On the eve of a great decision, with hope…

On the eve of a great decision, with hope…

On Friday I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my evening and I spent well over an hour browsing through Netflix in the hope I would find something interesting. Rather than one thing, I found many, but couldn’t decide, and in typical fashion I complained on Facebook. (First World Problems, I know.)

I received instant feedback from three or four friends who were paying attention when I posted, and I followed through on one of the suggestions last night instead of attending a party because I was simply not in a party mood. Mad Men was a disappointment in just two episodes. Between the overt misogyny and the smoking, I couldn’t handle a third episode.

Now I know the series I want to see, but I don’t have HBO. So far, of the clips I’ve seen, I would LOVE the show The Newsroom because in as much as I’ve only caught snippets, Jeff Daniels’ character is dead on right about his assessment of our country, meaning Aaron Sorkin, the show’s creator has it absolutely right. The clip near the bottom of the article linked below is in the opening salvo…I mean first episode of the series.

thoughtcatalog.com: 10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America

The article’s author, Mark Manson, also has it right.

I am terribly tired of the jingoism and the reliance on our past successes as predictors of our rosy future as a country. I feel like I have to apologize whenever I visit Canada. I learned an awful lot about perspective last summer during a family road trip to Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. Seen from the other side of the U.S. border, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 look very different.

Read and learn. And if you don’t like what you’ve read, consider that we are not what we once were and do something about it. Many, many  lives are at stake here.

I hope to be less embarrassed by my alcoholic country than I have been when I visit another’s in the future. I still hold my hand over my heart when I sing the Star Spangled Banner or say the Pledge of Allegiance, but it’s increasingly difficult to be proud of that allegiance.

Tomorrow marks what will likely be a historic set of opinions handed down from the Supreme Court. I hope the justices, and we all by extension, can rise above the filthy rhetoric of the far Right and recognize our duty to all citizens regardless of their orientation. The Prop 8 and DOMA decisions will not fix everything, especially as long as Citizens United, the Patriot Act and ALEC are the guides by which our laws are created in at least a third of our states, but they could go a long way toward addressing equality for all Americans, regardless of whom they love.

You say banana and I say tomato…

You say banana and I say tomato…

I’m from New York state. New Paltz (where I received my BA in Theatre) was the first town in the state to recognize same-sex marriage as a right, a point of particular pride for me. This morning I got hammered for expressing an opinion that we should call it simply what it is, Marriage Equality, based on the following meme:

GAY MARRIAGE: The widespread use of the term is in itself a sign of discrimination. After all, who says "I have an interracial wedding on Sunday" anymore?
Facebook meme courtesy of Support Marriage Equality in Ohio

You want to call it Same Sex Marriage? That’s okay, though the phrase cuts out Transgender relationships for what I think are obvious reasons. If you want to hold the line at calling it Gay Marriage, recall, please, that Gay is not a catch-all phrase for the LGBTQ community at large, and I will hold you accountable for leaving out anyone in the discussion.

I’m going there because that’s where this discussion truly belongs. It takes us into territory that we are really only just starting to understand, but avoiding this aspect doesn’t help my trans friends unless we treat every single person as a person REGARDLESS of their orientation.

Sexuality is a trait, just like skin, hair or eye color. You are born Jewish if your mother is Jewish, because being Jewish is a genetic heritage, but you choose to observe (or not) the tenets of Judaism. Christianity is a choice. And if you choose to discriminate based on gender identification because your chosen faith tells you to, that’s still bigotry.

Those who want to withhold the right of marriage for SOME couples are choosing to do it on the basis of a TRAIT they do not believe exists. Being Gay is not a choice. You can’t choose to have green eyes if you were born with blue. Sure, you can choose to cover up that trait with green contact lenses, but that doesn’t change the fundamental fact that you still have blue eyes. And you can choose to marry someone of the opposite sex to reap the benefits obtained through marriage, but that doesn’t make you straight.

