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48 States Join Westboro Suit

Right-wing

By Julia Rosen

Fred Phelps’ band of attention hungry LGBT loathing Westboro Baptist Church got it in their heads that American soldiers were dying in Iraq because gay people exist, or something equally loathsome. They got in the habit of protesting military funerals, including Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder’s funeral, who at age 20 was killed in Iraq. His father Albert Snyder sued the Westboro Baptist Church for emotional distress caused by the protesters.

Now 48 states have joined the lawsuit, which of course is centered around First Amendment concerns. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. AP via Joe Sudbay.

Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have submitted a brief to the Supreme Court in support of a father who sued anti-gay protesters over their demonstration at the 2006 funeral of his son, a Marine killed in Iraq.

Only Virginia and Maine declined to sign the brief by the Kansas attorney general.

Joe points out that Virginia’s AG is a right-wing nut and it is unclear why Maine declined to join the case.

There is nothing Westboro loves more than attention, no matter how negative, so I’m sure they are tickled pink with this news. Now if only the Supreme Court will let them be stuck with a massive amount of damages and put them out of business.

84 Comments

  • 1. Monty  |  June 2, 2010 at 5:09 am

    As an ex-lawyer, Phelps puts a lot of effort into making sure everything they do is technically legal. I won't be surprised if he manages to worm his way out of this.

  • 2. Jon  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Lawyers make mistakes too. This time, Phelps may have written a check he can't cash.

  • 3. Monty  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:16 am

    I certainly hope so. It's about time karma caught up to him.

  • 4. Andy  |  June 10, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Checks? BOUNCE, BABY! BOUNCE! I hope he crashes and burns big!

  • 5. Bob  |  June 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    just got to chime in on this one, off the cuff it strikes me on an emotional level, and I want revenge, let the show begin.
    but true to my nature I'm always for the underdog, so he has his freedom of speach.
    but then what about his psychiatric illness, has that been diagnosed, or could he in some way be forced to, I mean is he psychologically able to take the stand in supreme court, I mean in essence arguing with a psychopath seems a little beneath the supreme court. so I would hope in some way this would force him into some situation fo get medical attention.
    He has finally got what he wants, a court case basically against the country, as screwed up as his thiniking is about gays, his statements are basically true, and very much in favour of the coutries we are at war with, I mean the western democracy does mean eqaultity for gays, and he's against that. as are the eastern countries, and Africa, that wants to put us to death.

    so he has become like a terrorist, anti war and anti government,

    The U.S. cannot let this continue, win or loose, this type of behavior must be questioned, and in doing so they are asserting themselves gov't against reliigion, which I LOVE, in any form it takes, they are doing it to protect their own interests. Wonder if the LBGT community could join the suit to bring our side into it.

    In any case his behavior has too much possibility of turning hatred into action left unchecked it could spell disaster.

    Another way to let this esplode on itself is to bring action against the Baptist Church as a whole, and see how fast they take action and seperate themselves from him.

    Here's hoping all actions result in finally getting the man the help he needs.

  • 6. Kathleen  |  June 2, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    No one "takes the stand" in Supreme Court cases. The only person who participates in oral arguments is the attorney representing the party (e.g., whatever attorney is representing the WBC). Generally, one of the lawyers members of the Phelps clan handle their court cases, but I don't know if any of them are admitted as members of the US Supreme Court bar.

  • 7. Kathleen  |  June 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Apparently, it's a non-member who represented the WBC in the original jury trial. I don't know if he's taken/taking the case through the appeals stages. http://www.katzjustice.com/justiceblog/archives/8

  • 8. Jim  |  June 5, 2010 at 3:43 am

    Westboro Baptist Church has absolutely NO relationship with the Baptist Church (either Southern Baptist or American Baptist). Much as I am not a fan of the Baptist church, you do them a grave disservice by pretending that this person (who considers himself a messiah) is any relation.

  • 9. Richard A. Walter (s  |  June 5, 2010 at 3:50 am

    In fact, they have no affiliation with ANY Baptist convention anywhere at all. They are only calling themselves Baptist. Several groups rightly have them listed as a cult.

  • 10. Bob  |  June 5, 2010 at 5:16 am

    I know, or at least think it's clear that Wesboro, is not representative or affiliated with any mainstream Baptist entity, we on this blog know that, but what about everyone else.

    Why would we worry about doing the Baptist Church a disservice, by affiliating the two, surely they can stand up for themselves and make the distinction, to clear things up.

