Idle threats

I had four homosexual people visit me in my office this week—all at the same time—to tell me about local efforts to secure gay marriage rights. I emerged from this encounter unscathed. Of course, I’m not married, so these gay people demanding equal rights don’t present a threat to me like they reportedly do to heterosexual married couples. But their visit got me to thinking. What about a gay man and lesbian woman who happen to be married? Is their marriage threatened? What about someone who’s been surgically altered sexually and is now married to someone of the opposite sex? Is that person’s holy union threatened? And what about a marriage between a hetero male who’s kind of a sissy and a tomboy female who throws fast-pitch softball? Is it threatened? And should such a combo even be allowed to be hitched, by law? How and where does the Constitution weigh in on this? And what about those marriages formed so a person from another country can become a U.S. citizen? You know, like our governor and that Kennedy girl. If ever we needed out president’s chisel-jawed and steely eyed leadership to lead us from the fog of confusion and uncertainty, this surely must be the time.

Dan Whitehead and Rob Regur, of Chico, and Don and Maggie, from Shasta County (they didn’t want to use their last names), told me a public demonstration is planned for Saturday, March 27, between 10 a.m. and noon on the Main Street side of the downtown park. The night before at 7:30, there is a chapter meeting of the group Marriage Equality of California (MECA) at 341 Broadway, suite 416. For the Saturday demonstration, those who want to participate in what Regur labels a “peaceful demonstration” should meet at 9:30 to pick up signs and handouts. Remember—this is not this weekend but the following one. Just wanted to give you time to plan. Those heterosexual married couples who feel threatened by the prospect of gay people being granted the right to marriage should probably stay home and watch it all on the nightly news. “We go to work, pay taxes, vote, raise children; we just want our rights,” said Don—who also said he is married to a “non-gay woman.” He shrugged his shoulders at the irony. “It’s for the benefits,” he said. There are, Don said, 1,094 federal benefits and rights enjoyed by married couples. Same-sex union laws in this state will offer only 286 of those rights, but they don’t go into effect until next year.

Last week’s story about the local sex industry brought some response, as was to be expected. We consider it like any other local business—the health industry, the construction industry, the education industry—as an important part of our economy. I’m sure the Chamber of Commerce agrees. One person who didn’t like our story called and told us so, demanding a retraction. Seems the owner of T&A productions, Silky (not her real name) is upset because she didn’t like what Chyna (probably not her real name) said about telling men to “do it yourself.” Chyna, Silky said, worked as an “independent contractor,” and thus Silky had no control over what Chyna did in her business. Chyna was the manager for T&A but no more—she’s opened her own business. Though she hadn’t actually read the story yet when she called, Silky objected to her business being mentioned in a story with the cover headline “Selling Sex in Chico.” She does no such thing, she said. She sells “sex objects that you can’t touch. I asked if she would have preferred it if the story had called the women in the industry “sex objects.” She said yes, but that she doesn’t sell sex. She wanted a retraction. I thought more of an explanation was due. I asked her what “T&A” stood for. “Touch and above,” she said. I asked her if the “1 hour 2 girl double trouble/double header/cum & play” ($300) choice of offerings on her Web site had anything to do with sex. She said no. Is everybody clear on this?

Trinity United Methodist Church at Flume and Fifth streets is presenting a forum on Wal-Mart Sunday, March 21, at 3 p.m. in the social hall. Mike Gentry, a representative of UFCW Local 588, Mike McLaughlin, from Paradise Save our Gateway, and Dr. Michael Perelman, professor of economics at Chico State University, will speak.