Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blade campus series covers William and Mary, bringing back my own pre-history

Brent Adams Mundt has a series in the Washington Blade about alumni returning to certain select college campuses near Washington DC and show how things changed and got better over the years and decades.
On April 26, 2013, the series tells the story of Jeff Trammell, from the Class of 73 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA.
The link for the story is here.
This story is of interest to me because, as my readers know, I was forced to leave William and Mary during my freshman fall semester in 1961 for “admitting” latent homosexuality to the Dean of Men, then Carson Barnes.

The details form the first chapter of my 1997 book “Do Ask Do Tell: A Gay Conservative Lashes Back” (check Amazon or iUniverse). I also described in great detail on my posting on the “BillBoushka” blog (follow my Blogger Profile to it), Nov. 28, 2006.  That was the 45th anniversary, to the date (a Tuesday) of my expulsion.

To recap very quickly, we did not go home for Thanksgiving, and I found a handwritten note on my dorm door in Brown Hall to go see the Dean, then in the Wren Building, second floor, west side, at around 5 PM on Friday Nov. 24.  Apparently he had waited in his office for some time for the meeting.  He called my parents, who were visiting friends in Charlotte, NC,  Friday evening around 8 PM, and they came on Monday, Nov. 27.  Such a call must have seemed both mysterious and traumatic.  Imagine a short film based on how they would have reacted.

In those days, there was hazing of freshman.  I had deliberately skipped their "tribunals" the last Friday im September (1961), where in some dorm basement "they" allegedly shaved the boys' legs.  I remember being harassed one time in the cafeteria by some football players, running around (shaved) in their playing jerseys.  
I would attend college from home, at George Washington University, and graduate in early 1966.  I would then earn an M.A. in Mathematics at the University of Kansas and live in a dorm (McCollum Hall) for two years without incident.  I would take the draft physical three times to erase the “stigma”, finally pass, and get “drafted” and serve two years in the Army.  Basic Training was harrowing (Chapter 2 in the book) but I would spend two years in a sheltered assignment because of my education. The irony would stay with me when President Clinton first proposed lifting the ban on gays in the military, leading to my first book. 
Also, in 1962, I would spend six months as a quasi-inpatient at NIH in Bethesda MD, in a Kennedy program to look at college students who had trouble “adjusting”, though then to be a security issue in the Cold War. 
The therapists were very concerned about my “fantasies” and the existential meaning that could be deduced from them, and how I could set a dangerous example for others.  I think they were also concerned about my parents’ marriage, because as an only child, I had presented them with the shock of no lineage. Their marriage did flourish though, for 45 years, until my father died in 1986 (mom died in 2010).  To sum up, culture in those days saw procreation as mandatory.
I have interacted with William and Mary GALA, as I detailed on this blog Oct. 23, 2011, regarding the GALA dinner in the Wren Building, for the organization’s 25th Anniversary.
I seemed to be the only person in the group who did not graduate.  In 1963, a student named Tom Baker had an issue, but he eventually graduated.  He tells his story in the autobiographical novel “The Sound of One Horse Dancing”, reviewed on my Books blog, March 22, 2012.  He says that he was actually put in the infirmary at first because homosexuality was viewed as an “illness”.  Perhaps that is minimal progress from what happened to me.
I have thought about writing William and Mary, maybe through an attorney, and asking at least for a detailed explanation of what happened (there seem to be a lot of loose ends in the circumstances).  I have discussed it with the ACLU (Atlanta office for Virginia).  I believe that the college would tell me that I could have returned had a psychiatrist signed off on it.  As things would unfold, it was not practical to do so.
I will probably contact the Blade and writer Brent Mundt about the series in due course. The blog post is a good place to start.

See also my review of the film "Equality U", Sept. 20, 2011, a documentary about gay college students on hostile campuses, on the Movie Reviews blog. 
The media has covered the announcement of NBA basketball player Jason Collins that he is gay. I gave the relevant links in an update to my posting here April 24.  He is said to be the first professional sports player to “come out” while still playing (he is 34).  Will it happen in MLB?  

