Quantcast
Connect with us

Freemasons tossed this couple for being gay — and banned other members from talking about it

Published

on

The Supreme Court may have decided that same-sex marriage should be legal, but other laws that discriminate against same-sex couples have struggled to catch up. The fear Democratic presidential candidates have spoken about is that a couple can marry on a weekend, post their photos to Facebook and be fired on Monday morning after being outed. That’s nearly what happened to a beloved couple in Tennessee.

Dennis Clark and Mark Henderson both joined the Freemasons in 2007 because they valued the two requirements: a belief in a higher power and community service work. Clark told WKNOP that they both loved the idea of the fraternity of men coming together to do charity and community work.

ADVERTISEMENT

Clark, is a corporate leadership trainer and Henderson is one of the county’s deputy sheriffs. The two live together on a beautiful farm outside Memphis, but the local lodge they attend in town is one of the more liberal ones that sits in a progressive neighborhood.

“We were a couple then,” Clark explained to WKNOP. “Everybody knew that we were a couple.”

When they got married just hours after the Supreme Court ruling, they posted photos of their wedding on Facebook. The Grand Lodge is the governing body of the state’s Freemasons. They eventually saw the photos and it wasn’t long before charges were brought against the men for violating the constitution’s penal code. The code requires that members not “engage in lewd conduct. To promote or engage in homosexual activity. To cohabit immorally in a situation without the benefit of marriage.” Only Tennessee and Florida Grand Lodge state chapters ban homosexuality.

Chris Hodapp, a Master Mason and author of Freemasons for Dummies explained that “overwhelmingly most Masons agree that what goes on in a Freemason’s bedroom is none of our business as a fraternity.” But what happens behind closed doors in Tennessee falls under the purview of the regulating body of the Grand Lodge.

ADVERTISEMENT

Understandably, such a stance causes problems with recruitment for the fraternity. “When a young man hears that Masons in a state are throwing gays out or have rules against them, they just see that as the whole organization doing that and not being isolated to a particular area,” Hodapp explained.

Oddly enough the Freemasons were once a group that provided safety for those who held Enlightenment values. “It largely eliminated sectarian references and welcomed diversity. Because of that, it attracted prominent people and made an important intellectual contribution,” Paul Rich, a scholar of Freemasonry told WKNOP. “The Northern lodges are having difficulties being associated with all of this.” But Enlightenment seems to have given way to sanctioned homophobia in Tennessee.

ADVERTISEMENT

Last November the state chapter sent out a letter to all of the local groups reminding them of their policies and informed members that their Facebook pages would all be monitored for any “unauthorized discussion” on Clark and Henderson. They also threatened that if anyone is caught engaging in such activity it would “be considered a Masonic offense and will be dealt with accordingly,”

The problem seems to have caused enough of a stir to encourage action. Next month,  the state chapter will meet to elect a new Grand Master and vote on changes to the constitution including a proposed amendment to remove the ban on homosexuals as members.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Missouri official choose Dr. Seuss’ ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ for swearing-in ceremony instead of ‘The Bible’

Published

on

A Missouri county official is being both celebrated and attacked after a decision to forgo The Bible for her swearing-in ceremony and opted for a copy of Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.

The Friendly Atheist at Patheos captured the story, posting a photo of St. Louis City Councilmember Kelli Dunaway's children holding a copy of the book while she took her oath of office.

This was the scene last week at the STLCO government center. Democrats took back control of the council and @DunawayKelli was sworn in on a copy of “Oh the Places you’ll go” with her children❤️ so proud to be part of #TeamKelli pic.twitter.com/iJ1dxfZ1Zg

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump predicts New York Times will go out of business when he’s out of office

Published

on

In a permission tweet, President Donald Trump announced that his presidency is the only thing keeping the New York Times in business. Yet, somehow, they're also attacking him and lying about him.

"The New York Times will be out of business soon after I leave office, hopefully in 6 years. They have Zero credibility and are losing a fortune, even now, especially after their massive unfunded liability. I'm fairly certain they'll endorse me just to keep it all going!" he tweeted.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1163238629730373632

Since taking office, subscriptions for The Times have increased dramatically. According to an August report, The Times boasted a 4.7 million increase in subscribers for the second quarter. Their revenue growth was 5.2 percent. It certainly is a modest increase, but it's also an increase in an era when newspapers are struggling to survive.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

White supremacists infiltrated farmer’s market — leaving shoppers and farmers terrified

Published

on

While mulling about the bundles of kale and baskets of fresh peaches, some farmers' market shoppers are dodging fear and protests from white supremacists who are bringing their racism to another gathering place.

Farmers' markets are another soft target Americans must fear when going out and about. The New York Times investigated a Bloomington, Indiana stand where people can't get their gluten-free bread in peace. Justin Williams revealed a friend has been thinking about bringing his shotgun to the market for protection. One husband and wife team was accused of being white nationalists, after years of selling tomatoes and kale at the market.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image