we rock these grooves to be self evident

5/15/08

An amazing thing happened today: California legalized same-sex marriage. Of course, it’s more complicated than that (the CA supreme court actually declared any previous gay marriage bans unlawful under its Constitution) but the upshot is the same, and a lot of people are celebrating tonight. I know I’ve said this forty times before on this blog, but it’s important for straight couples (like us) to be vociferous about this, as nobody can claim that we’re doing it out of self-interest. This is a goddamn human rights issue.

The famed 19th-century Unitarian preacher Theodore Parker has one of my favorite quotes: “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one… And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.”  Your personal cynicism can be measured precisely by how much you believe that quote to be true. Are we on an inexorable path towards enlightenment, or are bursts like this just random flashes of light in mankind’s circular death march?

Theodore Parker lived just before the Civil War, and was discussing slavery, but the argument holds. I have to believe we are heading towards enlightenment, even with the repulsive fuck-monkeys currently occupying the White House, or else there’s really no point to any struggle, or, for that matter, teaching your kids anything but survival.

The Declaration of Independence said “all men are created equal”, but I like to think of America as having one golden rule: Thou Shalt Not Be Punished for Things Beyond Your Control. That was slavery’s essence – punishing those babies who were born black by making them lifelong indentured servants. It defines “sexism”, and now, “homophobia”. The next frontier, of course, is “beauty”, but we’re still a long way from considering the irredeemably ugly or morbidly obese as anything but punchlines.

Once you get past the chokingly ill-educated, insanely stupid argument that homosexuality is a choice, from then on, YOU MUST provide gays and lesbians every last protection under the law, and allow them to call their partnerships “marriage” or “civil unions” or “Sapphic trysts” or whatever the hell they want. Just like you can. End of story. Because, like I said, in this country, we don’t punish people for choices they didn’t make. There’s a name for places like that.

Inevitably – INEVITABLY – a bill will be put before the government, or a referendum on the ballot, that will declare same-sex marriage illegal, and it will be sponsored by some of the most morally-repugnant lowlifes in politics and organized religion. I have trouble fathoming most conservative and Republican behavior, but going after gays is truly sickening. It’s one thing if you truly believe in unprovoked war, or unfettered capitalism, or denying climate change… but there’s a special place in hell waiting for those who punish homosexuals for daring to get married. The vindictiveness is astonishing.

Religious conservatives could be trying to end poverty (like Jesus) or preaching tolerance (like Jesus) or spreading a message of love (like Jesus), but they’d rather spend their time going after fags. Forget the cruelty; it doesn’t even make sense in terms of time management. How do these people manage to block off their calendars? I work freelance and take Dexedrine, and there’s no WAY I could squeeze that much gay-hating in the week.

Hopefully, this will seem quaint to those reading from the future. It will have long been settled: homosexuals are married, just like different races get married, just like two left-handers get married. The moral arc of history may be bending towards justice, but man – it’s a jagged, horrible, tooth-chipping ride.

JasonTimHug(bl2).jpg

our friends Jason and Tim hug after their ceremony at City Hall, Valentine’s Day 2004

0 thoughts on “we rock these grooves to be self evident

  1. dpdir

    The ruling will surely make gay marriage a wedge issue again in the presidential election. And the Republicans now have the holy grail they were looking for to rally the base again.
    None of the candidates will come out in support of gay marriage, included Obama. Why? Cause they don’t believe they can and win.
    Not one leader has the balls to truly “change” america. The only way for democrats to regain the upper hand is to make this a non issue once and for all. Simply support gay marriage and proclaim it from the bully pulpit. Enough mincing of words. Every time a Democrat draws the distinction between ‘marriage” and “civil union” they are accommodating rather then leading.
    It’s like being a “little pregnant” . Unless your a defender of the argument about what the definition of “is” is, you can’t almost have equal rights. You either have ’em or you don’t and I think the issue of separate but equal was decided years ago.
    Obama’s campaign released a carefully worded statement that said he “respects” the decision of the court – but the statement doesn’t praise the ruling. “Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president,” the statement read. “He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage.”
    And again in his own words:
    “I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”
    And lets not forget Obama’s hitching his star to notorious gay basher Donnie McClurkin. Healing and consensus building does not mean sucking up to someone that publicly boasts that he’s in “a war” against gays, and that the aim of his war is to “cure” them.
    I would have hoped for more from a man who knows full well what discrimination is first hand. But gays have always given him the heebie jeebies. If this was an issue regarding the rights of African Americans to marry ( as it was at one time) would the idea of sidestepping it on a federal level and leaving it up to the states be acceptable?
    I still hold my breath and hope that the promise of “change” is more then just another bumber sticker.