Monday, April 29, 2013

CIA hosts event for LGBT people, reported a gay-friendly workplace now, despite past history

In its April 25, 2013 issue, Metro Weekly, in a story by Ernesto M. Santalla, reports that the CIA is hosting a GLBT Information and Networking Event on Monday, April 29, 2013, with story link here
The article recounts the case of Tracey Ballard, who came out while working for the CIA in 1989 and kept her job, after a US Appeals Court found that the CIA had routinely denied LGBT employees security clearances.  In 1995, President Clinton signed an Executive Order ending discrimination in granting security clearances in all settings.
Since the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy for military personnel was in place at the time, the situation created an anomaly.  The CIA preferred that gay civilian employees be “out” because now it was safer – countering the old McCarthy era canard that gays were susceptible for blackmail.  What would happen with a same-sex coup-le where one was active duty military, the other was a civilian CIA employee, and both happened to work on the same classified international issue?
I actually tried to create that setting in one of my early screenplays (“Make the A-List”, 2002).
Some CIA employment is of a “military” nature when connected to overseas stations and may involve combat capabilities.  But most jobs are related to computer and Internet-based analysis at home, although (as in “Zero Dark Thirty”) in rare cases CIA agents may travel with military people.  But this sort of situation is very infrequent.
I was processed for a Top Secret clearance when I was employed as a civilian programmer by the Navy (NAVCOSSACT) in 1972, and the outcome was ambiguous, given my William and Mary expulsion (1961) and “psychiatric” treatment at NIH (1962).  I already had a Secret clearance.  I decided to leave anyway, and went to work for Univac in New Jersey in the fall of 1972, starting a new period in my life.

When I was in the Army, I was processed successfully for a Secret clearance while I was in Basic Training at Fort Jackson, SC in 1968.  When I was assigned to the Pentagon in the summer after Basic (with MOS “01E20”, Mathematician), I was processed tor Top Secret.  Suddenly, in September, I was mysteriously transferred to Fort Eustis (Newport News, VA, ironically ten miles from William and Mary).  I was reprocessed there for a Secret without incident, except that I had an innocuous interview with an Army psychiatrist who had nothing really to say and wondered why he was asked to interview me.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

TownDC holds "Tracks Reunion"; former owner tells "The Story of Tracks Nightclub" in film on YouTube

Over the weekend, the Town Discotheque in Washington DC has held its “Tracks Reunion”. With the main celebration upstairs early Saturday evening, April 26.
Tracks was the largest disco in Washington DC from 1984 to 1999.  It was located in SE, near the Navy Yard, and was closed when the area was razed for real estate development. Eventually, this rebuilding would include Nationals Park in 2008, as well as many offices and condominiums.
The facility had a large dance floor, a video room (which incorporated a smaller floor), an outdoor volleyball court with sand, and sometimes a tent that housed a larger dance floor. 

In May 1993, on a Sunday afternoon, the club had a fundraiser for lifting the ban and for the new organization that would lead to SLDN. I believe Tracey Thorne was present at it.  
After it closed, a club called “Velvet Nation” opened nearby, and would close in 2006.  Town would open late in 2007, but in the U-Street area.  The only large club left in SE is Ziegfeld’s-Secrets.

Near the Tracks and later Velvet properties, there have existed some other clubs.  The Lost and Found was a great favorite of Frank Kameny in the 1970s.  The “Wet” featured showers and dancers.  In Washington, police have not allowed touching of dancers, as contrasted with Minneapolis-St. Paul, where touching with tips is allowed but, oddly, photography is not.

Around 9:30 PM, former owner Marty Chernoff spoke about Tracks (as had a former DJ), and he mentioned that there is a Tracks in Denver, CO, which will have special party on July 4. 

There is another youtube video (50 minutes), “The Story of Tracks Nightclub”, here

Friday, April 26, 2013

Reviewing the roots of "homophobia" -- it was all on purpose

At this point in developing some of my book materials, I thought I would review the “causes” of “homophobia”.
Things have really changed since I came of age in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s.  I think younger gay men in larger cities (at least from affluent secular backgrounds) don’t realize how it was a few decades ago, when police would raid gay bars in some cities and publish the “arrests”.
Many cultures (at least in the past, and in less developed parts of the world) have to place an emphasis on the idea that everyone “does his (or her) part” according to gender for the good of the “tribe”..  That means that men can collectively provide for and protect women and children.  The pressure is placed on everyone (except maybe the most obviously disabled) and takes on moral dimensions and is viewed as part of character.  Many religious teachings augment this precept.  For the “common good”, sexuality is reserved for marriage where the intention is to procreate and raise another generation (and perhaps take care of the past one).
Many men are less “competitive” than others are less able to function this way, with any sense of personal satisfaction.  But there is a “transition zone” where less secure men may make this cultural model work when they believe that everyone else has to.  The “mandatory” aspect of procreation does, for some people, give it “meaning”.   Harassment of homosexuals was necessary to demonstrate publicly that this really is “required” and that the “meaning” holds.  Imagine, then, how someone feels that he is made a second class citizen not for harming anyone or for what he has done, but for what he doesn’t do.  He must “sacrifice” to support the sexual “health” of those others (not himself) who reproduce and raise families.  Understandably, some people don’t want to live in such a world.  In some cultures (Uganda), moreover, not having children is seen as a “crime”, as terminating a “family”.

