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“I love you, I just don’t support you or your right to get married.”

So I saw this posted on facebook.
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I am so angry about this I can’t even think straight. I expected better from the person who posted it.
Saying you “do not support” marriage equality is the same as saying it shouldn’t be legal. I can’t see another way to interpret it. That means you’re saying they should not be able to marry the person of their choosing, that they should be denied the benefits and privileges of the marriage contract. That this legal contract between equals should be restricted to certain types of people.
That all adds up to second-class citizen status because of who they love.

In this context, “stand for what we believe” means denying legal equality to an already persecuted minority. You’re not defending anyone, you’re not helping anyone, you’re hurting people for no benefit to anyone.

Furthermore, the stereotyping of Christians as hateful, small-minded bigots comes from statements exactly like this, statements that claim being a Christian means being anti-gay. The ones who push this stereotype the hardest are hate groups who want to pressure Christians to support them by convincing them that this is part of being a Christian. If you really want to separate Christianity from bigotry, you need to stop claiming it as your motivation every time you act like a bigot.

Incidentally, you can be a Christian without denying equal rights. If you don’t believe me, come to San Francisco Pride next year and see how many churches of various denominations march in it, often carrying signs advertising “I will marry you!”

Finally, the whine about “name-calling and stereotyping” being “what we don’t want done to you” grates me on another level, because while Christians do get called names and stereotyped, LGBT people get denied services, fired from their jobs, beaten, raped, and murdered. Don’t pretend that you’re equally persecuted with people who literally just won the right to have their marriages recognized throughout the country, and in half the nation the right to marry the person they choose at all.

Consider what friendship means before you imply all that, and then say “we’re still friends.”
I want my friends to be better people than that.

Today’s Feminism

Saw this on Twitter this evening and got to thinking. 

Screen shot 2014-09-03 at 9.21.44 PM

The topmost tweet is that one that caught my attention. I’ll quote it in case it’s difficult to read. 

Most gamers seem to support equality feminism. What they reject is today’s male-bashing, propaganda-driven, female chauvinism.

I read a lot of claims about “modern feminism” or “3rd wave feminism” or even “4th wave feminism” being somehow separate from “equality feminism”, but I don’t usually see much else. It’s just sort of thrown out as though it’s self-evident that mainstream feminism today has abandoned the old standard of “the radical notion that women are people” and become an excuse for male-bashing by ugly, uppity women. 

Actually, I’m pretty sure people have been saying that about women’s rights movements since before “feminism” was a word. 

Honestly I do have an actual point to get to, but first I have to wonder: is “male-bashing, propaganda-driven, female chauvinism” actually a thing? I mean, I’ve seen a couple of websites that describe themselves as “radical feminists” and do seem to be openly hostile towards men, but they seem to be fairly isolated and don’t attempt to, you know, actually oppress men in any way. I just haven’t seen any of this male-bashing in a position of actual influence, you see, and certainly not to the point that you could describe it as though it were the primary voice of feminism today. 

But moving on, the bottommost tweet added some context, which really must be appreciated. 

I always expected other liberal-minded scholars to join me in exposing 3rd wave feminist lunacy.Never happened.But now the gamers r here.

Just so we’re clear, is there some other clash between feminists and gamers, or is she actually talking about the waves of hate and abuse Anita Sarkeesian has been receiving for the heinous crime of creating a video series examining common sexist tropes in video games? You know, the shit that’s gotten so bad that blogging about the death threats she’s received is enough to bring death threats of your own down on you?

Because to be honest, I’m not really seeing that as “exposing 3rd wave feminist lunacy”. Not even a little. It really looks like pure reactionary anger to me. 

Look, I’m not all-knowing. Maybe I’ve missed some vital context here.

Truth is, lately I’ve gotten lazy about checking sources & background on anything to do with feminism, because it’s always boiled down to a bunch of guys with a sense of entitlement whining. I think the turning point was a kerfluffle about a conference instituting a sexual harassment policy for the first time. The outcry wasn’t over the content or implementation of the new policy, it was that they had a sexual harassment policy at all.

Not that it’s really relevant, but from what I recall the policy itself was pretty boilerplate. Instructions to staff dealing with complaints were basically, “Document everything, and call the police if someone asks you to.”

It’s gotten increasingly difficult for me to take this sort of thing seriously since then. 

 

Hopefully the last I will write about Prop8

So Prop8 is gone. The plaintiffs were married today in San Francisco, and we’re all a little more American.

I’m having trouble finding words for this, so here are a few pictures. Read the rest of this entry

Searching for a decent argument.