Dark skin is not as easy to disguise, but it was (and still is, at some level) the basis of discrimination. Anti-miscegenation laws remained on the books until 1968. It took us 300 years (give or take a bit) for the Supreme Court to take that ugliness on and it’s STILL a problem to this day, but at least now the courts have recognized the discrimination, even if our people haven’t. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscegenation)

I’m thrilled that we’ve come as far as we have, but there’s still a very long way to go before it becomes safe to say that we are all free to be with and love whomever we want and to share what we have in a legally binding way. All I am saying is that there should NEVER be references to sexual or gender orientation when discussing rights and the law. As the popular saying goes, you don’t need a court system to give you rights. That’s why they’re called rights. I am arguing for equality under the law, regardless.

Marriage is a financial contract committed by people who want to share their lives and livelihoods with each other. In a more sarcastic mood, I would say that every couple has the same right to unhappiness that I have, but I truly know better.

We are starting to hear rhetoric that bothers the hell out of me because it sounds (on the surface) like the bigots have a hook. I want to take that hook away. Equality under the law is the only way to do that. Either everyone has the same rights to marriage or NOBODY does. That simple. Now this blog post, has sparked more, sometimes combative, conversation:

This one will probably get me hate mail from both sides, Gay Marriage

Blogging, in general, consists of opinion sometimes threaded with references to the articles that helped inspire the post in question. WordPress is easy to set-up and allows for free publication – vanity press for the 21st Century. The Cassie Times (this blog) also resides on WordPress. It costs me nothing to write, and you some time to read. It’s where I try to keep my more complex posts, because I like the ability to include multiple references, and that ability sucks in Facebook.

The post in question is a purely op-ed piece, without references to anything concrete. Opinions are free and open, guaranteed by the First Amendment. I haven’t read anything else. His comments about saying that being gay is a lifestyle choice tells me I’m pretty sure I’m not interested in the rest of his opinions, though he does raise several points.

This one in particular:

Why not have a ballot initiatve [sic] that says consenting adults can form a civil partnership that allows visitation rights, joint filing of taxes, parental custody, and coequel property ownership? GASP! But where would be the controversy in that? Then we wouldn’t be able to scream about hatey hate mongers and stuff.

…would be fine except that civil partnerships that aren’t for absolutely every person in the country are the definition of “Separate but Equal” and the moral equivalent of the Whites Only drinking fountain.

If you truly want to argue for civil unions, get yourself to your congressional representatives and argue your case for rewriting our laws or our constitution at the federal level, because anything else fails the test of Equality Under the Law.

State’s Rights has been the traditional bastion of discrimination on the grounds of race, sex and every other separation you can name. Until we abandon its siren call, we will continue to harbor and encourage inequality on all levels of our society. Arguing for Civil Marriage for everyone without actually doing something about it means you keep a class of citizens in their separate place. No matter how you slice it, that’s wrong.

Talking Points Memo: Georgia GOP Chair Warns That Straight People Will Enter Sham Gay Marriages For Benefits

People already get married to reap the benefits of medical insurance and tax shelters. That they are not same-sex is irrelevant. Her point is invalid, unless she wants to come up with a valid test for love. And, since love is often secondary to an arranged marriage (which still happens in this country, depending on the couple’s ethnicity), that point’s invalid, too.

I don’t know about the rest of you and so can’t say that this would be the case for anyone else, but considering the cost of a wedding anywhere, let alone the church-sanctioned variety, I’d think very long and hard before selecting a location or an officiant who did not want to perform my ceremony. Frankly, there’s plenty of fish in the sea, including county clerks (ooh, government again) and justices of the peace who are more than happy to perform such ceremonies. If the priest or church doesn’t want me, I’m pretty sure I don’t want him, either.

