The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

QueerlyKos – Happy Equal Protection Under the Law Day

It’s been a weird week for me, blogwise. With the president muttering curses and copping a feel in Europe while all hell breaks loose in the Middle East, I’ve been a little distracted from writing about gay issues. At another point this week the news caused me to remember my brief encounter with Ralph Reed. But the more I thought about that, the more I wanted not to think about it.

Like I said, it was a weird week; one in which I actually didn’t do much blogging about gay issues. But that doesn’t mean no one else did. In fact, there was plenty of great stuff happening in the diaries and on the blogs, as well as important news. (Like the House taking up the Federal Marriage Amendment.) Let’s review, shall we?

  • Before diving into everything else, can we take a moment to acknowledge that today is 14th Amendment Day? It passed today in 1868, and I think it deserves a reading before we go much further. “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” There. Now maybe we have a context for everything else.

    Can we be frank here? Same-sex marriage has morphed into the issue that would not die. Even members of Congress are blogging about it. Check out Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s diary on the House debate of the FMA.
  • Robertfeinman posted a diary on gay marriage vs. adultery early in the week that seemed to foreshadow Lincoln Davis’ inveighing against divorce on the House floor during the FMA debate. Unfortunately, Davis opted not to introduce an amendment to outlaw divorce.

    That’s a damn shame, because such an amendment might have prevented that explosion in Manhattan last week. At least according to Maggie Gallegher. What can I say? At least she didn’t blame it on gay people. (We might have renovated the building, but blowing it up is a bit too “extreme home makeover,” dontcha think?) Zuzu also notes that feminists don’t escape blame for the explosion.
  • That doesn’t mean we get off the hook entirely, though. Raptavio came clean this week about how gay marriage caused his divorce.
  • On the other hand, Ex-Gay Watch points out that divorce rates are actually lower in Massachusetts and other states friendlier to same-sex relationships than in virulently anti-gay states. Is it possible that same-sex marriage actually strengthens heterosexual unions and prevents divorce?
  • Along those lines, this op-ed column from the New York Times says the recent New York court decision on same-sex marriage can be seen as suggesting that heterosexual couples need marriage supports because they are less stable than gay couples. And because heterosexuals are more likely to become parents by way of accident or impulse, where as gays generally don’t, opposite-sex relationships present a greater danger that children will grow up in unstable homes than do same-sex couples. Maybe same-sex marriage could do for heterosexual couples in New York what it seems to be doing for those in Massachusetts. Just a thought.
  • Box Turtle Bulletin also has a great dissection of the “marriage is for children” article.

    That’s not all. You know how all hell broke loose in the Middle East this week? Well, as angrytoyrobot points out, that’s our fault too. And just earlier this month we were bringing Muslims and Jews together.

    Along those lines, DC Pol Sci posted a reminder of levitical literalism that might come in handy, come the revolution. An oldie, circulating online for years, but a goodie worth repeating.

    All joking and sarcasm aside, it’s important to remember there are real people and real lives affected by all this. If you haven’t read dmuir’s diary about what Eric Rofe’s partner had to face after Rofe’s death, read it now. If you have read it, it’s worth reading again.

    Then go read pale cold’s diary about why you need to have an advance directive, medical power of attorney, and your funeral wishes in writing if you’re in a non-conventional/non-heterosexual relationship. Rofe’s partner had all that and still caught hell. Imagine what you might face without them.
  • In an interesting development, a lesbian couple in Connecticut — where civil unions are legal — is suing for malpractice, claiming loss of consortium after one of them was misdiagnosed with one cancer and underwent years of chemotherapy while another cancer spread. Most news outlets claim the suit is about their lost sex life, but PG at De Novo points out that loss of consortium is broader than a mere sexual relationship. The couple involved may have a good case. Either way, it’s an important test case for civil unions.
  • On other legal topics, KipEsquire has a great post up about just why marriage is not a contract, but a legal status, and cannot be replicated by a contract. He also makes a good case for why “getting the government out of the marriage business” may not be the right answer.
  • Once you do have gay marriage, gay divorce becomes the next legal issue on the docket as lynne1’s diary about the break-up of the lead plaintiffs in the Goodridge case that brought same-sex marriage to Massachusetts.
  • As long as we’re telling personal stories, check out pine’s diary — inspired by dmuir’s — about an anti-gay acquaintance who also happened to be a Democrat.

    Rserven tells a personal story of a friend, a PFLAG mom, who was attacked at her home because of her work on gay & lesbian issues. A mom who stood up for her son when he got bashed, got bashed. Read it, and if you have any information about Carolyn Willis’ well-being, pass it on.

    And since we’re talking about violence, Crisis Corps Volunteer posted a diary about the 1 year anniversary of the hanging of two gay teenagers in Iran.
  • This story of one gay Iranian’s ordeal at the hands of Iran’s religious police make it clear things haven’t gotten any better there.
  • Box Turtle Bulletin has more on the plight of gays in the Middle East, including the story of a Palestinian gay man who was sentenced to a “reeducation camp” run by Muslim clerics, where he was beaten and tortured. Meanwhile, Georgia Republican (and gynecologist) Phil Gingrey says passing the FMA is the “best message we could sent to the Middle east in regards to the trouble we’re having over there right now.” I wonder what he would think about those “reeducation camps”?

