Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Consequences of Gay Marriage (From

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Goodbye, Ted.

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #7, originally uploaded by Ape Lad.

Nice knowing you. Have fun keeping Caribou Barbie company. Good luck with that conviction thing. Oh, and Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Olbermann: Gay marriage is a question of love

Everyone deserves the same chance at permanence and happiness
By Keith Olbermann
Anchor, 'Countdown'
updated 8:13 p.m. CT, Mon., Nov. 10, 2008

Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them—no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?

I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love."

© 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Round-Up

First of all, my apologies for the potty-mouth earlier. Words said in the heat of the moment after less than usual sleep. I still feel violated by our nation's anti-gay votes in this election, but I should have stopped short of degrading speech.

Still, there are encouraging signs on at least a couple of the front. Opponents of Prop 8 in California are taking a multi-faceted approach to stalling recognition the proposition's victory yesterday. First, they are not conceding defeat until every single vote is counted. As returns were reported, the proposition was winning by a slim 400,000 votes while there were still 3 to 4 MILLION absentee and provisional ballots to be counted. There is hope defeat may be snatched from the jaws of victory when the total vote is tallied.

Additionally, the ACLU and the plaintiffs in the original case that the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had an equal right to civil marriage have filed suit to block adoption of the measure, arguing that writing discrimination into the state's constitution does not make it constitutional. For example, as a nation, we could ratify an amendment to the Constitution that outlaws any religion founded in Missouri after 1800. And, whereas many good Christian folk would find any relgion founded in Missouri in the 19th Century objectionable to the practice of their own religion, and may even vote overwhelmingly to outlaw the practice of this religion, it would violate the Bill of Rights to our Constitution and certainly would not be ratified. Furthermore, this hoary mob could hold a referendum and vote to repeal the First Amendment that guarantees these 19th Century Missourians (and even themselves) the freedom to believe whatever they want and gather together peacefully to share in that belief. But it would also not be ratified. Because the principles behind it are ultimately enshrined in the very foundation of our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Our government is set up with a series of checks and balances on power in order to protect minorities against the tyrannical mob-rule of the majority.

Amendments to the Constitution, where they enumerate the rights of citizens, are not made to make something constitutional. Rather they are put in place guarantee each person's right to Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness. Was slavery ever constitutional? Clearly, no. Yet it was written into our government's founding document as a "peculiar institution." In the course of time, and after a bitter struggle that nearly tore our nation apart, we finally recognized that one human being has no standing under any law to own another human being. Only Prohibition, codified in the 18th Amendment has ever sought to limit the rights of US Citizens, and it was repealed a mere 13 years after it was enacted. The Equal Rights Amendment has yet to be ratified, however, equality before the law, for all persons, is recognized as a foundation of constitutional theory. Passage of the Equal Rights Amendment would just explicitly state what is already understood to be the implicit intent of the document and its framers. In that regard, Prop 8 is undemocratic, popularly elected, though it may be, and may yet again be rightly rejected by the California Supreme Court, provoking cries of "judicial activism" from tyrants within the majority nationwide.

But even if Proposition 8 is allowed to stand, it is just one ballot initiative away from being repealled in the state of California. Eight years ago, over 60% of the California population opposed marriage rights for same sex couple. Today, it was a hard-fought battle to scrape together a bare majority. In another eight years, same-sex marriage rights will be supported by a majority of voters. In fact, all of the ballot initiatives nationwide found less support for curtailing the rights of gay and lesbian citizens than previous initiatives in elections past, even if they still garnered majority (or even super-majority) support. Time is on our side. Even if it takes a little while longer to get there.

Finally, yesterday was an emotional day for me. Even though I'm disappointed by the ballot initiatives that passed in California, Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida, seeing Barack Obama elected President of these United States is truly one of the greatest moments of my life. It is, simply, a turning point in history. One that had me literally weeping tears of joy at several moments over the last two days, particularly reading accounts of parents including their children in this teaching and transformative moment in our nation.

Seriously, California,

Fuck you. How about I come over there and vote on your marriage?

Hey Utah, how about I pour a bunch of money into your state to go on tv and say your families aren't real.

And Arkansas, really, all you are doing is depriving needy kids of good homes. Thankfully, I live in the ONE county that saw through the Act 1 bullshit and voted NO.

Florida and Arizona, this isn't over. Not by a long shot. Time is on our side and eventually discrimination will no longer be a part of our governing documents.


Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #979, originally uploaded by Ape Lad.

2nd best news of the night...

Never having to hear Sarah Palin's name or superstitious, un-educated, hypocritical ramblings ever again.


The United States' new First Family.


America! Fuck Yeah!