Before his son came out to him, Mike Neubecker had never thought about same-sex marriage. It was 1991; few Americans had. Sodomy was still a crime and gay rights activists were more focused on issues like AIDS, the military and anti-discrimination laws. What little Neubecker knew about the gay rights movement, he didn't like.
He remembers laughing derisively about the University of Michigan's attempts to kick the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or ROTC, off campus because of the military's policy at the time of not accepting openly gay troops. That year, his son Lee was a freshman at Eastern Michigan University, and was set to join ROTC himself. But Lee's plans changed at the end of the year, when he and the other new recruits were instructed to sign papers stating that they weren't gay. In the room where the recruits were gathered, his classmates started pounding on the tables shouting, "No fags! No fags!"
Lee didn't sign the paper. Instead, he called home and told his mom that he was gay. Neubecker only found out two and half months later, when he stumbled upon some literature for families of gay people hidden in the spare sock drawer in his bedroom. Three days of crisis followed this discovery.
A small business owner who was raised Catholic in a white, conservative suburb of Detroit, Neubecker said he first felt a "rush of rage."
"I remember saying to my wife, 'This can't be happening, I won't stand for this.'" He called and left a message with his son. Then, wanting to be "armed to the teeth" for the conversation, he walked to the local bookstore and headed to the Christian section. He found a book called "How Will I Tell My Mother" and started reading it. The book, which purports to offer "a way out of homosexuality for those who want to escape," explained that his son wasn't gay, just confused and sick.
On the second day, he drove down to Cincinnati, a four-and-a-half-hour drive, to talk to his old pastor. He didn't dare talk to any of his neighbors or people at the local church. The pastor listened carefully and told Neubecker to tell his son he loved him, but warned him not to speak about it to anyone else.
When he returned home, he called an 800 number listed in the back of the book. "They said, 'Oh Michael, your son should come here and see our facility. We can help him.' Then, they asked for my insurance policy number," he recalled. "They said they would put it down as severe mental depression."
It wasn't until the third day that Neubecker finally got on the phone with his son. "Your mother thinks you might be gay," he began.
"No, Dad, I am gay," Lee replied.
Lee had already been going to a gay rights group for months to prepare for this conversation -- one that Neubecker now sees as a turning point. "I realized my son was not severely depressed," he said. "I was."
Read the rest here.
Considering that Prop 8 and DoMA are coming before SCOTUS very soon, I thought entering this piece into the A|N record was apropos. I must say, I will be very interested in hearing the reasoning in whatever ruling those nine make on these issues and at least as interested in the reaction from the American public.
We've come a long way in a short time on this issue. The question is: has the court?
If SCOTUS opposes gay marriage, then they are simply wrong; it will not be the first time. That will mean the quiet supporters of gay rights will have to come out of the closet and take a public stand. It will come down to that, I am sure. Sitting on a knife edge is a terrible position; it should kick up a lot of cognitive dissonance. Well, get off the fence, take a stand so that all of us can live and work and play together as fully human participants in life with full rights of citizenship.
Here's a further thought, Joan:
With the Roberts Court, how many decisions have they handed down which were 5-4 decisions? My impression was that the court was supposed to be non-partisan, and yet too many of their rulings are so clearly along party lines that they are no better than the Legislative Branch. For all appearances, they have become just as politicized and driven by their own personal beliefs as the rest of the government, rather than ruling strictly based on the Law.
With such a situation, I find I have to break out that word again: Irrelevant. Are they?
Recently, I include Judicial in my disdain for our political process. The Executive, Legislative and Judicial speak for others, not for me. They all seem ignorant of my interests. Add to that religion, it becomes very difficult to live a healthy and productive life with all those adversaries ... I do mean adversaries. They want from me things I am not able and willing to give. They give to me more challenges to overcome.
OK 99.99 percent think differently than I, so what! Galileo and Copernicus had adversaries as well, and in the long run, reasoning prevails ... or will some day. Hopefully before we smother living life on Earth.
Smog in Europe:
Smog in S. America:
Next, lets take a look at water ... that is another topic.
Justice Thomas, who apparently lives in the state of Virginia, could not have been married to his wife until after 1967, Loving vs. State of Virginia. Until then, interracial marriage was illegal, and participants could be arrested and jailed.
If he votes against marriage equality, which I expect him to, then... I don't know what. Hypocrisy? He's never been considered one of the intellectual giants on the court, and is arch-conservative, from what I've read. As is his wife. But if they say, "I got mine - now the rest of you can go to hell", then that's really pathetic.