    Pine’s diary reminded me of a couple more. Lots of people have already read them, but if you haven’t then go check out johnnygunn’s spirited rant about Harold Ford Jr.’s vote for the FMA and RedStateDem’s equally spirited rant on two Georgia Dems; one who flipped on a the state anti-gay marriage amendment and another who’ll sign a ban on gay adoptions if elected. (It that ban is as extreme as Oklahoma’s was — and knowing Georgia it will be, if it passes — I’m not sure when I’ll take my family back down there again.) The comments in both posts contain some discussion of just why gay people should vote for anti-gay Democrats. But for the life of me I can’t figure out how voting for someone who votes against our equality gets us any closer to equality.

    Michael, the gay Republican blogger at Gay Orbit, notes that the Equality Georgia made the following recommendations to gay Georgian’s facing a homophobe-heavy ballot — on which all of the candidates oppose marriage equality, civil unions, domestic partnership benefits, and a state nondiscrimination law: leave it blank. Is the best choice actually no choice sometimes?
  • Meanwhile, Georgia’s neighbor Alabama is about to have it’s first out gay legislator.

    Also, all the diaries and posts above brought to mind this New York Times article about an Episcopal congregation in New York described as “overwhelmingly liberal,” “proudly liberal,” and “practically compassionate,” but are unable to carry that over into their theology when it comes to gay bishops.

    Maybe it’s presumptuous of me to suggest it, but perhaps that New York congregation should read Jim Rigby’s piece from the Huffington Post. Or at least consider this part: ” I believe the time has come to say that genuine followers of Jesus Christ do not participate in discrimination against gay and lesbian persons. Is it intolerant to challenge intolerance? Are we doing the same thing as those we are challenging? …It is time to say that gay bashing is not only wrong, it is unchristian. If Christianity is grace, then judgment is the ultimate apostasy. If Christianity is love, then cruelty is the ultimate heresy.

    Along the lines of Rigby’s question, this news from Provincetown, MA reminds me of one I’ve asked before. Is the intolerance of intolerance intolerant? Does failure to tolerate those who are intolerant of you make you intolerant?
  • To that end, a gay christian blogger looks at the situation in the East and the gay community’s predicament in the U.S. (not comparing or equating the two, mind you) and asks “How do you live alongside an opponent who wants to exterminate you? How do you reason with a group of people who believe your very existence is an abomination in God’s eyes that the righteous must actively oppose with every ounce of their strength?”
  • This Milwaukee Journal Sentinel op-ed looks at an exchange program designed to foster “tolerance, understanding, and friendship” between Catholics and Protestants in Norther Ireland and asks “Can you see the possibilities for expanding a program like this to other individuals whose ignorance breeds bigotry? …Would it work, for example, between straight and gay? Would those who seek to ban gay rights speak with the same fervor if they actually knew gay people?”
  • Of course that social experiment has been going on for a while now, as the author of the op-ed above acknowledges, and as this Austin-American Statesman op-ed that Savvy813 posted points out while also making the point that the recent court rulings may be more in our favor than we know.
  • On the topic of intolerance troytooner points to the Born Different campaign launched by the Gill Foundation. Not to be out done, Focus on the family launched a response, which lead troutfishing to question James Dobson’s own secret desires. A peek into Dobson’s childhood should provide more than enough material for speculation.
  • Richard Thompson Ford argued in Slate that recent setbacks in the courts might not be bad news for gays, and that opposition to gay marriage might not be rooted in homophobia but in “a deeply ingrained desire for stable sex roles,” especially when taken into consideration along with advances for gays on other civil rights issues.
  • On the other hand, Crooked Timber crunches the numbers and says it comes down to homophobia after all.
  • Also Peter Beinert (subsc. required, but can get you in) says thing aren’t so bad on the gay marriage front, and that slower may be better in the long run. I wonder what he would say to Eric Rofe’s partner, after what dmuir’s diary described.
  • But this is the age of conversational media, and Ford got an intense drubbing in the comments on his piece.

    On the other hand, if a conservative Tennessee blogger and a gun-toting liberal can almost see eye to eye on same-sex marriage, how hard can it really be for anyone else?

    Despite launching a new website, Ex-Gay Watch notes that Focus on the Family wasn’t too busy to also launch an attack against a trangsendered five-year-old starting kindergarten in Florida. Strangely enough, they put backsliding John Paulk center-stage this time around.
  • On gender issues, Rserven has a new edition to the Gender Workshop series, “Connections”, and a Teacher’s Lounge on gender differences that folks should check out.
  • Oh, and if Focus on the Family isn’t intolerant enough for ya, check out the Freeper response to Canadian efforts to fight homophobia in schools. Or check out NARTH’s blog.

    Finally, now that homophobia has a new home in the blogosphere it may be losing a a legal refuge elsewhere. (Not the best segue-way, I know, but I’m trying to get everything in here.) Stand Strong points out that the “gay panic” defense maybe going the way of the dinosaurs.
  • Besides, if the state can’t tell heterosexuals not to shack up, maybe it can’t stop us from getting married eventually.

Whew. There was a lot going on this week. Yet, even though I comb through hundreds of blog and news feeds every day, I’m sure I probably missed some things. If so, share them in the comments. And remember to drop me an email if there’s anything you come across that should go in the next round-up.


  1. Pingback: The Gun Toting Liberal » Blog Archive » Here we go with the ‘gay marriage’ thing again…

  2. In light of the Goodridges’ separation, I doubt that talking about same-sex marriage and the divorce rate is a good strategy. My attitude is that half of opposite-sex marriages end in divorce; if same-sex marriages don’t increase the rate, then the desire to prevent divorces is pretty irrelevant to the debate. (Though out of curiosity: are there statistics on the number of inter-faith and interracial marriages that end in divorce?)