The march of progress

Increased civil liberties are on the horizon:

Fifty-three percent of Americans support making gay marriage legal, a Gallup poll showed on Friday, a marked reversal from just a year ago when an equal majority opposed same-sex matrimony.

The latest Gallup findings are in line with two earlier national polls this spring that show support for legally recognized gay marriage has, in recent months, gained a newfound majority among Americans.

It’s hard to say exactly what it is that is causing this shift. I suspect it’s actually a number of factors. For instance, the five states that have given basic civil rights to gays have not fallen into ruin, so people might be recognizing that the fear mongering of conservative bigots was just a bunch of lies. It could also be that more and more people are coming out the closet. As Harvey Milk said, if people realize that they know gays and gay couples, they’re less likely to hate. Or it could be that people are actually recognizing the principles they claim to hold, thus applying them consistently. After all, “I won’t give my approval!” is a rather dishonest argument.

Of course, there is one thing that can’t be missed:

In a sign of a generation gap, Gallup found 70 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 support gay marriage, compared to only 39 percent among those 55 and older.

The irrelevant generations do tend to hold back progress, but it really is so often that the energy and improved perspective of younger generations that brings about important, needed, and principled change.

“I won’t give my approval!”

This post title is increasingly one of the most common lines that anti-gay bigots use. “Why, I didn’t vote for equal rights for gays because that’s like asking for my approval of their ‘behavior’! It’s just absurd!” It’s little more than bigot talk and here’s why.

Imagine 38 states get together with Congress and the President and want to pass a constitutional amendment that says the KKK can no longer have parades or organize or do any of the things they legally do today. We all get an opportunity to vote in favor or against the amendment. If the bigots who hate gays – and come on, that’s all this is about for them – were at all consistent, they would immediately vote in favor of the amendment; I’m sure a few of them actually would. But I think an overwhelming majority would recognize that the question on the ballot isn’t “Do you approve of the KKK?” Only a fucking moron would think that. No, most people would realize that they hate the KKK, but that there are dire consequences when we take away one group’s rights. Most people would have to vote the proposal down.

And they would be right – without approving of the KKK in the least. In fact, most of today’s bigots do actually say they support X group’s right to free speech despite not liking the group. This is really basic, really easy, really obvious logic. It is a lie, a damn convenient lie, when a bigot claims not to have voted for a civil rights measure because he would then be approving of the group facing discrimination.

We have a huge number of states all across the country that still don’t have protections for sexual orientation in housing, education, work, and other areas of daily life. Think about that. Gays can fire straight people for being straight. Straight people can deny gays home loans simply for being gay. It is absurd. And the bigots want us to believe that it’s all because fixing the problem and protecting civil rights would be the same as giving moral approval for a group? Puh-lease.

It would be nice if the bigots of the world could stop lying and just come clean: They hate gays because 1) their religion, not reason or rationality, tells them it’s wrong to be fair, 2) they don’t understand them, 3) they’re ignorant and unwilling to learn, 4) gays are different and they find that yucky, and 5) they are sexually immature little infants.

The moral advancement of Hawaii

Hawaii is about to increase the happiness of many of its citizens. And with no ill consequences.

Hawaii lawmakers gave final approval to civil unions Wednesday and sent the legislation to Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who plans to sign it into law.

Civil unions would begin Jan. 1, 2012, making the state the seventh to grant virtually the same rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself.

Now we just need these states to adhere to the Supreme Court ruling that said separate can never be equal. (Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt if same-sex marriage was federally recognized and sanctioned in every state. At least we would all be on board with the constitution at that point.)

Same-sex marriage in Maryland

If there’s one thing we know about the U.S. constitution, it’s that none of our laws are allowed to support any particular religion. And by “we”, I mean those of us who haven’t been blinded by, well, a particular religion. For that other group – you know, the irrational one – things aren’t so clear.

Supporters of same-sex marriage came to Annapolis on Tuesday armed with personal stories, emotional pleas for equal treatment and arguments about how allowing gay couples to marry could help Maryland’s economy.

Opponents countered with biblical verses, research suggesting that children are better off with both a mother and a father, and warnings that “redefining marriage” could undermine other social institutions.

Emphasis added.

