Uh, Washington, We Have a Problem

As happy as I am that today the Supreme Court finally delivered its decision on DOMA and California’s Prop 8, covering what I believe to be a major civil rights issue, I am equally bothered by the reality that the issue(s) still have a ways to go before becoming the law of the land.

The DOMA ruling extends federal rights to all legally married couples. The Court rightly recognized marriage is a State issue and DOMA was written to injure, for no valid reason, the very same parties which the State of New York sought to protect. The federal government can no longer discriminate among legal marriages in the several States that have legalized same-sex marriage.

The problem is there are only now 12 States in our Union, plus DC (plus California in a month or so) which legally recognize same–sex marriages. And if two same-sex couples are married on the same day in New York, and one couple stays in New York, but the other couple moves away to say Alabama for a job opportunity, well then the Federal law will currently only follow the language of the resident State’s statute.

The legally married couple remaining in New York would be entitle to married status as defined by federal law, but the legally married couple now living in Alabama would not be, since Alabama does not recognize their marriage as legal.

This goes right up against the Equal Protection Clause, and this culture war is not yet over. And future fights could get ugly.

In today’s decision, we were dealing with two relatively liberal-minded States, where the Governors were supportive of same sex marriage rights. The legislators in the bigoted States which proudly enacted One Man/One Woman marriage statutes or passed similar Constitutional amendments will fight hard for their right to deny equal rights.

You can bet on that.

This isn’t a “black rights,” lingering racism argument like in the 60’s…no, this is “because the Bible tells me so” territory. Think Custer’s Last Stand. Former Governor Mike “Still Technically Obese” Huckabee declared, “Jesus wept.” And he knows, he used to be a minister (before he became a paid Fox News pundit).

Apparently, Jesus didn’t shed any tears for the massacred Newtown children, or for Trayvon Martin, but let gay married couples file a joint tax return, and Jesus is reaching for the tissues. I’m guessing Jesus will be needing therapy when a gay person runs for President…and will more than likely have to follow through on that whole “second coming” bit if a gay person actually wins.

The significance of state responsibilities for the definition and regulation of marriage dates to the Nation’s beginning, the court noted: “when the Constitution was adopted the common understanding was that the domestic relations of husband and wife and parent and child were matters reserved to the States.”

The majority added: “Marriage laws vary in some respects from State to State. For example, the required minimum age is 16 in Vermont, but only 13 in New Hampshire. Likewise the permissible degree of consanguinity can vary — most States permit first cousins to marry, but a handful, such as Iowa and Washington, prohibit the practice.” If the federal government has no problem recognizing the holy matrimonial bonds between two 13-year old, first cousins married in New Hampshire, how can it have a problem with two same sex adults married in New York?

I just don’t get the allergic reaction Christians have when you put the word “gay” right there next to “marriage.”

First of all, Jesus was never married. Second of all, alternative marriage arrangements such as polygamy and concubine arrangements can be found in both the Old and New Testaments. Biblical daughters were bargained off as property, thereby transferring the burden of taking care of and feeding them from the father to the husband in the form of a contract — usually involving the exchange of property.

Sorry, back to the point…

The “Proposition 8” case is a California case which arose from a 2008 referendum vote (in the same election which first put a Mulatto in the White House), asking the California electorate to vote whether marriage was between only man and a woman, and whether the California Constitution should be amended as such.

It was a huge deal in California because earlier that year, the California Supremes had just overturned a 1977 state law banning same-sex marriages as well as a voter referendum affirming that same law in 2000. The 1977 law was written to take the ambiguities out of certain state contract laws that had previously been written as “pronoun-neutral.”

This sneaky bit of anti-gay legislation was rampant during the mid 1970’s, led by the notorious anti-gay rights zealot Anita Bryant, who famously fought to overturn anti-discrimination statutes throughout the country — statutes designed to protect homosexuals from discrimination in the workplace and access to housing.

She claimed since homosexuals could not pro-create, they must be “recruiting” our children, and it was the rest of us who needed protection from them. She was a close friend of that asshole, er, Reverend Jerry Falwell, and her gay-bashing tour was just an extension of a prolonged anti-indecency campaign that she fought for over a decade, (interestingly kick-started by her disgust at the indecency of Jim Morrison’s antics on a Miami concert stage in 1970).

But I digress…

The California Court relied on the legal test known as “strict scrutiny,” which is the gold standard legal test used to review whether a law can apply differential treatment to certain classes of people based on race, gender or religion for certain “fundamental rights” like marriage. This is a big deal; it’s really hard to pass the strict scrutiny test.

Strict scrutiny requires the law in question to serve a “compelling governmental interest,” that the law is “narrowly tailored” to achieve that interest, and that the law is “the least restrictive means” to achieve that interest (think Japanese internment decrees).

