While I am straight, through various personal activites, I am connected with the H/L community here in St. Louis.

In my experience, it seems as if we as a people, (more so than our caucasian counterparts) are still very unaccepting of these lifestyles and I would like to get some feedback from all viewpoints to see if we can figure out why.

At the same time, I would like to welcome all of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and let them know that this is a safe space where they will not be judged on the basis of their sexuality, but celebrated and embraced into this community for their insights into the topics we discuss here.

Any thoughts?
Original Post
I totally agree with you on this. But I do think that alot of African American males are very understanding about females being bisexual or lesbian, it's with other men being gay that they have a problem.And I don't understand why that is either.

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To know me is to love me!

Don't hate me b/c of the things I say, hate me b/c I have the nerve to say them.
That's true. Maybe it's because gay women are in no way a threat to their masculinity; and , in fact, enhance it, erotically. Gay men, on the other hand, are immediately threatening, especially to those men that are so deep in the closet that they themselves do not even know that they are gay. But, many men and women are physically repulsed by seeing two men together relating intimately and softly because we are trained to think of men as being hard and strong. Women are soft {usually!!} and affectionate{ 'just like Mom'} , so seing them together in an intimate setting is almost expected/understandable. Now, I have seen more resistance and hostility to the very masculine lesbians/ dikes; probably for the same reason as above. Having said all of that, i have found that with us {black folk} that differences in acceptance are very regional {SF, NY versus WV!} and may also relate to the religious influence in our lives compared to in the average white person's life. Where, in this case, religious folks tend to be less tolerant.
i hope we can develop a decent conversation about this here. i suspect that with some black men, homophobia may come from the feeling that america has taken pretty much everything but his manhood. as carla says, when faced with someone gay, our men hold on dearly to those strands of "masculinity".



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**I have edited shy1's post at her request and to her specification. MBM**

[This message was edited by MBM on July 06, 2002 at 08:08 AM.]
Exactly!Straight black men look at gay black men in the same way that they look at black women with white men; "How could you do that to me?" Just as you said, America has taken everything but their "macho" image or "Mandingo Warrior" stereotype, and they in turn hold on to that and are proud of it, despite it's true,racist meaning { that they are all braun and no brain }. But, that's just my view: any of you guys want to jump in here? smile
As far as I'm concerned it has nothing to do with who I am or my masculinity. I have been stationed with some gays of both sexes. Whether I care for their sexual orientation or not they were professionals. I have even partied in the same clubs with some. I just don't care as long as it's understood keep it respectable and in good taste. I feel the same about inter-racial relationship; if that's your thing great.
As far as homophobia maybe I am but I do try to at least be civil about the issues.
this discussion reminded me of E. Lynn Harris's books, you know-Invisible Life, Just As I Am, Abide by Me etc...anybody that has ever read them knows what I am talking about when I say the name Basil. U know he liked to have sex with men, but in public he was hostile against and even fought openly gay men. So maybe alot of the homophobic men we see are really fighting with their own feelings of bisexuality!

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To know me is to love me!

Don't hate me b/c of the things I say, hate me b/c I have the nerve to say them.
quote:
Originally posted by Faith:

Straight black men look at gay black men in the same way that they look at black women with white men; "How could you do that to me?"


I see things a bit differently. When I see a sister with a white man I'm pretty much "unphased". Unless, that is, the sister is extremely attractive, in which case I am more irritated/confused by the whole thing. (This is probably the same feeling I have when I see any less attractive man with an extrememly attractive woman though!) I don't have particularly focused feelings one-way-or-the-other toward the sister. I have a number of attractive black women friends who don't have husbands/partners. I realize that they've got to "get their's" in whatever way they can.

If the sister looks like shy1, I probably even feel like giving the white boy a pound and congratulating him! big grin

When I see a gay black man at first it evokes no feelings either way. If he is particularly effeminate maybe I'll (discretely) roll my eyes or something, but I am not offended in any real way. I've received advances from gay males in the past. I've always clearly and respectfully articulated that I had no interest and everything was fine. In all honesty though, when I may have felt embarassed in front of others by a gay man's advance I may have uttered "faggot" or something crude like that. I've never done that to anyone's face though.
There are a few things I don't like about the gay community. I don't mind openly gay men, except that many exaggerate their mannerisms in such a way that makes it clear that they're defining their entire existence by what gender they're attracted to. I can't help but find that unfortunate and self-limiting. I also don't like what appears to be the currently growing apathy among gays toward the spread of HIV. Politically, I don't understand why many activists paint all reservations about gay issues as "homophobia;" the fear of homosexuality. Not all qualms abaout them are grounded in fear, and not all qualms about them are irrational or illogical.

