Rod Hensel: Marriage Equality and The Road Still to Travel

Rod 400By Rod Hensel

You knew June 26, 2015 was a historic day. At 10:04 a.m. the news flashed through the internet that by order of the Supreme Court of the United States, the marriage of same sex couples was a right protected by the Constitution.

I am 62 years old (thank you, I know I look much younger) and saw the news come over my Twitter feed. “Wow,” I said out loud to the cat. I turned on CNN, just to make sure it was true. The decision was widely expected to be positive but I had still felt it might go against us. I began advocacy for gay causes in 1980, when the news that came around the corner was almost never good, so optimism on the LGBT news front doesn’t come easily.

But here it was. An official recognition, in fact an order of the highest court in the land, that gay people not only could marry, but that they must be recognized as equals. I was really pleased, but not emotional, at least not the way I was when I first heard Bill Clinton mention gays positively in a speech, or when Barack Obama stated support for gay rights in his first inaugural address. Perhaps those mentions affected me only because we had spent so many years trying to get Ronald Reagan to just say the word AIDS in public.

Maybe my reaction was restrained because I was thinking about the people I knew who worked so hard for gay liberation, but were no longer alive to see it. Perhaps it was my thoughts for the gay and lesbian seniors who never partnered and face old age alone. Maybe it was my somewhat selfish thought that the gay and lesbian marriage train pulled into the station a little too late for me.


Book Review: Bobby Wonderful: An Imperfect Son Buries His Parents by Bob Morris

UnknownBy The Bookworm Sez
Terri Schlichenmeyer

“Bobby Wonderful: An Imperfect Son Buries His Parents” by Bob Morris
Copyright c.2015, $25.00 / $27.00 Canada   192 pages

“It’s perfect!”

Once upon a time, those words were music to your ears – but then you grew up. You learned then that a made bed didn’t make the man, good enough generally was and, as in the new book “Bobby Wonderful” by Bob Morris, sometimes it’s better to ignore perfection and focus on a life – or lives – well-lived.

As Bob Morris watches his husband, Ira, struggle with his mother’s ageing issues, Morris understands the emotions Ira’s going through. Caring for an elderly parent “has become the new normal” Morris says, and he should know: he helped tend to his own parents at the ends of their lives.

As his mother lay dying first, Morris remembered how, when he was a child, she encouraged him to see beauty in the world around him. She loved music and was “a good mother” whose messy, painful death brought out the worst in Morris and his brother. Oh, how they fought, though her passing also showed Morris how much he truly loved and admired his older sibling.


The Savvy Senior: How Seniors Can Tame Pet Care Costs

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,
What tips can you recommend to help senior pet owners with their veterinary bills? I have two cats and a dog that are family to me, but their vet bills have become unaffordable.
Fix Income Frankie

Dear Frankie,
The high cost of veterinary care has become a problem for millions of pet owners today, but it can be especially difficult for seniors living on a fixed income. Routine medical care can cost hundreds of dollars, while urgent/specialized treatments and procedures can run into the thousands. But, it is possible to reduce your pet care costs without sacrificing their health. Here are some tips that can help you save.

Shop around: If you’re not attached to a particular veterinarian, call some different vet clinics in your area and compare costs. When you call, get price quotes on basic services like annual exams and vaccinations, as well as bigger-ticket items, like to repair a broken leg, so you can compare. Also, check to see if you live near a veterinary medical school (see for a listing). Many schools provide low-cost care provided by students who are overseen by their professors.

Ask your vet for help: To help make your vet bills more manageable, see if your vet’s office accepts monthly payments so you don’t have to pay the entire cost up front. Also, find out if your vet offers discounts to senior citizens or reduces fees for annual checkups if you bring in multiple pets.


Sue Katz: Susie and the Supreme Court

Sue KatzBy Sue Katz

I am a bundle of emotions. These past couple of days have been tumultuous, full of conflicting feelings and clashing reactions. There is joy and despair, satisfaction and discordance. I’m all wrung out, so excuse me if I jump around in this piece. Let me start at the start.

I spoke with a childhood friend this week who calls me Susie. My ears were going, “Wot??” Anyone who met me after I graduated and left Pittsburgh in 1965 knows me as Katz or as Spike or, at least, as Sue. But I guess I was Susie when I fell in love at age 15 with the new girl in class. I was 17 when we were caught and punished beyond what we could bear. In those days we were not just perverted: we were illegal and we were sick. Officially. In the books. On the mental illness lists.

In leather and lace-up boots 1971Yesterday the Supreme Court gave a national okay to same-sex marriage. And of course I totally support equal rights, period. But…

When we started the gay liberation movement in 1969/70, we identified as revolutionaries, as diesel dykes, as radical faeries, as kick-ass queers. We challenged the very notions of gender and of marriage. For many of us, the family was a place where we had been repressed or from which we had been expelled.


