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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for December, 2008

Heterosexual Menace: Christian Missionary Impregnates Daughter

Jim Burroway

December 22nd, 2008

Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren recently compared same-sex marriage to incest. That was taken as an insult by gay activists. Maybe we misunderstood him. Maybe it was meant to be a compliment:

A Christian missionary who impregnated his 17-year-old daughter was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison Monday. The 44-year-old man was convicted by a Pima County [Arizona] jury last month of four counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of child abuse. According to court documents, the daughter called the Tucson Police Department last summer and told detectives that her father had been sexually abusing her since the age of 12.

The girl said that her father and mother were Christian missionaries who traveled from state-to-state and much of the abuse had occurred in Colorado and Arizona.

Oh, and get this:

Her mother learned of the abuse by reading her diary, but instead of confronting the father, the girl said her mother threw her diary out of a car window.

…She said her father told her God told him to have sex with her and she should think of him as her husband. Her father also often quoted Scriptures during the acts.

But we’re the ones posing a danger to the “5,000 year old institution.”

You can read more about the Heterosexual Agenda here.

[Hat tip: Homer]

Tucson Protest

Jim Burroway

November 15th, 2008

Tucson got a jump on the Join the Impact protests taking place this morning all across America with a protest last night.  Tucson’s protest against the defeat of Proposition 102 began in front of the county courthouse, where marchers gathered before their walk to La Placita Plaza for a rally.

The timing of the march was quite ironic. There are Justice of the Peace precincts located throughout Pima County, but if you actually wanted to be married in Pima County’s historic courthouse by the Justice of the Peace, the day to do that was Friday. So as nervous couples gathered at the courthouse entrance to await their turn before the Judge, an estimated 1,000 demonstrators were milling about under the courthouse dome to await the start of the rally.

The march got underway at dusk, ending at a rally at La Placita Plaza where Wingspan Executive Director Jason Cianciotto debuted Wingspan’s Families You Know campaign. The goals of the campaign is to “raise awareness, confront prejudice, and begin a conversation where all families are respected, valued, and not exploited for short-term political gain.”

Tucson To Get First Lesbian Housing Development

Jim Burroway

August 14th, 2008

Olivia Community I’ve often remarked to visitors about how open Tucson is for LGBT people. We really don’t have anything resembling a “gayborhood” here, but you see gay people everywhere you go. I once manned a booth at our local gay pride where we asked people to place pushpins on a map of Tucson representing where they lived. By the end of the day, there was nary a street or neighborhood untouched, and there were very few recognizable clusters in between.

One familiar company wants to literally build on that spirit:

Olivia Communities will be a 334-unit resort-style living community in Tuscon, Ariz. Although anyone can purchase a home, the company is targeting lesbians. “My whole vision of this has always been about creating community and creating a place where we can not only be free… but also the kind of community where you’re really connected with the people there and feel comfortable and happy in your environment,” said Judy Dlugacz, president and founder of Olivia Companies.

What makes this community unique, Dlugacz said, will be the social aspect. Women from their 20s to their 80s have put down deposits on condos in the development, though the most women fall in the 55- to 70-year-old age group. Olivia plans to have a full-time events coordinator who will bring in live entertainment, including comedy events and film festivals, and who will coordinate tea dances and other parties. Group excursions will be arranged to nearby locations like Las Vegas and Mexico.

Interest in the new development has been fairly high so far. Olivia has received 40 deposits and hundreds if inquiries since announcing the project in July. Construction begins when 400 deposits have been received.

Cindy Jordan-Nowe, co-chairwoman for City of Tucson Commission on GLBT issues, believes this will be a good fit for Tucson. “Tucson is a very inclusive community, years beyond other places in the country as far as embracing diversity and accepting and protecting LGBT people,” Jordan-Nowe said.

Update: The proposed development will be at the intersection of Williams and Craycroft. It appears to be the site of an already existing apartment complex, which I presume they intend to renovate and turn into condos. In the greater scheme of things, it’s not a particularly scenic part of town, but its central location could be a draw — and it’s just three and a half miles from Tucson’s favorite saphic bar, Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness.

LaBarbera Award: Perennial AZ Candidate Joe Sweeney’s “Genital Drives” and Mexican Whorehouses

Jim Burroway

July 18th, 2008

Joe Sweeney

It’s time to give Oklahoma a bit of a rest. Today’s LaBarbera Award winner comes from my own back yard, right here in Tucson, Arizona. And there is no better recipient than our very own 13-time candidate and zero-time winner for Congress, Republican Joe Sweeney.

Arizona has a non-presidential primary coming up on September 9, and Republican candidates Joe Sweeney and Gene Chewning are running for Congressman Raul Grijalva’s congressional seat. Sweeney and Chewning sat down with reporters from the Tucson Citizen for a videotaped interview. This was Sweeney response when he was asked to give his position on the proposed anti-marriage amendment:

Sweeney: Yeah, I wouldn’t have a problem supporting that. I think you just can’t have two generations that are so confused about their genital drive or sexuality that they don’t know whether they’re coming or going. You can’t just add to that. It’s like pouring gasoline on a fire when you let this kind of nonsense going on and on.