    This is the reality in most religions, they are broken into sects, or synods, or offshoots, so that no one can be sure anymore, truly they create religious communities to lfulfill their own needs, Same as Lutheran or Anglican, both of those religions, are broken up so that one could find a Church of that ilk that would support LGBT people, and also the same religion has churches that would ally themselves with Westboro in all manner except flanting their hatred.
    What could be helpfull in this situation is for Baptists to be forced into a situation of explaining these differences, and begin a disclosure about the rift or changes taking place in most religions regarding these issues.
    The churches themselves are divided encouraging some sense of evolution in belief and practice.
    What distinguishes Westboro Baptist from other Baptist churches, again, this is an open question to the Baptist Church, and one which could be squarely planted before them, to clarify.

  • 11. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 2, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Well, we are not idiots and we can see right through those WBC followers: of course, gays' existence has nothing to do with wars our governments start and terrorists they have to deal with and want to bring to justice! It's all about making tolerant people stop tolerating us, aggravating anti-gay sentiments.

    They hope that families of those servicemen will be upset about WBC's protests, and eventually will hate gays for that. Because, you know, you can't forbid those “religious” people from spending the Gospel, so you have to go deeper and forbid the gays themselves — so that any religious protest would stop.

    I seriously doubt that will stop our countries from fighting in wars or losing servicemen… but who cares about the truth when they have the Bible in their hands, right?

    K

  • 12. Monty  |  June 2, 2010 at 5:32 am

    The mantra of religion: "If the facts don't fit your hypothesis, change the facts."

  • 13. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 2, 2010 at 6:40 am

    You can tell you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
    — Anne Lamott

  • 14. Monty  |  June 2, 2010 at 6:42 am

    "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." – Susan B. Anthony.

  • 15. Monty  |  June 2, 2010 at 6:58 am

    And some Gandhi to top it off: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

  • 16. Kathleen  |  June 2, 2010 at 5:32 am

    UPDATE
    D-Is (Proponents) have filed a Motion for a Sealing Order w/ an Amended Motion to Supplement the Record. http://www.scribd.com/doc/32397718/Doc-673

    This is basically a replacement motion for their earlier request to enter documents into evidence. Proponents indicate that after continued talks with the ACLU and Equality California, they have come to an agreement about which documents can be placed in the public record (i.e. not subject to confidentiality agreements). There are two groups of evidence – those which are completely public and those which must have portions redacted before becoming public.

    There are a number of attachments to this document, including lists of documents (indicated only by exhibit number), an Amended Motion to Supplement the Record, and a Proposed Order for Walker's signature.

    The Amended Motion does include brief descriptions of the documents being submitted and in some cases a direct quote of the document. This is the best information to date we've had about the evidence they want to submit.

    Proponents state in their Motion to Supplement that the evidence is relevant to 4 aspects of the case:
    1. The relative political power of gays and lesbians”
    2. The history of discrimination gays and lesbians have faced
    3. The "actual practice" of the gay and lesbian community with respect to domestic partnership and marriage
    4. The voters’ motivation or motivations for supporting Prop 8, including advertisements and ballot literature considered by California voters

    The first two points (political power, history of discrimination) go to the question of whether or not g&ls are a "suspect class" and what should be the appropriate standard of judicial review. The third point (actual practice) seems to be addressing the question of the "actual harm" plaintiffs have suffered by being denied marriage (though it seems to me, they're arguing about the entire class of g&l, rather than these specific plaintiffs). The documents submitted for the fourth point (voter motivation), according to Proponents, "demonstrate that opponents to Proposition 8 were aware of and recognized the force of pro-Proposition 8 arguments."

  • 17. Monty  |  June 2, 2010 at 5:35 am

    I'm not entirely sure what that last point means. Are they saying we knew that people would be easily convinced by them?

  • 18. Kathleen  |  June 2, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Monty, I don't really understand that last point either.

    Voter intent is intertwined with the question of the motive behind the Prop 8 campaign. Even with the least restrictive standard of review, the law must be for a "legitimate" state interest. Part of Plaintiffs' argument is that passage of Prop 8 was driven primarily by religious beliefs and animus toward g&ls, neither of which are legitimate state interests. With that in the background, the question of what motivated the initiative and what messages were being sent to the public by the Yes-on-8 campaign would be relevant.

    But here Proponents seem to be saying that the No-on-8 campaign understood the messages and simply couldn't counter them. And if you look at the evidence being offered on this point, it's things like "email to ACLU’s Matt Coles stating that 'Kids are a loser for us. The more I’ve thought about this the less comfortable I am fighting on their turf. I’m not sure we can win.” I don't see how that, in any way, refutes the claim that the motive behind the campaign and the substance of the ads run by proponents were animus toward g&ls, based on inaccurate and inflammatory stereotypes.

    Anyone else have thoughts on this? I'll be watching the blog to see what the legal analysts have to say.

