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Are African Americans Hippocritical When It Comes To Recognizing Gay Rights?

Judge Penny Brown Reynolds shares her opinion with Angela Bronner Helm, and is outlined below in an article posted on BlackVoices.com Jan. 2, 2009.

TV Family Court Judge Penny Brown Reynold

TV Family Court Judge Penny Brown Reynold


Judge Penny On Gay Marriage

By: Angela Bronner Helm, BlackVoices.com

Gay marriage is an issue that promises to rack the body politic in profound ways. It touches the very core of our American value system – family, (freedom of) religion, sex. And like slavery, which was legal in some states, not legal in others, gay marriage is a festering time bomb which needs to come to some sort of resolution, and hopefully one we can all accept. Out of 50 states, only a handful legally recognize gay marriage — Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maine, Washington, New Hampshire, and of course, California, after Proposition 8, is is now pending.

Judge Penny Brown Reynolds, the no-nonsense, racially ambiguous (until she opens her mouth, that is) and even wise adjudicator, who can be seen daily on ‘Family Court,’ allowed us some insight on the legal issues around gay marriage, how it affects the family and how the issue of gay marriage should be framed, especially in the black community. An ordained Baptist minister as well as judge, Judge Penny’s answers may surprise you.

What is the state of gay marriage in legal terms today?

Well, this issue is decided state by state. Most gay couples will go and get legal documents whereby they can have a union for legal purposes only but it’s not recognized by the state as a marriage. Generally they do it for the liquidation of property or for medical reasons. If you are hospitalized, generally hospitals will only allow close relatives to visit or make decisions; without those documents [partners] have no legal rights. In the state of California we all are very much aware that there was a deal that was recently enacted that made marriages between gay couples illegal and therefore nullifying the opportunity for people to be able to marry.

So for those people who married previously, does that nullify their marriage?

No it will not. It simply means that after the bill was enacted, all future marriages would obviously be illegal and they will not be recognized by the state.

Do you think at some point there is going to have to be a federal mandate around gay marriages? If so, when will this happen?

Let me tell you what I see happening with this issue form both a legal standpoint and also a moral standpoint as an ordained Baptist Preacher who is African-American. Overwhelmingly, statistics show that African-Americans do not support gay marriages. It is appalling to me in many respects that the African-American community could stand and protest anyone being oppressed — and this is what the real issue is. It’s not an issue of being right or wrong or whether or not you believe the Bible or if God sanctioned unions between same sex; it’s an issue of oppression as I see it, both legally and morally. Whenever you take a right away from someone, you are oppressing them. We were told we couldn’t marry outside of our race, who gets to be the arbitrary of what we can and cannot do? We have to decide to stay out of it.

Do you think you’ll see legislation legalizing gay marriage in your lifetime?

I’ll have to be honest with you, at the age of 47 I didn’t believe that in my lifetime that we would have an African-American president, so I’m very hesitant to say that I don’t know if in my lifetime we will ever have federal legislation legalizing gay marriages. It’s all a matter of who would be brave enough in Congress to draft it. The current court that we have now I don’t believe would sanction it. We have a very conservative Supreme Court. I don’t think it will come out of this current Supreme Court. If it’s purely a legal issue than certainly the legal conclusion comes to the point that people should be able to be married if they’re the same sex. But it’s more complicated than that. It’s really a public policy issue so it’s quasi legal and quasi public policy.

What kind of issues does gay marriage present for families and black families in your court?

Gay couples are really no different than heterosexual couples, they have the same issues like everyone else. What complicates things is when there is no legal entity involved in terms of marriage; therefore you cannot have a divorce. And so when you have children who are adopted and the children are adopted by only one of the parents and when they separate for whatever reason, obviously the way the courts often decide on third party visitation rights when it comes to children.

