Supreme Court: Same-Sex Marriage a Right

Friday, June 26, 2015. Marriage Equality is the law of the land. I never thought I’d live long enough to see this hoped-for day. Congratulations to all American couples who finally wont legal recognition for a cherished legal and moral right … Not to quibble excessively about something we’d looked forward to for half a century, but there was something disturbing about the 5-4 split on the court. Is marriage a right, or a privilege?

Our full post is proudly featured on our HOME page.

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“Gay Marriage Polls Not Yet Reflected In Votes”

From David Crary on Huffington Post:

NEW YORK — Poll after poll shows public support for same-sex marriage steadily increasing, to the point where it’s now a majority viewpoint. Yet in all 32 states where gay marriage has been on the ballot, voters have rejected it. … For now, however, there remains a gap between the national polling results and the way states have voted. It’s a paradox with multiple explanations, from political geography to the likelihood that some conflicted voters tell pollsters one thing and then vote differently.

My comment:

“Still not with you people yet, but thinking about doing the right thing.” We’ve seen all this before with the civil rights movement, and then again with women’s rights. “Yes, we’re in favor of liberty and equality, but not just now, and not next door. But we’ll let you know.”

“Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience stands He waiting, with exactness grinds He all.” I think that about sums it up.

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Excerpted Huffington Post Comments

I’ve recently become active in the Huffington Post registered comment community. readers may find in my comments some good talking points and “intellectual ammunition” on a number of currently topical issues. I’ve mostly commented on news about the dangerous Santorum, the growing extremist religious right political movements, gay issues, women’s reproductive rights, and other recent news show-stoppers. Boldface subtitles are the titles of the HuffPost article being commented upon.

Alexander Forbes’s Comments

Dear America: You Have a Gay Problem
Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 00:50:57 in Canada
“Of course you have a right to your opinion, and we have a right to disagree, as you say. The issue is that statutory law is being used to deprive certain minorities of certain basic rights afforded all other classes of Americans (which you may call huge collections of individuals, or just ‘groups’). The most likely remedy would be the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, but, if you read the text; you’ll see it enumerates what the _States_may not abridge, which of course many states are doing anyway. Hence the push to ban Same-Sex Marriage on the federal level. Constitutional protections deal imperfectly with issues the founding fathers never heard of or anticipated. Many of your all-caps arguments are found in the Libertarian Party Platform. Sounds like your heart is in the right place even if you don’t understand “gay,” anyway.”

Social Justice: Is Marriage Equality a Civil Right?
Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 00:08:43 in Religion
“Outstanding! Thank you! Marriage equality is a civil right and should be protected under the “equal protection” 14th Amendment.”

British Lesbians Denied Valentine’s Rose By Waitress Because They Were Not A ‘Real Couple’
Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 01:18:21 in Gay Voices
“Boo Boo Bob is right; the establishment should have been called out. But, you know, that establishment wasn’t hiring ‘real’ waitresses.”

Chick-Fil-A Speaks Out On Viral Controversial Employment ‘Flyer’ (VIDEO)
Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 00:47:03 in Gay Voices
“Thanks, and you’ve raised great points in the thread too. I was “no preference” in the army, and I was never asked about religion or sexual preference in any of many careers between 1964 and 2009. “4F” draft status could be awarded for flat feet, bad eyesight or disability, not just homosexuality. But you are correct that, empirically, many employers still had covert interest in personal info that was none of their business, and rumor was often as dangerous as confirmation.”

Chick-Fil-A Speaks Out On Viral Controversial Employment ‘Flyer’ (VIDEO)
Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 23:41:19 in Gay Voices
“I’m not counting on it. I read the whole thread and researched this on Kos’ 2007 article (most links broken) and elsewhere. I don’t think I could eat at a place with a name like that anyway. I’m not even religious, but being Christian isn’t on trial here. Practicing discrimination – or trying to enact it into statute – is. The franchisee question seems legit to me until a pervasive pattern of actual discriminatory behavior is shown.”

Chick-Fil-A Speaks Out On Viral Controversial Employment ‘Flyer’ (VIDEO)
Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 22:52:27 in Gay Voices
“Wikipedia has more current info, in more detail, than you’ll find in standard paper references, AND its articles are usually better footnoted. It’s NOT a substitute for doing your own research; your teachers are right. See what you can find on “social conservatism” in Webster’s or Britannica, and then check Wikipedia. Excerpt: “Social conservatism is a form of authoritarianism often associated with the position that the national government, or the state, should have a greater role in the social and moral affairs of its citizens, generally supporting whatever it sees as morally correct choices and discouraging or outright forbidding those it considers morally wrong ones.”” Continue reading

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Miss USA Contestant Flunks Gay Marriage Question

When Carrie Prejean was asked for her views on gay marriage in the Miss USA beauty pageant, she answered that she believes marriage is “between a man and a woman”. 