The Cali Court decided classification by sexual orientation should be a “suspect class” and thus qualified for the heightened scrutiny review. No other state had ever given “sexual orientation” this special recognition before — it raised it to the same status as race, gender and religion as a protected class.

Now, you had to show a really, really, really good reason for discriminating against the gays. The stage has been set for the showdown.

So, applying this standard, the California Supremes decided the one-woman, one-man law was unconstitutional in the eyes of the California Constitution, and that was that. But then a funny thing happened — an unholy alliance (coalition, if you will): hardcore straight-marriage folks, rich Orange County conservatives, run-of-the-mill redneck farmers, teachers, church-ers and John Bircher’s, everyday haters, a shit-ton of Mormons, Hannity-lovers, Black Baptists, a beauty queen, Reagan Republicans, Glen Beck-ers, god-fearing Mexicans, Rabbis and rappers, pundits and politicians, athletes and soldiers, the Pope, W, Brad Pitt’s mom, Mel Gibson, the Donald, a million Muslims, and even Ned Flanders.

They all went ballistic, accusing the California Supreme Court of ruining mankind, and set about getting a ton of signatures to overturn the Supremes and put the question to the voters in the form of an amendment to the State Constitution. The voters then voted 52% in favor of discriminating against the gays, and discrimination was then written into the Constitution.

This is why the Feds reviewed it.

Here’s what this all comes down to: whether a 50% plus 1 majority of people in a state can vote away the “fundamental rights” of a minority group in that state. A Federal Appeals Court said no, and today, 4 liberal Justices of the US Supreme Court plus the schizophrenic Justice Anthony “Dazed and Confused” Kennedy found a technicality to settle the matter without actually having to settle the matter.

Almost everything else you’ll hear is noise.

The aforementioned Coalition of the Crazies (hardcore straight-marriage folks, rich Orange County conservatives, run-of-the-mill redneck farmers, teachers, church-ers and John Bircher’s, everyday haters, a shit-ton of Mormons, Hannity-lovers, Black Baptists, a beauty queen, Reagan Republicans, Glen Beck-ers, god-fearing Mexicans, Rabbis and rappers, pundits and politicians, athletes and soldiers, the Pope, W, Brad Pitt’s mom, Mel Gibson, the Donald, a million Muslims, and even Ned Flanders) has vowed to keep up the fight.

It’s over, they’re just looking for a reason to keep in touch with each other. 

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15 Responses to Uh, Washington, We Have a Problem

  1. Claudia says:

    Is Gay the new Black”? Civil rights work well when discrimination is formal, legal, and explicit. Back in history when African- Americans were the poster children for civil rights, and The Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education to end segregation in schools. Did segregation really end? Public schools in a sense remained segregated because the whites moved to the suburbs or sent their children to private schools. Did civil rights help much?
    When legal remedies are ambiguous, there is more of an open for hostility, conscious or unconscious, to slowly pass through. For example, Justice Scalia voted to overturn a part of the Voting Rights Act after claiming, during oral argument, that Congress only re-authorized it because it was “racial entitlement.” But he criticized the court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act a “jaw-dropping” assertion of “judicial supremacy over the people’s representatives in Congress.”

    Discrimination against gays is obvious, that is why the Supreme Court now seems friendly than they are to people of color. When I say people of color I mean African- Americans, Latinos, and anyone who is not white. I have always believe that discrimination against blacks has always being obvious but as a Latina woman I feel that discrimination against us Latinos is overwhelming as well but less noticeable. Either way segregation is alive and well. Perhaps another reason for the court’s greater receptivity is that the gay movement has a white face and the justices find it easier to relate. And a third reason might be that some of the justices, like many other Americans, are suffering from racial fatigue
    Why is the struggle for racial equality taking so long? You ask, would we ever be equal?
    At this moment in civil rights, gay is the new black. Black is the old gay. One group’s rights ascend, while the others descend. Rights do matter, and so we should absolutely rejoice in the victories and mourn the set-backs of this Supreme Court term. Most important, however, the focus of the beautiful struggle should be on justice, rather than rights, for people of color, women, and the L.G.B.T. community. All of the people will be free, or none of them will.

    As for the “God” and “Jesus” comments, neither God or Jesus have anything to say about Gays and their lack of rights in this country or through out the world. The bible is open to interpretation just like the constitution ,so that is why ignorant people use the bible to their own benefit to hide the fact that they are cowards and ignorant about Race, Religion, Homosexuality and everything that is different. I believe in God and God is love. People are the ones that ruin everything with their ignorance.

    Es todo, Adios.