Cute story: the other week, I bought an issue of Time Out New York, which I often pick up to see if there are any concerts in the area in the comng week that I'd be interested in. It's a cool mag. But this particular week's issue was the Gay Pride Weekend issue and had a big blurb to that effect on the cover. It occurred to me that the cashier might wonder if I was gay, and I was watching for an indication of that while he rang me up. There was no sign, so that was that. Except... apparently, the guy behind me on line noticed the magazine. I left th store, went to the parking lot, and got in my car. By now, the guy behind me left the store, saw me, and smiled at me as he went to his SUV. I drove off, and stopped at the nearby long red light, where he caught up to me.

Light turned green, I went, he followed. I got to my nearby destination, and parked. He passed me. Pulled into a driveway, backed out, and came back. I walked to the building I was headed in, he slowly crept on by in his SUV... and then made a left turn heading back in the direction we had just come from. That made it official: he had definitely been following me.

I'd guess he was hoping for a meeting. Poor guy.

But I didn't feel bothered by it. I don't question my manhood. I thought it was funny story. I just wonder why more women aren't as bold as this guy was. (And he WAS bold; the vast bulk of the magazine was NOT about gay pride weekend, so he was taking a pretty desperate chance on meeting somebody. Weird, huh?)
I personally think that people are born gay. True you may not come to grips with your gay sexuality until late in life, but that does not mean it wasn't always there. To say that a person "chooses" to be gay I just can't agree with. I mean why would some one knowingly choose to live a lifestyle that consists of them possibly being discriminated against, beat up, ridiculed, and even killed by the close minded people who seem to dominate this world!

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To know me is to love me!

Don't hate me b/c of the things I say, hate me b/c I have the nerve to say them.
Maybe it's that you're born with a genetic predisposition/susceptibility towards your sexuality and then, based on your various environmental stimulations, you go one way or the other or inbetween. Maybe it's like that man who smoked 2 packs a day until he was 99 without any sign of lung cancer just did not have a genetic predisposition to develop it; but some other poor slob, who smoked half as much, developed it in half the number of years, because he had tempted his own fate. This could explain why twins, separated at birth, may yield one gay and one straight, which happens. We also know that if your sibbling is gay, that you have about a 25% chance at being gay. On a related line of thought; you also have the twin scenario where they both have homosexual feelings, but one has accepted it and acted on it and one never did accept nor did he act on it. To me, the latter is gay in thought but not in deed. In what way is he distinguished from those who think but don't act on a number of fantasies? Anyway, nature versus nurture? I'll have it both ways. wink
What do ya'll think about Gays adopting children?I was blown away by the discussion we had in one of my classes on this topic. I'm all for it-why let a child sit and suffer in a foster home or a group home, when they can have two loving parents to raise them right. Sure they may be made fun of at school, but you run the same risk of being made fun of if you have two heterosexual parents-kids these days are more understanding than some adults!

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To know me is to love me!

Don't hate me b/c of the things I say, hate me b/c I have the nerve to say them.
The other day, I learned that the head of the PTA at my daughter's new school is gay and that HE and his partner's daughter is an adopted Asian girl. They regularly have the PTA meetings at their house. Now, I was surprised, but then realized that what they were doing was 'fabulous'! They adopted a girl from a country where she was destined{well, aparently not destined smile} to be in an orphanage for life. They knew that she would be ridiculed for having them as parents, so they re-framed the issue and re-set the standards by being in positions of power at the school and in the community. I used to have MAJOR issues with gays adopting. I felt that, with regard to older kids especially, that these kids already have abandonment issues and feel hated and marginalized, and to then have them picked by a marginalized, hated group , i thought would have a damaging effect. I have since changed my mind, for a variety of reasons.
I am surprised some of the parents aren't protesting that, seeing how ignorant people can be. But maybe that is a sign that the world is changing for the better, slowly but surely!