Prejean is currently Miss California. She was the acknowledged  frontrunner in the USA pageant – until that question. The question was asked by pageant judge Perez Hilton, said to be a “celebrity blogger”. Read about it in the BBC post if you haven’t already.

To be honest, my first reaction was, “serves her right.”

Hilton said he had been “floored” by Ms Prejean’s answer, which, he said, “alienated millions of gay and lesbian Americans, their families and their supporters”.

He told ABC News: “She lost it because of that question. She was definitely the front-runner before that.”

Just a minute here … how is that supposed to work? Supposing her answer to the same question had been “I’m definitely for it” — and the judge had been an evangelical religious fundamentalist? Are the social and political views of a beauty content contestant even relevant? How would you react  if  the first question pitched to you in a job interview was, “who did you vote for in 2008?”

To her credit, Prejean answered honestly. The country is still divided almost 50%-50% on this issue; it’s not as if  the Holocaust denial of Iran’s Ahmadinejad was on the table.

Gays and lesbians will ultimately win on this equal rights issue. But not that way.

I don’t give a hoot for beauty contests in the first place. I tend to agree with those who say they’re demeaning because they reinforce negative sexual stereotypes.

But what do you think about dragging social and political issues into such contests?

Should Prejean’s win or loss have hung on this one question? Was Hilton fair to set her up for this question, and then nail her when he didn’t agree with her position? Should such questions be asked at all?

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“Do Not Touch”

Do Not Touch - Gary LarsonApologies to the cartoonist: Gary Larson once published a cartoon showing a man sporting a grinning rubber horsie inner tube and a rocket launcher.

I was recently a guest in the home of some friends. A neighbor dropped by unannounced for a visit. Every once in a while, we all meet people whose agendas are the first thing out of their mouth when they enter a room. You know, like “Hi, I’m William … and I really, really admire transformative flotation devices, don’t you?”

In less than three minutes, “guest” had offered us three off-the-cuff pronouncements, for no reason anyone could think of:

1. He thinks another one of the neighbors is in some way wired a little weird.
2. He thinks homosexuality can’t be a genetically inherited trait; since homosexuals “can’t pass it on” through procreation, if there ever was a gene, it would have been bred out of the race thousands of years ago.
3. He thinks “global warming” is just so much propaganda; this was obviously going to happen anyway and we bear little or no responsibility for it.

So, in a minute and a half “guest” has explained away our neighbor, who’s a nice and likeable guy. He’s explained away 6,000 years of recorded human history and all current research on patterns in “gay families”. He’s explained away a carbon dioxide buildup that even NASA says has a 99% certainty rate — the only difference being that, since we became aware of it, we’ve since exhausted any “slack period” when we might have done something more proactive about it.

What did I say about all this?

Nothing. Barring the fact that I was a guest in my hosts’ home, and wasn’t asked, and we didn’t have an audience of innocents to get sucked in by the rhetoric: refer back to the Gary Larson cartoon.

Science hasn’t found a “gay gene” yet. It has found evidence of patterns of dominance along the maternal line. This is all anecdotal, but many families with a gay child discover a strong pattern in the whole family, sometimes going back generations. Mine was one of them. The theory that a recessive trait is bred out of a species smacks more of neoconservative “survival of the fittest” dogma than real Darwinian science or Mendelian inheritance. Red hair may be a recessive trait in some families, but in Scotland this trait is found in about 13% of the population.

If there is a “gay gene”, are we all related to Leonardo Da Vinci, Sal Mineo, Barney Frank, Ian McKellan, Bayard Rustin, Martina Navratilova (or one or more of thousands of other famous “gay” people)? Did J. Edgar Hoover and his second-in-command boyfriend Clyde Tolson “choose” to become gay? Obviously,

1) Determination of sexual orientation is a little more complicated than red hair, or what Christian Coalition thinks is undermining the very fabric of American society;
2) Some of us fight our identities and may never show up on the surveys and polls. Some of us accept what our orientation is telling us and live free and open lives from a young age. Some of us accede to the truth only after long, bitter struggles. But almost on one says, “You know what? I think I’ll become gay today.”

“Guest”, having some training in the gentle art of rhetorical debauchery, left his audience guessing what’s left if you rule inheritance out of a same-sex orientation.