    • Gregor says:

      I called Jesus to see what He had to say about the ruling. Huckabee was correct: He Wept For Joy.

      Then Jesus had to go. He was too busy not existing.

  2. Babs says:

    We will always have the “coalition of the crazies” and they will always couch their “craziness” in their belief in god. I look forward to the day that there is truly a separation of church and state for which this country was founded on, and maybe finally a majority of folks who realize that the bible is fiction!!!

    • Gregor says:

      I’ll take it one step further: it’s poorly written fiction. At this point in history, belief in God is nothing more than an abdication of adulthood.

      • Claudia says:

        “belief in God is nothing more than an abdication of adulthood.”

        So, is believing in Peter Pan, but yet some people have the Peter Pan syndrome and are extremely happy living in the I do not want to grow-up world. Let me live in the safe world called me, myself, and I world.

        • Gregor says:

          Me, Myself, and I: AMEN.

        • Peter Pan says:

          Turning to God, when you should be turning to yourself, is the easy way out. Turning to God, when things get tough, is like passing the ball when it’s your turn to run for the goal line. Turning to God when you don’t have the answer is childish.

          Turning to yourself is brave. Asking more of yourself is brave. Pushing yourself harder is brave.

          This so-called “Peter Pan Syndrome” is nothing more than an icky label cast upon someone else you’re trying to shame into behaving in a manner more suitable to your needs.

          If someone isn’t living-up, let em go. If someone isn’t who you need them to be, get rid of em or adjust them down to the level their behavior is telegraphing. If someone isn’t an A-List Friend, drop em down to B-List Pal or Casual Acquaintance.

          When a woman use a phrase like “Peter Pan Syndrome,” my ears start ringing, since what they’re really saying is this: I can’t control that guy and it’s really pissing me off, so I’ll use emotional manipulation to put him in his place.

          Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date on the basketball court with Tinker Bell.

          • Claudia says:

            I love it! So passionate. I do believe in God, I have faith in myself as well as in God. I don’t sit around waiting for God to open the Red Sea for me so that I can go forward. I ‘m a brave woman in the mist of all the chaos that I have endured I have never given up. As for the Peter Pan Syndrome comment, I thought it was funny and it was not directed at you. It was a conversation I had with a friend of mine and it is not only directed at men, it can be anyone.
            I do family that many people only think about themselves. Being selfish is not one of my strong suits because I care when maybe I . should not. I do not believe in controlling anyone, I do not like it done to me I don’t do it to others. ;)

  3. Gregor says:

    I’m curious what the conversation was about with your friend. Last night, I happened to catch “Chelsea Lately.” I don’t typically enjoy her show. I should say, at the outset, I love her stand-up. But her show is too celebrity centric, and I get antsy.

    Anyway, she was talking to a rapper named Eve (I think). The conversation got around to talking about having babies. Eve said something about how she’s so excited about having a baby. Chelsea asked why.

    The audience laughed as though they couldn’t believe a woman had the balls to admit that having a baby wasn’t the be-all end-all in her life. Chelsea said babies seem to take up too much time, they’re too needy and she likes to sleep at least 10-12 hours each night. Finally, she brought the audience around to her side by admitting she was selfish.

    I understood why she called herself selfish. She could feel the audience pull away from her and she wanted to keep them on her side, which is why she’s an A-List Pro.

    But I didn’t find Chelsea selfish. Instead, I found Eve to be kind of a bore, playing the typical game of “It’s Time To Start Popping Out Babies.”

    Why is that?

    Why do women find Chelsea’s position to be borderline offensive and Eve’s position worthy of applause, as if to say, “Yes, being a double platinum selling artist is nice, being successful is nice, but until you have a baby, until you do the expected thing, you’re not a real woman.”

    I admire Chelsea Handler. I admire her greatly. I think she’s an exceptional business woman, enviable talent and one sexy motherfucker.

    I wouldn’t call her a “Peter Pan,” simply for putting her ambition at the center of her selfish world. I’d call her self-actualized. And if the right person came along, maybe she’s feel differently. Maybe she’d “pop out a baby” or adopt. Who knows?

    I think a lot more has to do with luck than people are comfortable admitting. I think things happen more organically than people are comfortable admitting. We like to think we’re in control, it’s the adult in us.

    Anyway, I’d still like to hear what you were talking about with your friend, Miss Claudia.

