Category Archives: Same-Sex Marriage

“A Large Pizza, Please, With Extra Stones”

I have been very quiet these last few weeks on my blog. I suppose it’s because I have been preoccupied with watching all of the news sites and trying to understand case law regarding the “religious freedom” bills floating around out there.

Depending on where you are in your journey with finding out about your spouse being out of the closet or in denial, these happenings might not interest you or they hit too close to home. For me, it has been nearly a decade since my ex’s Big Reveal, so I am currently on a path of fighting against LGBTQ discrimination. Why? Because after researching the heck out of this stuff to the best of my ability, and knowing the thoughts of fundamentalist Christians since I used to be one, I am incensed by what is happening in our country.

If you would like to understand further why I would be an Ally in light of my husband coming out of the closet, I best explained it in the Huffington Post with my article The Real Learning Channel. Take a look at it if you want.

If you choose to read further, please know that this is not a typical post for this blog. But since I need to vent, it is the best outlet I have.

First, let me state some facts from my point of view.

1) These Religious Freedom Resoration Acts (RFRA) that are being adopted by states are not unusual. The federal government passed such a thing in the 90’s, and many states have since used them verbatim for their own state.

2) The ones that are so contentious (like the one that caused the uproar in Indiana) are NOT worded the same as the federal and state RFRA’s that have passed. The issue at hand is how they changed the language. The biggest change, among some others, is that they define “person” to include a for-profit business or corporation, with religious rights. This follows on the heels of the recent Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which granted corporations the same religious rights as individuals.

3) In turn, because now a “person” can choose to deny a citizen of the United States services due to religious beliefs, like PIZZA, they have the potential legal right to do so.

4) The problem here, with these reworded RFRA’s, is that specific groups are not protected from discrimination in their state (unless it has been adopted by a county or city within that state). This applies specifically to sexual orientation or gender identity. Many states have adopted these groups as protected against discrimination in their numeration laws (like race, gender or age). But as you can see below, many more states have avoided adding LGBTQ to their numeration list.

5) So, if a “person” claims for religious reasons that they cannot serve someone who is LGBTQ, then there is no recourse to sue and be backed up by the laws of that state.

Can you see the problem here? Simply using “religious belief” gives a “person” (for-profit business) the legal right to discriminate.

The smarmy thing, in my opinion, is the groups and law makers who are pushing this are people who do not approve of a gay “lifestyle” (read: it is a choice). In essence, they are using religion to be able to legally discriminate against anyone they claim they don’t agree with. They are saying that their religious freedoms are being stomped on because gay people are getting married, being served in restaurants, seeking housing, looking for employment, and hoping for benefits from their employer (either for themselves or for their partner).

Now, tell me how you would feel if you were being discriminated against in these same ways because you have been divorced, had sex before you were married or even committed adultery yourself? Or, take anything else that the Bible says is sinful, and they have a reason to discriminate, especially if they are really being consistent about their religious beliefs.

But no. They are taking one thing, homosexuality, and making it the litmus test for being able to get away with discrimination. For those people who are saying that the law (like in Indiana) is not meant for that, you can find a plethora of quotes and backgrounds from the very people who proposed, supported and passed this law…and their views about LGBTQ people. The timing alone for Indiana, who was denied the right to have a same-sex marriage ban, is enough to show you what their true intent was. Other states are following.

If you know anything about Scripture, there is very little said regarding homosexuality. Jesus never said anything about it himself, and that certainly should have credence with Christians. Jesus did say all kinds of things about judging others, loving others, following him, giving unto Ceasar, and making disciples of others.

None of what He said falls in line with denying tax paying citizens anything that everyone else can have, simply because they are “sinners.” In fact, He talks about turning the other cheek, helping non-believers, and serving others as He himself served…by dying for them.

So, now we get back to why I am so adament about fighting these crazy things going on in our government and society.

1) Our country was not founded on religion, and made dang sure in the Constitution that no law should be made forcing another person’s beliefs to stamp out the Constitutional rights of another human being. Unfortunately, if those who see homosexuality as a sin and think they can deny basic rights as guaranteed under our secular laws, then they don’t understand our history very well. Just read some quotes by our founding fathers. They weren’t too keen on religion at all. But, they wanted all to have religious freedom. Which we have.

