Inquiring minds want to know..

From the Loudoun Times-Mirror:

Russell Muños, a business management consultant with IBM, and Trey Sargent, a merchandising manager for Wegmans, live in Potomac Falls in a committed relationship. They remain vocal in their opposition to the proposed amendment’s limiting the definition of family and marriage to heterosexual couples.

“So many things are taken for granted when a family has the protection of a lawful society,” Muños said. “You can bring religion into it. You can separate religion out of it. Whatever. We are a society based on a rule of law.”

One of the issues Muños addresses is the basic premise of the supporters of the proposed amendment.

“No one has accepted an invitation to sit down and explain to me in a rational sense why my committed relationship threatens them, why my committed relationship is not welcome in a community by their standards,” Muños said.

Muños explained that he and Sargent share the parenting responsibilities for Trey’s 16-year-old daughter by a previous marriage.

“I am committed to her. Why shouldn’t I also have that acknowledged? If I’m committed within the context of a relationship and committed to the welfare of a child, why should anyone have a problem with that? Why shouldn’t I be able to have the full protection of my family or my children or my stepchild that everybody else has? If [the supporters] are so pro-family, how would they explain to my stepdaughter that her family has no value, or has lesser value?

Anybody out there have an answer?

This entry was posted in Advocacy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Inquiring minds want to know..

  1. Jack says:

    Yes, I have an answer. According to my religion, and every other major world religion, your relationship is sinful. Your love for each other is not sinful — the way you express it is.

    It is with the SIN that we have a problem. You are asking us to accept your sin as a good thing. We cannot do that and remain true to our faith.

  2. David says:

    Thanks, Jack. We’re already aware of your religious beliefs. While you have every right to them, they are not superior to mine or Russell’s, and don’t entitle you to harm other people. In the name of your religious beliefs, you are demanding the right to 1) teach our children that their families are of less value than yours, and 2) materially harm them by denying them lawful benefits and security.

    Does anybody have an answer that doesn’t assume special rights?

  3. Tom says:

    Jack, just because you believe something doesn’t mean it has to be the law.

    Thanks, Russ and Trey.

  4. Russell says:

    Thanks Jack, But I will have to disagree with you on your statement about every other world religion. The one that I follow, one of those major world ones, does not view my marriage as sinful. You may probably tell yourself that is why I subscribe to that religion, because it validates my relationship … sorry to disappoint you but it has fulfilled me spiritually more than any other and for far longer than I have been committed to my partner and our family. I am consistently amazed though, and somewhat frequently puzzled, how folks with your same attitude about “expressions of love” are so focused on it within my relationship. It’s kinda creepy that you ponder what goes on in my bedroom. Maybe someday we can meet and you can explain that obsession.

    Speaking of religion, which I rarely do out in the open since it is such a personal and intimate relationship and has caused enough problems in the world, assuming that you subscribe to Christianity, when ALL of Leviticus is followed, then I would think you have the right to talk of sin on my behalf. Other than that, I think any other conversation about it is hollow and without merit when you use the bible as your reference point for oppression. In no way do I ask anyone to accept anything if it is outside of their beliefs or sensibilities. There is a big difference between acceptance and the affordance equality within a law based society. There are many things we do as a country, or are done in it, that I do not agree with nor accept, but realize that I have no authority over another and am in no position to deny another their own opportunities, equality, and their realization of potential. I do, however, respectfully request that you contain your religious beliefs and sensibilities in the context of what you consider good for yourself if you are unable to allow it to be good for others, not using your frame of reference and having it be about you, but using others frame of reference and having it be about them.


  5. Mark says:

    Regardless of whether your religion finds it sinful, you cannot use religious beliefs as a legal argument in our secular government. The first amendment of the Constitution guarantees me the right to freely express MY religious beliefs as much as it guarantees you yours. And the state cannot, and shall not, establish any religion for the country. So when we discuss the LEGAL rights of marriage, including medical visitation, survivorship benefits, child custody, and the rest, let’s leave religion…everyone’s religion’s…out of it. You are free to worship as you see fit, but you are not free to impose those beliefs on me.

