A Potpourri of Amazing Happened In The Past Few Weeks
What a crazy five weeks! LOTS of traveling…
Travel by air for work: 2,665 Miles
Travel by car (various): 890 Miles
Travel by ship (2 cruises to the eastern and western Caribbean): 4,421 Miles.
Total: 7,976 Miles
I am a blessed man. I got to eat Buffalo Wings in the birthplace of Buffalo Wings and experience snow showers in the same city (Buffalo, New York). I had fun training new hires and hanging out with coworkers while I was there.
Then I came back to Florida and got dancing drunk in a kilt at one of our best friends’ wedding. Everyone with a kilt wore one because the groom and his best man (Dan) are Scottish. I wore the kilt I got married in.
One of the best things about wearing a kilt, authentically, is the air conditioning! #truestory #freeballin
Also, I went on two cruises. The one in November traveled down to Honduras, Costa Maya, Bimini, and back to Miami—and then this month we traveled to Cape Canaveral, CocoCay, St. Thomas, St. Marteen, and back. Last week, I did The Cupid Shuffle (dance) at least half a dozen times on the very wobbly Wonder of the Seas (bad waves and wind the whole trip), which is also the largest cruise ship in the world at present. OH, and we attended two different silent discos. That, my friends, is so much more fun than I ever thought it would be.
Especially when you take the headphones off to hear a crowd of people singing Megan the Stallion’s “Body yadi yadi yadi yadi yadi yadi…” I should have recorded that.
But while I was gone... the world changed! Sorta'
The Pope Blesses Same-Sex Couples
From The Advocate:
The decision marks a stark shift from the Vatican's previous stance, reflected in a 2021 ruling from its doctrine office which stated God “cannot bless sin.” Pope Francis quickly expressed his opposition at the time, despite technically approving its publication, and soon after removed the official responsible.
Clergy members were permitted to bless the unions of same-sex couples who have had civil weddings or partnerships in February after a vote from the church's national assembly, and just this past weekend, the Church of England blessed same-sex couples for the first time.
The church still holds the official position that marriage is between a man and woman and that people in "irregular" unions are living in sin. The Vatican's new doctrine states that "when people ask for a blessing, an exhaustive moral analysis should not be placed as a precondition for conferring it."
It's not exactly marriage equality, but who knew this would ever happen? Of course, some ex-gay conversion ministry leaders will try to culture vulture their way into the situation to make it about them and how the church needs them to “speak the truth in love.” One leader said that the Pope’s decision basically invalidates true transformation in Christ (read conversion therapy).
No. Their inability to change what isn’t broken and ignoring the mountains of personal tragedy and scientific facts proving the harm of ex-gay conversion ministry/therapy is what invalidates the lie they proclaim to be true.
Even though the wording of the Pope’s blessing is odd, it is a step in the right direction, and I am grateful for his leadership along these lines for almost 1.4 Billion Roman Catholics in the world.
The Supreme Court Upholds Conversion Therapy Bans
Also, from The Advocate...
In a decisive move affirming the rights and protections of LGBTQ+ youth, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a First Amendment challenge to a Washington State law banning conversion therapy. This ruling upholds measures in Washington and more than 20 other states against a practice aimed at changing a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The law, which forbids licensed therapists from performing conversion therapy on minors, defines the practice as efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce same-sex attractions or feelings. It allows counseling that supports acceptance and understanding, aligning with the stance of major medical groups.
When I heard this news, I was stunned. I fully expected the Trump-loyalist court would take the case and overturn all the conversion therapy bans in the country. I was happily stunned that they didn’t. I was very pleased when I heard Mike Johnson’s old legal team lost (ADF–Alliance Defending Freedom).
Can other similar challenges to overturn the bans be brought before the court? I am not a lawyer, but it seems possible, even though it would be difficult to get something up that high in the courts again. One thing I do know is the ADF plays the long game expertly and will never stop trying to make conversion therapy even bigger and more prominent than it already is.
WHY (my memoir) Update
It is out of my hands! After our meeting on 12/19, the publisher has to finalize the formatting and interior design. We also talked about the final cover art (still in the works), and we will get the ramp-up plan going in January. The projected launch is now in May. If you have been asked to endorse or advance review the book, the galley version will be out in February. Everyone, please sign up with IOM (my publisher) here to be notified of WHY’s book release.