Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tyrannical Rule In California

Only days after California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB48 (the LGBT history bill) into law, social conservative groups are already going on the offensive. Today, the Capitol Resource Institute's Paulo Sibaja filed with the California Attorney General his intent to put a referendum on the 2012 ballot to attempt to repeal the bill. According to the San Francisco Chronicle,
The Capitol Resource Institute is a hard-line, socially conservative organization that has long opposed efforts in California to expand rights for the LGBT population. Backers eventually would have to collect 433,971 signatures to allow voters to decide whether to keep the law in place or reject it. 
Sibaja said that a coalition has formed behind the proposed measure, though he would not name the other members. He said a news conference Wednesday would give more details. When asked how the group planned to fund the referendum, he said, "That's what the press conference will be about."
     This is the problem with California's system; the broad ability of "the people" to vote on legislation duly enacted by the legislature.  When our system of government was formed, the Founders recognized the ultimate authority of the people, yet at the same time realized that the people were fickle; that they could be swayed by their emotions and prejudices to do things that they would not normally do. Because of this danger, the Founding Fathers set up a brilliant system; a system, though not perfect, that would alleviate the emotive dangers of direct "popular rule". Instead of allowing for popular voting on issues, the Founders set up a system in which the people elect representatives who represent their constituents in the legislature. The few, with the consent of the many, make the laws and rule over the state.

     But in California, the tables have turned. Instead of the few ruling over the many, we have the many using the few as their "rubber stamp of approval". The legislature of California does not "make the laws" per say, instead, it only exists because it is more "efficient" in passing laws. For the public to take up every piece of legislation through direct vote would be quite cumbersome, so therefore, the legislature exists to speed up and simplify the process. But, if the legislature dares to do anything that "the people" would not have done, it can be disciplined through a ballot referendum or initiative.

     I see that this process has two consequences.  First, it cheapens the purpose of the legislature as a representative body; for if they are just there for making governance more simple, why do we have elections in the first place? And second, it allows the public to be swayed by the demagogic influences of mass media, fears, and emotive language (Proposition 8 was a good example of this) rather than actually weigh the issue at hand.

     Some critics of my view on the referendum process will say that the true power of government rests with the people, and that is how the Founding Fathers wanted it to be. That is an extent. As I said above, the Founders recognized the negative repercussions of popular rule; thus instituting the system of representative democracy that we have today.  If a legislature had passed a bill which the public disagreed with, the Founders would have been hesitant in proposing a public referendum. Instead, they would have argued that if the public was truly unhappy over the issue, they would change the composition of the legislature in the next election. That would be legitimate change, and would adequately allow the public voice to be heard.

     The Founders set up a brilliant system, which most state governments are modeled after. Sadly, California has allowed for "the people" to rule over the representatives through illegitimate means. This not only makes a mockery of the "representative democracy" facade that California has, but it also leaves the public open to being swayed by fears and opinions rather than facts.

Friday, July 15, 2011

NOM Compares New York Equality Votes To Judas' Betrayal of Christ

On the National Organization for Marriages facebook page, they provide a link to more of Senator Diaz's rants regarding the donations that Mayor Michael Bloomberg made to the four Republican senators who voted for the marriage equality bill. Recall that Mayor Bloomberg informed all Senators, that those who voted for the bill would have his guaranteed financial support. In an interview with New York Daily News' Celeste Katz, Mayor Bloomberg defends his donations, telling her that,
They didn’t vote the way I wanted. They voted the right way. They voted the way for freedom, for democracy, for equality, and I think we should all support that 
Supporting somebody because of party is, I think, something that just is as nonsensical a thing as I can think of. Voting for somebody because they do the right thing, particularly when it’s not politically easy to do, that’s exactly the kind of support we should give and I’d like to think that I’m doing the right thing. I owe it to my children.
But that's not even the interesting part of the story...for individuals donate their money to politicans based upon their votes all the time. Do we hear NOM complaining about their supporters donating money to anti-equality Senators? I don't think so. What is really interesting about this story is that the National Organization for Marriage, on their facebook page, has compared the senators who accepted the money to Judas' betrayal of Christ.