And it goes back all the way to Sodomite statutes they had over in England back in the 1530’s. It was a felony. They’d put you in prison for a year if you conducted that kind of behavior.

Q: Was that good?

Sweeney: Yeah. Sure, they needed to do that. Otherwise you’d have even more chaos. People get addicted to these strange ways of exercising their genital drives. Once it becomes addictive, you’ve got a real problem, social problem.

Actually, when England enacted it’s anti-sodomy statutes in the 1500’s the penalty was death. Just so you know.

But that’s not the only lunacy coming from Sweeney’s mouth. It seems that when he thinks of homosexuals, he thinks of “genital drives” and whorehouses in Mexico. I really don’t know how anyone except Sweeney himself can make any sense of this, so I’ll just leave you with this video excerpt and relevant transcript without comment. Unfortunately , the video ends before the good part about whorehouses, but you can see the full video on the Tucson Citizen’s web site.

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Sweeney: Yeah, you know, this Sodomite behavior is not marriage. It’s just, you can’t go with that, I mean, we’ve got a society that was founded on the principles of Christian doctrine, and that’s what you’ve got to go with. That’s what made this country, an ideology worth repeating.

Q: Actually, the country was founded on deist principles.

Sweeney: Well, it’s a deism that’s supported by some sense of revelations. Some sense that, that well over there was witched. That’s a sense of revelation. Do you see what I’m trying to say? We’ve got dogmatic theology and theistic theology and all that, but we also have the primacy of revelation theology that a lot of times is neglected by what I call “low church,” people that don’t understand the elevation of revelation theology.

Q: So, again I’m going to ask the same question I asked Mr. Chewning. Basically, a secular reason why two consenting adults of the same sexual orientation should not be married or allowed to be married.

Sweeney: Well because it’s addictive and it creates social chaos, social problems.

Q: Just out of curiosity, what would you base that on?

Sweeney: Well I would base that on the fact that people come together with their genital drives, and they either bridle their genital drives — and that’s what a marriage contract is supposed to be about — or they just go around acting like they can go whoring down in Nogales or prostituting anywhere they want, they can do whatever they want with their bodies. They don’t have any higher responsibility other than their own gratification. [Note: The video snippet above ends here; the full video continues with the following] Hedonism, which is maximizing pleasure over pain. And that’s what happens at Nogales every night when they go down there whoring and causing all the social strife. Now they got those kids in the whorehouses in Nogales coming up here to Tucson to be anchor babies. You know I’ve witnessed that stuff.

Q: Okay, so there’s another question following that. You guys both have said marriage should be between a man and a woman. What about a transgender person who used to be a man, now became a woman and wants to marry a man.

Sweeney: Well, I’ve got a friend like that. And… you know… That’s what he wants to do with his social activity and his life, his social functioning, that’s up to him, you know? But to say that we have to validate that, the rest of society has to validate that kind of behavior, you know, let him conduct his behavior the way that he’s going to conduct his behavior. You know, I don’t agree with prostitution in Mexico, but they have laws that say it’s a way of functioning, socially functional society five feet the other side of the border that allows that to happen. We think the repercussions of that totally outweigh the responsibilities.

Q: Just out of curiosity, what do you think that homosexuals have to do with whorehouses in Mexico?

Sweeney: Oh, I don’t know. We’ve got the only Southwest weekly newspaper, we’ve got more homosexuals down here than we’ve got a lot of other kinds of people.

Q: Again, what does that got to do with whorehouses in Mexico?

Sweeney: Well, what happens is you get what I call a hedonistic attractiveness to do anything and everything with your genital drive . ….

Q: Again, are the homosexuals frequenting the whorehouses?

Sweeney: I wouldn’t be surprised. Anything can happen around this town. We’ve got gay bars down on Fourth Avenue …

Sweeney ran for Congress twelve times before as a Democrat, a Republican, a Democrat, a New Alliance Party member and then Republican again, and he’s lost every time. Last year he captured the Republican nomination and the local party did everything they could to distance themselves from this gadfly. He’s just one of those people you can always count on around here to give the local elections a bit of, ah, color.

Chewning, believe it or not, may lose the primary to Sweeney this year on Sweeney’s name recognition alone. Not that Chewning is any kind of a political rocket scientist himself, if this video is any indication. Something about marrying first cousins or German Shepherds. At least Sweeney is creative.

Fortunately, the 7th is a very safe district for Rep. Grijalva.

All of you Oklahomans out there — feel better now?

Welcome to Tucson, Jason Cianciotto

Jim Burroway

April 14th, 2008

From this morning’s Arizona Daily Star:

Jason CianciottoJason Cianciotto has been named the new executive director of Tucson’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community center. Cianciotto is a former member of the youth group and a grant writer.

… He most recently served as research director for The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Policy Institute in New York City. He also was the Task Force’s primary spokesman at press conferences.

