The Same People
Scream, shout, jump up and down. No matter. The gay-marriage issue is over and done with. The upshot: love won.
Newsweek May 31, 2008
During his sophomore year in high school, one of our sons mentioned at the dinner table that a classmate had come out of the closet. I can't even remember which of the two boys it was, and that's not only because my memory is now so bad that I can reread mystery novels and not recall whodunit. It's because the announcement was such a big nothing among the kids that it was only slightly more noteworthy than "pass the mac and cheese." Unlike my own high-school friends, these kids took gay for granted.
One of the most transformative social movements over our lifetime has been the battle for gay rights, and the key to its great success has been the grass-roots phenomenon of exploding stereotypes by simply saying, "Yes, I am." Each time the woman at the next desk or the guy down the street lets it be known that he or she is gay, it takes another brick out of the wall of division. Or, as Ellen DeGeneres told John McCain on her show recently, "We are all the same people, all of us."
That's what the California Supreme Court said when it ruled that gay couples should have the right to marry as a matter of basic equality. Before you could say "Jonathan and Andrew request the honour of your presence," opponents were suggesting that civilization would crash and burn if two guys could register at Pottery Barn and raise kids in a ranch house. All those wailing that gay marriage is an invention of amoral modernism might want to consider these lines from a Roman poem of the second century A.D.:
"The bearded Callistratus married the rugged Afer/Under the same law by which a woman takes a husband./Torches were carried before him, a bridal veil covered his face." And afterward everyone sat down to salmon, rice pilaf and chocolate mousse. Well, actually, I made up that last part just as surely as some people are making up the dire consequences of same-sex troth-plighting.
In the wake of the court's decision, those folks vowed to find a way to protect the sanctity of hetero marriage, that time-honored staple of sitcom mockery and savage custody fights. Polls showing opposition to gay marriage were proffered to prove that the court had overstepped its bounds, ignoring the fact that the most sacred business of judges is not to ratify the will of the majority but to protect the minority from its tyranny.
It is true that the California Supreme Court is something of a Scandinavia of jurisprudence, willing to get out front on social issues. But it's not really courts and legislatures that will settle this issue. It's the neighbors, friends and family members who have come out and made the political personal—and lovable. Jennifer? Smart, funny Jennifer? Of course she should be able to marry Anne. They're perfect together.
If only coming out could be used in other areas that remain unsettled and contentious. The stereotype of the feckless woman who has an abortion and then a pedicure is a sub rosa staple of the opposition, and there's no question that it could be counteracted by real people talking about making a difficult but necessary choice. But since abortion has always been couched, quite properly, as an issue of personal privacy, that feels discordant. Immigrants face bigotry that grows directly out of the swamp of ignorance, but the impulse—and the pressure—to fit in means that they don't often testify to where they come from and what their lives are really like.
Gay men and lesbians have prospered because they've refused to acquiesce to the notion that they should hide their lives from public view. Two by two they've adopted children, bought homes, volunteered in their communities and slogged through life together just the way hetero couples do, except without preferential tax codes, inheritance rights and the automatic assumption that they can make decisions for one another in emergency situations. Too often, without legal protection, they have found themselves dependent on the kindness of those who were not kind, like the man in Indiana who became severely disabled and whose parents prohibited his partner of 25 years from visiting him in their home.
Here's what I don't understand: is there so much love and commitment in the world that we can afford, as a society, to be contemptuous of some portion of it? If two women in white want to join hands in front of their families and friends and vow to love and honor one another until they die, the only reasonable response to that is happy tears, awed admiration and societal approval. And—this part is just personal opinion—one of those big honking KitchenAid mixers with the dough hook.
Before we know it that will be the response everywhere, not just in Denmark and the Netherlands and Canada and California: approval, appliances. The polls predict the future. The younger you are, the more likely you are to know someone who is gay. The more likely you are to know someone who is gay, the more likely you are to support gay marriage. The opposition is aging out.
Someday soon the fracas surrounding all this will seem like a historical artifact, like the notion that women were once prohibited from voting and a black individual from marrying a white one. Our children will attend the marriages of their friends, will chatter about whether they will last, will whisper to one another, "Love him, don't like him so much." The California Supreme Court called gay marriage a "basic civil right." In hindsight, it will merely be called ordinary life.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Posted by Mike in Texas at 5:43 PM
How Governor Set His Stance on Gay Rights
By Jeremy W. Peters and Danny Hakim
New York Times, May 30,2008
When David A. Paterson was growing up and his parents would go out of town, he and his little brother would stay in Harlem with family friends they called Uncle Stanley and Uncle Ronald.
