Sunday, November 30, 2014

Via George Takei / FB: Conan: 1 Pat: 0

Flower of the Day: 11/30/14

“Whenever you are being squeezed by life and you feel like you are suffering, stop for a moment and get in touch with that suffering. Try asking what this suffering is trying to tell you: ‘Why am I suffering so much?’ If you are truly willing to see the truth, you will immediately receive an answer.”

Sri Prem Baba

Strain Out Whatever's Inessential | November 30, 2014

Zazen [meditation] and poetry are both studies of the mind. I find the internal pressure exerted by emotion and by a koan to be similar in surprising and unpredictable ways. Zen is a wonderful sieve through which to pour a poem. It strains out whatever’s inessential.

- Chase Twichell, "The Ghost of Eden"

Flower of the Day: 11/29/14

“All events that occur in life happen due to the law of karma; they act under the law of cause and effect. Still, not everything that happens to you is related to an image from your past. You can tell whether or not a particular event is actually related to a past frozen image by looking at the nature of the repetition and noticing whether it causes any internal division. If your conscious will is heading towards a particular direction, but life's experiences bring you to the exact opposite direction, then there is still an image from the past that needs to be dissolved. In order to dissolve an image that attracts negative situations, one needs to illuminate the value of acceptance.”

Sri Prem Baba

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Via Daily Dharma

Being No One | November 29, 2014

Allow yourself to be no one; allow your mind to be empty of thought, unfurnished, until the identities gradually filter back in. Notice the space between your identities and the awareness of them. Notice if a similar gap appears at other times during the day, an empty space that you may have ignored before but can now lean into and prolong. Continue to open to the openness.

- Stephan Bodian, "Being No One"

Friday, November 28, 2014

Flower of the Day: 11/28/14

“The experience of jumping into the abyss of denied feelings can only happen once you have understood the importance of this experience. If you have not yet understood this, you won't be able to jump because you will be terrified. At this moment, you become aware of your false faith. Without true faith, you could remain paralyzed on the edge of the abyss unable to jump for a long time, perhaps for many life times. Such skepticism is actually an elevated state of consciousness since it acts as a bridge that leads from false faith to true faith. In order to go beyond skepticism, it’s necessary to understand the importance of re-experiencing one’s denied feelings.”

Sri Prem Baba

Via Dialy Dharma

Grief Bringing Us Home | November 28, 2014

It is our grief / heavy, relentless, / trudging / us, however resistant, / to the decaying and / rotten / bottom of things: / our grief bringing / us home.

- Alice Walker, "Turning Madness into Flowers"

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Via Zeit online: Wie eine Perversion menschlicher Natur

Wie eine Perversion menschlicher Natur

Ich bin schwul und Anhänger der Bahai-Religion. Ein Dilemma, denn die Bahai erlauben keine Homosexualität. Ein Leserartikel von Lukas Jung

A very free google translation into English follows:

 A few years ago I resigned from the church and converted to the Baha'i faith. Baha'is believe that the Divine for humans is not clear but is revealed through spiritual personalities in different cultures and eras. These figures include not only Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Baha'i faith, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, and the founders of other religions.

The aim of the Baha'i Revelation is the unity of mankind in diversity. Bahai not proselytize why. They recognize the other religions unconditionally and enter into a dialogue with them. You want to build a peaceful and united society of people in all their diversity.
These views and the lived spirituality in the form of simple devotions, prayers, meditations and the service of the people told me too much. In a pretty young church I learned to better understand the scriptures, to broaden my horizons to develop myself spiritual, human and intellectual further. Soon I also took over functions in the community. I became a member of spiritual councils, even once chairman of such Council. It was a wonderful time.

But I could never resolve a conflict: I'm gay - gay Bahais but may not live their sexuality. I should seek therapeutic help me and take steps towards heterosexuality, I was advised. They gave me writings of religious figures from the 1950s to read, where homosexuality is described as a disease as a disorder, as a perversion of human nature.

However, the Baha'is believe that religion and science are to enter into a harmonious relationship. If the religious teachings contain something that is contrary to science, it must be revised. This is a fundamental principle of the Baha'i faith. And while it is being applied in other areas, it is ignored when it comes to homosexuality.

Due to some failed relationships with men I took the writings on homosexuality unfortunately very much to heart. I began to think that the problems in the gay community had its basis in homosexuality. I began to see myself as a perversion of human nature. For two years I denied myself and tried to develop feelings that I had not. Every time I saw an attractive man, I told myself that it was wrong to feel that way. I hated myself.