2) How is allowing same-sex marriage or serving someone pizza effecting a heterosexual’s life or marriage? It isn’t, and if it is, then maybe they need to look themselves in the mirror and get some self-confidence. Even if you believe with every ounce of your being that marriage is between one man and one woman, how in the heck is letting a same-sex couple get married affecting your marriage? Why is there such an adament need to fight for this to become defined in our secular laws? It just doesn’t make sense to me. No one is making any clergy or church perform and bless these unions. You aren’t being forced to do anything against your religion. But pizza? A for-profit business making a wedding cake? That is different. Discrimination is wrong in our secular world. And any business who justifies it with religion is simply wanting to discriminate. They aren’t losing their faith, beliefs or religion over it. Good grief.

3) If a major goal of any Believer is to make disciples of Christ, they aren’t doing a very good job of it. In fact, no gay person is going to want to see what the unconditional love of Jesus really is, if Christians can’t grasp how to do so toward others, but instead discriminate against them. Believers are ambassadors. They are representatives. Hmm. Big fail.

 

4) Religious justification of all kinds of horrible things have happened in history: the caste system in India; the Crusades; burning of innocent “witches”; slavery and segregation; women not being allowed to vote; eugenics laws in Indiana and other states, which Hitler actually used as inspiration for his justified killing of millions of Jews, gypsies, mentally ill, homosexuals, and other groups of “unwanted” people. Judgement reigns, and hatred is the driving force, even if Christians want to claim that they “love the sinner, but hate the sin”…which, by the way, is nowhere in the Bible.

Listen, regardless if someone believes that being gay is a choice or is in their DNA, all of these laws that are being discussed are simply a way to legally discriminate against people: people who sin, love, pay taxes, have children, and live in a country that guarantees them protection against being targeted, whether or not they believe in Jesus and the Bible. Thankfully we have that freedom.

These laws are as un-American as the very country that our Founding Fathers seceded from through the Revolutionary War. Can’t we learn from history? No one is being asked to give up their religion. Christians aren’t being persecuted. Churches still are exempt from taxation, yet they want to dictate legalized discrimination in our country?

This is appalling.

I, for one, don’t know what it truly feels like to be discriminated against, though I am a woman and have experienced minor amounts of inequality and sexism. But if I were to walk into a pizza restaurant and ask them to cater my wedding (who does that, anyway?) and they wouldn’t do it because I am an avid Ally, plus they know my ex is gay and married, they could try to deny me their services based on their religious beliefs…if things keep going the way that they are. What if my own kids went somewhere with my ex and his husband and they weren’t served because their dads are gay? Would I have recourse? Not under the current situation. This is not right…and needs to be fought.

Experiencing my husband coming out of the closet, when I believed that being gay was a sin and a choice, truly caused my world to crumble. With this came a crisis of faith, forcing me to view all of my beliefs in light of my personal experience. I am so glad that happened. Otherwise, I might find myself on the wrong side of history, supporting the idea that my religion calls for me to discriminate against another person in this country. My religion would have also called me to fight for erroneous beliefs and to support laws in our secular society to make it legal for me to discriminate, because “speaking the truth in love” is what I am called to do, even if it hurts another person at their core.

If I did that, Jesus would be shaking his head, trying to gently show me that I have missed the mark. “Love one another, as I have loved you, and make disciples of all nations. Oh, and don’t forget about those stones that you really have no right to throw. Because, you know, that judgement thing is no bueno.”

Yet, that’s what these laws are doing: Judging for Jesus. Put the stones down, those of you who justify these things. Just love, eat your pizza, and be thankful that you live in a country where you can practice your religion without persecution or discrimination.

Live Life, Love Life, Impact Others,

Emily “86 the Stones” Reese

 

To Stay or Not to Stay: That Is the Question

The male singer with the high pitch voice is David Lindley, the Jackson Browne's band guitar player.
The male singer with the high pitch voice is David Lindley, Jackson Browne’s band guitar player.

The word “stay” has been floating around the interwebs a bunch this past week.  With all of the SCOTUS posts and people’s opinions on The Book of Faces, it’s getting a bit confusing.

Basically, by not reviewing any of the appeals, SCOTUS is saying that same-sex marriage is constitutional and will be allowed in the states where many stays and voters wanted it to be banned… or defined marriage as between one man and one woman.  In my opinion, there will be hold-out states, and eventually SCOTUS will have to face the issue and make a federal ruling.

Supreme_Court_US_2010

It’s a little more complicated than that, but for now, this Ally will take what she can get.  People should get married if they want… regardless of who it is.  Love is love, marriage is a state mandated right, churches will not be “forced” to perform marriage ceremonies if they choose not to (which they already have that choice) and no Church or religious belief should dictate that to any other citizen of the United States of America.  I wrote a post on my other blog titled “Kiss My Big White Butt” that basically spelled out how I feel about it.  You can read it here if you’d like.