Uncle Stanley and Uncle Ronald, he said, were a gay couple, though in the 1960s few people described them that way. They helped young David with his spelling, and read to him and played cards with him.
“Apparently, my parents never thought we were in any danger,” the governor recalled on Thursday in an interview. “I was raised in a culture that understood the different ways that people conduct their lives. And I feel very proud of it.”
Mr. Paterson, who two months ago was unexpectedly elevated to be governor of New York, has accepted gay men and lesbians since early in life. From his first run for office, in 1985, he reached out to gays and lesbians, and in 1994, long before gay rights groups were broadly pushing for it, he said he supported same-sex marriage.
As he rose in politics, he became a go-between in the occasionally strained relationship between gay and black residents in his district and beyond, using his easygoing manner to broker disagreements and soothe hurt feelings.
On Thursday, the governor, who is still largely unknown to many New Yorkers, appealed to them to recognize what he called the basic common sense of allowing gay men and lesbians married elsewhere to gain the same rights here as heterosexual couples. In doing so, he is stepping to the forefront of an issue that has often tripped up his party nationally, and he is going further than either of the two Democratic presidential candidates have been willing to do.
“People who live together for a long time would like to be married — as far as I’m concerned, I think it’s beautiful,” he said in a news conference called to discuss his directive to state agencies to revise their regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, like California.
“I think it’s fine, regardless of the tenets of religion or the beliefs of some,” he added. “It’s something that the government should allow for people. It’s maybe misunderstood in this generation.”
But already on Thursday, there were signs of a backlash against his decision, with some conservative groups mulling whether to mount a legal challenge to the directive. Some Republican legislators said that Mr. Paterson is wading into an issue that should be settled by the Legislature, and likened it to the ill-fated attempt by his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants without seeking legislative support.
“It’s outrageous that the governor did what he did,” said Michael Long, chairman of the state’s Conservative Party. “He’s for same-sex marriage, that’s fine. I have no problem with that. To do this in the dark of night, through the back door, to begin the process of destroying the sanctity of marriage, is really wrong.”
It was shortly after Mr. Paterson was sworn in, on March 17, that his legal counsel, David Nocenti, approached him to discuss a February appellate court ruling in Rochester. In that case, the court said that because of New York’s longstanding practice of recognizing marriages from other jurisdictions, a community college in Monroe County must provide health benefits to the wife of a woman who was married in Canada.
Mr. Nocenti recommended that Mr. Paterson order all state agencies to bring their policies in line with that decision.
Mr. Paterson quickly agreed to do so, not only because the state risked legal exposure if it did not, but also because such a directive would be a strong statement of principle about an issue he cares about deeply. He met with his inner circle, and there was no dissent.
On May 14, Mr. Nocenti’s memo went out to the agencies. The governor’s plan called for not publicizing the directive until after June 30, when the agencies were asked to report back to Mr. Nocenti with the revisions necessary to comply with the court ruling. Once the governor approved those changes, he planned to announce them publicly. But Mr. Nocenti’s memo was reported on Wednesday night by The New York Times, and the governor described its contents at a dinner with gay advocates on May 17.
In the interview, Mr. Paterson said he believes deeply that gay men and lesbians today face the same kind of civil rights battle that black Americans faced. He acknowledged that this position put him at odds with some black leaders, who bristle at such comparisons.
When Mr. Paterson became governor, gay activists cheered, saying they would have an ally in Albany even more committed than Mr. Spitzer. The Web site of The Advocate, a gay magazine, ran a story headlined, “Could Spitzer’s woes have a silver lining?” The story called Mr. Paterson “the best-case scenario for gays and lesbians in the state.”
Mr. Paterson introduced the State Senate’s first hate crimes bill in the 1980s and refused to support a compromise that did not include gay men and lesbians. When the Senate ultimately agreed to pass a hate crimes bill in 2000, it marked the first time the phrase “sexual orientation” appeared in New York State laws.
During his years as minority leader of the Senate, from 2002 to 2006, his warm relations with the majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, a Republican, helped pave the way for laws extending civil rights protections to gay men and lesbians, and coincided with a softening of Mr. Bruno’s views on gay rights.
