Thursday, April 30, 2009

New poll presents conundrum

A recent poll, the highlights of which have been published by the Associated Press today, confuses the heck out of me. Conducted by the polling institute at Quinnipiac University in Hartford, Conn., the poll found that a majority of respondents were opposed to allowing same-sex marriage, but a majority of the same respondents thought that civil unions were OK.

Huh? I don’t understand the rationale. These respondents are fine with civil unions that would provide essentially all the legal trappings of marriage, even the idea of allowing same-sex couples to adopt children. They just don’t want it called marriage. That’s really what they’re saying. And that, to me, makes so sense.

Why go through all the effort of creating this parallel universe of “marriage-like” status when marriage already exists? And besides, the creation of civil unions could not be solely for same-sex couples; it would be an option that would have to be available to mixed-sex couples as well. The anti-marriage crowd doesn’t get the fact that civil unions are in reality bad for marriage; civil unions weaken marriage – they neither strengthen nor protect marriage.

Separate is not equal. I think it comes down to a fear that should same-sex couples be allowed to marry, then clergy of churches that oppose such unions would be required by law to conduct these marriages. The anti-marriage crowd has been very successful in getting this impression to stick, and the gay lobby has helped this perception to linger.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I believe in same-sex marriage, but ...

Perez Hilton ought to be bitch-slapped for asking that ridiculous question during the Miss USA pageant, and the entire panel of judges should be shamed beyond shame for allowing Miss California to be bumped from the title.

It's just another example for the anti-marriage crowd to add to their arsenal to continually portray those in favor of same-sex marriage as a bunch of militant queers who care nothing about marriage and who are more interested in making a spectacle of themselves.

I mean, look at that outfit Hilton was wearing! It's hideous!
But seriously, such a sophomoric move does nothing for the cause. Nothing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The road paved with good intentions

What do Bill O’Reilly and the Rev. Rick Warren have in common? A feeling of frustration that they cannot deny saying something when the evidence is on video.

Alright, I won’t be so harsh. O’Reilly and Warren truly have very little in common. But it remains true that in this age of video taping, the Internet and Google, you can’t count on people being unaware of what you might have said in the past.

Politico ran something Sunday on Warren’s failing to appear as scheduled on ABC’s “This Week.” It was believed that Warren was going to clarify a recent denial that he had endorsed Prop 8. Tough to deny endorsing Prop 8 when you did so willingly while being video taped. But it isn’t just that embarrassment that could have Warren in trouble. The IRS doesn’t take very kindly to tax-exempt institutions – like churches for example – commenting on matters before a public vote. That’s campaigning, and to do so legally, you must register as a campaign organization and reveal who is giving you money to take whatever position you are regarding a ballot proposal.

But Warren pulled a George Jones and was a no show. I think we can give him the benefit of the doubt, what with all those sermons, etc, fatigue likely played a role in his failing to appear. Yet the explanation by a staffer sent to Politico is so delicious because it again proves that, particularly with e-mail, the longer the message, the more likely you will say something you will regret later on. Consider, my friends, this line in the missive:

“Throughout his pastoral ministry spanning nearly 30 years, Pastor Warren has remained committed to the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, for life -- a position held by most fellow Evangelical pastors. He has further stressed that for 5,000 years, EVERY culture and EVERY religion has maintained this worldview.”

For 5,000 years, eh? One man, one woman, eh? Does this wonk even know his Bible? Abraham must be rolling in his grave. And good King Solomon as well. Gee, and I wonder what Islam has to say about this. Being a practicing Buddhist, I am aware that the Buddha gave no specific teaching about marriage, defining it clearly as one man, one woman, given the fact that, ummm, less than 5,000 years ago it was not uncommon for South Asian men of wealth to have more than one wife. And oh yes, the Chinese have had a long tradition of multiple wives. I bet that goes back further than 5,000 years.

I’m sorry, but these guys simply do not know what they are talking about. They don’t even know their own religious heritage, let alone anything else about any other culture.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Iowa decision deliciously unsurprising

Alright, I admit that I’ve been a bit slow to post about the recent Iowa Supreme Court decision, which struck down that state’s legislative ban against same-sex marriage. Yes, it’s huge news. And every blogger in the world had something up about the decision immediately. Except me.

Not that I wasn’t excited. I am very excited about the ruling. And I am also very excited about the fact that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in Iowa for probably two years before any effort can successfully get a constitutional amendment on the state ballot to rescind the decision. By that time, what would be the point of such a constitutional amendment? It certainly would not be an altruistic desire to protect marriage. By that time, such a move would be rightfully perceived as the bigoted move it was from the start.

What I found intriguing about the unanimous ruling was how the court pointedly opined that it could see no benefit to the state in maintaining a ban against same-sex marriage, marking the legislation for what it was: a cowardly attempt to keep down “a historically disfavored class.”

These justices aren’t afraid of upholding the law. I saw that in 1998 when the court issued a monumental decision in the case of Bormann v. Kossuth County, a decision that it upheld in 2004 in Gacke v. Pork Xtra. Now you may be wondering, “what do two agricultural cases have to do with gay marriage?”

The short answer is nothing. However, what is relevant is the fact that the Iowa Supreme Court has shown a decisive tendency to pay attention to what the law says, rather than to which party has the biggest bank roll. And in doing so, it has historically written very clear opinions so that its decisions will not likely be misinterpreted in the future. This is very good news in terms of the court’s decision Friday in Varnum, et al. v. Polk County.

In the Des Moines Register article I linked above, it was stated that Iowa was chosen for the same-sex marriage case because of “fair-mindedness of its residents and the courts.”

The fact that it could be as long as two years before anything can go before voters to overturn the ruling might have had something to do with the selection as well.