Gay marriage repeal fails in New Hampshire

And it failed by a hefty margin:

New Hampshire lawmakers easily defeated a bill on Wednesday that would have been the first step toward reversing the state’s law that allows same-sex couples to marry.

The attempt to repeal a law that made gay marriages legal in the state, failed by a vote of 116-211 in the Republican-controlled legislature, drawing applause from many lawmakers in the historic statehouse in Concord.

Three things. First, good. Second, it was going to get vetoed anyway. Third, what state legislature needs nearly 330 members? Maine has 186 members in its House and Senate whilst boasting about the same population (1.3 million) as New Hampshire.

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Gay marriage to appear on Maine ballot once again

After the Maine legislature and governor passed equal rights measures for gays in terms of marriage in 2009, our religiously-motivated bigots got organized and turned the clock back quite quickly. They won that battle, but the war continues:

Gay-marriage advocates turned in more than enough signatures to move ahead with a citizen initiative that would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in Maine, the secretary of state’s office ruled Thursday.

More than 85,000 signatures were declared valid. The groups needed only 57,277 signatures for their bill to get to the Legislature.

The decision means lawmakers will now be presented with a citizen initiative to allow gay marriage in Maine.

I’m proud to say my signature was among those turned into the secretary of state.

I’m cautiously optimistic about this. It’s great that this is back on the ballot, and early poll numbers are positive, but equal rights were defeated by a hefty margin in 2009, 53-47. It’s going to be an uphill battle for sure, but I suspect it will help that it is a Presidential election year.

At any rate, even if we continue to treat some people in Maine as second-class citizens after this November, it’s only a matter of time before the state gets on the right side of history and continues to make New England proud.

Washington passes equal marriage law

Lawmekers in the state of Washington have approved a law guaranteeing gays equal rights:

The Washington House passed the bill on a 55-43 vote. The state Senate approved the measure last week. And Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign the measure into law next week.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Pedersen, a gay lawmaker from Seattle who has sponsored gay rights bills in the House for several years, said that while he and his partner are grateful for the rights that exist under the state’s current domestic partnership law, “domestic partnership is a pale and inadequate substitute for marriage.”

It is almost certain this will be challenged at the ballot box in November, so freedom has an uphill battle to fight in Washington this year. Apparently a lot of people think the sky is going to fall is gay people have the same freedom as straights.

Gay parents and appropriate science

I just read an article on why gay parents may be better parents, on average, than straight parents and I was reminded of some common abuses of science. These abuses were markedly absent; the article took the time to qualify what it was saying, calling speculation just that, pointing out when a point should be construed narrowly and not broadly, and generally being scientifically appropriate. Here is my favorite part:

The bottom line, [New York University sociologist Judith] Stacey said, is that people who say children need both a father and a mother in the home are misrepresenting the research, most of which compares children of single parents to children of married couples. Two good parents are better than one good parent, Stacey said, but one good parent is better than two bad parents. And gender seems to make no difference. While you do find broad differences between how men and women parent on average, she said, there is much more diversity within the genders than between them.

Emphasis added.

Most of the article is on a few studies and the reasoning behind their conclusions – gay parents tend to choose to become parents whereas straight parents do it by accident about half of the time – but I really liked this part. It is so often that bigots go around and misrepresent the data. They love to look at studies comparing X to Y and then extrapolate it all to Z without any justification at all. I would say it is purely an ideological thing, but when we’re talking about sexuality and religion is involved (as it is with the particular bigot to whom I linked), I suspect sexual insecurity is a huge factor as well. It’s sad.

I’m glad LiveScience took the time to show an appreciation for science.

Gays don’t belong at the back of the bus

But that’s where we keep putting them:

Frederic Deloizy says his life began the day he met Mark Himes by chance at a birthday party in April 1990.

Himes had recently started a job with Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and Deloizy was studying at a nearby college. The strangers arrived at the party at the same time, and Deloizy held the door open for Himes, catching his eye.

“It was love at first sight. We felt we belonged together,” Deloizy said.

What followed was a whirlwind romance lived out across two continents, through overseas phone calls and hand-written love letters.

Deloizy, a French national, spent the past two decades in and out of the United States leapfrogging from one visa to another, in hopes of creating a life together with Himes, who was born and raised outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

But 21 years and four adopted children later, the couple — who were married in California in 2008 — is fighting to stay together since Deloizy’s final visa expired in September.

And, of course, DOMA is forcing this couple to the back of the bus. Hell, it’s kicking one of them out of the vehicle all together. How anyone can’t see that this is wrong is beyond me.

I would love to hear some conservative bigot try to justify this. Oh, marriage is for the protection and well-being of children? Then how about we make the lives of the four children involved here a whole lot better? I realize that the emotional and financial well-being of human beings who are different isn’t important to most conservatives, especially those conservatives of the religious variety, but it is nothing short of hypocrisy to want to deny this small litter of kids their parents. It can only be a good thing to facilitate a loving home. That fact is nothing but improved under the presence of children.

“Booooo” Santorum

Rick Santorum is campaigning in New Hampshire, one of the few states that does not discriminate against gays in marriage and the site of the first Republican primary. I don’t think he’s going to do well there, but then who knew he was going to do well in Iowa. Of course, while Iowa also does not discriminate against gays in marriage, many of its citizens would prefer to turn the clock back. That gives Santorum and all the vile things he says a little power there. That probably won’t be the case in New Hampshire, and it certainly was not the case in front of a bunch of college students in Concord:

Rick Santorum was booed after a lengthy back-and-forth with several students in Concord, N.H., on the issue of same-sex marriage, which is legal in New Hampshire.