I was going to skip the search term post this month. There was nothing new, nothing we hadn’t seen before, so I didn’t see any point in parading it around.

Then I logged in to blog about something else this morning and saw that somebody had searched for the entire first argument presented by Peter Saunders in his list of ten reasons not to legalize same-sex marriage in Britain. It’s a marvelously weird morning when you log into your dashboard and see this in the recent search terms bar.

throughout history in virtually all cultures and faiths throughout the world, marriage has been held to be the union of one man and one woman. marriage existed thousands of years before our nation began and has been recognized in our laws as the ‘voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life’ (hyde v hyde 1866). the un declaration of human rights (article 16) recognizes that the family, headed by a man and a woman, ‘is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state’. it is not up to governments to redefine marriage – but simply to recognize it for what it is, and to promote and protect it as a unique institution.

Yes. I blogged about this last May, and seeing it again inspired me to take another look at it, not the whole list but just this one argument. Looking up his references makes me wonder if Peter Saunders has actually read the documents he is listing in support of his claims.

Read the rest of this entry

This is pretty much how they all sound to me

It just perfectly sums up pretty much every anti-marriage equality commercial I’ve seen.

Vague, pointless melodrama.

Will this be the argument presented to the Supreme Court?

This is the strangest argument against gay marriage that I’ve seen yet, I wish I could read it written out formally by the lawyers who said it. It’s bizarre and weak, and apparently the one that the Prop 8 crowd are taking before the Supreme Court.

Here’s the article by the LA Times, and here’s where you can read Greta Christina’s take on it, where I found the link.

“It is plainly reasonable for California to maintain a unique institution [referring to marriage] to address the unique challenges posed by the unique procreative potential of sexual relationships between men and women,” argued Washington attorney Charles J. Cooper, representing the defenders of Proposition 8. Same-sex couples need not be included in the definition of marriage, he said, because they “don’t present a threat of irresponsible procreation.”

Yeah. What puzzles me about this is that it’s by far the most demeaning description of marriage I’ve ever read. Every married couple should be offended by this, and it just gets worse the more I think about it!

Read the rest of this entry

Still Dreaming

My mother once told me that she’d been living in an apartment in downtown Fresno when Dr. King was murdered. She mentioned the news in passing to her landlord, and his response was “Just another dead nigger.”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Barack Obama’s presidency, it’s that we aren’t nearly as far away from this as we should be. Whether or not a modern King would be jailed under the NDAA for his radicalism.

(Incidentally, that second link is very interesting and you should check it out.)

Read the rest of this entry

the pope on gender identity

So long as there shall exist, by virtue of law and custom, decrees of damnation pronounced by society, artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth, and adding the element of human fate to divine destiny; so long as the three great problems of the century – the degradation of man through pauperism, the corruption of woman through hunger, the crippling of children through lack of light – are unsolved; so long as social asphyxia is possible in any part of the world; – in other words, and with a still wider significance, so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Misérables cannot fail to be of use.

HAUTEVILLE HOUSE, 1862

This is the preface to my Kindle edition of Les Mis, which I was looking at in anticipation of seeing the movie on Tuesday. It seemed particularly appropriate to this article about that vile old tyrant, the pope, attempting to be relevant by discussing gender identity and trans people.

The article is written by one Deacon Keith Fournier, who does not feel at home with the idea of writing for clarity. The formatting is odd, broken into three pages for no apparent reason and with a footer on the second page that makes the article appear to trail off mid-sentence. I found it difficult to tell whose words I was reading at any one time, as Fournier frequently quotes people who are themselves quoting others and makes poor use of the tools language and html provides for clarifying such things. I mention this as a pre-emptive excuse in case I mistakenly attribute one party’s words to another, not to nitpick the superficial weaknesses of the article, as the substantial ones are quite sufficient.

The title of this article is “Pope Benedict XVI Exposes the Profound Falsehood of the Philosophy of the Gender Identity Movement”, and perhaps the pope does so in his speech, but Deacon Fournier felt no need to relay this information to us, the readers. At no point in the article is the philosophy of any gender identity movement or movements discussed, nor is any falsehood established therein. In fact, it consists almost entirely of other people’s words, with Fournier occasionally chiming in to bemoan these “new rights” he is being “forced” to “recognize”.

To which I accuse him of, as the preface says, “artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth”, because his wailing of the restructuring of society is because people who don’t easily fit into hetero-normative categories are insisting that they shouldn’t have to. Because the terrible burden they place upon him is their inclusion in anti-discrimination laws. Read the rest of this entry

Supremes to hear Prop 8 & DOMA

No, sorry, that’s the Supreme Court of the United States, not the Supremes. But that’s the big news today, the Supreme Court will be hearing Prop 8 and DOMA.