  6. Jack says:

    Let’s look at our Freedom of Religion first. The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Assuming that this now applies to the States as well as Congress, the VA Marriage Amendment still does not establish a State Religion, nor does it prohibit anyone’s exercising his religion. It is common for States to establish laws that conform to the religious beliefs of the majority. Blue Laws, for instance, are not unconstitutional.

    As for the Mosaic Law, I cannot think of any Christian sect that still follows it completely. The decisions on what laws are still relevant were not made by me, but by the Christian Church many centuries ago, and Christians have been following those decisions ever since. But even if the Mosaic Law were completely abandoned, there are still the New Testament admonitions against homosexual acts, and they would still be sins.

    Cure my ignorance, please, Russ. What major world religion condones homosexual acts?

  7. Jonathan says:

    There is a good discussion between the city of Palm Springs and folks who take it upon themselves to harm our community and desecrate the Christian religion in one fell swoop. See mayor Oden’s letter and mayor pro tem Foat’s letter and check out all the coverage at the Desert Sun.

  8. Jack says:


    I do not see how trying to turn people away from sin is to “desecrate the Christian religion.”

  9. Jonathan says:

    Jack, Please refer to our posting policy. The distinction between “turn people away from sin” and

    “We have zero interest, however, in “debating” people who believe that we don’t or shouldn’t exist.”

    is wearing thin. The continued reference to “sin” makes you look like Paul Cameron (please watch the video stream), and the relentless nagging is getting boring. If you have nothing to say that doesn’t violate our posting policy, please refrain from posting.

  10. Jack says:


    Let me make it clear that I do not think you shouldn’t exist. I think you should not be doing what you are doing.

    If there are young people who are homosexual, but do not want to be (perhaps because they believe the Bible), why do you have a problem with a group that tries to help them? How does helping those children “desecrate the Christian religion”?

  11. Jonathan says:

    Jack, this is your second warning. Three strikes and you’re out.

  12. David says:

    Jack, our community has already been subjected to enough of that kind of “help,” thanks. This is not a space where that is appropriate.

    If you don’t think that we should be who God or the universe created us to be, that is in fact demanding that we not exist. It is saying “go ahead and exist, just be something else.” You are simply engaged in a word game. I consider what you are saying to be abusive, especially when directed at young people. You may not do it here.

    You do not represent Christianity, only a particular literalist interpretation. In fact, it is my opinion that you are guilty of idolatry. You are worshipping a book, rather than listening for what God has to say. I don’t expect to change your mind, but I do expect you to have a little respect for the fact that these are not in any way settled questions among Christians, let alone among people following other paths.

  13. Jack says:


    It is YOU who is engaging in the word game. You substitute BE for DO. What you ARE is not wrong, what you DO is wrong.

    God’s word is in the book.

    Again I ask, “What major world religion condones homosexual acts?”

    You asked the question a question in your post, I provided an answer. Do not ask questions if you cannot handle the answers.

  14. David says:

    Let me be perfectly clear (I thought I had been, but never mind). It is this “it’s not a human characteristic, it’s a behavior” nonsense that is the problem. Sexual orientation is a human characteristic, period. What we “do” is love our partners and our families. That is not wrong.

    I’m not willing to subject my readers to this constant harangue that they should try to make themselves over to conform to your preferences.

    The question that I asked was why Russell’s family, or my family, or anyone else’s family should be treated as if it is of lesser value than yours. You have not answered that question at all, because you don’t have an answer. All you seem to want to talk about is sex.

  15. Jonathan says:

    That’s three strikes. Jack is the first person to be banned from this site. Spam aside, this is a “G” rated site. Jack can talk about sex somewhere else.

  16. Jack says:

    I have also been clear. The answer to his question is that the majority of people in the U.S. believe that homosexual relationships are sinful.