The church had nothing whatsoever to do with my marriage, from beginning to end. I have found comfort in belonging to my Unitarian Universalist congregation, and I *might* (or might not) choose a UU minister to serve the next time – if there ever, ever is one – but I would at this point be just as happy to go to the county courthouse and do the deed right there. Having a church-sanctioned wedding and having a legally binding marriage are two totally separate things. The sooner everyone on the religious right stops flapping about rights infringement, the better off we will all be about the issue.
Your argument is (and remains) invalid. While I don’t like the idea of divorce, the act remains legal. Based on NOM’s rhetoric, there are plenty who would be happy to take that right away and turn the USA into Ireland. Fortunately, this country was founded on the separation of church and state for a reason.

And here’s another thing:

The Raw Story: Baptist pastor tells ABC: Same sex marriage is ‘the freedom God has given you’

Because not everyone with religious beliefs thinks same-sex marriage is a problem. And for that, I’m grateful.

Returning to reality…

Returning to reality…

When Jon Stewart called Rove out in this episode of the Daily Show (here: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) he was pointing out a problem with Rove’s math.

All day, when I haven’t been plowing through deadline-driven work or cleaning up a huge backlog of filing, I’ve listened to news stories on NPR and reading articles about the aftermath of Election Day 2012. The news items all fall into roughly two categories of analysis:

1. We knew it was going to turn out this way and how sad it is they didn’t; or: Why it worked out this way and what we/they did wrong.

2. What now? How are we going to fix the mess we’re in, now that the game has changed?

One thing is crystal clear: The GOP miscalculated their margin of viability and they’ve gotten the wake-up call they deserve. Denial is a hard place to be, which is why I’ve thought all day about how to write this post without sounding like a gloating witch. Honestly, in the hard, cold light of day, we’ll get over this.

Rachel Maddow explains the 2012 election and its result in 3 minutes, 13 seconds of glorious truth.

The transcript here, because eventually the YouTube video will vanish again into the Memory Hole of the Internet:

Ohio really did go to President Obama last night and he really did win.

And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again.

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month.
And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.
And the polls were not skewed to oversampled Democrats.
And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math.

And climate change is real.
And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.
And evolution is a thing.
And Benghazi was an attack on us. It was not a scandal by us.
And nobody is taking away anyone’s guns.
And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.
And the moon landing was real.
And FEMA is not building concentration camps.
And UN election observers are not taking over Texas.
And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism.

Listen.

Last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons, but it was also
possibly a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country we have a two-party system in government and the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to
confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems and we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff.

And if the Republican Party and the conservative movement and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum sealed door locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual lived truth of the world then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate between competing, feasible ideas about real problems.

Last night the Republicans got shellacked and they had no idea it was coming

And we saw them in real time–in real, humiliating time–not believe it even as it was happening to them. And unless they are going to secede, they’re going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside if they do not want to get shellacked again.

And that will be a painful process for them I’m sure but it will be good for the whole country, left, right, and center.

You guys we’re counting on you. Wake up! There’s real problems in the world. There
are real, knowable facts in the world. Let’s accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let’s move on from there.

If the Republican Party and the conservative movement and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation.

And in that spirit, congratulations everybody. Big night.

Since January, in ever-increasing ways, I’ve become thoroughly sick of the radical Right’s rhetoric. I honestly thought, after growing up during the 1968 riots and surviving ten presidents, many race-based assassinations  (I was 16 days old when Kennedy was assassinated so I count his administration, too), that we were past all this thinly veiled racist, misogynistic,  homophobic crap, but there is simply no question about what the GOP in general and the Tea Party in particular expected in this year’s Presidential race.

NPR’s probably got the best lock on the main deciding factors: The “brown” vote, together with a diverse coalition of citizens whose liberal politics and religious beliefs, gave President Obama the edge he needed to win, not just by popular vote but by an Electoral College landslide.

Facebook has images popping up on multiple feeds that compare the “red” states of 2012 to maps showing slavery states in 1860. These remarkable divisions are clear and extremely disappointing. Why aren’t we beyond this by now?

