Law students protest bigot lawmaker

Young, well-educated people keep improving the bigoted world created by older, one-foot-in-the-grave generations:

More than 100 newly graduated lawyers walked out of their own graduation at the University of Michigan Law School on Saturday to protest the commencement speech by antigay Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

It’s just mind-boggling that there really are still people who hate gay people. It’s like these bigots haven’t even bothered to consider what sexuality is, how it works, how it doesn’t work, and what goes into forming healthy human relationships.

Anti-gay bigots misstep

Anti-gay bigots are making a stink about the judge who struck down Prop 8 in California. They’re arguing that he should have recused himself or at least disclosed that he is in a long-term relationship with another man:

“Only if Chief Judge Walker had unequivocally disavowed any interest in marrying his partner could the parties and the public be confident that he did not have a direct personal interest in the outcome of the case,” attorneys for the coalition of religious and conservative groups that put Proposition 8 on the November 2008 ballot wrote.

Saying Walker’s sexual orientation is cause for vacating his ruling would be like saying a black judge who rules in favor of other black people is acting improperly. I don’t think this argument will fly, especially since the ruling is being appealed anyway.

But that isn’t what’s really interesting about this. Look at the argument the bigots are trying to piece together. The only way the public could be confident of Walker’s impartiality is if “he did not have a direct personal interest in the outcome of the case”. And, of course, the reason they claim he has a direct personal interest is because he’s gay. So I presume a straight judge doesn’t have a direct personal interest in the matter? So if the only way a judge would have no personal interest in this case is if he was straight, then how is it that any straight people have any personal interest? It seems to me that the bigot organizations just argued that straight people have no legitimate personal interests to raise when dealing with gay marriage.

But then, I don’t really expect any coherent arguments from these sort of people.

Justice Department to no longer defend DOMA

Given that the act is legally and morally indefensible, this makes sense.

Attorney General Eric Holder said President Barack Obama has concluded that the administration cannot defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. He noted that the congressional debate during passage of the Defense of Marriage Act “contains numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships — precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus” the Constitution is designed to guard against.

Good.

Also, take note of this:

Holder’s statement said, “Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed” the Defense of Marriage Act. He noted that the Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional and that Congress has repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The highlighted portion references Lawrence v. Texas. Political Justice Scalia, being purely political and all, made his biggest objection to overturning the anti-gay laws in Texas on the basis that the decision could lead to the legalization of gay marriage. He also says that it’s important to abide by the past decisions of the Court less there be an overwhelming reason for change. That means – logically – that he will likely support overturning anti-gay marriage laws. Key word “logically”. So don’t expect him to care about that. Just watch. The guy is a joke, the worst legal mind the nation. He will vote to uphold every anti-gay law that comes his way, no matter the constitution or previous rulings of the Court.

Ken Ham is a real piece of shit

Ken Ham, that dishonest creationist D-bag with a ‘museum’, recently held a “Date Night” where he spouted off about “love” and his own, personal ideas concerning marriage. People were allowed to buy tickets for the Christian price of about $72. And, as you do with events about “love”, Ham had security goons posted all over the place. That led to some problems.

Three of us (myself, my girlfriend and our friend Brandon) passed the security checkpoint despite minor scrutiny. We arrived right at 6:00 p.m.; Ken Ham was just beginning his talk of love in the museum’s special effects room, and we were eager to hear it. Brandon’s “date,” Joe of Barefoot & Progressive, was late, and so the solo Brandon was the focus of much interest for the two guards, who carried the air of actual police.

“What kind of car will she be driving?” asked one of the guards. They wanted to know so they could keep strict tabs on who came into the museum.

“Oh,” I said. “His partner’s name is Joe. I think he drives one of those hybrids…”

You can guess how things went from there. The gay couple was denied entry for not being very Christian and Ham continued on about “love”. It’s weird, isn’t it? There is no way to resolve what makes one person more or less Christian than the next when both stake a claim to that awful title, yet people still seem to think otherwise. It’s a wonderful exercise is pure subjectivity.

Of course, none of this may have happened if the state was different. Kentucky has no law granting equality to its gay citizens. Maine and about 20-25 others states do (depending on the exact extent of equality being discussed). So as it stands, Ham’s immorality is perfectly legal right now, even if ultimately unconstitutional. That’s terrible, but at least it will be easier for future generations to see his sort of bigotry for how absurd it really is; I predict in 35-40 years that the actions of Ham and his goons will be widely viewed much as we would view them if they did this to a black couple today.

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.

“I didn’t choose to be gay.”

Take a look at this video where a high school senior by the name Kayla K (“Kearney” appears in the tags of the video) takes the stage at a Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly earlier this month to come out as gay. Or rather, to bravely come out as gay.

It’s people like this that ought to give us real hope.

Tyler Clementi

It would be disingenuous and misguided of me to pretend like I can at all relate to what happened to Tyler Clementi. I’m a white male whose biggest claim to having anything remotely close to a hardship is being an atheist. The stigma that surrounds my lack of belief is trivial in comparison to what gays and other minorities go through. And there’s a significant difference: I choose to be an atheist. Tyler Clementi didn’t choose to be gay, no more than one chooses to be black or white. That was his identity – and he was forced to keep it in the ‘closet’. We have society to blame for that.

Minorities have been held down and ostracized and mocked ever since early humans began to notice the superficial differences we have between us. But how many minorities have been forced to stay silent on who they were? Blacks have historically been kicked, but they haven’t been forced to hide the physical color of their skin as a routine matter. The same goes for all racial minorities. This doesn’t make their plight any less significant or less important than any other plight, but it does make the discrimination gays face a unique beast. Gays are in the unique position where they can disguise who they are. The horribly hateful bigots out there take advantage of this, proclaiming the existence of some fairytale ‘homosexual agenda’, suggesting homosexuals want to teach gay sex to children, among all the other ugly lies we hear every day. This forces many gays to keep a major defining aspect of their lives a complete secret; fear drives them to hide who they are.

That’s why Tyler Clementi killed himself. If society accepted who he was because, damn it, he’s a human being and deserves at least as much, he would still be alive. He would graduate in three and a half years from Rutgers University, ready to contribute as much as he could to society, to his family, to his friends, to his own well-being. Instead we’re left with an unnecessary and permanent absence because that very society to which Tyler Clementi would have contributed so much is so immersed in a dark, dark hate.