Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why I handcuffed myself to the White House fence.

I have been asked by some “Why did you handcuff yourself to the White House fence?” In brief because 1) DADT is an evil policy that strips LGBTQ people of their human dignity, and 2) President Obama can make a difference right now. As an article in the Washington Blade states:

One Senate Democratic aide, who spoke to the Washington Blade on condition of anonymity, said repeal — currently pending before the U.S. Senate as part of the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill — is “barely hanging on with life support.”

“The only way to resuscitate this effort and get a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ vote is for President Obama and [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates to start pushing directly, something we on the Hill had expected the president and Gates to do long ago,” the aide said.

Asked whether Obama had made any phone calls to “swayable senators” such as Susan Collins (R-Maine), who voted “no” on moving forward with the defense authorization bill in September, Gibbs replied that he doesn’t believe the president has spoken to the Maine senator on the issue.

Amid doubts about whether the White House would push aggressively for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal this year, Senate leaders are reportedly considering dropping the repeal language from the defense authorization bill to move forward.

It is critical for LGBTQ people and the vast majority of Americans who support the repeal of DADT to know that its repeal, or failure to repeal, rests primarily on the shoulders of Barack Obama. If he fails to provide leadership on this issue and take effective and decisive action, DADT will be stripped from the appropriations bill and the discriminatory policy will continue in place.

Federal Judge Virginia Phillips has ruled DADT unconstitutional; however, Obama chose to appeal that ruling and actively sought a stay to Judge Phillips order that the Armed Forces immediately stop the enforcement of DADT.

The fact that DADT is still the law of the land is because President Obama has fought for it to remain in place. He claims that he has appealed Judge Phillips’ ruling on principle. If he now fails us again by choosing not to aggressively push for the repeal of DADT in the lame duck session, then we need to hold him responsible and accountable for this betrayal.

I handcuffed myself to the White House fence, because the current tenant is the person who can grant us or deny us justice. Direct Action places the spot light on him, not to damage him but to move him to doing the just and moral thing.


BigAssBelle said...

You're a hero, my friend.

In the Kitchen With Don said...

Yup, you are a hero! Thank you for standing up for what is decent and right. You are a good man and faithful priest.

wild hair said...

Thank you! Father Geoff!

All I can say, after all these years, is: "If not now, When?"

The president needs to come through, and not do another Shirley Sherrod. He needs to show that he means what he says.

No matter what the bishops say, this is a matter of truth and justice. The bishops remind me of another era when the bishops were said to be more the tail light than the head light.

Thank you, again, for your witness.

Mareczku said...

Wow! I am impressed. Thank you for your witness. God bless you.

Michael Dodd said...

Even before your name appeared in a news report, I recognized you in a photo. I am proud of you!

Joetx said...

Thank you for your sacrifice, Father Geoff.

Although I try to educate the people around me on LGBT issues, I don't think I could've done what you did, which was truly courageous.

Mary said...

You are my hero. I am a heterosexual Catholic teenager, but it is heartbreaking to witness intolerance on behalf of the church. I wholeheartedly believe that you did the right thing, and I thank you for that. God bless you, and thank you so much.

!%[*-:_P@ty_:-*]%! said...

It's been said already, but you are a hero indeed.

I'm a Catholic girl and I've always believed strongly in God, but it pains me to see how religion is sill used to support petty and narrow human mind-sets. Isn't religion (no matter which religion it is) lead you to a path of love and acceptance? Aren't we supposed to be a family? Instead religion and the Bible are used to defend hate against minorities and increase fear in pointless issues.

I admire your courage and I knew more people like you. I'm sure there are many, sadly it's mostly the negativity of our believes that is highlighted. In you I see the goodness that is still present in this world, and I thank you for standing up for the lgtb community. HUMANS that are still deserving of love and respect.

You're a good influence in this world. God bless you my friend. Thank you fro your dedication and beautiful soul. In these days, it's much appreciated.

Isabela R. said...

Hi! I'm brazilian, I'm gay and i heard about this on tumblr, and i think we should have more people like you! You're really a hero, so I wanna thank you for what you're doing, we're all by your side and God must be really proud of you, and so are we.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I have just heard about this on the internet.
I am neither American nor Catholic nor gay, but I am very impressed with your work and your courage. I live in a Catholic country (Austria) and we are absolutely lacking people like you, oherwise I might have a more positive attitude towards Catholicism. What I really want to say is, keep it up! You are a great inspiration a lot of people.

