I was offline almost all of yesterday since, well, this Valentine’s Day was a day off from online activism in my house. One of the things we did was a simple de-stresser —  treated ourselves to a spa mani/pedi and went out to one of our favorite restaurants, Sitar India Palace, that had recently reopened in a new location in town.  It’s been a burnout month on the day jobs for both of us, so a time-out to be thankful for each other, our lives together — and thanks to the Bush economy, the fact we still have j-o-b-s, was worth pushing away from the keyboard.

There were, however, committed folks who did put their activist hats on for the day of love. One couple was Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, who filed the first lawsuit to challenging California’s marriage laws. Karen Ocamb covered the event for The Bilerico Project (she also has a ton of photos there).

Caption: Robin and Diane kiss after the couple’s attorney Gloria Allred holds up and explains lawsuit challenging Prop 8.

Robin Tyler: “This is not about us anymore. If the [California] Supreme Court lets us stay married, it will be a hallow victory because we do not want to be the only ones on the freedom train. The Supreme Court needs to rule to overturn Prop 8 because what Prop 8 does – for the first time in American history – is take a group that is being considered equal by the Supreme Court out of the constitution. That is dangerous because that means that 51% or 52% of people can vote to take YOU out of the constitution. Labor out of the constitution – unions out of the constituion. It guts the Constitution of California. So what started out as a fight for all these years of loving couples all of a sudden exploded into one of the biggest civil rights cases in American history because now we’sre standing to defend our constitution. And we want you all to stand with us.”

Yesterday evening in Uptown Charlotte, the Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality (CRANE) held a Light a Candle for Love event, where participants spoke to Charlotte citizens and passers-by about equality and the right of all people to love and be loved regardless of sexual orientation and gender-identity. Also on CRANE’s plate:

On Feb. 21, the anti-gay Focus on the Family and Exodus International will hold their so-called “ex-gay” conference Love Won Out at Central Church of God. Their event coincides with the Human Rights Campaign’s Carolinas Gala and a joint conference of the Metropolitan Community Church and Unity Fellowship, two primarily LGBT Christian denominations.

…[O]n Thursday, Feb. 19, the grassroots group will host Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, author of “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth” and a syndicated columnist whose work appears in Q-Notes. In his presentation, “Pray Away the Gay,” Besen will discuss the myths and lies of “ex-gay” organizations like Exodus International. The event will be held at 7 p.m. at Charlotte’s Lesbian & Gay Community Center.

Elsewhere in NC, the elected anti-gays on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners plan to vote to support passage of a marriage amendment in the Tar Heel State (QNotes):

The Rowan County Commissioners will vote on the resolution at their next meeting on Monday, Feb. 16. The resolution has been added to the Consent Agenda, which precedes the public comment section.

Mike Clawson, a North Carolina state PFLAG coordinator, says he is disappointed Commissioners have decided to add the resolution to the consent agenda rather than open it up to public discussion by including it in the regular agenda.

“While it’s primarily a tool to speed up the process,” he said in an email, “one might say, in this case, it is taking the cowards way out.”

Do the county commissioners fear debate? If they feel so justified in their position, surely there shouldn’t be any controversy in discussing the issue out in the open. Maybe it will give residents a chance to hear bogus and ignorant comments about bestiality, or the continued conflation of religious beliefs and civil rights by people who should know better.

Residents of Rowan County can contact the board and ask that the resolution be removed from the agenda or make it available for public debate and comment.

Rowan sanctity of marriage irony alert — the former interim director for the Rowan Southern Baptist Association was one Coy Privette. Coy, who was also a former Baptist minister and head of the Christian Action League of North Carolina made headlines when he was busted on “six counts of misdemeanor aiding and abetting prostitution by renting a hotel room and paying for sexual acts“. The acts were with someone other than his wife. See my post, “Former NC commissioner busted for aiding and abetting prostitution.”

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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