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To know me is to love me!

Don't hate me b/c of the things I say, hate me b/c I have the nerve to say them.
Is sexual activity a more accepted factor in the homosexual community than in the heterosexual one? It seems with gay men, at least, that sexual activity is much more open and "out there". As a single heterosexual man, sometimes I wish our culture was a bit freer about sex between consenting adults like in the gay world.
so then the question becomes, why i'snt our culture more accepting of sexual freedoms? one of my friends who is lesbian recently told me that it's easier than ever for her to sleep with straight women. she says that all of a sudden it seems to be en vogue for straight women to have same sex sexual experiences.

additionally, does anyone find that most people are more accepting of woman/woman sex than man/man sex? i mean if we took a pop poll of random men on the street, do we think we could easily find that the number one guy fantasy is a woman/woman encounter?

agree? disagree?
quote:
Originally posted by yaunah:

one of my friends who is lesbian recently told me that it's easier than ever for her to sleep with straight women.


So does she? Why?


quote:
Originally posted by yaunah:

i mean if we took a pop poll of random men on the street, do we think we could easily find that the number one guy fantasy is a woman/woman encounter?


Being with two women is truly one of the finer pleasures in life.
lawd knows, libdem is a brotha after my own heart.

i've had sex with a chick, multiple partners--all that jazz, while it's fun and all for exploration etc. etc. etc. at the end of the day...i remain strictly dickly (sorry if im not allowed to say that word). i know that i'm not gay....however, i find women attractive, maybe/maybe not sexually and i'm not afraid of that...i just think men, ESPECIALLY BROTHAS, would never own up to any of those type of thoughts and i think that speaks volumes about our views about these lifestyles culturally.
What do you folks think about gay marriage? Should states authorize it? If not - are you OK with 'civil unions'? If you're against them, why shouldn't any two adults have the right to decide to marry? Is it appropriate that the government inject itself this far into the private lives of its citizens?

What do you think?



Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy.
I am all for Gay Marriage/Civil Unions. If the state recognizes any relationship it should recognize and protect all relationships.

The Civil Union/Gay Marriage is not so much about the ceremony or the community's recognition, it's more of a property and estates issue. As the laws currently exist, gay couples have no real right of transfer of property upon death without technically correct wills and powers of attorneys. And even with these, the wills can are are challenged by family members, in a way unheard of with married couples.

I knew a gay couple in Ohio that had been together for more than 25 years. They probably had one of the most loving and respectful relationships that I had ever known. Together, they accumulated significant wealth (I'm talking about more than one high 5 figure checking accounts and 7 figure investment accounts).

Well, when one of them became terminally ill, the familial vultures began circling, even though both sides of the family had disowned the couple. It took my friends more than 20K to arrange their assets in a manner that their wealth would remain with the surviving partner.

Even then, upon his death, his family challenged the will. And, when it appeared that their claim was going to be denied, the family went out and found the deceased partner's long forgotten, common-law wife.

The sad thing was that even though the family could not recover, because of the will, but because Ohio does not recognize gay civil unions, the ex-wife was legally entitled to opt against the will. After having no contact with her deceased ex-husband for more than thirty years, she got 1/6 of the cash assets, one of the cars, and one of their homes.

It's my understanding that the ex split the proceeds (well over a million dollars) with the rest of the family.

State recognition of Civil Unions/Gay Marriages would prevent such travesties.
HI Yummy, you are right there doesn't seem to be much tolerance of 'homosexuality' among we heterosexual African/Americans. A lot of that comes from the spiritual belief in the Bible that says 'homosexuality' is wrong. However, all of us know someone who is 'gay.'

It is difficult for many heterosexual African/Americans to separate their religous teaching that is why homosexuals are not as tolerated in the black community. Now, I've never associated with a 'gay' woman, however, one of my dearest friends is a gay male. He comes from a decent, conservative, hard-working African/American family, and in fact, we grew up in the same neighborhood. He has always been one of the 'girls' so to speak, amidst our group of friends.