    I wonder what the admission of this evidence means in terms of the progression of the trial. Will plaintiffs just allow this to be admitted, with no basis established, and with no opportunity to respond to the documents by their own witnesses? And if Walker determines that it should be admitted, does that mean we re-open testimony?

  • 19. Monty  |  June 2, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Yeah, that sounds more like a realization that people are susceptible to propaganda than an admission that we can't counter it. In fact, wasn't that argument thoroughly refuted in the trial? So obviously we do have an answer.

  • 20. Jim  |  June 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I think you're talking about the Prop 8 trial. This diary is about the WBC suit going before the Supreme Court.

  • 21. Kathleen  |  June 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Yes, Jim, we're discussing the UPDATE to the trial posted above, specifically documents filed with the court today by the Prop 8 Proponents.

  • 22. David Kimble  |  June 3, 2010 at 2:54 am

    I don't pretend to have any answers to the question of the 4th point, except that this may be a way of getting to the larger point raised in the trial related to the animus argument. <3 David

  • 23. Straight Grandmother  |  June 3, 2010 at 4:07 am

    Kathleen, I read the docs and at first had a sinking feeling in my stomach. But then after thinking about it got a bit more calm. None of the authors of these dos are PhD's who have researched and written peer reviewed research papers. I kind of view these docs as more or less hearsey.

    One area that seems vunerable is the political powerless point our expert testified to. However in this case, each politician only had one vote just like joe the plumber had one vote, as this was a referendum. It was not law coming out of the legislature where 1 vote out of 200 is important, it was a one man one vote out of millions of votes piece of legislation. So what if rightly, a bunch of politicians were on our side, those politicians only had one vote out of how many millions cast. We ARE still politicly powerless becasue we (well not me, but you know I am a supporter) ARE a minority and cannot muster enough votes of the majority of hetrosexauls.

    While not in any way good for our side of the case, I do not think these docs sink us. What do you think? The case is about Kristine Perry & the other 3 gays who want to marry. The docs show someone at the ACLU or Equality California writing that all gays are just fine with Domestic Partnerships and don't really seek marriage. Well this case is not about them, this case is about Kristine Perry & the 3 others who DO want to marry, they are the Plaintiffs, this case is about those 4 who want to marry. The Plaintiffs are only those four not the millions of GLBT's in the state of Claifornia. And those four want to get married. I don't think these docs will hurt us that bad, not given by experts, not peer reviewed, more or less just heresay, IMHO.

    The one stupid decision the leadership did do was cave in about the campaign and how this will harm children and they decided to do nothing about that slam. IMHO this lost them the referendum. This issue should have been hit back much much harder. These docs show that our side did not have the stomach to bring kids into the mix. Dumb, dumb, dumb desision.

  • 24. Kathleen  |  June 3, 2010 at 4:41 am

    SG, I have to admit I haven't had time to go over this motion very carefully; I just skimmed it before posting, just enough to describe it for the trial trackers here. So I don't really have much to offer.

    But, as to the issue of political powerlessness, keep in mind the context of the argument. The claim that g&ls lack political power has to do with showing that glbt people are a "suspect class" and therefore any law discriminating against them should be subject to heightened scrutiny by the courts. The fact that each political figure only had one vote doesn't really counter the argument D-Is are making (that glbt people have strong political allies). I'm not saying that D-Is necessarily prove their point here, only that their evidence could be relevant.

    I agree that the whole thing about "gays don't want marriage" is irrelevant – these plaintiffs want it and that, at least on its face, is what this suit is about.

    And the question of "the children" – yes, I think the political campaign may have made a tactical error in side-stepping this issue. In fairness, they didn't entirely ignore it, but I think more should have been done. But I'm the first to admit it's much easier second-guessing after the fact than it likely was making these decisions in the heat of the campaign.

  • 25. Ronnie  |  June 2, 2010 at 5:45 am

    I am so over the WBC & their drama…. : / ….Ronnie

  • 26. Straight Ally #3008  |  June 2, 2010 at 6:00 am

    REPOST!

    [youtube =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8cN2pB3MCE&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

  • 27. Straight Grandmother  |  June 3, 2010 at 4:08 am

    Straight Ally, this is SOOOOOO funny. First time I saw it. ROTFLMAO.

  • 28. eDee  |  June 2, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Maine declined because we are out of touch with the real world!
    Many people here are still convinced that all child molesters are gay males who couldn't get a date for the prom. My sister once said "It’s ridiculous to become gay because of a failed relationship." Ignorance around here runs rampant and it gets worse as you move north. The northern half of Maine needs to be air lifted to the Bible belt and allow the rest of us to live in peace and free of ignorance.
    I wish we could vote the Catholic Church out of Maine.

