Will the majority allow minority rights in N.C.?

The citizens of North Carolina vote today on Amendment One, a ridiculous exercise in “Scissors for Hitler” silliness that makes the Tarheel State look just as foolish as if they were voting on a ban against left-handedness or an amendment decreeing that people with blue eyes can’t be licensed to drive.

It’s ugly, stupid and deeply immoral. It’s supported by liars, by racists, by Neo-Nazis and by the Catholic bishops — none of which is the sort of authority that decent people can turn to for moral advice.

By enshrining discrimination into the state’s constitution, by affirming that this constitution does not safeguard minority rights, Amendment One undermines the rule of law and the very possibility of democracy.

It’s just a really, really bad idea. And it’s expected to pass.

Pam Spaulding: “North Carolina’s voices rise up against Amendment One

The fact is that the other side has no rational argument for its “protecting marriage” claims except ones featuring religion-based bigotry, ignoring church-state separation. Vote for Marriage NC has not gotten any major elected officials to back this poorly worded ballot initiative on camera, no business leaders. Only religious figures, including the infamous Patrick Wooden, who believes that gay men use iPhones as sex toys. That’s credible.

And our side has hundreds of faith leaders against it as well, ones who understand why faith and matters of civil law must remain separate in order to protect religious freedom.

Nicole Greenfield: “NC’s Amendment 1: ‘It’s Going to Hurt the Church’

“It’s as if some Christians feel like they have permission to discriminate or hate,” [Jay Bakker said].

“And they get so obsessed with it that they ignore the fact that it would harm children, it would harm women, it would harm people in domestic partnerships. It’s like they’ve just become blind to that because they’ve built up such resentment towards gays and lesbians.”

J.R. Daniel Kirk: “Regarding Amendment One in North Carolina

North Carolinian Christians, you are free to vote against Amendment One and in this vote to love your neighbor as yourself.

Mike Moore: “A Good Week to Hate Christians

Wednesday will be the worst day. That’s when all the righteous gloating will happen. On Wednesday it will be declared that God’s will has been done, that His people have spoken. Wednesday will be the day when I will know, without doubt, that our life here in North Carolina will always be a little bit — or a lot — worse.

… Denying us marriage is not good enough for that sack-of-[bleep]Billy Graham and his sacks-of-[bleep] kids. No, they’ll only be happy when any and every form of societal support for my family has been obliterated. They’ll only be happy when gay kids can be bullied without consequences to the bully. They’ll only be happy when the very fine hospital here in Asheville that Mr. Graham uses can, without fear of reprisal, deny me the right to visit my sick husband.

  • histrogeek

    It’s just nauseating that Jesus is being used to justify such discriminatory laws at this point in history. You really would think after slavery, opposition to democracy, Galileo, opposition to women’s rights, and segregation everyone would be able to see a dead end when they drive straight into one.  But the Indigs have to double down on everything, people and country be damned.
    At least Jay Bakker and the Episcopal bishop of NC are trying to stem the march of bigotry and  immolation. To all LGBTQ people in NC on behalf of Christians, I am sorry.

  • Tonio

    From today’s Washington Post: ” When the issue has gone before voters — as it will on Tuesday in North
    Carolina and this fall in as many as four other states, including
    Maryland — gay rights activists have never won.”

    This issue shouldn’t even be on the ballot in the first place. Not just because minorities shouldn’t have their legal protections subject to the will of the majority, but also because a community shouldn’t be able to veto an individual’s choice of marriage partner. The votes in NC and MD are no different in principle from having a ballot question like “Should Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie marry?”

  • Harry Harbo

    I had to vote on this abomination this morning.    It’s one of the first times in my involvement with politics in this country that I felt truly angry enough that willful control was needed just to get in and out of the polling station without mishap.  I suspect it will not be the last.

    I have LGBTQ co-workers that may lose benefits because of this.  The whole “tyranny of the majority” concept becomes concrete when you see it used to actually punish a minority for simply being a little different than the norm.  And all based on the most ludicrous set of rationalizations possible.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    Thank you for showing your support at the polls.

