Saturday, May 7, 2011

Being gay must suck these days

Matthew Shepard visiting California's Alcatraz prison in January of 1998

Last Thursday the Michigan House of Representatives approved an amendment to the education budget that penalizes state universities and colleges five percent for offering domestic partner benefits for same-sex or unmarried partners. And Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed suit yesterday to block the state Civil Service Commission from providing domestic partner benefits to state employees. Republicans – who control both chambers of the state legislature, the governor’s office, the attorney general’s office, the secretary of state and the state Supreme Court – cite cost as the reason for their opposition.

I bet the liars’ pants are really ablaze.

The domestic partner benefits proposal is expected to cost $6 million; Michigan’s budget for fiscal year 2011 exceeds $8 billion.

Most of Governor Rick Snyder's top leaders and advisors are being paid more than their counterparts under his predecessor. Agriculture and Rural Affairs director Keith Creagh and Environmental Quality director Dan Wyant are being paid $5,000 more than their predecessors. Transportation director Kirk Steudle got a $5,000 raise. Snyder’s state budget director, John Nixon, is being paid $250,000 – a whopping $114,748 increase over what his predecessor earned.

The highest earner in the Executive Office is chief of staff Dennis Muchmore at $171,000. Senior Advisor Dick Posthumus is paid $170,000. Deputy chief of staff Jeff Barnes makes $145,000. Communications director Geralyn Lasher, strategy director Bill Rustem, external relations director Terri Reid, legal counsel Mike Gadola, and Washington, D.C. office director Bill McBride are each making $140,000. Office manager Allison Scott is pulling down $120,000 and administration director Marsha Quebbeman is raking in $100,000.

Doesn’t sound too belt-tighteny and shared sacrificey to me.

I can’t forget the story of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old guy from Wyoming who was pistol-whipped, tied to a fence and left to die by two homophobic freaks back in October of 1998 because he was gay. He suffered head fractures and severe brain stem damage and never regained consciousness.

The cyclist who found the bloody 5’ 2”, 105-lb. man hanging on the fence 18 hours after he was left there thought he was a scarecrow at first. I can’t stop thinking about how he must have felt during those 18 hours, how betrayed he was by fellow human beings, how much he suffered and hurt, and how devastated his mother must have been when she found out what had happened to her baby.

Anita and I are teaching our babies that it’s wrong to look down on someone just because you don’t share their musical taste or sexual orientation or income level or religious beliefs or body type or wardrobe preferences. (I used to include “politics” in this list but that changed for me when the Republican Party eliminated its moderate wing and became hell-bent on robbing from the poor to give to the rich.) It’s none of our business if someone chooses to end her pregnancy, or a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman, or someone prefers Marilyn Manson to Marilyn Horne or vice versa.

We tell our kids that if someone is compelled to judge others and try to make their lives miserable because they don’t live as that person wants them to live, well, we have to fight ‘em. If an elected official panders to the mouth-breathers and represents the few and not the majority, we have to fight ‘em. If someone feels like causing physical harm to someone else because the other person is different, we have to fight ‘em. If lawmakers try to codify ignorance and prejudice into law, we have to fight ‘em. And if a person tries to justify their stupidity by quoting selectively from the Bible – surely the most contradictory reference manual ever printed – we have an obligation to fight their judgmental ass.

I think the Bible teaches that hate begets hate, doesn’t it?

Sources: Michigan Messenger, Vanity Fair,, Michigan Truth Squad


  1. good post patrick. a friend of mine runs the shepard foundation and knew matthew and this is important to keep on telling his story

  2. This isn't about fiscal responsibility, it's about turning back the clock to a culture where it's okay to be hateful and cruel to those who aren't exactly like you: the poor, women, seniors, gays, single parents, people of color. Religious superiority has oozed out of the church doors and run amok through the unsuspecting citizenry.

    Let's keep in mind these three things: first, these religious books, including the Bible, were written by men, not deities, and have been heavily edited over the years. They are not the perfect word of whatever version of God someone may believe in. Second, most of the Bible-thumpers in government don't exude the so-called "Christian spirit" of love, brotherhood and acceptance. Out of a vast list, they pick out a few "rules" to live by, try to change people to fit those rules, and settle down to hate them if don't comply. Third, there is no God worth believing in who would condone the cold inhumanity that comes out of local, state and federal government in the name of said God. Whatever happened to benevolence?

  3. Great post Patrick. I still have a hard time comprehending how people can be so cruel.
    It reminds me of a time 15 years ago, Joe and I were at a friends BBQ in west Hollywood, 2/3 of the folks at this party were gay. We were all having a blast, some of the straight guy were finding out how hard it was to strut their stuff in stiletto's (I have a smile on my face as I write this cause it was just so silly and fun!) Two of our friend decided to run real quick to their place, a few doors down, to get their fabu heels.... When all of a sudden we hear all this commotion and screams for help, a van had pulled up to them and some guys jumped out with bats and just started swing and beating our friends! Totally stunned we were yelling and running towards the van when one of the guys yelled "get the shot gun" and we even heard the cocking of a gun! Joe immediately jumped on me and took me down to the ground to protect me and then those cowards ran back into the van and took off when they saw all these people from the party rushing them. Needless to say it put quite a damper on the party. I was shocked and dumbfounded by the actions of these strangers, to have so much hate in their hearts that an action like this could be justified in their mind is beyond my understanding. :(

  4. Patrick, it is difficult to be a minority in the United States. Is it any wonder that some gays prefer to live in the closet? Too bad blacks cannot change their colour at will. In spite of all the Christianity floating around the media and elsewhere bigotry and hatred are alive and thriving in those United States

  5. my heart breaks!

    Taxes are paid by the people of all race and religions. Therefore, I feel that government should be for ALL the people not a selected few.