The issue for me is that if you follow the law, it is about what is in the best interest of the child. Let’s say for example you have a heterosexual couple and the husband is out there having an affair and he’s living a promiscuous lifestyle while the wife is doing the same. How is that any different than actually being in a gay relationship? Maybe what might happen is not what we call the traditional family but who gets to define what a traditional family is? Furthermore who are black people to define what a traditional family is? We’ve all been raised by grandmothers and aunties and the lady down the street. We are often village children. Statistics show that most children in black families are born to single mothers. You have to think outside the box. I hope that my colleagues are thinking outside the box. Regardless if the child comes from parents who are heterosexual or homosexual [placement] should always be in the best interest of the child.

Judge Penny can be seen daily in most of the country. For more information on Judge Penny visit Judge Penny’s Web site: http://famcourt.com/

Are African Americans Hippocritical when it comes to recognizing gay rights?

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Posted in Black Community and Gay Rights and Black History and Education and FYI and Legal and Religion 5 years, 6 months ago at 9:36 am.

2 comments

2 Replies

  1. gatorskins96 Jan 7th 2009

    Allow me to begin by stating that homosexuals comparing their struggle for special pervert rights is highly insulting to proud African-Americans whose struggle was and is based on the simple desire to be recognized as human and free. Gays want to force the rest of us to approve and sanction a filthy and disgusting lifestyle choice. I will not hesitate to tell one to keep my ethnicity out of your bedroom. Now back to marriage…

    Marriage has become a joke. Marriage itself is about as dead an institution as it can possibly be these days. It certainly is an idiotic move for Black men. I say this because marriage is no longer based on love and the genuine, traditional Americanfamily relationship. Marriage is a show. It has become a dumb ritual that leads to a quick and brutal buzz kill once all of the guests have left the reception. Sixty percent of all first marriages end in divorce (that number is higher in the Black community) and 80% of all second marriages end the same way so why the hell would anyone risk such pain, heartache and financial ruin over such and arrangement. Especially the man who will inevitably be raped by his former wife in the white man’s court system and last I checked court is the last place a Black man wants to be.

    Yet another addition to the marriage statistic that shows marriage is no longer valued is the one that shows Blacks still cannot grasp the devastation to our “community” generated by a staggering 70% OUT OF WEDLOCK BIRTHRATE! The internal sin we refuse to address yet the one that continues to see us crippled with no hope (that is right) in sight.

    We want the damned government to address all the symptoms caused by this root malady yet for some reason ignore the fact, our doomed to failure baby producing mechanism is killing our “collective” ability to achieve and ultimately progress.

    Tell me you too are not absolutely sick and tired of hearing women proclaiming themselves a “single-mother” as if that is some freakin’ badge of honor deserving respect and sympathy. Negrettes PLEASE!

    Remember all the buzz about Halle Berry’s new baby? What? Halle is not married?

    Was this baby conceived and born out of wedlock? Of course it was. And who cares? Certainly not the “black community.” No wonder Black folk have been so silent on Gov. Sarah Palin and her daughter. We have no room to talk.

    Chalk it up to Hollywood and unfortunately a new set of Godless “American” values. No matter. Even “happily married” couples who supposedly do it right can’t seem to find the solution to happiness either and EGADS, do not even seek to try. “I am not happy.” “I deserve better.” Do these pathetic refrains sound familiar?

    First it was slavery which threw the Black family cohesiveness under the bus and then it was welfare, then feminism, then Oprah, then Lifetime TV, then Dr. Phil, then Tyler Perry, then Jerome Eric Dickey, then Zane and now just the simple ease with which one or the other can just decide one day they do not love the person they once pledged their life and soul to and run to some nebulous White man in a black robe who has known neither of you for more than a few minutes nor cares about your fate past his next case to now decide how the rest of their and unfortunately their INNOCENT CHILDREN’S LIVES are going to be run.

    The funniest part about this sad African-American story is that many of the very cowardly culprits high on the need for instant self-gratification in a marriage are the very same fakes and phonies touting their oh so prestigious memberships in CHRISTIAN-BASED, FAMILY-STRENGTHENING AND SUSTAINING organizations such as the local church, mosque, synagogue, Jack and Jill of America, The 100 Black Men of America and other organizations designed to combat the very family dysfunction we the members thereof foster at home.