“From the get-go, when I first introduced marriage, which was in, like, 2001, he put his name down right away as a sponsor,” said Senator Tom Duane, a Manhattan Democrat and the only openly gay member of the Senate. “The second I asked him if he wanted to be a sponsor, he said yes. When he was minority leader, he also fought for funding for groups and he’s been great on H.I.V./AIDS issues, as well. He has been 100 percent behind us.”
Some lawmakers said they particularly admired Mr. Paterson’s position on gay marriage because it would have been easy for him to let the issue rest once he became governor.
“I just think it shows the steel in his spine,” said Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side. “He knows he is now the governor of all people in New York State, gay and straight.”
Mr. Paterson said he does not see his support for gay marriage as an issue of political fortitude, but rather something more human and almost reflexive.
“All the time when I’d hear Uncle Stanley and Uncle Ronald and my parents talk, they were talking about the civil rights struggle,” Mr. Paterson said. “In those days, I knew I wanted to grow up and feel that I could change something.”
Found in the New York Times
God bless Gov. David A. Paterson! I am crying tears of joy as I read this article. We have been waiting so long for a person in a place of power to boldly step forward with courage and love for the gay community.
So often, politicians lose their passion to do what is right and just when they reach the point where they can make such a huge difference.
Governor Paterson will have a place in our hearts all of our lives. We have been married for 36 years and are blessed with four children. Our youngest, Jacob, happens to be gay. Three of them were married in the last couple of years. It has been a time of great joy for our family as they wed the love of their lives.
When our oldest son, Benjamin, got married, he asked Jacob to be his best man. Then our son Joshua got married and again Jacob was his best man. When our daughter, Britta, married her dear Matthew, she didn’t have a maid of honor. She had a man of honor, and it was her brother Jacob.
At each wedding, as Jacob stood by his siblings and signed the papers to make it legal, he did it knowing he did not have the right to marriage himself.
As a mom, I find that hard to understand and heartbreaking to know it is true. How can this country treat people in such a way that something as basic as finding love and being married can be denied to a whole segment of society?
We will do all that it takes to make sure our dear son Jacob can marry the love of his life. But right now, I want to send our love to Governor Paterson. He makes me want to move to New York!
Eden Prairie, Minn., May 30, 2008
Matt Taibbi went undercover and joined John Hagee's church.
I had been attending the Cornerstone Church for weeks, but this was really my first day of school. I had joined Cornerstone — a megachurch in the Texas Hill Country — to get a look inside the evangelical mind-set that gave the country eight years of George W. Bush. The church's pastor, John Hagee, is one of the most influential evangelical preachers in the country — not because his ministry is so very large (although he claims up to 4.5 million viewers a week for his Sunday sermons) but because of his near-absolute conquest of a very trendy niche in the market: Christian Zionism.
The whole idea behind Christian Zionism is to align America with the nation of Israel so as to "hurry God up" in his efforts to bring about Armageddon. As Hagee tells it, only after Israel is involved in a final showdown involving a satanic army (in most interpretations, a force of Arabs led by Russians) will Christ reappear. On that happy day, Hagee and his True Believers will be whisked up to Heaven by God, while the rest of us nonbelievers are left behind on Earth to suck eggs and generally suffer various tortures.
He appeared on the Daily Show recently to share a bit of his experience.
There's lots more in his Rolling Stone article.
I was very, very, very good — at everything!" shouted our hulking ex-paratrooper pastor, Philip Fortenberry, into the barely visible mouth mike that curled around his ruddy face. "I was a Green Beret — top of the class. Six feet four, 225 pounds. A star athlete, basketball player. Starting outside linebacker on the varsity football team. . . ."
The crowd cooed as our spiritual leader rattled off his macho credentials. Our supercowboy pastor was the perfect foil for the Revenge of the Nerds-style crowd of fatties, addicts, loners and broken-home survivors populating the warehouse-size building where we were all destined to spend the next three days together. In his introductory speech, Fortenberry did everything but tape-measure his biceps. His autobiographical tale of an angry overachieving youth who fell into a young adulthood of false pride, only to rebound and be reborn as a turbocharged, Army-trained enemy of Satan ("A friend of mine once joked that he saw my picture hung up in a post office in Hell," he quipped), was to serve as the first chapter of our collective transformation — and to work it had to impress the hell out of us scraggly wanna-be's.
