Anti-Gay, Anti-Mormon Hate Group Sponsors Reince Priebus’ RNC Israel Trip

If the National Republican Party had embraced the Ku Klux Klan or the American Nazi Party, would mainstream media pick up the story? Probably.

The American Family Association, sponsor of the Republican National Committee's upcoming Israel trip (organized and led by pastor David Lane), is no less extreme and has been venting its virulently hateful anti-LGBT, nativist, religious supremacist, and arguably racist rhetoric across America's airwaves for years. Hate speech from the AFA's nationally syndicated radio show targets a wide range of minorities: LGBT citizens, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native-Americans, Muslim-Americans, Muslims (generally), Mormons, Jews, and more.

And this is not a new issue: Time magazine broke the news of the RNC Israel trip (and, more to the point, who was sponsoring it) over six weeks ago, on December 8, 2014. So mainstream media has had ample advance notice.

But so far the main American non-LGBT media venue covering the scandal [see 1, 2] has been MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show.

"They were making an overt argument that Mitt Romney should not be elected to public office in this country specifically because of his religion... the Republican Party is now explicitly embracing these guys. Not just people who are related to people who are related to these guys. I mean, the 'I won't vote for Mitt Romney because of his religion' guy [pastor David Lane] is the same guy, the exact person who is taking Reince Priebus and the Republican Party leadership on this trip [to Israel] the day after tomorrow." - MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, January 29, 2015, characterizing statements from Bryan Fischer, David Lane, and the American Family Association, made during the 2012 presidential election, concerning the candidacy of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

The "serious" heavyweights - the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, not to mention broadcast media (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and so on) - have thus far opted to not cover the story, which has also been covered by two major Israeli media outlets (by Haaretz and the Times of Israel), by several American Jewish outlets including the Daily Jewish Forward, and extensively in LGBT media.

The scandal

On Saturday, 60-odd Republicans from the Republican National Committee (about 1/3 of the RNC), headed by Reince Priebus, will fly to Israel for a nine day all-expenses paid trip. Financially sponsoring the trip is the American Family Association and leading it is activist pastor David Lane, whose "Renewal Project" that seeks to bring pastors into politics is bankrolled by the AFA.

Among all U.S. media sectors, LGBT media has covered this story most heavily, and for good reason; it would not be a stretch to characterize the American Family Association as leading the vanguard of anti-gay hate speech in American today:

How anti-gay is the American Family Association ? Longtime AFA Director of Issue Analysis Bryan Fischer, star of the AFA's national radio show, is notorious for his recycling of Scott Lively's claims that Adolf Hitler and most of the top leadership of Hitler's Nazi movement were gay and so, by implication, homosexuality caused World War Two and the Holocaust.

While the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the AFA as a hate group, for years People For the American Way's Right Wing Watch has been documenting a wide range of hate speech from Bryan Fischer and the AFA. Not just anti-LGBT hate speech.

Fischer has claimed that believers of non-Christian faiths (e.g. Muslims and Jews) do not have a First Amendment right to freely practice their faiths, stated that young African-American women "rut like rabbits", and cited the Bible as justification for the violent ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from their lands. Hispanics, claims Fischer, are "socialist by nature".

This month, arguing that homosexuals should not be allowed to run for political office, Bryan Fischer declared, "It's a form of sex­ual per­ver­sion and remem­ber, we're going to have to choose between the gay agenda and Chris­tian­ity." It's not just LGBT citizens who should be excluded from office, per the AFA, but also Mormons, Mitt Romney included.

The AFA "fires" Bryan Fischer

Media attention on the RNC/AFA scandal turned first to the hate speech of Bryan Fischer; and after Rachel Maddow's first MSNBC treatment of the scandal, on January 28 , 2015, the American Family Association released a statement that Bryan Fischer was no longer the AFA's "Director of Issues Analysis."

AFA president Tim Wildmon suggested Fischer had been fired because of "the soundbite quotes, you know, the Hitler and homosexuality one..." But meanwhile, Fischer himself observed that the alleged firing or demotion was meaningless because his show on AFA radio, Bryan Fischer's main national media platform for spreading his hate speech, would go on regardless.