  • Persephone

    You don’t vote on rights for a minority. It cannot end well. By definition, there are fewer people in a minority. That’s what the fucking word MEANS.

    Everyone who votes for this subversion of the republic should be severely beaten whilst a schoolmaster screams the above repeatedly.

  • Diez

     I’m supposed to love these people.  Love my neighbors.  Love my enemies.

    But I can’t.

    I hate them.

    And I hate that. 

    I hate that I frighten them by existing, that they look at my very birth as some kind of affront. 

    I hate that they think I am some kind of sexual deviant, that I have sex with everyone and anyone.  I have never had sex.  I might never be able to; being brought up among these people has taught me to hate myself, and believe I am unworthy of love or affection.

    I hate that, too.

    I hate that they want to destroy me because I threaten to collapse the mental walls they have built rigidly defining what man and woman can and cannot do, be, or have sex with.  I hate that I could show them a thousand different ways that nature itself crumbles those walls into powder and scatters the dust, and they would not listen or care.

    I hate that they hate me.

    Moreso, I hate the hate they have given me.  The hate that now lives inside and festers like an infection, oozing pus and leaking fluid.  The hate that makes me wish another person dead, that would rejoice in stripping them of their rights, just so they’d see how it really feels.

    I hate that I hate them.  I hate the hate that makes me more like them.

    But most of all…

    I hate that they won’t let me love, because I would much rather love than hate.  Why aren’t they the same way?

  • TheBrett

    I’m so sorry, North Carolina folk. My home state (Utah) passed a similar abomination of a bill a couple of years back, which banned anything that might offer homosexual couples any form of rights (including the civil unions that I’ve seen cowardly “moderates” defend).

    The only real consolation is that public opinion on the issue is changing fast. In five years, there might be enough support to overturn DOMA at the federal level, at which point all of the state-level laws against gay marriage can be overturned in court. 

  • Jessica_R

    I’m getting ready to be incredibly embarassed by my home state, but at least people like this live here too, http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DywImcNViPtc&h=KAQFmvxsb

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

    I’m so sorry. There’s a lot that I’d like to say to you  - the short form is that you are worthy of love,  and maybe it’s ok to hate the hateful a little, as long as you temper it with love (which you’ve shown you’re more than good at). You can mail me at chris at chrisalgoo.com if you’d like to talk more about this.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    But most of all… I hate that they won’t let me love, because I would much rather love than hate.  Why aren’t they the same way?

    Beats me.

    Perhaps they, too, were raised in environments that infected them with hate, like you describe happening to you.

    Perhaps not.

    I’m not sure it matters, really.

    In any case, you seem to want to overcoming the influences you describe here, and I wish you luck in doing so.

    Perhaps a place you can start is in approaching your own resentment of these people with compassion. That is, rather than beating yourself up over the fact that you aren’t currently able to respond to their hatred the way you think you ought to, perhaps you could try to forgive yourself for that.

  • Angry Man

    Bit of a rant. Some profanity. Been warned.

    What the fuck!!??!?!?! What the FUCK?!?!?!? Seriously, who in the hell votes for shit like this? I mean, come the fuck ON!! This is a trampling of some of our expressed (if not lived up to) founding principles!! It’s contrary to the most important of Christ’s teachings!!! Basic human dignity is getting squatted on by Nazis and dumbasses too stupid to know what the fuck they are voting for!!

    Someone please tell me that this shit isn’t real. This has to be some sort of joke, right? Like, the state is gonna go “Gothcha!” Just….GODDAMN IT!! And you know what? I guaran-damn-tee you that the same pissants the vote for this shit will say thatthey are true Christian Americans. Jackasses.

  • snowmentality

    I am seeing a lot of voter enthusiasm against the amendment. Many people I know who don’t usually get very interested in politics were motivated to get out and vote this time, just because they wanted to vote against the amendment. I’ve overheard several conversations among people who said they’d left the rest of the ballot blank, but they wanted to vote against the amendment.

