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.

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.

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.

Gay marriage updates

Here are just a few of the recent news stories concerning gay marriage:

  • Dubya’s daughter, Barbara, has come out in support of gay marriage. She is helping the fight for basic equality in New York. Currently, thousands of families with gay heads of the house are being forced into unnecessary financial difficulties while they face bigoted social stigma. It ought to stop.
  • Illinois has taken a step in the right direction by legalizing civil unions. Gay couples will still face unnecessary hardships, but they now have some relief. Oh, and the negatives? Nothing. Absolutely nothing negative will come from this law.
  • New Hampshire lawmakers are trying to turn the state back. They’ve attached the banning of incest to a law that would ban gay marriage. I find this repulsive for two reasons. First, the most obvious reason is that it associates two separate ideas, as if it’s okay to say homosexuality and incest go hand in hand. Second, this is simply logically offensive. It’s a classic “When are you going to stop beating your wife?” fallacy. That is, it’s asking two questions but seeking one answer. (Remember that famous Watergate inquiry, “What did Nixon know and when did he know it?”) On the plus side, it is destined to fail.

When they say Biden had a gaffe…

…what everyone really means is he said something true that a lot of people don’t want to hear.

Vice President Joe Biden predicted Friday the evolution in thinking that will permit gays to soon serve openly in the military eventually will bring about a national consensus for same-sex marriage.

Changes in attitudes by military leaders, those in the service and the public allowed the repeal by Congress of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Biden noted in a nationally broadcast interview on Christmas eve.

“I think the country’s evolving,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.:” And I think you’re going to see, you know, the next effort is probably going to be to deal with so-called DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). He said he agreed with Obama that his position in gay marriage is “evolving.”

Here are the basic facts that support Biden:

  • The U.S. Constitution does not give the states or feds the ability to discriminate against gays as a group.
  • The U.S. Constitution, in fact, bans such discrimination.
  • The point of marriage as sanctioned by the government is to provide a framework of rights to two individuals.
  • As more and more people come out as gay, more and more people realize that they never had anything to fear.
  • Christianity is losing its grip. I mean, let’s not get crazy and feed into the persecution complex so common among Christians: the religion is still extremely strong and to be a Christian in America is to have an overall advantage in so many ways (sort of like how being white is an overall advantage).
  • But it hasn’t the grip it once did.

  • Old people tend to be bigots at a higher rate than young people. They also tend to die at a much higher rate. And if we add 1 and 1…

Now sit back and wait for the bigot organizations to use Biden’s statements as a source of fear; they’ll use his words to try and thwart lesser efforts than gay marriage, all the while claiming that their concern is to prevent a slippery slope to equality in marriage. Of course, that will be one of their concerns, but their bigger concern will be to prevent gays from enjoying any civil rights whatsoever.