Throughout the whole weekend, Fortenberry had been setting himself up as an athletic conqueror of demons. Now, on the final morning, he looked like a quarterback about to take the field before a big game. The life coaches assembled around the edges of the chapel, carrying anointing oil and bundles of small paper bags.
Fortenberry began to issue instructions. He told us that under no circumstances should we pray during the Deliverance.
"When the word of God is in your mouth," he said, "the demons can't come out of your body. You have to keep a path clear for the demon to come up through your throat. So under no circumstances pray to God. You can't have God in your mouth. You can cough, you might even want to vomit, but don't pray."
The crowd nodded along solemnly. Fortenberry then explained that he was going to read from an extremely long list of demons and cast them out individually. As he did so, we were supposed to breathe out, keep our mouths open and let the demons out.
And he began.
At first, the whole scene was pure comedy. Fortenberry was standing up at the front of the chapel, reading off a list, and the room was loudly chirping crickets back at him.
"In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of incest! In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of sexual abuse! In the name of Jesus. . . ."
After a few minutes, there was a little twittering here and there. Nothing serious. I was beginning to think the Deliverance was going to be a bust.
But then it started. Wails and cries from the audience. To my left, a young black man started writhing around in his seat. In front of me and to my right, another young black man with Coke-bottle glasses and a shock of nerdly jheri curl — a dead ringer for a young Wayne Williams — started wailing and clutching his head.
"In the name of Jesus," continued Fortenberry, "I cast out the demon of astrology!"
Coughing and spitting noises. Behind me, a bald white man started to wheeze and gurgle, like he was about to puke. Fortenberry, still reading from his list, pointed at the man. On cue, a pair of life coaches raced over to him and began to minister. One dabbed his forehead with oil and fiercely clutched his cranium; the other held a paper bag in front of his mouth.
"In the name of Jesus Christ," said Fortenberry, more loudly now, "I cast out the demon of lust!"
And the man began power-puking into his paper baggie. I couldn't see if any actual vomitus came out, but he made real hurling and retching noises.
Now the women began to pipe in. On the women's side of the chapel the noises began, and it is not hard to explain what these noises sounded like. If you've ever watched The Houston 560 or any other gangbang porn movie, that's what it sounded like, only the sounds were far more intense.
It was not difficult to figure out where the energy was coming from on that side of the room. Some of the husbands glanced nervously over in the direction of their wives.
"In the name of Jesus Christ, I cast out the demon of cancer!" said Fortenberry.
"Oooh! Unnh! Unnnnnh!" wailed a woman in the front row.
"Bleeech!" puked the bald man behind me.
Within about a minute after that, the whole chapel erupted in pandemonium. About half the men and three-fourths of the women were writhing around and either play-puking or screaming. Not wanting to be a bad sport, I raised my hand for one of the life coaches to see.
"Need . . . a . . . bag," I said as he came over.
He handed me a bag.
"In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of handwriting analysis!" shouted Fortenberry.
Handwriting analysis? I jammed the bag over my mouth and started coughing, then went into a very real convulsion of disbelief as I listened to this astounding list, half-laughing and half-retching.
"In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, I cast out the demon of the intellect!" Fortenberry continued. "In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of anal fissures!"
Be sure to read the entire article.
Hat tip Bilerico Project.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Watch as anti-gay "family law attorney" Don Schweitzer tries to convince Bill O'Reilly that there's a good reason to oppose marriage equality. Billo just isn't buying it.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
A Daily Kos diary breaks it down for us.
With the CA Supreme Court ruling on May 15th, marriage was reaffirmed as a fundamental right in California, and furthermore, sexual orientation was placed into a protected category, subject to strict scrutiny. Therefore, a ballot initiative cannot take away that fundamental right, because that kind of a change is a revision of the Constitution, necessitating a constitutional convention. Additionally, any attempt to do so will come under the heading of strict scrutiny, which means that the government must show a compelling reason why it is excluding people from marriage. That cannot be done; there is no compelling reason. Ron George and his fellow justices made sure that they eliminated those arguments in their majority opinion.
And now there's a NEW POLL showing that a majority of Californians support marriage equality and oppose the anti-gay initiative.