The summary works like this: If you choose to accuse every brown person (African-American, Hispanic, Asian or other) of being part of the 47% who suffer from greed and laziness, failing to tow the imaginary line of strict morality, expecting them to give up rights to healthcare, family planning and legal immigration, you get what you deserve.

Reducing a woman’s access to family planning and abortion, particularly in regard to rape, is going to get you booted out of office. Basing your agenda on abridging basic civil rights, regardless of your opinion over the appropriateness of private behavior isn’t just wrong, it’s reprehensible. And it will cost you a seat in the Senate or the House.

The GOP has barely retained their majority in the House, but they have lost ground in the Senate. Continued shenanigans with filibusters and the looming economic Fiscal Cliff will ultimately cost the Tea Party’s constituents, and there is absolutely nothing standing in the way if President Obama wants to clasp his hands casually behind his back while Sequestration kicks in, meaning GOP leaders will either find a way to compromise or find themselves on the other side of the Capitol’s chamber doors in two years (or less).

It’s game over for the obstructionists of 2010. They no longer have the mandate they once did for doing as they please. While most of the GOP’s supporters remain white, male, and over 50, that number has shrunk sufficiently to tip the balance in favor of those whom the social safety nets protect. Four years down the road, their majority will shrink even further, leaving more progressives in place, in areas with higher populations.

Of all the reactions I read in the last two days, Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station) says it best with this post: Hemlock With A Small Side Of Schadenfreude. I warned my Facebook friends this morning to swallow whatever they had in their mouths before reading this article because Wright is dead on with his analysis, not just of the utter disappointment in Romney’s huge loss, but in the way the world will be now that the election is over.

I’ve posted the articles I found most useful or interesting below.

“We knew it was going to turn out this way and how sad it is they didn’t; or: Why it worked out this way and what we/they did wrong:”

John Scalzi (Whatever): Post-Election Notes For the GOP (Not That They’ve Asked For Them)

Slate: The Five Stages of Fox News Grief

Slate: A Vast Left-Wing Competency How Democrats became the party of effective campaigning—and why the GOP isn’t catching up anytime soon.

NBC News: Karl Rove’s election nightmare: Super PAC’s spending was nearly for naught

“What now? How are we going to fix the mess we’re in, now that the game has changed?”

The New York Times: Back to Work, Obama Is Greeted by Looming Crisis

Politico: The new Senate: More compromise, less filibuster?

In the end, we’re in for an interesting couple of months, while Congress figures out how to pull back from Sequestration, if it happens at all. No matter what, there’s a lot of healing that’s going to have to happen first.

In the final analysis…

In the final analysis…

Today is a day for quiet celebration and for concern.

Yesterday was my 49th birthday. Today is the 40th anniversary of Richard M. Nixon’s landslide victory against George McGovern; 40 years of watching and waiting through the rhetoric, the endless punditry, the concession speeches and victory cheers. It’s been 30 years since my first voting year.

In the end, despite heaps of cynicism and skepticism, my electoral college guesses proved right. I recorded my bets when states hit about 60% of precincts reporting in clear majorities, 75% or higher in closer races. I spent most of last night, into the wee hours of the morning, watching Huffington Post’s Election Results. This morning I checked back in and saw no overnight surprise upsets.

Interestingly, only a few of those listed in the Washington Post’s Pundit accountability summary got the numbers close to right. Three assumed Florida would go to Governor Romney, two to President Obama (the more likely outcome in the light of day), with the votes for third-party candidates appearing to affect Governor Romney (Gary Johnson) somewhat more than President Obama (Jill Stein), though neither one did enough damage to change the final numbers:

With Florida:

Josh Putnam, Davidson College: Obama 332, Romney 206. ”Everything above is based on a graduated weighted average of polls in each state conducted in 2012,” Putnam wrote in explaining his methodology. “The weighting is based on how old a poll is. The older the poll is the more it is discounted. The most recent poll is given full weight.”