But what about the word “stay” as used in Mixed Orientation Marriages?  Should you “stay” once you find out and not divorce, trying to work things out in a heterosexual marriage while dealing with the complexity of same-sex orientation in your spouse?

I don’t actually have the answers for you.  I have known people who have stayed and tried to work it out.  In the beginning of Devon’s Big Reveal, I was determined to make it work.  My view on the matter was a religious one, basing my actions and reactions on the “fact” that being gay is a choice.  Therefore, Devon could choose to not “be gay” and with the proper counseling and guidance and manipulation from me, he would choose to work through it and “stay” married to me.

Should I stay or should I go?
Should I stay or should I go?

My attitude continued with this until the day I finally accepted that he didn’t really want to stay in it.  His homosexuality was not a choice.  I was choosing to keep him around until I could convince him otherwise.  The day I realized and accepted that was the very day I could let go and tell him that I wanted a divorce.

I slept for 14 hours straight that night and woke up with the most peaceful feeling I had ever experienced.

So… I didn’t stay.  I’m glad I didn’t.  NOW.  But it took me a year and a half to get there, and I tried everything I could think of, even some things I’m not so proud of.  I used scripture and the kids against him, for one, and for that, I am sorry.  In the end, however, that year and a half was a time of growth and grappling with big issues, with the biggest being my own belief system.  Before that Big Reveal, I thought I had all the answers.  After those words “I am gay” came out of his mouth, I truly learned what it meant to walk in someone else’s shoes and being judged for they very thing I used to judge others.  It was tough.  Once you live out something that was not expected to ever happen in your life, you gain empathy and wisdom beyond what you thought you could bear.

How long will it take you, as the straight spouse, to decide what you should do?  I don’t know.  Some lovely people I have met on this journey and through this website are still married after years of dealing with it.  Some of that has to do with age and the length of time they have been married.  Some of it has to do with their kids.  Many times, however, it has had to do with religious pressures based on fear… and that is no way to live.  True love has nothing to do with fear, and many times true love has to do with letting go.

Of course, this is all based on my own experience and others sharing their experiences with me.  I will not judge if you choose to stay.

However, I encourage you to truly evaluate your reasons behind staying.  Is it in any way based in fear?  Like, being afraid you won’t find anyone else?  Afraid that you can’t live without him or her?  Fear that people would find out and you’d lose friends and family over it?  Fear that others will be mad at you, or at your spouse?  All of these things can and will work out, because I have experienced it.  So have others.

Do what you think is right.  But try working toward not living in fear.  Fear is stifling and causes too much anxiety and unhappiness.

Be happy.  Be free.  If you can do that and “stay”, then by all means, do it.  You deserve the best in life, because life is too short to live it in fear.

Love, Emily Without Judgement

NoFearInLoveTattoo

Two/To Dads on Father’s Day

This morning, I woke up with Devon on my mind.

It’s Father’s Day and I know that he is happy thinking about our kids and enjoying the handmade cards they gave him, but he is also thinking about his own father, Fast Freddy, who passed away a little over a year and a half ago.  Knowing him, he is experiencing some sadness right along with the joy he feels over being the dad to our Three Little Birds.  Devon and The Reese Clan:  I loved Fred very much.  I am thinking about you all, too.

While we were married, Devon was a great dad, and still is today.  He has always been very silly with them and kept them in mind when making decisions for our family, with exception at times to the crisis we went through after his Big Reveal.  Decisions then were often a lose-lose scenario for everyone it felt like.  But ultimately, we made a great team as parents and sought to always provide a united front to our children, even if we didn’t always agree on particular topics.

Look at our baby faces.  And my eyebrows.  I wish someone had encouraged me then to get my uni-brow waxed!
Look at our baby faces. And my eyebrows. I wish someone had encouraged me then to get my uni-brow waxed!

Devon and I were married a little over 2 years before we had our first beautiful daughter, Maddie.  Before she was born, I cannot remember any fights between us of significance. We intentionally didn’t have TV and went places with each other that kept our love and friendship strong… and some of these things we did were uber nerdy: we played ping-pong a couple of times a week at the rec center in Lawrence, Kansas (I kicked his arse most of the time… or at least, that’s how I want to remember it); we played board games; went on old people Sunday drives around neighborhoods and dreamed of the day we would own our first home, how it would be decorated, what we would name our kids, and trips we wanted to take together; we prayed together, read Scripture together and went to every church potluck we could schedule.

Dynamics changed once Maddie was born.  When people say their first year of marriage was horrible, I cannot relate at all.  It was the first year that Maddie was born which caused us to stress and argue the most.

