Tag Archives: LGBT rights

Fear and Prejudice on Trial

Go. Go now. Go now and watch “8″: A Play About the Fight for Marriage Equality

Jerry and I watched it tonight, and if ever there’s a church service for someone like me, this. is. it.  One of the final monologues by Martin Sheen (playing the role of the plaintiff’s attorney Ted Olsen) is simply ELECTRIC.

The final scene of the play includes the plaintiffs addressing the audience, talking about the reasons why they put themselves, their relationships, and their family in the public spotlight for this trial.  I was struck by how their primary motivation wasn’t to secure their own individual rights to marry, but the rights of other couples.

Hearing this made me think of one of my favorite high school teachers, Ms. Hearn, who taught me AP US History. I remember that we spent WEEKS studying the ins and outs of the Constitution, including many of the court cases fought that ended up securing some of the rights we enjoy today.  Now, 17+ years later, I can remember how Ms. Hearn impressed upon us how hard others have had to fight to give us the freedoms we so often take for granted.

And that’s how I see these plaintiffs. Ordinary Americans who are doing something extraordinary. Not just for themselves, but for everyone — gay and straight alike.  It’s only a matter of time before everyone back home will be able to marry the person they love — and no piously-driven homophobia will stand in the way.

David Boies (the other plaintiff attorney) put it best: “We put fear and prejudice on trial – and fear and prejudice lost.”

How did I spend my Saturday morning?

Not watching cartoons or sports, but watching the Senate edge even closer to ending a discriminatory policy.

Final vote on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is expected at 3pm EST today.  I’ll be watching.

What he said:

(oh, smack — Sulu just called you a douche! And rightfully so.)

It gets better

Adding his voice to Dan Savage’s campaign of “It Gets Better,” here’s President Obama:

My frustrations are pretty clear in the post below this one — but I think Rachel Maddow summed up the significance of the video well:

Americans who care about the rights of sexual minorities have plenty of reasons to be frustrated and even angry with President Obama and his administration. Still, I’m trying to think of another American president who could have given this talk — and it is a talk, not a speech. This is a president, a father, talking to kids the same age as his daughters. President Lincoln in the YouTube age? President Clinton, plus 15 years? In a time when progress feels painfully slow, this counts.

link

Yes, We Can — but won’t.

Right now one of the bigger issues playing out on the political hometurf is the issue of ending the useless “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military.  The policy itself is in its death throes — from all the polls, it’s clear the American public doesn’t support it AND courts all over the country are finding constitutional issues with how the policy itself is executed.

So, you’d think it would be a NON-ISSUE for a President and his administration — one that was elected on a LGBT-friendly political platform and with their support — to go ahead and put this discriminatory policy out of its misery and end its enforcement.

Not exactly the case — the way this story has played out over the last few months  makes the entire presidential administration look downright schizophrenic when it comes to DADT.

First a court rules against the military policy, and issues a stay against its enforcement.  The president then says on the campaign trail that the policy will be “ended on [his] watch”, while meanwhile his Department of Justice challenges the court-imposed stay on DADT, so they can keep enforcing the policy on military service people?!

And now today the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates issued a directive that will make any enforcement of the policy contingent on the “personal approval” of his office first.

Can you see why I’m confused?  We have a president who’s against the policy, but a justice department who’s seeking to keep it in place.  Then there’s a Secretary of Defense who’s spoken out against the policy, and now looks like he’s attempting to make it even more difficult for it to be enforced on service men & women — SO WHY NOT JUST END IT ALREADY?

Lt. Choi articulates my frustrations well (and from a position where he’s completely entitled to feel such frustration):

Mr. President, justice delayed is justice denied.

EDIT: Valerie Jarrett responds to Lt. Choi (and I’m not persuaded by her argument):

Focus on your own family

I just finished watching the 2010 documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition (link is to the full movie online).  I’ve known about the film since it’s preview days, and I was happy to see that it’s now available to view online (though I don’t know how long that link will be active, so get to watching it, ASAP).

I spent the first half-hour of the film in tears — though not all of the sad kind. I loved hearing the story of one of the first same-sex couples in California to get married.

But not all of my tears were happy ones — I really had a difficult time hearing of the horrible discrimination this couple felt by some of their religious family members, the ones who reacted negatively to the news of their marriage.

[note: If any of my friends or family members were to ever reject Emma should she grow up and be a lesbian, I can confidently state right now that it would be the end of my relationship with them.  There is simply NO EXCUSE for that kind of rejection or judgement, and such a oppressive ideology has no place in my (or my family's) life.]

The film is definitely worth a watch, if only to learn about the deceit and maliciousness of the movement to pass Prop 8 — a political effort spearheaded by the LDS church.  The film also spends much of its time focusing on the HUMAN damage caused by the implications of Prop 8 and the relational damage of blind religious obedience to hurtful dogma.

Of course, watching this film was positively influenced by the news of the Prop 8 trial decision from a month or so ago — not to mention that I can already feel the tides of history changing, because soon it won’t be an issue for ANYone to be married, if they so choose.

I’m just glad I’m on the ethical side of this issue.  I know one day I’ll be able to tell my daughter about this human rights battle and about who said what and where when it came to marriage equality.  Plus I’ll also have access to all the YouTube clips of all the hateful, vile religious leaders who spewed their bigotry in their quest to preserve discrimination.  If watching those videos doesn’t turn people away from these faith ideologies, I don’t know what else will.

Bring on the Supreme Court, I say. No more H8.

history in the making

Today U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled AGAINST Proposition 8 in California, clearing the way for the case to make its way to the Supreme Court.

I’m just DYING to read his entire ruling, but I’m just so swamped right now between

  • teaching/marking/meeting with students,
  • gardening,
  • planning the Freethinker Family Camp next weekend,
  • applying (and being ACCEPTED!) into Celebrant training,
  • mamahood,
  • and the occasional few hours of sleep I can grab.

So — until I can sit down and savor this human rights victory, I’ll enjoy the few snippets I read online, like this one:

The evidence shows that the movement of marriage away from a gendered institution and toward an institution free from state-mandated gender roles reflects an evolution in the understanding of gender rather than a change in marriage. The evidence did not show any historical purpose for excluding same-sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in order to marry. FF 21. Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed. (113)

And, this one:

Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians.The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples. (135)

The clincher:

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. (138)

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick’s reflects on the judge’s decision, and writes:

It’s hard to read Judge Walker’s opinion without sensing that what really won out today was science, methodology, and hard work. Had the proponents of Prop 8 made even a minimal effort to put on a case, to track down real experts, to do more than try to assert their way to legal victory, this would have been a closer case. But faced with one team that mounted a serious effort and another team that did little more than fire up their big, gay boogeyman screensaver for two straight weeks, it wasn’t much of a fight.

For one of the most inspiring moments of the day, watch Rachel interview the lawyers behind defeating the Proposition, Ted Olsen and David Boies:

What a great day for equality.  I cannot wait until I’ll be able to be a Celebrant at a same-sex wedding.