Monday, August 30, 2010

Separate Is Never Equal

Sean Chapin has done it again with a great video highlighting the unequal status of of civil unions...and virtually anything that is separate from fully recognized marriage. Check it out...

I know there are those who do not approve of this analogy, but I still think it holds true. My only question is, did he find a fountain that sprays backwards(probably not hard) or did he "modify" one? Either way, thanks Sean...

Visit Youtube to see more of Sean Chapin here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"What if's"...All Our legislation Passed.

Marriage equality....Don't Ask Don't Tell...the Employment Non-Discrimination Act....together they have often dominated the conversation about gay rights and equality. We poor tremendous amounts of energy into them. Indeed, they are important pieces in the greater movement toward full equality for GLBTQ Americans. But today, I asked myself what would happen if Christmas came early and I woke up tommorow with those goals had come to fruition?

First would be the encredible feeling of celebration....that the world had changed in incredible and wonderfull ways. Gays and lesbians would be protected in ways that we had never been previously. We could meet and marry someone we loved, perhaps make a family and hopefully never have to worry about losing out jobs or homes because of our sexual orientation. Being able to do those basic things paves the way for more positive change as we have more energy and support to turn to other areas of our lives.

However, sometimes I thing that we hang our hopes on passage or repeal of these issues and forget their status as waypoints along the journey...not the end. So what would happen if Christmas came early this year and we woke up to find that all our legal/legislative hopes had come true...then what?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

All too Easy

This week the blogs are all alight with the coming out of Ken Mehlman, President Bush's former campaign manager and architect of his homophobic 2004 campaign. Melhman has been a vocal opponent to gay rights and strong supporter of George Bush Juniors efforts to write a ban on gay marriage into the U.S. constitution. He was Bush's Political Director during his first term and Head of the Republican National Committee from 2005-07. He has stumped the campagn trial in opposition to gay rights and marriage equality and actively worked against the gay community because he was getting paid very well to do so.

Well, now he is coming out claiming that he knew he was gay...despite public denials...but that he was, "not comfortable with that part of himself" which is his one sentence summation for why he worked for one of the most homophobic administrations in recent history. It's also the defacto excuse for why he went to such lengths to make sure that America stayed focused on the "gay menace" for the Bush administration....because he wasnt "comfortable with himself"....yeah...I'm sure the position of power and fat paycheck didn't hurt either.

But now he's out and its a big deal...well I have a song for Ken...find it after the jump..

Monday, August 23, 2010

Off Target?

Everyone is mad at Target right now. Not just mad...spitting...cussing...national boycott mad.

All of this has come about because of a political donation that Target and Bestbuy made to Minnesota Forward, a political action fund that supports business friendly candidates for political office. The problem? of the candidates supported by monies from MN Forward is anti-gay Minnesota gubenatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Emmer has gone on record supporting a state consitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. This has caused a major controversy for Target who now faces massive public criticism and a national boycott from the gay community and allies.

 Targets response has been schizophrenic at best. While they did apologize for the lapse in judgement, they also went on to attempt to excuse themselves on the basis that MN Forward is paid into by a coalition of businesses, both large and small, whos primary interests are non partisan and seek only to advance their own "retail agenda". In a statement made to The Awl, this is Targets official response:(emphasis mine)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why Marriage?

Why do we have marriage? What purpose does it serve to us as human beings both on a social and emotional level that we have invested so much of ourselves in this institution? Indeed, it has become a key piece of contested ground in the "culture war" being waged here in America. But what is Marriage? What does it do for us? What does it mean to us on an emotional level and why is it so important to fight for it? Why should gays and lesbians be excluded from it? Is it a civil right? These are questions that those of us on both sides of the issue have struggled to clearly define in order to establish our views on the issue. It is also a queestion posed in a posting on the National Organisation for Marriage's blog, in concert with the, offering  the opinion of average person...a waitress in Ohio...."Why do we have marriage?" Her answer?...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An End to Lesbianism....?

By: Craig Rigby
So it is all over the news, someone thinks they may have found a cure for lesbianism. All those conservatives can finally rest easy, just pop a load of pills when preggers and the baby will drop out with a Barbie in hand and a pink bow stuck to her little bald head.
The “wonder” drug is not supposed to be targeted at gay people... yet. Rather it is intended to reduce the incidence of an adrenal gland condition that can cause ambiguous genitals. Adrenal hyperplasia can lead to elevated masculinizing hormones that can affect foetal development and cause the genitalia of female newborns to be ambiguous in appearance. Although the vaginal opening and function remain unchanged the clitoris can be enlarged. In addition the person can grow up to be more masculine and androgynous.
I managed to find some reports of this being subscribed in New York by a doctor called Maria New who was has been prescribing the drug to expectant mothers claiming that it will prevent lesbianism and masculine behaviour in their daughters. Just sit and think about that for a second.