    And in non-anecdotal evidence — the Civitas Institute has been tracking early-voting demographic statistics. Early voting totals were high among voters in NC’s larger cities, among young voters in those cities, and among Democrats  — all groups that could be expected to be anti-amendment.

    So I still have hope that the amendment will get a surprise defeat. At the very least, I think the vote could still go either way. Fingers crossed today.

    I voted against the amendment during early voting, last Thursday. I’ve reminded my friends and family to vote. If you live in NC, please go and vote against the amendment (polls open until 7:30 PM today). The State Board of Elections website has a tool to find your polling place. If you have friends or family in NC who will listen — please call them and ask them to please vote against the amendment today. The majority should not be voting on the rights of a minority, but here we are. This issue will be decided on popular vote, and your vote DOES matter — there is still a possibility of defeating this amendment, but only if you vote!

  • histrogeek

     I don’t understand them either. I can’t stand endless conflict and repeated judgements against people I don’t know. It’s exhausting and pointless. Yet somehow these assholes not only manage it but actively seek out new ways to nurture their hate. To me it’s like actively finding hot stoves to put my hands on.

    As far “love your enemies,” (not that I have any right to tell you how to feel, so ignore as you wish) I’d only suggest that only chestnut “love the sinner, hate the sin.” They are twisting their souls into Voldemort’s last horocrux. That’s pitiful and self-destructive, but their actions are hateful and despicable. And those actions are sin and there is no problem with hating that. In any event, I think God pretty much gets how rough it is for the abused to forgive their abuser. So don’t think you need to rush forgiveness or love. For now screw ‘em.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    To me the most interesting thing written about Amendment One is from this Public Policy Polling document from a week ago:
    http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_NC_050112.pdf

    “Those who know what the amendment would do are against
    it by 22 points, but they are outweighed by the strong support from the uneducated.”

    I.E., support for Amendment One is strongly determined by whether you are aware of what the amendment actually does or not. So the people who are voting for this are not just evil; they’re also stupid.

  • Kate Smith

    I made sure to go and vote against the amendment. It’s nothing but a hateful, bigoted distraction from actual issues (like jobs) at the taxpayers’ expense. Human rights for all humans.

  • DrocketX

    I take solace in the fact that, even if it does pass, its going to be a comparatively close vote.  Just a few decades ago, the issue of gay marriage would have been considered so absurdly fringe that it wouldn’t have even been necessary to put it up for a vote – the answer would have been a clear-cut no. Just a few decades before that, being gay was considered a mental disease.

    Massive progress has been made. We may lose this battle, but the war is far from over.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marciepooh Marcella McIntyre

    I wish I could hope it’d be close. But with my experience in Alabama overturning the mixed-race marriage ban (officially overturning, the law (amendment?) hadn’t been enforced, or enforceable, for decades), I’m not hopeful. In the 1990s, when it should have been a no brainer, slam dunk vote, the measure passed 60-40. Yes, it passed handily but 40% still voted no.

  • pharoute

    BBZZZZZT Oh sorry Washington Post, but State of Washington voters actually approved by ballot an “everything but called ‘marriage’” marriage act.

    The Post is just a rag now…

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    People keep pointing out that this is going to hurt women and children. As if the people who drafted it and will vote for it would at least care about that. They won’t and they don’t — they don’t want women to be protected against domestic violence if they’re not married to their partners. (Or at all, probably.) If children get dragged down with them, oh well, it’s more important to punish women for having sex outside marriage than it is to protect children. Especially because they usually think of the women and children in these situations as black. Racism goes with misogyny goes with homophobia, as the “caucasian” wording makes clear.

    My father is using Maryland domestic partnership laws to extend health insurance to his girlfriend, with whom he lives, and who hasn’t been able to find a job in the past two years, despite her law degree and decades of experience. Neither of them want to get married again. The people who support this amendment would say well, if she wants to keep her insurance, she should be married, because that’s the way you get the protection of a man. I wonder how many people of all genders in similar situations would lose their health insurance with this travesty. 