    Instead of acting like sane grown adults with critical problem solving skills available between us, as typical lazy Americans, we instead run to have someone else who gives less than a damn about us “solve” our most intimate issues. We get so wrapped up in what others (who have their own issues to deal with by the way) say we should do and the need to be proven right and carrying one dumb decision after another through as opposed to believing that even though the night is dark, that joy will come in the morning if you simply believe and apply some elbow grease to whatever issues plague the relationship.

    It is NEVER too late to repair a broken relationship or hurting heart. Yes, it takes courage and intestinal fortitude, but it can be done if LOVE was the true premise the relationship was built on and what you also pledge to GOD it was based on when all was white dress, wine and revelry. People can and DO CHANGE when given the chance and the knowledge they need to do so.

    The Black family is no more. People simply do not value their vows and their commitments to each other nor the ideal family structure anymore. What is more disturbing is that the vows are more often recited in a church before God and His Son Jesus Christ only to mean absolutely NOTHING as soon as one of the spouses decides that “What God puts together let no man put asunder” or “…for better or for WORSE” or “…until death do us part” do not mean a freakin’ thing anymore.

    Instant gratification and the immediate need to be happy as opposed to WORKING WITH EACH OTHER to create that desired happiness (whatever the hell that means these days).

    Just like with anything else these days, people are too lazy to try and work together to fix what is broken. Nawwww. That takes effort. Instead people simply run and seek the proverbial greener grass on the other side of the street only to later be even more disappointed in what they thought was better. Now what you have is a TWO time loser and yet another angry Black person roaming the streets lurking in wait to screw up some other person’s life.

    Get a grip people!

    The parties (because that is what they eventually are called once in the family law/divorce system) do nothing more that walk into a church worried about superficial BS and putting on a show while not understanding they are making vows before each other and GOD!

    Unfortunately far too many people enter the bonds of HOLY matrimony not understanding that once in you are supposed to remain in for LIFE. The Christian religion not only demands that you do so but that not doing so and filing for a divorce is a MORTAL SIN. An abomination unto itself. Due to the ease with which the bonds of marriage can now be broken, far too many couples hang around in one only until they realize they just don’t like the relationship anymore. Who suffers? EVERYONE! Especially the children.

    Women want to get married (that would be the show) but at some point they will undoubtedly not want to be married (the commitment under the authority of the husband). Men want to be married (run their household as head as ordained by God but impeded by this new “50-50″ model) but they are still men (who are very simple to please) now trapped in a LEGAL contract which favors the wife (and she knows it). He is now at her mercy for the duration of the marriage. With her bad ABW attitude and the intrusive negative influences of her bitter “friends”, relatives, BET, Lifetime TV, Oprah, Zane, Kimberly Lawson Roby and Jerome Eric Dickey just to name a few, how can any marriage survive in modern times?

    You would think the Black woman of all people would understand the slavery induced pains the Black man still endures to this day and for that same Black woman to throw the Black man into the court system run by a WHITE person in a Black robe just because she has unrealistic expectations of the marital relationship is simply wrong.

    My bitterness is admitted. I once was a strong opponent of gay marriage, but now I could care less if gays are allowed to marry. Anyone stupid enough to want to get married in the year 2009 and beyond can have at it.

    Marriage. The Ultimate American Joke!

  2. ndueczon Jan 7th 2009

    I agree with Gatorskins96 in that we cannot and should not ever compare the current struggles homosexual couples are facing with the struggles African-Americans had, and continue to have, for basic human rights, as well as, for civil rights. Such comparisons minimize the fact that our African-American sisters and brothers were the victims of vicious attacks launched at them only because their skin was of a different hue from that of the majority of Americans at that time. This treatment was inhumane, ungodly, and went mostly unpunished in a nation established “under God.” Most of us could not even bear to hear the details of many of the incidents some of our own living relatives could tell us if we only took the time to seek their wisdom.