Underscoring Fischer's point was the AFA's showcasing, simultaneous with its alleged "firing" of Fischer, of a Bryan Fischer op-ed on the front page of the American Family Association website. If Bryan Fischer was indeed no longer the AFA's official spokesperson, evidence for the demotion was scarce to nonexistent.

And another figure was even more central to the story than Fischer who, after all, was not himself personally organizing and leading the RNC's Israel junket. That honor falls to pastor David Lane, who helped organize Rick Perry's 2011 The Response prayer rally and it's recent clone, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal's The Response prayer rally in early 2015.

Pastor David Lane

On Thursday night, in the January 29, 2015 segment of the MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow pivoted to Lane. As exhaustively documented by Bryan Tashman, with People For The American Way's Right Wing Watch project, pastor Lane's hateful and religious supremacist rhetoric has been no less extreme than Bryan Fischer's.

Among Lane's rhetorical firebombs showcased by Maddow was Lane's endorsement of a 2012 statement from Texas Baptist megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress identifying Mitt Romney's Mormon religion as a "cult." In an email from pastor Lane obtained by the Daily Beast, Lane emphasized, "Getting out Dr. Jeffress [sic] message, juxtaposing traditional Christianity to the false god of Mormonism, is very important in the larger scheme of things." Lane continued, "Let me go on the record, I won't vote for Mitt Romney as Republican nominee in 2012." Asked Maddow,

Why is the National Republican Party sending its chairman, and all its national leadership, on a trip, led by that guy [Maddow gestured at a photo of pastor David Lane] who said he wanted to be on the record about the fact that he wouldn't vote for Mitt Romney on religious grounds, because of Mitt Romney's religion?

Citing another quote from pastor Lane, claiming that the United States was founded explicitly as a "Christian nation" and "for the advancement of the Christian faith", Rachel Maddow posed the question,

What will it mean to the Republican Party, going forward, if they go on a trip, to Israel, with a group that advocates that America is by Christians and for Christians only, Christians exclusively?

The ramifications of such an embrace, between the RNC, the AFA, and pastor David Lane, are many.

What it means

The trip will likely strengthen already strong ties between Republicans, Israel's Likud Party and, specifically, current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That could, in turn, strengthen Netanyahu's hand in his perennial drive for heavier sanctions and/or military action against Iran. Coming shortly before a planned Netanyahu speech before the U.S. Congress, it is easy to see how the RNC's Israel trip could further Netanyahu's chances in the upcoming election in Israel.

On the domestic U.S. front, the implications are profound. Some in the Republican Party seek to rebrand and reshape the GOP, as more multi-racial and multi-ethnic, and tamp down the party's historic anti-gay stance.

But Priebus' trip stands to present to the party a grotesque fait accompli, by placing his authority as head of the RNC behind Lane and the AFA. In 2012, Reince Priebus himself was blessed and anointed, with the laying on of hands, by fellow "believers" in the radical stream of dominionist Christianity David Lane, Bryan Fischer, and the AFA represent. Since 2008 the ranks of national Republican figures "anointed" in similar ceremonies have included Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and others.

By embracing the American Family Association, and by extension its de facto spokesperson Bryan Fischer, Reince Priebus gives the GOP a veritable Father Coughlin reincarnate for our age, as well as a new de facto Republican prayer leader, a pastor whose naked assertions of Christian supremacy have included calls for believers to "Wage War To Restore a Christian America" through acts of Christian martyrdom that would force all Americans to either bow to Jesus or else "begin drinking holy blood".

The Party of God

In a 2013 World Net Daily op-ed "Wage War To Restore a Christian America", Lane, who has described himself as a "political operative and a mechanic" working "under the radar" to pull pastors into politics, called upon believers to sacrifice their lives in order to force Americans to either acknowledge Jesus as their supreme ruler or else "begin drinking holy blood." Wrote pastor Lane,

"American Christianity has not done a good job of producing martyrs... Christians must risk martyrdom and force Babel to the crux where it has to decide either to acknowledge Jesus an imperator and the church as God's imperium or to begin drinking holy blood."

The same year, in 2013, Lane also predicted car bombings in major U.S. cities because of "homosexuals praying at the Inauguration [of Barack Obama]".