  • Tonio

     When was that? I could only find references to the upcoming referendum in November. In any case, the act you describe would have little practical meaning since it would amount to “separate but equal.”

  • http://www.mathlearning.net/dl2004/Demos/unitCircle.html Murfyn

    A caller to the Stephanie Miller show (check it out!) reports that her polling place was in a church, and that the message board out front of the church had a pro-amendment message.  This sounds like a violation of some rule or other, maybe someone’s tax exempt status needs a review.  OTOH, could be a big lie.  Maybe if it’s true there will be some push-back.

  • pharoute

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Referendum_71_(2009)

    It was a lot more than a seperate but equal bill and gave the Legislature enough cover to pass a true gay marriage bill this last session, signed into law in Feb.

  • Charityb

    I’m not sure which legislation you guys are talking about, but here’s basically what happened.

    In 2008, Governor Chris Gregoire signed legislation that expanded and strengthened domestic partnerships in Washington, essentially turning them into ‘marriage’ without the actual word being used. Later that year, anti-gay groups organized a referendum to overturn the law, called Referendum 71, which was defeated 53 to 47. This case was the first time that same-sex marriage (well, almost) was approved by a direct popular vote in the US (all of the other previous cases came via legislation or judicial order).

    Just this year, Gregoire finished her job by signing into law a bill that formally legalizes same-sex marriage. No hedges, no ‘everything but marriage’. That’s the law that’s being challenged in the upcoming referendum that you’re talking about.

  • friendly reader

     Maybe this isn’t the place, but since I first saw this obit at Boxturtle Bulletin, anyone who grew up since 1963 should be fighting for gay rights, because as a child you read Where the Wild Things Are.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    In any case, the Washington Post article quote (I didn’t see the article it’s from) is still inaccurate. A constitutional ban almost identical to the one today being considered today in NC (bans marriage and recognition of marriage-like unions) went before Arizona voters in 2006 and lost:

    http://www.ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Arizona_Protect_Marriage,_Proposition_107_(2006)

    Arizona then two years later, in 2008, considered a more narrowly written ban and that one passed.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Yeah, and last time I checked, it looks like the challengers to gay marriage in Washington state are going to have a big uphill battle to fight, one which they are expected to lose.  In the few years since Ref 71 got shot down, polling suggests that the ratio of marriage equality supporters to opposers has shifted in favor of the supporters. 

    Of course, I have to wonder if Ref 71 only did as well as it did because it was deliberately confusingly worded.  People had to vote “Yes” on it in order to keep the domestic union law equal to marriage.  It was something like, “Do you not not want gay marriage in Washington?” 

  • Tonio

    Here’s the Post article in question:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/advocates-of-same-sex-marriage-in-maryland-hope-to-break-losing-streak/2012/05/07/gIQA29qC9T_story.html

    The statement that I quoted might have made more sense if it focused more narrowly on ballot questions dealing with overturning bans on SSM, like on the Maryland ballot this fall. My understanding is if the NC amendment is approved, the state’s current ban on SSM would be enshrined at the constitutional level instead of merely at the statutory level. If the amendment fails, SSM would still be against the law there.

    And I define “separate but equal” for SSM as anything less than legal marriage using the M-word. No matter how a state like Washington strives to recognize partnerships as equal to marriages, the gay couples would still lack the rights and responsibilities that the federal government recognizes for straight couples. And without naming the unions as marriages, hospital staffers and court clerks would still be able to weasel out of their own responsibilities: “You’re not really married so I don’t have to do anything for you.”

  • Chunky Style

    I did my part: filed a 13909 with the IRS (Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint Referral Form) regarding Pastor Sean Harris and his Berean Baptist Church.  Dude instructs his flock to beat their children, that makes him a monster for whom I feel no sympathy.  Dude further tells his flock how to vote and hands out voter registration forms in the back of his church, he fully incurs the wrath of the IRS.

