Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Children and Gays

     While I'm not able to watch the Perry vs. Schwarzenegger proceedings on television or youtube, there are many reporting in print upon the event. 

     Here are a few resources:
     Kristin testified about growing up in Bakersfield, constantly being made to feel different and inferior because she was a lesbian. If Prop 8 could be undone, Kristin testified, "kids like me growing up in Bakersfield could never know what that felt like, their entire lives would be on a higher arc, it would improve the entire quality of their life."
     That's one aspect of the LGBT rights issue that many conservatives and straight people don't seem to get.  We, who are in the sexual orientation minority, grew up in a world where we were forced to be straight, where we never had the opportunity to just be kids and to figure out how to date other kids like us.  We were bullied not only at school, but by preachers in our churches, evangelists on our televisions, and family members at our dinner tables, who berated homosexuals.  We lived in fear of being exposed, and thus were trained at early ages that in order to survive, we had to live a lie.  If that's not child abuse, what is?

     I find it completely hypocritical, when the "traditional" marriage side argues that LGBT persons are about perverting and abusing children.


Gays vs. The Terminator

     The trial of (perhaps) my life, the Federal Prop 8 trial, is under way and has been given the name Perry vs. Schwarzenegger.  At first, this repelled me, that my equal rights could be forever tied to the steroid-wasted and incompetent "governator" who has repeatedly vetoed my state's marriage equality laws.  (You know what they say about men who like big fat cigars between their lips.)

     Then the tangy taste of irony hit me.  In order to get our equal rights, we homos, the objects of millennia of bullying, will have to defeat one of the most histrionically hetero and uber-masculine icons of the twentieth century: Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

     And, we will.

     The Republican appointee U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who will decide the fate of our marriage equality future, my not overturn Proposition 8 at the end of this round, but we queers will not quit fighting.  We've lost plenty of battles on the playground before this one, but we are done meekly hiding in the bushes or staying in for recess due to a cold.  We're here to fight until we are equal, and we have not only truth, time, history, and liberals on our side, but also conservatives.

     Yes, one of the leading lawyers on the case is none other than Ted Olson, who we can all thank for getting George W. Bush in the White House.  But, this time the conservative juggernaut is on the side of marriage equality.  Many conservatives have called him hypocrite for this decision.  I call him hero.

     Here's an excerpt from Olson's case for conservative support of marriage equality for same sex couples in Newsweek.  The entire piece is worth reading:
     Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one's own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.    
      Considering the Fourteenth Amendment, Olson states:
     At the end of the Civil War, to make the elusive promise of equality a reality, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution added the command that "no State É shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person É the equal protection of the laws."
     Subsequent laws and court decisions have made clear that equality under the law extends to persons of all races, religions, and places of origin. What better way to make this national aspiration complete than to apply the same protection to men and women who differ from others only on the basis of their sexual orientation? I cannot think of a single reason—and have not heard one since I undertook this venture—for continued discrimination against decent, hardworking members of our society on that basis.
     On the need for bipartisan support of equality:
     Conservatives and liberals alike need to come together on principles that surely unite us. Certainly, we can agree on the value of strong families, lasting domestic relationships, and communities populated by persons with recognized and sanctioned bonds to one another. Confining some of our neighbors and friends who share these same values to an outlaw or second-class status undermines their sense of belonging and weakens their ties with the rest of us and what should be our common aspirations. Even those whose religious convictions preclude endorsement of what they may perceive as an unacceptable "lifestyle" should recognize that disapproval should not warrant stigmatization and unequal treatment.
     When we refuse to accord this status to gays and lesbians, we discourage them from forming the same relationships we encourage for others. And we are also telling them, those who love them, and society as a whole that their relationships are less worthy, less legitimate, less permanent, and less valued. We demean their relationships and we demean them as individuals. I cannot imagine how we benefit as a society by doing so.
     All the best to you, Mr. Olson.  Now, go show Conan what you're made of!

Gays: the Cure for Divorce?

     FiveThirtyEight.com reports:
     Over the past decade or so, divorce has gradually become more uncommon in the United States. Since 2003, however, the decline in divorce rates has been largely confined to states which have not passed a state constitutional ban on gay marriage. These states saw their divorce rates decrease by an average of 8 percent between 2003 and 2008. States which had passed a same-sex marriage ban as of January 1, 2008, however, saw their divorce rates rise by about 1 percent over the same period. (Click here for the full report.)
     So much for the "gays getting married will destroy (hetero) marriage" argument.