Behind the Curtain at TMM

Today's Q&A

Hi all. It's Cheryl Corley, sitting in Michel while she takes some time off.

If you ever thought you needed some advice, today's show was the place to turn! We had a veritable Tell Me More question and answer session.

For example:

How are gay couples who are black, Latino or Asian reacting to the new gay marriage rights in California?
We got some answers from Bishop Yvette Flunder of the City of Refuge Church in San Francisco and Monica Trasandes of GLAAD.

Just who is getting married?
One of the couples who helped overturn California's ban on same-sex marriages by filing a lawsuit talked to us before heading off to exchange their vows.

What to do if you're trying to sleep on an airplane and the guy behind you doesn't want you to recline your chair?
A little advice from the O, The Oprah Magazine Ethics column.

Should kids get a summer job or go to camp during the summer?
The Mocha Moms weigh in.

What should you do to get ready for retirement?
Alvin Hall, our money coach, covers the basics.

How to get advice for every crucial moment in life?
Listen to Tell Me More, of course!



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Your host keeps asking if people are waiting to see what MIGHT happen in November. Why keep asking that question? NO ONE is waiting. If someone is not getting married today or tomorrow, perhaps its for the same reason straight people don't get married immediately: Preparation. This preparation might be Legal issues, family issues. We gay people are smart enough not to rush into contracts without preparation. We take ALL of the same precautions that straight people take. Wise up!

Sent by Dan White | 7:33 PM | 6-17-2008

As I listened to the story about gay marriage in California on your radio show and how the supporters of it were justifying their position as that of being against "discrimination" and "marginalization" of people and thus treating them as equal human beings - I kept replacing their justifications with those which are likely to be used by individuals who support polygamy and who will make a run at official marriage some time in the future. Bishop Yvette Flunder argued that we should help those who have been marginalized. Again - if the prohibition on two males getting married is discrimination and marginalization then by what basis can we argue that bans against 3 or more from getting married stand? If enough people push for an end to such "discrimination" then surely they can express the same human love in quantity that does not receive official sanction just as the individuals profiled in your review today.

There are certain critical concepts that we cannot get away from. Our society makes a distinction between males and females. This is physiological in nature. This is self evident. Even my young children are familiar with such distinctions. I wonder how many of these sound societal constructs we must discard in order to pursue this "non-discrimination" theory that the Bishop and others are promoting - all seemingly based on the concept of not discriminating? This appears to be a distant cousin of "do what you please if you choose to".

In truth it is clear that these people are not against "discrimination" in total. They only wish to define what can be discriminated against and not. It appears their target is the traditional constructs upon which this civilization is based upon. As long as they control this list - all is well.

You lost me when you asked what they planned to wear at their wedding. With such a critical issue at hand - I hardly want to know the color scheme of the wedding.

Sent by Constructive Feedback | 10:07 PM | 6-17-2008

If one more person tries to assimilate gay rights with civil rights I think I'm going to scream. First of all, being born black, or some other ethnicity is not a choice that the individual has a choice in. Being gay on the other hand, is a LIFESTYLE CHOICE.
I know that there will be those who'll maintain that being gay was no choice of their own. However, I beg to differ. I'd present to all the dissenters this simple FACT; there are THOUSANDS of men and women who at one time in their lives were practicing homosexuals, until one day they decided to renounce that lifestyle, and abdicate is what they did.
For some, it's been 20 or 30 years since they deserted that lifestyle, and they never looked back. That said, I've yet to meet any person of any ethnicity, who grew tried of being black, white or whatever and decided to change.
So, to try and equate gay rights with civil rights is a farce. I realize that there are those who'll perpend me homophobic and out of touch. But I'll remain unalterable regarding my position.
My next point; has anyone contracted AIDS soley because of their race? So, if a person can debar the posibility of contracting HIV (sexually speaking) by simply being involved in only one sexual relationship with the OPPOSITE sex at a time, how is it that being gay has been penalized with such a high price tag?
Finally, we all know someone who's gay. Without sounding like the preacher, would God be just to damn a person to hell because of the way they were born? I have not read the whole Bible, but the portion I have read assures a practicing homosexual a seat in hell. The same can't be said because of a individuals ethnicity. Yet, there's a reminder to those who've made homosexuality a LIFESTYLE CHIOCE, an entire city was destroyed because of this single solitary act. So please don't expect me to understand when you try and cloak homosexuality with ethnicity, because the two are worlds apart.

Sent by Randy | 2:09 AM | 6-18-2008

The very last thing Alvin Hall mentioned was "rebalancing" your retirement plan periodically. That was the mistake of some Enron or Tyco employees - putting all their eggs in one basket. No matter how great you think your company stock is, DIVERSIFY. If you see your company stock price taking off like a rocket, SELL some of it and DIVERSIFY!