Markos Moulitsas: Obama 332, Romney 206. “Currently, national polling assumes a big dropoff from registered voters to likely voters. I don’t believe that’ll be the case, and we’re certainly not seeing it in the early vote—Democratic turnout is up. And the RV models have been more accurate historically.”

Without Florida:

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight: Obama 303, Romney 235. ”The model estimates that Mr. Romney would need to win the national popular vote by about one percentage point to avert a tossup, or a loss, in the Electoral College,” Silver writes.

Sam Wang, Princeton Election Consortium: Obama 303, Romney 235. “In terms of EV or the Meta-margin, [Obama has] made up just about half the ground he ceded to Romney after Debate #1.”*

Jamelle Bouie, The American Prospect: Obama 303, Romney 235. “[I]f Obama wins on Tuesday, the political science on debates will have won out; they can shift the short-term situation, but they don’t fundamentally change the direction of an election.”

*NOTE: Since I first published this post, the Washington Post has revised Silver’s estimate to include Florida’s numbers, putting him up with the 332/206 numbers.

Here in Maryland, as in Maine, Minnesota, and Washington (as well as Iowa, where a judge’s status was in question because of his support for Marriage Equality), we have affirmed that Marriage Equality is right. In Maryland in particular, we have upheld the right for same-sex couples to marry by a majority of 52%.

Maryland also affirmed the Dream Act, and will now be able to hold our politicians involved in corrupt or criminal activity accountable, suspending them without pay. While I’m not thrilled to see gambling expansion in my state, the barn door’s already open, and there’s no turning back now, I guess. In Colorado, for the first time, a state (Colorado) has made recreational marijuana use legal, which will likely push the question to the Supreme Court. With luck, the Court will also address jailing for marijuana use and start to cut our prison population as well.

In general, I’m happy to have a quiet house today, and the sense that things will be calmer, at least for a while. Friends will find a way to mend relationships torn by political grief and misunderstanding.

Though the fiscal cliff still looms large, congress will hold its lame duck session shortly and (with luck) will see a way to steer clear of the threat to our programs. If not, I hope President Obama and the confirmed Democratically controlled Senate will find a way to smooth out the mess the Tea Party-controlled House has made of our politics in the last four years.

Meanwhile, I’m turning my attention to unfinished projects over what remains of November. I have a novel that needs  serious revision, assorted tasks for work that are near completion, and the rest of 2012 to survive, assuming the world doesn’t end on December 21st. There are bills to pay, tax forms to file, chores that always need doing.

Life goes on, even as we fit the new changes into our lives and hope for the best.

Still standing…

Still standing…

Six days left.

It appears Hurricane Sandy is the October Surprise folks have wondered about. The unexpected size and devastation in the super storm’s wake (it still hasn’t finished with the states, though the storm has finally dissolved across the lower part of Canada) leaves a lot of questions  unanswered.

The storm’s intensity has surprised the people in its path, not only with its extensive damage, but also with the areas it left mostly untouched. So, too, will this election bring about vast changes in some areas and not in others.

I had amassed twenty or thirty links to articles I wanted to read and possibly include in this post as indicators of the things you should consider when you go to the polls (if you haven’t already gone). The list below is all that remains. I suggest you read these articles before you vote, though I strongly suspect you’ve already made your decisions.

I’m off shortly to vote at an early polling place in Maryland because it’s my civic duty and because I want to make sure that I take advantage of the opportunity. Nobody knows what will happen in the next six days. As the blue sky finally shows here in Maryland, I can smile and be thankful that I survived this storm knowing in my heart how many others did not. Even if they have their lives, some of our brothers and sisters have lost everything they own, washed away or destroyed by water and mud.

There are six days left until Election Day. If you really, truly want to know what the next President will do, listen to what he does NOT say as much as what he does now. President Obama has canceled campaign stops because his duty is to the people. Gov. Romney is taking advantage to stump and offer ill-timed photo ops when he should do what he can to give direct aid to those who need it most.