As usual, P8TT has the details here.

So what does this mean?
Read the rest of this entry

The threat of Madonna

Okay. I’m going to start with the link and the headline that went with it: RUSSIA: Court Acquits Madonna Of Threatening National Birth Rate By Promoting Homosexuality

Hard not to laugh, isn’t it?

The short version is that “homosexual propaganda”, and the promotion thereof is now a crime in St. Petersburg (they’re considering expanding this law to the federal level) and nine claimants brought charges against Madonna for voicing her opinions in public at a concert there.

It’s actually very tempting to just quote the entire Joe My God article here and point and laugh, but it stops being funny when you see what they considered “promoting homosexuality”. Here’s what Madonna said at a concert in August,

I am here to say that the gay community and gay people here and all around the world have the same rights – to be treated with dignity, with respect, with tolerance, with compassion, with love

This is promotion? Saying that gay people are human beings with rights?

I’m pretty sure in one of these blog posts I said that I expected anyone’s rights to be respected, up to and including Space-Zombie Hitler. Was I promoting Undead-Space-Nazism by doing so?

Well, as the headline says, the judge didn’t think so. But it really bothers me that people thought they could win this suit, and though that it was worth even trying to win.

Read the rest of this entry

How many parents make a family?

Here’s an interesting thing a friend pointed me to, California Senate Bill 1476. The short of it is that this bill would allow for a child to have more than two legally recognized parents.

Here’s a link to a summarized text of the bill, where you can also find a link to the latest version of the complete bill.

The implications of this are pretty interesting. At first I was thinking of things like “who can make medical decisions if a kid’s legal parents are married, but not to each other?”, but on reflection I kinda figure that has to be already addressed somewhere, or maybe the non-parents can act as a legal proxy for their spouses. Reading the bill and the article linked above it looks like it’s mostly intended to allow judges more leeway in cases where parenthood is being contested. So, a judge could give parental rights & responsibilities to spouses without stripping any away from biological parents, for example.

It sounds like a good idea to me. So naturally, people are opposing it on religious terms. Read the rest of this entry

Pride

It’s the last day of June, the last day of pride month, and I’m feeling reflective.Rainbow flag

I generally like June. Usually the hot weather hasn’t really started to wear on me yet and I’m still enjoying it. There are bright colors and rainbows all over, which are far too rare in my opinion. And of course there are parades and social activism events, which are usually fun.

I write a lot about the rights (or lack thereof) of people who aren’t hetero-normative (which is hard to type so I’m going to use “gay” in an absurdly broad, inclusive definition for the rest of this post). The reasons for this are many and varied, and frankly kind of tedious. When you really boil it all down, I think people should be happy, or at the very least have a fair chance at happiness, no matter who they are, and I often read really horrible words, deeds and legislation which all seem to have the sole purpose of making gay people miserable, so I write about it.

This isn’t about anything specific. This is just musing on why it’s called Pride, why it’s about pride. I realize that in many ways I’ve been fortunate, the recipient of a lot of social privilege, and that to a large degree I don’t really know what I’m talking about here. I can only listen and hope that my imagination and empathy haven’t led me astray. I hope that I get it.

“Pride” is a common theme in oppressed groups, but especially the gay community. Read the rest of this entry

Sugar Rainbow!

Ok, I mostly just wanted to post this picture, because I think it’s awesome.

Incidentally, should Oreo decide to market six-layer rainbow Pride Oreos I will totally buy some. And probably make myself sick eating all that sugar, but still!

Buzzfeed has this post highlighting some comments from people who are upset about this image.

There’s something comical about the idea of boycotting a cookie, but reading the comments it quickly stops being funny. Once more I’m left puzzled by how important treating the gays like shit seems to be to some people.

Ninth Circuit done with Prop 8

Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it would not be hearing Prop 8 in an eleven judge en banc review. For those keeping score, this means the Supreme Court is all that’s left. Prop 8 Trial Tracker has the details.

Since I really have nothing to add to that article, I’m going to address a dissent written by one Judge O’Scannlain, who has apparently written on this subject before. From P8TT, here is Judge O’Scannlain’s dissent in full.

