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Texas Democratic Executive Committee Gambles Away Human Rights

November 22, 2011 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination

David Trevino stifles his anger long enough to smile for the camera.

From protest of ousted Bexar County DP Chair, Dan Ramos.

The Texas State Democratic Party bowed to fear this past week when the Executive Committee met to vote on proposed primary ballot referendum.  In a move that silenced one of the most staunch populaces aligned with the Democratic Party, the LGBTQ community, Texas Democrats voted 33-22 to exclude a marriage equality referendum on the 2012 Democratic Primary ballot.  However, legalizing gambling will be on the ballot.

According to a press release received from Dan Graney, President of the Texas Stonewall Democrats, arguments against including the marriage equality measure were:

  1. The Republicans will go after us on this.
  2. This will negatively impact on our Democratic candidates.
  3. What if the measure should fail?

As to the first argument, the Republicans are going after the Democrats anyway.  All that was accomplished by excluding even a chance for marriage equality in Texas was that Democrats were silenced and we will now see Democrats going after Democrats in Texas for their blatant disregard for their own party platform, which states:

Democrats believe that we all have a part to play in promoting equality and protecting Americans against discrimination, and we continue to work vigorously toward greater freedom and equality in America.

Working vigorously toward greater freedom apparently means bowing to political pressure, fear and intimidation, as is noted by the second opposition view that supporting freedom and equality will negatively affect Democratic candidates.  In this instance, the lack of integrity and moxy will do more to negatively impact candidates than standing up for your party values EVER would have.

Perhaps the most disturbing argument presented in keeping marriage equality off of the primary ballot is the argument, “What if the measure should fail?”  For that, I turn to other thinkers and provide the following motivational quotes:

“The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try nothing and succeed” – Lloyd Jones

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” – Unknown

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

“Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” Stephen Kaqqwa

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie

“The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized – and never knowing” – David Vicsott

“I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed: and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying.” – Tom Hopkins

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” – Beverly Sills

“There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that lost by not trying.” – Francis Bacon, Sr.

Try as I might, I was unable to find any motivational quotes encouraging people not to try.  However, I was able to find a quote by an unknown person that sums up my feelings toward the Texas Democratic Party:

Fuck you for giving up on me.

Texas Sees First *Legal* Same-Sex Wedding

October 11, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Marriage Equality

Marriage Celebration ProgramThe wedding between Mark Reed-Walkup, a provisional Board Member of the LGBT equality organization, GetEQUAL, and the “love of his life,” Dante Walkup, wasn’t the first wedding ceremony performed in Texas, but it was the first same-sex wedding performed on Texas’ soil which will have legal recognition.

The couple applied and received a “Certificate of Marriage” in Washington, D.C. back in May.  On October 10, 2010, Mark and Dante declared their love publicly to their friends and family in a small ceremony in Dallas, Texas.

As I took my seat in the ballroom, I began reading the wedding program.  “The Marriage Celebration of Thomas Mark Reed and Dante Karl Walkup” declared the program in a traditional fashion.  My heart swelled with joy for the very happy (and nervous) couple.  As I continued thumbing through the program, I quickly saw a difference between this wedding and those of heterosexual couples I have attended:

We Remember: Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Raymond Chase & the many other young LGBT lives who died due to suicide.  It does get better.

While weddings generally bring tears to my eyes, the tears are usually due to happiness for those celebrating their love.  In this instance, the tears were for the children we have lost before they had a chance to truly live.  Somehow, in spite of all the efforts of so many to make the world better for them, they lost hope.  I immediately thought of the words of Harvey Milk, “You’ve got to give them hope.”

As the wedding procession began, my tears continued to flow swelling with pride, joy, hope and even sorrow.  These amazing men were standing before me, declaring their love, declaring their devotion and declaring to all watching that “It does get better.”  This was no ordinary Texas wedding.

In order for Dante and Mark’s wedding to be legal in Washington, D.C., the ceremony had to be performed by an official authorized by the District to conduct weddings.

To overcome the jurisdictional issues, Mark and Dante arranged for the officiant to appear via Skype along with several witnesses in D.C., while the couple stood within the boundaries of their home state before their friends and family.

Mark and Dante have shown us that love endures and regardless of how hard people try to stop us, our love will carry us through.  It seems, after all, love does conquer hate.

On a more personal note to the newly weds:  Thank you for being a part of my life.  You have inspired me, pushed me and even carried me in more ways than you can possibly realize.  You have given me hope.

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: National Organization for Marriage

July 14, 2010 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

LGBT Lessons for Straight People - Why Equality MattersIf you haven’t heard of Maggie Gallagher, you aren’t gay. Maggie Gallagher was the face of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that has poured millions of dollars into a battle to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage. Now, NOM is on tour this summer, the Summer for Marriage Tour. Today, July 14th,  is their first stop in Augusta, Maine. From sea to shining, um, cornfields. Yes. They won’t cross the Mississippi River.