As for the rest, there is no research which says children are better off with a mother and father versus with two mothers or two fathers. This is exactly what I was talking about when I lamented the abuse of science. It’s so ugly when science is abused to support bigotry. The only silver lining here is that this makes it all the more clear that the bigots have no real arguments; their dogma demands they resort to just making it all up.

Fortunately, according to the people on the right side of history, this bill has a good chance.

Before the proceedings, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) put the chance of passing a same-sex marriage bill by his chamber at 60 to 70 percent, saying a vote could come next week.

If the bill clears the Senate, then the House of Delegates, typically the more liberal chamber on social issues, would take up the issue, deciding whether Maryland should join the District and five states that allow same-sex marriage.

I don’t know what the state’s citizen appeals process looks like, much less how many bigots populate the state, but all the reports make it sound like it’s just a matter of time until Maryland becomes the newest state to treat more of its citizens fairly – and with absolutely no ill consequences, just like in every other instance.

The horrors of Uganda

At the hand of Christian hate, gays are being targeted and murdered in Uganda.

David Kato, a Ugandan gay rights campaigner who sued a local newspaper which outed him as homosexual, has been beaten to death, activists have said.

Police have confirmed the death and say they have arrested one suspect.

Uganda’s Rolling Stone newspaper published the photographs of several people it said were gay, including Mr Kato, with the headline “Hang them”.

US President Barack Obama was quoted as saying he was “deeply saddened” to learn of Mr Kata’s death.

His Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged authorities to investigate and prosecute the killers.

I have no idea how anyone can say ideas don’t kill people. We’re composed of ideas, of motivations, of convictions – of influences. If we can’t say humans are compositions of ideas, I don’t know how we can even talk about humanity. Anti-gay propaganda, rhetoric, hate, and violent encouragement led to the death of David Kato. And the fire, created from ignorance, is constantly being stoked by a strong Christian faith in the country – along with a strong influence from American Christians who hate gays.

This article would be longer if I wasn’t so sickened.

Another two quick things

First, I was recently discussing with a friend Sean Penn’s movie “Milk”, an excellent film about civil rights activist Harvey Milk. One of the points Penn’s character made again and again was that in order to advance equality for gays was (and is) to get people to realize that they know and care for someone who is gay. Once people know that anti-gay stances actually hurt real human beings, they will be less likely to cause harm to others (such as through voting against civil rights measures for gays).

And it’s true.

Watch the movie. Like I say about “Brokeback Mountain”, even people who don’t like gays can appreciate this film for its qualities as a piece of art.

Second, I’m interested to give a listen to the new stuff Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic have in the works.

According to a report by Spin Magazine, the surviving members of Nirvana regrouped for the first time in more than a decade at a “secret” Foo Fighters show in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Of course, being that Nirvana was officially just a trio, all that means is that Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl (pictured) was joined by original Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. However, the duo were also joined by Nirvana’s touring guitarist Pat Smear. Grohl, who sings and plays guitar for the Foos, played drums for Nirvana. The hugely influential group disbanded in 1994 following leader Kurt Cobain’s suicide.

To those paying close attention, Tuesday night’s reunion, while unexpected, should come as little surprise — it’s been widely reported that Grohl recently employed his old bassist’s services for a track which will appear on the new, forthcoming Foo Fighters album. That album, incidentally, is also being produced by Butch Vig, who masterminded Nirvana’s 1991 seminal breakthrough, ‘Nevermind.’

While the Foo Fighters used the intimate show to showcase some of their new material, the short Nirvana segment saw Novoselic and Smear join Grohl on stage to perform ‘Marigold’ — originally a b-side for the hit single ‘Heart Shaped Box,’ it’s the only original composition that Grohl contributed to Nirvana. While many celebrities were allegedly spotted in the audience, we’re guessing that Courtney Love was not one of them.

I am not, however, excited that Pat Smear is involved. He really hurt a lot of the vocals on many of Nirvana’s live songs.

Anyway. Here’s “Marigold”.

Fourteen year old gives an incredible speech

A fourteen year old student came to the defense of his teacher who was suspended for kicking two students out of class. One of the kids that was kicked out was wearing a Confederate flag. The other one made anti-gay remarks. Both clearly have a lot of growing up to do and clearly required discipline. The student who stood up and made an amazing speech was Graeme Taylor and he did it at a school board meeting. It’s worth it to watch the video.

(If anyone knows how to get the embedding code, I would appreciate it.)