Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving Weekend

This Thanksgiving weekend I am grateful for my family and the many other wonderful people in my life.

On Thanksgiving day, our table included Keri's cousin Joel, Jed's friend Ben (and now my friend too!), Keri, L, Jed, and E.

Friday I had to work, but the girls joined me. We took the ferry across the Hudson to Lower Manhattan from the train station in Hoboken. It was a gorgeous day. L can never keep her finger out of her nose for pictures.

The weekend was capped with a birthday party and a baptismal service for E. On the almost eve of her eighth birthday, she was baptized at Union Congregational Church in Montclair, surrounded by family and friends.

Friday, November 24, 2006

New Voice

you are making an impact--not by writing about what you think--but by writing about what you do, proving that your path can lead to a productive, happy, healthy live.

As I have comtemplated where to go with this blog, I keep coming back to this comment from santorio, left on my "Frustration" thread. I want to continue writing about my coming out experiences, and I'd like to extend my writing back to include earlier times in my life as well.

HURRICANE will now be a debate-free zone. I still welcome comments and discussion about the issues that emerge in discussion of my life experiences, but I won't be using this blog to debate about homosexuality. My position is as clear as it could be: I am not conflicted about the morality of homosexuality or homosexual relationships, and I reject the suggestion that homosexuality is inherently defective or that homosexual relationships are inherently sinful. We've had those discussions, and this will no longer be the place for them.

I am not, however, abandoning active debate about gay issues. At some point between now and the end of 2006, I intend to start a new blog that will focus on gay rights, activism, politics and the many and varied social issues that impact gay people. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I haven't had much to say lately. Well, actually, that's not true. I have a lot to say. But now that I have moved into a new phase of life, I'm having a hard time figuring out the right way and the right place to say it. This blog was originally a form of therapy for me. It was a place I could write about my coming out experience, my changing religious beliefs, my evolving family structure, the end of my marriage, and the beginning of a new relationship. But I'm out now, and my life has found a certain stability that it lacked when I started this blog.

So that's my first frustration. HURRICANE needs a new voice and I'm struggling to find it.

My second frustration is what I feel is the failure of my ongoing dialogue about gay Mormon issues with many Mormons, including the gay married Mormons that I share space with here in the gay Mormon bloggosphere. I'm certain that I bear some of the responsibility for that failure. I feel a great deal of frustration that so many who look at the world through the LDS prism see homosexuality and homosexual relationships as monolithic. Committed partnerships, truck stop trists on the New Jersey Turnpike, an honest divorce, a long-term secret love affair. From the LDS perspective, all seem to be the same because they are homosexual in nature. It seems obvious to me that they are not.

I'm generalizing my interactions here. In fact, I have made a lot of progress toward mutual respect and understanding with many of the LDS people who are most important to me in my life--family, including my dear former in-laws whom I still love like my own parents, and many longtime friends. It seems to be online where I encounter most of my frustration.

I'm aware of my own bias. I acknowledge that when I see men living through situations similar to my own I want to encourage them to follow a similar path, for their own sake and for the sake of their wives. I want to tell struggling young gay Mormons to accept their sexuality, embrace themselves and the blessing of being gay, and see what life outside the confines of Mormonism might offer them. I see the struggles of so many and think that so much of the pain and loneliness felt by those in and out of marriages could be alleviated if they could just accept that homosexuality is normal and homosexuals can live happy, healthy, well-adjusted lives as homosexuals.

John Galt suggested to me that I've forgotten what it's like to be Mormon. I suppose he's right. As odd as this is coming from a former LDS bishop, I can no longer understand why we are willing to endure so much pain for religious beliefs which utterly fail to explain human reality. This is not just a criticism of LDS Mormonism and homosexuality. I read in this morning's paper about the recent decision of Conference of Catholic Bishops in the U.S. to reiterate the church's prohibition on articifical contraception. I find myself scratching my head when I encounter moments when religious dogma is more important than the daily realities of people's lives. Too often it seems that tradition is exalted above actual people. That frustrates me.