Maggie’s argument is that same sex marriage will destroy the traditional marriage. Of course, there is no evidence for this. The Prop 8 trial proved that.  Maggie and Brian Brown are simply damaged people with a twisted way of trying to solve their own dysfunctional issues.

Maggie was a single mom. Now, I have a lot of sympathy for single parents. Parenting is hard work. I cannot imagine how difficult it would have been for me if I had not had my husband.

Ironically, Maggie is the President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. I have absolutely no idea if this organization is legitimate or has anyone with any intelligence working there.

But let’s pretend for the sake of this post that they do. I’ll tell you why. On their website, you can find a report called “The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing: First-Ever Estimates for the Nation and All Fifty States.” I have not read every word. But I’ve scanned it and cannot find one word about same-sex marriage.

Instead, this is what I found. Something that LGBT activists have been pointing out. Only this time, with numbers.

Let’s look at the highlights of this report.

These important changes in family structure stem from two fundamental changes in
U.S. residents’ behavior regarding marriage: increases in unmarried childbearing
and high rates of divorce.1 More than a third of all U.S. children are now born outside
of wedlock, including 25 percent of non-Hispanic white babies, 46 percent of
Hispanic babies, and 69 percent of African American babies.2 In 2004, almost 1.5
million babies were born to unmarried mothers.

Evidently it is important to point out the racial breakdown of these statistics.

78.5% of children living in single parent families live with their mother.

The Institute mined available public data for government costs associated with different types of households.

Here are a few examples:

Families receiving       Food Stamps                           Assistance                   Medicaid

Married                                        3.9%                            3.6%                            15.4%

Single Male Parent                   8.6%                            7.8%                            27.9%

Single Female Parent              26.%                            17.2%                          45.6%

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that, in general, women earn less than men, and that often times both parents work in a two parent home. So is this really a surprise to anyone? Not to me.

The Institute went further and looked into other forms of government aid. These numbers are for single parent female households only. I do not know how they calculated the impact on the justice system, other than to state that kids in single parent homes are more likely to get into trouble. The actual number isn’t my point though. So, let’s just assume again that these numbers are real.

These numbers are in billions

Justice System                                                                                              $19.3

TANF – Cash Assistance                                                                            $5.1

Food Stamps                                                                                                  $9.6

Housing Assistance                                                                                     $7.3

Medicaid                                                                                                          $27.9

SCHIP                                                                                                                $2.8

ChildWelfare                                                                                                   $9.2

WIC                                                                                                                     $1.6

LIHEAP                                                                                                             $0.7

Head Start                                                                                                        $2.7

School Lunch and Breakfast Program                                                   $3.5

Additional U.S. Income Taxes Paid                                                        $6.1

Additional FICA Taxes Paid                                                                       $9.4

Additional State & Local Taxes Paid                                                       $6.8

Total U.S. Taxpayer Cost of Family Fragmentation        $112.0

That’s a nice tidy sum of $112 billion. You’ll notice that they call this family fragmentation. Here’s what I call it:

  • An opportunity to educate people about birth control. In school. When they are teenagers. Not abstinence.
  • Make the morning after pill available. Make condoms available.
  • Provide more opportunities for education for women and minorities.
  • Provide more job opportunities for single parents. Encourage employers to provide part-time jobs and child care subsidies.
  • Last, but not least, as a society we need to support couples when they are going through rough times. We all benefit from extended families, even when we argue about breast feeding versus bottles, spanking or not, church or not. Families have bonds, despite their differences.

Here’s what else I have to say.

What is the rate of unwanted children among gays and lesbians? I’m guessing fairly low if your sex partner is of the same gender. Kudos, you aren’t contributing to this government expenditure.

Maggie and her friends need to focus on heterosexuals. We are a huge problem. We cost the government billions of dollars. We behave irresponsibly and we expect our government to bail us out. Right Maggie?  We endanger our children when we cannot provide for their physical and emotional needs. We tear our children apart with our 50% divorce rate. We tear our spouses apart with our adultery or domestic violence.

Now let’s think about this. How will keeping couples of the same gender from marrying solve any of these problems? How does banning same sex marriage reduce this huge government expenditure?

NOM? What is your answer?

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Jude, the author of this post, is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science. More of LGBT Lessons for Straight People can be found here.

Anti-Equality Messiah, Maggie Gallagher, Wants Her Equal Protection and to Eat it Too!

June 17, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Marriage Equality

National Organization for Marriage - the Anti-Gay NOM NOM NOMAssuming yesterday’s closing arguments are any indication of which way Judge Walker will rule in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger Prop 8 case, it looks like an obvious victory for marriage equality advocates.  In a statement on the National Organization for [Heterosexual Only] Marriage’s website the group’s messiah, Maggie Gallagher, seemed to admit this defeat, stating:

Americans have a right to vote for marriage. Ted Olson doesn’t seem to understand the argument, and judging from today’s exchanges neither does Judge Walker. I expect Judge Walker will overrule Prop 8.