  • 29. Joe  |  June 3, 2010 at 3:25 am

    not the entire northern half. I'm from the Bangor area and we at UMaine are very opposed to institutions like WBC.

    I agree that Maine is out of touch with the real world, though. We've got a lot of problems up here from poor education, unintelligent government, religious nuts and so on.

    When you're all done with the WBC, please feel free to come up here and give us a hand cleaning up the place.

  • 30. Kathleen  |  June 2, 2010 at 7:15 am

    UPDATE: P-I City and County of San Francisco is asking to review portions of the trial video for possible use in closing arguments. http://www.scribd.com/doc/32403541/Doc-674

  • 31. Kathleen  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:07 am

    And plaintiffs have also requested a copy of the trial recording to review for possible use in closing arguments. http://www.scribd.com/doc/32406695/Doc-675

  • 32. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:09 am

    The whole trial!?
    Somebody has got to steal it and release it on the interwebs!
    Would have been awesome!

  • 33. Monty  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:10 am

    More secret things than that have made it to the public. If there's someone with the ability and desire, it'll happen.

  • 34. Kathleen  |  June 2, 2010 at 11:27 am

    So far, no similar request by D-Is, and the deadline was 5pm (PDT) today.

  • 35. Jon  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Amicus briefs carry weight. Phelps may finally get his comeuppance here.

  • 36. kenneth  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:20 am

    I disagree with the articles assesment of the case. WBC has every right to protest where ever they want under the first amendment, as should they.

  • 37. Monty  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Protest? I'd say harassment is a more appropriate word. Freedom of speech has limits.

  • 38. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:39 am

    @Kenneth
    How would you feel if they came to the funeral of some of your relatives (who was not gay) and were saying they are HAPPY your relative is dead because God killed him/her for your government's sins to support gays? There have got to be limits to insanity you call freedom of speech!

  • 39. Monty  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:42 am

    In another situation, I might tolerate it, but a funeral is a really vulnerable time for most people, and they cause serious emotional damage for no legitimate purpose.

  • 40. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Exactly, Monty!
    Nobody's saying that they should not protest at all… They do that a lot, at high school plays, at the roads… Nobody cares — they have the right to do that, we have the right to ignore that. But the funerals! For goodness sake!

  • 41. kenneth  |  June 2, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    freedom means fight to let the guy accross the room shoot at the top of his voice that whitch you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours

  • 42. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 2, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    @Kenneth

    There is difference of opinion on some political issue, and then there is hatred-driven animus against a whole class of people expressed in words that are deliberate lies, and everybody knows those are lies!

    Do you think that saying African-American people are monkeys living on the trees is acceptable in our society? Not that long ago it was acceptable, and I'm sure there were those who protected these people's right to do so because of the First Amendment, just like now you are protecting Phelps's right to say those lies about GLBs.

    But where is the line that separates freedom of speech from affront? Where is my freedom of not being publicly insulted and humiliated for no reason at all but simply being who I am? Where is my right to live my life loving the person of my choice without that persecution resulting from those kinds of speeches defaming me for nothing wrong I have done?

    The way I see it, that kind of language in no better than a crime against a random person chosen solely based on one's affiliation with a certain minor group of people — these crimes we call hate crimes! And hate speech is one of those crimes for a very good reason — not only does it insult and humiliate that particular group of people, it also triggers hatred and animus against those people in hearts and minds of those who otherwise would probably not succumb to that kind of attitudes towards that minority. Thus, hate speech poses a real danger to innocent people, hence protecting those people's lives is more important than protecting certain people's right to express certain deceitful and malicious opinions that have no merit and no purpose other than spreading hatred for the sake of spreading hatred! In My Humble Gay Opinion.

    Kirill, Russia

  • 43. Monty  |  June 4, 2010 at 5:21 am

    I said before, I'm not opposed to their freedom of speech. But that freedom is context-dependent. You have the freedom to shout "fire," but not in a crowded theater. They have the freedom to spew their vitriol, but not by crashing a private event.

  • 44. Richard A. Walter (s  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:47 am

    WBC has the right to protest at public functions. And I don't care how you slice it, Kenneth, a funeral is NEVER a public function. Especially not a funeral for one of our brave men and women who have paid the ultimate price for GWB's "Holy War" to make sure his oil buddies can have all the money they want.

  • 45. Jon  |  June 7, 2010 at 8:04 am

    You are mistaken. The courts have repeatedly upheld restrictions on time, place, and manner of expression.

