The “M-word”

Posted: March 27th, 2013

There was a time when I didn’t think being mar­ried was a big deal. It’s the “M-word.” It’s just a word.

I would call les­bians and gays who wanted to be mar­ried “assim­i­la­tion­sts.”  There wasn’t any good rea­son to imi­tate straight peo­ple. Being gay was dif­fer­ent, I thought.

If my broth­ers and sis­ters wanted the M-word, I thought they should have that right. The right was denied to us by Pres. Bill Clin­ton. Instead of actual equal­ity, he came out for gays in the mil­i­tary. “Huh?” I said. It didn’t work, and he set­tled for that awful rule called “Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell.” Under DADT, les­bian and gay sol­diers kept get­ting thrown out. Bill Clin­ton — the man I sup­ported — signed DADT into law. I didn’t just sup­port him, I was an eager staff mem­ber who worked my butt off for his elec­tion. Then… awful got added to hideous. Clin­ton came out in favor of the fed­eral Defense of Mar­riage Act (DOMA). Pres Bubba said he was in favor of the law. He didn’t think peo­ple like me should get mar­ried. DOMA was the law of the land, and that fam­ily con­nec­tion is why I was a total sup­porter of Barack Obama. I wasn’t going to lift a fin­ger to help Clinton’s wife. Maybe that was wrong on my part, but it is how I felt. It is how I still feel to a cer­tain extent.

There were gays and les­bians in the Oval Office, and they were hop­ping mad at Clin­ton. Here’s the hate­ful phrase that pres­i­dent used for them: “Where else are you going to go?”

Betrayal is the sad­dest word ever defined.

So now, Clin­ton is all smiles when he says DOMA was a bad idea. He thinks me get­ting mar­ried would be fine. I don’t buy it. He wants us to for­get that he signed the law. More recently, we’re sup­posed to for­get that he sug­gested John Kerry come out strongly against mar­riage equal­ity (Kerry has always been for LGBT equality).

Clinton’s wife now says that gays and les­bians should be able to get mar­ried. I don’t buy that either.

Guilt by asso­ci­a­tion for Mrs. Clin­ton. Yup. It’s prob­a­bly wrong, but that is my hon­est feel­ings on the family.

Rick and I have been together for 20 years. He’s the love of my life.

Then some­thing weird hap­pened. We got married.

It was in the Dis­trict of Colum­bia. Same-gender cou­ples don’t even get a dou­ble take in the nation’s cap­i­tal. It hap­pens all the time. He and I went before a judge, and then we got a piece of paper.

The mag­i­cal thing hap­pened on our way home. We took the train from Wash­ing­ton to Chicago and then to Dallas.

Wow. I saw wheat grow­ing, and they really looked like those amber waves of grain. Beautiful.

For the first time in my life, I felt ordi­nary. I love ordinary.

That judge in Wash­ing­ton told me (not in so many words) that our life together had merit.

I can’t find the exact words to tell you how I felt on the train, except that my life with Rick was some­how hap­pier and richer.


Those who want to deny this M-word to gay cou­ples have no idea how caus­tic their mar­riage apartheid is. They say that boy-girl cou­ples can get mar­ried, but I can’t. When I was in the mid­dle of that mind­set, I had no idea of the spir­i­tual and emo­tional dam­age that soci­ety was doing. Once free from those sticky chains, I could look back and see the tragedy. I cried to think of my gay broth­ers and sis­ters who have never known mar­riage. I felt the hor­ror of all those young men and women who killed them­selves over society’s con­stant drub­bing. I felt angry at the hate-filled politi­cians in my home state of Texas.

The goody-two-shoes say “No mar­riage for queers.” In the same breath they berate les­bians and gays for being promis­cu­ous. They don’t see (or ignore the fact) that being mar­ried is society’s way of encour­ag­ing a healthy and lov­ing atmos­phere. There was a time when I’d see a gor­geous actor on TV and dream of rip­ping off his clothes and hav­ing wild sex with him. There’s one gay actor on prime time TV that used to be a reg­u­lar in my fan­tasy world. But he’s mar­ried. He and his hus­band have adopted chil­dren. Since Rick and I got offi­cially mar­ried, I love see­ing that actor on TV. He is still one of the most adorable peo­ple I’ve ever seen, but my heart soars for his mar­riage. How lucky those kids are to wake up every day to such a lovely father. I’m told that they live their lives out of the Hol­ly­wood spot­light. They’re just a reg­u­lar fam­ily. Until Rick and I were mar­ried, I couldn’t be happy for the actor and his hus­band. I wanted to be promis­cu­ous. The change wasn’t forced on me. I didn’t decide to stop think­ing about rip­ping his clothes off. It just hap­pened. I smile when his show comes on, and I am so happy for him.

