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Of Julie Andrews’ Home, her Mentors & her Friends

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:10 pm - May 8, 2008.
Filed under: Divas,Movies/Film & TV

Well into my early adulthood, I used to imagine I would one day meet Julie Andrews; it would be like a reunion with my childhood nanny, called away to pursue a theatrical career after spending only a short time with our family. But, that short time left a profound and tender impression on me. She had helped me discover my hidden talents, gain greater confidence in myself and become better able to relate to those around me.

I don’t know when I first became aware that others had similar feelings for this great singer and actress. She has touched so many of us such that we feel she was actually part of our lives.

Maybe it’s that I saw Mary Poppins when I was very young, remembering later in life only a few specific scenes while retaining an image of the eponymous eccentric, but empathetic governess she portrayed. And The Sound of Music has been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it at a special screening at the Carousel Theater on Reading Road in Cincinnati.

Yes, I can still remember the theater where I first saw that movie. I can even tell you that I was sitting in the back of the center section on the right side, near an aisle.

So much do I love Julie Andrews that when I bought her book, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years, last week, I moved it to the top of a large pile of books to read. I started it right away. Not only did it keep me up all night, but it was something I looked forward to reading every night of the week for as long as I needed to finish it.

I couldn’t put it down, felt as connected to it — and as part of her shows — as I once felt she was a part of my life. And this despite the fact that it’s not very well written.

That is perhaps the book’s only flaw. Julie Andrews tends to write in simple declarative sentences, using the verb “to be” a little too much. But, she succeeds in telling her story such that I will be first in line to buy her sequel (she leaves off as she’s about to start filming Mary Poppins). And I recommend this book, very highly, especially to those who have been touched by this great lady and/or are eager to learn more about Broadway toward the end of its Golden Age.

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A Bet on McCain’s Share of the Gay Vote

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:18 pm - May 8, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Gay Politics

Right after posting my piece, John McCain & the Gay Vote, I e-mailed Washington Blade Editor Kevin Naff encouraging him to link it on the Blade’s Blogwatch. Readily assenting, he alerted me to a post he had just posted on the presidential election.

After reading it, I wrote back, taking issue issue with some of his points and standing “by my prediction that McCain will do better than 30% of the gay vote provided Obama is the Democratic nominee–and am even willing to bet a dinner (with wine) on it.” He took the bet.

As usual with anything Kevin has written, this post is well-worth reading even as I disagree with many of his major points. I disagree with him that the gay political movement is a “civil rights struggle.” If it is, then it’s over. By the traditional understanding of civil rights, we have them in the sense that we can participate fully in civil society. We can vote in elections, express our views publicly, associate with individuals of our own choosing and other wise carry about our lives freely as do our straight peers.

The problem is that most states (and the federal government) do not recognize our partnerships and the military still discriminates against openly gay individuals. We need legislation recognizing those unions and overturning that ban. But, note, these are privileges the state grants not rights it denies.

As to the issue of the McCain vote, I don’t think the issues Kevin raises, particularly the Supreme Court, will matter much to gay Americans considering a vote for the Arizona Senator. While many of them, including yours truly, wish the presumptive GOP nominee would push to repeal DADT, we understand that our candidates don’t have to be perfect.

The gay Democrats and Independents (as well as a near unanimity of gay Republicans) likely to vote for McCain will do so because of his overall record. They see that while his record on gay issues is far from perfect, he did lead the opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 while the then-presumptive GOP presidential nominee, George W. Bush, gaining a reputation for attacking gays and losing support in our community.

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London’s New Mayor: Hero to Gay Conservatives?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:30 pm - May 8, 2008.
Filed under: Gays in Other Lands,Politics abroad

Welcome Andrew Sullivan Readers!

One of the reasons I am such a fan of Rudy Giuliani is that he was a true conservative on the issues which mattered most to me, cutting spending and protecting citizens as Mayor and advocating a tough stand against terrorism as a presidential candidate. While conservative on this issues, he was liberal on social issues, having many gay friends and signing, in 1994, the Big Apple’s then-landmark domestic partnership program into law.