Tucson is pretty small as cities go. When including the suburbs — and every scorpion and rattlesnak — our population just barely made it to over a million recently. But Tucson’s Wingspan LGBT community center rivals community centers in cities four times its size. (Phoenix still doesn’t have one. Heh, heh!)

Wingspan celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, but its roots go back to the late 1970’s following the murder of Richard Heakin. The community’s horror over that hate crime transformed Tucson, making it one of the first cities in the country to pass anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation. Anti-violence programs remain a core part of Wingspan’s work, but it has branched out to include youth groups, community outreach, health and wellness programs, senior programs, and transgender support and advocacy.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jason a few times. I’m sure he’ll do a wonderful job with Wingspan.

Richard J. Heakin (1954-1975)

Jim Burroway

October 13th, 2006

Our local afternoon paper, the tiny but intrepid Tucson Citizen ran a great article yesterday about Richard J. Heakin, Jr., a gay man who was visiting Tucson from Nebraska. In June 6, 1975, the 21-year-old was attacked and killed by four teenagers while leaving a local bar near downtown.

Outraged that the 15- to 17-year-old killers received only probation for what was termed a hate crime, Tucson pressed for change and introduced anti-discrimination laws, new organizations and pride events celebrating the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.

Then a Tucson committee decided on a memorial and tried to reach the Heakin family. But a dishonest friend supposedly said they wanted nothing to do with it, the family later learned.

The family remained in the dark about the impact Richard’s death had in Tucson. It led to Tucson becoming one of the first communities in the nation to pass anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation a few months after his death. It also led to the establishment of Wingspan, one of the largest LGBT community centers in the country for a city our size. (Tucsonans like to point out that Phoenix doesn’t even have one.) And every year, on June 6, Richard’s death is remembered with a gathering at the Richard Heakin Memorial in Tucson’s Presidio Park.

And now, thanks to the Internet, Richard’s family has learned about the great impact his death has had in our community. His niece tapped his name into a search engine, and a whole world opened up for her and her family.

Heather Ryan typed into an Internet search engine the name of an uncle four teens beat to death in Tucson and discovered a world unknown to the family…

While Lori Ryan, Heakin’s sister, was at bingo, her daughter spent the night at their Missouri home tracking down e-mail addresses that resulted in a phone number exchange, which led to a talk with Rowan Frost, one among the group that tried to reach the family years ago.

“We probably still would not have known if she hadn’t . . . gone on the Net,” Ryan, 49, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “Making that phone call made all the difference.”

So came the tender and thrilling moment when Ryan received a mass of newspaper clippings about various events commemorating her brother. She booked a flight to Tucson so she could get to know the city that has spent decades keeping his name alive.

Tucson’s main morning newspaper, The Arizona Daily Star followed up with another story in Ernesto Portillo, Jr.’s column:

She wasn’t emotional as she walked up to the shaded memorial bearing her dead brother’s name Thursday, but Lori Ryan seemed tentative nonetheless.

It was understandable.

It was the first time Ryan or anyone from her Nebraska family had been to Downtown’s Presidio Park to see the 4-year-old plaque bearing the name of her older brother, Richard J. Heakin Jr., a victim of hate and intolerance….

“I never realized his death made such a difference,” said Ryan, 49, several hours after her plane landed at the airport. “It’s incredible to know that people who didn’t know him went through all this.”

Most gay communities celebrate Pride during June to commemorate the Stonewall riots. But Tucson waits until October, when the temperature will more reliably remain below 100. This year’s Pride is this weekend and Richard Heakin’s family will be in attendance. The original grand marshal of the parade even stepped aside so Lori Ryan could have the honor.

Kahlil Gilbran once wrote, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Some of our greatest advancements are born through terrible loss. Richard Heakin’s senseless death more than thirty years ago brought about a great transformation in a small city in the desert. This weekend, we will celebrate our pride in ourselves and in our community’s transformation. And we will remember the suffering.

GOP Candidate Opposes Arizona’s Marriage Amendment. Sort of.

Jim Burroway

August 29th, 2006

Opponents to a proposed marriage amendment to Arizona’s constitution have gained some unlikely allies: Republicans.

Republican Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, Democratic Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon have joined Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Harris to oppose Prop 107, which would ban gays from marrying. It would also prevent anyone, gay or straight, from entering into civil unions or from receiving domestic partner benefits.

“As a Reagan Republican, I want government out of our private lives,” Harris said.

It also may prove a case of a group thinking it has a winning issue and over-reaching.

Instead of writing a clean proposition defining marriage as between a man and a woman, Christian conservatives went the extra step and proposed banning men and women from civil unions.

Gay-rights groups shrewdly jumped all over that.

Arizona’s primary isn’t until September 12, and Harris lags behind two other Republicans in a four-way race to unseat the popular Democratic incumbent, Janet Napolitano. One of these front-runners is Len Munsel, the former president of the Center for Arizona Policy which put the amendment on the ballot. The other front-runner is Don Goldwater, nephew of the late Barry Goldwater.

That’s why it’s way to early to call this a positive sign, especially since Harris has been extremely coy about making his views known.

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