  • 46. Richard A. Walter (s  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Amen, Julia. After all, it is not only LGBTQQIA"s that Westboro Baptist hates. They hate Jews, people of color, other Baptists, Catholics–if the truth be known, I think they even hate themselves. After all, when Rabbi Yoshua ben Yosef of Nazareth stated that his followers were to love their neighbors as themselves, that implies that one must first love oneself. Otherwise you cannot love anyone else.

  • 47. Lesbians Love Boies  |  June 4, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Very well said Richard!

  • 48. Mark M  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Well I hope if and when a tape surfaces it's not until after the trial concludes so as not to screw anything up.

  • 49. Mark M  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:54 am

    More Than Half Of Tea Party Supporters Say Gays And Lesbians Have Too Much Political Power
    (POLL)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/02/tea-part

    Are they serious??????

  • 50. Monty  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:55 am

    "Tea Party Supporters"
    Found the problem.

  • 51. Ronnie  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:59 am

    You mean the White Party?……<3…Ronnie

  • 52. PamC  |  June 2, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    @Ronnie—rotflmao! I double-entendres!!

  • 53. PamC  |  June 2, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    sorry–supposed to be I *LOVE* double-entendres!!

  • 54. Straight Ally #3008  |  June 2, 2010 at 10:20 am

    It will be interesting to see how the Tea Party-endorsed GOP Senate candidates (Rand Paul in Kentucky, Marco Rubio in Florida) will fare. So far they haven't translated their movement into electoral success (one could argue that they were behind the election of Scott Brown, but he really hasn't identified himself as being in their camp).

  • 55. Richard A. Walter (s  |  June 2, 2010 at 10:26 am

    It is also interesting to note that here in NC, the NC GOP has pulled their help from Tim D'anunnzio in his race because of his Tea Party stance. He is filing a lawsuit against the NC GOP. I personally think it is funny to see all of these people who are starting to fall.

  • 56. Jim  |  June 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    A couple clarifications. Phelps was not at the funeral. He was outside in a "protest zone" set up for him. The family didn't even see or hear him the day of the funeral; instead they learned about it and saw the signs on television later.

    Look, this guy is scum. But he is within the 1st amendment. It's easy to protect the speech that supports kittens and ice cream. But if someone can be offended by what they see you say on television, and can sue you for personal emotional damages, then the 1st doesn't really mean much.

  • 57. PamC  |  June 2, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opin

    Interesting range of opinions nicely summarized here.

  • 58. Straight Grandmother  |  June 3, 2010 at 4:19 am

    Everything yio need to know about Fred Phelps and his family is in this shocking book. http://www.robertslevinson.com/gaylesissues/featu

  • 59. Straight Grandmother  |  June 3, 2010 at 6:25 am

    @Krill (er you know I man K!r!lleXXI ha-ha) I'm bringing this up again because I have now been reading your posts for 6 monhs, I just don't believe you are a real live Russian. I think it must be some fantasy alter ego or something. You claim to be what, 23 years old, a native Russian, never studied outside your country? Learned most of your English via the internet, yet your writings in English and your sources that you quote are beyond what most posters (American posters) write. Sometimes I wonder if you are not some type of law enforcement infiltrator who's job it is, is to monitor the gay community looking for illegal subversive activity. Kind of like how law inforcement infiltrates the white supremisists, to keep an eye on them. You are so busted!!! LOL! I don't know what your real story is, but this persona you have going on here is a doosy.

  • 60. Kathleen  |  June 3, 2010 at 6:30 am

    @SG, I hope you're kidding. But in case you're not, I can vouch for Kirille being a real live Russian. There are others who contribute here regularly who can also. Respect for privacy prevents me from saying more than that, but if my word means anything to you, I assure you he's "real."

  • 61. Mark M.  |  June 3, 2010 at 6:44 am

    @ SG: That is so funny because I was thinking the same or similar LOL
    His English is better than many other natural born US posters here.
    LOL

  • 62. Dpeck  |  June 3, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Hee hee. I sometimes image that K!r!lleXXI, Kathleen and a couple of the other regular posters here are some sort of secret group of international gay superheroes, kinda like the X-Men : )

  • 63. Kathleen  |  June 3, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Drat! Our cover's been blown (don't tell NOM, FRC, etc).

  • 64. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 3, 2010 at 7:51 am

    @Straight Grandmother

    Oh, not again! 🙂
    I'm Kirill, not Kril the fish, by the way. 🙂 I'm 25.
    Yes, I'm a native Russian, and no, I've never been outside the former USSR.

    I've been watching American television for almost 4 years now — I have a job that allows me to waste my time on this, so I've had plenty of time to do just that, believe me… there is nothing else a young gay nerd can do over here… nothing but reach out to those who would treat you better than your own people in your own country (so I thought, and here we go… *facepalm*).

