World War II veteran and father of a gay son, 'We must have equal rights for everyone … let gay people have the right to marry'

by CynthiaYockey on October 24, 2009

I continue to be amazed at conservatives who oppose homosexual equality without thinking that they may be working for inequality for their own children. I am amazed that in the name of God and family values these anti-gay activists so demonize homosexuals that they drive parents to abandon or disown their own children.

Well, on April 22, 2009, Philip Spooner, an 86-year-old World War II veteran who was in the Battle of Normandy and the liberation of Paris, addressed a group in Maine to tell them that he fought for the equality of all of his children, including his gay son. Just two weeks later, Maine’s legislation legalizing same-sex marriage was signed into law on May 6, 2009. However, now there is a measure on the Nov. 3 ballot to invalidate the law. Perhaps that is why the video of Mr. Spooner’s speech in April suddenly has become very popular on YouTube — he is still a father fighting for the equality of all of his sons:

Spooner, 86, spoke out in favor of marriage equality during hearings in Maine on gay marriage Apr. 22. But his remarks are only now being noticed online. The World War II vet, and father of four, says he didn’t fight in World War II for his gay son to be treated as a second class citizen.

“I am here today because of a conversation I had last June [2008] when I was voting [in the presidential primary election],” Spooner says. “A woman at my polling place asked me, “Do you believe in equal, equality for gay and lesbian people?’ I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, ‘What do you think our boys fought for at Omaha Beach?’ I haven’t seen much, so much blood and guts, so much suffering, much sacrifice. For what? For freedom and equality. These are the values that give America a great nation, one worth dying for.”

Mr. Spooner is so eloquent that I expect his speech will bring tears to the eyes of most people who watch him speak. But I have to tell my straight gentle readers that there is an additional effect his speech has on lesbians and gays. Because of all the ways religions work to get parents to disown or distance themselves from their homosexual children, without realizing it, I think the vast majority of us, in many important ways, feel motherless and fatherless from a very early age. So hearing Mr. Spooner speak, for too many homosexuals, will be their very first experience of what it would feel like to have a loving and supportive father. Imagine that.

Seriously — take a moment and imagine that. What would be different about your life if one or both of your parents demonized you, or even just affirmed you do not deserve to have equality simply based on your preference to marry a same-sex spouse and the speculation that you won’t be raising children? Imagine: would your life be better or worse if your parents denounced you and refused to stand up for your equality for ANY reason?

I’ve been fortunate to have my father’s support, but even I was astonished by the flood of emotion that poured over my parched heart when I felt Mr. Spooner’s support for his gay son’s equality. I was absolutely astonished at how loved he made ME feel. I wonder if straight people are conscious of the love and support and validation they get from every direction simply because they might have babies. I wonder if straight people are conscious of how consoling and empowering the reality of that network of support is.

I’m with Mr. Spooner, who is still fighting so eloquently and valiantly at the age of 86 for equality and liberty, “We must have equal rights for everyone … let gay people have the right to marry.”

Equality Maine has more videos here and more information here.

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Steve Poling November 1, 2009 at 12:45 am

We’ll probably never agree about the nature of marriage as a spiritual thang. But perhaps we can find common ground in establishing a separation of marriage and state. I.e. Get the government out of the marriage business altogether. That way, if you want to get married, find a church (or atheist association) that endorses marriage in the form and manner you prefer, then do so.

You may recall that marriage is a sacrament of the Roman Catholic church. I’ve got a problem with gubmint dictating things to churches, particularly their sacraments. If the government isn’t in the business of acknowledging any marriages, it won’t give us anything to get mad at each other about. That’ll sorta hurt fundraising for politicians who want to demagogue the issue, but I’m cool with that.

Can you go along with this?
.-= Steve Poling´s last blog ..Forty Ways I Told Republicans To Drop Dead =-.