    The IRS makes it very easy; bookmark this page:

    http://www.irs.gov/irs/article/0,,id=178241,00.html

    Next time you see a pastor violating the terms of his 501
    (c)
    (3) tax exemption, fill out the form.  If they’ve been so kind as to post a YouTube video of themselves incriminating themselves, be sure to include the link.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    And I define “separate but equal” for SSM as anything less than legal marriage using the M-word. No matter how a state like Washington strives to recognize partnerships as equal to marriages, the gay couples would still lack the rights and responsibilities that the federal government recognizes for straight couples.

    Just to be clear, gay marriage is legal in Washington state now.  The lobby supporting marriage equality here has been taking a kind of slow-and-stready approach to legalizing gay marriage, aimed at making such a thing difficult to quickly reverse and keep a good amount of momentum going.  It is not the fastest way of getting marriage equality, but it does help mitigate knee-jerk voter reaction that allows things like Prop 8 to pass in California. 

    The “everything but the name” domestic union law was an essential middle-point in that plan.  I have every confidence that it will work out. 

  • ReverendRef

    It’s funny how the lectionary works sometimes (for those not familiar, the lectionary is the predetermined cycle of readings to be used in churches on a three-year cycle).  The appointed readings for this coming Sunday include:

    While  Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God.  Then Peter said, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”  So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. — and

    Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love . . . This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

    The two-part question to the “good Christians of NC” is this:  Why are you continuing to fight against the Holy Spirit in an effort to exclude “uncircumcised Gentiles,” and how is voting in favor of Amendment 1 follow Jesus’ own command to abide in love?

    As much as I want to rant, I need to pray instead:

    Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land who work so hard and so visciously to ban and exclude others, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

  • Charityb

     Yep. The status quo is pretty powerful. Whether you’re trying to legalize or prohibit same-sex marriage, you have a hard fight if the status quo is the opposite of what you’re trying to do (if that makes sense). It can be done, but you have to do a Prop 8 -esque campaign and pour millions of out-of-state dollars and resources into it, and it’ll still be pretty narrow.

    Incidentally, Amendment One is getting a boost because it’s being held on the same time as the North Carolina Republican primary — that is, it was scheduled at a time that would ensure that Republican voters are already mobilized, so that they would outnumber Democratic ones.

  • Tonio

    I had understood that SSM is now legal there. My point was about the intermediate step. I’m not convinced that the slow-and steady strategy is effective outside your state. Too many people favor domestic partnerships as just an attempt to make gays go away, some insisting that the ssue is with the M-word. They don’t seem to understand that they’re not being asked to vote on a social custom.

  • The_L1985

    If I were there right now, I’d give you a big ol’ hug. And some nice, hot chamomile tea.

    No one deserves to be treated the way these assholes are treating the QUILTBAG community. It’s not that “you don’t treat gay people that way,” it’s that you’re not supposed to treat people, in general, as if they were monsters.

    I don’t understand why they choose to hate, either.

  • hapax

     Diez, I can’t offer you an easy answer. 

    I keep thinking of the climax of Madeleine L’Engles A WRINKLE IN TIME, where the heroine wants to try to love IT, the embodiment of hate and fear and tyranny and cruelty:  “Maybe if she loved IT, IT would just shrivel up and die.”

    But she couldn’t.  She wasn’t strong enough, great enough, whole enough.

    “But she could love Charles Wallace.

    She could stand right there and love Charles Wallace.” — the prisoner and victim of that hate.

    I don’t know you well enough to say I can stand right here and love you.  And if I could, I doubt it would be enough.

    But I can stand right here and say I love what you write.  Here, and over at the older site.  You don’t post frequently, but I remember every time you have, because your comments are always so strong and passionate and heartfelt and vulnerable and compassionate and honest.

    I love the person you are when you write those comments.

    You know that person, that writer, who is also the prisoner and victim of IT, better than I ever could.

    I hope that you can stand right there and love him. And that will be enough to set him free.

  • Chris

    Sadly, as far as my quick search can tell, the restrictions on 501(c)(3) organizations only forbid actions for or against a candidate for elective office, not on other ballot measures.