As Santorum addressed a group of college students, one asked him how same-sex marriage affects him personally and why not have legal same-sex marriage as long as it’s not religious in nature.

Santorum answered that for “230 years marriage has been between one man and woman. So if you want to change the law…you have to make the positive argument about why.”

This actually is sort of correct. In order for change to happen, those in favor of said change need to say why it should happen. However, the game has been rigged. People like Santorum never made their positive argument for marriage 230 years ago. They didn’t even give a second thought to gays and so marriage was assumed to be between one man and one woman. The onus is actually on him.

And what are his arguments? Appeals to tradition and inapt comparisons. The former is just an extension of the rigged game and is thus logically invalid; it isn’t a positive argument at all. The latter is why “Santorum” has the frothy definition it does.

But to Frothy’s credit, he stuck by his guns and tried to make the students justify their positions:

Santorum responded, “Are we saying that everyone should have the right to marry?”

Several members of the crowd loudly yelled, “Yes!”

At that point, the former senator from Pennsylvania compared same-sex marriage to polygamy.

“So anyone can marry can marry anybody else? So if that’s the case, then everyone can marry several people … so you can be married to five people. Is that OK?” Santorum asked.

I’m a little disappointed in the response. Students shouted back that they weren’t discussing polygamy. That is true and Frothy was creating a red herring, but I’m perfectly happy responding to his question: Yes, it is okay for a number of people to get married to each other at the same time. The only issue anyone can draw about that is how taxes would work out. New codes and laws would need to be created, and I’m not sure how that would or should go. But on the moral question, there is no doubt: there is nothing wrong with polygamy.

Frothy then got a little weird:

The student answered that [people] should [be allowed to do what makes them happy] as long as no one was harming anyone else. Santorum countered, raising his voice and asking, “Who decides if they are harming other people? Is there an objective standard?”

Wasn’t it Frothy who told people they needed to make positive arguments in order to defend their positions? If it is his contention that people are harmed by gay marriage, then he needs to say why. I have yet to see a remotely convincing argument for that position. Ever.

Santorum continued, but threatened to end the discussion, telling the crowd, “I’m going to give people one more chance and then we are going to move on. I’m going to ask the question again. If three people happen to get married based on what you just said, what makes that wrong and what you said right?”

“That’s irrelevant,” the student responded. “My personal opinion is, ‘Yeah go for it,’ but what I’m asking [is] for you [to] justify your belief and your high morals about all men created equal-”

At that point, Santorum cut off the student and, for the third time, asked, “What about three men?

Emphasis added.

Politicians tend to be pretty good when it comes to rhetoric. They certainly misstep, but they’re still better than the average Joe when it comes to this stuff. That includes Frothy. Except in this case. Using good rhetoric means, in part, appealing to one’s audience. If he was speaking to a bunch of sexually immature, sexually insecure Evangelicals, then sure, mention the idea of three men having sex. That would gross them out. “Icky!”, they would think. But saying that in front of a bunch of pro-equality college students is going to fall flat. In fact, it just made him look even worse.

When he wrapped up, several questions later, the crowd loudly booed him.

I think Frothy still has some learning to do. Maybe he should look to his biggest opponent. After all, I’m sure Romney wouldn’t have had a problem saying whatever would have please the crowd.

What a frothy douche

Rick Santorum, perhaps the easiest Republican to loathe since Satan, has said he would invalidate all gay marriages to this point, given the chance:

In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd at his campaign headquarters in Iowa, Santorum said there needs to be one marriage law for all 50 states. When asked if he would make same-sex couples get divorced, he responded, “Well their marriage would be invalid. If the constitution says ‘marriage is this,’ then people whose marriages are not consistent with the constitution … (shrug.) I’d love to think that there was another way of doing it.”

Yep, there is another way. Allow gays to get married since, aside from marriage not even being about procreation anyway, it is illegal to give one group a set of rights whilst simultaneously discriminating against another group for no good reason. That is, after all, the very definition of bigotry.

But hang on, I haven’t even gotten to the best part of Frothy’s hatred:

Santorum said he has hesitations about the Supreme Court taking the decision about marriage away from the people. “32 times marriage has been voted on, in 32 different states from Maine to California, and 32 times marriage has won,” he said. But later in the interview Santorum acknowledged that “just because public opinion says something, doesn’t mean something’s right if it’s not right.”

For someone who hates homosexuals so much, he sure does like to have it both ways.

I’m really excited for the years to come. I can’t wait to see how religious bigots change their arguments from “It’s the will of the people! Listen to the will of the people!” to “Well, what’s right is right.” Santorum seems to have gotten a head start, but I don’t think there can be any doubt that this is the way conservatives will be stating their case in the future. After all, gay marriage will become the law of the land. It may happen in the next few years, or it may happen in 30 years. Either way, it is going to happen (and we will look at today’s laws as we now see anti-miscegenation laws). That means the religious will necessarily need to change their arguments to fit the changing landscape – a landscape on which they will enjoy ever-shrinking relevancy.