Monday, August 16, 2010

An Excellent Prop 8 Analysis

Hello everyone,

Much has been said about Judge Walkers Prop 8 ruling. The Blogs are STILL full of posts from legal analysts, pundits, and talking heads giving their opinions about the rulling and making forcasts for the future of the case, but none has been as concise as this one from ProfMTH on Youtube. Although I don't see eye to eye with the Prof on everything he posts, I have to hand it to him on this set of videos...they are well put together and easy to understand. Watch them and you will feel like you have become a Perry v. Schwarzenegger expert....enjoy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Revolutions...Backlash...and Prop 8

Hello everyone...before we get started, I have just one thing to get off my chest. Judge Vuaghn Walker lifted the stay on his prop 8 decision effective on the 18th of this, from a couple who made it in on the last window of opportunity...


Get in there and make it happen people. We never know when that door is gonna slam shut again.

But this little nugget of joy actually brings us to the subject of todays post....revolution. Its a word that gets thrown around alot these days and usually means that something is not going the way the user hopes. Judge Walkers ruling has stirred alot of pots....anger and not-so veiled threats of violence are becoming increasingly commonplace sentiments expressed by those who appose gay marriage. And of course, those feelings are whipped into a frenzy by irresponsible pundits seeing a chance to gather the dissaffected to themselves.

Originally, I wanted to write this post in the week following Judge Walkers ruling...but...because I wanted to focus on the positive aspects of the rulling, and because I don't think its good to give too much weight to the crazy extremist end of the spectrum, I let it go. After all, the things I was seeing in the news were just isolated incidents...or so I thought. Then, Maggie Gallagher, her anti-gay matrimonial majesty, came along with her own call to revolution that has reinvigorated the idea that such extreme thoughts are the only way to preserve their vision of society. But first...the background...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Single Man

By:Craig Rigby
I am not particularly fond of gay cinema. I find that gay themed films fall into two categories, tragedy or campery. If Hollywood is to be believed we gays are either rejected and miserable or party time drag queens.

A lot of people like “Brokeback Mountain”, I can’t think of a better example of what is wrong with the Hollywood approach to homosexuality. The characters have horrible lives filled with hiding and rejection. They end up unhappy and dying a violent death. What a lovely image of the life we homosexuals lead. In addition what the hell is with the sex scene? What an inaccurate depiction of sex between men! Has the man never heard of foreplay? Poor old Jake Gyllenhall....

The other category is campery. “Pricilla Queen of the Desert” is a good one. I liked the film, at least it was fun, but it was also about as unbalanced a view of gay people as you can get. At least this sort of film usually ends happy.

I was bored last Saturday, Jake was at work all day and it was raining. I spent a few hours cleaning and then decided to bite the bullet and watch “A Single Man”. I had heard it was good, but from the same sort of people who told me “Brokeback Mountain” was good…

Monday, August 9, 2010

No Justice For Ebrahim?

Homophobia has never been content confining itself to the gay community. Like all forms of hate, it spills out and bleeds over into the lives of others. Many of us who grew up in times with publically sanctioned homophobia know that you don't have to actually be gay to suffer its only have to be accused, suspected, or percieved to be gay to be a target. Such is the case of Ebrahim Hamidi, and 18 year old boy facing death by hanging in Iran for being accused of a sexually assaulting another man...but to add to the tragedy, he didn't even commit the crime.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

When Paper Tigers Roar

Today I woke up to my local paper running a front page story featuring California Attorney General Jerry Brown and our Governerator...Arnold Schwarzenegger calling on Judge Vaughn Walker to cancel the stay on his Prop 8 ruling and allow same-sex marriages to resume. The headline runs like this:

Schwarzenegger: Let Same-Sex Weddings Resume
My first thought, its nice to see such vocal support from our state leaders. The story also runs in just about every blog today in some form and the comments are all by and large expressions of appreciation for our Governor and Attorney General. They are lauded as stand up figures putting it on the line for the gay community. But thats when a sneaky second thought hit me...