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  2. kent

    I think the California ruling is great. We’ll see what happens now with respect to voter initiatives.
    As for the position of the Democratic party — well, that’s politics. Politics is always the art of comprimise. I am totally for gay marriage, but I’m in a minority in this country. Civil unions with the same rights and responsibilities as marriage is doable right now. Gay people get the rights, the people who can’t stomach gay marriage get to keep the word.
    If Civil Union/Full Civil Rights is doable, and Gay Marriage is not, does it make any sense to hold out for the un-doable on principle?
    This is a huge deal amongst Quakers, and in the meeting we attend, there have been a lot of hurt feelings and quiet (naturally) controversy. In the end the meeting wasn’t able to achieve consensus and therefore the status quo persisted. Not to put too fine a point on it, a generation of confirmed Friends have to pass on before the meeting will achieve clarity on taking gay marriages under its care.
    Do I disagree with the members that oppose gay marriage? Of course, but they are in fact wonderful, wise people and I mourn each one as they go. Some people just ain’t ready.
    As for Donny McClurkin thing — I don’t think that you can see that simplistically either. McClurkin has views I (and Obama) strenuously disagree with. And yet McClurkin, knowing this, still wanted to support Obama by singing gospel music at his rallies. You can see it as political opportunism, or see it as trying to bridge a gap.
    McClurkin is a sad figure, in my mind. And yet I can’t help noticing the similarity between his name and SuperBad’s McLovin. Heeey, I’m McClurkin, whassup?
    As you can see I can only maintain my version of high-mindedness for so long.

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  3. Matt

    Obama will get a pass on this because his supporters will hope he doesn’t really mean what he says and is just doing what politicians must to get elected. (Hmm, maybe Rev. Wright was right?) It’s also interesting to see Ian citing Jesus on the matters of poverty and love. What other relevant matter might God’s Word speak to? Oh…
    Just to be clear from the start, I wouldn’t support a constitutional amendment banning SSM. I haven’t read yesterday’s decision, so I won’t criticize it and instead base my sole objection on prior federal arguments made on behalf of the law’s supporters, namely the 14th Amendment. For all the good arguments in favor of SSM this is not a civil rights issue and the proper mechanism for legalizing SSM is the legislature, not the courts.
    Consider… if the Equal Protection Clause guarantees SSM, what’s your argument that the EPC doesn’t also guarantee marriage between 3 brothers? You can’t use the “ick” argument, of course. Presently, everyone has a right to marry so long as it is with a person of the age of majority and of the opposite sex. That applies to everyone equally even though gays and lesbians are in the unenviable position of not liking the choices. But there are always people who don’t like the choices. Legalizing SSM, by whatever means, is simply redrawing the lines to exclude other classes of people. When SSM is legalized vis-a-vis the EPC, what legal argument is there to say the choices of persons desiring plural or intrafamilial marriage are not also constitutionally protected? It’s a serious question (there are movements afoot now to legalize those marriages). The problem goes away, however, if SSM is brought about by the legislature. But that seems like a harder row to hoe at the moment, hence the short cut. Ends justifies the means?
    I hope this argument doesn’t damn me to Hell.
    By the way, Scott M. and I argued this issue exhaustively last month (http://www.xtcian.com/arch/002854.php#comments).