I need to have hope and char­ity for every­one. The self-styled “reli­gious” right is included in the group of things I am sup­posed to love. I’m sup­posed to forgive.

To tell you the truth, I’m not there yet. I don’t like what the rightwing has done to Chris­tian­ity. That minor­ity of mon­sters have turned the reli­gion of love into some­thing with buzz saw blades. It’s like the Inqui­si­tion and the Witch Hunts all over.

What I love about Amer­ica is that it remains edgy and exper­i­men­tal. That’s the way the coun­try was started, and I hope — maybe even trust or expect — that the Con­sti­tu­tion will keep evolving.

I believe there will be a time when my mar­riage to the man I love will be rec­og­nized by my home state (Texas) and by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. That won’t come from any change in Texas pol­i­tics. It will only hap­pen when a higher and more pow­er­ful author­ity tells the rightwing to sit down.

Upstream from me: Gov Rick Perry, Rep Pete Ses­sions, Sen John Cornyn, and Sen Ted Cruz. I’m the gay bug. They’re the tea party windshield. The only thing that has my back is the US Con­sti­tu­tion. I look to the Supreme Court for cover. There is so much religion-wrapped hatred in Texas. I pray the court gets engaged with the destruction of DOMA. Some states let lesbians and gays marry, while Texas politicians don’t even want to know that I kiss and hug my husband.

My political overseers want to deny me liberty. They don’t see any reason to let me pursue happiness.

Texas will see marriage equality one day. We aren’t there yet. I may not live long enough to see it, but I am con­fi­dent in the tra­jec­tory of Amer­i­can society.

What I can do in the meantime is to release the hate­ful rightwing from ani­mos­ity. I want to keep a char­i­ta­ble atti­tude toward the hate-mongers because–

  • I am mar­ried to the love of my life, and noth­ing any­body says or does can change that; and,
  • the Lords of Karma are much bet­ter at lev­el­ing the field than I could ever be.

One other note. Rick will con­firm this. That actor? If he calls my cell phone, I have told Rick that I may not be around for a cou­ple of days. Mmmm.…

Rick and Wynn Wagner

Rick and Wynn Wagner

Lion King equality

Lion King equality

Grumpy Kitty equality

Grumpy Kitty equality

True Blood equality

True Blood equality

Bacon equality

Bacon equality

Smirnoff equality

Smirnoff equality

Paula Dean equality, y'all

Paula Dean equality, y’all

Matzah equality

Passover equality

Star Wars equality

Star Wars equality

Peanut equality

Peanut equality



The Elephant Sneaks into My Wheelhouse

Posted: March 25th, 2013

I’m not a “one issue” person. No, really. Some (read: most) of my friends will chuckle at that. They’d tell you that I’m all over LGBT equality, and that I’ve been that way since the GAY LIB days of the 1960s.

That part is true, but I have lots of things on my agenda. I worry about the broken health care system in the US. I am concerned that Uncle Sam flexes his military fist way too quickly. I fear that too many people remain unemployed even though there are potholes in the streets that are large enough to swallow small children.

Those are all critically important issues, and I’m concerned about each.

But (and this is often a show-stopper)… you don’t get to talk to me about all those other things until we get past LGBT equality. It is my sine qua non issue.

That’s why the recent switch of Sen. Rob Portman on marriage equality is so interesting to me.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

Mr. Portman is a Republican from Ohio. He and I will most likely have a short conversation because I am definitely not a Republican, and Ohio is far too cold for my tender bones. But he is the only elected Republican who doesn’t think my life is a waste of space. He thinks my love for my husband has merit, and that (by my own definition) lets me hear what he has to say on a whole agenda of topics.

My parents started out like most Republicans. They used words like F*g. It was inconvenient for them because I was never “in” the closet. I was out my entire life. They knew my boyfriends in high school and college, and they maintained an uneasy silence. They knew I’d react noisily.

When I was out on my own, invitations to family events would come in addressed to me but not my lover. I’d always ignore those kinds of invitations. When mother asked about that, I told her why. It was an uneasy truce: no verbal barrages, but no real peace.

They finally came around. Before they died, they both accepted my lover/husband as part of the family. I started going to family outings again. My relatives (adopted family, no blood) didn’t like the arrangement, but nobody ever said anything. I can’t ask for more than that. What you think of me isn’t any concern of mine. I don’t care what you or anyone else thinks. You can talk behind my back, and that’s just ducky. We’ll only have problems if you say something impolite within earshot. That usually includes saying things about gay kids who aren’t strong enough to stand up on their own.