A few weeks ago, subsequent to oral argument in this case, the President of the United States ignited a media firestorm by announcing that he supports same- sex marriage as a policy matter. Drawing less attention, however, were his comments that the Constitution left this matter to the States and that “one of the things that [he]’d like to see is–that [the] conversation continue in a respectful way.”1

Today our court has silenced any such respectful conversation. Based on a two-judge majority’s gross misapplication of Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996), we have now declared that animus must have been the only conceivable motivation for a sovereign State to have remained committed to a definition of marriage that has existed for millennia, Perry v. Brown, 671 F.3d 1052, 1082 (9th Cir. 2012). Even worse, we have overruled the will of seven million California Proposition 8 voters based on a reading of Romer that would be unrecognizable to the Justices who joined it, to those who dissented from it, and to the judges from sister circuits who have since interpreted it. We should not have so roundly trumped California’s democratic process without at least discussing this unparalleled decision as an en banc court.

For many of the same reasons discussed in Judge N.R. Smith’s excellent dissenting opinion in this momentous case, I respectfully dissent from the failure to grant the petition for rehearing en banc.

Right. Let’s get one thing straight right away, this has never been a respectful conversation. Ten years ago when it was Prop 22 it was not a respectful conversation. You could see this from the slogans, “Protect Marriage!” as though the existence of same-sex weddings would taint the entire concept somehow. When you speak of people as though they’re a pollutant, you are not being respectful. “Whites only” drinking fountains come to mind. Read the rest of this entry

Preaching Hate

Preachers have been really hard on the gays lately. Our featured asshole today is Curtis Knapp. He’s pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas, and made headlines with his sermon Sunday in which he said this on what to do with those pesky homosexuals:

They should be put to death. That’s what happened in Israel. That’s why homosexuality wouldn’t have grown in Israel. It tends to limit conversations. It tends to limit people coming out of the closet.

So, you’re saying we should go out and start killing them? No. I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should.

Just so we’re clear here, this man is saying he wants a government mass-murder program. To nobody’s surprise, this caused a bit of a shitstorm. But he’s not backing down.

“We punish pedophilia. We punish incest. We punish polygamy and various things,” Knapp told KTKA. “It’s only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption.”

Knapp argued that his sermon was rooted in Biblical verse.

“‘If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act,’” he quoted from Leviticus 20:12. “‘They shall surely be put to death.’”

Just to keep things confusing, in the King James Bible that should be 20:13, Leviticus 20:12 is about not having sex with your daughter in law. I thought this was a typo until I got confused by some old language and noticed that it is 20:12 in the New International Version.

Anyway, I disagree with the “good” pastor, I can come up with a few more exemptions from that very book. Read the rest of this entry

Saunders’ List

Let’s take a look at Peter Saunders list of Ten reasons not to legalise same-sex marriage in BritainI won’t be quoting his full arguments for the whole list, because this is already doomed to be a very long post.

1. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman

Throughout history in virtually all cultures and faiths throughout the world, marriage has been held to be the union of one man and one woman. Marriage existed thousands of years before our nation began and has been recognised in our laws as the ‘voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life’ (Hyde v Hyde 1866). The UN Declaration of Human Rights (article 16) recognises that the family, headed by a man and a woman, ‘is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State’. It is not up to governments to redefine marriage – but simply to recognise it for what it is, and to promote and protect it as a unique institution.

Wow, factually wrong right out of the gate. Throughout history the most common form of marriage has been polygamous. It’s even in the Old Testament of the Bible, according to 1 Kings 11 king Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, though I suspect he may have inflated the number while bragging.

Check out the basic point here, though. Saunders appears to be saying same sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed because right now it isn’t allowed. So we shouldn’t change the rules to allow it because right now it isn’t allowed.

I’m getting a headache already.  Read the rest of this entry

Working hard to hurt others

I was idly browsing through various blogs and news sites this morning and I was struck by how many stories involve people working very hard at no benefit to themselves in order to hurt other people. Poisoning girls’ schools in Afghanistan, stripping away women’s rights in Egypt, making homosexuality a crime in too many countries to count.

I can understand why the leaders of these things do it, for example Mitt Romney declaring opposition to marriage equality will make him more likely to get elected. What I don’t get is the masses, the individual people who work really hard on these things and don’t seem to get any benefit other than the dubious joy of causing human suffering. Seriously.

The most common explanations for these things are religious, and I still don’t get it. Okay, so your religion says X is a sin, but unless your religion also says you should be cruel to people who commit sin or are sinful by nature, why spend so much of your precious time and energy on it?

Pastor Charles Worley went full-nazi and said that gays should be rounded up and put in concentration camps. Bizarrely, he seems to think after they die of old age there won’t be any more. Not sure if he believes that “recruiting” crap or if he thinks they’re actually a different species. Think of the scale of that project, the cruelty it would impose on tens of millions of people. Read the rest of this entry

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