All Christians should be outraged that NOM would even insinuate that the donations of $10,300 to these Republicans by Mayor Bloomberg is on equal footing with the betrayal of Christ. To do so not only cheapens one of the most heinous betrayals of history, but also insinuates that allowing individual freedom is on par with sending someone to guaranteed death. All I can say

This Is What We Are Fighting For

Queerty, and a few blogs that I follow, pointed me to this fan video of Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory". To this who are not Lady Gaga fans, suck it up and watch the video...for it shows what we are truly fighting for! No one deserves to not partake in the wonderment and joy of marriage, for love does not discriminate based upon sexual orientation.

Toronto - City of Beauty, Tolerance, and Diversity

As most of you know, I was in Toronto yesterday, hanging out in the city with one of my best friends. Sometimes we all need days like these to refocus and take a break from the world around us. Yesterday was a day like that for me; I was able to bask in the beauty of Lake Ontario and the City - taking this picture while walking along the harbor-front.

As I was there, I remembered why I love Toronto...a city of diversity, tolerance, and beauty. It is truly one of the best cities in the world. One can only hope that the rest of the world follows this cities lead, as well as the nation of Canada lead, in its treatment of its LGBT citizens.

Why Marcus Bachmann's Defense of His Clinic Is Bogus

The counseling clinic of Marcus Bachmann - Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's husband - has been making headlines recently, especially after Truth Wins Out released an undercover report regarding the clinics dabbling into reparative therapy. In response to these allegations, Marcus Bachmann has stated that counselors at his clinic might use the techniques of reparative therapy, but that they only do so if the client wants them too. He stated,
"Will I address it? Certainly we'll talk about," Bachmann said. "Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? … It is at the client's discretion."
I find this answer quite flawed. As has been shown at the Bachmann clinic, if a client comes in and is conflicted about being gay, does the clinic affirm his sexual orientation? Does the clinic say that it is completely natural and normal for an individual to be LGBT - a position that all major reputable psychological and medical organizations hold? Based not only upon the footage from Truth Wins Out , but from stories of others who have gone to the clinic, it seems that if a client who "struggles with same-sex attraction" goes into this clinic, they are told that such attraction is against God's design, instead of a natural and normal biological variant. How else then would a client respond? Naturally, they would want to know how they could be free from such attractions and eliminate this sinful part of their nature. Instead of validating a clients sexual orientation, these counselors seem to give the client no actual "choice" but to request some form of reparative therapy.

Additionally, as I stated a few days ago, the mental state of the client must also be evaluated when allowing such therapy. Under most conditions, reparative therapy is sought by the client for negative religious, social, or familial reasons (I challenge anyone to name one condition under which it is sought for positive reasons). Any legitimate counseling organization would recognize such outside forces and reject outright any affiliation with that clients attempt to "change".

For these two reasons, I don't buy Marcus Bachmann's explanation. A true counselor would seek to affirm and validate - instead of demean and tear down - a clients sexual orientation. And if a client really did come into the clinic to seek to change his sexual orientation, any legitimate therapist would recognize that he was doing so for the wrong reasons and would thus politely decline to administer such therapy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pawlenty Refuses To Sign "Marriage Vow" Pledge - Kinda

Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnessota, has refused to sign The Family Leaders "Marriage Vow Pledge". Yet he refuses in a rather bizarre fashion. Instead of an outright denouncement of the pledge that candidates such as Mitt Romney and Greg Johnson have provided, Pawlenty declines to sign the pledge because he "prefers to choose his own words" rather than be tied to the words of others. His full statement, as provided by Politico, reads, 

"Mary and I have been married for almost 24 years and have been blessed with two wonderful daughters. In all we do, we remain committed to our core values that are set out in scripture. We are saved by grace. As Christians we are to speak the truth, but to do so with love.
"Voters have a right to know about their leaders' faith and values, and how those beliefs may shape their decisions. To that end, today my campaign released a new video in which both Mary and I speak directly and openly about our faith. I fully support traditional marriage. Unequivocally. The traditional family faces enormous challenges in America, and if elected I would vigorously oppose any effort to redefine marriage as anything other than between one man and one woman.
"I deeply respect, and share, Bob Vander Platts' commitment to promoting the sanctity of marriage, a culture of life, and the core principles of the Family Leader’s Marriage Vow Pledge. However, rather than sign onto the words chosen by others, I prefer to choose my own words, especially seeking to show compassion to those who are in broken families through no fault of their own.
"I respectfully decline to sign the pledge."
Hmm...I wonder what he means in regards to those who are in "broken families". Does he classify families that are headed by same-sex couples as "broken"? He also states that he believes in the "core principles" of the pledge, such as federal government intervention in things such as marriage laws and pornography etc - quite "Republican" of him.

Awesome Video - Marcus and Michele Bachmann Explain Marriage

Thought I would share this just to add a bit of levity to the discussion that has been going on regarding Marcus and Michele Bachmann's ties to ex-gay therapy. Writer and Director Andy Cobb,  shows us the Bachmann's true feelings about marriage.

Ex-Gay Therapy Is Good and Necessary

Greg Quinlan, President of the ex-gay organization Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), recently wrote an article entitled "I Am A Man" in response to the controversy over Marcus Bachmanns counseling clinic. This article was picked up by the National Organization for Marriage - which claims that the article "comes to the defense of those who are not given a voice".  The article can be found here, but I will also address some of the major points found in the piece. 

According to Mr. Quinlan, the controversy over Marcus Bachmanns clinic, and the reaction of the LGBT community to the news is because, 
...even one ex-gay proves that homosexual behavior is not innate or immutable, the gay lobby’s fear of their former members results in false claims and attacks aimed at preventing homosexuals from exercising their right to self-determination. They cannot bear to have even one homosexual leave homosexuality, hence their outrage at Dr. Bachmann.
     First of all, I don't think that the LGBT community has any problem with anyone attempting to "leave homosexuality". Instead, we feel sorry for those individuals, because something that either society or their religion has said has caused them to want to "change" this fundamental part of their being. They have obviously internalized the homophobia that exists within the community, impacting their thinking and causing them to desire to change. But regardless, Mr. Quinlan slips up just a tad. He says that "one ex-gay proves that homosexual behavior is not innate or immutable". Of course it isn't, LGBT activists have never claimed that homosexual behavior is immutable. Behavior is a manifestation of ones sexual orientation; you can control your behavior, but not your orientation. Just because an individual with a homosexual orientation might engage in heterosexual behavior, does not change the fact that they have a homosexual orientation. Whether or not orientation can be changed, is the end goal of "reparative therapy". 
The ex-gay community includes thousands of former homosexuals like myself who benefited from counseling.  We did not choose our homosexual feelings, but we did exercise our right to seek help to change those feelings.  As a registered nurse, I saw hundreds of gay men die of AIDS before I finally left the gay lifestyle. 
     Though individuals such as Mr. Quinlan may have "benefited from counseling", according to organizations like the American Psychiatric Association, there is no scientific proof that such counseling changes those with a homosexual orientation. As they state on their website...
In the last four decades, "reparative" therapists have not produced any rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure.  Until there is such research available, APA recommends that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals' sexual orientation, keeping in mind the medical dictum to First, do no harm.
     Though I cannot speak for Mr. Quinlan, as I do not know him, the first thing that must be asked when detailing why an individual would seek such therapy, is the atmosphere in which said individual lives. If he lives in an atmosphere that believes that homosexuality is evil and abnormal, it is ridiculous to assume that said individual is entering such a therapy with the correct motives. As I said above, that individual is internalizing the homophobia that exists within his community. This internalization causes him to think that he is worth less, and that something is wrong with him. LGBT activists are not attempting to restrict anyone's right to pursue whatever "therapy" they wish (though most medical associations say to not pursue such therapy), but instead we assert that we must understand WHY they wish to undergo such therapy in the first place. Mr. Quinlan goes on... 
Contrary to the myths being generated by outraged homosexuals, counseling for unwanted same-sex attractions is not prohibited by any medical association.  
     Actually Mr. Quinlan, many organizations disagree. Just one of them, the American Medical Association, clearly opposes the practice. They state on their website
Opposes, the use of "reparative" or "conversion" therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation. 
      Though this specifically says they oppose reparative therapy when it is based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder and/or when there is the prior assumption that the patient should change their orientation, I would say that this classifies most - if not all forms of reparative therapy. Why? Because the therapy itself is based upon the premise that their is something "wrong" with homosexuality. Quinlan then goes on to say, 
Unhappy homosexuals are not children in need of parental permission and can freely choose their own therapeutic treatment just like anyone else.
     Mr. Quinlan fails to realize two things. First, that the individual seeking such therapy is not always doing it of his/her own free will - such as myself - but is instead being force by parental figures to undergo such treatments. Additionally, not only are minors subjected to this "therapy", but in many cases it cannot be said that an adult individual is truly making an autonomous decision in choosing to go through such therapy. Instead of being affirmed in their sexual orientation, they are subjected to social and religious stigma, which influences their decision making process. Any reputable counselor would recognize these societal influences, and - instead of putting the client through reparative therapy - would attempt to affirm him in his sexual orientation. 