Figuring out what the justices will vote for reminds me of Kremlin watching during the soviet era. Speculation, guessing, counting tea leaves.
Given the majority of the court is Catholic, I wonder if their priests are quietly threatening excommunication or some other form of retribution. The catholic oligarchy is pulling out all of the stops to prevent marriage equality and to demonize LGBT people.
Let's hope he has a memory, SB ... and would it be too much to hope that he also has a sense of fairness?
Yeah, I know I'm reaching...
Moments ago I just posted a reply in the LGBTQI Group about this topic and then I saw this discussion. I apologize for the double posting, but I'm copying and pasting that reply here has part of this discussion as well. I wrote as follows:
As a gay man and (as I like to believe) a person of rational, sound mind, I tend to think that, in regards to gay marriage, we have a very strong ground to stand on for winning our case in front of the Supreme Court. However, in the last few days I've read articles pointing to the fact that very often the Supreme Court lags slightly behind the general public on social issues.
Throughout the years we have often referred to the Supreme Court in terms of being more Liberal or more Conservative, but the fact is the Supreme Court, overall, tends to lean conservatively. To be blunt, the Supreme Court is not a progressive institution.
With that in mind, I've been thinking about the ramifications of what would happen if the Supreme Court didn't rule in our favor. I think the result would be absolutely devastating and would set our movement back by decades. It would also give license to certain groups and individuals to brutally treat us as unequal and second-class citizens.
Admittedly, I guess this upcoming marriage debate has gotten me a bit on edge. There's so much at stake.
I think you have every reason to be on edge, TFA. Let's keep in mind that this is the same Supreme Court that came up with that utterly ridiculous Citizens United decision. On that basis alone, I find SCOTUS' potential for common sense to be questionable at best. A 5-4 decision in favor of Prop 8 and/or DoMA will not give rise to a pretty result. The Nine (and two or three in particular of that nine) would be well advised to observe the opinion written by Judge Vaughn Walker in striking down Prop 8, never mind the current swell of public opinion in favor of granting gays and Lesbians the same rights as everyone else.
After Citizens United, they have the chance to do something both intelligent and compassionate. I hope they take it.
The Flying Atheist, remember the black movement, how they were freed from slavery and by manipulation they were put back into a faux-slave condition and essentially nothing changed. Many more tries by brave and wise men and women to achieve true freedom and citizenship were thwarted by murder and unjust laws. Along came a woman, Rosa Parks, who had prepared herself for a confrontation at Highlander, and refused to move to the back of the bus. Many other men and women, black and white, straight and gay, joined the struggle, they were prepared, and they were able to push through those horrid mental chains. Women pushed and broke mindbinding, as did Asians and Native Americans.
The trick is to prepare, understand, learn strategy, build up courage, and step across that line that keeps people enslaved, discriminated against, and reviled. You have fairness and justice on your side. There will be setbacks. Uneducated, bigoted judges will decide against you and that is not an indication you have lost; it is an indication more must be done.
The good news is, you have the ability to think and reason and make decisions; you have the ability to formulate your argument that is based on critical thinking and basic justice; you have the ability to gather people around you to do the necessary work and there are growing numbers of people joining your effort.
I agree you have every reason to be on edge.
Often the only way I can handle uncertainty is to think, OK, what's the worst thing that can happen? Then I decide how I'll deal with that. Then I can move on. That often helps.
After a lifetime of being, not only 2nd class citizen, but demonized, reviled, scapegoated, sometimes outside the law and sometimes actively discriminated against, I've been almost dumbstruck but the course of the past couple of years. Even relatively liberal Bill Clinton threw us under the bus, early on, when push came to shove. Now a majority of people consider us valid human beings, and in many places in US a majority feel that we should be equal under the law. That's amazing. Just amazing. Never would have thunk it.
So now, looking at the Supreme court, yes I would like to see them do what's right. Politicians rarely do. The Catholic majority on the Supreme court can't be expected to. Even if they don't, we'll move onward and continue progressively, inch by inch, mile by mile, and except in the dankest, moldiest, stinky backwaters, equality will be ours. And in those backwaters, well, racial and sex civil rights are still not assured either, despite the law.
By the way, I honestly thought Romney had a good chance of winning the presidency, and was pre-emptively grieving. So what do I know?
This just posted on my news feed:
Why the Supreme Court Will Rule in Favor of Gay Marriage
An editorial by Larry Bodine, Editor in Chief, Lawyers.com
Let's hope SCOTUS will see this issue as cut and dry/black and white as Mr. Bodine.
Very neat piece, TFA. I hope SCOTUS agrees with Mr. Bodine.