    What is being gay about if not sex? If one is celebate, then being gay is entirely irrelevant. It is homosexual acts that are sinful. Loving Jonathan is not wrong; having sex with him is. If your relationship did not include sex, it would not be sinful.

    As for your readers, I would think they would apreciate the dialog, and I seem to be the only one providing you with a foil.

    Once again, YOU are avoiding MY questions:

    1) How does helping children who don’t want to be gay “desecrate the Christian religion”?

    2) What major world religion condones homosexual acts?

  17. Jonathan says:

    Wow! Jack’s stalking us. He slipped in one last comment before he was banned. We’ll leave it up for posterity. Funny stuff Jack. Keep fanaticizing about my sex life all you want on your vote NO!vaTownHall blog.

  18. Jack says:

    Darn, I thought you were serious.

  19. David says:

    I have to ask: Was “fanaticizing” deliberate, or some sort of Freudian slip?

    This is very unfortunate. I really believe that Jack honestly doesn’t get why these comments are unacceptable. I’ve done everything I can think of to explain and clarify this, to no avail.

  20. Jonathan says:

    “fanaticizing” was a serendipitous bit of synchronicity. I misspelled fantasizing and my spell checker thought I meant “fanaticizing”. I thought about it for a minute and said, hey, “fanaticizing” is appropriate.

  21. Jack says:


    You are correct, I honestly don’t get it. Saying, “you should not do what you want” is not saying, “you should not be who you are,” or, to paraphrase Jonathan, “you should not exist.”

  22. David says:

    I let this post out of moderation. I think that we could have a valuable conversation about how you feel that our freedom to live our lives authentically constitutes a violation of your religious freedom.

    I have no problem with having that conversation, but I do have a problem with uninvited commentary on matters that are none of your business and that you really have no knowledge of, and I’m not going to allow anyone to be abusive and call people names, even if what you think you are doing is saving souls.

    “Doing what you want” is not the same as “doing what you believe is right.” Doing what is right, in my view, means being honest and authentic; being open to what the universe has to teach me; and expressing my full potential as a human being. In Christian terms it means loving God, loving myself, and loving my neighbor as myself.

    It does offend me to have my existence characterized as some sort of hedonistic “do it if it feels good” shallow idiocy. I imagine it would offend you, also, if someone talked about you that way. It really should be apparent to you that we’re not about that. I’m hoping that we can have a mutually respectful conversation and maybe even a learning experience.

  23. Russell says:

    I guess I got here too late as I was going to answer Jack’s question about world religions but he got flagged. Browsing through the 12,000 pages of the Pali Canon may provide some insight into more than a few subjects.

    As an aside Jack, I do not appreciate the dialogue about sex, and I am surprised that you do. I have other things to talk about that interest me more.

  24. Jack says:


    There you go again, David. I have never said that what you do violates my religious freedom, nor have I called anyone names.

    It seems quite clear now, that when one answers your questions honestly, he is banned.

    Russell implies that he is Buddhist, but I don’t think there is homosexual marriage in any buddhist countries, either, but at least he has tried to answer one of my questions.

    How about the other: How does helping children who don’t want to be gay “desecrate the Christian religion”?

  25. David says:

    I have never said that what you do violates my religious freedom, nor have I called anyone names.

    I think that is precisely what you said, in your first comment to this post. What we are doing, the mission of this organization, is advocating for the elimination of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. You are the one who said that what we are asking would prevent you from remaining true to your faith. How does equal treatment for our families violate your religious freedom? What about my religious freedom, or Russell’s?

    You are not banned, just on moderation. If I came into your house and refused to stop talking about your “sexual behavior,” I imagine you’d ask me to leave.