  • JonathanPelikan

    Thank you for your vote. It’s hard to grasp on a human level what one man’s impact can have in a process involving hundreds of thousands or millions, but you, in a real, tangible, actual way, cast your lot for justice and the principles of our republic.

  • JonathanPelikan

    I am so sorry this is all happening. I don’t know shit about shit, but as a heathen who holds nothing but anger and hate in his heart for the Right nowadays, I want to say to you that whether or not you’re worthy of love and mercy and respect should never, and in a just world would never, be in doubt.

    Mom’s worried about how radicalized I’ve become since, say, Obama got elected, which was when I really started becoming hardcore liberal ‘bomb the fucking Republican Party from space with nuclear warheads’. She’s right to worry, no doubt, but I keep telling her when it comes up ‘hating Hitler doesn’t make you Hitler +2. It makes you a human being.’

    You aren’t alone, in any sense, and especially in the sense of hate. I can’t even comprehend what they’ve done to you in the name of their fucking God, but I can tell you on good authority that you’re not the only person who hates them. Who wants them gone, by force, on one’s darker days.

  • JonathanPelikan

    This is true. Of all the issues recently that we’re seeing backsliding or stalling or Teabagging on, Gay Rights is one of those things that’s marching forward at a literally unstoppable and undeniable pace. I’m not saying the war’s won, but seldom do we see any political thing where the winds are shifting so fast, in our direction, puffing up our sails and inspiring real hope for this country.

  • JonathanPelikan

    I wrote about twelve paragraphs of hate and rage and outrage at the fact that this is happening in my goddamn country, but how about I take a different tack for now.
    We shall overcome.

    It might not be today. It might not be tomorrow. It might not be soon. It might take time. It already has, after all. I may die before I see America live up to the check it wrote with the Declaration of Independence, in full.

    But it’s coming.

    So say we all.

  • Diez

     Wow.  Thank you.  I am really, honestly touched, and shocked that you even remember me.  That fact alone means more than I can say.

    I’m a bit taken aback at all the support and encouragement you all have shown.  Thank you so much.

    It was Fred’s thoughtful, insightful sundering of the World’s Worst Books that brought me here, and his thoughts in general that helped me along the path of questioning my beliefs and coming to a place of honesty about my life and sexuality.

    But it’s lovely people like you all that keep me coming back.  Bless the lot of you.

  • Ursula L

    I had understood that SSM is now legal there. My point was about the intermediate step. I’m not convinced that the slow-and steady strategy is effective outside your state. Too many people favor domestic partnerships as just an attempt to make gays go away, some insisting that the ssue is with the M-word. They don’t seem to understand that they’re not being asked to vote on a social custom. 

    I’m not sure whether or not civil unions are wise, politically, as a step towards SSM.

    But, from my experience, the idea of civil unions is useful for helping people get comfortable with the idea of SSM.

    I’m turning 40 this year.  I didn’t know anything about QUILTBAG folks, growing up.  At least until AIDS became known.  At that point, what I knew was “some men have relationships with other men similar to how men and women have relationships, and when they do this, they get AIDS and die.”  (We’re talking my jr. high and high school years, in the 1980s.)  (This understanding was modified by “people with hemophilia get AIDS, and that’s not good, and we need to do something about AIDS.)

    As time passed, I learned more.  I got to know a few gay men while I was in college as an undergrad.  I knew of one trans-woman who was attending my college, but I didn’t know her personally, and didn’t know much about her except that the college had arranged for her to use an otherwised unused apartment for dorm directors, which had its own bathroom, rather than having her in a regular room and having to deal with the “which bathroom should this person use” issue.  I didn’t know any lesbians, or anyone elsewhere on the QUILTBAG spectrum, until much later. 

    From this rather sheltered background, the idea of SSM just didn’t “work.”  I was too deeply immersed into the common understanding of marriage as “husband and wife”, male and female, so my brain sort of shorted out thinking otherwise.