    Also, I have been majorly clinically depressed for years, and depression leads to obsessions… English became my obsession… I have an American online boyfriend who I've met on this very blog. He knows everything about my identity. [I love you very much, F (though I know you don't read this blog these days)!] He figured out how seriously depressed I have been and that that is why I became so fluent in English — it was my way of distancing myself from the grim reality of being gay in homophobic Russia.

    I was born in one of the Soviet republics, so I knew both Russian and local languages. They say children who knew more than one language at a certain age can learn additional languages easier and are better at it. That's the explanation (apart from my depression-driven obsession and my natural linguistic interests)! Also, I'm a nerd, a former straight-A student (not bragging, just explaining). I'm like those weirdos (in the best meaning of that word) who just get it — chemical formulas, math, physics, or whatever else is too hard for the majority of people to get… I get the language, just like that. Is that so hard to believe?

    Whatever you think, I have a man in my life who loves me exactly for who I am — and that's more than enough for me!

    Sources that I quote — they are all over the internet, they also come from TV and from news reports I have access to… I'm kinda into this whole gay rights thing, you know; so, of course, I'm trying to be up to date and informed not to look stupid and ignorant (I do not have a desire to take the Bible in my hands and say, “It's all there, people, just read it and then repent!”). I believe in truth and logic, in love and compassion, in freedom and independence — but in order to follow this path and always stay on the true side I should be smart and witty, educated and enlightened, with irrefutable arguments and facts in my hands, not the Bible… facts that will be strong enough and convincing enough to change people's hearts and minds; and maybe one day I will be able to prove my parents that I'm no monster they wish was stillborn… because, no matter what, I still want them to love me, to know the truth about me, and to be at peace with who I am and who I chose to love and to marry.

    Why do I care so much about the gays in the US if I live in Russia? Well, at first it was just a general interest and a fight that has been on its peak — these are the times when everything is changing so rapidly, and yet so slowly… these are the times when my rainbow brothers and sisters come out to everyone only to be shunned and rejected, but they survive and fight for the better future for themselves, their families, their children, and coming generations of rainbow people! I envy that chance they have and I know I cannot do the same in Russia, for I am pretty much all alone here. But I see that freedom of information really works in the States, and that's why I enjoy this freedom I cannot enjoy in my country. And the other reason is that, now that I'm in love with an American man, I want to marry him, to start a family with him, to adopt kids… and finally break free from Russia that will boil in this anti-gay surreal cereal for decades to come… I want a life that I never dared to even dream about! I wanna fight for that life, alongside of everybody else who fights for it every day, every minute, every second! We, the gays and allies, are connected now, we have a common cause and strength to do everything in our power to bring that day of full equality closer, and we are of great numbers!

    If I were some infiltrator, I would never have said I am Russian or in my mid-twenties… I wouldn't have said anything about that at all, letting people think what they assume about me! Don't you agree? It's funny how sometimes truth looks more like a lie, and a lie can look more like a truth… but that's just how things are… and that's why we have problems… It's easier to believe that gays are capable of molesting a child, than to believe their brain simply works differently, and there is nothing evil to it, nothing pervasive or criminal; and that brain is not malfunctioning — it's living and loving despite everything. And we know for a fact that we are normal people who want normal lives! We live, we love, we want to be a part of the bigger picture where we are no longer ignored or hated, but accepted and loved as everybody else because we deserve it!

    And that is my real story!

    Kirill, still insisting that he is from Russia, and, sadly, still in Russia, missing his beloved F

    P.S. My thanks go out to Kathleen (who actually sent me a "snail mail" letter to Russia) and to Dpeck (for a very flattering gay superheroes comparison)! OK, to Straight Grandmother and to Mark M., too — despite your suspicions, I appreciate your high praise of my language skills!

  • 65. Mark M.  |  June 3, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Kirill: My 'suspicions' as you put it were I assure you all tongue in cheek (not real but rather a joke)

    I applaude your ability to learn a language as hard as English can be, so quickly……envious actually.
    Thank you for the long post and explaination but honestly it wasn't needed as I know for myself I was just pulling your leg so to speak.
    I am very sorry if I did infact offend you.

  • 66. Dpeck  |  June 3, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Wow. You knocked it right out of the park yet again, kKrill! (That's a good thing). If there is anything we can do to help get this guy out of Russia and over here in the States someone please let me know. If for nothing more than purely selfish reasons, I NEED guys like this over here helping to fight for my rights. Get this guy in front of a network news camera and just let him speak about this issue.