    Most of us in this community have been subjected to varying degrees of name-calling and other abusive behavior, oftentimes during childhood when it was inescapable. We suffered through it, survived (with scars), and learned to love ourselves as we were created to be. We’ve heard enough from (even well-meaning) people who feel entitled to call us “sinners” and other things. Bottom line, this is our house, and you can’t do that here. We understand your position, and we respect your right to have it, but continuing to repeat it and telling people to end their relationships is offensive. We can have a conversation without being rude to each other.

    It’s bad enough that adults subject themselves to treatment that all reputable medical and psychological professionals agree is not only ineffective, but harmful – but adults have agency and free will to make that choice for themselves. Suggesting that children should be abused in this way, since they cannot give consent, is completely unacceptable. Hurting people, especially the most vulnerable among us, is not Christian.

  26. Jonathan says:


    I think you revealed the answer in your first comment. We are dealing with an archaic, unscientific and self-destructive religious doctrine that finds itself in conflict with our democratic priniciples. The goals of amendment supporters are clear. They want special rights to have the government do their bidding, to discourage what they consider to be sinful. They will do this even if it damages their own self interest. Take this quote from Eugene Robinson’s online chat.

    Burke, V: What’s with these guys? Is sticking it to the gays more important than racism for them?:

    “Several black ministers came to his defense Monday after appearing with Allen on behalf of a proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

    “We’re standing for his character and for his integrity,” said the Rev. Martin Brown. “We should be focusing on the issues instead of focusing on character assassination.”

    Eugene Robinson: Don’t get me started on the myopia of some (not all) African American ministers when it comes to homosexuality. As I wrote in a column last year: Pastors, come down from your pulpits and meet your choir directors.

  27. Jack says:


    I did misunderstand you. What you do in private does not violate my religious freedom.

    Now, you are fighting for equality, and it is a fight I assume you want to win. To do that you must understand your opponent. Most people who vote for this amendment will do so because they believe that homosexual activity is wrong or sinful, and they do not want to condone it. Some gays do understand this very well, which is why they are pushing the Episcopal Church toward such pro-gay positions. Hearts and minds.

    Our government is “of, by, and for the People.” As such, it is very difficult for the government to condone behavior that is a religious taboo to the vast majority of the people. Religious freedom is not absolute. Although condoned by many religions, including at least one major Christian sect, polygamy is illegal in the U.S.

    As for being called a sinner, well, we are all sinners. But most of us do not demand that our sins be accepted and condoned by the government. That is the very heart of the issue. If you do not like to hear that, then I am sorry. But if you want to win this fight in the legislatures, then you will have to deal with that reality first. If you continue the fight in the courts, then you will face more amendments. If someone takes the case to court claiming that their same-sex marriage in Mass. must be recognized by Kansas, you can bet that the Federal Marriage Amendment will pass.

    Your last paragraph makes you sound absolutely anti-abortion. I assume since a high-school girl cannot give consent to such treatment, she also cannot consent to an abortion. Would parental notification be sufficient? But never mind that. Although the group may be misguided, and doing more harm than good, I do believe they are intending to do good. (“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”) These groups truly believe that homosexual activity is sinful, and are trying to turn people away from that sin. Many Christian groups also protested our involvement in WWII. They were wrong, but their hearts were in the right place. These groups trying to convert gays may be wrong, but they are hardly desecrating Christianity.

  28. zimzo says:

    I think you guys know that my opinion of Jack’s beliefs and ability to argue logically is not a very high one. For that reason I rarely engage him on the NOVATownhall blog except out of complete exasperation. However, I think banning people who are not being obscene or spamming or violating someone’s privacy is not a good policy. I think it makes the person doing the banning look like they don’t have an argument even if that is not the case. Even if you are tired of responsing to Jack’s ridiculous arguments (and as I said I rarely bother anymore) the mere stupidity and bigotry of his positions serve as a valuable exhibit of the kinds of ideas that are out there. His arguments usually fall apart on their own without even the need to point out their fallacy. Unfortunately, by banning him you just make him look like a martyr and add undeserved weight to his words. It also gives impetus to others to then turn around and ban you, which would deny people your valuable insights. And finally on a personal note, by banning him you put me in the awkward position of defending him, which makes me feel like I need to take a long shower. So I would urge you to reconsider banning him.