Sent by True_Liberal | 11:03 AM | 6-18-2008


OMG! Perhaps you need to take a little time to read the "whole Bible" and maybe there you will see not to judge another human being nor exalt yourself in matters too high for you.

You do have a point in not comparing gay rights issues with civil rights issues. But please don't make blanketed statements with AIDS associated with only Gays; please check some statistics.

And yes there have been folks who contracted the disease with having one sexual relationship with the opposite sex - their significant others or spouses.

You know I wondered why I even bothered to respond to your post when you said you will remain unalterable in your position. But no matter how I try to ignore it,I can't stand the voice of intolerance.

So perhaps my response is not for you to change your position but for others to see not all people of faith think like you. And that some actually follow as a LIFESTYLE CHOICE what your Bible says is the greatest commandment of all: "To love your neighbor as yourself."

Sent by Moji | 7:44 PM | 6-18-2008

I'm always sad to see/hear the level of homophobia in Black communities. We, people who have experienced discrimination so often, should not discriminate against others (many of whom are part of our communities)because of their sexual identity.

Gay rights is a human and civil rights issue. Many gays believe that they are born that way and believe that they did not choose to be gay, just like some of us did not choose to be black. Just like we can say 'I'm black and and I'm proud', gays should be able to say 'I'm gay & I'm proud' or 'I'm gay and black and proud.'

On the continent of Africa, many of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are married women, many of whom have only been with their husbands. In our backyard in the States, black women 'represent the fastest growing group of individuals infected with HIV.'

Here's the question that Gwen Ifill asked during the vice-presidential debate in 2004: "I want to talk to you about AIDS, and not about AIDS in China or Africa, but AIDS right here in this country, where black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts. What should the government's role be in helping to end the growth of this epidemic?" So HIV/AIDS is not affecting only gays, but ALL of us. Let's not see HIV/AIDS as a curse that God sent to gays.

What I read the Bible is that God created all of us in God's image. So whether we are Asian, Blacks, Whites, gay, straight, transgendered, feminist, liberal, conservative, etc.. we are all children of God.

Sent by KALW Country | 3:55 AM | 6-19-2008

To Constructive Feedback:

I speak as a straight person, albeit one who has known several gay people & counted them among his closest friends, so I'm not the most reliable source for this. But my understanding of homosexuality (and related issues) is that choice is not involved. As a lesbian friend of mine once put it, "why would I *want* to be this way?"

Therefore your analysis of "do what you please if you choose to" is faulty. It is not what gay people choose; it is what they are. No one is making a similar claim re: polygamy - at least, not yet that I know of. The fact is, it is not a choice, it is not a lifestyle, and it is not a trend. Can you remember when you *chose* to be straight? I sure can't - because I never did.

Also, your analysis of sexuality as purely physiological in nature is quite at odds with current accepted theory in psychology. It fails, for instance, to explain the existence of transsexuals and transgenders - people who are born in a body of one sex but identify with the sexuality or gender identity of the opposite. In fact, the deeper one goes into the issue, the more it becomes apparent that "male" and "female" are nothing more than roles we are taught to fulfill. It is true that for a majority of people, those roles suffice and they live happy lives. But should the minority for whom those roles do not suffice have to suffer a miserable life simply because others can't see beyond them?

You say that these are critical distinctions that we "cannot get away from". Sounds almost like something is chasing us! But it's only ourselves. The truth is, we can be whatever we collectively choose to be - a people straitjacketed into only one narrow way of seeing the world, or a people who embrace and accept the new, and try to understand.

I recommend you study the issue in more depth. In particular, it is important to understand that *sex*, *gender identity*, and *sexual orientation* are three entirely different variables, all of which can differ widely from one person to another regardless of the body they are born in.


Sent by Kasreyn | 10:43 AM | 6-19-2008

to KALW: Amen!

Sent by Kasreyn | 10:47 AM | 6-19-2008

I've always been a supporter of gay rights, marriage, etc. However, I do not think that religious institutions should be forced to perform ceremonies or otherwise sanction them.

Instead, why not put all marriages (gay, straight, etc) into the secular realm as a civil union, and leave marriage as a strictly religious affair? As a straight married man, I would be more than happy to go this road. (Granted, I would also be more than happy to just dispense with this lunacy and give gays the rights that they should have in the first place) What this would allow for is state recognition and equality for all life partners.