     That is, in essence, the main thrust of Mr. Quinlan's article. He then goes on to complain about the "wealthy and politically powerful" gay community that is stripping away the civil rights of the heterosexuals. Oh Mr. Quinlan, complain about the persecution of the "ex-gays", when it is you who is wanting to deny LGBT people their rights. 

Judge Postpones Deportation Hearing for Same-Sex California Couple

Excellent news out of California!! Today, Immigration Judge Marilyn Teeter postponed the deportations hearings for a legally married same-sex couple. Alex Benshimol (Venezuelan) and his husband Doug Gentry (American) were being threatened with separation because the U.S. Government - being constrained by the Defense of Marriage Act - will not allow American citizens in a same-sex partnership to sponsor their spouse/partner.

     Today, Judge Teeter suspended the deportation hearing, giving the U.S. Justice Department sixty days to decide whether or not it would like to continue deportation hearings against the couple. According to Out4Immigration,
"Today the Immigration Judge demonstrated compassion and understanding for Doug and Alex as a married binational couple, granting them a reprieve from deportation by postponing further proceedings to September 2013," said Lavi Soloway, lawyer for Doug and Alex, and founder of Stop the Deportations. "The Judge also gave the government 60 days to inform the court whether it will agree with our request to terminate these proceedings pursuant to prosecutorial discretion guidelines issued June 17 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton. We will continue to advocate for termination of these proceedings and a moratorium on all deportations of spouses of lesbian and gay Americans."
     But, the excitement over Judge Teeters ruling is qualified, as Out4Immigration vice-president Mickey Lim makes clear.
There are thousands of same-sex binational couples who are still living with uncertainty because of the Defense of Marriage Act and many more that have already been exiled or separated by this unfair discriminatory law. We applaud Doug and Alex's courage to put a face on the issue and will continue to work towards securing equal immigration rights for same sex couples! We look forward to the day when we can welcome all of our friends and families back home!
     This is so true, and as one who is in a bi-national relationship myself, I know full well the constant fear and uncertainty regarding immigration laws. Though my husband and I have been very fortunate - the Canadian government allows couples to sponsor each other - the stark realities of the immigration situation constantly weigh on us in regards to future plans such as Law/Business school choices. Hopefully, this issue will become resolved in the near future, so that all couples - gay and straight - can live in the United States in security and without fear.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Judge Issues Temporary Injunction Regarding Civil Unions and Adoption In Illinois

Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt has issued a temporary injunction against the State of Illinois in regards to its move to suspend its adoption and child care contracts with Catholic Charities. Because the Catholic agencies had refused to comply with the states non-discrimination laws regarding marital status and sexual orientation under the new Civil Unions legislation, the state government, under the leadership of Governor Pat Quinn, decided that these charities were to discontinue receiving state funding. Judge Schmidt has "frozen" the states contract with the agencies as of June 30, a move which allows the agencies to continue to provide adoption services in the state.

Equality Illinois has responded to the decision with the following statement, 
“We applaud Governor Quinn for taking such a firm stand in upholding the best interests of a child as the sole standard for adoption and foster care decisions.  Any child welfare agency doing business on behalf of the state must follow that standard in all foster and adoption placements.  If an agency chooses not to comply with state law, then it shouldn’t be awarded public funding.  The children affected by this decision will be better served by other child welfare agencies that comply with the law and have the best interests of the children in mind.” 
Religious organizations, such as Focus On The Family, are applauding the temporary injunction, saying,
"There is no legitimate reason...for the state of Illinois to force faith-based adoption agencies to forfeit their religious beliefs in order to continue providing a valuable public benefit."
“The state appears to be more concerned with advancing a left-wing political agenda than providing for children in desperate need of a family.”
Recall that the state is not forcing the adoption agencies to shut down, or even go against their beliefs. Instead, what the state is arguing, is that if an organization is to receive public funding, it must serve the ENTIRE public, not just individuals which meet its religious criterion.  