  29. Jonathan says:

    Jack, I’m much more concerned about the intense anti-semitism in Germany and Poland that allowed the majority of people in these nations to become “Hitler’s Willing Executioners”. Pope Benedict XVI was among them. Given his lack of moral compass, his self-serving Bible quoting is hollow.

    I am really getting very tired of your fantasies about “homosexual acts”. If you would like to write a theological/policy position and submit it as a guest blog, please do so. Jesus never talked about sex acts. If you would like to talk about sex acts, please do so on the vote NO!vaTownHall blog where you have license to do so.

  30. Jonathan says:

    Thanks Zimzo. I misspoke. Jack is not banned. His comments are moderated. As long as they are “G” rated and don’t violate our posting policy, we’ll publish them. See posts directly above your post and see my invitation to Jack to elaborate his position in a guest blog.

  31. David says:

    As should be apparent, Jack has not been “banned.” We’ve tried to make it clear that our humanity and dignity are not subject to debate on this blog. We’re not interested in being harangued and told that we need to “change,” or any of that kind of nonsense – even by someone who means well. We’ve all heard enough of that already, thank you. That’s not what this space is for.

    I think that we can have a conversation about public policy and disagree without being rude or inconsiderate or intrusive. People who comment here have to accept the basic premise that we have the right to exist as who we are. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. Otherwise, we would just be allowing people to come into our house to abuse us.

  32. Jack says:

    Hmmmm. Now I’m not banned, but I’m getting spoofed. The comment starting with “Your misquotation of the bible…” is not mine.

    Please also allow me to respond to Eugene Robinson: I have been in many choirs in the Episcopal Church, known now for it’s gay Bishop, [Gene] Robinson. Of all the choir directors with whom I have had the priveledge of singing, none were gay.

  33. David says:

    Jack, you were never banned. I’m the administrator, and that’s up to me. Jonathan misspoke.

    The comment to which you refer was indeed made by someone else, someone who acted without much thought. I direct that person to our policy above, specifically the passage reading “..fraudulent posts will be removed.”

  34. No Relation says:

    This is my first time posting on this site. I don’t wish to get deeply into this discussion. I have my views, and I respect yours, even though I do not believe we will ever agree. As a Catholic, I merely wish to defend my Pope.

    Pope Benedict should never be classified as one of “Hitler’s Willing Executioners.” He was not a member of the SS. He was not a member of the Gestapo. As a young child, he was a reluctant member of the Hitler Youth, only when membership for boys was mandated by Hitler’s fascist government. He was a member of the German Army, having been drafted at the age of 16.

    So I want to those of you who agree with Jonathan’s post (27 SEP 06, 11:11)two questions, and to think back and answer them from the perspective of when you were 16:

    1. Did you have a clear understanding of your own government’s policies and practices, as you do now?

    2. Draft-dodgers in Hitler’s Germany were sent to concentration camps and suffered the same terrible fate as Jews, gays, and Catholics. Would you have subjected yourself to such torture for your beliefs?

    My request is this: Please. Do not accuse my Pope and my faith of “lacking moral compass”.

  35. Jonathan says:

    No Relation,

    Please read Body and Soul’s The German Shepherd and the Salvadoran Pastor. This piece touched me deeply. Jeannedarc is a soul-mate. The distinction she draws is important, as you yourself admit.

    To answer your questions:

    1. From the context of gay rights, I know that my family is loyal to this country, yet we’ve been cast as leaders of “the gay agenda”. The President said that we want to destroy the “invisible pillars of civilization”. Members of our government from the President to members of the Loudoun school board have said horrible things about our community. I’ve heard it first hand and I’ve participated in the process and advocated for my family in a principled manner. The powers that be have responded in a sinister manner.