The basic choice that “guest” _chose_ to ignore is that what we are, determines in part what we “ought” to be. He chose to ignore a rich and vast history of gays and lesbians in the workplace, theater and stage, sports, high political office, commerce, transportation, acedemia, literature, the military and every other walk of life. He chose to ignore the fact that somewhere between 3 and 10% of the population identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender – I would put that at around 18,000,000 in the United States alone. GLBT people live and work in every nation on the face of the earth (despite draconian sanctions in the many backward countries). We coexist within every national, cultural, ethnic and religious boundary in the world. Gay people are nothing new, being found in isolated neolithic tribes whose roots go back 40,000 years.

You can’t explain the history of mankind with a simplistic 18th-century armchair theory of eugenics.

More to the point, we don’t have to. We have the same rights and responsibilities as all other peoples. As the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall put it, “Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.”

Socially, it really doesn’t make any difference whether there’s a gay gene or not. Like everybody else, our job is to live up to the potential in our own lives. No one needs to wait for scientific “excuses” to start living, or to stop apologizing for why some folks are gay, or have red hair.

I will always publicly defend our rights when it is appropriate, such as when a loud-mouth has an easily swayed audience. But we are under no obligation to correct dogma-ridden individuals who choose dismissive ignorance and irrational bias over fact, freedom and free intellectual inquiry. My obligation is simply to live the best life I know how, and stay well clear of people who send signals with rubber horsie inner tubes.

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Saturday Top 10 Gay Issues

Phoenix, Saturday morning …

  1. The desert landscaping drip irrigation system sprang yet another leak. I found and fixed it in less than an hour.
  2. No hot water this morning. Found the number for the plumber. Then found and reset 30A circuit breaker. Hot water heater works fine.
  3. There are 10 different bird sounds in the back yard. I only recognize the starling and grackle. Must learn another one for 2006.
  4. I saw a star last night in cloudy Phoenix. All right, it was only one, and I don’t know which star. But that’s one more than folks in the cloudy SF Bay Area saw. Hoping for two, tonight.
  5. The weeds are starting to flourish. This confirms the rains Phoenix supposedly gets when I’m away. Time to pull the weeds.
  6. Dust storms?even get past the?garage door, and the car is dusty. I know how to fix this.
  7. The pool is clearer than I’ve ever seen it, and even the skimmer vacuum is tracing its rounds on the pool bottom. I’m not adjusting anything. Nothing for me to do.
  8. It’s sunny and mid-60’s. Feels like mid-sixties. No, it feels like Spring! Nothing to complain about here!
  9. I miss Bob, but somewhere I think he is watching me do all my chores and saying, “See, I told you so!”
  10. In a world filled with war, hatred and intolerance, you may be asking?how we can talk of weeding when there is?real?suffering and injustice. Au contraire,?when we?stop valuing the mundane concerns typified by items 1-9, where has the purpose of the struggle gone? Live your life each day as best as you know how, not as a “model” for others, but as a model for yourself and those closest to you. The rest of the world will catch up, but it always keeps its own timetable.

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Racism in the Gay Community

Rainbow flagWake up, America. Racism in the Castro needs to be dealt with firmly. It needs to be discussed openly in the gay and straight communities. But when the day is done, we will still have racism in the Castro (and in America) — even if more covertly. When the day is done, our pervasive anti-other attitudes are undermining civil liberty efforts everywhere.

They are among the most maligned groups in society, but when it comes to discrimination, many say, gays can give as good as they get.
A city investigation of S.F. Badlands, one of the largest and most popular bars in the heart of the Castro neighborhood, has added evidence to that argument. In April, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission found that the bar discriminated against African American customers and job applicants.
— Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle staff writer, San Francisco Chronicle Sunday June 26, 2005

Racism in the GLBT community is not new, nor did it originate there. Massive family and cultural ethnic contradictions snake their way from generation to generation, without regard for the ethnic background or sexual orientation of individual members of the adoptive new generation. Racism in the greater communities, in the diverse ethnic and regional groups themselves, has improved since the 1960’s. But the ugly spirit of the KKK festers deep and heals slowly, and it is actively undermining efforts to bring real equality to the gay lesbian community, and other minority communities, today.

Racism in America has lost most of its political clout, meaning, it is now generally illegal to hurt you because of your ethnic origin. But the superstition, ignorance and mean-spiritedness, rooted now more in low-lifers and misguided individuals than in most institutions, is still there. You can say what you want, but victims of this prejudice know it when they see it. And they see it.

No student of history or current events would fail to look at this in the context of the racism and ethnic warfare that has infected and plagued all the regions of the world. Globally, tolerance and understanding has a long way to go.