    Although I am the first to admit that I am not well versed on this particular subject, it appears to me that the fight that homosexuals are facing, while mostly civil, it is a fight against the legislation of morality. Again, I am not well versed on this, but it seems to me that no one can identify 95% – 99% of all homosexuals just by looking at them. However, I do believe that most people can identify a person of African descent with 95% – 99% accuracy.

    I know that there is a raging disagreement in determining whether or not homosexuality is genetic in nature or environmental. To me, that is not an argument that is of any value. The end result is that the person identifies as homosexual so it doesn’t matter to me whether their identification as such began at infancy or yesterday. We should respect each other not matter what our choices or preferences. What matters to me is that, without their announcement of their sexual preferences, 100% of average, everyday human beings wouldn’t no with certainty if one was homosexual or not.

    I am sure that there have always been homosexuals among our various circles. Many of the most celebrated Black Renaissance authors were, in fact, homosexual. Did that stop any of you from reading their works? Did that make them any less credible? No! It doesn’t matter. Heck, many of the men and women we grew up knowing around our own neighborhoods were homosexual, but our parents wouldn’t allow us to disrespect them in the least.

    I fondly remember one of my grandmother’s dearest friends was someone we knew as “Ms. Shake-Right.” Yes, she was “different” from the other women who would come and visit during my grandmother’s illness – not any of the other women were over 6’ tall, with hands so big that they could effortlessly palm a basketball. And it was a little strange when “Ms. Shake-Right” would show up in a man’s suit, yet we still had to address him…her as “Ms.”

    We all have “Ms. Shake-Rights” in our history, or “Aunt Loretta” who lives with “Aunt Paula.” So homosexuality is not new. The concept of homosexuals as lifetime partners is not new. No matter what the political climate, homosexuals have always managed to carve out their own existence. What is new in our current culture is the prominence of open flaunting of one’s sexuality and promiscuity – whether homosexual or heterosexual. And herein, in my own opinion, lies the beginning of the problem.

    If it were up to me, I would prefer that all persons’ sexual preferences were kept on a need to know basis. It simply isn’t any of my business who you choose to live with, give it up to, or whatever. I wish that we would/could all find a way to leave our personal preferences personal and our private trysts private. But, oh no…not us, not Americans; we, just like our government continues to do around the world, have to force others to believe what we believe and accept what we accept. Is there a way to let everyone’s private business remain private?

    With all of this being said: California’s Prop 8 and Florida’s Amendment 2 are our attempts to legislate morality. I firmly disagree with these attempts and openly and vehemently support homosexuals’ rights to love, live with, marry and divorce whomever they choose. Heck, Gatorskins96 said it: heterosexuals have not held a pristine record when it comes to maintaining their marriages; why shouldn’t homosexuals be allowed to live as messed up lives as heterosexuals enjoy?

    Although I am a Christian, I firmly believe that the collective stance many churches and religious folk take on this issue is wrong. As Christians, God, our Father, gave each of us free will to accept Him or not. Why are we so high and mighty? What gives us the right to dictate to others with whom they can live, love, marry, divorce or to whom they can leave their worldly possessions? We are not God. We cannot stand in judgment of their moral actions.

    I know that the arguments will come back that we legislate against murder and other morally repugnant crimes. But, people that is just it: they are crimes. Last I heard, being homosexual in the United States is not a crime. I do believe that as we all learn to be less judgmental of others, that homosexuals will gain the right to marry. I am hopeful that they will be protected by the rule of laws which afford most of us some comfort in know that our wishes will be carried out after our deaths. But attaching and equating the homosexual struggles to those of our African-American forefathers is just not the right way to go about making the desired change.

    As for Gatorskins96, yeah, there seems to be some serious issues here because 80% of your comments do not even address the issue at hand. Hmmm? I’m just saying….


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