Lane's pastors rallies have regularly featured figures such as Wallbuilders head David Barton, who appears to endorse "biblical slavery" and has claimed the U.S. Constitution is based on the Bible.

In 2013 at an Iowa pastors rally, Lane and Barton helped lead public blessings of U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Also publicly blessed at that event, according to a special report from Christian Broadcasting Network reporter David Brody, was RNC head Reince Priebus: a photo posted by Brody shows Reince Priebus amidst a tight knot of men laying hands on Priebus, to bless and anoint the RNC head as one of God's elect.

Other indications that RNC head Priebus holds a similar form of Christian supremacy as pastor David Lane include an October 2013 interview with CBN's David Brody in which Priebus lashed out at a USA Today story which claimed the RNC head had urged "tolerance for views of gay marriage." "[T]here's only one sovereign God", Priebus assured Brody.

Lane's close ties to Reince Priebus and the Republican National Committee were also on display in a January 19, 2014 story from CBN reporter Brody. According to Brody, Renewal Project head David Lane had sent out an email, to 10,000 pastors, which featured a ringing endorsement of Priebus as a GOP leader who "the masses will follow" and who could lead the American evangelical right to political triumph :

"Reince Priebus is making a stand this coming Wednesday in Washington, DC...but let's see this for what it is -- Reince Preibus is moving the ball down the field.

30 years ago Ronald Reagan branded the Republican Party as the leader of limited government, lower taxes, deregulation of business, the attitude of 'the-one-thing-government-can-do-for-me-is-leave-me-alone' -- which brought in the Reagan Democrats and Independents; Reagan then won reelection in 1984 with 49 States.

He then handed the ball to Bush 41', who quickly lost, and then Bush 43' needed the Supreme Court in 2000, and OH in 2004 to win the presidency."

The Evangelical/Pro-Life Catholic constituency didn't show in 2008 or 2012.

We need someone with principle, the masses will follow.

Will you -- right now -- stop and whisper a prayer for Reince Priebus please. He's making a stand, which is what we are all commanded to do...

Reince Priebus -- Salute. "

This strong mutual endorsement, of Lane by Priebus and Priebus by Lane, is striking. As I have documented, Lane works closely with the most radical faction of the religious right, the New Apostolic Reformation which, per the testimony of leaders who have helped create the contemporary American religious right, represents the American answer to Al Qaeda or the Taliban (or, some might suppose, ISIS).

Rachel Maddow's rhetorical question can be answered, in short: while some are working to build a bigger, more inclusive GOP tent with room for LGBT people and other minorities, both ethnic and religious, Reince Priebus, David Lane, and the AFA are hard at work pulling the Republican Party in a radically different direction, towards a future as the party of Christian religious supremacy, and religious war: the Party of God.

What would it mean for such people to gain top-level control of a political party that controls the U.S. Congress and Senate, and over 2/3 of governorships and state legislatures in America today?

We may soon find out.

Nashville megachurch (and Carrie Underwood’s church) declares full acceptance of LGBT people

Three years ago, American Idol winner and country superstar, Carrie Underwood spoke to The Independent in support of marriage equality. Raised Baptist, Underwood cited her faith as a reason for her support of LGBT people. She also talked about the nondenominational Christian Church she attends with her husband, pro hockey player Mike Fischer. Their church, according to Underwood, was welcoming and accepting of LGBT people, which influenced her decision to come out publicly in support of marriage equality.

As Underwood told The Independent in 2012:

"Our church is gay friendly," she explains. "Above all, God wanted us to love others. It's not about setting rules, or 'everyone has to be like me.' No. We're all different. That's what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It's not up to me to judge anybody."

That church she spoke of is GracePointe Church in Nashville, which at the time had placed limitations on the level of involvement that LGBT people could participate in church life. Since then, the church has been in a three-year discernment process about the role of LGBT people in the church. Now, TIME Magazine reports that the church has come out in support of LGBT people and their full participation in the church.

TIME reports:

“Our position that these siblings of ours, other than heterosexual, our position that these our siblings cannot have the full privileges of membership, but only partial membership, has changed,” he said, as many in the congregation stood to their feet in applause, and other sat in silence. “Full privileges are extended now to you with the same expectations of faithfulness, sobriety, holiness, wholeness, fidelity, godliness, skill, and willingness. That is expected of all. Full membership means being able to serve in leadership and give all of your gifts and to receive all the sacraments; not only communion and baptism, but child dedication and marriage.”