Stephanie Mott: Marriage Equality – Racism on the Side

StephanieMottBy Stephanie Mott

My heart is filled with joy. My heart is filled with pain. My heart is filled with purpose. My heart is filled with hope.

Nearly ten years ago, the fear that ruled so much of my life slithered away in search of other victims. It had finally taken everything from me and left me without a home, without a family, nearly without a soul. But fear becomes only a shadow in the light of nothing left to lose, and some amazing people opened a door for me through which the nightmare was not allowed to follow. The great miracle they performed was to call me daughter, sister, mom.

Google tells me that I am 861.9 miles from my home in Topeka. Yesterday I provided two workshops for the United Church of Christ – Open and Affirming national gathering in Cleveland, Ohio. Workshops on being a transgender woman of faith. It must have been some kind of miracle that saw me travel through homelessness to presenting at a national faith conference. It must have most certainly been a miracle of the most miraculous variety.

What happened today – the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, by the slimmest of margins, that our constitution is still constitutional as is related to marriage equality – was another miracle of the most miraculous variety.


Marriage Equality at Last: Supreme Court Rules 5-4

gaymarriageringsIt’s been a very long time coming. In a ruling of historic significance, the Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry. It doesn’t get much bigger than this.

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a nationwide right to same-sex marriage.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the 5 to 4 decision. He was joined by the court’s four more liberal justices.

The decision, the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of same-sex marriage.

As in earlier civil rights cases, the Supreme Court had moved cautiously and methodically, laying careful judicial groundwork for a transformative decision.

Continue at the New York Times

The Weekly Readlines June 26

Promoting better news digestion …


“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”

– Antonin Scalia, dissenting in King v Burwell

“On matters of race, South Carolina has had a tough history; we all know that. Many of us have seen it in our lives, in the lives of our parents and grandparents. We don’t need reminders.”

– South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, on removing the Confederate flag

Set of coffee cups. Vector


OBAMACARE SURVIVES! That was the newsflash going out at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday as the Supreme Court, by a vote of 6-3, upheld subsidies offered to people getting insurance on federally-run exchanges in states that refused to set them up. The Republicans’ long-hoped-for death spiral will have to wait. While most of the country seems ready to move on and accept the Affordable Care Act as settled law, the GOP and its presidential contenders vow to fight (and fight, and fight).

Funerals began for nine African Americans gunned down in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by white supremacist Dylan Roof. In response to the horror, which many insist was a terrorist attack, South Carolina’s governor has called for removal of the Confederate flag from the state’s capitol. Wal-Mart, Amazon, Sears and eBay will no longer sell Confederate flag items, with or without free shipping.


Author Maurice W. Dorsey’s ‘Businessman First’ Now a QBR Wheatley Book Award Finalist

51fobgfz4hL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Great and well-deserved news for author Maurice W. Dorsey, PhD. His book, Businessman First, a biography of African American businessman Henry G. Parks, Jr., is now a finalist for a QBR Wheatley Book Award. The book was recently a featured book at lgbtSr, and I had the pleasure of speaking with Maurice in a ‘6 Questions’ interview. He’s a first rate author, biographer, and a true gentleman. Congratulations!

About Businessman First

More than his ad “More Parks Sausages Mom, please” Henry G. Parks, Jr. was a man before his time. Pioneering in the American free enterprise system he embarked on a journey leading to a multi-million dollar industry. After many endeavors in business, The H.G. Parks, Inc. trading as Parks Sausage became a reality in 1951. With strong aggressive leadership, brilliant marketing and advertising, Mr. Parks built a business that never posted a losing year under his ownership. Park’s Sausage was the first African American owned business to issue stock publicly. Mr. Park’s success caught the attention of some of the leading corporate boards in this country along with national organizations, city, state, and federal leaders. They sought to bring him aboard to share his knowledge, leadership skills, and ability with other leading American business, government and non-profit leaders. This is the story of a businessman who was African American and was optimistic and determined while achieving ultimate success.

MauriceAbout Maurice W. Dorsey, PhD:

Maurice W. Dorsey graduated as the only African American in his class at the Bel Air Senior High School, Bel Air, Maryland, in 1965. He earned a bachelor of science degree in home economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1970. He then earned a master’s degree in liberal arts from the Johns Hopkins University in 1975 and earned a second master’s degree in education from the Loyola College of Maryland in 1976. He returned to the University of Maryland to earn a PhD in education in 1985. He has worked in both the public and private sectors, finding his career in secondary education, higher education, and government. He retired from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture in 2012. Businessman First: Remembering Henry G. Parks (1916 to 1989); Capturing the Life of a Businessman Who Was African American; An Authorized Biography is his first book. He resides in Washington, DC.

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