President Obama Has Evolved

President Obama announced that he is in favor of equal marriage rights yesterday.

You know, I wish I could say that I’m happy, or excited, or even relieved. When I heard the news, my reaction was basically “Really? Finally. Now, where’s my kindle?”

I am glad he’s come out in support of equality. It does make me happy for my LGBT friends, loved ones, and allies.

It doesn’t ring hollow to me, as it has for some. I don’t believe this will negatively affect his reelection chances. Nor does it strike me as a political gambit, as it has for some.

I just feel as if he should have done this years ago. At the very least, he should have done this before North Carolina voted on Amendment One.

So, President Obama is in favor of marriage equality for LGBT Americans. Good. Now let’s get to work.

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The Virtual Coffeehouse: Political Real Talk

Meet Armchair Bureaucrat! Abe and I met in 2007 at college, through a mutual friend, and we quickly became good friends. The foundation of our friendship was one of the old university stereotypes: hours spent at a local coffee shop discussing politics, philosophy, literature, history, and just about everything in between. In the beginning, our only commonality was a love for coffee (for the most part). He was about as conservative as they came, and I, of course, was a liberal feminist.

Unlike other friendships that reached across party lines, we didn’t avoid talking politics. In fact, that was one of our favorite topics–but we always respected one another, and we always listened, really listened, to what the other had to say.

Once we graduated, those discussions ended, and I really missed them. Abe did too. I had a thought–why not publish our discussions for all to see? Abe thought it might be fun to try, so here it is. I had a lot of fun–I hope to do this again.

Enjoy!

Read more of this post

Christian Cries Wolf at LGBT Community’s “Intolerance”

So I came upon this trite today. To spare you, in the midst of some blathering about modernism, there was a whole lot of whining about the “intolerance” of Christians on the part of the LGBT community.

Here we go again.

First, a few points:

Christians and the LGBT community are not two mutually exclusive groups. There’s quite a bit of overlap between the two, actually.

Attempting to place Christians, as a group, within the societal model of “modernity” while at the same time, placing the LGBT community outside of it, or, generously, failing at it–is one of the most laughable ideas I’ve heard all week. Not to mention–this framing of the LGBT community as outsiders, as Other, or left behind as the world has shifted into modernity does give a wee bit of credit to the accusations of bigotry that the author is trying so hard to discredit.

This passage:

“To the extent that a society becomes “modern,” then, it will be packed with people who hold to widely divergent beliefs and values, any of which may be questioned. And the glue of this system is not that we all agree with one another but that we make a commitment to not always equate disagreement, or even disapproval, with bigotry.”

I notice how carefully the author has avoided making any mention here of just what is in dispute here, or rather, who.

What is being disputed here is the very existence of the LGBT community, and their rights as citizens in this society. Christianity, as the author has identified it here, has opinions on the LGBT community, and has, is, and will continue to try to structure our society so that the LGBT community is marginalized, unequal, and without protections, so as to be in agreement with Christianity’s beliefs.

That flies in the face of the pluralism, modernity, and tolerance the author is writing about. What Christians believe about God, their ethics, and their own behaviors are Christians’ business. What Christians believe about other people, the LGBT community, and their freedom, rights, and protections are everyone’s business.

You don’t get to believe things about other people, try to impose them on everyone, and then cry intolerance when you’re called a bigot. And, you know, intolerant.

The author got the first part right. A modern society is a plural one, and one in which the ideals and values of individual groups get to be questioned. He got the second part so very wrong. The glue that holds a modern society together is not that we don’t refrain from calling bigots, bigots, but that each different group respects the others, and that our society does not elevate one group over the other. The glue that holds a “modern” i.e. pluralistic society together is that we co-exist peacefully. That our structure is neutral, that all groups are equal, having the same rights and protections. That individual groups keep their traditions, their beliefs, their values focused on themselves.

And the minute one group tries to impose itself on others? They can expect push-back, self-defense, and yes, being called bigots.

Anti-Discrimination Protections for LGBTs in Kentucky

The Kentucky legislature has two bills in committee–in the House and Senate, to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected groups under the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

The bills, SB69 and HB188, were introduced on January 3rd, and haven’t gone anywhere since.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, the Fairness Campaign, Kentucky Fairness Alliance, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and Lexington Fairness have joined together to form the Fairness Coalition. The Fairness Coalition is beginning a new campaign to educate the public, and push the House and Senate to pass this legislation.

This commercial will be broadcast across the state:

Next Thursday, February 22rd at 1:30pm EST, the Fairness Coalition and supporters of LGBT rights will rally in the Capitol building in Frankfort to show support for protections for LGBT folks.