Governor Cuomo Responds To Clerk/Gay Marriage Controversy

We now hear it from the top. In a response to the situation unfolding in New York, with town and county clerks resigning rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Governor Cuomo has come out and said that all clerks must uphold the law and process same-sex marriage licenses or lose their jobs. According to the New York Daily News,
"The law is the law. When you enforce the laws of the state, you don't get to pick and choose which laws...You don't get to say, 'I like this law and I'll enforce this law, or I don't like this law and I won't enforce this law' -- you can't do that...So if you can't enforce the law, then you shouldn't be in that position."
 "We've had this debate. We've talked about it at length for many many years. We had a very heated discussion in Albany before the law was passed. I understand the opposition, and I understand both sides of the argument. And I understand the religious position of the argument. And I understand people who have religious beliefs and their opposition based on religious beliefs. I'm the governor of the state, and this is a legal matter. It's a legal question. To me, it's a question of equality and anti-discrimination. From a legal point of view, I believe this is exactly right and I'm comfortable with it, and that's why I supported it and I advocated.
"I understand people who say, I have religious beliefs and my religious beliefs trump my legal obligations. I understand that, and that's why the person is resigning," the governor continued. "If you're saying you're going to act through your religious beliefs rather than what is the law of the state, then you can't operate in a position where you're supposed to be enforcing the laws, right? Because the laws would have to be paramount, and would have to be paramount to your religious beliefs. You can't have a system in this state where people enforce the laws that their religions say are OK to enforce, right?"
Meanwhile, groups like Focus On The Family and New Yorkers For Constitutional Freedoms, think that as long as gay and lesbian couples can find alternate sources to get a marriage licence, clerks should be able to refuse them service based upon their religious beliefs.  Do they not understand that these are public servants and therefore must serve the whole public?

Beware, The Polygamists Are Coming!! And Its The Gays Fault!

Just this morning, I wrote about the polygamy lawsuit lated to be filed in Utah tomorrow. On my Google+ account, I stated that I would not be surprised if Religious Right organizations spin such a lawsuit to meet their ends. Thus, I wasn't too shocked when I opened up Focus On The Families Citizen Link web page, and there was, front and center, a discussion of the "slippery slope" of polygamy.

The Citizen Link article is in response to an July 3rd Op-Ed in the New York Times by Stanford Law Prof. Ralph Richard Banks. In the article, Professor Banks states that as society evolves in its interpretation of what is morally right and morally wrong, that laws which criminalize things like polygamy and incest will slowly fall. Citizen Link, unsurprisingly uses this one op-ed, as well as today's lawsuit, to write about how "redefining" marriage to include same-sex couples has opened the door to these other types of marriages. They state,
He says that we won’t see incestuous and polygamous marriages in the U.S. “anytime soon.” However, that disclaimer must be read in the context that even 10 years ago most people would not have predicted that we would see same-sex marriage “anytime soon.” And activist groups are simply waiting for the right timing.  For at least two decades now, the ACLU’s official policy position has been that prohibiting polygamy is unconstitutional.
If you need further proof of the shaky legal ground that same-sex marriage creates, look to Canada, where same-sex marriage was legalized a few years ago. The polygamy legalization battle is already raging in its courts.
      Oh no, the evil polygamists are coming!! But really, to argue that the United States will legalize polygamous marriages because its currently being argued in the Canadian Court system (specifically the B.C. Court), is an act of unbelievable ignorance.   Do they not realize that Canada has a completely different legal culture, set of precedent, as well as "Bill of Rights" called the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To extrapolate that something will happen in the U.S. because it has happened in another legal system vastly simplifies the argument and is not beneficial to a reasonable and educated discussion of the issue.
The very existence of the  NYT opinion piece may rile gay activists, however, whose major (and patently defective) talking point thus far in criticizing Prop 8 and other marriage amendments is that they “single out” gays for discrimination. For the public relations game behind same-sex marriage to succeed, the ad nauseum accusations of “hater” and “bigot” and “homophobe” require there to be a single “victim” group – homosexuals – not whole groups of differently situated marriage-seekers. Once people understand that polygamy, and incestuous, polyamorous (group marriage) and under-age relationships, among others, are also excluded by a traditional marriage legal scheme, the gay victimhood public relations effort will unravel.
      Actually, bans on gay marriage DO specifically discriminate against gays and lesbians in a particular way that polygamous and incest bans regarding marriage do not. Those who want the ability to marry multiple partners or their family members are not denied such a license based upon their sexual orientation; something which gays and lesbians are denied. Though I favor the government allowing the former marriages, polygamous/incestuous marriages are completely different than same-sex ones; they cannot be compared no matter how hard you might try to do so.
The state’s recognition and regulation of marriage is not about rewarding every adult desire for any relationship under the sun, it’s about preserving an institution that for millennia has proven to be the best foundation for a society to continue to thrive.
     What Citizen Link fails to realize, is that the institution of polygamy is far older the "traditional" institution of one-man and one-woman marriage. Additionally, according to their "inerrant" scriptures as well, incestuous relationships were common in Genesis. But regardless, in that last sentence they - in so many words - stated that homosexual relationships are inferior to heterosexual ones. Why am I not surprised, for every time they open their mouths - in the name of love - they attempt to denigrate and disparage our marriages and relationships. They much have an inferiority complex themselves.