People do go through real pain to "change" and then find satisfaction in something else.  The contradiction comes in that they then need to see others have to do the same.  It's hard to see how this implies righteousness, but to some people it seems to.
It’s true, as one Midwestern prosecutor wrote to me, that some people need to reaffirm their sense of social “superiority” to others in order to remain confident in their ability to raise families.
Sometimes, as with gay men, a flip side of this “meaning paradigm” develops.  The external trappings of masculinity are necessary for “meaning” when one’s sense of satisfaction or “pleasure” in relationships depends on upward affiliation.  (George Gilder wrote about this in the 1980s.)   The result seems perverse, a kind of “body fascism”, and a disinterest in others who may be in real need.
The military always a lot of input into this value system.  Societies used to demand that men make themselves available (often through conscription) to share the risks and responsibilities of defending the tribe.  The military always said that it couldn’t allow sexual tension among soldiers – not so much because sex would occur (it’s not that common, and doesn’t seem to matter much when it does), but because of the judgmentalism that goes with it.   I definitely experienced that attitude from my civilian roommate at William and Mary before my 1961 expulsion.  It took the difficult debate in 1993, which first resulted in “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, and then seventeen years of the policy, for the military and the country to get over it (in Europe and Canada and other progressive countries, even Israel, change came much more quickly).   Because of the quasi-mandatory nature of military service sometimes (for the common good), overcoming the military issue was essential for all other progress in gay equality, as has followed now with gay marriage (and parenting).

In the 1980s, a particularly frightening argument developed within the “right wing” in some parts of the country during the early days of the AIDS epidemic.  Groups like the “Dallas Doctors Against AIDS” tried to argue that certain viruses like HIV could be “amplified” by certain behavior, and then mutate and pose and existential threat to all civilization.  It did not go that way (and there is a certain logical fallacy, if one thinks about it).  Yet, I was living in Dallas in 1983 when the Texas legislature considered (but rejected, only after heavy lobbying) bills that would have banned gays from most occupations (let alone the military).  This bit of gay history seems forgotten.  But today, one could claim that southeast Asian countries need to ban raising poultry near residences to prevent bird flu from developing.
Today, the “moral” debate of the past has shifted away from “private choices” to one about public expression.  More about that soon (on my main blog). 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Food and Friends holds "Dine Out for Life" fundraisers across Washington area

Today, I had evening dinner at Busboys and Poets, as part of the Food and Friends “Dine Out for Life” fundraiser. At a large number of restaurants in the Washington DC area (most of them in the City) Food and Friends was to be awarded 25% of the bill. The link for the event is (website url) here
I did volunteer for Food and Friends in 1990s.  At that time, it was located in SE Washington, on the Waterfront.  At that time, a much larger portion of the food deliveries were to gay men with AIDS than is the case now.  A few times, I drove for delivery runs.  The group has moved to NE Washington to a large facility.  I did a driving assignment on December 26, 2011.
The restaurant has a “library”, and community tables where people who don’t know each other can meet.  It also has a “Fair Trade” or barter facility.  (That makes me think of bitcoin, but that’s another “libertarian” topic.)
It was a very diverse gathering.  I think there was one male couple raising children.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Openly gay college football field goal kicker to try out with NFL

The Washington Blade recently tweeted a story in “OutrageDC” about Washington DC native Alan Genreau who is trying  out in the National Football League as a field goal kicker and would be the NFL’s first “openly gay” player.  The link for the story is here

He says that the environment in college at Middle Tennessee State was “religious” but he never had any particular issues.  

The news story includes a YouTube video, and, yes, he is clean-cut and super “attractive”.
I haven’t been to many pro football games, but when I have, I’ve wondered who would want to be a 300-pound lineman anyway.

Someone with unusual distance or angle l field goal kicking abilities would indeed be sought by NFL teams.  
I also remember being coerced to play football at around age 8 in a field on Quincy St in Arlington near the library.  The field is now developed with various sports fields, but it was a day of infamy for me.

I still think that MLB would have an easier time with this issue than the NFL.  We’d love to have it happen in DC.  A controversy might get the Nationals out of their current funk.