But what makes marriage different from other things on which Americans don’t really have the right to vote, like for president in the landmark case, Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000)?  In that case, the Supreme Court negated the recount of votes (cast by Americans) which effectively secured the previously certified win of George W. Bush in Florida and gave him the necessary electoral votes to be President (like it or not).  Why was that ruling “ok” but a ruling to grant civil rights to a suspect class of people that were taken away by voters not “ok?”  I’m sure Attorney Cooper would answer with something about the natural creation of children – as that’s about all he could come up with in the closing arguments for any question posed by Judge Walker.

The real parallel of the two cases is the rationale used by the Supreme Court in determining George W. Bush was the winner.  In its decision, the Court declared, in part, that the method for recounting ballots used in Florida was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states, “no state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  That clause was included within the Constitution of the United States in an attempt to prevent violations of the well known standard, “all men are created equal.”  The Supreme Court decided that there was no “equal” standard for counting votes in Florida so votes in one county might be counted one way, while votes in another county might be counted another.  This logistical problem was enough to invalidate the right to vote based upon the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution (as least in the Court’s opinion at that time).

In the Prop 8 case, we clearly have a much more blatant violation of the Equal Protection Clause than we saw in Bush v. Gore.  There is no hypothetical “it might happen” in the Prop 8 debacle, there is an “it did happen and will continue to happen.”

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: The Prop 8 Trial Series, Part 5 | Prostituion and Sex with Kids

January 22, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Headline, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Yesterday, William Tam, who previously won a jaysays.com Stupid Things People Say About Gays nod, not only won the title again while be questioned by Attorney Boies, but set the bar to a new level.  During testimony, Tam advised that he thinks legalizing gay marriage would result in legalizing prostitution.

Boies: You said that you thought Prop. 8 would lead to legalizing prostitution. Why?

Tam: *** I saw some homosexuals hanging around there. [Regarding “Measure K”, which if passed by voters, would have stopped the enforcement of laws against prostitution in California, among other things.]

Boies: You know that Measure K has nothing to do with Prop. 8.

Tam: Yes.

Nevada legalized prostitution in some incidents (areas with a population under 400,000 people) way back in 1937, but Nevada does not allow same-sex marriage. In Rhode Island, prostitution was considered legal until 2009, but Rhode Island does not allow same-sex marriage.  Rhode Island is also only one of the two New England states that do not allow same-sex marriage (Maine being the other).

Currently, states that allow same-sex marriage include: New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont.  None of the states in the United States that allow same-sex marriage have legalized prostitution.  In fact:

  • New Hampshire made prostitution a crime in Sec. 645:2 NH RSA.
  • Connecticut has about eight sections of its penal code that make prostitution (or acts leading up to prostitution) illegal.
  • Iowa has four laws which prohibit prostitution and/or other sex trade offenses (such as pimping or leasing property for prostitution)
  • Massachusetts, a liberal state and the first state in the United States to recognize gay marriage, has 11 laws on the books dealing with prostitution or related offenses.
  • Vermont, excluding definitions of and the penalties for prostitution or related offenses, has four laws on the books.

It seems like those states that allow same-sex marriage don’t allow prostitution; whereas states that do or did have legalized prostitution recently, don’t allow same-sex marriage.   Sorry Tam – your argument fails.

In his testimony, Tam also stated that legalizing gay marriage would result in legalizing sex with children.

Boise: You told people that next will be legalizing sex with children. That’s the homosexual agenda. Do you believe this?

Tam: Yes.

All of the states which currently allow same-sex marriage have set 16 years old as the age of consent (a common age in the United States for “consent”).  Many of those laws have other laws surrounding that age requirement such as the age difference between the parties (thus preventing consensual sex between a 15 year and a 16 year old from being a crime).  No state in the United States has set any age lower than 16 as the age of consent.

But Tam didn’t stop there with his argument that the homosexual agenda will result in legalizing sex with children only he clarified that it’s the “liberal agenda” that’s to blame:

I’m afraid of the liberal trend. Canada and Europe are liberal and they allow age of consent 13 or 14 and children can have sex with adults and each other.

Our neighbors to the north, Canada, recognize same sex marriage and are generally considered to be a liberal country.  The age of consent throughout Canada is 16, very similar to the United States.  On questioning by Boies, Tam eventually admitted that allowing same-sex marriage in Canada did not result in changes to its law on age of consent.  He denied having any knowledge of what happened to the laws in Europe on consent once same-sex marriage was legalized.

