Wednesday, June 11, 2008

SBC Mulls Expulsion of Churches with Female Pastors

Members of Southern Baptist churches, presently the largest protestant denomination in the United States, are meeting this week at the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis, IN. Among the various measures being considered this week is one that would "disallow affiliation" of churches pastored by women.

hat tip: Google News

Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene

From Australia's fake news agency CNNNN (Chaser Non-stop News Network; I dunno whence comes the fourth "N").

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Update on my little Marriage Discrimination Issue

The relocation company contacted me again yesterday to let me know that they do not consider a civil domestic partnership "equal" to a civil marriage license. Consequently, they will not extend to me the additional relocation funds normally offered to married couples.

I don't want to make a bigger deal out of this than it actually is. Unlike the awful Jim Crow-era sign I've included as an image with this post, this issue is relatively minor. However, this situation still smacks of "second-class citizenship."

In its 36-page "Our Values in Action" document, my future employer (I won't give its name, but I can tell you it is a Fortune 100 company as well as one of the thirty companies comprising the Dow Jones Industrial Average) states
We build and maintain a productive, motivated work force by treating all employees fairly and equitably. We respect and recognize the contributions of employees as well as other stakeholders. We will select and place employees on the basis of their qualifications for the work to be performed, considering accommodations as appropriate and needed — without regard to their race, religion, national origin, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, and/or physical or mental disability. We support and obey laws that prohibit discrimination everywhere we do business. [emphasis mine]
These words are striking me as sadly hollow right now.

I have learned my future employer has an employee affinity group for LGBTA employees. Last week I attempted to learn more about this group--partly to ask about the present situation with the relocation company, partly to simply inquire about the general corporate "vibe" towards gay folks. Unfortunately, in response to my request for information about this group (through the corporate website--googling the group did not turn up any external links), I received the following email
Dear [Joe Moderate],

Thank you for contacting the [Western hemisphere HR center for my future employer]. Due to our Privacy Policy, as soon as you become a [future employer] employee you will have access to the "[future employer] at Work" website. There you will find all the information you need about the [LGBTA affinity group].

Best regards,

[corporate HR guy]
Doh! Looks like I can't contact the LGBTA affinity group until after I begin employment. What a weird catch-22.

It looks like I "lose" this round. However, you can bet once I am employed, I will see what I can learn--and maybe change--from the inside. I hope this affinity group doesn't turn out to be a canard.

I feel the need to tread softly about all of this. My position with the company is far from certain. I don't feel any job security to allow me to "rock the boat" at all right now. I don't want to act (or not act) out of fear, but I do want to see changes happen. Maybe I can be a part of making this experience different for LGBT folks my employer will hire in the future.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fast Food "Feedbags"

ROFL More funniness from the Onion.

hat tip: the Onion

Less than a Week to Go

C and I will be married in just six days!

And I couldn't be more excited :-)

Friday, June 6, 2008

First Experience of Marriage Discrimination

Well, ouch. I'm having my first experiences with the consequences of being unable to legally marry C.

I have been hired by a company and received several phone calls yesterday regarding plans for my relocation to begin employment in August. The company (or, rather, the relocation company that my employer contracts with) informed me that they will provide a lump sum of cash to facilitate my trips to the city to find a place to live--hotel stays, meals, gas money, etc. The dollar amount of that lump sum is significantly larger ($500 larger, in fact) if I will be married by the time I begin employment.

Yes, I told the company, I will be married before beginning employment.

Okay, they said, just send us a copy of your marriage certificate.

Well, I said, I'm not having a civil marriage--just a religious ceremony.

Okay, they said, we'll check and see if religious marriage is sufficient.

The company called back later and said "no." I must have a marriage certificate to receive the married benefit.

Hmm. I'm tempted to call them back and appeal to the nondiscrimination policy my employer has regarding LGBT employees. I could send them copies of the 6 legal documents C and I have had prepared to secure as many legal rights as we can. C and I could also register in our town as "domestic partners" (our town, Urbana, is one of only two cities in Illinois that have such registries. Quiz: what is the other city? Hint: it isn't Chicago)

But I'm wary of starting a snafu with the company just as I am beginning employment--particularly if my new boss is personally opposed to LGBT people. I don't want to get off on the wrong foot. I don't want to come across as greedy.

On the other hand, I don't want to be treated differently. It hurts a little to be informed that my relationship with C is not as important as my cubicle-mate's relationship with his wife. :-/

C will be traveling with me to the city to search for a new location. That's twice as many people in the hotel rooms, twice as many meals, and two butts in the car during the travel to and from the city. The extra $500 is probably more than we need, but it sure would be nice.

Ultimately, I think I'm gonna sit on my hands on this one. Am I selling out?


UPDATE: I decided I was acting (or rather, not acting) out of fear. Asking myself, "what would I do if I had no fear?" I again contacted the relocation company and asked if I would be granted the marriage benefit if I supplied them with copies of a city of Urbana domestic partner registry. The person I contacted said she would contact management and get back to me. That was near the end of the business day on Friday. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

C'mon Down to the Farm

ROFL. You gotta check out this unintentionally hilarious antigay music video (I know, I know: a music video? I was stunned as well) put on by the country singers Lewis and Lewis.
C'mon down to the farm
C'mon out to the barn
You won't see two roosters walking arm in arm
They couldn't make a chicken
They don't have an egg to hatch
When God said "love your brother I don't think he meant like that

"It ain't normal. I don't care what they say. It just ain't normal."
Update: Ben has found the Lewis's email address. If you'd like to contact them, send a message to . Thanks, Ben!

hat tip: Peter LaBarbara