    2. A sixteen year is perfectly capable of understanding this as Tully Satre demonstrated. Please read the Washington Post article on the President’s detainee measure. The administration is requesting license for indefinite detention of anyone who:

    “has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States” or its military allies.

    The article goes on to explain that the proposed legislation “does not rule out the possibility of designating a U.S. citizen as an unlawful combatant.” I am perfectly aware that President Bush’s “invisible pillars” speech potentially categorizes my family and the policy position of this site as “hostile” to the United States. We advocate for what we belive to be right. The consequences of that advocacy are not under our control.

  36. Jack says:

    Jeanne’s post hardly describes the young Ratzinger as one of “Hitler’s Willing Executioners.” In fact, it portrays him as a boy who wants to resist, but found no good way to do so. I do think an apology is warrented.

    “We’ve been cast as leaders of the ‘gay agenda.'”. By whom were you so cast? Yourselves? You do put yourselves forward in town meetings, and with this blog. By putting yourselves forward you become, by definition, leaders. What’s wrong with that?

    I am a bit confused. Are you actually saying that Tully Satre’s standing up to George Allen is equivalent to standing up to the Nazis in 1941? The Pope would have been risking his life, and possibly his family’s, too. What did Satre risk?

    Lincoln also suspended habeas corpus, and the President’s right to do that was upheld by the Supreme Court. Lincoln had many Confederate sympathizers arrested, especially in Maryland, which would propbably have also seceeded had Lincoln not sent troops to Annapolis to prevent a vote. Bush has not thrreatened to arrest everyone “hostile” to the United States, but only “unlawful combatants.” So don’t take up arms against the U.S.

  37. David says:

    I think you may have missed the point here. The term “Hitlers’ Willing Executioners” refers to the people who did nothing – reluctantly or otherwise – and is roughly a synonym for the “Good Germans.” The point that Jeanne is making about the young Ratzinger is not that he failed to be a fearless martyr (do any of us really know what we would do in that situation?), but that he failed to acknowledge that there was a choice to be made. She poses several possibilities in retrospect: “I failed. I cared too much about my own survival;” “I didn’t realize how important resistance was.” Resistance was not, in fact, “impossible.” People did resist, some of them lost their lives, and yes, some of those were very young. You are familiar with the White Rose? I agree with Jeanne:

    Failing to exhibit extraordinary courage is human and understandable. Denying the extraordinarily courageous their due is shameful.

    Such behavior is human and perfectly understandable, but it’s also not very impressive in comparison to those who do resist evil. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” A bit of hyberbole and a bit extreme, but you understand the point.

  38. Jack says:

    ‘The term “Hitlers’ Willing Executioners” refers to the people who did nothing – reluctantly or otherwise – and is roughly a synonym for the “Good Germans.”’

    What bull. Executioners do not do nothing, they kill.

    “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”

    Ratzinger was not a man, he was a boy.

  39. Jonathan says:

    Jack, The reference is quoted because it’s the title of a book

  40. Jack says:

    I do not care that it is the title of a book. Calling Ratzinger one of “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” is inaccurate and offensive, and an apology is in order.

  41. David says:

    Jack, we have informed you of the meaning of the term in the context of this discussion. You were obviously unfamiliar with the book we’re referring to, but you no longer have that excuse. If you want to have an intelligent conversation about this, it’s your responsibility to understand what you’re talking about. Currently, you don’t.

  42. Jack says:

    ‘I’m much more concerned about the intense anti-semitism in Germany and Poland that allowed the majority of people in these nations to become “Hitler’s Willing Executioners”. Pope Benedict XVI was among them.’ -Jonathan

    That statement is inaccurate and offensive. An apology is in order. Hiding behind the title of a book is no excuse.

  43. No Relation says:

    Forgive us for not realizing the word “willing” meant “unwillingly coerced into doing something against one’s will by threat of horrific unthinkable violence”.

  44. Is it just me, or has Larry King had like 5 heart attacks and 5 divorces. I guess that’d be a broken heart for each.