Let’s educate Tam: The age of consent in the Netherlands and Belgium is 16 and Sweden is 15, those are three of the European Countries that allow gay marriage.  The other is Spain.  While it is true that Spain has a very low age of consent (being 13 years old) that law was actually amended in 1999 to increase the age of consent from its previous requirement – 12 years old!

It would seem then that “liberal” doesn’t necessarily equate to sex with children, but much to Tam’s dismay, we can argue that conservative countries do allow sex with children.  Take a look at Saudi Arabia, for example.  Saudi Arabia has no age requirement for consensual sexual activity; however, the law does state that the people who have sex must be married.  Generally, people may marry in Saudi Arabia as soon as they reach puberty – that could potentially be 10 – 11 years old!

There’s also our staunchly Catholic neighbor to the south, Mexico.  The only place in Mexico where same-sex marriage is allowed is in Mexico, D.C.; a very recent development which has caused significant controversy from the citizens.  A very large number of Mexico states have set the age of consent at 12 years old – no gay marriage, but sex with a 12 year old is fine.

Again, “Yes on 8” people seem to make outlandish claims with no supporting facts.    Perhaps it’s because the only book they care to read is the Bible – or perhaps when they read another book they take it out of context, like they do the Bible.

NOTE: For more of the column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, click here.

esterday, William Tam, who previously won a jaysays.com Stupid Things People Say About Gays nod, not only won the title again while be questioned by Attorney Boies, but set the bar to a new level. During testimony, Tam advised that he thinks legalizing gay marriage would result in legalizing prostitution.

Boies: You said that you thought Prop. 8 would lead to legalizing prostitution. Why?

Tam: *** I saw some homosexuals hanging around there. [Regarding “Measure K”, which if passed by voters, would have stopped the enforcement of laws against prostitution in California, among other things.]

Boies: You know that Measure K has nothing to do with Prop. 8.

Tam: Yes.

Nevada legalized prostitution in some incidents (areas with a population under 400,000 people) way back in 1937, but Nevada does not allow same-sex marriage. In Rhode Island, prostitution was considered legal until 2009, but Rhode Island does not allow same-sex marriage. Rhode Island is also only one of the two New England states that do not allow same-sex marriage (Maine being the other).

Currently, states that allow same-sex marriage include: New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont. None of the states in the United States that allow same-sex marriage have legalized prostitution. In fact:

§ New Hampshire made prostitution a crime in Sec. 645:2 NH RSA.

§ Connecticut has about eight sections of its penal code that make prostitution (or acts leading up to prostitution) illegal.

§ Iowa has four laws which prohibit prostitution and/or other sex trade offenses (such as pimping or leasing property for prostitution)

§ Massachusetts, a liberal state and the first state in the United States to recognize gay marriage, has 11 laws on the books dealing with prostitution or related offenses.

§ Vermont, excluding definitions of and the penalties for prostitution or related offenses, has four laws on the books.

It seems like those states that allow same-sex marriage don’t allow prostitution; whereas states that do or did have legalized prostitution recently, don’t allow same-sex marriage. Sorry Tam – your argument fails.

In his testimony, Tam also stated that legalizing gay marriage would result in legalizing sex with children.

Boise: You told people that next will be legalizing sex with children. That’s the homosexual agenda. Do you believe this?

Tam: Yes.

All of the states which currently allow same-sex marriage have set 16 years old as the age of consent (a common age in the United States for “consent”). Many of those laws have other laws surrounding that age requirement such as the age difference between the parties (thus preventing consensual sex between a 15 year and a 16 year old from being a crime). No state in the United States has set any age lower than 16 as the age of consent.

But Tam didn’t stop there with his argument that the homosexual agenda will result in legalizing sex with children only he clarified that it’s the “liberal agenda” that’s to blame:

“I’m afraid of the liberal trend. Canada and Europe are liberal and they allow age of consent 13 or 14 and children can have sex with adults and each other.”

Our neighbors to the north, Canada, recognize same sex marriage and are generally considered to be a liberal country. The age of consent throughout Canada is 16, very similar to the United States. On questioning by Boies, Tam eventually admitted that allowing same-sex marriage in Canada did not result in changes to its law on age of consent. He denied having any knowledge of what happened to the laws in Europe on consent once same-sex marriage was legalized.

Let’s educate Tam: The age of consent in the Netherlands and Belgium is 16 and Sweden is 15, those are three of the European Countries that allow gay marriage. The other is Spain. While it is true that Spain has a very low age of consent (being 13 years old) that law was actually amended in 1999 to increase the age of consent from its previous requirement – 12 years old!

It would seem then that “liberal” doesn’t necessarily equate to sex with children, but much to Tam’s dismay, we can argue that conservative countries do allow sex with children. Take a look at Saudi Arabia, for example. Saudi Arabia has no age requirement for consensual sexual activity; however, the law does state that the people who have sex must be married. Generally, people may marry in Saudi Arabia as soon as they reach puberty – that could potentially be 10 – 11 years old!