I could never hate him, because of his lifestyle, nor anyone else. I could never stop loving him as one of my dearest friends. Here's my take on it, I see all people as 'human beings.' I actually wish homosexuals would stop identifying themselves by their 'sexual orientation.' I understand why they came 'out of the closet' proclaiming themselves 'gay and proud' yet, I think that diminshes their 'humanity.'

After all, I don't refer to my friend as 'gay' this when introducing him, rather, I call him by his name, and love his person. African/American parents of gay children would better know how to address this issue. I just believe in loving and supporting any righteous black.

To this day, I still listen to James Cleveland gospel. I as well, love James Baldwin's beautiful writings.
I definitely support gay marriage, adoption, acccess to all professions (clergy, teachers, doctors, lawyers...) Ones sexual orientation should not have any influence ones civil and human rights.

God has told you, O man and woman, what is good; and what does the SOVEREIGN ONE require of you but to do justice, and to be compassionate, and to walk humbly with your God?
what i don't understand about the gay (homosexual)"lifestyle" is why its a "lifestyle"??

LoveHappiness touched on this :"I actually wish homosexuals would stop identifying themselves by their 'sexual orientation.'"

to me to be homosexual means to have a sexual preference for someone of your same sex. what does your sexual preference have to do with your LIFESTYLE?

i understand that being allowed to freely show your choice on the street, in a club, at a restaurant should be your right--but it just seems like a sexual choice has become a right to adopt, a right to have a "life partner" on your medical insurance, a right to have equal and fair treatment on the job, and a question of your right to be married...

i don't get it.
quote:
Originally posted by Nykkii:
what i don't understand about the gay (homosexual)"lifestyle" is why its a "lifestyle"??

LoveHappiness touched on this :"I actually wish homosexuals would stop identifying themselves by their 'sexual orientation.'"

to me to be homosexual means to have a sexual preference for someone of your same sex. what does your sexual preference have to do with your LIFESTYLE?

i understand that being allowed to freely show your choice on the street, in a club, at a restaurant should be your right--but it just seems like a sexual choice has become a right to adopt, a right to have a "life partner" on your medical insurance, a right to have equal and fair treatment on the job, and a question of your right to be married...

i don't get it.

Nykkii,
I think the issue is that society has placed impediments before LGBT people as to exclude them from being open and honest about who they are. Our society has prevented LGBT people from adopting children, from having their relationships affirmed legally, culturally, spiritually, etc.

While all forms of oppression have distinct historical contexts and consequences that make equating them fraught with difficulty, I do believe that there similarities between the struggle for LGBT rights and the struggles for full inclusion of people of color as well as women in this society. They all deal with questions of identity.

I guess what I don't understand is if anti-miscegenation laws are wrong, if a segregation was wrong, etc. why we have a problem supporting legistlation that supports full inclusion of LGBT people in society.

God has told you, O man and woman, what is good; and what does the SOVEREIGN ONE require of you but to do justice, and to be compassionate, and to walk humbly with your God?
my preference for anal sex, my peference for bondage/dominatrix, my preference for standard missionary sex with the lights off---are PREFERENCES.

(my preferences may or may not have been listed above...Wink)

my point is they are my personal, private preferences. they do not dictate if i get health insurance, if i can or cannot adopt a child, if i can or cannot be seated in a restaurant.

it's only when i make my "preference" PUBLIC that it becomes a concern or an issue to society. can we allow this woman who like to dress up in spike heels, black latex and carry around a whip to adopt this child?? if the agency doesn't know that about me, they base the adoption criteria on things they do know--things i share with them or they are able to uncover themselves.

again, what i don't understand is why/how a private personal sexual preference becomes a lifestyle???

if you don't know your options, you don't have any!
quote:
Originally posted by Nykkii:
LGBT?

LGBT = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transexual

God has told you, O man and woman, what is good; and what does the SOVEREIGN ONE require of you but to do justice, and to be compassionate, and to walk humbly with your God?
Nykkii,

Perhaps I am misunderstanding your statement. Perhaps you are saying that it the law should be inclusive and not discriminate against anyone. With that I agree. If this is the case, can I assume that you support LGBT marriage, family benefits, and adoption. That you have no problem with Female to Male (F->M) or Male to Female (M->F) school teachers, counselors, doctors, clergy, etc. If you do, what criteria do you use to make discriminate against such individuals

Is it public when same sex couples can not walk down the street hand in hand like "straight" couples. Is it public when a husband or wife can get family health coverage from their employer, but committed same-sex couples/families can not. Is it public when one of the parent in a heterosexual marriage dies, the other spouse retains custody, but there is often no such guarantee for same-sex couples. The list goes on and on.