My relatives (adopted) finally figured all that out. Peace was at hand.

I think I’m still a Yella-Dog Democrat. That term goes back to when Rep Sam Rayburn (D-TX) was Speaker of the House. When somebody asked him if he’d ever vote for a Republican, Mr Rayburn said he’d rather vote for an old Yella-Dog.

Will and Sen. Rob Portman

Will and Sen. Rob Portman

I think I’m still one of those, but now I will eagerly give Sen Portman a listen.

What’s more, I am so happy to see what came from Will Portman’s coming out. Will is the senator’s son. He’s a student at Yale University. After Will told his father that he’s gay, it started a two year process of evolving into believing that marriage equality ought to be the law of the land.

So, thank you Will. Thanks for being honest about who you are. And thanks to your father for having the guts to go against what has been a rightwing lock on the social policies of the Republican party.



We the People: Equal Justice under Law

Posted: March 25th, 2013
"Equal Justice Under Law" (SCOTUS)

Supreme Court building, Washington DC

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that big decisions shouldn’t be made by nine unelected Supreme Court justices. [Washington Post article covering a Sacramento, CA speech]

I am not a lawyer, but I disagree with that. We have a federal constitution whose Article Three spends a great deal of ink saying the American court system is in place to keep the majority from being a bully.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Without federal courts, the insanity that permeates policies in the state of Texas would have no check, no balance. The Constitution is in place as a social contract. It has the ability and duty to tell the hate-mongers to sit down. We have a Constitution that makes it unnecessary for anyone to vote on the basic rights of anyone. Marriage is one of the fundamental of being American.

LGBT Americans want… expect… to be treated equally. Nothing more. But certainly nothing less.


Bill Clinton: where we went

Posted: March 8th, 2013
Bill and Al's Excellent Adventure

Seriously Photoshopped picture that made the rounds in the 1991 presidential election.

Former president Bill Clinton wrote a piece published in the Washington Post in which he says it is time for marriage equality. That’s nice, but please pardon me if I don’t jump up and down breathlessly.

Bill Clinton is the president that got us into this mess. He signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). During his reelection bid, he even ran radio advertising touting how much he supported so-called “traditional” marriage.

Clinton also instituted Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), that awful military law that caused hundreds of LGBT soldiers out of their chosen line of work. Back then, Clinton met with several LGBT activists. When they expressed their displeasure over DADT, the president just shrugged and said we had to accept things.

“Where else are you going to go?” he asked.

I still remember DADT and DOMA. I’m still hurt that a politician who actively sought gay support would be so hateful in the laws he supported. I am still hurt that he would do radio commercials bragging about how he stuck it to us.

I know for a fact that his wife lost LGBT support because of the hurt of his presidential actions. Maybe we’d have our first female president already if Mr. Clinton hadn’t pushed DOMA and DADT. Maybe Hillary would be president if her husband hadn’t gone on radio to explain how anti-gay he was at heart.

“Where else are you going to go?”

Barack Obama, Mr. Clinton. I went with someone who did what he promised and didn’t change his tune to match what he considered expedient.

And if Bill Clinton really thinks the Supreme Court ought to strike down DOMA, an op-ed piece in the Washington Post is the wrong forum. The newspaper gets a larger readership. It gets Clinton publicity about how he has changed.

He could have (and should have) done something more on-the-record. He could have been part of an amicus brief, filed officially with the Supreme Court. That would have been something of substance, not merely something with sizzle.

Regardless of the forum, what Bill Clinton said this week is missing two important words. Without those two words, his grandstanding efforts in print are just so much hooey.

The two words Bill Clinton has shamefully failed to use: I’M SORRY.


The National Debt

Posted: January 5th, 2013
14 Amendment (original)National Archives

14 Amendment (original)
National Archives

I don’t understand why the Congress talks about the “debt limit.” When they do something like start two wars, they also say the US will pay for them. Maybe they could read the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution:

“Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.”

What I think needs to happen (short term) is for Mr. Obama to pay what the Congress has spent and ignore any debt limit. Isn’t that what he’s required to do by the Amendment?


Words Together for the First Time

Posted: December 1st, 2012
West Point chapel

Chapel, West Point, New York state

It’s been a great era for the LGBT community in the USA. Nothing’s perfect, but the changes have been amazing.

The chapel at West Point — the US Army college in New York state — is having a wedding of two lesbians.

President Obama, who said that he’d end “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” did just that. The American military didn’t implode. Reenlistment by non-gay soldiers didn’t cave like some homophobes predicted.

More states have approved marriage equality. Hate laws are still on the books in some states, but it is an improving situation. Everything could change in a flash, but it’s good right now.