There’s also our staunchly Catholic neighbor to the south, Mexico. The only place in Mexico where same-sex marriage is allowed is in Mexico, D.C.; a very recent development which has caused significant controversy from the citizens. A very large number of Mexico states have set the age of consent at 12 years old – no gay marriage, but sex with a 12 year old is fine.

Again, “Yes on 8” people seem to make outlandish claims with no supporting facts. Perhaps it’s because the only book they care to read is the Bible – or perhaps when they read another book they take it out of context, like they do the Bible.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: The Prop 8 Trial Series, Part 3

January 13, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

San Francisco Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart took the stage in the Proposition 8 trial this afternoon with a redirect examination of Yale Professor Chauncey.  During the examination, Ms. Stewart asked Professor Chauncey to read from a Vatican statement regarding same-sex marriage.  These are the words of the Vatican:

Allowing children being adopted by gay couples would do violence to these children.  Their condition of dependency would stunt their full human development.

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, between 8 million and 10 million children are currently being raised in gay and lesbian families.  Some studies indicate that an estimated two million GLB people are interested in adopting children.  If all of those interested were able to adopt children and did so, homes would be had for TWO MILLION homeless or orphaned children.  That’s a lot of kids.

Further, an estimated 4% of all adopted children in the United States are adopted by gay or lesbian parents.  Considering numerous states in the U.S. have laws against such adoption, imagine the flood of homes that could be provided should all states recognize same-sex marriage and cease discriminating against same-sex couples during adoptions.  The social benefit would be overwhelming.

Of course, the issue raised by the Vatican is that the 8 – 10 million children that are being raised by gay or lesbian parents have been stunted from reaching their full human development.  This argument has the same ugly ring to it as the argument recently made by a Louisiana Justice of the Peace who refused to perform a marriage ceremony for an interracial couple because he is concerned for the welfare of their offspring since interracial children are not accepted by society.  Apparently, this Justice of the Peace is wholly unaware of the United States President’s ethnicity.

Of course, we all know that Ally Sheedy turned out terribly.  The actress didn’t live up to her potential at all thanks to her lesbian mother, Charlote.  In fact, her youth was so wasted, that she didn’t start performing until the age of 15!!!  Had her mother been a heterosexual, perhaps things would have been better for Ally and she would have started performing at a very young age, as did Jon-Benet Ramsey, the child of heterosexual parents.

We also know from history that King Charles I of England didn’t live up to his potential either.  After all, he was only King of England, not like he became “Pope” or something more wholesome.  Perhaps had his father and grandfather not been “queer” he would have gone on to be Emperor of the World instead of just “King of England.”

And lets not forget Curtis Jackson.  We all know that he was completely stiffled from growing up and living a productive life.  I for one am not going to tell him that he hasn’t fully developed as a human, though.  Of course, the Vatican may not be familiar with the name Curtis Jackson – perhaps we should tell them his more commonly known name, 50 Cent (or as I like to call him, silver change).  What would have become of 50 Cent if he had heterosexual parents?  Perhaps he would have become a country-western singer instead, eh?

There is some truth to what the Vatican argues – history does show us that the children of gay and lesbian people often suffer a terrible fate.

For example, Alexander Aegus, the son of Alexander the Great, was murdered by Cassader… by the Vatican’s standard, this was because of his homo-dad, not a struggle for power.

There’s also the late, great Dorothy Dandridge, whose life was so tragically cut short by an accidental overdose of Imipramine at only 42 years old.  This is obviously a result of her mother having been a lesbian.

The point here isn’t that children of LGBT people are better than children of straight people.  The point is that the children, like all children, develop independently of their parent’s sexual orientation, some for better, some for worse.  There is no correlation between greatness and parental sexual orientation.

NOTE: For more of the column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, click here.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: The Prop 8 Trial Series, Part 2

January 12, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Yesterday, the judge and lawyers assembled in the courtroom at 8:24 a.m. Pacific Time to debate, and ultimately decide, upon the rights of same-sex couples to marry.  The case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, resulted after a “majority” of California voters decided that the judicial granting of equal marital rights to same-sex couples violated their sense of… uhm… of… well, ego.

Since the trial started (and even before) we’ve heard the opponent’s of equality claiming that the majority spoke and such majority rule must be honored.  In fact, the news keeps repeating an annoying little phrase whenever they talk about the case, referring to Proposition 8 as a “voter approved” measure.  Unless the manipulation of the vote allegations are true, then “voter approved” measure and “majority rule” are correct terms to use when referring to Proposition 8.  It is true that a small majority of voters decided to approve a measure that would stop recognizing a civil institution for some of the population.