I can’t say it any better than Susan Eisenhower why you should vote for President Obama and why you should select candidates for the House and Senate who will move our country forward and not simply stand in the way of progress. The numbers don’t look good, especially for the House race. The obstructionists are winning, and so we’re likely in for another two-year slog (at least) before parts of the country are finally fed up enough to choose change instead of retrograde politics.

We can no longer look to the past to recapture the golden era of cocktail parties and social-climbing. We should be all about social justice now, for those of us who are denied their civil rights through marriage equality bans, by blocking or destroying chances for our youth to reach for higher goals through the Dream Act than working at the counter at the local McDonald’s. You each have it in your hands to improve things for your fellow humans. It all comes down to this.

Two years ago I was still mourning the loss of my father from Lewy Body Dementia and reeling from the death of a board member at my theater who had finally succumbed to breast cancer when I packed up and headed to Florida for the [failed] launch of Discovery and a week at the parks.

On the way there, another friend was on the brink of death from cancer in California and my friend Richard was in the hospital for what we thought would be another relatively brief stay that turned out to be his last. His birthday was October 30 and in all the hubbub of trying to get to Disney on schedule, I managed to forget.

We made it there in time for Halloween, had a relatively up and down week where we kept readjusting our schedule to accommodate the on-again, off-again launch windows, until finally Kennedy Space Center decided to scrub the mission so they could do a thorough check of the shuttle.

We pulled out of Epcot’s parking lot late on my birthday, November 6. When we finally stopped for dinner, I chose Perkins and ordered pumpkin pie (instead of chocolate cake) in honor of Richard’s birthday. Kayta passed away while we were on the road. At some point near the same time, Richard went from ill to critical and I found myself breaking speed laws to get north as quickly as possible.

Aside from the obvious ugliness of the last few days, I have a couple of years’ worth of grief and baggage floating around in my particular morass of a brain. Coupled with this, I last spoke with my father for my birthday, almost three years ago.

Forgive me if I seem angry a lot lately. I’m sick to death of the rhetoric that says the needy should just suck it up and take the cards they’re dealt. I’ve lost so many friends in the last few years, along with family members, I can hardly keep track anymore. Many of them died because they couldn’t afford better care, or the right medicine. Funerals are in my future as we move into the real fall and winter. And as we progress through the next five to ten years, these events will increase. Baby boomers are aging and the excesses of the sixties, seventies and eighties are catching up with them.

This is the real disaster that frightens the rich. They know what universal healthcare will mean to the country as 75 million people age, become unable to give their share of the work and pay taxes. The more we understand the foundations of autism, the scope and breadth of other diseases, the costs of mega storms like Hurricane Sandy or the devastating earthquakes in Haiti, the cost of tsunamis and storm surges in Japan, the more they realize where their money will go and how hard it will be to justify their comfy multi-million dollar homes.

This hurricane has taken away so much, even though parts of the US went untouched, even as I grieve for those who are in the cold and dark because of a senseless act of nature, I’m incensed at the political rhetoric that would seem to portray these victims as money-grabbing freeloaders who only want to suck the futures away from our children.

Remember your brothers and sisters in Haiti, Cuba and elsewhere along the coast as well as your own family, friends and familiar places. The temperatures are dropping and many of these people are without heat, light, or even homes. Snow has fallen in West Virginia because of the merged cold front. It’s not just about flooding.

Don’t do what I did during Katrina. Collections of tangible goods are meaningless. These donations waste valuable time and resources. If you can spare something, give to the Red Cross, including your blood. Those of you who swear by private donations, now’s the time to step up and give money or volunteer your time if you can.

Thank you.

Why ‘Voting Your Conscience’ in Deep Blue or Red States Is a Terrible Idea For Those Who Don’t Want a Romney Presidency (The popular vote may become a factor this year.)

Big Mitt Romney Supporter Caught In Voter Fraud? (Texan Meat Loaf seeks to cast ballot from former L.A. home.)

