first openly gay Afro-American elected official in the history of the commonwealth.