New York Clerk Resigns Post - Refuses To Grant Same-Sex Couples Marriage Licenses

     New York State clerk Laura Fotusky of Barker, has resigned from her post as town clerk so that she would not have to sign marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. As she told Politico,
“I would be compromising my moral conscience by participating in licensing same-sex couples...I had to choose between my job and my god.” 
 Her full resignation letter reads, 
To the Town of Barker Board, Supervisor Dilworth, Attorney Lewis and the Town Residents,"

“I have been in contact with Jason McGuire from New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, our Town Attorney, Richard Lewis, and a Constitutional Lawyer regarding the Marriage Equality Act that was passed June 24, 2011.  There was no protection provided in the legislation for Town Clerks who are unable to sign these marriage licenses due to personal religious convictions, even though our US Constitution supports freedom of religion.”

“I believe that there is a higher law than the law of the land. It is the law of God in the Bible.  In Acts 5:29, it states, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’”

“The Bible clearly teaches that God created marriage between male and female as a divine gift that preserves families and cultures. Since I love and follow Him, I cannot put my signature on something that is against God.  Deuteronomy 10:12 says, ‘…What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.’”

“I would be compromising my moral conscience if I participated in the licensing procedure. Therefore, I will be resigning as of July 21. I wanted you to know my position as I understand the marriage law goes into effect on July 24.”

“It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve the Town as Barker Town Clerk.”
     I have no sympathy for this woman for a few reasons. Not only is she a public servant who must serve ALL taxpayers, and not just the ones she wants, but as a town clerk, she was already violating her religious beliefs and her God by granting marriage licenses period. The God of the Christian Bible does not approve of remarriage after a divorce, interfaith marriages, and non-religious marriages...yet was she complaining when she had to grant marriage licenses to these couples? Not at all...her objection is therefore nothing more than either opportunistic and/or based upon prejudices against same-sex couples. I think that the latter is the more likely scenario.

      Additionally, when will those in the Religious Right realize that there is a fundamental difference between RELIGIOUS marriage and CIVIL marriage. For some bizarre reason, they still think that they are one and the same.

Polygamy Lawsuit In The Works

Today, the New York Times ran an article detailing a lawsuit that will be filed on Wednesday regarding polygamous relationships. Kody Brown of Utah, his one wife though civil marriage, and his three "sister wives", claim that Utah's ban on polygamous conduct violates the precedent set in Lawrence v. Texas. From the Times, 
The lawsuit is not demanding that states recognize polygamous marriage. Instead, the lawsuit builds on a 2003 United States Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state sodomy laws as unconstitutional intrusions on the “intimate conduct” of consenting adults. It will ask the federal courts to tell states that they cannot punish polygamists for their own “intimate conduct” so long as they are not breaking other laws, like those regarding child abuse, incest or seeking multiple marriage licenses.
Making polygamous unions illegal, they argue, violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, as well as the free exercise, establishment, free speech and freedom of association clauses of the First Amendment.
“We only wish to live our private lives according to our beliefs,” Mr. Brown said in a statement provided by his lead attorney, Jonathan Turley, who is a law professor at George Washington University.
Of course, we will be hearing organizations like NOM, Focus on the Family, American Family Association, etc., start caterwauling about "slippery slopes" and the decent of the "marriage culture". To them, decriminalization of polygamy will only be another nail in the coffin of the traditional definition of marriage and sexual morality...and its all those gays fault. If it hadn't been for the gays and lesbians, there would be no arguments in present day society regarding polygamy whatsoever. This though, flies in the face of the fact that polygamy has been around far longer than "one-man, one-woman marriage", has been an accepted cultural practice all around the world, and was being debated in the U.S.(1800's) far before the issue of marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

Kudos to Mr. Brown for his lawsuit. As long as the family is not breaking any other laws, I see no reason for the state to deem itself worthy to regulate personal relationships...whether it be marriage equality for LGBT people, or decriminalization of polygamy. What do you all think? Is decriminalization of polygamy a good thing? Should the government have a ban on polygamous conduct?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Family Leader "Marriage Pledge" Lacking One Thing - Tolerance

Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, and GOP Presidential Candadite, in a statement issued on his website said the following regarding the "Marriage Vow" pledge of the Iowa based Family Leader.
“Government should not be involved in the bedrooms of consenting adults. I have always been a strong advocate of liberty and freedom from unnecessary government intervention into our lives. The freedoms that our forefathers fought for in this country are sacred and must be preserved. The Republican Party cannot be sidetracked into discussing these morally judgmental issues — such a discussion is simply wrongheaded. We need to maintain our position as the party of efficient government management and the watchdogs of the “public’s pocket book”.
“This ‘pledge’ is nothing short of a promise to discriminate against everyone who makes a personal choice that doesn’t fit into a particular definition of ‘virtue’.
While the Family Leader pledge covers just about every other so-called virtue they can think of, the one that is conspicuously missing is tolerance. In one concise document, they manage to condemn gays, single parents, single individuals, divorcees, Muslims, gays in the military, unmarried couples, women who choose to have abortions, and everyone else who doesn’t fit in a Norman Rockwell painting.
The Republican Party cannot afford to have a Presidential candidate who condones intolerance, bigotry and the denial of liberty to the citizens of this country. If we nominate such a candidate, we will never capture the White House in 2012. If candidates who sign this pledge somehow think they are scoring some points with some core constituency of the Republican Party, they are doing so at the peril of writing off the vast majority of Americans who want no part of this ‘pledge’ and its offensive language.
Good for him!! I have always said that the only way that the Republicans will be able to win in the next election is to focus exclusively on economic and fiscal issues, rather than the divisive social issues that rile its base.  As Johnson aptly point out, independent voters overwhelmingly reject the radical positions of the social conservative element of the Republican party. Sadly, Gary Johnson's words will most likely fall on deaf ears, for instead of opening itself and becoming an inclusive "big tent" party, it is running in the opposite direction to pander to its radical base.

Rule #1 of American politics - appease your base while at the same time attract independents. Without independents, a presidential candidate will NEVER be able to win an election.

Pawlenty - The Science Is Out On Whether Being Gay is a Choice

Former Minnesota Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate Tim Pawlenty, in an interview this morning on Meet The Press, was asked by David Gregory whether or not he believed being gay was a choice. Pawlenty, as shown in the video, dodged the question and said that the science behind the causes of sexual orientation is "in dispute". Though technically correct in his assertion that scientists are "in dispute" regarding the exact causes of sexual orientation, all major medical and psychological associations agree that being gay is NOT a choice and that attempting to change your sexuality only has negative emotional and psychological consequences.

As I wrote a few days ago, though seemingly innocent and "scientific", the theory that LGBT people choose their sexual orientation and gender identity is not only harmful to LGBT people, but also gives validity to the claim that LGBT can change and become "normal".

Watch a clip of Pawlenty's interview below.

H/T to ThinkProgress for drawing my attention to this interview.
Related Posts with Thumbnails