78 - 40 ! Come on ! That is fucking amazing ! (UPDATE _ I've just seen it's 80 - 40 !)
Thank you Louisa - you were brilliant in both your opening and closing speeches - calm, logical, inclusive, passionate - you shone !
78 - 40! Shit that is impressive ! And is shows such a massive change in New Zealand society - the idea that even 10 years ago, we would be looking at this, seeing this kind of result, well people would have thought you were crazy!
So thank you so much for that, and thank you to all the others who did such a wonderful job tonight. And a real thanks to Kevin Hague, you made such an eloquent, passionate speech.
And thank you Dr Paul Hutchison - coming from National, standing up and making that clear, classically liberal analysis, and admitting you'd been forced to think and weigh the evidence and change your mind. Your speech was outstanding, sincere, and humble. I was really moved.
National MP Jamie Lee-Ross standing up in support, saying that he hadn't been born when Homosexual Law Reform went through, shit that made me feel old - but his defense, his stance of almost bewilderment that this could be an issue - this is not the National Party of Holyoake, Muldoon and Bolger ...
And yes, I was moved, I was involved, even though as I have said here before, I have real problems with the idea, but once this battle was started the stakes are too high for us to fail. And you might call it histrionic, but I'd say it was a victory of good over evil, over reason over fear - it's a social milestone - do not underestimate it.
You might be, as I am, deeply critical of the concept of marriage for philosophical and political reasons, you might be opposed to the assimilationist tendencies, the kow-towing to heteronormativity - fine.
But if we had lost this, and I do men "we", then the price would have been huge.
It would have sent a message to those people out there who hate us, who are religiously and philosophically opposed to us, or who are just pig-ignorant red-neck bigots, that they had been vindicated, and that we had been shown to be wrong, to be lesser, to be not as good as them.
And that's why, once it started, we couldn't afford to lose this argument.
We are in fact the full, moral and legal equivalent to anyone else in this society. We are not lesser citizens nor are we lesser humans, simple because we love people of the same gender.
For me it is that simple - that we are able to take part in the complete fullness of life in the same way as any other citizen.
And ... wasn't it great following it all on twitter and facebook while watching it on Parliament TV. I love that - all the contacts, the jokes, the observations, the different webs and networks intersecting. It was watching history, that clash of ideas coming out, I love that stuff. I really did feel connected to a community.
It was a great night. A great result. But we've only one the battle, not the war on this issue. But we will!
I am horrified that I am posting his picture here, I was hoping that wouldn't be till his funeral party, but this news, that John Banks, ex-Mayor of Auckland, the "Leader" of the ACT Party and currently the Associate Education Minister and the main prop of this current government actually believes that the creation fable in the Bible is true.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Given all the evil he has done to the world of queer people in this country, I tend more to tears than laughter.
People should be free to have their own religious beliefs. Just as they are free to hold their own political beliefs - I have no problem with that.
But if he'd come out with that statement before the last election you have to wonder if the voters of Epsom would have been quite so willing to hold their noses, do what the National Party demanded and give him their vote. I'd say not.
Banks' beliefs are actually no surprise if you've paid any attention to him over the years. He has been explicit in his vile, smug, hate-filled anti-gay comments, and always shown a belief that God is on his side. When a caller to his radio show once said homosexuals should have barbed wire shoved up our arses, Banks said that would be a waste of good barbed wire. Did anyone think he'd really changed?
Let's be crystal clear - nutty Christians like Banks believe that homosexuals are driven by Satan, that we are deliberate evil sinners who refuse to see the wickedness of our ways. For him there is no such thing as biology, or psychology. Evolution is the devil's trickery! Science doesn't really exist. To believe this bullshit is to believe in magic, not science. The literal view that every word in the Bible is factual breeds the same narrow, ignorant, smug and fearful mindset of a 4th Century Christian monk, a member of Destiny Church, or a contemporary member of Al Qaeda. Fundamentalists are basically the same.
He actually believes this stuff happened. He believes that a talking devil-snake in a tree tempted Eve, and this led to humanity's downfall.
Of course, there are actually two differing creation fables in Genesis, but details like that wouldn't bother him. Banks has never been noted for being a profound thinker.
But above all this shows that he is now positioning himself for the death of ACT, and he needs another political vehicle, and Colin Craig's Conservative Party is the perfect fit. That's where he's going.
Of course, all those right-wing gay men who were happy to vote for him because he was part of the establishment without thinking too much about what he actually thought of us won't vote for him in that party. Some Jews even supported the Fascists in the early days. But you guys are part of the reason he's still around. Gee, thanks for that.