    But eventually, knowing serious same sex couples, the idea of civil unions, giving them the same rights to care for each other, came to make sense.  Marriage was “marriage” in the old sense.  But helping these people take care of each other just seemed like the nice thing to do.

    But then, once I’d gotten used to the idea of civil unions and same-sex partners loving and caring for each other the same as married opposite sex partners, a sort of shift happened in my mind.  

    I was in favor of same-sex couples having the same legal rights as married couples.  And as those two things became equal in my mind, the word “marriage” became the only difference between the two different legal statuses I approved of.  And fussing about one word gradually became silly.  

    One weird thing about how the human brain works is that it can get caught up on the oddest things, interfering with conclusions that should be logical.  And when that happens, it is useful to be able to form an argument that bypasses the mental block, rather than fighting it directly.  And the concept of civil unions does that.  

    ***

    It’s similar to how I’ve used the idea of intersexed people to help folks understand QUILTBAG issues.  There are a lot of people who have such deeply entrenched ideas about how “gay is wrong” that there is no chance of changing their minds directly.

    But I’ve had luck making arguments indirectly.  People who are strongly attached to the idea of “gay is bad” often haven’t even heard of the idea of a baby being born intersexed.  So they don’t have a huge load of preconceived ideas on the issue.  

    So the idea of God/creation/nature making some people intersexed is interesting, but not triggering their established prejudices.  

    Once they know about intersexed people, I can explain that as these children grow, many decide that they are either boys or girls, while some are most comfortable thinking of themselves as just themselves, and not either/or.  

    Then I can explain that while doctors often try to decide, at birth, whether the baby “should be” a boy or a girl, the doctors aren’t any good at making their choice match what the children come to decide.  You might as well toss a coin.  And if the doctors guess wrong, the child will be just as sad as if you took a boy that looks like a boy but insisted that the child was a girl, or a girl that looks like a girl and insisted that the child was a boy.    

    And it isn’t a matter of children being wrong, but of doctors being wrong, so that the argument actually makes sense if the person I’m talking to shares in the anti-intellectualism that plagues the conservative movement in the US.  Another prejudice, bypassed. 

    And the physical changes aren’t a matter of all intersexed kids being born 50/50, but rather a mix of things that changes from child to child, and you can’t tell what physical changes are important to recognizing the mental understanding the child has of boy/girl/other/both.  

    And, of course, we’re talking about babies born this way.  And being nice to babies, taking care of babies, helping them grow up to be happy, is something that people have a hard time arguing against.  

    Once that idea is understood, the next concept is trans* people.  

    Sure, sometimes a baby is born with a body that isn’t clearly “boy” or “girl”, and the doctors can’t guess right, but the child will figure out what they are.

    So it isn’t too much of a stretch to think about a baby born with a body that looks  like it should be a boy or a girl, but that the natural variation is less than an intersexed child – the doctors have thought they had enough information to decide “boy” or “girl” , but there is something else going on so that the doctors don’t guess right.  A glance at external anatomy a few seconds after birth doesn’t necessarily catch all the things that can be going on.  

    But that’s much less of a change from the obvious than the idea of intersexed babies, so that it is easy to accept, if you’ve already thought about the idea of being intersexed.

    After that, well, the very minor variation of looking and feeling like a boy or a girl, but being attracted to the same sex rather than the opposite sex – that its a really minor variation in the human condition.  

    This isn’t a perfectly enlightened, accurate and progressive understanding of QUILTBAG issues.  But it is an understanding that bypasses existing prejudices.  And it allows the prejudices to be addressed, later, in a way that is working with a person’s understanding of the world, rather than fighting that understanding.

    It also isn’t something that involves one conversation.  It’s very much dependent on finding times when the conversation flows naturally to the ideas involved.  And having the right sort of relationship so that this type of discussion is natural.  

  • http://profiles.google.com/anoncollie Anon Collie

     I am so sorry I was once like them Diez.
    I am so sorry that I failed you, and every person in the minority oppressed by votes like this. One of my greatest shames is that when the time came back in ’04 in Missouri, and I was still so encapsulated in a conservative Catholic fed by Bill Donoahue mindset that I voted for a similar motion in Missouri.