An almost identical result was recorded in the random survey of whether voters favor an amendment to the state constitution that will likely appear on the November ballot, which seeks to define marriage as between a man and a woman: Fifty-one percent opposed that proposal, the survey reported, while 43 percent approved of the restrictive amendment.
Friday, May 16, 2008
During a speech before the National Rifle Association convention
Friday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee — who has endorsed presumptive GOP nominee John McCain — joked that an unexpected offstage noise was Democrat Barack Obama looking to avoid a gunman.
“That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he's getting ready to speak,” said the former Arkansas governor, to audience laughter. “Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”
Ellen DeGeneres and longtime girlfriend Portia de Rossi are jumping at the chance to get married.DeGeneres announced their engagement during a Thursday taping of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," telling the studio audience the news that the California Supreme Court had struck down state laws against gay marriage."So I would like to say now, for the first time, I am announcing: I am getting married," she said during the show, airing Friday.The studio audience leapt to its feet for a long ovation, and De Rossi ("Ally McBeal," ''Nip/Tuck") was sitting in the audience, beaming and clapping. [Article contines here.]
Mayor Newsom, you're not the only one who's sick and tired of these people using us as pawns in a political chess game.
For a quick review of the ClintonObama doublespeak about equal treatment under the law: http://rallianceblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/are-these-candidates-of-change.html
San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera and mayor Gavin Newsom speaking after the Supreme Court decision. (Newsome is introduced about halfway through).
And now, a reminder of the shabby treatment Gavin Newsome received from Barack Obama. http://rallianceblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/actions-speak-lounder-than-words-barack.html
Thursday, May 15, 2008
State Supreme Court says same-sex couples have right to marry
SF Chronicle 05-15 10:31 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry in California, the state Supreme Court said today in a historic ruling that could be repudiated by the voters in November.
In a 4-3 decision, the justices said the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates the "fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship." The ruling is likely to flood county courthouses with applications from couples newly eligible to marry when the decision takes effect in 30 days.
The ruling set off a celebration at San Francisco City Hall. As the decision came down, out-of-breath staff members ran into the mayor's office where Gavin Newsom read the decision.
Outside the city clerk's office, three opposite-sex couples were waiting at 10 a.m. for marriage certificates. City officials had prepared for a possible rush on certificates by same-sex couples, but hadn't yet changed the forms that ask couples to fill out the name of the "bride" and "groom."
Monday, May 12, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
The charge from the school district — Wizardry!
Thursday, May 8, 2008
It seems that Focus on the Family put out a real scary thing (at least in their little world of paranoia) about the vast funding behind the HRC and how HRC is working to implement the Gay Agenda. FOF even enlisted the mouthpiece of Concerned Women of America, Matt Barber, to scare us [koff] about the militant homosexual agenda while FOF’s Brad Miller scares us [koff] about HRC’s vast funding.
Well, it seems that Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin got a whiff of those old chestnuts and decided to do a bit of homework. And it turns out that Jim found that FOF’s funding is even more vast than HRC’s funding … About 3 times more vast than HRC’s, as a matter of fact.
Well, then a gentleman named John, the Average Gay Joe got interested in the whole funding thing and did a bunch of homework of his own to find out how vastly funded other gay groups are. And then he decided to find out how vastly funded other anti-gay groups are funded. And then he just could quit, so he looked up the vast funding of some veteran’s advocacy groups.
Thanks, guys … I love it when someone exposes the lies of the right wing crazies.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
We always knew that health insurance is a major part of the gay agenda. Now comes the news that at least in Michigan, heterosexual marriage is finally safe from the threat of gay health insurance coverage.
Michigan Supreme Court says gay partners can't get health
LANSING -- A divided Michigan Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a 2004 voter-approved ban against gay marriage also blocks governments and state universities from offering health insurance to the partners of gay workers.
The 5-2 decision affirms a state Court of Appeals ruling. In their opinion, the five majority justices ruled that "the marriage amendment...which states 'the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage of similar union for any purpose,' prohibits public employers from providing health-insurance benefits to their employees' qualified same-sex domestic partners." The 34-page opinion was authored by Justice Stephen Markman and signed by the court's other four Republicans as well.
As many as 20 public universities, community colleges, school districts and local governments in Michigan have benefits policies covering at least 375 gay couples. Some of the plans began as far back as the early 1990s. […]