    Reply
  4. caveman

    There’s no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you’ll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane

    Reply
  5. eric g.

    Fittingly, Chris Landgraff, Ricky Bell, Charley Cassell and I were at a benefit honoring Eric Rosen, outgoing artistic director (and co-founder) of Chicago’s landmark gay theatre, AboutFace, on the eve of California’s decision. It’s a long time coming, but great news nonetheless.

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  6. Sean M

    As a gay Californian, even I was surprised by my reaction to this decision. At first, as one of my co-workers who walked into my office can attest to, I was wiping away tears, and they were purely tears of happiness. My home state of Michigan had long ago amended their constitution to make marriage illegal for me, and I felt like my new home state was giving me a warm hug. But as the day went on, the worry started to filter in…worry that again, as in ’04, this issue was going to majorly f*** up the election.
    So for a few days, I’m going to enjoy the comfort of this hug. Then I’m going to stand up and fight the good fight, through November and beyond. I hope that you will too. Shit, I’m crying again.
    P.S. When did left-handers earn the right to marry?! I mean, ew, gross.

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  7. Rebecca

    It always baffles me that people spend time worrying about who’s having sex with whom. As long as everyone’s over 16, who cares? I assume that people who are vocally against gay rights are either secretly gay (and disgusted by themselves) or are sexually repressed in some other way. People should be free to marry whomever they want, regardless of which sex organs they have. I’m really proud to be a Californian today!

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  8. Sean M

    No disrespect meant to Rebecca, but this issue is about a lot more that who is having sex with whom…I can (and will, cute/cool guy permitting) continue to have sex regardless of how this all pans out. It’s about equal protection under the law which is a much more significant thing and worthy of serious debate in terms of how government monies are allocated, taxes are spent, inheritances are divvied up, insurance is applied, children are parented, and literally hundreds of other issues. Serious considerations. And until people (on both sides of the issue) stop making it about what goes on in the bedroom, the battle will never be won.
    I beg of you, all of you, whether straight, gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, or left-handed…in discussing the issue with folks who may be on the fence about this issue, PLEASE take your rationale beyond the bedroom.
    *climbs off soapbox*
    Thank you.

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  9. Matt

    “It’s about equal protection under the law … how government monies are allocated, taxes are spent, inheritances are divvied up, insurance is applied, children are parented, and literally hundreds of other issues.”
    If all these things were achievable by so-called Civil Unions, would that be satisfactory? If so, I think Kent’s right — it may be “doable” now. If not, then it seems like it’s more about social affirmation than legal benefits and that won’t come about by judicial fiat. And there’s still that pesky problem of closing the EPC door on other non-traditional marriages.

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  10. CM

    Sean M. writes: “I can (and will, cute/cool guy permitting) continue to have sex regardless of how this all pans out.”
    Come to think of it, me too. I think we should all show our support by having sex!

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  11. Sean M

    Emphasis on the words “equal” and “all”…while civil unions give many, or even most of these benefits to same sex couples, they don’t give ALL of them. And that’s not EQUAL.
    While I agree that full marriage (including the word) may not be acheiveable just yet, save for a miracle ruling from the US Supreme Court, it still needs to be the goal. Dreams by nature are often foolish, but I’m not gonna stop dreaming.
    If civil unions are the first step on the way there, so be it…I just don’t want people to stop walking.

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  12. Scott M.