Edit: I got the date and time of the rally wrong. It is on February 22nd, at 1:30pm.

My Favorite Quotes From Perry v Brown Part Two

Part one is here. Here are the last nine quotes:

10. “Here, the argument
that withdrawing the designation of ‘marriage’ from same-sex
couples could on its own promote the strength or stability of
opposite-sex marital relationships lacks any such footing in
reality.”

11. “There is a limited sense in which the extension of the designation
‘marriage’ to same-sex partnerships might alter the
content of the lessons that schools choose to teach. Schools
teach about the world as it is; when the world changes, lessons
change. A shift in the State’s marriage law may therefore
affect the content of classroom instruction just as would the
election of a new governor, the discovery of a new chemical
element, or the adoption of a new law permitting no-fault
divorce: students learn about these as empirical facts of the
world around them. But to protest the teaching of these facts
is little different from protesting their very existence; it is like
opposing the election of a particular governor on the ground
that students would learn about his holding office, or opposing
the legitimation of no-fault divorce because a teacher
might allude to that fact if a course in societal structure were
taught to graduating seniors. The prospect of children learning
about the laws of the State and society’s assessment of the
legal rights of its members does not provide an independent
reason for stripping members of a disfavored group of those
rights they presently enjoy.” Read more of this post

My Favorite Quotes From Perry v Brown Part One

I’ve read the decision, and I’m blown away. It was so difficult to choose my favorite passages, but I managed to stop at eighteen quotes. If you followed the live-blogging of the original Prop 8 trial presided over by Judge Vaughn Walker, this is no less amazing and awe-inspiring.

Some of these quotes are especially long, so I’m going to put the vast majority behind a cut. The last nine quotes will be posted later–but you really should go read the whole thing.

1. (Page 18) “The People may not employ the initiative power to single out
a disfavored group for unequal treatment and strip them, without
a legitimate justification, of a right as important as the
right to marry. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the
district court.”

2. “By emphasizing Proposition 8’s limited effect, we do not
mean to minimize the harm that this change in the law caused
to same-sex couples and their families. To the contrary, we
emphasize the extraordinary significance of the official designation
of ‘marriage.’ That designation is important because
‘marriage’ is the name that society gives to the relationship
that matters most between two adults. A rose by any other
name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter
into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name
of ‘registered domestic partnership’ does not. The word ‘marriage’
is singular in connoting “a harmony in living,” “a bilateral
loyalty,” and “a coming together for better or for worse,
hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being
sacred.” Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 486 (1965).
As Proponents have admitted, “the word ‘marriage’ has a
unique meaning,” and “there is a significant symbolic disparity
between domestic partnership and marriage.” It is the designation
of ‘marriage’ itself that expresses validation, by the
state and the community, and that serves as a symbol, like a
wedding ceremony or a wedding ring, of something profoundly
important. See id. at 971.” Read more of this post

I Believe in Marriage Equality

I believe in love. I believe in equality.

Those two simple facts mean that I must stand up, as an American, as a feminist, as a decent human being, and say this:

I believe in gay marriage equality.

Separate is not equal. Second-class is not freedom. It is a simple concept–and a lesson America learned a long time ago, yes? Well, apparently, we need a refresher course, so I’ll say it again:

Separate is not equal. Second-class is not freedom.

So long as gay marriage is available only in a smattering of states, and referendums on put on ballots across the country to actually vote for people’s right to be equal, America cannot call herself a free country. We are not the land of the free.

We are, however, the land of the brave. I see, every day, gay men and women standing up and openly existing–being who they are–in the face of hatred and violence. Here I am. I exist. I deserve equal rights. I am just like you. I love my partner. I want to be with them for the rest of my life. I, too, want the American dream.

Here I am. I exist. I am bullied. I am hated. I am harassed, assaulted, spat upon, and demonized. I am just like you.

Standing up in the face of such hatred, to put oneself in danger by openly being who they are–that is one of the bravest acts one can do, and I see it done every day.

How can I, as an ally, do anything else but stand with my brothers and sisters?

I couldn’t call myself a friend to the many people I hold dear if I didn’t stand up for them.

Stop that. That’s not cool. That’s discrimination. That’s not right. Your hatred won’t be tolerated here. I am not an ally to your bigotry. You won’t find a safe space to spew such hateful vitriol in me. I believe in equality. I believe my friends should be able to live their lives and marry who they love.

I believe my friends should be able to marry who they love. I believe everyone should be able to marry who they love.

I say this to friends and family. I say this to the people of Kentucky. I say this to Mitch McConnell. I say this to President Obama. I say this to the Supreme Court. I say this to Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in gay marriage. And I won’t give up.