How The United States Is Reinventing The Slave Trade

Mysterious Docs Found in Meth House Reveal Inner Workings of Dark Money Group

No Exception: Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock aren’t outliers. Banning abortion for rape victims is the new Republican mainstream.

A Fan Letter to Certain Conservative Politicians (WARNING: this post is going to be oh-so-very-triggery for victims of rape and sexual assault. I am not kidding.)

Retired NSA Analyst Proves GOP is Stealing Elections

Between the Debates – Maryland’s Question 6 and Marriage Equality

Between the Debates – Maryland’s Question 6 and Marriage Equality

Obama Pride: LGBT Americans for Obama

With only a few weeks to go to get the word out, rhetoric on my Facebook friends’ pages has heated up. Today’s issue seems to be Marriage Equality (aka Gay / Same Sex Marriage). Here’s what Maryland’s law says: http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/chapters_noln/Ch_2_hb0438T.pdf

Maryland is one of four states voting on the question. Two others (Washington and Maine) are also voting to support Marriage Equality, as Minnesota votes on a ban. http://www.towleroad.com/2012/09/thefour.html

I came out a very long time ago as a Straight Ally for Marriage Equality and I will be voting FOR Question 6. This ought to come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or my politics. I have many friends whose relationships with long-term partners have outlasted my straight friends’ marriages and my own. We should not have to vote on a matter of human and civil rights based on sexual orientation. The vote should be unnecessary and those rights should simply be recognized for what they are: basic and fundamental to each individual.

These questions should not be necessary but we still fight about context, putting words into the mouths of our founders even as we try to view and interpret our ruling documents in historical context.

I am often shocked and saddened by the claims I’ve heard from the other side of Equality questions, of why we shouldn’t support what is clearly a civil rights issue. Marylanders for Marriage Equality has a whole series of ads which are not seeing wide release because advertising is expensive (http://www.youtube.com/user/MDers4MarriageEqual).

There is no argument that is as valid as a human being’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, especially in the United States of America, where these are considered basic rights granted by birth and not privileges granted by government.

LGBTQ people have begun to recognize a level of freedom that, until very recently, they believed was unattainable except in the narrowest confines of private space. They are becoming less concerned about their safety, job stability, family reaction or bullying because of a fundamental shift in the views of society that have increased rapidly in the last few years. If we remove these rights, we become guilty of shoving these people back into the dark who might otherwise be welcomed as contributing members of society, for something as basic as the color of their eyes, size of their bodies or texture of their hair.

Beware the restriction of your rights and those of others.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. –Ben Franklin

[Edited to add]

It must have been something in the air this morning, because shortly after I posted the commentary below, news items began popping up on my feed declaring that the Federal Appeals Court has Struck Down DOMA. It’s only a matter of time before the question goes to the Supreme Court. And here’s the thing: Whoever sits as President in the next term will help decide whether DOMA will be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, because it’s more than likely that at least one, possibly as many as three members of the Supreme Court will need to be replaced by the President as they retire.

This issue is far too important to leave to Romney or Ryan. Please consider this as you go to the polls and make your choice!

On the 25th Annual National Coming Out Day…

On the 25th Annual National Coming Out Day…

On the 25th Annual National Coming Out Day

As a Unitarian Universalist, I am proud to be a member of a Welcoming Congregation. I am a Straight Ally and I support Marriage Equality and the affirmation of rights for all people, regardless of, well, anything that might be considered a reason to discriminate.

Fair Warning (reposted from Facebook)

Fair Warning (reposted from Facebook)

I posted this Note in response to some seriously inane conversation as a result of one of the many items I put up on my FB wall. It’s stunning how much better I can think when I have a night’s sleep.