    I know Matt and I have debated this issue before, but here are some quick responses:
    >Consider… if the Equal Protection Clause guarantees SSM, what’s your argument that the
    >EPC doesn’t also guarantee marriage between 3 brothers?
    What currently stops a brother from marrying his sister? Incest has no more in common with homosexuality than it does with interracial dating, which is to say, nothing of any merit.
    >You can’t use the “ick” argument, of course.
    Besides the “ick” factor, incest has enormous potential for abuse and coercion. Regardless of gender, allowing incest opens the door for all kinds of unhealthy, abusive, coercive relationships to develop.
    Do the proponents of incest want to tell parents that all they have to do is wait until their offspring are of age, then they can begin abusing them sexually?
    I don’t see why allowing two men or two women to marry has anything to do with incest, and I don’t really see why people try to equate them.
    As for plurality, I don’t really see how this is the “next step” either.
    Because of all the things that go along with marriage (tax implications, inheritances, hospital rights, etc), I don’t see how extending it to multiple people has anything to do with homosexuality.
    Allowing gay people to marry won’t lead to plural marriages, because it’s still a union of two people.

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  13. Mark C.

    ‘Doesn’t even make sense in terms of time management’ – that is hilarious, can I borrow that line?? That is the Ian I remember from UNC – keep it up
    PS – I hope you are right about the Arc of history

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  14. Rebecca

    Sean, I’m cringing at my own comments. Looks like I have a little ‘splaining to do. First, if you ever read what I write, you know I’m not a writer. So sometimes what I write in haste doesn’t adequately convey what I think. Not that anybody cares what I think, but I enjoy this forum simply because I can say what I think without worrying about being judged. (Ummm, does that makes sense?)
    I live in Orange County. I’m a stay at home Mom with 3 kids. And when I am with a group and Gay marriage comes up, the vast majority go straight to the “it’s a sin, it’s gross” defense for being against SSM. You are right – it shouldn’t be about that. But that’s what I hear.
    My sincere apologies if I offended you. I will bring up your points on equal rights the next time the SSM discussion comes up in my social group. Which will probably be tonight. This heterosexual woman is on your side.

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  15. Sean M

    :-) Rebecca – No worries, I totally knew you were on my side with this one. No offense taken, I just wanted to present the bigger picture.
    Say hi to your social group for me. *waves*
    ;-)

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  16. Matt

    “What currently stops a brother from marrying his sister? Incest has no more in common with homosexuality than it does with interracial dating, which is to say, nothing of any merit.”
    First, I never made any connection between homosexuality and incest. Second, that has NOTHING to do with the matter? If anything you’re only proving my point that certain groups other than homosexuals are routinely excluded from what society calls marriage and there will be after SSM is legalized. I’d guess that there are health concerns for why close relatives aren’t allowed to marry in the U.S. (though it’s not the case in other countries), but those aren’t present in the case of brothers or sisters, are they?
    “Besides the “ick” factor, incest has enormous potential for abuse and coercion.”
    We’re talking about consenting adults here, and it’s not difficult to imagine scenarios where the two relatives (cousins for that matter!) didn’t even meet until adulthood. It’s still banned here while it’s legal in the UK to marry one’s first cousin. In the Middle Easst it’s the norm.
    “Regardless of gender, allowing incest opens the door for all kinds of unhealthy, abusive, coercive relationships to develop.”
    In some people’s opinion, no doubt, but who are we to pass judgment on two people who love each other? Who are they hurting? Themselves? And “unhealthy relationships”? The same argument was/is being made against SSM.
    “Do the proponents of incest want to tell parents that all they have to do is wait until their offspring are of age, then they can begin abusing them sexually?”
    Who said anything about sexual abuse? These are consenting adults.
    “I don’t see why allowing two men or two women to marry has anything to do with incest, and I don’t really see why people try to equate them.”
    It has to do with the Equal Protection Clause, Scott, which is my sole argument that you’ve completely ignored. Instead you’re making value judgments against those relationships when you wouldn’t for non-related same-sex couples. If the EPC grants SSM, why doesn’t it do the same for other types? I’ve yet to hear a plausible argument for that. For good reason, I imagine.
    “As for plurality, I don’t really see how this is the ‘next step’ either.”
    It’s convenient not to, but yet there are groups advocating and filing suit for just such a thing.
    “Because of all the things that go along with marriage (tax implications, inheritances, hospital rights, etc), I don’t see how extending it to multiple people has anything to do with homosexuality.”
    No one is saying it does. It has to do with equal treatment under the law. If marriage is a civil right and can’t be defined by the state, how can we deny others who have non-traditional notions about it?
    “Allowing gay people to marry won’t lead to plural marriages, because it’s still a union of two people.”
    Only because you’ve chosen to define it as such. That’s the whole argument against SSM… that the state has a right to decide who’s in and who’s out. If the country (or state) wants to allow SSM and not plural marriage, it can do so through the legislature. But if courts say the state can’t deny it to homosexuals based on the EPC there must be an EPC argument denying it to the other groups.
    I know we went over this ground before, and obviously I’m playing devil’s advocate here, but the issues are real when policy is being written by the judicial branch. Sometimes the slope actually is slippery. The legislature is where SSM should be won.