Cynthia Yockey November 1, 2009 at 1:35 am

Steve Poling,


Also, it has been the churches appropriating the apparatus of the state to impose their rules using the force of the government.

Because the Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state, churches will not be required to marry same-sex couples. They are deliberately spreading falsehoods when they say they will. This is reprehensible. Also, if we want to get married in a church, we have the Metropolitan Community Church — where we can be married now. The problem is that the marriage is not recognized under state and federal law. The last report on the federal rights and privileges associated with marriage by the General Accounting Office set the number at 1138. State-level laws approving same-sex marriage don’t get us any of these federal rights and privileges.


Steve Poling November 1, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Perhaps I was unclear. Separation of state and marriage means that the government ought not recognize any marriage straight or gay. In other words, I proposed that federal (and state) rights and privileges associated with marriage would be ZERO. So, you go to Metropolitan Community Church, get hitched and I go to North Casnovia Baptist Church, get hitched. And both are invisible to the Federales and the folks in Lansing.

This is the thesis I’m noodling around with: We fight about morality and politics because Government takes upon itself certain responsibilities that have a necessarily moral component. If we can take these responsibilities away from Government, we lose the need to reach an agreement.

Both gays and social conservatives share one abiding interest. We want to be left alone. We can be manipulated by our politicians who say we must give them money or the demon group will “get” them. If government lacks the power to impose my morality on you, or your morality on me, then we’ll each be able to spend our money on more important things.
.-= Steve Poling´s last blog ..Forty Ways I Told Republicans To Drop Dead =-.

Cynthia Yockey November 1, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Steve Poling,

Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I didn’t understand your point.

Cuban Diva BFF keeps telling me this is the way it’s done in South American countries — people must marry both by an official of their religion and by a government official. I’ve asked her to do more research, but she hasn’t gotten around to it, yet.

First, just so people know, while marriage laws are made state-by-state, federal law and regulations provide at least 1,138 rights and privileges to married couples according to a General Accounting Office report. The only changes we’re asking for are for it to be legal to choose a same-sex spouse and for our marriages to be legal and equal to heterosexual marriages under both state and federal law. All the other proposed changes to marriage, such as civil unions, have arisen in an effort to compromise with the religions that are fighting homosexual marriage equality — so it is the religious leaders who are responsible for marriage getting re-defined as civil unions, and for the proposals to get the government out of recognizing religious marriages and and creating only civil unions, although even then, same-sex couples have no guarantee of equal access to civil unions.

I understand your proposition that separation of church and state could be carried to the point where the government ought not to recognize any religious marriage, straight or gay. However, as a practical matter, the federal and state governments are not going to get out of the business of making laws regarding marriage. Also as a practical matter, it is impossible to create civil unions as separate-but-equal to marriage. For one thing, part of the intention of religious leaders in proposing civil unions as a compromise is to have them have a stigmatized and lesser status than religious marriage. For another, since it is the states that make laws defining marriage, and almost all the states have legislatures that meet only in the spring and legislators that work only part-time, it is not going to be possible to keep the marriage and civil union laws synchronized — especially since there always will be some social conservative who wants to make a name for himself by bottling up civil union legislation in committee.

Since the government cannot require any religion to perform a marriage that is contrary to the laws of the religion, there is just no way for same-sex marriage equality to be an imposition on anyone else’s morality. This is because America is still founded on the concept of individual liberty: if you believe a same-sex marriage is immoral, don’t get one, but mind your own business about the people who believe the morality of a marriage has nothing to do with choosing a same-sex spouse.

Also — we’ve had this talk before — marriage is about love and devotion and the love and devotion of the spouses to one another greatly accelerates their growth to higher states of consciousness. Same-sex marriage equality will bring greater spiritual growth to the couples involved and their families, and greater stability to society. Same-sex marriage equality will strengthen the institution of marriage — as long as what we get is real equality at both the state and federal levels.

By the way, I appreciate that you are always civil and express your points clearly and without rancor, and I’m glad to see you commenting.


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