Friday, August 23, 2013
Almost Gay Guys; New Hope Mayor No Gay Marriage for ME
Almost Gay Guys
When I read the article to which I'm linking, I had to admit it was the first time I'd really ever seen anything like this spoken about so openly. It deals with men who are mostly straight, but sometimes almost gay, and stuck somewhere in between bi and gay. I know that sounds complicated, but there is validity here. The focus of the article is a young man named Dillon who is interested in women and sometimes men, but is not actually gay, straight, or bisexual.
By his own admission, Dillon says he resides in the “Sexual Netherlands” (his words), a place that exists between heterosexuality and bisexuality. In previous generations, such individuals might have been described as “straight but not narrow,” “bending a little,” and “heteroflexible.”
Dillon is part of a growing trend of young men who are secure in their heterosexuality and yet remain aware of their potential to experience far more—sexual attractions, sexual interactions, crushes, and, occasionally romantic relationships with other guys. Dillon lives these contradictions—seemingly hetero guys who now reject that label, sexual description, and identity.
Although I'm no expert on this topic by any means, I will admit that I've run across guys like Dillon before when I was single. (Actually, I still run into them, especially at weddings for some reason.) I once dated a marine who was very open about his sexuality with me, and he told me up front he was mostly straight. I dated a semi-pro baseball player...I was eighteen he was thirty...and he basically explained his situation as being almost gay, but only sometimes. I know that sounds odd to some people, but they were very nice guys and I found them very simple and easy to be with. In fact, in most cases they were easier to be with than out, openly gay men. Many who have read my novels will notice that I sometimes have characters in my books with men who are like this, and many of those characters were loosely based on my own personal experiences.
The article goes even deeper and it's a very interesting read for those who haven't heard about men like this before. The one part I didn't buy totally was that these guys care more about romance than sex. That was never something I experienced. These guys care about sex. It's not that they aren't romantic at all, but I've never seen that as the main focus. The one thing I can say is that they've always been cool and honest about it, which was actually kind of romantic itself. And these guys can be very adorable under the right conditions.
You can read more here.
New Hope Mayor No Gay Marriage for ME
When I read this article late last night, I can't say I was totally shocked. I know many people are because New Hope, PA, (where I live) is such an openly gay friendly tourist town, and has been for many years. We even have our own Gay Pride Festival in May. We have more gay owned establishments than I can count. At one time, we had more gay nightclubs than I can count. New Hope has always been a small gay mecca, like Provincetown, MA. Without apology, it's the reason Tony and I live here.
But I have seen more than a few interesting things living here. There was once a very wealthy woman who owned property and several high end businesses in town. She lived with another woman and we all knew she was a lesbian. But she never came out, and never openly supported the gay community in New Hope. The mayor of New Hope right now, Larry Keller, the one who refuses to perform gay marriages, is middle-aged and has been a confirmed "bachelor" as far as I know all his life. So when I read that this particular mayor will not perform gay marriages for legal reasons, no one had to bring my smelling salts.
In any event, this is what's happening:
Amid the typical discussions about zoning and amplified music at this week’s borough council meeting in New Hope was mention of an Aug. 16 letter from Mayor Larry Keller to council in which he explained the reasons for his declining the recent request “by two gentlemen to officiate their wedding.”
The letter went on to say, “As part of the official duties of the office of the elected mayor of New Hope Borough, I am permitted by law to solemnize marriages between persons who produce a marriage license issued by any County Clerk of Orphans’ Court. This authorization is not mandatory. A Mayor is not obligated to officiate any wedding.
To backtrack a little, I recently posted about how they are issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples in Montgomery County, PA, which is only a few miles away from New Hope.
Even though same sex marriage is still not legal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Montgomery County in PA issued marriage licenses to same sex couples today in defiance of the ban on same sex marriage. Tony and I live in Bucks County, PA, which is only a few miles from where the marriage licenses were issued, and it's s significant move for those who issued the licenses and those who obtained them.
The key words above are defiance and ban. It's obvious that in Montgomery County they are intentionally challenging the law in order to push things forward. Pennsylvania is the only mid-Atlantic state that doesn't even have civil unions for same sex couples. And we're tired of it.
What I found most refreshing about the article dealing with New Hope Mayor Keller was this:
Donna Deely, the Democratic contender for Republican Keller’s job in an election scheduled for this November, took it a step further: “If I am elected mayor I will officiate same-sex weddings. I think the risk there is minimal, and it’s the right thing to do, not only because it reflects the current prevailing legal winds and the country is moving in that direction, but also given New Hope’s rich tradition of acceptance. That’s why we chose to live here, and in my heart of hearts, I think it’s the fair and just thing to do.”
Even though there are legalities involved here, sometimes it's important to be on the right side of history in order to make a change. There was a time when people of African descent were not allowed to use the same bathrooms and water fountains as white people. Clearly, Mayor Keller doesn't believe the issue of gay marriage is important enough to take a stand and challenge. And this is in spite of the fact that his business has been supported by the gay dollar for many years, as well as his political ambitions. The most interesting thing here is that Keller is a Republican, and gays here have supported him in spite of that, too.
Now, Mayor Keller does have a history of issues regarding marriage.
Keller’s reluctance to engage in activity that may draw litigation seems to be founded in personal experience: he was questioned some years ago during a politically-charged environment about the propriety of the charitable donation of marriage fees he had collected, a charge he defended “at great personal cost.” Keller said he sought the advice of Borough Solicitor T.J. Walsh in this marriage request, who said “You don’t want to touch this. If he [Hanes] did something they said is illegal, you are going to be an accessory to an illegality.”
I can't find any links to that controversy now, but I do remember it. The issue eventually died down and no one heard a word about it again. However, it's important to note that marrying people is not unusual for mayors, and New Hope is also a destination for many straight couples to get married. Famed author and cook Julia Child and her husband were actually married in Lumberville, a few miles away from New Hope, many years ago. And Mayor Keller has performed marriages for straight couples.
Many are disagreeing with Keller's decision, including attorneys:
David S. Cohen, associate professor of law at Drexel University’s Earle Mack School of Law disagreed. “There is no clear decision from any binding court in Pennsylvania or the Federal court about the state’s marriage law, but officials like Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Montgomery County Clerk Hanes both have decided that the marriage law is unconstitutional. As a law professor and one of the attorneys representing same-sex couples in Montgomery County, I agree wholeheartedly,” said Cohen.
“If the mayor doesn’t want to go along with what the Attorney General and Montgomery County Clerk are doing, he will find himself on wrong side of history,” added Cohen.
Sometimes that's what it all comes down to in the end. And I think it will be interesting to see if Keller holds his ground with this, and, if he gets reelected this November.