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  17. blocknyc

    File under encouraging observation: I have noticed with my kids, 14 and ten respectively, and their friends a decidedly indifferent attitude about homosexuality in general including gay marriage. Not the righteous tone most folks in my generation (X) assume. Whenever the issue comes up or if I pose a question it is as if the “issue” doesn’t even exist anymore. It seems to truly be a “non issue”.
    I watched an episode of Degrassi (?) with my older one last week. One of the characters in the high school is gay! Unthinkable just 25 years ago…
    BY THE WAY, I AM SO SICK OF CHRISTIANS (AND I USE THE WORD LOSLEY) DEFENDING THEIR BIGOTRLY BY DRAPING THEMSELVES IN THE IN THE CLOKE OF “BEING CHRISTAIN”. YOU GIVE CHRITIANS A BAD NAME – sorry Bon Jovi. I pose a challenge (for all you pious Christians out there)… name me ONE passage in the new testament where Jesus Christ cleary states that homosexuality is a sin. Where is it? Tell me. Please…. And by the way I am not talking about what the f++++++ pope says or some Old Testament pillar of salt fairy tale. A passage that Jesus said. You know the words in red. That’s assuming you’ve ever read it at all.

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  18. cmkelly

    Progress, huh? Let me ask Ian, and anyone else who cares to answer, this: What are we progressing toward? Some sort of universal brotherhood, maybe?

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  19. Sean M

    That’s easy, cmkelly: Equality
    The condescension in your question leads me to believe you think we’d be digressing, so I ask you: how would your life, or the life of anyone else, be any worse off if I was able to get married?
    If nobody is worse off and a significant part of the population is better off, then hell, I call that progress.
    Kumbaya,
    S

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  20. Njal Brennu

    Is it just me, or are other folks bothered by the “it’s not a choice” argument, which makes homosexuality sound like a disease. It’s most certainly a choice when two people decide to spend their lives together. This is about recognition of families, not about equal-protection for the disabled. The only “disease” is the idea that churches and governments have the right to tell two adults that they’re not allowed to be in love.

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  21. Ian

    Njal, I agree. It’s hard to write about the question of choice without making it sound like a value judgment (same goes for the issue of being African American or a woman). I was going to address it, but the blog was getting long…

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  22. Matt

    “I pose a challenge … name me ONE passage in the new testament where Jesus Christ cleary states that homosexuality is a sin.”
    Well, Prof B/blocknyc, a pious or not-so-pious Christian might point out that: 1) Jesus was never quoted as saying anything about rape either. Is it not sinful?; 2) Jesus specifically cited Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of God’s judgment against sin (Matthew 10:15), an unmistakable reference to homosexuality, which is mentioned numerous times in the NT; and 3) Jesus referred to marriage as between “male and female” (Matthew 19:4-6).
    I know you and most other readers don’t really care (and in no way am I incorporating the above into my objection that the Cal Supreme Court relied on a judicial fiction to find a right to SSM). You probably heard that “challenge” somewhere and thought it very clever. (“This will shut up those Christianists who want to tell people they are not allowed to be in love” — as if that’s the issue.) This response is merely offered FYI, so you can improve your argument in the future.

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