Those that voted in favor of Proposition 8 have been bemoaning activists against the discriminatory measure and argue that, in a Democracy, majority rules.  Opponents of Proposition 8 retorted that majority rule over a minority results in tyranny (among other things), and that if majority had ruled with respect to interracial marriage, 90% of Americans would have denied the right based solely upon the race of those wishing to enter into marriage.  In other words, Barack Obama, being a mixed race man, would not be allowed to marry Michelle Obama, being that she is not mixed race if “majority” had ruled rather than the Supreme Court (presuming, of course, our President even came to being).

But that’s just a little clarification to bring us up to date.  The majority spoke again last week with regard to the televising of Proposition 8.  In fact, according to the Courage Campaign, 138,574 people, at Judge Vaughn Walker’s request, provided their vote with respect to the televising of the trial.  Of the 138,574 votes, 138,542 supported the trial being televised, 32 opposed.  (Note: The “for” votes do not include those that sent letters or called outside of the petition hosted by the Courage Campaign and CREDO Action, thus the numbers “for” televising the trial are likely substantially higher).

Those that have been arguing for majority rule lost… BIG TIME.  Unfortunately, in spite of this loss, the trial is not being televised.  The losers (those not in the majority) petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the televising of the trial.  The Court is set to rule tomorrow based upon the law – not the “majority opinion.”  Oh the hypocrisy.

So, today’s stupid thing people say about gays is, “majority rule.”  While not specific to LGBTQ people – it certainly is applicable in this instance.

[Another Note: The column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays (of which this post is part of) uses the term “Gay” inclusively.  It’s always been so and will always be so.  jaysays.com and all of its contributors strive to be fully inclusive and leave no freak behind.  More Stupid Things People Say About Gays can be found here.]

eMarriage License Proposal Could Change Geography of Same-Sex Marriage

December 14, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

emarriageAdam Candeub and Mae Kuykendall are law professors at Michigan State University in Lansing.  The two have been researching an interesting new way for states to issue marriage license.  They’ve proposed that states allow people to apply for marriage licenses online, dubbing the proposal “eMarriage.”  Candeub told NPR:

What we’re arguing for is that states should formalize in their laws what they’ve always been doing in smaller degrees in specific areas, which is, allow people outside their states to use their laws.

The proposal would allow couples in any state the ability to go online and download their new marriage license from a state which recognizes same-sex marriage and prevent the unnecessary costs and expenses associated with same-sex marriage tourism.  In that, lies the problem for Christopher Diebel, founder of MyIowaGayWedding.com, and others using same-sex marriage laws in their states to corner the market. According to Mr. Diebel:

Those of us that are involved in that industry are certainly going to want to protect our investments and the business that comes to our state.  And frankly, we would all believe that our state deserves to have that income brought into it for being at the forefront of this fight and leading the way.

Same-sex marriage advocates have often invoked the argument at the state level that recognition of such marriages would result in a “tourism” market and bring additional income to the area.  The proposal by Candeub and Kuykendall, if successful, would effectively make the argument moot; however, the debate of the issue certainly lends credibility to the argument that same-sex marriage is a money maker for states.

The proposal is still being tweaked; however, according to Candeub and Kuykendall, it is gaining momentum.  The duo are prepared to advise any legislator about the process in an effort to “extract their state from the culture wars of same-sex marriage.”

The Little Engines that Wouldn’t – Courage Campaign and Lambda Legal Refuse to Fight.

December 01, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

LittleEngineThatWouldntRick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign (Los Angeles), has announced that polling indicates that overturning Proposition 8 via a ballot measure in 2010 looks bad. According to the Courage Campaign sponsored polling, providing equal rights to all Americans is not supported financially, with strong leadership or with an edge in public opinion.

While the leadership problem could easily be solved if the Courage Campaign would step up and lead, that doesn’t seem to be in the organization’s plan.  Instead, they have given up on a 2010 ballot initiative preferring instead to waste the valuable human resources, passion and drive available to the organization after over a year of rallies, protests, marches and lobbying days.

But Courage Campaign isn’t alone in its criticism of the 2010 ballot initiative.  Lambda Legal declared that, although it will do anything to gain equal marriage rights for LGBT couples, it won’t support this effort.  Why?  Because a loss could “polarize voters” and “hurt and anger supporters of same-sex marriage.”

Well, this supporter of same-sex marriage is more hurt and angered by organizations unwillingness to fight.  The entire scenario smells like garbage to me.  It wreaks of “If it turns out they may actually win, we’ll throw our name in the basket and ride the glory to our next fund drive.

The coalition of various small organizations sponsored by Love, Honor, Cherish, known as Restore Equality 2010, is refusing to give up on their rights.  They intend to press forward in spite of the lack of support from the large, well-funded organizations and continue to seek out volunteers using social media outlets to help them gather the 1,000,000 signatures needed to put an overturn of Proposition 8 on the ballot.  Jo Hoenninger, chair of the interim Executive Committee for Restore Equality 2010, said:

This is a movement for equality. Harvey Milk didn’t wait for research. He hit the streets year after year. We honor his memory by gathering signatures now so our rights can be restored in 2010 not at some later time when it might be an easier struggle.