The above quote is from a sermon delivered by Stan Mitchell, pastor of GracePointe, as he announced the fuller welcome of LGBT people within the congregation. This announcement has GracePointe becoming one of the few Evangelical megachurches to fully welcome LGBT people. Pastor Mitchell walked the congregation through the discernment process, using the Emmaus story from the book of Luke to illustrate how the church’s eyes were opened to the welcome to LGBT people.

"There is a growing number of churches taking steps to become more inclusive of all congregants,” said Ross Murray, Director of Programs at GLAAD. “When they examine scripture and their values, they see that their LGBT friends and family are created equally and loved just as they are. This leads to growing acceptance, both within church and in society."

Evangelicals have traditionally been less accepting than other churches, but that is changing. The movement for LGBT acceptance within the evangelical community has been building momentum, with people like Justin Lee, Matthew Vines, Rachel Held Evans, Kathy Baldock, and more recently, David Gushee speaking out. 

You can see the full sermon delivered by Pastor Stan Mitchell here:

January 31, 2015

James Franco Opens Up About His ‘Uncomfortable’ Sex Scene With Michael Shannon

James Franco has a much-buzzed about sex scene with actors Charlie Carver and Zachary Quinto in the upcoming film "I Am Michael," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this week. But not all the love scenes in the actor's career have gone quite so smoothly. In a recent interview with Vulture, Franco opened up about his very different experience shooting the sex scene with Michael Shannon in 2011 film "The Broken Tower."

It was very different. Michael Shannon is an awesome actor, one of the best actors of our generation, and a good friend of mine who prides himself on being the guy who will do anything, but he was uncomfortable in that scene. I had to take him to dinner before we shot it because he was so uncomfortable ... he was like, 'We've gotta talk about this.' So I went in to New York, and as soon as we sat down, he was like, 'Aw, now I feel stupid that I'm such a wimp. All right, I'll do it, I'll do it.' Once we got to set, we set up the lights and everybody else cleared the room. It was my DP and focus-puller, and that was it. We did one take, and if you look closely at the scene, you'll see that I am pulling his face close to me because he [refused to get close], and we're supposed to be passionately making out. And he's a strong dude! But in the end, it worked … half-assed love scenes are the worst. Straight or gay! So I was just doing my job on ['I Am Michael'].

Speaking to HuffPost Live in a recent interview, Franco's "I Am Michael" co-star Carver opened up about shooting the aforementioned scene with Franco and Quinto.

"I think a scene like that you have to have a sense of humor, you just go for it," he said. "There are plenty of things that are more awkward to shoot than a love scene or a sex scene."

"I Am Michael" follows the story of Michael Glatze, a gay rights activist who turned to Christianity and later renounced his homosexuality. As Variety notes, Glatze was profiled in 2011 by The New York Times.

For Franco's full interview, head over to Vulture.

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About What’s Going on With Bruce Jenner in One Sentence

No matter how many outlets -- from trashy gossip rags to (supposedly) reputable entertainment magazines -- make claims about Bruce Jenner's current "journey," as Kim Kardashian recently put it, citing however many anonymous sources "close to the family" (even if those sources turn out to be the family itself, which can often be the case), let's remember that Jenner has said nothing about what is happening and this entire situation -- whether it's true that Jenner is transgender or not and whether it's a strategic publicity campaign or leaked info or totally untrue -- paints being trans and coming out as trans as something that's rooted in and deserving of rumors and secrecy and shame and that isn't good or helpful or healthy for any of us.

Best Tweets: What Women Said On Twitter This Week

The week started off with a general panic when the Northeast learned it could be getting up to three feet of snow. Some were not too happy with Storm Juno and decided to vent their frustrations on Twitter: "Maybe if Winter Storm Juno had used protection with Winter Storm Michael Cera we wouldn't be in this mess," OhNoSheTwitnt tweeted.

Fortunately, the blizzard was rather underwhelming for those in NYC, leaving a whopping eight inches of snow on the ground. Akilah Hughes put it perfectly when she tweeted, "This is not the first time a man didn't know what 8 inches actually looks like. #Snowmageddon2015." Truth.