Fortunately, I finally met capable therapists who advised me, myself, so assume I am. So I began again more open with my homosexuality. I also told them some Bahai and only learned tolerant to very positive reactions. However, some of the religious leaders advised me not to serve within the community. Above all, I should not conduct children's classes and youth groups. The highest national body, the National Council, called on me in a letter not to participate in activities for children.

I was shocked and hurt. Was that the much-vaunted unity in diversity? The abolition of prejudice? The harmony of science and religion?

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I sought contact with other lesbian and gay Bahai. I found them online. Tucked away. Injured. Excluded. The website lists some of their stories. There are stories of pain, suffering and self-hatred - fueled by a religion that is committed to the aim of reducing prejudice and to create unity in diversity.

At the moment I consider myself as an agnostic rather than a believer. Much of the Bahai I see now critical. Even my connection to spirituality, religion and belief, I have lost, weakened to God. I guess I should leave the Bahai, on the other hand I love and appreciate my community.

I still believe that the Baha'i religion has great potential to contribute good in the world. But first she must be self-critical and its principles match with their dogmas. You must finally the issue of homosexuality the same openness have placed such other topics as well.

The author writes under a pseudonym. His real name is known to the editors.

This post is part of our series who believes it.  

The original is here

Via George Takei / FB:

A Native American thanksgiving day song

Flower of the Day: 11/27/14

“Free will is a great mystery. It’s true that it does exist, for it is a law of this realm – the question is, ‘Who in you uses this power of choice?’ The human being does have a free will, but until one learns how to use this power of choice, there are many ups and downs, many mistakes and successes. All of this is absolutely necessary because only by making these mistakes does one learn.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma

We Receive This Food in Gratitude | November 27, 2014

We receive this food in gratitude
From all beings who helped to bring it to our table,
And vow to respond in turn to those in need
With wisdom and compassion.

- Zen Mountains and Rivers Order, "A Vegetarian Thanksgiving"

Via Daily Dharma

Strain Out Whatever's Inessential | November 30, 2014

Zazen [meditation] and poetry are both studies of the mind. I find the internal pressure exerted by emotion and by a koan to be similar in surprising and unpredictable ways. Zen is a wonderful sieve through which to pour a poem. It strains out whatever’s inessential.

- Chase Twichell, "The Ghost of Eden"

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Via JMG: FLORIDA: Lawmakers Introduce Sweeping LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill

Via Equality Florida:
Earlier today, Representative Holly Raschein (R- Key Largo) and Democratic Whip Senator Joseph Abruzzo (D- Boynton Beach) filed legislation in the Florida House and Senate respectively that would prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) in employment, housing and public accommodations. Known as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA), the legislation would amend Chapter 760 of the Florida State Statutes that currently prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The bill would add protections for more than 536,000 LGBT adults living in Florida. Despite overwhelming public support and the passage of local equal rights ordinances throughout the state, there is no statewide law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida.
The map above shows the states that presently provide employment and housing protections. The darker-shaded states include gender identity as well as sexual orientation. For a slightly different map that depicts public accommodation protections, click here.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via / FB:

Via DailyKos:

Via justabahai: Bahais are not united in being against same sex marriage!

Bahais are not united in being against same sex marriage!

by justabahai
A friend wrote: "Yesterday during the celebration of the Day of the Covenant, the issue of homosexuality popped up during a talk citing how America is legalizing marriage for gays, state by state. The person giving the talk said this is wrong and that what keeps the Baha'is united from these negative forces is the […]
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We Are from the Future — Next Stage: Revolution of Love

Flower of the Day: 11/26/14

“Every change has three phases: a death or deconstruction (an ending), a neutral zone (a waiting period where nothing happens), and a rebirth (the emergence of something new). Usually, the greatest difficulty lies in this first phase because we have been conditioned to believe that all deconstruction is negative – but this is not true. At the deepest level, all deconstruction is positive, but it is always painful. This is because human beings cling to everything, from relationships, to work, to their house, to their children. The change may only occur internally, such as a pattern that is being dissolved, and if one is attached to this pattern, one will suffer.”

Sri Prem Baba

Via JMG: Mississippi Joins The Cerulean States

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via NO H8 Campaign: Hell done froze over, gay marriage in Mississippi !

Via Daily Dharma

A Portal to Liberation | November 26, 2014

It is through the everydayness of. . . art that we are blessed to experience the ordinary mind as a portal to transcendence and liberation.