Both the NFL and MLB say they are trying to end discrimination by recruiters, but that educating everyone will be difficult.
I’ve wondered about whether there are opening gay players in international chess.  Back in the 1950s, Ruben Fine  (“The Psychology of the Chess Player”) advanced a theory that this would not happen because chess sublimates sexual impulses.  Now, that would sound like a silly idea.  

Update: April 29

NBA's Jason Collins has come out as gay (CNN story). He has played with the Washington Wizards most recently, and was going to be a free agent next year. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

An unusual "party" at a bar during the daytime Saturday

I was attending the Filmfest DC at the NYU Auditorium on L Street in Washington DC, and between films (at about 7 PM) I noticed (with the help of Droid)  that I was two blocks and one alley away from the Green Lantern off of 14th St. 
I walked over there, had trouble getting noticed downstairs by the bartender who was overwhelmed by a number of running tabs, and went upstairs instead and witnessed the “Spanking Party”. I had never seen anything like this.  I was invited to “take a number” but simply had a beer.  The bartender knew the Nationals baseball team pretty well and that Bryce Harper’s monster home run had just won a game for the Nats. The Orioles were beating the Dodgers (NL) twice.  The Red Sox were winning their emotionally important game.  A conversation about MLB with “spanking” (just one person) going on in a leather saddle on a stage, with some video, was odd indeed.
They’re not much too it, a little redness.  It’s hardly an existential fantasy.  I understand that this event happens there the third Saturday every month. 

Picture: Yes, Chicago comes to the Green Lantern.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boy Scouts plan to drop ban on gay members not leaders

The Boy Scouts of America announced a “compromise” national policy Friday that would allow boys to be members regardless of sexual orientation, but would keep the ban on gay adult leaders. USA Today has a story here.
Both “liberals” and “social conservatives” decried the policy for obvious reasons.  Conservatives complained that it says it is all right to be gay until age 18. 

David Pakman has a video on the previous policy here.

The video mentions that President Obama is an honorary president of the Boy Scouts and could decline the post until the policy is completely reversed. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ohio Catholic school fires lesbian teacher "outed" in mother's obituary

Clarie Gordon has a rather shocking “AOL original” story about a female teacher in a Catholic school in Ohio who was fired by the school when an obituary for her mother mentioned that she had a female partner. 
The AOL article (by Claire Gordon) is here and appears in the company’s jobs and career page.
The woman, Carla Hale, had been a physical education teacher at the school for years.
The article mentions that there is no protection from sexual orientation discrimination under federal law.  Even if there were, the Catholic diocese would have a ministerial exception. The story mentions the firing of an assistant principal in another Catholic school in Ohio for a personal blog posting supporting gay marriage. 
It’s conceivable that the firing may have violated a Columbus ordinance.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

DC Front Runners reports all its people in Boston are OK

DC Front Runners is reporting on its website that all of its runners are safe and no one is injured (link) .  The was a question about it on the Washington Blade twitter feed today.
I often “walked” with the Runners in the 1990s.  On Saturday mornings, we would meet at P St and 23rd, and run-walk through Rock Creek Park (walkers stopped at the tunnel).  Outdoor lunch would follow.  Tuesday nights, we would go along the Potomac waterfront and cross Memorial Bridge.  IN the winter, on Tuesday nights, we would meet at Union Station and go down to the Mall. 

Until the early 1990s, there was an umbrella organization called "DC Sports" which sponsored a variety of LGBT sporting activities (including softball, kickball, etc) and one or two annual evening events at sports and fitness clubs.  The group broke disbanded into its components groups around 1993 as I recall.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NFL, MLB may find ending sexual orientation discrimination in sports challenging, but they say they want to

Frank Bruni has an interesting perspective on gay athletes on p. A25 of the New York Tines today (Tuesday), “The Locker and the Closet”, link here.
As with the arguments used for years against “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” for the military, comparisons of the ending of racial apartheid in pro sports (as in the movie “42” – April 12 on the Movies blog)  to acceptance of opening gay players in the NFL, NBA or MLB seem too facile.
Bruni, toward the end of the article, reports that NFL scouts are still “asking” and that some players feel that “coming out” would be a “selfish act”, against the interests of the “team”.  (Somehow, that comment reminds me of a particular episode of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice”).  The NFL and MLB, at least, have been reported to be trying to ban the practice of screening for sexual orientation. 
MLB could have it a little easier because in baseball, comparatively speaking, the individual matters more.  There is sacrifice, to be sure (the bunt), but physical contact is less.  Individual skills at just overcoming Newtonian physics (in pitching and batting) seem to matter more.  Maybe relativity matters, though.  The observer affects the performance of the subject.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

CobaltDC holds Masquerade Ball (inspired by TV episode); Mormon Congressman's gay son appears on AC360

Friday night, Cobalt-DC held a “Masked Ball” or “Masquerade”, including a brief stage show upstairs around midnight. 