The end of the year is quickly approaching and with that will come the tax season.  As you consider which organizations deserve your hard earned money, consider which organizations are fighting the hardest, loudest and most resiliently for your rights.  Should your answer be Restore Equality 2010, here’s a link to make your contribution.

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: The Homosexual Threat to Marriage

November 28, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay EducationI  enjoy when the opposition hands me material on a silver platter. Thanks to the Manhattan Declaration, we have confirmation of the real reasons why right wing fundamentalists and conservatives oppose same sex marriage. As of today, over 180,000 people have signed this Declaration. One voice, making the same statement. At last, our enemy has defined themselves.

One of the main founders of the Manhattan Declaration, Chuck Colson, was part of the Watergate scandal and went to jail for obstructing justice. He is a convicted felon who became a born again evangelical while in prison. Many doubt that his conversion is real. One of many endeavors sponsored by Mr. Colson is his desire to have the Bible taught in public schools.  This is a very small snippet from the Wikipedia entry on Mr. Colson.

A quip that ‘Colson would walk over his own grandmother if necessary’ mutated into claims in news stories that Colson had boasted that he would run over his own grandmother to re-elect Nixon. Plotz reports that Colson sought to hire Teamsters’ thugs to beat up anti-war demonstrators. Colson proposed firebombing the Brookings Institution and stealing politically damaging documents while firefighters put the fire out.

Ah yes. This is definitely the kind of guy that Jesus would hang out with.

Back to the Manhattan Declaration. Let’s examine parts of it, shall we?

The impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same-sex and multiple partner relationships is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture. It reflects a loss of understanding of the meaning of marriage as embodied in our civil and religious law and in the philosophical tradition that contributed to shaping the law….

I actually have no idea what this wordiness means, other than its intent is to lure you into believing that marriage has THEIR meaning embodied in our civil law. I’ve included it because we will get to their meaning of marriage quite soon.

It would lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about procreation and the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation, promotion and protection of life.

The bold is my emphasis. However, procreation is italicized in the original version.

Jackpot! We have it. The false and destructive belief that marriage is about romance and ‘other’ adult satisfactions. Marriage is NOT about love. I don’t know what is implied by ‘other adult satisfactions’. I know they don’t mean procreation or sex  (how do you know Geekgirl? Ah, we’ll get there.) Right now I am pondering the ‘adult satisfactions’ that my marriage has brought me. Companionship, someone to share my life with, for better or worse… what does that remind me of? Oh well, never mind. Let’s continue.

They [meaning gays and lesbians] fail to understand, however, that marriage is made possible by the sexual complementarity of man and woman, and that the comprehensive, multi-level sharing of life that marriage is includes bodily unity of the sort that unites husband and wife biologically as a reproductive unit.

Marriage is actually made possible by the government when it hands out marriage licenses. Period. End of sentence.  Yet I sense they are slipping away from procreation, as in having children,  and into something else here.

Marriage is what one man and one woman establish when, forsaking all others and pledging lifelong commitment, they found a sharing of life at every level of being—the biological, the emotional, the dispositional, the rational, the spiritualon a commitment that is sealed, completed and actualized by loving sexual intercourse in which the spouses become one flesh, not in some merely metaphorical sense, but by fulfilling together the behavioral conditions of procreation. That is why in the Christian tradition, and historically in Western law, consummated marriages are not dissoluble or annullable on the ground of infertility, even though the nature of the marital relationship is shaped and structured by its intrinsic orientation to the great good of procreation.

Let’s shorten that first sentence to get to the point. Marriage is what one man and woman establish by fulfilling together the behavioral conditions of procreation. Behavioral conditions of procreation. You can’t fool me. I’m a biologist. I know what this means.

Marriage is one man and woman having sexual intercourse.

So it’s NOT about procreation.  We know this now because  the church does not annul marriages on the grounds of infertility. As long as you have the kind of sex that could, in theory, lead to procreation,  you can be married. You don’t need romance or love. You just need a willing penis and a willing vagina. Take note, it cannot be only metaphorical.

Not convinced? Read this direct quote from Dr. Ronald Sider, one of the signers of the Manhattan Declaration, from an interview with the Village Voice.  What is sad about Dr. Sider is he professes to be a Democrat who supports equality for gays and lesbians.

It’s quite clear that… men and women who have sex and make babies stay together. It’s better for their children, and it’s better that children grow up with their moms and dads — and that’s why societies have defined marriage, to protect making babies. The real question is, what is marriage?

Mr. Sider is incorrect here. Many studies have shown that gay parents are as good, if not better, than straight parents. It’s also very insulting to single parents who try hard to do a very good job.