- Charles Johnson, "The Dharma and the Artist's Eye"

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cory Booker Repost

Via New Civil Rights: New Study Shows Homosexuality 'Is An Essential Part Of Human Evolution'

Researchers at England's University of Portsmouth believe they have found a scientific explanation for homosexuality and their theories could even provide support for same-sex marriage as being completely natural.
The scientists link the hormone progesterone, which is naturally-occurring in both men and women, to socialization and see it as a tool that "promotes bonding."
"The frequency of homoerotic behavior among individuals who do not identify as having an exclusively homosexual sexual orientation suggests that such behavior potentially has adaptive value," the researchers write.
LOOK: Large Study Finds 'Pretty Good Indication' Of Genetic Link To Homosexuality
And they seem to have found an evolutionary case that supports same-sex relationships and marriage, even finding them advantageous.
"From an evolutionary perspective we tend to think of sexual behaviour as a means to an end for reproduction," Diana Fleischman, the study's lead author, states. "However, because sexual behaviour is intimate and pleasurable, it is also used in many species, including non-human primates, to help form and maintain social bonds. We can all see this in romantic couples who bond by engaging in sexual behaviour even when reproduction is not possible."
That sex is scientifically found to be not solely designed for reproduction debunks religious extremists' claims that man-woman marriage is the only "natural" marriage.
"To test whether homosexual behaviour really does go hand in hand with a need to form close bonds with others of the same sex, they decided to compare sexual behaviour with the level of a certain hormone in the blood," City AM reports.
Progesterone is also known as a “social” hormone – it is produced mainly in the ovaries in women and in the adrenal glands in men, and encourages a person to engage with others in a positive way.
They asked a group of participants questions such as "The idea of kissing a person of the same sex is sexually arousing to me," and: "If someone of the same sex made a pass at me I would be disgusted”. They compared the answers to the level of progesterone in the blood.
The results, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour, show that the people with higher levels of the hormone are indeed more inclined to have homoerotic thoughts.
Heterosexual men and women, for example, were more open to the idea of engaging in homosexual behaviour when progesterone was high. Men also produced more of the hormone and felt more homosexual if they were reminded of a societal need to be friendly with other males.
Fleischman adds that "the research suggests that having exclusively heterosexual thoughts is a disadvantage – it’s better to be a little bit attracted to the opposite sex." 

Image via Flickr

Make the jump here to read the original and full article:

SAMSARA - Vidia Wesenlund - Byssan Lull, Koka Kittelen Full "Music Video HD 1080p"

Via Zac / FB:

Pay ye no heed to aversion and rejection, to disdain, hostility, injustice: act ye in the opposite way. Be ye sincerely kind, not in appearance only. Let each one of God’s loved ones centre his attention on this: to be the Lord’s mercy to man; to be the Lord’s grace. Let him do some good to every person whose path he crosseth, and be of some benefit to him. Let him improve the character of each and all, and reorient the minds of men. In this way, the light of divine guidance will shine forth, and the blessings of God will cradle all mankind: for love is light, no matter in what abode it dwelleth; and hate is darkness, no matter where it may make its nest. O friends of God! That the hidden Mystery may stand revealed, and the secret essence of all things may be disclosed, strive ye to banish that darkness for ever and ever.


The Flag of Equal Marriage

The Flag of Equal Marriage

Montana and South Carolina are the newest stars to light up on our flag. 

Flower of the Day: 11/25/14

“Trust is one of the main virtues that needs to be developed on the spiritual path. It is not possible to fabricate trust through the mind, just as it’s not possible to fabricate steadiness, loyalty, humility, forgiveness or gratitude. These virtues are the fruit of the tree of consciousness. If you do not have a tree yet, or your tree has not yet been able to bare fruit, don’t give up. Work towards amplifying your perception through self-observation and spiritual practice. This is how we expand our consciousness.”

Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma

Realizing Guiltlessness | November 25, 2014

From the Buddhist point of view we can understand that all the things we do to harm ourselves and others come from deep-rooted confusions and ignorance but that the mind is by its very nature pure and enlightened. When we feel a tremendous amount of guilt, we forget this view.