As I alluded to in my earlier post, how are such restrictions any different that anti-miscegenation laws which we as a society finally came to see as wrong.

God has told you, O man and woman, what is good; and what does the SOVEREIGN ONE require of you but to do justice, and to be compassionate, and to walk humbly with your God?
States should not permit gay marriage. Marriage is a social institution universal among virtually every human society that has ever existed. And whatever variations there may be, the male-to-female aspect has always been a central, basic element of it.
Human social institutions exist because they buttress the order and stability that a society needs in order to remain in existence. There are times when a particular social institution is called into question. When we dismantle or change one, there is usually some kind of upheaval, and at the core, it's because that institution in some way helped the society maintain itself.
As universal as marriage is, it must be extremely necessary to a human society's stability, even if it so frequently ends in divorce. And its central features are so basic and universal to it, to disregard it is problematic. We may be enlightened enough to have ended slavery, Jim Crow, and the requirement that married women not work, but man-woman marriage is so universal, and so basic a feature of all societies, that I don't believe we're yet enlightened enough to know that we can tamper with it. We simply don't know what changes to society gay marriage will wreak. Therefore, we can't afford to practice it.

And civil unions are too close to marriage. So I'm against them for the same reasons. What we should do to address the problems that gay life partners face is pass individual laws to protect their survivorship rights. For example, in order to make a claim that you're entitled to a gay family member's estate over the life partner's rights, you should have to prove that, as a matter of law, the life partner was not a life partner. A statute describing what constitutes a gay life partner would exist, and the family members would have the burden of proving that this person doesn't meet that definition. Measures like this, coupled with self-help measures that gay groups would promote to the gay community, would go a long way toward protecting their rights, while at the same time not jeopardizing the stability of the society that we all live in.
Vox,
A very thoughtful response. The question for me, however, is when does the possible threat to the stability of social institutions override the rights of the individual. Again, one might refer to miscegenation legislation. In most societies, endogamous marriage is the norm. One can look at the historical arguments supporting its prohibition in a similar vein as those you espouse with respect to same sex unions.

With respect to same-sex unions, some would make a case for historical instances of such unions with social acknowledgment. The late Yale historian, John Boswell, in his book Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe, traces the public/social recognition of such unions from the ancient Greeks, where male-male relationships were considered more noble than male-female; to Rome; to early Christian Europe where the Church created liturgies to bless loving unions both straight and same-sex.

Today, there are a number of religious communities that are again performing same-sex unions. Clergy in traditions ranging form Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Christ, Quakers, American Baptists, and Episcopalians are regularly performing these ceremonies. Internationally, the Netherlands have had civil unions for a couple of years. In the US, we also have Vermont's landmark law and I do not know what the status of things are in Hawaii at this date.

It looks like the test on the "stability of our society is already underway."

God has told you, O man and woman, what is good; and what does the SOVEREIGN ONE require of you but to do justice, and to be compassionate, and to walk humbly with your God?
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:

And its central features are so basic and universal to it, to disregard it is problematic.


How does gay marriage threaten heterosexual marriage, much less move to "disregard" it? Smile

I'm not clear about the threat that gay marriage poses to society or to "traditional" marriage. In fact, since at any one time, this would impact only about 10% of the population - it appears that there is a uniquely effective "cap" to whatever impact the institution could ever have. Genetics (on both the heterosexual and homosexual sides of the issue) would shield "traditional" marriage forever.

The decision of two adults (of different sexes or not) to form a relationship seems to me to be a uniquely private decision that government has no business being involved in. The concept of "marriage" existed for thousands of years before government. I see no compelling societal service that government can provide by preventing two people from sharing the same rights as others. Isn't it just simple justice and fairness to require the law be extended to cover all adults?



Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy.
Vox, Vox, Vox ...,

While I agree that "marriage" is a societal construct that promotes order and stability; how can any person of color, suggest that it is a good or proper thing to deny for a minority group something that is available to the majority, by accident of birth?

It could be argued that state recognition of civil unions would actually promote stability and order because civil unions would be available to all members of society, regardless of sexual orientation. Such recognition would simply remove the state enforced "religious bias" that favors "marriage."

You suggest that we legislate, piecemeal, protections (e.g., rights of survivorship, insurance coverage, etc.) when simple state recognition of civil unions would comprehensively accomplish the same end.

Praise of our enlightenment concerning the ending of slavery, Jim Crow and anti-woman employment mores is hollow, in light of the fact that the same "societal order and stability" argument was used to promote those same institutions.

[This message was edited by Kweli4Real on March 10, 2003 at 02:27 PM.]

[This message was edited by Kweli4Real on March 10, 2003 at 02:28 PM.]
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
Vox,
A very thoughtful response. The question for me, however, is when does the possible threat to the stability of social institutions override the rights of the individual. Again, one might refer to miscegenation legislation. In most societies, endogamous marriage is the norm. One can look at the historical arguments supporting its prohibition in a similar vein as those you espouse with respect to same sex unions.

With respect to same-sex unions, some would make a case for historical instances of such unions with social acknowledgment. The late Yale historian, John Boswell, in his book _Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe_, traces the public/social recognition of such unions from the ancient Greeks, where male-male relationships were considered more noble than male-female; to Rome; to early Christian Europe where the Church created liturgies to bless loving unions both straight and same-sex.


I'll try to answer your questions in one general discussion. Between this post and the next one, responding to MBM, hopefully Kweli4Real's comments get addressed as well.

First, institutions in this more "enlightened" society of ours are always susceptible to change and/or elimination, because many of the ones it was founded on in the first place were unjust and evil. As (white) America increasingly realized that these institutions were in conflict with their aspirational values (especially those touted in the Constitution), one by one the unjust institutions began to change or get dismantled. The less universal across cultures, and the less inherently harmful, and the more founded on greed or prejudice, a societal institution is, the more likely a society can continue to thrive in the long run without it. Marriage is universal across cultures, it's not inherently harmful to anyone, and it is not founded on greed or prejudice. (Note the bolded words before issuing the most likely rebuttal). And the same three facts apply to the man-woman feature of marriage. So conversely, the more the reverse of those three things is true about an institution, the more likely -- for all we know -- that a society will have serious problems by the change of the institution or the elimination of its basic features.

The only exception to this, IMO, is if the society understands the function that this institution (or its basic features) has to the society and finds a way to control for its loss or change.

But the above construct (which I admit is my own, without the benefit of scholarly validation) should answer your question about miscegenation laws, keeping women from working, chattel slavery, and a whole lot of other things. (Except to add that in many pre-industrial societies, endogamy was actually forbidden, so there's no argument for universality in endogamy).

As for your same-sex historical info, you mentioned Boswell's argument about the early Church's same sex union rituals. This argument is completely discredited by most everyone except those who want to belive it's true. He bases his assertion not on historical descriptions, but on his own personal "translations" of church manuscripts from back then. Plus, his translation methods have been chided. I haven't read extensively on it, but the criticism I've come across depicts him as the type of person who mistranslates in order to reach the result he wants. Therefore, he's probably mistaken, or lying.

The other examples you cite prove my point: ancient Greece had marriage, only between men and women. If this ancient society, which saw great esteem and nobility in homosexual relationships, instituted marriage between men and women but not men and men, then they must have seen reason not to. Although America has always had good reason to question the limitations of its institutions, we should take their example as a cautionary guide about what they probably figured out.


Modern movements toward gay marriage are based on concepts of equality, civil rights, and tolerance, which are progressive, but are not the basis upon which to judge the continued character of bedrock social institutions that have existed for exactly 100% of known human history, in 100% of known human societies.

This is the first time I've really had a chance to post my thoughts on this. I don't mean to offend anybody. And the issues facing gay life partners are serious and really need to be addressed. I just don't think same-sex marriage is a good way to address them.

[This message was edited by Vox on March 10, 2003 at 06:04 PM.]

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