What we need to understand about racism:

  • People who would deny some minority groups equal protection under the law, or discriminate in behavior and attitude against whole groups of people because of their ethnic origin or sexual orientation, are intellectually and morally disarmed in defense of their own civil liberties.
  • Ethnic slurs, discrimination, and derogatory smears of whole groups of people are unacceptable, not only because they are rude and unjust or downright illegal, but because they undermine any rational defense of civil liberties for any of us, including you.
  • Racism in the gay community is unwelcome twice over. We have seen minority groups engage in wholesale attack upon other minority communities before, but it is no less ugly when our own group is doing the mudslinging.
  • If you think you have a grievance against others because of what one or several individuals did to you in the past, don’t tar the entire group with the same brush. A straight white male who “hates blacks”, say because he was beat up in high school, has actually made a deliberate choice to embrace those unacceptable attitudes in his own life. Good-bye, Selma. Welcome, Kosovo.
  • Whether one understands and agrees with this or not, those who continue denigrating other groups on account of race, color, creed, sex, or sexual orientation make a day-to-day choice. And that choice says: “I opt out of any pretense that my civil liberties are justifiable. I’ll hang on to them as long as I can, but I can’t defend them. I choose a posture which says that universal rights are a myth, my rights are indefensible, and I’ll just take what I can get and hope I don’t get caught.”

    The next time you hear an associate use the “N” word, or make snide remarks about gay civil unions, speak out. Remind them their civil liberties are at stake too. As go the rights of the least popular minority, so goes the nation.

    On this day of San Francisco’s own Gay Pride parade, it’s time to reaffirm the “rainbow” in the Rainbow Flag.

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    Gay Prejudice

    Prejudice is for the few people that cannot be happy unless they hate some other persons conduct, nation, or creed.

    Straight persons don’t feel intimated by gay people or desire to put them down. Mostly the insecure and unconfident persons some with gay inclination put down gays.

    Gays mostly seek for persons that they recognize by telepathic chemistry. And to have awareness of and seek to attract by the awareness magnetism that their mental conscious and physical body’s language show desires to be honored.

    Most seek only those that are for real and trustworthy. Then there are ones with no morals. Gays best watch out for ones that have only spirals of gay weakness and only are seeking for being seduced so as to show revenge and mentally feel like they are proving to society that they have a macho image by raking and slandering gays.

    Yet they somewhat secretly crave to feel desired and wanted by the gay victim they try to con or convince to come on to them. They hate their own weakness or feel rejected by not having the quality that anyone desires to seduce them. Scorned persons become angry and slanderous.

    A bible quote says that at the end of time two men will be in bed together. One will be taken and one left.

    — contributed by Gene Taylor on March 6, 2005, in response to our “Despising Gays” article. Readers may write guest contributors care of this website.

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    Rhetoric 101

    New Article, Rhetoric 101: Smoke and Mirrors and the Gay Marriage “debate”: Protecting Yourself from Time-Honored Fallacies. Recently, my favorite Astronomy forum “Cloudy Nights” hosted a Gay Marriage topic: “should we allow gay marriage?”

    The thread was an unmitigated disaster. By all accounts a similar debate on Astromart was even uglier, but this one quickly degenerated into defamatory conduct, name-calling and personal attacks. I came home from vacation to discover no one from the GLBT comnmunity was represented in the thread. To me it appeared that the heterosexual community was arguing both sides of the topic as a spectator sport.

    I “came out” on the thread to make sure everyone was able to associate the topic with a flesh and blood name and face and real human cares and concerns. I managed about four carefully composed posts before the proprietors deleted the whole thread in despair and inposed a permanent ban on sex, politics and religion. The whole experience was unsatisfactory for everyone, and I almost left the membership for good.

    Personally, I would never go to an Astronomy forum for that kind of topic. Moreover, I condemn the whole idea that our civil rights are debatable — despite the fact that is precisely what is happening across the whole nation. What happened here?

    What I saw was that (a) the level of debate on that thread was of low quality and no one had the training to control or moderate it; (b) the most objectionable aspects of the thread were assertions that could be stopped cold when anyone challenged them as basic rhetorical fallacies, and (c) the religious gay-bashers were losing good-guy points, but my side was losing votes in the US House and Senate. The other side risks loss of face. We risk continued loss of basic civil rights that we have never had in the first place. The debate and the stakes here are unfairly lopsided.

    I wrote “Rhetoric 101” as a primer to help make sure thinking Americans remember their basic debating principles. Right now, few Americans mind being seen as anti-gay, but almost no one wants to be caught red-handed in sleazy debating tricks that were first codified over 2,000 years ago. Do pick up this topic and have yourself a good read.

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