Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Trevor Harper, a member of First United Methodist Church of Austin, Texas was asked to share his faith story with the congregation. Since he and his partner felt so welcome at the church Harper took the opportunity to propose marriage. The congregation stood and cheered.

Lots of commenters to the story noted that though the proposal occurred in the church sanctuary, according to denomination rules, the wedding cannot. Alas, nobody commented that this church is likely to be one of many that disobeys the rules.

Back in 2009 the Maine legislature approved same-sex marriage. Enough signatures were gathered to put the issue on the ballot. The National Organization for Marriage spent heavily and the law was overturned. Another effort in 2012 was successful. NOM was accused of money laundering and not filing the proper campaign forms. The penalty was a $50K fine and release of donor names. It took until 2014 for the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices to rule, and they did so unanimously against NOM. The state Supremes weighed in earlier this month and, not surprisingly, NOM lost.

So the names were finally revealed. It is a short list, only six names and only one a Maine resident. So much for the claim that NOM is a grass-roots organization (more like astro-turf). Commenters note that six people deciding the same-sex marriage case in Maine isn't all that different than five people of the Supremes deciding it for the country.

More on the top donor, Sean Fieler, here. He's spending his millions pushing religious conservative causes around the country. He also was behind the funding of the nasty and false anti-gay research by Mark Regnerus that went down in flames during the Michigan same-sex marriage trial.

I drove home from visiting my parents last evening while listening to NPR, arriving at 9:00. But it was the next program that sounded interesting, so I went inside and turned it on. It was the show On Point with Tom Ashbrook and his topic was new science on same-sex attraction.

Ten years ago Neil Swidey did a report on the state of the science on why some people are attracted to members of their own sex. Recently Swidey updated the report. Not a lot has changed, though many earlier ideas are more firm. Sexual orientation is determined by the time of birth. There is no "gay gene." The number of gay people is about 3.5%. The more older brothers a man has the more likely he will be gay, though that tops out at about a 6% chance (I have three older brothers). One guest said this research will help in the acceptance of gay people. Another responded that the acceptance of gay people determines whether the research is believed. The whole show is 48 minutes.

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