Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Gay News

In the news today, Tuesday, Novemebr 10, 2009:

In marriage equality news, the Empire State Pride Agenda [ESPA], from New York, where marriage equality may be voted on this week, released the names of 700....SEVEN HUNDRED...clergy and lay leaders from all over New York State who support equal rights for all citizens of this country.

From ESPA: "The geographic list of clergy and faith leaders in support of New York State allowing same-sex couples access to marriage includes a number of denominations including Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist, United Church of Christ, American Baptist, Reformed Church in America and Reform and Conservative movements of Judaism. It also includes influential leaders like Bishop Prince Singh of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, Bishop Robert Rimbo of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary."

Go HERE to see the names of this particular 700 Club, one that supports equal rights for the LGBT community.

I don't enjoy WalMart. I don't like people who say things like, "I'm going to the WalMart." I do, however, know that it comes in handy when you need batteries at 2 AM....not that I would need batteries for anything at 2 AM, that's just an example...but, still, I'm not a fan of these big stores stomping on the little guys. And now comes a story which gives me one more reason to loathe WalMart. From South bend, Indiana, comes the story of Joe Paolucci, his partner Thomas Hitchcock, and some BIC lighters.

On August 16, Paolucci and Hitchcock, and their twins, were shopping at WalMart. Hitchcock purchased groceries while Paolucci bought a few other items and used the Self Check Out. Then Paolucci went shopping again, and picked up some BIC lighters which he paid for at Self Check-out.

However, when he and Hitchcock prepared to leave the building, they were stopped by store employees who asked if he purchased BIC lighters. Paolucci said 'Yes' and handed the employee the lighters and the receipt. Apparently a gaggle of WalMart employees began to gather round and, Paolucci says, one used a vulgar term in reference to the gay couple. Their twins began to cry at being surrounded, and suddenly the men and their children were asked to enter a detention room, probably part of the maximum security wing of the superstore. The two men refused, and instead asked for a manager, who appeared, announced his position and then abruptly left.

Paolucci and Hitchcok asked the employees to call the police and soon deputies from the Berrien County Sheriff's Department's arrived. Paolucci thought there would be a quick review of the security tapes and the whole thing would be resolved, Instead, he was handcuffed, without a question being asked, and placed in a squad car. Hitchcock, who was not handcuffed, was placed in a second car. Their two sons were handed over to WalMart employees.

Nearly an hour later, a viewing of the security cleared Paolucci of stealing the BIC lighters. The two men, now standing together outside the store, waited for store employees to return their children, and, perhaps, an apology. Instead, they were handed back their twins and then employees read from a statement saying that Paolucci and Hitchcock were now banned by the store chain for life.

Oh, not for the alleged, and now proved wrong, accusation of shoplifting; they were banned from every single WalMart in the world for "being uncooperative." The two men say that the only time they didn't cooperate was when they refused to enter the detention room and, instead, asked for a supervisor.

WalMart. Apparently it's its own country, with its own set of rules and regulations, right here in the good old US of A.

The story is HERE.

And now, sports news:

Y'all may have heard of Kansas City Chiefs Running Back Larry Johnson and his suspension from playing for calling two reporters 'faggots' in the lockerrom, and then using the same slur in a Twitter post.

Well, Larry and his lawyer tried to get his suspension lifted, saying they had no idea that 'faggot' wasn't a nice thing to call someone; they said they knew that the N-word was offensive, but not the F-word.

Wrong Larry.

So, Larry sits out just one game of his punishment for his use of the word, and then, the next day the Kansas City Chiefs let him go, citing him for conduct "detrimental" to the team.

Good for you, Kansas City Chiefs. We need to let people know that calling someone these names is detrimental to the entire LGBT community, as it belittles us even further in the eyes of those who discriminate against us.

And maybe next time Larry Johnson gets pissed at a coach or a reporter, he'll use a word that isn't specifically targeted against one group of people.

Try jerk, Larry. Or use asshat, even, Yeah, asshat. It works for me.

That story is HERE.

So, what have we learned today?

We learned that not every church, pastor, rabbi, minister, priest, shaman, is anti-equality. We learned that some people understand religion, that God is love, and that his name shouldn't be used to keep other people down, to deny other people their legal rights.

We learned that not all religious people are bad, but that the bad ones are the ones that make the most noise.

And we learned that WalMart is a store that doesn't play by the rules. WalMart comes into a town and drives out all the small businesses, and hires employees for low pay, and treats their customers like criminals before they are even accused of being criminals.

And we learned that there are sports teams that are tired of the homophobia that seems to pervade professional sports. That there are owners and players who are sick and tired of discrimination based on sexual orientation. And that gay slurs will no longer be tolerated; at least, for now, in Kansas City.

So, that's the gay news from Smallville, Thanks for watching and we'll see you next time.


Dan said...

Hating the Walmart, always have alway will.

Loving the kansas City Cheifs, god knows they are better than the Bears right now.

Still dont trust organzed religion, i dont care how supportive they are.

Kyle said...

Terrific post, as always Bob.

I saw the Paolucci and Hitchcock piece earlier and it was just as upsetting the second time. I hate perfect storm scenarios. Luckily they don't happen often, but when they do you just want to curl into a ball. There isn't a thing they can do about what happened to them, if that doesn't have people seething with anger, I don't know that will.

Mike, Studio city said...

Walmart is a cancer on this country. The damage is so obvious.