Sent by Max F. Exter | 9:26 PM | 6-20-2008

To all of my dessenters:
Let's be very clear: I am well aware that my statements proved an old adage that's been around for years; "the truth hurts." Yet, there's something momentous about the truth that I love, it never changes because it's repudiated.
I've considered each defense which supports a person's lifestyle choice. I've heard you say that I should not judge, I should read the whole Bible, & I was informed that I should love my neighbor.
What I did not read in your disputation was one single scripture that would remotely indicate that God was O.K. with the homosexual lifestyle. Not one.
Allow me to ask, if I see you run a stop sign, and then I tell you about it am I judging you? If my neighbor is a child molester and I tell him what he's doing is wrong, do I fail at loving him?
When fire rained down from heaven and destroyed the entire cities of Sodom & Gomorrah(Gen.19:1-25)for their homosexual lifestyle did God stop being a God of love?
Some of you have labled me a homophobic judge, which I am not. But this I believe; if being a Christian means to be Christ-like, how can you embrace a lifestyle that his very word speaks against?
Finally; not to sound like the preacher, but this I have read, Romans 1:17-32 and I'll challenge any and all of my dessenters to explain that.

Sent by Randy | 10:08 PM | 6-20-2008

You choose (heaven portend) to get a jheri curl, you choose to wear white pleather pants at xmas YOU DO NOT CHOOSE to be gay. How many of you are divorced, how many of you only have sex to procriate? PLEASE!

I am 48 and when I was younger the argument was "Those gays can't be monogamous" now twenty or so years later the argument is "Damn, those gays wanna be monogamous."

By the way, it is a civil rights issue. Substitute race for gender and the objection is indefensible.

We're here, we're queer and we're gettin married!

Sent by Raul | 11:27 PM | 6-20-2008

Randy: all of your points are scriptural in origin. This is fine for your personal opinion. Now please explain how they should have any bearing whatsoever on the operations and decision-making of a *secular* government (see U.S.C. Amendment #1).


Sent by Kasreyn | 12:05 PM | 6-23-2008

Kasreyn: I've considered your point and your reference.What appears to be happening is, people are forgetting that when life as we know it is over, we're going to have to stand before God and he's going to judge us.
I find it inconceivable to think that on Judgement Day anyone will be able to agure their rights in the face of the Almighty.
Maybe, just maybe that'll be a viable option, but that's one hell of a gamble. I'm presuaded that even if a person dose not believe in God, Judgement Day is an event that's sure to take place.
What if I'm right? What if God counts same sex relationships a hell sending abomination? Then what?
Allow me to reiterate; that's on hell of a gamble to take.

Sent by Randy | 1:50 PM | 6-24-2008


So you're the modern day prophet to rescue our souls from eternal damnation for not seeing things the way you see them.

You know what? You can find a scripture for anything you want to harp on; in this case, gay rights (or wrongs when it comes to you). But that doesn't mean you're justified in your reasonings. The problem with your rants is that you choose to wield a few letters of the law but forget the spirit of the said law.

But I digress. What I really want to say before being sidetracked with your after-life predictions, is that this is NOT a theocratic nation but a democratic one. And you may not agree with everything the power of our democracy allows but don't go condemning everyone with your concocted theology.

Sent by Moji | 1:16 AM | 6-25-2008

Randy: I appreciate your point. But in my personal opinion, I don't consider it much of a gamble. I don't see how a just and loving deity would create gay people and then condemn them. Therefore either a.) god is unjust - in which case we're all in trouble, b.) there is no god, or c.) the bible is incorrect about god's standards of judgment. I don't know which of these three it is, but I'm leaning towards c, since the bible is a document recorded, translated, and preserved by fallible and sinful humans. Occam's Razor and all that.

Thanks again for an interesting discussion!

Sent by Kasreyn | 10:06 AM | 6-25-2008

By calling Obama black,she is perpetuating the ONE DROP RULE. She does all bi-racial people a dis-service

Sent by R.Randolph,D.D.S. | 10:07 AM | 6-25-2008

Moji,Kasreyn & my other dissenters: First of all, I entered into this discussion under the premise that we held God in the same light. Seeing that we do not, I'm limited in what more I can say, because if you don't reference God and his commandments it does not matter how comprehensive or superficial our conversation, we're yet restricted to one of us being labled inscrutable.
Yet; I'm able to extend my thinking beyond pietistic conversation. Allow me to embrace your credence for a moment.
If birth can be used as a transitional causation, then every rapist,child molester, and murderer has a new defence. They should be able to maintain that they were born that way, and all should be forgiven no matter how oppressive.If we labled criminal activity a birth defect, then our judical system has truly failed us. Because we've established laws, designed to punish people with physical,biochemical,inherited or enviornmentally induced deficiencies.
I can submit case after case, where pedophiles have adopted children and literally ruined their lives; and according to you all, it should be no big deal because they were born that way.
Would any of you, allow your young son to have sleep overs with a man you knew to be a homosexual, and he had a thing for boys? If not, why not? And if you truly believe that God made us all the way we are, gay, straight,or whatever I can't imagine you having any problems if this man violated your son, after all, God made him that way.
And before you try and educate me on the law, please know I'm quite knowledgeable concerning the law and there are countries around the world where homosexual activity is punishable by death.