No matter how he learnt to smile, no matter how he learnt to shake hands with queers without throwing up or calling the police on us, I've never seen any indication that he has ever wavered in his Bible-driven belief that we are evil and sinful. Expediency is second-nature to most politicians, take whatever you can no matter what the source, even pretend to like the donor. He certainly found enough queers who were willing to help him get where he is now. Will they still sing his praises now? Let's see.
Apparently the Buddha once said that if humanity had one more drive as strong as sex there would be no hope for us ever to achieve enlightenment because we'd all be too distracted.
Matthew Stradling http://www.matthewstradling.com/
I guess he knew what he was talking about.
I know that sometimes I can sink into some sort of erotic fog, where sex is my major preoccupation, my pleasure, my joy, my reason for being. At times I just want to chase and be chased, to hunt, to find, to feel that anticipation of a new lover's arrival.
And I actually welcome that, I revel in it, I love the fact that I have great, warm, passionate, loving, tender, kinky, and most of all - fun - sex. And yes, I'm just coming out of one of those times again now.
Sometimes that urge just gets so strong, and when it all comes together, well, it's fantastic.
Whether it's with a man I have known and cared for over years or some random off the net I'll never hook up with again, there are times when it is all I want, when I'd rather fuck than eat or drink.
That feeling of skin on skin, the scent of a man, from crotch to armpits, cupping the heft of his buttocks or his balls, the joy of discovery that a new body holds, cock, eyes, mouth, legs, lips tongue - just getting that close up, that intimate, that near to another guy, that sense of almost passing beyond our skins and actually blending into each other. It's so good, so powerful.
Then it passes, and normal life resumes. I have been celibate at times, for quite a long time, for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes I'll go quite happily for months at a time with nothing. But then it returns, and it does feel like a hunger, the way desire can spread through my life and pre-occupy my thoughts and my time.
I can't imagine being gay and not at least having the possibility of sex. I guess I was happy in my periods of celibacy because I knew they were self-imposed and temporary.
Do gay men fuck more?
I think we do, if we can. For such a long time sex was the only way we could express ourselves, and even that meant we risked blackmail, prison, disgrace. The chances to love, to set up home, to settle down, were pretty much denied to us for thousands of years. So fucking became our way of showing who we were. And face it - it's a lot of fun.
Rita Mae-Browm the American lesbian author, got smuggled into one of the gay bath-houses of New York in the 70s, and watched what was going on, and had this to say.
peels off with clothing you might think a democracy of nakedness and need would
develop. But here in the cubicles a new hierarchy took place among
these lawyers, artists, grocery clerks, stockbrokers, movement activists,
professors and cab drivers. Rank now came through the size of penis, condition
of body and age…The irrationality of the flesh commands. Here the great
American principle of competition and performance keep those on the make
hungry, frightened, and slightly savage. (Brown, cited Jay and Young 1994:75) "
I love that idea of "the irrationality of the flesh", and I guess that's at least part of why I enjoy the wild and free side of gay male sexual life. It is irrational. It is joyous, and yes, it can also be slightly savage.
And it doesn't mean we can't or don't love deeply and truly. We can, and we do. But we can also shape our lives in ways that are different to the ways that most heterosexuals have to. Many, if not most gay couples, are clear on how sex and love differ, and it is pretty common for men who utterly adore each other to be comfortable with having sex with others.
I've been thinking about all this because of a few conversations I've been in, a few debates about the role of sex and sex-addiction, and what it means to be gay, all coming up in the context of the gay marriage debate.
I understand the need some guys have to ape straights. They say they want monogamy and a house in the suburbs, and that's great. A few times I've had that ghastly gay couple of "Modern Family" get cited as a wonderful example of what we could have.
Do those two ever fuck? They give a bland, Disneyfied, desexed, safe and castrated image of homo-happiness. Not my role-models that's for sure. They do everything but fuck it seems - I get the impression that if you pulled their pants down they'd be as smooth as a Ken doll. But that's what makes them so acceptable on prime-time TV. They threaten no-one. No-one sane that is, I'm not counting religious nutters.
For me, as I've said before, being gay is about love - it's about wanting to have my deepest emotional connections with men, even though I love some women with a deep and enduring intensity, but it's at least equally about sex, if not more so: I can swim in a sex of lust for men, but I have never had the slightest flicker of desire for a woman.
So lust, the erotic, desire, the search for and delight in the body of a man is just as central to my cock-sucking, arse-fucking faggotry as the emotional component, and I'm not going to deny either.