According to an article posted on the L.A. Times website yesterday, Supreme Court is likely to rule on Prop. 8, DOMA on Wednesday, it seems these major cases will be decided today amid “a media frenzy.”
The court issued a major ruling striking down part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and two smaller cases involving property rights and adoption rights.
But the most intensely awaited decisions will be handed down on the last day of the term amid what is likely to be a media frenzy.
Those cases are expected to decide the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the California referendum banning gay marriage, and a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that blocks legally married gay couples from receiving federal benefits.
To say this is a big deal is a gross understatement. It’s nerve-wracking, quite frankly. But we’ve come a long way.
Retired call girl and blogger Maggie McNeill also retweeted a story I’d never heard before until yesterday. In Remembering the UpStairs Lounge: The U.S.A.’s Largest LGBT Massacre Happened 40 Years Ago Today, writer “Terry Firma” recalls the 1973 horror.
That Sunday, dozens of members of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), the nation’s first gay church, founded in Los Angeles in 1969, got together [at the Upstairs Lounge] for drinks and conversation. It seems to have been an amiable group. The atmosphere was welcoming enough that two gay brothers, Eddie and Jim Warren, even brought their mom, Inez, and proudly introduced her to the other patrons. Beer flowed. Laughter filled the room.
Just before 8:00p, the doorbell rang insistently. To answer it, you had to unlock a steel door that opened onto a flight of stairs leading down to the ground floor. Bartender Buddy Rasmussen, expecting a taxi driver, asked his friend Luther Boggs to let the man in. Perhaps Boggs, after he pulled the door open, had just enough time to smell the Ronsonol lighter fluid that the attacker of the UpStairs Lounge had sprayed on the steps. In the next instant, he found himself in unimaginable pain as the fireball exploded, pushing upward and into the bar.
The ensuing 15 minutes were the most horrific that any of the 65 or so customers had ever endured — full of flames, smoke, panic, breaking glass, and screams.
MCC assistant pastor George “Mitch” Mitchell escaped, but soon returned to try to rescue his boyfriend, Louis Broussard. Both died in the fire, their bodies clinging together in death, like a scene from the aftermath of Pompeii.
The story recalls the events that transpired after the tragedy; how bodies went unclaimed and churches refused to bury or memorialize the dead.
When the Rev. William Richardson, of St. George’s Episcopal Church, agreed to hold a small prayer service for the victims, about 80 people attended, but many more complained about Richardson to Iveson Noland, the Episcopalian bishop of New Orleans. Noland reportedly rebuked Richardson for his kindness, and the latter received volumes of hate mail.
There is a saying, “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” Hate is a kind of disease. It’s a tragic fate for anyone consumed by it. We’ve come a long way but we have a long way to go, still. Regardless of your religious beliefs and personal issues, it is not okay to legislate people’s rights away. Proposition 8 is an embarrassment. I don’t pray in the traditional sense, but I do make deep, meditative wishes and I really hope decisions made today bring us closer to eliminating blind hate for what is simply the basic human need to express love and ceremoniously celebrate it with loved ones.
* Watch the trailer for the forthcoming documentary about the UpStairs Lounge Massacre here.
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