    :-)

    • Claudia says:

      I’m aware that you do not know me very well, the only time we shared a few minutes together I managed to show you the bad side of Claudia. I tend to do that when I get nervous, you make me nervous. (In a good way) I have friend named Nicole. Nicole and I met when we were both working at a shelter for battered women. Nicole and I became great friends with time, Nicole decided to become a social worker and she attended USC. We both lived in California at time. When Nicole began her studies and we would hang out she would always say to me “Claudia, you are all over the DSM book.” I would reply honey, we all are. She would laugh and we would continue with what we were doing. With this in mind, I began looking at things with a different perspective to the point that, I began analyzing cartoon characters such as, Bugs Bunny, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Christopher Robin. Nicole and I would always have conversations about this habit that we both acquired.
      As we both went our different ways that is one habit, which I still hold onto. The Peter Pan Syndrome “theory” came to me when I began dating this man who I met before I was diagnosed with cancer. He was recently divorced and was not a very happy person. I knew him but I was not his friend at that time. Time went by and became friends. I would listen to him talk about his ex-wife and I would say to myself Ay Dios Mio (ADM) this man is one selfish person. He had been married for 14 years and one day he came home from work and his wife told him she wanted a divorce. He was clueless, he taught she was happy. Red flag number one, only a person so selfish would think that. As I got to know him better I realized that he had the Peter Pan Syndrome because all he wanted to do was go out with his friends, have fun like he was 20, and take his family for granted. His rational was as long I pay the bills that is all that matters. He never made an effort to provide the emotional support that his wife needed. As long as his needs were met that is all he cared about. That to me is the Peter Pan Syndrome he believed in never land and wanted to be there as long as it did not interfere with what he consider important. Needless to say he stayed alone, without a wife, without his children, and even without his dog. He was even selfish with the dog to the point where he neglected the dog, the dog got sick and died. That is the type of selfish I’m talking about. I brought it up when you said God does not exist, and my comment was yeah, neither does Peter Pan yet some people live like that.
      As for your question about Chelsea let me just say this motherhood is not for everyone, anyone can have a child but raising it is a whole other ball game. I HATE when women say “Oh, being a mother is the best thing ever” What a crock of shit, being a mother is hard very hard. I yelled it out to the mountain top every time. I get judged, do I care no, not really. The worst part is when I get patronized by some “lucky bitch that has a man, a nanny, a maid and a lover” and she says, “It must be hard being a single mother and doing it alone.” My answer is, no is not hard because I chose to be a single mom. I chose to be a single mom as supposed to sleeping with the same man that cheated on me when I was pregnant. I chose to be happy and not go against my integrity and stay with a man that I resent and grew to have contempt for or because I grew accustom to him.
      No, she is not selfish to want her career before a child. I believe that as women we should learn to put ourselves first or else we can’t help anyone else. I believe in me time, big time. There is a difference between the Peter Pan Syndrome Selfish and wanting to take care of yourself.
      I had my son when I was 30, but before then I endured a lot of backlash from my extended family they would ask if I was gay or a whore. I opted for whore. I would hear ignorant comments such as I would never be a really woman, it was no picnic but I love the fact that I’m a stubborn woman. I did it my way, I wanted a career, I wanted to have fun, and enjoy my young adult years.
      Sorry, for the book, I hope you got a glimpse of where I come from and my thinking behind that comment. :)

      • Gregor says:

        Thank you for “the book.” It was generous. And the reading was fun.

        Oh, and I love ADM (Ay Dios Mio).

  4. Andy says:

    Women were born to be mothers. When your old and gray and barren and childless a woman would give anything to have children and grandchildren. When pop culture’s done with Lately all she’ll have is a bank account and some worthless records on her wall, no legacy. The communists have been pushing that scum pig line that there’s something wrong or degrading with a woman being a wife and a homemaker. Christ I despise communists!

    • Gregor says:

      You might be right, Comrade. But you might also be wrong.

      I dated 2 women who’s mothers clearly never wanted to be mothers. The emptiness in both women was like a riddle I was ill-equipped to solve.

      If Miss Lately decides she wants a child, and it’s too late to have a child, for reasons of time, or her body simply cannot produce a child, adoption or foster care are always there.

      I don’t think the biological connection is the only connection.

      In fact, having a child is easy. Raising a child is hard. Loving a child is hard. Putting a child ahead of yourself is hard.

      So if you’re right, Comrade, and Miss Lately feels the need for children, there’s children all over the world in need of a home. And love. And stability. And the silent power of watching the way Mommy goes out into the world.

      But if you’re wrong, a possibility you seem determined to prove you have no relationship with, hiding behind Christ as your shield of certainty, if you’re wrong, well then maybe you should consider shutting the fuck up since it’s none of your fucking business.

      Shutting the fuck up and minding your own fucking business is the first true step toward adulthood, and divinity.

    • Claudia says:

      Andy, or Andrew which, I prefer calling you. I have a question for you. Did you forget to take your meds again, darling?

  5. nathan says:

    Keep up the very good work.

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