- Venerable Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, "Realizing Guiltlessness"

Monday, November 24, 2014

Via JMG: Fischer is a Kidnapping Advocate

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via JMG: The Legal Golden Ratio On Marriage

Via the New York Times:
The Constitution is not a math problem, but numbers can play a role in the Supreme Court’s calculations. When the court struck down bans on interracial marriage in 1967, such unions were still illegal in 16 states. When the court struck down laws making gay sex a crime in 2003, 13 states still had anti-sodomy measures. Should the court take up the question of same-sex marriage this term or next, as it seems likely to, the unions will be against the law in no more than 15 states. “The coincidence is hard to miss,” said Susan Sommer, a lawyer with Lambda Legal who has been litigating same-sex marriage cases for more than a decade. In a brief urging the Supreme Court to hear a same-sex marriage case from Ohio, lawyers for several couples recited the history and pushed the comparison. “The current landscape for marriage recognition for same-sex couples,” the brief said, “looks much the same as it did in 1967 for interracial couples and in 2003 for same-sex intimate partners.”
The above-linked article notes that it was largely state legislatures, not courts, that had whittled down the number of bans on interracial marriage by the time the Supreme Court acted.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

JMG HomoQuotable - Michael Sam

"If I had it my way, I never would have done it [come out] the way I did, never would have told it the way I did. I would have done the same thing I did at Mizzou. Which was to tell my team and my coaches and leave it at that. But since I did tell my team, word got out.  People think the word didn't get out. It did. Or it did and it didn't. They kept it confined within our family. But the recruiters knew, and reporters knew, and they talked to each other, and it got out. If I didn't have the year I did, nobody would have cared. But I did have that year. And a lot of people knew. Someone was gonna ask me, 'I heard you told your team a secret.…' Well, I was comfortable with who I was, and I wouldn't have denied it. And then I wouldn't have been able to control the story. But I have no regrets. Some people can argue that I had the potential to go higher in the draft. But I think everything happens for a reason. It looks good to see me in the position I'm in now, because I can show the world how good I am and rise up the ranks. I'm at the bottom now. I can rise up, show I'm a football player. Not anything else. Just a football player." 
- Michael Sam, speaking to GQ Magazine.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via JMG: OREGON: Ninth Circuit Court Denies NOM's Appeal For En Banc Rehearing


Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via Satipañña: 5 Ways for the Removal of Distracting Thought

Substitute: reflect on a different object, which is connected with skill… Like an experienced carpenter or carpenter’s apprentice, striking hard at, pushing out, and getting rid of a coarse peg with a fine one, should the bhikkhu in order to get rid of the adventitious object, reflect on a different object which is connected with skill.
Reflect: ponder on the disadvantages of unskilful thoughts thus: Truly these thoughts of mine are unskilful, blameworthy, and productive of misery.

Ignore: endeavour to be without attention and reflection as regards them.

Remove the cause: one should reflect on the removal of the source of thoseunskilful thoughts.

Suppress: If evil, unskilful thoughts continue to arise in spite of reflection on the removal of a source of unskilful thoughts, one should with clenched teeth and the tongue pressing on the palate, restrain, and subdue the (evil) mind by the (good) mind. (Suppression used as a last resort so one does not act out one’ s anger/hatred)

Via Satipañña: The Five Subjects for Daily Recollection

There are other recollections which one can make and which help one to understand the human condition. People tend to be in denial about decay, disease, and death while remaining greatly attached to sentient beings and insentient objects. Some people try also to neglect moral responsibility for their actions. The recollections below bring these subjects to light and make us face them squarely. 

Thus, the Buddha has said we should reflect daily upon these five recollections.
  1. I am of the nature to age.
    I have not gone beyond aging.
  2. I am of the nature to sicken.
    I have not gone beyond sickness.
  3. I am of the nature to die.
    I have not gone beyond dying.
  4. All that is mine, beloved and pleasing, will become otherwise, will become separated from me.
  5. I am the owner of my karma,
    Heir to my karma,
    Born of my karma,
    Related to my karma,
    Abide supported by my karma.
    Whatever karma I shall do, for good or for ill, of that I will be the heir.