I'm picking on religion here, but dogmas are found in many varieties. I know that some of my critics here in gay Mormondom think I'm dogmatic in my embrace of gay pride. I'm willing to admit that I might be at times. I try very hard not to be, but I know that I fail. I try to understand my own truth and recognize that it applies to me and no one else. But sometimes the evangelical zeal grabs hold.

The holidays are soon upon us. My children and KK (and the dog!) arrive tonight for a two week visit. I think it's time to stop convincing for awhile. We often try to convince others primarily as a way to convice ourselves. I don't want to do that anymore. I'm happy with where I am in life. I don't need to convince myself or anyone else of that. I think the best convincing I can do now will come through the example of a life lived fully and honestly.

Bear with me will I try to find a new voice.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Decision 2006

I voted today on a fancy new electronic voting machine. Here's hoping my vote actually gets counted.

I marked my ballot as follows:

U.S. Senate: ("Boss") Bob Menendez (D)
U.S. House, 8th District-NJ: Bill Pascrell (D)
Essex County Executive: Joseph D. Vincenzo (D)

Property Tax Reform: YES
Preserved Open Space Amendment to State Constitution: YES
Gasoline Tax Reallocation Amendment to State Constitution: YES

In many years, I might have considered voting for Sen. Menendez's Republican challenger, Tom Kean, Jr. But not this year with control of the Senate hanging in the balance.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Same-Sex Marriage and Polygamy

As you might have seen, the commments following my rant about anti-gay Republican campaign tactics evolved into a discussion of same-sex marriage. My friend Scot has responded to comments left by my friend Jason comparing same-sex marriage and polygamy.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Last Saturday some friends and I celebrated my 35 years on the planet and my year out of the closet. We ate, drank, and were merry!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Despise the GOP

I'm not sure than anyone who reads this blog much cares for my periodic political rants, but that's not going to stop me from making one.

It's no secret that I'm a Democrat. That wasn't always the case. As recently as 2004 I was a registered Republican in New York state (though I've been moving steadily to the left in my politics since about 2001). But I am a Democrat now, and next Tuesday I'll be casting my vote for Bob Menendez in the hopes that he will be a part of a Democratic majority in the United States Senate. On issues ranging from tax policy to immigration to homeland security to the war in Iraq, my views are better represented by the Democrats than the GOP. Plus, I'm sick to death of hearing Republicans demonize those who oppose the Bush Administration's strategy (or lack thereof) in Iraq and the fight against global terrorism as unpatriotic cowards at best, traitors at worst.

But one issue makes my blood boil: GOP hypocrisy on gay rights. As others have pointed out of late, demonizing gays and fighting same-sex marriage is a tried-and-true Republican campaign tactic. And with the recent court ruling in New Jersey granting gay couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, Republican anti-gay rhetoric has been turned up several notches. President Bush has been leading the way in fighting to "protect" "traditional" marriage.

Nevermind that I have yet to hear a coherent and convincing argument about how homosexuals wanting to make a commitment to each other is anti-family or threatens the marriages of heterosexual couples. (Indeed, given that many gay men and women are parents, I think opposition to gay marriage is the true anti-family position.) President Bush has perfected the art of demonizing his political opponents, so it's pretty easy to dismiss his rhetoric as a simple manifestation of his propensity to adopt immoral and dishonest campaign tactics.

What infuriates is that the GOP does this while relying on the talents and skills of gays and lesbians to, among other things, run the House of Representatives, implement global health policy, advise members of Congress and manage their staffs, and manage its political campaigns. I'm tempted to condemn those gays and lesbians who work for politicians and policymakers who demonize them and stand in opposition to granting them equality in their relationships. But my scorn is reserved instead for the GOP leaders, from President Bush to Senator Rick Santorum (whose chief spokesman is gay) to Karl Rove (whose adoptive father was gay), who so callously use these people for political gain while stomping on their dignity and humanity.

When I was living life in the closet, passing as a straight man, it was easy for me to not care much about all of this. Now that I am acutely aware that I as a gay man am a target of such hateful politics, I find it much harder to swallow. I see activism in my future.