    Nothing I do will ever erase that honest-to-God sin from my soul. And I border on sin every day as I hear family, friends, coworkers and the public still embrace that stupid way of thinking and I remain silent rather than speak the truth and provoke their wrath.

    Our world will change. And despite the conferences named after it, Love will truly win out in the end. I look forward to the day I don’t have to stay silent.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    What I take solice in is this: There is no endgame for hate. No matter what they ban and how they oppress, gay people aren’t going to just go away and cease to exist. They’ll keep fighting. So the people who help prevent marriage equality today are going to have to fight this battle over and over forever (or until they give up). Over and over they’re going ot have to explain to their children why their very polite neighbor who seems so nice and never hurt anyone is an abomination in the eyes of the lord. Over and over, they’re going to have to justify this to themselves. Over and over ,theyy’re going to have to keep a straight face while they claim that Ellen Degeneres is the number one threat to civilization. Over and over they’re going to have to justify this to each other. Over and over they’re going ot have to figure out a way to explain that no, this really is TOTES DIFFERENT from Jim Crow. There’s no victory condition for hate. YOu have to keep it up, day in, day out, forever. Maybe they’ll vote in a new ban on marriage equality this time. Maybe the next time. But there will never be a “And now this is settled forever and ever, no gay marriages EVAR!”, so they *can never win*. They’re going to crack. One by one, they are going ot reach a point where the amount of hate they have for QUILTBAG people is less than the amount of effort it takes to keep trying. QUILTBAG people and their allies are never going to “get tired” of trying to get their rights and give up and go home, but you can’t say the same for the hatemongers. At some point, they’re going to say “To hell with this. This is the sixteenth time we’ve had to vote to keep the (epithet) from getting married. It’s just not worth fighting any more.”

  • kapote

    Apparently the answer is no :( My family has been here for seventeen generations, it’s really kind of more chilling than I thought it would be to see on a precinct map that there are only nine counties  where the current generation of my family would feel comfortable and welcome. It’s not like there’s another home we can go back to, you know?

  • nirrti

    I think “evil” and “stupid” has been on a rampage in this country for the past 10 years. For the first time in my life, I am afraid for the future of the U.S. As much as I want to stay optimistic due to many of our young people being more liberal, I don’t think this mess is going to end well for anyone.

  • Nequam

    I think “evil” and “stupid” has been on a rampage in this country for the past 10 years.

    Only ten?

  • nirrti

     As much as I’d love to file a complaint for every church that violates its 501 tax status, I’m so afraid we would see “selective” enforcement.

    The white churches whose violations are as big as day, caught on camera and with preachers blatantly ignoring the rules will get ignored.

    If there’s even a rumor that a black church is encouraging its congregants to register to vote and speak out against tactics that disenfranchise black voters, they’ll get shut down immediately.

  • nirrti

     lolll! You got me there, Nequam. But I do think teh evil and stupid has become, maybe a little more blatant, louder and “in your face”. I think 9/11 made people feel less safe and fear tends to bring out ugly tendencies in people.

  • Nequam

    I’ll agree with you there.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Sadly, as far as my quick search can tell, the restrictions on 501(c)(3)
    organizations only forbid actions for or against a candidate for
    elective office, not on other ballot measures.

     “No substantial part of the activities of the Corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation (except to the extent permitted by the Code whether pursuant to an election under section 501(h) of the Code or otherwise), and no part of the activities of the Corporation shall be participating or intervening in (including the publication or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office;”

    That’s taken directly from the articles of incorporation of a 501(c)(3) organization. I see many of these documents. I also note that this language is not in all 501(c)(3) organizations’ articles of incorporation. Fortunately, this shit’s publicly available; figure out what state the offending 501(c)(3) is incorporated in, submit a request for a plain copy of the doc with the appropriate fee, and wait for processing. What you do with the information once you’ve got it is up to you.


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