Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

The Union-Leader’s Same-Sex Marriage Avoidance Policy and its Connection to Other Anti-Gay Actions

October 25th, 2010 2 comments

The Manchester Union-Leader has long positioned itself on the far right of American journalism. Nonetheless, I was startled to read this statement from the paper’s publisher, Joseph W. McQuaid:

This newspaper has never published wedding or engagement announcements from homosexual couples. It would be hypocritical of us to do so, given our belief that marriage is and needs to remain a social and civil structure between men and women, and our opposition to the recent state law legalizing gay marriage.

That law was not subject to public referendum and the governor (John Lynch) who signed it was elected after telling voters that he was opposed to gay marriage. Indeed, in no state where the public has been allowed a direct vote on the subject has gay marriage prevailed.

We are not “anti-gay.” We are for marriage remaining the important man-woman institution it has always been.

While the law sanctions gay marriage, it neither demands that churches perform them or that our First Amendment right to choose what we print be suspended. In accordance with that right, we continue our longstanding policy of printing letters to the editor from New Hampshire citizens, whether or not they agree with us.”

McQuaid is of course correct about the paper’s First Amendment rights, and it doesn’t appear that the state’s anti-discrimination law applies here. (He needs a quick refresher on representative democracy, though.) But why is he doing this? Is he concerned about losing subscribers if the Union Leader dared publish wedding announcements for same-sex couples? Does the law so offend his sense of justice and the natural order of things that he’s willing to take this drastic step? Some combination of the two?

I don’t know, and I really don’t care. What I do know is that McQuaid’s grown offspring should be concerned about the man they’re allowing to spend time with their kids. In this piece of home-spun treacle, McQuaid acts as though he’s never spent time with kids before. Maybe he hasn’t (that’s what wives are for, perhaps), and his grandsons — who will grow up in a world where LGBT folks are increasingly recognized as citizens and as members of the human community — are ill-served by spending much time with such a homophobe. (Aside: the protesting statement that the paper isn’t “‘anti-gay,'” with the term itself enclosed in ironic quotes, suggests that McQuaid and his paper think there’s no such thing as a homophobe.)

[Update: I commented on McQuaid’s piece this morning, but the paper didn’t run it, even though it complies with all of their guidelines. The publisher, despite his comments to the contrary in the piece I referenced, apparently isn’t interested in publishing critical comments.]

At least this position should provide comfort to people like Amy Wax. Participating in a same-sex marriage debate on the Federalist Society’s webpage, the Penn law professor ended her list of objections by writing:

Finally (and this is in some ways the most important concern for me, as a parent), legalizing homosexual marriage will of course create pressure to “normalize” those relationships in all contexts. (emphasis added)

Don’t worry, Prof. Wax. McQuaid and his entire paper have resisted. You can, too! While you’re doing so, please explain — to your kids, “as a parent” — why my relationship and family, which includes twin daughters adopted from right here in Philadelphia, is less worthy of respect and legal recognition than yours.

I’m tired of this, and it’s well past time to call these apparently moderate conservatives on the connection between their position and the horrendous treatment of LGBT youth. After David and I watched Obama’s effective anti-gay bullying video, he immediately asked the obvious, rhetorical question:

Does this mean we can get married now?

No. No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t mean that the President supports marriage equality, either. He continues to oppose it.

There’s a danger in drawing a clear, straight line from opposition to equality in, say, the military or marriage contexts and the enabling of bullying against our kids. But it’s equally simplistic to pretend that the cultural and legal background in which kids grow up doesn’t have any effect on how we — adults and children alike — treat each other, either. (In this piece, Evan Wolfson eviscerates Maggie Gallagher for her willful refusal to connect any of these dots.)

I’m going to close with (of all people) Sarah Silverman, in an effective primal scream against the anti-gay forces:


February 8th, 2010 2 comments

Well, I’ve lost it. This morning I read a weather blog. OK, it turned out to be sort of interesting, if weather has suddenly become your biggest preoccupation. For example, I learned that the last storm — which dumped a comical 28.5 inches of snow on Philadelphia — “weighed” a total of almost 40 billion pounds. And — this will excite you — last Friday was Weatherperson’s Day, in honor of the first forecaster, who issued the first incorrect prognostication (guess) in 1705.

With barely a chance to dig out from under the second-biggest storm in the city’s history (we’ve also had the third biggest snowfall ever during this season), we’re now expecting another, oh, one to two feet over the next 72 hours. This time, my magnolia tree is on its own; no more will I sweep heavy snow from its platformesque leaves, thereby dousing myself in wet snow.

At least there’s the drinking. When the first storm hit just before Christmas, we hosted a neighborhood party that was the kind of success that only the combination of climatological disaster and whimsy (think: Woodstock) can bring about. Now the bar has been set, but who knew it would need to be cleared again, and again, this season?This past Saturday, the owners of the house next to ours (the two are twin homes) hosted the party — actually, one of them did, while her husband, a pediatric resident, worked the overnight shift. (In fact, he didn’t even know about it, and I suggested to his wife — herself a resident — that we might clean up, Cat in the Hat style, without his ever learning of the revelry that had taken over his home.)

So who’s going to host the party on Wednesday? By now, the drinking may start to remind us all of Barfly.

The Tiniest Guest Blogger on the Christmas Trolley

December 18th, 2009 No comments

This pic doesn’t do justice to the Philly Christmas trolley I rode yesterday:


My guest blogger, Courtnee Girasole-Culhane, does much better. Asked about her favorite part of the class trip to the Comcast Center1, she had this to say:2

“A Christmas trolley. I never been on a Christmas trolley before, only a plain trolley. With lights and presents and candy-cane stickers hanging up. I felt good.”

Me, too. And when the trolley ran through a dark tunnel with the wonderfully garish lights supplying the only illumination, there was something at once connective and moving about the experience.

This blogger took a slightly more nuanced view, and made the undeniable point that there’s a real problem with going all XMas gaga on public transportation. But she can’t resist concluding just as Courtnee had; despite her misgivings, the “insane trolley ride…kind of made [her] day.”  Mine, too.

For those of you in the mid-Atlantic states…get out and enjoy the snow!

  1. Visit a corporate headquarters? What small child doesn’t love that? But they did, since they were treated like royalty.
  2. Remarks transcribed by pre-school teacher as part of class Q&A after trip. The kids are preparing for a life of interviews.