The big news didn’t make any newscast. I was watching a TV show (Person of Interest on CBS). There was an extortion attempt against one of the episode’s characters: someone threatened to kill “her wife” unless the character did something. Lesbians on prime time television. It’s happened, even in the tightly puckered world of US television plots. This time was different.

“Her wife” was mentioned without comment. The fact that the characters were LGBT was just an accepted incidental. There was no subplot relating to their gayness. Nothing in the storyline was augmented or diminished because we had a lesbian couple. That’s just who they were.

I noticed because it was so matter-of-fact. Words that are put together today are combinations I never thought I’d see —

  • her wife
  • his husband
  • military same-sex wedding

There’s lots more work to do, of course:

“I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.”
— Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, August 27, 2003 (Fox News interview)




Las Vegas: Only breeders there.

Posted: November 30th, 2012

A federal judge in Nevada upholds that state’s anti-gay marriage law.

Disappointing but not a shock: he’s Mormon and was appointed by “W”. The reason is weird. The judge says gays can’t marry because we can’t “create” children. So this guy — who has polygamy in his family tree — says marriage is only for one woman and one man and only because they can make babies. Productive sex is more important than raising children. Good to know.

I guess elderly straight couples are next to be hit.

The judge also says that if gays can marry in Nevada, then boy/girl couples would stop taking marriage seriously. Seriously!





Posted: November 7th, 2012

The 2012 election is over. I’d be hard-pressed to come up with results I like more, if you pretend Texas doesn’t exist.

Gov. Mitt Romney gave a gracious concession speech. If he had talked like a statesman during the election, he might have been elected. Some of his more virulent supporters are (naturally) foaming with talk of revolution and impeachment.

I’m not a pundit or anybody special. I just have a set of sensitive feelings and expertly honed viewpoints.

Two points and then I’ll shut up about politics for awhile (that’s a lie, of course, because I never shut up about politics).

  • I was having a fairly calm conversation with a guy who probably voted a straight Republican ticket. I didn’t ask; he didn’t tell. I waxed a bit about one of my heroes, former Senator George McGovern. He died a few days before the election, and he would have been so happy about the results of the 2012 vote. Back in 1972, I worked my butt off for that man as he tried to keep Richard Nixon from being a two-term president. McGovern lost. Nixon kept himself from serving two complete terms because he was a crook and had to resign in disgrace. The point is that the guy I was chatting with said something shocking about George McGovern: “Who?” Oy.
  • The other point I want to make has to do with voter suppression and rigged voting machines. Republicans supposedly tried to keep minority voting to a minimum. When they “allowed” voting, it was allegedly on rigged electronic voting machines. If all that’s true, they need to get a new batch of hooligans and programmers. Their rigged voting machines didn’t rig the vote.



Prop 8 — Mormon Connection Documented

Posted: November 1st, 2012

“8” (documentary)

We watched “8” last night on the documentary channel. It’s about how the MORMON church pressured its adherents into donating huge sums of money to the California state ballot that removed rights from its LGBT citizens. There was a time when gay couples could get married, but Proposition 8 changed all that.

It isn’t easy to watch. I kept thinking the IRS ought to declare the Mormon church a cult and tax the heck out of them. That kind of negative wish is out of character for me, but it’s how I feel.

The documentary dates to 2010, and it’s still hard to watch. Prop 8 has been resoundly rejected by the courts and is headed to the US Supreme Court.

Prop 8 took hundreds of LGBT couples who were legally married and stripped them of that status. It’s never happened anywhere in the US before.

The documentary shows how the Mormons secretly organized a massive amount of money to send into California. Church documents show the millions of dollars being collected from adherents. Other church documents lay out an exotic plan of deception: to make it seem like the church had nothing to do with the effort. They came up with a dollar amount for each Mormon family, and they strong-armed each head of household to donate that amount… or else.

They threatened people. They lied to the IRS so egregiously that the US government had to confront them about reporting political activity. The church amended its report on the contributions, but the numbers are far from credible.

These guys can’t be trusted, and watching “8” underscored that to me in indelible ink. They lie. They bludgeon gay kids (caught on surveillance tape),

Mormon Temple in Utah

Mormon Temple in Utah

Church muckety-mucks say gay kids would be better off dead. And the state of Utah (kind of the Mormon’s version of a Vatican) has the largest incidence of teenage suicides in the country. Most of those kids who off themselves are LGBT. They kids get harangued by their church, and the parents usually side with the church (mainly because of strong warnings of reprisals both here and in the Mormon afterlife.

What is it about this money machine that is a church?  Their choir sings pretty hymns (raking in more money of course).

