Is it time for LGBTQ activists to pay Mr. Onorato a faith-based visit?

Lez Get Real has a story on a planned direct action at the Cathedral in Chicago led by long-time activist Andy Thayer.

To back his point Thayer told LGR, “This is not just about the equal right to marry. In Illinois, Cardinal George and his predecessors over the years have worked behind the scenes to vehemently oppose every piece of equal rights legislation for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT) people that has been proposed, including opposing equal employment rights, equal access to housing, equal access to public accommodations and equal access to adoption.”

Thayer also noted the Church hasn’t been above playing hardball to get their way, “the church leadership recently threatened to torpedo support for Congressman Luis Guiterrez’s immigration law bill if it included any consideration for LGBT people and in Washington, DC, the church leadership threatened remove support for the homeless there if the District upheld its equal marriage rights bill. This is why we will call the Church leadership’s bigotry out into the open for all the see with our protest,” said Thayer.

As a personal note, I have been following Andy’s career as a rabble-rouser for a very long time now and he never makes idle promises. So you can be sure the folks attending Mass at Holy Name this Sunday are going to hear what he has to say.

I can't help but wonder what would happen if Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community were ready to shed the “be patient and let the politically connected gay men take care of things” approach to equal rights and take action for ourselves.

I wonder if Andy Thayer would think the “be patient and work behind the scenes” approach to County domestic partner benefits is working out.  What do you think? We've waited six years … how much longer will you support this approach?  (They even try to persuade me to be “less divisive” but I say putting your money where your mouth is has only bought us photo ops and a general brush off.)

Maybe we should take a lesson from the animal advocates (and Andy Thayer) and pay Mr. Onorato a visit at his church?  Ha. Wouldn't that bring the issue to the forefront! Better yet, pay him a visit when he attends mass in Philadelphia to show them he's about as progressive as Corbett, just less honest.

After all, six years of waiting for his gay friends and allies to convince him to do the moral thing hasn't really worked out too well.  Maybe a little media attention to the issue would help?

I mean the geese were already dead.  I'm not aware of any County employee family members who have died for lack of health insurance, but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened.  My sources inside the County unionized and non-unionized employees is that they don't want to rock the boat by “coming out” politically. Hmmm. 

I suspect the good Catholic gays of Western PA would feel the same way.  Too bad.  Maybe we could take a page from Bash Back Pittsburgh which actually did something to make a point about the gay-bashing owner of Peace, Love and Little Donuts.

At 11:00 AM on January 16th, around twenty queers and allies occupied the tiny donut shop and the space in front of it. Our pink and black flag waved while our boombox blasted “You Made Me Gay” and other catchy tunes guaranteed to queer even the straightest of passersby.

We danced, sang, chanted, and had a wondrous time creating space for ourselves, all while handing out informative and celebratory flyers, signed with love by “the crazies, kooks, and freaks.”

Razete protested, denied the quotes we had taken from his own blog, and claimed he “hated the sin but not the sinner.”

With all of the love Ron had for the partiers, he still asked us all to leave, at which point a major queer make-out fest ensued inside his hateful donut shop. Ron’s discomfort angered him so that he physically pushed four occupants out into the street and slammed the door.

With a donut shop in distress, it was no surprise when its blue-clad protectors came swiftly to the scene. With queers endangering their donut-dipping freedom, we knew they were gonna come down on us hard. Unfortunately for them, the queers knew more about the law than they did and the po were unable to break up the party.

The group pressed on shouting, “Hate tastes like shit! No queer bashers in the Strip!” as onlookers joined in to dance down the Soul Train or take our amazing flyers. Several potential customers of PLLD turned around to find breakfast elsewhere and others went inside to confront Razete about the quotes. Angry about this, Ron threatened to press charges. The cops’ demands to know “Who was inside?” were left unanswered. Nobody talked, everybody walked. After our music CD ended and our flyers were all gone, the group dispersed for the safety of all involved just before Ron could come out and identify anyone.

Note there was no actual bashing.  They handout flyers, kissed each other and engaged in lawful First Amendment protected speech.  They are not done with this hater.  I think a little Bash Back at an Onorato fundraiser would be just the shot in the arm the LGBTQ community needs.  Domestic partner benefits is about fundamental socio-economic inequities like health care and life insurance, not marriage equality.  It is practical and concrete. The lack of domestic partner benefits disproportionately impacts lower income families who are less likely to be able to purchase health insurance coverage through the so-called free market. 

Imagine if a Bash Back generated the kind of buzz necessary to force Onorato's hand?  I'm sure the six year approach folks would take credit for laying the groundwork, blah, blah, blah.  But it would definitely shine a light that this approach hasn't worked. 

I know someone will bring up the anti-discrimination ordinance in the comments section.  It took him ten months to publicly support the bill and I frankly don't believe people who claim that he was working behind the scenes. I don't believe you because ten months after THAT he refuses to provide domestic partner benefits.  I think you are being disengenuous to pacify us and avoid revealing that you don't have as much influence as you would have us believe. 

You might believe it. I don't believe you. 



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