The event seemed to be inspired by a recent episode of ABC’s “Revenge”  (itself called "Masquerade", March 31, 2013) where there is a Masked Ball scene, and the bisexual character Nolan (Gabriel Mann) figures into the scene heavily.  Nolan (like Will and Sonny on “Days of our Lives”) has become one of television’s most interesting gay character (don’t forget Cam and Mitch in “Modern Family”).  In the dance at the Cobalt, the lead dancer appears to be a caricature of Nolan.

Later in the evening, a couple of tall, gangly young men did some real "break dancing" in the center of the dance floor, an activity that is usually easier for short people.  

Friday night, Anderson Cooper AC360 interviewed Mtt R. Salmon, that gay son of congressman Martt Salmon (R-AZ).  Mtt (jr) talked about his Mormon family, and that it is locing and close even if it disagrees with him on gay marriage.  Matt is now in medical school, but at age 18 he had attempted reparative therapy, which he reports as low-key.  The link is here

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The kids need to be all right

Yes, the kids have to be all right.
Monday, April 8, Bill Keller wrote a perspective (p. A19), “About the Children” on that point, link here
There’s no question that children of couples not recognized as legally married by the law or as “family” by peers might incur serious disadvantages.  (Socialization to love “family” preferentially seems like a primal value to some people.)  That practical reality provides blowback against the usual conservative arguments that marriage is about having and raising children and that kids have a birthright to opposite gendered parents. 

Keller speculates that the Supreme Court is indeed likely to allow states to continue setting their own marriage standards, because that is normally within their “police powers”.  Some states, like Virginia, refuse to offer even a civil union, so the status of the kids matters.

The contraposition would be, well, don’t allow gays to adopt or raise children.   A few states tried that exercise in circularity.  The practical consequences of such state policy (even if constitutional) can be that more children remain in orphanages or foster care.  Indeed, the tone of moral debate in the 21st Century may be whether participation in raising children will be a moral expectation of everyone. 
Keller notes the tendency for “reactionaries” to distort studies or statistics to support their prejudices, and to form organizations or “colleges” to conceal their tininess.  

Sunday, April 07, 2013

"The Club" near Martinsburg, WVa: a "rural" gay bar 80 miles from DC

When had my “second coming” in the mid 1970s and moved to NYC, I was still curious about how well gay social life could function in the suburbs, where people were supposed to be socialized much more into families.  Occasionally, gay bars or clubs appear in smaller towns (such as in Bucks County, PA, where I visited a place in 1995) and can do rather well.  I had visited “The Lodge” near Hagerstown MD on Nov. 24 (which see).
Last night, I looked at “The Club” near Martinsburg, W Va, in the northeastern Panhandle of the Mountain State.  From the Virginia side, it’s rather treacherous to get there on Rt 9, which crosses the Blue Ridge near Harper’s Ferry at Keys Gap, and then widens as it passes CharlesTown and the racetrack (not to be confused with Charleston), and then moves on to Martinsburg, where the business split-off from the superhighway becomes confusing.  You pass a concrete plant that looks like a spaceship at night, turn up into the town itself, and then get on US 11, and have to drive a dark two-lane road several more miles to the Club “on the Right” (and I don’t mean wearing your keys).  The website for the place is here
Inside there is an informal bar, a small leather rack, with a moderate-sized dance floor off to the right, leading to an outdoor bar which has plenty of space and more room for dancing (too chilly last night, but people went out their to – guess what – smoke).  There is a pool gallery downstairs, and it seemed as though smoking as permitted.
The crowd was moderate, the parking lot full.  The dancing was not as intimate as in DC.  The music seemed to come from around the 2000 period.  One of the musical numbers was “One More Time” by Daft Punk. I was sold by someone that the club had been open only for about six weeks.
I have a bizarre memory of Martinsburg, from the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2003, when I drove through the town and then was going to Shepherdstown.  I stopped at a chain restaurant – I think a Bob Evans – for lunch, and saw a particularly attractive young man walking through the parking lot. I went in to sit at the counter and overheard the staff talking about how that person (apparently) had just been fired as a waiter because “his movements were too slow.”   A warning from the world of the proles.  