Tom said...

I am honored to be your friend. Thank you for your courageous witness.

piny said...

Dear Father Geoff,

I had no idea who you were until I found the picture of your arrest on a friend's tumblr.

I'm just dropping by to say thank you. This is heroic, and you should be proud.

Lorena said...

I just want to tell you that you are an amazing person with a great heart! It's beautiful to see a catholic (specially a Father!) defending LGBTQ rights. Keep doing what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Please continue to fight the good fight.
I'm an atheist who was raised in a devout catholic household, and I've never been able to understand how some people are more equal than others.
Thank you for fighting for what you know to be right, thank you for loving your neighbor, even if they are different.
Thanks for giving me a bit of hope yet! This is what being a christian should mean, but instead my view has been tainted over years and years of intolerance and hatred. But here you are, changing it.
Thanks <3

Little Rainbow Comics said...

Father Geoff! Wow - quite an act of protest and very admirable. While I am gay and believe the GLBT community should serve openly - I am afraid that even if DADT would be lifted many people would not come out due to fear of hate crimes, internal friction and 'bullying' for lack of a better word. My idea is that before DADT can be lifted a lot of time and resources needs to be spent on diversity training, not just on GLBT issues but religious, ethnic, cultural ideas - to help minimize severe reactions - prejudice will never go away but we can reduce the amount of negative feelings -I would like to lift DADT but only when its safer for our brothers and sisters so I feel keeping it in place is a mixed blessing. We're getting closer just not there yet...

Father Geoff said...

Dear Little Rainbow,

My political science professor said, “Laws are the codified mores of a people. If you want to know what a society believes, read their law codes.” In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. Social bigotry towards African Americans did not end because of that signature. However, society had formally stated through its laws that bigotry was unacceptable. It was an important turning point. To be sure, much work still remains to be done.

The same is true for our community. The repeal of DADT and DOMA, and the passage of ENDA will not end social bigotry against LGBTQ people. However, it will be a significant turning point for us as a nation. Our community will have formal legal recourse and remedy to bigotry. You’re correct; much work will still need to be done. Together we will get there and justice, one day, will be normative in our nation.


Luci Vicki said...

May God bless you always, father. You are a hero to many for your actions.

Iberian said...

Father Geoff...

First of all, thank you for who you are, the way you are.

You're journey shows that your faith can overcome any obstacle, even if it takes a little bit longer.

I'm Portuguese, a 29 year old gay man, who also has spent a lot of time "fighting" against the active preconception in my small local town, of people who try to make decisions over our freedom without any kind of respect, and sometimes treating us like a disease.

Just wanted to say, you're a fantastic person, just for following your beliefs as well as for showing to the world that not all of us likes "coffee", "chocolate", "vanilla ice-cream"... we are all different from each other.


Glenn Ingersoll said...

Thank you for putting yourself on the line.

claire said...

intolerance is such an ugly thing, &YOU are beautiful!

Joe said...

I am awed by your gesture.

Christina said...

So I feel like a bad person for this, but I kind of operate under the assumption that all people who are affiliated religiously are bad people, that they're bigots, that they don't believe in equality. Which is ridiculous, since I espouse all things equal and good and I don't even live up to my own tenant of not making assumptions about people.

But it's people like you who prove me wrong, and it's so refreshing to be proven wrong in this case.

You, sir, are a credit to the human race, and I salute you for your work. This was a brave, crazy thing to do, and it reminds me of all of the brave and crazy things people have done in the past to get change.

But the only way that I can truly express how I feel is:

holy hannah, dude, you rock!


charcoal said...

Definite hero.

Matt Bolden said...

Thanks so much for giving us the support we need, Father. You are truly a disciple of the Lord, in my opinion. Someone who does not exclude others because of a small trait, someone who, like Jesus did, fight for those who are looked down upon by this cruel and unjust world.

Thank you so much again.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father Geoff,

If I remember well you celebrate today, Feast of Saint Justin, the anniversary of your priestly ordination: 27 years in the priesthood.

I offer you on this occasion my sincere gratulations and send my best wishes. Ad multos annos!


Father Geoff said...

Dear Thomas,

Thank you for remembering! Yes on 01 June 1985 I was ordained a priest at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist & Saint John the Baptist in Fresno, California. Joseph J. Madera M.Sp.S., then the Diocesan bishop of Fresno, ordained me that day.

Anonymous said...

You did because you are an awesome man! Miss you and love you much!