It seems that the new Tory Mayor of London has a lot in common with the former Republican Mayor of New York. Via the Washington Blade‘s blogwatch, we learn that Boris Johnson has appointed Richard Barnes, an openly gay man “as one of his deputy mayors.” And Barnes isn’t the only gay person this Tory has tapped:

Another gay Tory Assembly Member, Brian Coleman, has been appointed Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.

Sir Simon Milton, leader of Westminster Council, becomes a Senior Adviser on Planning. Knighted in the 2006 New Year’s Honours List, he publicly declared his sexuality and married his long-term partner Councillor Robert Davis at The Ritz hotel last year.

The New Mayor even plans to attend London’s Pride celebration later this year.

It looks like gay conservatives may have a new hero across the pond, a principled conservative who reaches out to and recognizes the accomplishments of men and women like us. Seems that we have more to celebrate than “Red Ken” being voted out.

Kudos, Boris!

Could Rezko Save Hillary?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:57 pm - May 8, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Democratic Scandals

Shortly after posting my piece where I put forward my belief that the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is over, I perused the blogs to read what others were saying about the state of the campaign.

Hugh wrote he didn’t expect Hillary “to bail, at least not until the final primaries are held and the Tony Rezko trial verdict in. (Final arguments open Monday.)” He observed:

. . . if Rezko is convicted and is facing a long stretch in jail, won’t he have to think long and hard about naming names in order to limit his years in federal prison? Clearly Rezko and Obama are close. That’s a huge potential nightmare for the Dems, and Team Hillary won’t be shy about underscoring the dangers of an unfolding scandal consuming Chicago politics.

While it may be a little far-fetched, it’s still within the realm of possibility that Rezko has some damaging information on the likely Democratic ominee. Perhaps, Hillary is clinging to this as her last best hope to return to the White House.

Just as some lefty bloggers assumed Scooter Libby would implicate the Vice President, some in the Hillary camp may well be hoping that Rezko implicates Obama.

What a delicious irony that would be, if some scandal brings Obama’s presidential bid to a halt and puts Hillary on the path to the White House when numerous scandals failed to prevent her husband from getting there and failed to evict him from that prestigious property before his lease was up.

The Real Meaning of Gay Marriage

When I drove cross country last fall, I often turned off my CD player so as to better let my thoughts wander. A number of ideas came to me, some of which I have addressed on this blog. One of the first notions which which popped into my head, somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico on the first day of the journey, was to wonder if my ambivalence on gay marriage was related to how many gay advocates approached the issue.

As I read David Blankenhorn’s book this past week, his description of some of these advocates reminded me of my own encounters. They saw marriage as just a relationship between two people, nothing more than a “right.” They scorned monogamy and delighted in the institution’s decline.

Few saw the conversation on gay marriage as part of a means to strengthen the institution. Indeed, some expressly sought to weaken it.

I found it difficult to take seriously advocates whose understanding of marriage as a right defined by the Supreme Court’s landmark 1967 decision Loving v. Virginia, banning “miscegenation” laws, as if the concept originated in jurisprudence and its social and ritual aspects irrelevant.

That all changed when I started reading Jonathan Rauch’s Gay Marriage: Why It is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, particularly the chapter, “What Marriage is For” (which I have praised numerous times on this blog). He got at the meaning of this institution.

As fate would have it, at the same time I was reading the book, Jonathan was in LA. I went to hear him speak at A Different Light bookstore where he offered two anecdotes which showed that like Blankenhorn, he understood the debate on gay marriage involved the issue of marriage itself.

First, he mentioned a straight couple who came up to him after his talk and thanked him for reminding them what marriage was all about it; his words thus served to strengthen their marital bond. Then, he mentioned how when he presents the very same issues to gay activists, many who had a similar positive reaction, while his words caused others to question their own support for gay marriage. If marriage involves retreating from sexual liberation, they didn’t want it.

Given what that institution entails and some of the mores of our community, a real conversation on marriage is likely to trouble many gay people who favor a more libertine approach to sexuality.

If we really want gay marriage, we need to address that attitude.

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