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    Ann Rostow: Boomer Sooner

    By Ann Rostow–

    Boomer Sooner

    Loyal readers may recall that I used to cover the exploits of pro basketball player Rudy Gay, only because stories about him would appear whenever I googled “gay.” It was no big deal, but if I were out of topics and at the end of my column, I’d toss in some news about our pal Rudy as sort of a joke. But Readers, Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay is no joke. The Chiefs are my favorite football team. Willie Gay is a defensive genius. And now, he has to sit out the next four games because some biddies over at the NFL headquarters decided to meddle in his personal business. Say it ain’t so!

    Oh, I’m just kidding. The man threw a vacuum cleaner at his son’s mother and I’m sure he deserves whatever he gets in terms of punishment. Still, I hope the Chiefs manage to hold the fort until he returns.  

    And while we’re off our main subject, I have a secret source to thank for news that the COO of Beyond Meat was arrested for biting off part of a man’s nose during a road rage fight in the parking lot of the University of Arkansas football stadium. I guess someone inched in front of his car while he was in line to exit and made contact. According to the account, the Beyond Meat guy, Doug Ramsey, 53, hopped out of his car, smashed the back window of the other car, and when that driver emerged, Ramsey attacked him in what sounds like a blind rage. 

    Finally, since we’ve lowered our standards and are just beginning the slow climb towards reclaiming our dignity, let’s turn again to our favorite source who informs us (via the Daily News) that a truckload of sex toys spilled onto a major interstate highway just outside of Oklahoma City the other day. I guess the toys can no longer be sold since they touched the ground, even though they were in their packages. What a waste. 

    Discussing the incident was not easy for the bashful local news correspondents, who seemingly could not bring themselves to utter the words “sex toys” or “dildos” on the air. 

    “This is a semi that overturned and lost its load here,” pilot Jim Gardner told his anchor. “There is a lot of stuff to clean up.”

    “Jim, can you tell what he’s carrying there? What’s all over the road?” asked the anchor.

    “Not really. Maybe you can tell—I can’t tell,” Jim replied. “There’s a lot of stuff laying on the road. Whatever it is, it’s going to take a while to clean up.”

    Oh, they both knew exactly what was on that roadway!

    Shame On Yeshiva 

    So, I’m going to resist the story about the chess expert who may have cheated by wearing vibrating anal beads and getting a friend to remotely feed him computerized moves, because as much as we enjoy these tidbits from you-know-who-you-are, we have serious news to cover. 

    Let’s start with Manhattan-based Yeshiva University, which insists on rejecting a GLBT campus student club based on religious objections. The only problem with this is that Yeshiva is not technically a religious corporation, but a secular college, receiving public money and subject to New York City’s anti-discrimination codes. A state court judge ordered the college to accept the gay club, but Yeshiva instead booed and hooed and asked the High Court to give them an injunction to allow them to ban the gay club while they litigate its fate.

    Surprisingly, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh joined the three liberals on the bench in ruling against Yeshiva, mainly because the college did not bother to correctly file an appeal with the New York Court of Appeals (the state’s highest court) prior to running to the Supremes like a spoiled child. Given the High Court’s track record on religious freedom cases, I have no doubt Yeshiva will eventually emerge victorious from a showdown before the nine justices. But they will have to wait. Meanwhile, in a fit of pique, Yeshiva decided to ban all student clubs rather than allow the gay club to carry on.

    Note that Yeshiva’s law school, Cardozo Law School, has long had a gay student group and has stressed to the public that it is committed to GLBT rights as well as gay and trans legal studies.

    Out of The Closet 

    While we’re on the subject of schools, the High Court, discrimination, and state actors, do you recall the case of the charter school in North Carolina that wanted to force girls to wear skirts and boys to be “chivalrous”? There are four “Charter Day Schools” in North Carolina, all of them receiving state money and considered public schools for the purposes of, oh, I don’t know, civil rights law. According to court records, the dress code reflected the founder’s notion that girls are “a fragile vessel that men are supposed to take care of and honor,” and that wearing skirts inspired students and staff to “treat girls more courteously and more gently than boys.”

    After one family sued in 2016, the case see-sawed around the courts, eventually winding up before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Last June, the 10–6 court ruled that Charter Day was indeed part of the public school system and obliged by the Equal Protection Clause to forgo discriminatory sex-based classifications. 

    The majority sent the case back to a lower court for further analysis under Title IX, the federal ban on sex discrimination in public education. I suppose I could scrounge around to find out what happened to that aspect of the case, but I don’t think we need to dive that deep. Charter Day is asking the Supreme Court to review the case, so we’ll see what they say. For now, however, the girls are wearing the pants in the classroom. 

    It (Probably) Can’t Hurt

    Let’s see what else is new. The gay marriage bill in Congress has been put on hold until the lame duck session, because it seems our side is having a hard time getting the ten GOP Senate votes we need for success. The votes are there in theory, we are told, but they will be hard to wrangle before the midterms. As The New York Times explains, the bill was designed as a symbolic gesture, but after winning 45 GOP votes in the House, Democrats saw a road to passage in the Senate and went to work to make that happen. 