In other news this week, the cast for the all-female "Ghostbusters" remake was revealed and it did not disappoint. Twitter user Bab$ Gray highlighted an important concern, tweeting, "FACT: Female #ghostbusters are paid 78% of what male ghostbusters make for the SAME GHOSTBUSTING." Inconceivable!

For more great tweets from women, scroll through the list below. Then visit our Funniest Tweets From Women page for our past collections.


The Rise Of ‘Mostly Straight’ Dudes–why Men’s Sex Lives Are More Complicated Than You Think

Warning: This article contains sexually explicit material.

A straight guy licked my face once. It was in high school between classes and I was at my locker, running late as always. One of the guys from our school’s soccer team walked up to me, which I thought was unusual. We weren’t friends exactly, friendly enough to say hello in the hallway but not make time for conversation, and definitely not friends enough for a full stop. I turned from my books, and before I knew it, his saliva was smeared all across my cheek. Startled and more than a little freaked out, I quickly yelped, “No, I can’t,” and scuttled the other direction. We barely talked for the rest of high school.

Barilla and Gay Families: 18 Months Later, Does the Pasta Company Really Care? (VIDEO)

My godchild is an amazing, confident, happy 3-year-old with two mommies. Families are made in the heart. They have little to do with blood, marriage certificates or adoption and cannot be hijacked by one social demographic or culture. They are heart bonds. Family is not limited to tradition but encompassed by love.

So in September 2013, when the chairman of Barilla, the famous pasta brand, said he would never use a gay family in one of their advertising spots for TV, it set off a global storm, and it hit home with me. The company was forced to try to defend their position, then apologize, and finally admit that they needed to leave antiquity and join the modern age.

A month later, in November 2013, Barilla announced that it would work to make the company more diverse saying it would create an ad campaign more inclusive than the previous ads, which had depicted only "traditional" families.

Over a year later they have yet to produce an ad featuring a gay family. In fact, nine months after this announcement, Italian frozen-food company Findus produced Italy's first gay-inclusive d. See it here.

In summer 2014 Barilla launched a contest calling for content creators to submit work under 60 seconds that reflected their new diversity campaign. When I heard about the contest, I felt strongly compelled to create a commercial testing their commitment to a more inclusive ad campaign. Their new call to action -- "Love life, love pasta, in your own way" -- asked us to bring our distinct voice emphasizing the values they want to promote, these values being diversity, uniqueness and inclusion. I saw this as a great opportunity to offer them a commercial with high production value and a modern take on family.

In fact, my submission was the only one that confronted them face-to-face with a gay family. However, regardless of its superior production quality, I was not surprised when the spot was not selected by Barilla for competition. It represented a beautiful, sexy, loving lesbian family.

My motivation was to make sure that Barilla could not deny that the beauty of the family values that they hold so dear for their brand are also found in LGBT families and other "alternative" families.

Barilla has not changed their stance, and I would bet that they don't plan on it, unless someone stirs the pot. In the barrage of the information age, once they aren't "news" any longer, who holds them accountable? Me.

My spot is a very fast, sweet and sexy 56 seconds. Even if Barilla didn't have the guts to choose it as a finalist, it's important to me that this representation of family be seen, if not for me, then for my godchild, who deserves to know that her family is as important and as valuable as any other.

Michael Sam and Coca-Cola target online hate with #MakeItHappy Super Bowl ad campaign

Coca-Cola’s 2015 Super Bowl ad campaign, #MakeItHappy, targets online hate and includes special extended highlight videos released this week from four stars dedicated to spreading happiness online, including out football player Michael Sam.  Check out Sam talking about how he uses social media for good below, including tweeting in support of LGBT youth as part of GLAAD’s #SpiritDay.

"Coca-Cola has always stood for optimism, uplift and inclusion… and these core values have been a common thread in our advertising through the years," said Andy McMillin, Vice President and General Manager for Coca-Cola Trademark Brands.

Coca-Cola made history last year with the first Super Bowl commercial to feature a gay family. Share how you spread happiness online with the hashtag #MakeItHappy on Twitter!