They do “substantial” activity in political campaigns (money, bully pulpit, social networking), and that is something that the US’s IRS is strictly forbidden. The church knows this, so they try to conceal their work: subterfuge with a sedition chaser.

Shame on them for lying and covering up their political activity. Shem on their members for being the sedition. Triple shame on the IRS for calling these lying hate-mongers the taxable entity they really are (based on their documented and substantial actions).

I’ve never been so blatant about a so-called religion because I really believe in Live and Let Live. But this morning church is — in many ways — about the “Got hates Fags” loons.




Care and Feeding of a Retired Archbishop

Posted: October 27th, 2012
Abp Wynn Wagner (ret) on a Rhine River boat (Germany, 2012)

Abp Wynn Wagner (ret)
Rhine River boat (Germany, 2012)

Unless you are a public figure (or Mark Raven), I am probably going to be slow to anger. That’s my goal, but I am definitely a work-in-progress.

[WTF]Others don’t take the same tact. I still have 30+ “friends” on Facebook who report they “like” Mitt Romney. That’s down from about 300. I still feel like I have 30+ “friends” who don’t have enough in common to start any kind of conversation. They seem to want to stick around, and I don’t know how.

It’s none of my business who follows me on Facebook. You can “like” whomever and whatever you want. But……

My goal here is to avoid trouble “down the line.” I usually don’t do a flamewar in public (the exception being if you publicly bully somebody). But just so you know–


  • I write spiritual books and gay romance novels. I even have one tarot book. Yes, that’s all over the publishing map. No, I don’t use pen names to keep my romance fiction from intermingling with my liturgical books. Maybe I should, but I don’t.
  • Some authors have separate profiles for their books. It’s a nice division: personal vs shameless promotions. (shrug) Maybe I’m too stupid to do that kind of social parsing, but I have one page where everything gets thrown together like a tossed salad. My two publishers — MysticWays Books (MWB) and Dreamspinner Press — have Facebook pages. MWB has pages for Wynn Wagner Books and Brent: the Heart Reader. Brent gets its own page because it’s an inductee into the Gay Book Hall of Fame, and MWB says that is a huge deal. I don’t run or edit all those pages: just my personal page. The point is that I still get homophobes on Facebook who swear they want to be my “friend.” (scratching head)


  • My politics is way out on the left where the busses don’t even run. I’m liberal (radical?), and I don’t mind saying so in public.
  • I’ll usually react when my Annoyance Meter goes over about 40% on political matters.


  • My religion is Old Catholic. That means I like really traditional liturgies and very progressive spiritual teachings. Yes, it’s Catholic. No, it isn’t Roman Catholic. If you’re curious about that, I have some awesome books to suggest!
  • I am a retired archbishop of the Old Catholic Church, and I’m fairly sure that the Church would appreciate my stressing that I don’t speak (or write) for anybody but me.
  • When organized religion crosses what I consider a theocratic line of proper behavior, I will stand up and wag my finger and scream about it as loudly as I can. In many cases, religion (mainly Christian and Muslim) ought to be ashamed of their bullying. It’s fine for them to order their adherents to do such-and-such or believe a certain way. It’s a whole other matter if they want me to do or believe what they preach. And I think it’s almost criminal for a religion to try to insert their dogma into civil law.
  • You don’t have to be Old Catholic for me to pay attention to you. I won’t even suggest you “convert” but will try to get you pointed in the right direction if you ask.
  • I honor your spiritual pathway.
  • I’ll usually react if you cross the line and demand everyone follow your path. Religious firefights get nasty quickly, and I really don’t like it when that happens. [cf., Billy Jack]
  • If you really want a philosophical fight, I will usually try to give you a head start. I have a couple of advanced degrees in philosophy and theology, so I have the home field advantage and I’m not too proud to use it (if push and shove come to play)


  • I’m gay, but I never-ever came “out of the closet.” That would have been dumb because I’ve never been in the closet (except to get fresh clothes each Spring).
  • Since I retired from my day job and from my duties in the Old Catholic Church, I don’t have any kind of tether (or net) to keep me quiet around homophobes.
  • Picking on any LGBTQ person in my earshot usually doesn’t end peacefully. (Just sayin’)


  • I don’t think it’s a big deal. It isn’t my defining moment, but you hang around me on football, you will probably see me screammg about sports teams (especially American football). In advance… sorry ’bout that.

The Red Line

  • Finally (and this is the real reason for this blog post), I take threats of death and injury seriously. Please don’t do it. The “Unfriend” button is fairly simple to use on Facebook, even for a right-winger or homophobe. I won’t mind if you use that button. I won’t even mind of you decide to block my posts. Promise.