"Wait a minute! What do these men really stand to lose by coming out now after its all but said and done?"....

oh dam you second thoughts...Don't go raining on my otherwise positive parade. But he was not to be dismissed. I kept coming back to it and to the words of our fierce advocate and President in the wake of the Prop 8 trial results. After all some of these people have publically claimed to be advocates for the gay community or at a minimum...not supportive of discrimination. But where exactly is the meat in this bologna sandwich?

Friday, August 6, 2010

U.K. Pride Week Politics

By: Craig Rigby
Gay marriage has been in the news this week in the UK. Politicians from both sides of the aisle are being asked about it so I wanted to go through what they are all saying, and what it may mean for the future.

Most of them seem well meaning, but a lot of them are confused. As an example take Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London. When asked about gay marriage in 2000, before he was a serious politician, he wrote that if you were to allow gay marriage you may as well let a man marry his dog. This week while at a gay pride march (nothing like pride for sucking up to the gay vote) he told gay rights campaigners that he thought the conservative party should support gay marriage. Later, when asked for more information he stated that he fully supports civil partnerships. He doesn't know the difference between the two. How well informed our leaders are...

Also take comments by the Prime Minister. Writing in The Independent newspaper about what he wants to do for gay people, he stated:

“I know there is one other subject that the gay community is particularly interested in: marriage. As someone who believes in commitment, in marriage and in civil partnerships, my view is that if religious organisations want to have civil partnerships registered at their places of worship that should be able to happen.”

Here you can see the Prime Minister seems confused as well. He takes a point about marriage and answers it with a policy on civil partnerships. So before we move onto the other politicians lets set him straight, what exactly are the differences between civil partnerships and marriages?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wahoo!....Prop 8 Overturned!

Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8. California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result,see FF 64-66; moreover, California officials have chosen not to defend Proposition 8 in these proceedings.

Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8. The clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment without bond in favor of plaintiffs and plaintiff-intervenors and against defendants and defendant-intervenors pursuant to FRCP 58.

And so it is....with a well thought out and delivered judgement, Judge vaughn Walker has overturned Proposition 8 and affirmed that it violates both due process and the equal protection clause of the constitution[CNN]. In his ruling he pointed out that same-sex couples are not seeking new or "special" rights, but only equal opportunity...equal treatment under the law. He also made a point that domestic partnerships do not fulfill the obligation to allow same-sex couples the equal opportunity to marry. He also affirmed the equal value of same-sex couples to opposite sex couples in the raising of children and that denying same-sex couples marriage does not encourage or affirm opposite sex marriage in any way.

the text of Judge Walkers ruling points out, show without a shadow of a doubt, how well the legal team of Olsen and Bioes made their case as it reads like a synopsis of their arguments. More to the point, these arguments posess their own weight and just took someone to go to bat for them.

As of now Judge Walker has issued a two day stay on his ruling in order for opposing legal council to respond. After that point, if no appeal was pending, the changes to California's constitution banning same-sex marriage would be nullified, leaving the Supreme Courts ruling upholding of same-sex marriage in effect. Marriages could resume. However, is fully expected that the opposition will appeal and the case will advance to the 9th district court of appeals. If we won in that court it would apply to all states under its jurisdiction...and so the momentum would continue, snowballing on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

the opposition is already going into full martyr mode. Pick your anti-gay group and their websight will be dripping with bile and loaded with accusations of judicial NOM for example:

"Never in the history of America has a federal judge ruled that there is a federal constitutional right to same sex marriage. The reason for this is simple – there isn’t!” added Brown.

“The ‘trial’ in San Francisco in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case is a unique, and disturbing, episode in American jurisprudence. Here we have an openly gay (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) federal judge substituting his views for those of the American people and of our Founding Fathers who I promise you would be shocked by courts that imagine they have the right to put gay marriage in our Constitution. We call on the Supreme Court and Congress to protect the people’s right to vote for marriage,” stated Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of the Board of NOM.
Putting trial in quotes doesn't make it any less legal Maggie...nor was Judge Walker open about his sexuality until you made an issue of it during the opening of the trial...and as for the founding fathers...none of them could have foreseen where the future was going to take this country and I'm quite sure they knew that too...which is why they built failsafe protections into the constitution..because they knew that events may occur that they could not foresee and that the people would need their forsight is vindicated....even if only till the next round.

But tonight we party! Get out and celebrate in whatever way you can. Raise a glass and toast to equality...toast to love...then get ready to get out there and fight again because we are nowhere near done with this thing. Congratulations everyone!

Read Judge Walkers full ruling and a listing of celebration rallies below the fold: