You see? You see?? You let gay people get married, and the next thing you know, puffer fish are having threesomes with snails!
A year ago when I started working at my current employer I had an interesting e-mail exchange with Brendan. I noticed during orientation that my company provides benefits to same-sex partners in the same way they provide them to married couples. This is interesting in that it sets up an area where gays and lesbians actually have MORE rights than their heterosexual peers. As there is no legal standing for homosexual couples in this state (or any other except Massachusetts) there is no way for the company to verify this status so they offer the benefits on good faith. You could theoretically include any same-sex roomate/housemate in your benefits, you wouldn’t necessarilly have to be gay, but it certainly provides a more flexible option, as marriage is required for partners who are not of the same sex.
Well that practice may now be illegal, or so claims a woman who works for Honeywell International here in Washington. Why? Because earlier this summer Washington passed a law that makes discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal. The woman claims that it is discrimination that she can not extend benefits to her live in boyfriend, the same way a gay coworker might, and based on the law I think she may have a point.
There are certainly obvious solutions, some more complicated than others. First of course is creating legal civil unions for couples of any orientation, but like most states, the voters of Washington have thus far rejected the idea of gay marriage. Next, you could and might have to stop offering benefits to non-married couples, which of course puts them at a disadvantage to companies in other states who can still offer those benefits as an incentive. Finally, and most costly companies may have to start providing benefits to ANY roomate of an employee, regardless of orientation or relationship status.
It is certianly and interesting, and by many unforseen consequence of the law.
In case you missed the day’s really big story, here it is: ‘N Sync singer Lance Bass is gay.
Well. Thank goodness that’s settled.
In a 5-4 ruling today the state supreme court of Washington has upheld the state’s DOMA law. Gay activists and their supporters were predicatbly dissapointed by the ruling, but many have stated that they believe in time the law will be changed. Groups in favor of preserving the traditional definition of marriage as a heterosexual one on the other hand are obviously happy about the ruling.
The ruling does not prohibit gay marriage from ever being recognized, it merely says that the issue is one that the legislature has jurisdiction over.
With the ruling, Massachusetts remains the only state which recognizes gay marriage.
Oprah Winfrey isn’t gay. The world may now resume spinning.
The question arose, apparently, because of Winfrey’s extremely close relationship with her best friend, former Connecticut local news anchor Gayle King, who said, “The truth is, if we were gay, we would tell you, because there’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
Oprah and Gayle join Lennox Lewis, Mike Piazza, and Jeff Garcia on the list of people to unnecessarily announce that they aren’t gay.
Last night, Becky and I caught a re-run of last Tuesday’s Daily Show, which — in addition to Jon Stewart’s dramatic rhetorical question “6/6/06: Day of the Devil, or REGULAR NUMERICAL SEQUENCE?!?” — also featured an interview with archconservative pundit Bill Bennett about Bennett’s new book and the issue of gay marriage. (You can buy the show from iTunes here.)
First of all, whatever you think of Bennett, give the guy credit: he had to know he was going to be facing a skeptical interviewer and a very hostile crowd, yet he came on the show anyway. More power to him. As for Stewart, I thought he was respectful, yet forceful. He certainly had no pretensions of remaining neutral, and basically engaged in a full-on debate with Bennett on the merits of the issue. Needless to say, I felt Stewart got the better of Bennett. His best line was:
Bennett: Look, it’s a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man and a woman.
Stewart: I disagree, I think it’s a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition, or just a random fetish.
He’s absolutely right about that, and he expanded that aspect of his argument beautifully when Bennett busted out the old “slippery slope to polygamy” canard:
In a move that should surprise very few, the Senate today rejected the proposed Constitutional Ammendment banning gay marriage. The vote was 49-48, in a largely party-line division. Republicans breaking ranks were Specter, Gregg, Chafee, Snowe, McCain, Collins, and Sununu. Democrats breaking ranks were Byrd and Nelson. Dodd, Rockefeller, and Hagel didn’t vote, and Jeffords, Vermont’s Independent, sided with the Democrats. The successful cloture motion effectively ends the legislative process for this ammendment for this year.
While we’re on the topic, though, I have a question which has genuinely puzzled me for years. The Defense of Marriage Act (which, to be completely fair, hails from 1996, so it was signed by Clinton, not Bush) says that states don’t have to recognize legally-performed gay marriages from other states regardless of the “full faith and credit” clause in the Constitution. I’m not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV), but I have never understood what the legal justification is for passing a law stating that certain other laws are not subject to the Constitution. As much as I oppose the proposed ammendment which failed today, I do recognize that at least it’s being done in accordance with the law–if you don’t like what the Constitution says, you have to ammend it, rather than passing laws in violation of it. Brendan’s told me before that he has heard that DOMA’s constituionality isn’t as clear-cut as it seems, but he was unable to elaborate how. So, since this blog has a good percentage of readers who are lawyers-in-training at a markedly religious school, I figure someone might be able to explain this. How is it that a law can state what other laws are subject to the constitution? Would it be any different if I tried to get a law passed saying that computer files aren’t subject to due process claims, and thus there is no such thing as unreasonable search and seizure when it comes to electronic files? If so, why?
Tim “Darth” Eyman’s latest effort to circumvent the legislature in the state of Washington failed on Tuesday. He was attempting to place a referendum on the fall ballot regarding a recently passed Washignton law which would add sexual orientation to the list of classes which one can not be legally discriminated against in areas such as housing and employment. The deadline for filling was yesterday afternoon and the referendum effort came up several thousand signatures short.
As such the bill went into law today.
Eyman’s attempted argument was that such a controversial matter should be decided by a vote of the people.
Well frankly, I think thats a particularly stupid argument. For one, if we allowed simple majority to decide “controversial issues” we might still be seeing segregation to this day, especially in the south. No, instead we realize that sometimes majority opinion isn’t the right way to decide things like that.
People sometimes forget, we don’t live in a society that simply decides things based on a majority vote. We live in a society governed by a Constitution and beyond that we have an elected legislature whose job it is to enact laws. If people want to voice their opinion they are welcome to go to their representative and tell them what they think. Beyond that if they don’t like the way their legislator is voting, DON’T RE-ELECT THEM!. I once thought that the initiative/referendum process in Washignton was valuable safety valve, something that could be used in limited circumstances to prevent the legislature from going too far, when simply voting one politician out of office wouldn’t be able to have the impact that an initiative would. Unfortunately as Brendan pointed out our Freshman year, the process is all to easily abused, there are very little checks and balances in place to prevent well intentioned but potentially dangerous or even ill intentioned initiatives from being passed, beyond the preliminary signature requirement.
I still think that the initiative process COULD be a valuable tool, provided it is sufficiently limited in its power.
But for today atleast, the process worked and Eyman and his attempt to stay in the spotlight were seen for what they really were, and even people like me who are morally opposed to homosexual behavior, are glad that another form of discirimination has become illegal.
BoiFromTroy says the breeders are taking over West Hollywood… and it’s the MSM’s fault! Heh.
P.S. Commenter Jake writes:
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind the straight people in our bars, but I wish they wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t kiss, hold hands or touch. Do they have to do that in public, almost like they are rubbing our noses in their sexuality.
Has anyone else noticed that the Dodge Caliber commercial involving a fairy — a literal fairy, a winged female creature with a magic wand — has mysteriously changed? The line “silly little fairy” has been removed from the ad. Presumably this was in response to pressure from gay-rights groups. Timothy Kincaid was not amused by the ad, and Bob Garfield called it “hate speech in disguise.” But Cicero’s Son at the conservative site Free Republic says, “Without that line, the ad is pretty incoherent and pointless.”
Personally, I think the commercial is stupid, with or without the line.
(According to Free Republic, the “altered” version was appearing as long ago as May 1. But I can personally testify that the unedited, “silly little fairy” version was still appearing — at least on OLN — as recently as a few days ago.)
If there had been any doubt left that California is run by nutcases, it has been removed by the recent decision of the CA legislature to mandate “‘age appropriate’ lessons on the historical contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people”. State Senator Sheila Kuehl, the bill’s lesbian author and Bea’s roommate Camille’s boss (who is, incidentally, a Domer)*, defends her bill by saying, “”All we’re saying is let us also be reflected in history.” The bill was purportedly introduced “on the belief that presenting positive role models could help ease negative feelings and battle high suicide rates among gay and lesbian students.”
Now, I’m all for doing the best we can to increase tolerance of gays and lesbians and lower their suicide rates (though I wonder where they’re getting their data), but isn’t this going a little too far? I mean, should school textbooks note there was a gay rights movement and discuss its goals and accomplishments? Absolutely. But now we should start noting “gay firsts” (”the first gay CEO;,the first lesbian lawmaker, etc.) like we’ve done with African-Americans, religious minorities, and women? To an extent this makes sense, but creating chapters and lessons focused on this topic seems rather ludicrous. Should us short people start clamoring for recognition of short people in history? Napoleon Bonaparte seems to get a lot of publicity, but it’s usually not very positive. In fact, from the connection between Napoleon’s famous height (or lack thereof) and his warmongering exploits we have the derogatory term, “Little Man syndrome”, a syndrome which no doubt exists perhaps, but imagine the outcry if we started talking about “Terrorist Muslim syndrome”….
In any case, passage of the bill into law appears to be almost a fait accompli, so allow me to look for a silver lining. One unintended consequence I am hoping for is a newfound recognition of just how exemplary a historical institution Great Britain’s parliament is, as well as a growing appreciation for the benefits of British colonialism, given that British MPs and Britain’s upper class white men have been historically notorious for being cross-dressers and closeted fagalas. Is that too much to ask, or am I being dreamy?
CORRECTION: Camille’s boss is State Senator Christine Kehoe, not State Senator Sheila Kuehl. Sen. Kehoe is much more moderate, but is also a lesbian. I apologize for the mistake; I apparently confused my lesbian Democratic California senators whose last names begin with K.
OK, so not exactly… Swedish researchers have determined that hetero- and homosexuality may be linked to pheremones. People (men and women) who are attracted to men react positively to the male pheremone and people attracted to women react positively to the female pheremone.
I could say something about limp Swedish fish, but I won’t…
A Baptist college in Kentucky has expelled a student for being gay — not for being caught engaging in homosexual conduct, but for being gay — under a policy which says that “Any student who engages in or promotes sexual behavior not consistent with Christian principles (including sex outside marriage and homosexuality) may be suspended or asked to withdraw from the University of the Cumberlands.”
It seems significant to me that it says “and homosexuality,” not “and homosexual conduct.” At the very least, that changes the burden of proof a bit, taking away the pesky necessity of proving that the student is actually in violation of prohibitions against having gay sex, which is what the Bible is really supposedly against (right?). Anyway, Jason Johnson was kicked out of school because officials discovered his MySpace profile, in which he “discussed his sexual orientation and boyfriend.” And before you say “well, he shouldn’t have gone to school there,” the policy didn’t exist when he started school. Back then, the student handbook merely prohibited “lewd and indecent conduct” and said students should “conduct themselves, on and off campus, in a manner which is consistent with the objects of the college and with its standards of conduct.”
Obviously, it would be helpful to know more about what exactly the MySpace profile said, but regardless of the details of this particular case, I find the school’s policy deeply disturbing, not only because I personally believe discrimination against gay people is wrong, but because the language of the policy seems at odds with the whole “love the sinner, hate the sin” concept that supposedly underlies Christian objections to homosexual activity. Given that the issue under the school’s rules is homosexuality, not just homosexual conduct, I would think that even devout anti-gay-rights Christians would have a problem with this.
The “or promotes” thing is also very concerning. As Mike (to whom, a hat tip) says:
I mean, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one thing for a religious institution to remove students who engage in behavior with which they have religious objections; to my mind, though, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a whole new level of frightening when students arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t allowed to advocate something with which the university disagrees. The “or promotes” part of this actually bothers me more than does the “engages in”Ã¢â‚¬â€if ND had that policy, for instance, students could be expelled for advocating use of condoms, regardless of whether they ever actually did use them.
Or, for another instance, if ND had that policy, students could be expelled for wearing those “Gay? Fine by me” t-shirts that I mentioned earlier today.
Anyway, I’m with Mike, who concludes: “They are within their legal rights hereÃ¢â‚¬â€as unfortunate as I find thatÃ¢â‚¬â€but morally, I find this utterly repugnant.”
I just woke up from a dream in which I wore my “Gay? Fine By Me” t-shirt to a sporting event (basketball, I think) in some midwestern city (possibly St. Louis - basically I think this was a re-enactment of the MVC tournament, with some twist that I can’t quite recall), whereupon I got into a passionate argument in a stadium bar with a homophobe (I remember him citing Andy Dick as an example of how gay people need to “get out of his face”… why is my subconscious thinking about Andy Dick?!?), only to find that about 75% of the patrons were on his side, and I was sort of shouted out of the bar. Later, a friendly, liberal-looking girl saw my shirt and my wedding ring, and congratulated me with this knowing smile on her face, clearly assuming that I was a gay person who had gotten married. I think she said something like “That’s so cute” (which, if I was gay, would be a little condescending, wouldn’t it?).
The strange thing was, I hadn’t intended to wear the shirt to the stadium at all, and certainly not as some kind of political statement. I had put it on earlier in the day not intending to wear it out (this is actually true — I changed from the white t-shirt that I wore to work into my “Gay?” shirt yesterday evening before eating dinner, so I wouldn’t risk spilling anything on my white t-shirt, and as a result, I am still wearing the “Gay?” shirt right now, as I type out this post — so that real-life event was obviously the basis for the dream) and then had somehow ended up unexpectedly going to this sporting event, but forgot to change my shirt beforehand. Somewhat disappointingly, in the dream I ended up buying a Bradley Sweet 16 t-shirt from a concession stand to cover it up, because I just didn’t want to deal anymore with all the trouble that the “Gay?” shirt was causing. Am I really that easy to intimidate? Was this dream a South Park-like metaphor for the importance of sticking up for free speech and stating your opinions in the face of fear? Heh. Matt and Trey are inside my head!!! AAAHH!!! :) But hey, at least I verbally smacked down that guy in the bar…
The dream ended with my realizing that I couldn’t remember what section of the stadium I was supposed to be sitting in, and Becky had my ticket, so I had no idea how I was going to find her. That crisis, however, was resolved by my alarm clock going off.