You can say what you just said, but you’re not listening to me. My argument was not a religious argument. It is about what marriage means. It’s true, a lot of contemporaries have redefined marriage. Marriage now means an emotional, romantic relationship between people. If that is what marriage is, then it should ought [sic] to be available to gays or lesbians. But if marriage is what every culture has always said it was, then it makes no sense to offer it to everyone.

He doesn’t elaborate on what every culture has always said it was. But we all know this argument is put forward as if the only model of marriage that has ever existed is their own. Forget polygamy, Native American cultures and women as property.

We have a couple hundred years of public law in this country on this. But nobody would argue that everybody ought to have identical things regardless of who they are. Children don’t have identical rights; grandparents don’t have identical rights with parents. It depends on who you are, what rights you properly get. It’s not true somebody who is living in a relationship, which is not marriage, should have the rights of marriage.

Wow. Now we’re comparing rights of children and grandparents to those of same sex couples who want the same rights as opposite couples. The arguments against this point are so obvious, I won’t take up your time. That last sentence is the one that really bothers me. It is a slap in the face to every loving, monogamous same sex couple.

I want gay Americans to be protected by the law. I want an end to gay bashing. I want them to have jobs, and have housing. I want them to visit their partner in the hospital, and to inherit property and pay taxes [together] legally. Those are all proper things a good society does to establish equality. Even though gay people are not practicing what I believe is the proper sexual relationship, I think they should be protected by the constitution and have all of their civil rights. It doesn’t follow that we shouldn’t follow gay marriage. But I very much believe that we should have civil rights for everybody. …. I think …. people with a gay orientation, ought to seek God’s help to live lives of joy without sexual intercourse.

Outside of some grammatical issues, Mr. Sider doesn’t actually say how society should give these rights to gays and lesbians. But when you get them, you still should not have sex. And it won’t be called marriage.

What case does the Manhattan Declaration make against the legalization of same sex marriage?

No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage. Marriage is an objective reality—a covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize and support for the sake of justice and the common good.

The law has no duty to create a legal version of marriage. We are often reminded by the religious right that the Constitution doesn’t say anything about the right to marry. However, we as a society have recognized that giving legal protections to couples and families protects individuals and society as a whole. But if you are a same sex couple, evidently the sake of justice and the common good do not apply. Here is your confirmation that you are, indeed, second class citizens.

First, the religious liberty of those for whom this is a matter of conscience is jeopardized. Second, the rights of parents are abused as family life and sex education programs in schools are used to teach children that an enlightened understanding recognizes as “marriages” sexual partnerships that many parents believe are intrinsically non-marital and immoral. Third, the common good of civil society is damaged when the law itself, in its critical pedagogical function, becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends.

First, no one’s religious liberty is at stake except for those religions that support same-sex marriage. For the millionth time, no church will be forced to recognize same sex marriages. In fact, under current marriage laws the Catholic Church has, and will continue, to deny marriages to even opposite-sex couples that they believe do not meet the criteria for a Catholic sanctified ceremony.  For those of you who think marriage is a religious institution, here is my suggestion. Skip the marriage license. Just have a ceremony at your church. Now ask your minister what legal benefits you just gained.

Second, you are worried about what schools (probably won’t) teach? The immorality of same sex marriage?  About half of heterosexual marriages end in divorce and 40% of children are born out of wedlock.  Yet Christians feel the biggest threat to marriage is two people of the same sex wanting to commit to each other legally and financially? No, that’s not quite it. We see this in point number three.

Third, it’s a sexual partnership that is non-marital and immoral. Why is it non-marital? Because, as we have just read, marriage is about the physical act of male-female intercourse.  When we take away the bloated sugar coated language of this declaration, we can see their real concern.

They don’t like what gay people do in bed.

And because they don’t like it, they state, as if they have true control, that no one has a civil right to a non-marital relationship being recognized as marriage. This logic is more twisted than a pretzel. Civil law regarding marriage has no requirement for procreation, nor does it have a requirement for sexual intercourse. I checked my marriage license. Not there.

Let’s look at something so traditional I bet many of us know this by heart. The traditional marriage vows, said in many a church.

I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

This vow looks suspiciously similar to love, romance and other adult satisfactions to me.  If religion insists that marriage is about the biological act that can lead to procreation, why isn’t it mandatory for heterosexuals getting married in a Christian church to include a vow to have sexual intercourse? Now I’m sure we wouldn’t want to use such a descriptive term in front of our families and children. What did you call it? Fulfilling together the behavioral conditions of procreation?

I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, to fulfill together the behavioral conditions of procreation, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

What did we learn? Without male-female sexual intercourse, it is not marriage. And the threat to marriage?  An emotional, romantic relationship.

In other words, love threatens marriage.

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Jude is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.