Y’all should probably be relieved that I’ve moved the majority of my political posts there. But this applies to both that space and this one and it bears repeating, so here it is:

Last night I had a better night’s sleep than I have in a while, thanks to proper meds (albuterol and now inhaled steroids to nuke the starting bronchitis) from a thoughtful doctor who knows when to listen to the patient. It kills me that there are people I know who don’t have access to this sort of medicine or advice. (The nurse made me come in because *she* didn’t like the way I sounded.)

After a decent night’s sleep, I realized I buried this comment at the bottom of a post, and another that is cogent as well. So I’m reposting it here, as a warning and for encouragement of clear discourse. If you want to take issue with me regarding the things I post you’d better read this because I mean it.

Let’s be clear here. The Republican Platform is not the isolated input of a few noisy jerks in an otherwise intelligent and reasonable organization. This is the full percolation of all the hateful rhetoric in the last twenty years, distilled down for your voting pleasure. Read that again: 20 years of this crap, since Bill Clinton took the White House after beating George H.W. Bush out of a second term.

If you opt to label yourself as a Republican, tea party or otherwise, this is what you are signing on to as representation of YOUR views. If you don’t like that, take it up with YOUR party. I am reporting what these people who claim to be citizens of MY country say should be MY views, rights and responsibilities.

I’m proud to be a liberal Democrat. I have been since I was at least eight years old. I recall the Vietnam war, the riots of the ’60s that helped inspire the founding of my high school, the assassinations of MLK, Jr., RFK, Malcolm X and Pope John Paul I.

I am literate, educated and I vote. I have taken classes in human sexuality, human pregnancy and fetal development, and I have carried two children of my own. I have had two c-sections (one of which likely saved my life and my baby’s), and I have had a tubal ligation to prevent further pregnancies. I support the right to choose and I am not dependent on or beholden to anyone else’s religious views. I have already started to educate my daughters on how to stay away from drugs, cigarettes and pregnancy. And when the time is right, I will vaccinate my daughters so that they can be safe from preventable cancer in the same way that they are (theoretically) immune to tetanus, measles and hepatitis.

I have friends of the same sex who are married in some states but not in others. Some of them are parents, and awesome ones at that. Some of them are celebrating anniversaries of over 20 years.

I know and am (or have been) friends with close to 20 transgendered individuals, some of whom have undergone surgery and who are happier for the ability to identify themselves as they are and not as others see them.

I am also a survivor of inappropriate touching, non-consensual sex, and separation after marriage.

Do not presume to know what my motivations are in posting the things I do. Read the articles, pictures, and my comments. Explore the truth for yourself.

I’ll only say this once: Rant on my wall at your own risk. This is MY space. If you refuse to be educated, opt for accusations rather than open discussion and reduce your arguments to name-calling, I will remove you from my friends list without another warning, no matter how long I may have known you as a friend.

We have a long way to go between now and November 6, and I don’t propose to stop posting this educational material until the poisonous rhetoric of the extreme Right goes away or posting becomes illegal thanks to some hidden paragraph in an internet security bill or hidden agenda of the site hosting my account.

If you think I mean you, you may be right.

November 11, 2008: Special Comment on Gay Marriage ~ Keith Olbermann

November 11, 2008: Special Comment on Gay Marriage ~ Keith Olbermann

From a friend, who found it for me…

Keith Olbermann’s special comment on Proposition 8:

And here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChanTFSmqao

It’s long but you should watch the whole thing. All I could think of was “Amen, brother.”
I couldn’t have said it better.

Here’s the text of the Olbermann piece, in case you don’t want to watch the video (which you should): http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27650743/

Comments:

JW:
If I were single I’d be writing that man love letters.

SO-D:
I love him anyway.

LD:
Thanks so much for posting this
Wow. I think that’s the first time a new commentary has made me cry.

SO-D:
A Mormon comments on gay marriage: Mormon Church wins on gay marriage

RR:
He said what I said but in a more eloquent way. I wish I had gotten off my duff because about two weeks before the election I realized the “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Why can’t the world live more that way?

Theme: Elation by Kaira.