    If you ask me, the bill remains symbolic. Marriage is legal in this country, and regardless of some scare tactics in the press, not even this conservative High Court will endanger that status. Further, I fear that some lawmakers might use a “yes” vote on this marriage bill as an excuse to vote “no” on something that really matters—the Equality Act, for example. So, in general, I’m not a big fan of this effort.

    That said, of course a Congressional stamp of approval on the right to marry is a welcome addition to our arsenal of legal weapons. And just in case I am wrong about the Court’s possible future rulings (surely an unlikely development), a same-sex marriage law would protect us from that kind of outrage. Finally, however, it occurs to me that I’ve never bothered to read the text of this marriage bill. Have you? I suppose one of us should. 

    You go ahead.

    We’re Gonna Celebrate

    I haven’t been paying much attention to the World Cup, scheduled to be held in one of those antigay Arab countries, Qatar, in October. I remember people mentioning that it could get well over a hundred degrees at this time of the year, which doesn’t sound like a great time. I also have yet to understand why I grew up calling this country “caTAAR,” when everyone now calls it “Cutter.” Was I wrong? Why? Where did I get the wrong pronunciation? Did it change at some point? Or was I always just wrong, like with “KEY-YEV” versus “Keeve”? 

    The point I was getting to is that I am now realizing something that most people figured out months ago. The World Cup is about to be held in a country that outlaws homosexuality. According to Reuters, a survey of the roughly 70 hotels that welcome World Cup spectators shows that three of them will not accept gay couples, while 33 didn’t care and other 20 said gay couples were fine as long as they didn’t show any affection in public. I’m not sure what the other 14 hotels thought, but I am sure that I’m not going to Qatar anytime soon. One hundred twenty degrees in the shade? No thank you. I’m not too keen on a seven-year prison sentence either.

    Speaking of antigay foreign countries, whose idea was it to hold “EuroPride” in frigging Serbia this year? EuroPride skips around from major city to major city in September of every year, centralizing the continent’s annual celebrations. The only exception is if “WorldPride” is held in Europe, then they skip EuroPride. I didn’t know that WorldPride was a thing, but you get the picture.

    At any rate, each year there are rainbow pictures and YOLO stories about EuroPride in say, Paris or Amsterdam or Madrid or some other cool city. This year, Serbia tried to cancel the event, but considering it was EuroPride, a shortened version went ahead amid rightwing protests and a few dozen GLBT people were arrested by Serbian police.

    Fun! (Cue: Def Punk, “One More Time,” top volume.) Oh, the theme this year was supposed to be “It’s Time.” Um, not quite yet, guys. 

    As I write this jocular account, it occurs to me that those brave activists risking life and limb in Belgrade and Doha and elsewhere in Eastern Europe and the Middle East are actually putting me to shame. Thank you for what you do, whoever you are and wherever you are. 

    (I did just ask Alexa to put on “One More Time” at full blast.) 

    Missing In Action

    I have more stuff, but it’s hard to concentrate with nightclub music blaring through the room. Did you know that Marco Rubio has a penchant for electronic dance music? He confessed this to Anderson Cooper during the 2016 primary race.  

    In Seattle, a Christian university has caught the eye of the state Attorney General and become the target of a civil lawsuit after refusing to hire partnered gay men or lesbians as faculty. Sixteen staff, students, teachers, and alumni of Seattle Pacific University have sued the board members who voted in favor of the antigay “Employee Lifestyle Policy,” arguing that the school is “financially and structurally imploding” as a result of this and other decisions.

    And finally, because we’re running out of space, you know the sanctimonious public high school football coach who insisted on holding a prayer session at the 50 yard line after games? I was just reading an interesting article about this joker in the aftermath of his victory before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    First of all, Coach Joseph Kennedy was never fired from his post at Bremerton High school. He was told in 2015 to stop the public prayer sessions. He refused and was put on paid leave for the rest of the year. The following school year, Kennedy did not apply for a new part-time coaching contract, and that was that. During High Court arguments earlier this year, the notion that Kennedy was “fired” for praying was raised repeatedly, both by Kennedy’s counsel and by the justices, and comments to the contrary were waved away with an attitude of “don’t quibble … you know what we mean here.” Indeed, as part of its ruling, the Court as noted by Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat ordered the high school to reinstate Kennedy as coach. 

    Bremerton High has done so. After all, this is an order from the Supreme Court. But Coach Kennedy has yet to show up on campus, given that he is busy touring the country as a rightwing celebrity. A spokeswoman for the school district told Westneat: “He’s had the paperwork for his reinstatement since August 8th, and we haven’t gotten so much as a phone call.” 

    I wouldn’t sit by the phone if I were you.

    arostow@aol.com

    GLBT Fortnight in Review
    Published on September 22, 2022