Sent by Randy | 4:36 PM | 6-25-2008

Randolph, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Sen. Obama *self-identify* as Black/African American? I was raised to believe a person's self-identification is more important than any label affixed by others.


Sent by Kasreyn | 4:45 PM | 6-25-2008

Nonsense. I don't know about anyone else, but I've never claimed that pedophiles, rapists, and other criminals are "born that way". I've claimed that *gay people* are born that way. The confluence between homosexuality, crime, and molestation exists solely in your own perceptions in this conversation.

You seem to have a belief that pedophilia and homosexuality have a common origin. While it's certainly been shown that many pedophiles are homosexuals, certainly not all of them are. The truth is, the two are unrelated.

As for your question, I will overlook its insulting tone and answer it straightly: I would have no problem with a son of mine being around a homosexual male, but if a grown man were to display such an unusual level of interest in my underage son, I would be concerned - not because he was gay, but because of the possibility that he might be a pedophile.

Again I have to stress that your linking homosexuality and pedophilia is both needlessly exculpatory towards pedophiles as well as shockingly offensive towards homosexuals.


Sent by Kasreyn | 10:10 AM | 6-26-2008

Randy, you already acknowledged you haven't really read the bible. You may believe in God, but you need to stick with what you know and stop trying to use the bible to support what you believe. Oh! and that's right, your beliefs aren't following what the bible actually says, for that you'd have to actually read all of it or at least a substantial portion--instead you have a view that I'm sure you were taught and you're trying to --albeit unsuccessfully--to frame the bible around your point. The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was that they tried to rape and humiliate two angels. Lot offers his daughters instead(that's right he offers them to be raped and is still one of God's "clean people" in the city)The town basically says, no, we don't want your daughter we want the guys because they are strangers. Instead of misquoting , go read it.
Also, just a side note, if you still chose to believe that the intended rape in the story justifies your prejudice against gay people having consensual relationships, please note the story doesn't apply to gay women. Oh and lastly, if you are a Christian, you should know that the new testament is the the holiest book. The book of Moses predates Jesus and Christians no longer live under the law of Moses! PLEASE! Read the bible before you post about it.

Sent by LIndsee | 11:24 AM | 6-26-2008

Oh! and most pedophiles are straight white men. It makes sense really because girls are molested much more often than boys and usually the pedophiles that do molest boys also molest girls. A pedophile is not a gay man who likes little boys. A pedophile is a person who like prepubescent children. Come on people, stop believing everything you hear and start thinking.

Randy do you really, really think that rape and murder are the same as homosexuality? Really? Do you really think people having a consensual relationship is the same as unconsensual sex and taking someone's life? I can understand how rape and murder are oppressive forces to you, but how is homosexuality. Are gay people badgering you to be gay? Do they haunt you with their agenda? Did one sneeze on you and threaten you with the gay virus?

Sent by Lindsee | 11:37 AM | 6-26-2008

Kasreyn: We've come to a point in this conversation that can be described as a conudrum. But that's o.k.
I took time and considered another point that I'd like to present to you, but I think it would prove pugnacious so I'll decline. It's clear to me that we've agreed to disagree and that's fine. However, I'd invite you to do what I did concerning your citing of Occams razor. I read the entire history and hypothesis of Mr.Occam. I question the definiteness of his theory in today's information age, but hey, if that helps your understanding to evolve, keep it simple.
During your time of requescencing consider my dissension and allow yourself to revisit the statements I presented at the onset of our discussion.
I'm well aware of your distrust of the Bible, but would you read the 2 scriptural texts I referecened and ask yourself, "What are the chances, that the ruins of Sodom & Gomorrah have been unearthed, and according to archaeologist, the fire that destroyed these cities was not like anything we have on earth. And if they are right, where did this this fire come from and why was it sent?"

Sent by Randy | 1:35 PM | 6-26-2008

Randy: I'm willing to leave things here as you seem to desire, but I feel strongly that your latest reply in fact dances around the points I've raised. I'm duly impressed by your vocabulary; your willingness to defend your views, less so.

Take care,

Sent by Kasreyn | 3:21 PM | 6-26-2008


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