  • 67. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 3, 2010 at 8:58 am

    @Dpeck

    Wow, thank you for offering your help! I'm very touched! We've consulted immigration lawyers — turns out, it's easier to get to the States illegally, rather than legally: US government is not particularly fond of Russians (we're all spies, you know! don't tell anyone!), and, as we perfectly know, it's also not fond of gays, so this lethal combination doesn't work out for me at all.

    Back when we thought there is a good chance for me to immigrate, I was thinking about coming over and joining all those non-profit groups, volunteering and doing everything I can for the cause. Alas, looks like I'll have to just speak out from here, for what it's worth.

  • 68. Straight Grandmother  |  June 4, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    @Kirill okay okay I must say YOU are AMAZING! Kathleen vouched for you so that is good enough for me. I send my affection and hopes you and your boyfriend can be together one day. Honeslty Kirill, your talents are truly AH-Mazing! I have a special request, how is your French? E mail me at "rox inred through yahoo mail" no spaces.

  • 69. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 5, 2010 at 6:55 am

    @Straight Grandmother

    I hope now you're satisfied!
    Thank you for your kind words!
    I, too, hope F and I be together soon!
    I do not know French (though I thought of learning it to score extra points to immigrate to Canada), but F speaks it fairly.
    Email — will do!

    K@RU

  • 70. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 3, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Thank you, Mark! I understand you were rather joking and I am in no way offended by anyone's words, not yours, not Granny's! On the contrary, it is a praise to me, I wasn't being sarcastic! Really!

    I've been learning English since 1996 (11 yo), so it's nothing extraordinary.

    The long post was mostly for the Granny — she has a hard time believing me, she did mention that several months ago (by the way, it hasn't been 6 months as she stated — I began commenting on February, 19, so it's only 3.5 months).

  • 71. G Rod  |  June 4, 2010 at 10:13 am

    @K!r!lleXXI I know of three Russians in our Canadian city and I have no reason to know of any.
    Access to Canada may be much easier than the USA, given it has had a significantly milder recession (i.e. unemployment rate lower). Sexual orientation is comparatively a non-issue in all provinces and Armed Services. SSM is not an issue, available in all jurisdictions. Apparently it’s a significantly less religious, diverse, and more tolerant society. But there are 'phoebes' here as well. Canada's politician orientation more accepting of collectivism than American tradition, with lower identification with political parties. However on many matters/life styles, a North American outlook is shared.

    Immigrating to Canada may be a step to getting into the US. And you could visit your American friends, or they you.

  • 72. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 5, 2010 at 5:10 am

    @G Rod

    Funny you should mention Canada. I was looking into the possibility of moving to Canada months ago, before I've met my someone special. Canada has points system: you need to get 67 points out of 100 to qualify for permanent residency. By my estimations, I was 4 points short. Other ways were either not for me, or required having a job offer with a very complicated process from the employer who has to prove that one doesn't take jobs from local applicants and that I'm the only person for this job — that is not so easy to do when you don't know anyone in Canada who would be interested in going through this very complicated and expensive process.

    I've heard many good things about Canada and, frankly, would have been honored to become a Canadian. If my boyfriend were Canadian, we would probably already have been married and I would have been there, with him, because of the obvious spousal benefits that Canada grants married same-sex couples. Alas, life is never that easy.

    Bottom line, we're looking into different possibilities, and Canadian residency is one of those that are not off the table.

    K@RU

  • 73. ErickJ  |  June 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    The 1st amendment allows a person to say whatever they want about the goverment and its practices…not individual citizens, and not whenever they feel like it. For example, I could say that I hate hershey’s chocolate because eating it gave me diarrhea. If I create a website that says hershey’s causes diarrhea, and it causes sales of hershey’s chocolate to fall, I could be sued for slander. Even though I may truely believe it was the chocolate that caused it, and not the fact that I ate too much of it, I am not allowed to meliciously target another entity in this country with my words because I simple don’t like it

  • 74. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 3, 2010 at 5:37 am

    @ErickJ
    Yep, and when Hershey’s company sues you for that, it wins, and you pay for slander. But when we sue Phelps, he wins and he gets the money for spreading slander…
    Which proves gays and lesbians are politically powerful!
    Oh, wait…

  • 75. Kathleen  |  June 3, 2010 at 5:39 am

    @ErickJ, The first amendment doesn't just protect speech about the government. You're correct that it's not absolute; there are limits. However, it is not limited to "the government and its practices."