I often say this:  When you get married, you don’t realize just how selfish you were.  And when you have kids, you REALLY see just how selfish you can be.

Sacrifice becomes your daily life.  You have to give up yourself – your dreams, time alone with just you or as a couple, your hobbies – more than you’d like to.

And with that first child comes the gritty reality that you don’t know what you’re doing.  It’s a lot of floundering and mistake making, and Devon and I had several fights over what to do when neither of us really knew what to do.  As the mom, I felt that I had the ultimate say over how to handle middle of the night crying fests, chaffed nipples and sleep schedules, and as the dad, Devon wanted to be included in on the tactics for dealing with things neither of us had answers to.  He would give his two cents worth, I would out right dismiss them, he would be hurt, we would argue… and then the argument became more about our own pride than sensible solutions that needed to be implemented.

I’m guessing most partners and spouses with kids have experienced the same thing.

And to this day, when we do occasionally argue, it’s almost always about the kids and how to handle things.  I’m thinking this will not end anytime soon.

DevonPlayingWithKidsOnFloor2
A dad on the floor makes him fair game as a jungle gym.

Fast forward to 2014.  Three kids, a coming out of the closet experience, 2 times dealing with cancer, a change of mindset about homosexuality not being a sin and a choice, my kids having two daddies… and still Devon is a great dad, and his husband, Felipe, is wonderful to our kids. I will never have to worry about having that evil step mom to compete with regarding who is the real mom of the family.  It’s all about me being the only mom they will ever have.

I kinda love it.

One of the most important revelations that I had after dealing for a bit with my own hurt after Devon’s big reveal, is that my children are NOT me.  As in, the betrayal I dealt with, the trust that was ruined, the crisis that was created by Devon coming out and the feelings of anger and working with instead of against the new life that I was to live… did not mean that my kids would have the same reaction, feelings, hurt or lifetime of distrust toward romantic/love relationships.  I often projected my own experience onto my kids, expecting that they would have to deal with or feel the same way I did.

Now, did they have to deal with this new life and have some hurt or emotions to work through?  Absolutely.  And maybe stuff will come up in their lives that stem from the Big Reveal in the future.  But their relationship with their daddy, while it may have changed in some ways because we didn’t live under the same roof, was not damaged, especially because they saw the example that we set when it was all said and done.

You see, Devon will always be their dad.  It’s not like the kids had to decide between keeping their relationship with him or putting a retainer down for a divorce attorney.  There wasn’t a romance involved, only the love and respect that Devon and the kids had for each other.

Him being gay did not change his Daddy Status.  I was the one that had to change my ideas of what they would do and how I thought they would react.

My middle daughter, Kate, said it perfectly: When he told us he was gay, I don’t think I was too surprised, not because I knew, but because it didn’t make him any different to me.

Isn’t that beautiful?

And it helped me to remember that Devon is and always will be that fun, responsible and good example of what a father is to his children.

Now, to the many people who seek to use this site as support for their scenario of a spouse coming out of the closet, I am aware that this particular post may tug at emotions you are still working through.  I want you to know that I am in no way attempting to intentionally put something in your face that would try to hurt you in any way or sway you to handle your lives like I did.  I realize that each family’s scenario has intricacies that can make a situation more difficult than my own.  This post, however, speaks to my own journey with Devon’s Big Reveal and how far we’ve come since that Day.

And my experience is this:  I chose to work with my situation instead of against it.  There have been so many blessings that have come from this, particularly that my kids have two daddies who love them and would die for them, just like I would.  My kids are secure in our non-traditional Rainbow Family and there is so much love surrounding them from all sides like bubble wrap, which is really wonderful.

So, Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there, gay, straight, or otherwise.  If you are a dad, you are at your core, a dad forever.  And kids will love their parents, even if they can be hurt by us.  Keep in mind that kids are almost always quicker to forgive us than we are at forgiving ourselves, and I want to be just like them in my own grace, mercy and forgiveness toward others.

And to those of you who have households with two daddies:  Thank you for loving your children just like any human would.  You being gay simply does not matter when it comes to loving your kids.

Happy Father’s Day, Devon.  And also you, Felipe.  Two dads and one mommy?  People should be envious.  Our lives do not suck.

Love, The Only Mom Our Three Little Birds Will Ever Have

P.S. One of the earliest blog posts that I wrote was a special message to Devon from our kids a couple of years ago.  It’s precious and funny, and will reveal a lot about Devon’s relationship with our babies.  Check it out here:  We Love You, DaddyDFKMTJumpingFamilyPhoto