January 30, 2015

Polyamorous Relationship Lasts 46 Years (VIDEO)


I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit archive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories. New stories are posted on the site every Wednesday.

The idea of a polyamorous relationship is probably shocking to a lot of people, but for Bob Lanning and his partner Don, who was often away for his job as an airline pilot, it was just the right thing to do:

In 1971, when I was managing a bar in San Diego, Keith came in -- his ship was stationed down there -- and he came in in uniform, and when I saw him walk through that door [with] his Dixie cup and white uniform, I said, "Oh, my god, I'm having that sailor." ... I asked Keith if he would be willing to try a threesome, and when Keith said yes, he would be willing, then we went to Don, and the three of us sat down and discussed if this might be a possibility, and Don said yes as well....

The three were able to live happily together for many years, each filling a different role within the home:

Don was the better cook of the three of us, though we all three cook. I like to clean, and I'm kind of anal about "Everything has to be neat, and everything has to be in order." Keith would do the dishes after a dinner party, and I would set the table and put the flowers and invite the guests. We liked to dance, and we went to many clubs, we bowled, we traveled all over the United States, we had several trips to Europe. Don was at his best when we were out dining where he had a bottle of wine. That's when he would start telling us stories, and even if we'd heard them before, we were drinking and eating too, so they held us ... rapt.

Unfortunately, the relationship came to an end when Don was diagnosed with and eventually died from cancer, leaving Bob and Keith behind. Bob and Keith have continued their relationship since Don's passing and now live together as a married couple:

We since then sold our house, and we got married, finally, because it was just the two of us. Having this relationship for all these years, both of the guys have taught me to accept more people for the way they are. We miss Don a lot to this very day. After 46 years it was like a lifetime, so we go on.


For more stories, visit I'm From Driftwood, the LGBTQ Story Archive.

Why Marriage Equality Is Important for Mississippi

Why is marriage equality so important? I want you to ask yourself, "What if I walked into the Circuit Clerks office to apply for a marriage license and I was denied because of the gender of my fiancé?" In a moment you are stripped of your rights, your dreams and even your dignity because the State that you call home treats you as a second-class citizen, and says that your family doesn't count.

U.S District Judge Carlton W. Reeves recently ruled that Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage was indeed unconstitutional. Our state officials quickly appealed this decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, where another hearing took place earlier this month. While we wait in Mississippi to hear from the 5th Circuit, the U.S Supreme Court has announced they will hear cases on this issue. Either way, we expect marriage equality by summer from a 5th Circuit decision or from the Supreme Court.

Although we expect marriage equality from the court systems, which makes us equal in the eyes of the law, it is also important that we achieve equality in the eyes of our fellow human and our society.

We don't have to agree and no one is asking anyone to change his or her beliefs, after all freedom of religion is another inalienable right that should be afforded to all citizens. We just want to have the same God-given rights and respect as everyone else and we want our lives and our families to, not only be equal, but to matter.

Why is marriage equality important? Because people are important, all people. You don't have to approve of ones life to accept them as equal. You don't have to agree with same-sex marriage to respect others' freedoms. If God afforded humanity the freedom to choose, who are we to deny that right to anyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, social status or yes, even orientation.

What if you woke up one day and suddenly everything around you was different? What if everything that protected you and your family were abruptly stripped away? Your freedom, your dignity and even your marriage were null and void. What if the Constitution of The United States no longer applied to you? This may sound outlandish to you, but it is the harsh reality for many of us. Although I was born into the Land of the Free, my freedom is limited because of who I love.

Equality, quite literally, means to be equal. Equal in rights, status and opportunities. This is what our great country was founded upon. Many battles have been fought for, what is supposed to be, a God-given right; that right is freedom. Freedom is something that most people take for granted, unless you lose it, or you were never afforded those rights in the first place.

You may have heard the derogatory cliché "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." Each time I hear this, I am indeed reminded of the first family and the events that took place in the Garden of Eden. God undeniably created Adam and then, as I like to jokingly say, He improved the situation by creating Eve; this is the biblical foundation and argument that many people use to justify the denial of marriage equality. But God did something else in that garden that most people forget; He gave humanity the freedom of choice.

As we await the ruling on marriage equality in Mississippi I ask you to step back and ask yourself, "What if?"