    Classic case in point: Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell

  • 76. Bob  |  June 4, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    K!r!lleXXI Thanks for sharing your story, I appreciate it, and hope that other people can do the same as you, by joinging in discussion groups like this, and learn and share, and from that isolated place in which you exist, are able to reach out and feel a sense of community.
    For some of the Rainbow Tribe, this is the only solace available at the present time, but I'm sure we can say that this is far better than bein isolated without the internet for companionship and education. You are indeed a scholar offering enlightenment to others who may be lurking and learning, but still fear coming forward.
    You are not alone, I live in Canada, and still feel a vested interest in this U.S. lawsuit, as I feel it has the potential to affect Rainbow People everywhere.
    I always am encourage by your posts, we are conneected, (sometimes the truth sounds like a lie, and often a lie becomes an infallable truth) Rainbow People are indegenous to every sector of the human species, always have been, in spite of all attempts at anileation.
    Our sorrows and hardships are many, but that is the cost of membership in the Rainbow Tribe, take courage from that, I am proud to have you as a brother.
    Do you truly have no sense of community with others like us, at home, part of our fight is to identify these small hidden communites for companionship, surely there must be some sense of the underground movement in Russia, I'be heard stories of friends travelling, and their gaydar always uncovers others even in Russia.
    I know you are not seeking sex, but from that perspective you can always stike up a convesat6ion. where do they hide in your motherland?

  • 77. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 5, 2010 at 6:34 am

    @Bob

    If only those other gay people in my country were fluent in English… you don't come across that very often, believe me. That's why sometimes I am uneasy — I feel like I should be sharing this information with my Russian rainbow compadres, however, we are so marginalized and isolated; most of us, I'm sure, do not even try to find any information about that, ignoring “this thing” like I have been for over 5 years.

    Really: I had internet access, but I didn't even try to read on homosexuality or anything, I just didn't want to know what I thought would be the tough truth that it is a horrible mental disease turning people into sexual predators… I didn't wanna know that! I preferred to be in the dark, thinking that if I ignore this, I will never become one of those people I'm supposed to turn into, according to those classifications of mental disorders (I saw one that said homosexuality is a form of sexual perversion, and it was published in early 2000s in Russia).

    This is what the society's disapproval and lies being passed off as science do to young people who do not see anything else. That is why we cannot reach out to those who try to ignore this part of themselves. They have to see it for themselves, like I saw those gays being more or less fairly portrayed on American television, as normal human beings who are misunderstood and under-appreciated.

    Yes, our sorrows and hardships are many, that is why we have gay pride. I've heard many people say, “Why they are so proud of being gay? There is nothing to be proud of!” Well, we are proud because we are alive, because we are fighting for our rights, because we are not ignoring who we are, not running from ourselves, not lying to ourselves in order to feel better (like those anti-gay closet cases do), not agreeing that we are inferior to heterosexuals, not letting the haters break our spirits — this is what we are proud of, not of simply being the way we were born like many people erroneously think!

    Underground movements? Well, if there is a movement, it's probably not so much underground (it's not illegal to be gay in Russia or to have same-sex sex since 1993), what is underground is hook-ups in public restrooms and parks, I suppose… also in cars and rarely in houses… I looked up my city on craigslist (men seeking men section), purely out of curiosity, so I know what I'm talking about here…

    As for gaydar uncovering gays in Russia… well, duh… we're everywhere, whether we like it or not… I see them gay boys sometimes myself, but I do not trust my gaydar that much, and am not gonna try to confront anyone with accusations of being Dorothy's friend. 🙂

    You're right, I'm not seeking sex anywhere. I'm truly in love for the first time in my life, and being a virgin, I would prefer to be cherry-picked by my beloved man when he finally visits me in Russia.

    K@RU

  • 78. Ernest  |  June 6, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    It's disappointing that a blog dedicated to promoting civil rights is championing the limitation of first amendment rights of those with a minority opinion. Just because the vast majority of people find their words and actions to be revolting, doesn't mean that they should be punished for exercising their freedom of expression. You're being a bit hypocritical here, no?

  • 79. Dave P.  |  June 7, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I agree that it would be hypocritical to advocate denying them their legal rights, but if you re-read the posts here, hardy anyone is suggesting that this should be done. Instead, people are arguing that the actions of the WBC are going far BEYOND protected freedom of speech rights and are infringing on the rights of others by harassing captive audiences, advocating doing harm to minorities, etc.

    Now, the question of whether this is in fact the case is a valid question, and it is one that certainly has a place here for discussion, and there has been a good deal of back-and-forth on exactly this question. I don't see the problem with any of that.

    And there are several posts that loudly condemn the WBC for their actions, yet do not in fact advocate denying them their legal rights. No problem with that either.

  • 80. Jeremy  |  June 14, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    In all honesty i kind of take issue with people taking a protest to court. Part of what makes the free world free, is the fact that we have a right to offend. The only way i would be ok with this case being won, would be if it was based on the slander it self, and not the protest.

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