An Evangelical Changes His Mind On Gays

We’ve featured the work of Matthew Vines many times before, and want to highlight a speech given at a conference recently held by his organization, The Reformation Project. A keynote speaker, David Gushee, one of the foremost evangelical ethicists in the United States, used the occasion to announce his support for the full-inclusion of LGBT Christians in the Church. The above video of Gushee’s remarks is longer than we usually post, but it’s worth watching in full. (You can read a transcript of his remarks here.) For a sense of why this matters, Jonathan Merritt sketches Gushee’s place in the evangelical world:
It is difficult to overstate the potential impact of Gushee’s defection. His Christian ethics textbook, “Kingdom Ethics,” co-authored with the late Glen Stassen, is widely respected and was named a 2004 Christianity Today book of the year. He serves as theologian-in-residence for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a coalition of 15 theological schools, 150 ministries, and 1,800 Baptist churches nationwide.
While other pro-LGBT Christian activists — including Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network and Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian” — have been dismissed in some circles as wet-behind-the-ears youngsters without formal theological training, Gushee, 52, is a scholar with impeccable credentials. He can add intellectual heft to what has largely been a youth-led movement, and is not someone who can be easily dismissed.
Gushee summarizes his approach to the issue this way:
Since the 1960s, when the gay rights movement began in America, Christians and their leaders have struggled to figure out how to respond to the growing tolerance of same-sex relationships. Most in Christianity have responded by offering endless debates over how to interpret that handful of biblical passages. Books erupted. Congregations fought. Denominations split. 
For me, the answer to this debate has become simple: There is a sexual-minority population of about 5 percent of the human family that has received contempt and discrimination for centuries. In Christendom, the sexual ethics based in those biblical passages metastasized into a hardened attitude against sexual- and gender-identity minorities, bristling with bullying and violence. This contempt is in the name of God, the most powerful kind there is in the world. I now believe that the traditional interpretation of the most cited passages is questionable and that all that parsing of Greek verbs has distracted attention from the primary moral obligation taught by Jesus — to love our neighbors as ourselves, especially our most vulnerable neighbors. I also now believe that while any progress toward more humane treatment of LGBT people is good progress, we need to reconsider the entire body of biblical interpretation and tradition related to this issue.
Put simply, it finally became clear to me that I must side with those who were being treated with contempt, just as I hope I would have sided with Jews in the Nazi era and with African Americans during the civil rights years.

Flower of the Day: 11/24/14

“I am working steadily so that you can identify the part of your personality that plays against you and sabotages all of your efforts towards self-realization. I call this aspect negative intentionality. This is your ‘no’ to life, to love, to prosperity and pleasure. If there is constant anguish and negative repetitions happening in your life, identify the voice within you that says, ‘I don’t want everything to work out. I want to be weak; I want to be rejected and humiliated.’ While this may seem absurd, I invite you to put into practice this teaching and discover for yourself what I am saying.”

Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma

Developing a Healthy Body Image | November 24, 2014

Because the modern obsession with impossibly perfect body images has taught so many people to hate their bodies to a pathological degree, we’ve come to identify all positive body images as psychologically healthy, and all negative body images as psychologically sick. . .  From the Buddha’s perspective, though, this attitude is radically deluded.

- Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "Under Your Skin"

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Via Friend of Dorothy Book / FB:

Via Join the Coffee Party Movement / FB:

Flower of the Day: 11/23/14

“The unveiling of love is a phenomenon that occurs on the level of the soul. It is the revelation of the Being. This unveiling of love is only possible when we remove the layers that cover up our hearts. Along the journey, we became attached to these layers, and life’s challenges are here to help us break with these attachments. As we continue revealing ourselves, we find that these resistances are made of attachments to what is transitory: our ideas and beliefs. These are tests that love uses to examine our faith and commitment to the truth. Only when this commitment is truly firm can we reach the sacred dwelling place.”

Sri Prem Baba

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Flower of the Day: 11/22/14

“I see this planet as a school of love. When I see a cup of water filled halfway, I see a cup half full – never half empty. I recognize the difficulties of this planet, but my focus remains on the possibility of the human being’s evolution. I have an unbreakable faith in love, because it is the universal solvent for all evil. Through love, we are able to liberate ourselves from all the difficulties that have been placed in our paths. In this way, we enter the frequency that allows us to see this planet from the perspective of light.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma

May I Be Worthy | November 22, 2014

May I be worthy of this meal, I whispered.
The afternoon light was coming through the window.
The universe did a little waltz.
ONE two three. ONE two three.
I let go.

- Bobby Byrd, "Kensho Down on Texas Avenue, El Paso, Texas"

Friday, November 21, 2014

Flower of the Day: 11/21/14

“Everyone wants to live with joy and satisfaction, peace, prosperity and love. And yet, we have not been taught how to do so. When you place your gifts and talents in motion, you put yourself in the universal current of prosperity, so love and peace pass through you to reach the other. Every human being has their own unique gifts and talents to share with the world, but it is important to comprehend that these talents should be put at service of the greater good. This higher purpose is to create the conditions for human beings to experience unity. Peace, prosperity and joy are fragrances of this experience, which is synonymous with selfless love.”

Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma

No Goal | November 21, 2014

Just as a clay Buddha cannot go through water and a wood Buddha cannot go through fire, a goal-oriented healing practice cannot permeate deeply enough. We must penetrate our pain so thoroughly that illness and health lose their distinction, allowing us just to live our lives.

- Darlene Cohen, "The Practice of Nonpreference"

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Via JMG: Montana Joins The Sapphire States

Big Sky Country has already turned our favorite shade of blue, thanks to our sort of in-house Wikipedia marriage map monitor. Now we wait for the usual GOP flailing. Is this state #34 or can we not yet fully count Kansas?

Reposted from Joe Jervis

JMG Tweet Of The Day - Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen has 34 million Twitter followers.
Reposted from Joe Jervis

Taylor Swift - Out of the Woods (Official Music Video) by Bryan Hawn

Flower of the Day: 11/20/14

“If you have already given five minutes of your day to silence, then maybe it is time to give ten minutes. At the end of each silent period before you open your eyes, affirm to yourself, I am divine light. Observe what you feel when you make this affirmation – do you truly recognize yourself as an embodiment of divine light, or is there still some resistance to affirming this truth? Then, open your eyes, stand up and continue with your journey.”

Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma

The Role of Faith | November 20, 2014

As a factor of the Buddhist path, faith (saddha) does not mean blind belief but a willingness to accept on trust certain propositions that we cannot, at our present stage of development, personally verify for ourselves.

- Bhikkhu Bodhi, "The Role of Faith"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tim Hawkins - Atheist Kids' Songs

Bearforce 1 - Action Man. Eurovision Switzerland 2015

Via JMG: Former "Ex-Gay" Leader Marries Man

John Smid, former leader of the "ex-gay" group Love In Action, married a man in Oklahoma on Sunday. Via the Memphis Flyer:
Smid has been living as an out gay man for several years now, and he's been in a relationship with [Larry] McQueen for one year. Gay marriage just became legal in Oklahoma last month. The couple live in Paris, Texas, where Smid moved from his Memphis home in the summer of 2013. Smid's journey from ex-gay leader to happily out gay man has been a long one. He was promoted to the role of executive director of Love in Action in September 1990, and in 1994, the organization moved its ministry to Memphis. Love in Action operated here quietly until 2005, when protests over a youth "straight" camp called Refuge sparked a national media firestorm. Smid met McQueen three years ago, but they were just "acquaintances with common friends," wrote Smid in his Facebook announcement of their marriage Sunday. "I gradually got to know him over time until we reached a place in our lives that we saw we wanted to get to know one another through a dating relationship. As we dated we shared our vision for life, our personal philosophies, and our faith values. We found a compatibility that was comfortable and exciting," Smid said.
In August of this year Smid and eight other former "ex-gay" leaders issued a joint letter denouncing "reparative" torture. Love In Action now operates as Restoration Path. (Tipped by JMG reader Lynda)

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via JMG: South Carolina Earns Stripes Of Progress

Yesterday the Fourth Circuit Court refused South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson's demand to continue the stay on same-sex marriages during his appeal. Almost simultaneously, a separate federal court ruled that South Carolina must recognize out-of-state marriages, prompting Wikipedia's marriage map monitor to apply the above blue stripes of progress. Late last night Wilson took his stay extension demand to SCOTUS. Barring action from that court, marriages will commence at noon tomorrow.
Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via JMG: Procter & Gamble Endorses Gay Marriage

Consumer goods behemoth Procter & Gamble has endorsed marriage equality.
P&G executives say they want to attract top talent from all backgrounds and part of that strategy is providing a welcoming work environment. "We have always supported our employees and fostered a culture of inclusion and respect – this includes the right to marry whomever they choose and to have that union legally recognized," said Deborah P. Majoras, P&G's chief legal officer and executive sponsor to GABLE – the company's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender-allied employee group.

One of the world's largest and most valuable companies, P&G's public stance won't go unnoticed in corporate America. Still, the company says it continues to focus on making consumer products from Pampers diapers, Tide detergent and Head & Shoulders shampoo. "At the heart of it all, P&G is a company heavily dependent on innovation – what's critical are new insights and new ideas," said William Gipson, P&G's chief global diversity officer. "For our company, it's not a political statement, but a statement of support for our employees."
That boycott list just got a few hundred brands longer.

Reposted from Joe Jervis