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Malaysia puts on anti-gay musical; SBC official scapegoats gays for North Korea; Michael Reagan argues against gay marriage

The UK site “Guardian” has a story about an anti-gay “musical” sponsored by the Muslim Malaysian government. It’s called “Abnormal Desire” or “Asmara Songsang”.  The title pretty well explains the “philosophy”, detailed in the news story by Kate Hodal, link here. Call it "The Big (Anti-)Gay Musical".  
Anderson Cooper AC360 tonight covered a story in which Frank Luter reportedly implied that North Korea’s escalating threats against the United States in recent days (including today with the approaching “moment of explosion”) are related to the recent Supreme Court attention to gay marriage.  Salon has a story by Jillian Rayfield here
There was some discussion on the AC360 show about the idea of man wanting to supersede “God’s laws”.   Remember, we heard Jerry Falwell trying to blame gays and lesbians for 9/11.
There is something about the way totalitarian societies want to treat those who are “different” but still competitive in society on their own.  The extreme right (Nazi Germany) sees them as “unfit to live”.  The extreme Left (Maoism, Stalinism, and now North Korean communism) sees “different” or “special” people as mooches.  The two ends of authoritarian philosophy more or less meet at the other side of the world, the polar antithesis of libertarianism. 
Michael Reagan (son of Ronald Reagan) wrote a provocative op-ed arguing that churches should argue for “righteousness” (maybe self-righteousness)  and not “wimp” on the 501(c)(3), and warns of a “slippery slope”.  Piers Morgan argued with Michael tonight on his show, link

In the show, Piers Morgan mentioned (governor) Ronald Reagan's opposition to the Briggs Initiative in California in 1978, which would have banned gays from teaching.

The link for Piers Morgan's interview tonight on CNN is here.  

Monday, April 01, 2013

Division of estates among straight and gay adult children can raise issues

How do adult gay children fare when it comes to inheritances from parents when there are straight siblings with families and children?  What if the gay parents have children?
Syndicated columnist Michelle Singletary ("The Color of Money") touched on this subject Easter Monday morning in the Washington Post, Business Section, with story, “Dividing up money can cause divisions in families,” link here

In this case a gay adult son had been promised half of an estate, to be divided with a sister with the son as executor.  The son, with a stable partner and high compensated employment, came out to his parents.  When the sister had kids, the parents increased the sister’s share and decreased the son’s.

To me, this doesn’t sound like something to whine about.  If you are financially secure and independent because of your work or own business or productive abilities, that’s a lot more security than depending on an estate.  Be thankful.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues.
The parents were obviously partial to their grandchildren, who will become their only permanent lineage.  Is this “fair”?  Of course, as a matter of practice and law, parents don’t have to be “fair”, but it is still a useful discussion to have.
Do people “deserve” more because they have kids?  Should people without kids “sacrifice” for them?   Sometimes people on the right wing talk as though people “sacrifice” even by having families.  In a world where women., especially, delay having children to finish their education and be equal in the workplace, maybe there is a question of “sacrifice”, and a question about what both partners in a (heterosexual) marriage “feel” for it each other.   On the other hand, many people really “want” kids and (like most of nature in the animal world) see procreation as part of “who they are”.  Then it’s not a “sacrifice”.  This starts to turn into a circular exercise in semantics.  But back in his 2004 book “The Empty Cradle” (see Book Review blog, March 28, 2006), Phillip Longman claimed that young adults were becoming too “self-absorbed” to have and raise kids.   

In a sense, "Nature" is not fair the way man's political systems try to be.  If you follow the reasoning in "The Parable of the Talents", the person with kids deserves more because there is more contribution to the "common good" (in Santorum's sense), even if his natural inclination led him to take more responsibility and offered him psychic reward for doing so.   This is a painful observation if you accept the idea -- which seems backed up by science -- that sexual interest has a strong biological background and naturally is variable even within gender, and never "equal".    
It was interesting in his letter that the man said he and his partner did not want (to adopt) kids.  That has always been common, but culture is changing quickly.  Given the level of global need (even given bans like that from Russia), the political and social tide may turn quickly to seeing adoption as almost a “responsibility” for the childless, even gay couples. 
And the childless may also find out what it is like to take care of elderly parents when they never had to be responsible for dependents before.  The subject of filial responsibility is only going to increase.
All of this discussion, of course, needs to also touch on whether the wills between the man and his partner will be treated fairly.  That takes us back to last week’s hearings on gay marriage.