Category Archives: Marriage Equality

Malaka Of The Week: Phil Bryant

As I predicted last week, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the vicious anti-LGBTQ bill passed by his state’s benighted lege. And that is why Phil Bryant is malaka of the week.

Slate’s astute legal writer Mark Joseph Stern had this to say about the bill:

The measure, cloaked in the language of religious liberty, is essentially an attempt to legalize segregation between LGBTQ people and the rest of society. It allows religious landlords to evict gay and trans renters; permits religious employers to fire workers for being LGBTQ; allows adoption agencies—private and state-run—to turn away same-sex couples; allows private businesses to refuse services to gay people; allows clerks and judges to refuse to marry same-sex couples; and forbids trans students from using public school bathrooms that align with their gender identity. No state has ever passed a law so blatantly rooted in malevolent animus toward LGBTQ people.

I’m glad that Stern used the S word: that’s what this really is. It’s an attempt to revive the doctrine of separate but unequal equal in religious liberty drag. Laws that disadvantage discrete and insular minorities” are frowned upon by the courts, which is where this law will surely end up.

To use another legalism, the Mississippi law is overbroad, that’s one reason that I don’t think it will take effect any time soon. It’s the sort of case that will eventually land in the Supreme Court’s lap along with the equally overbroad North Carolina law. In some ways that one is worse since it was passed in the middle of the night and signed into law without public scrutiny.

Governor Malaka is a shallow, pandering right-wing politician in a state where laws such as this have majority support. Additionally, the business community there is NOT as powerful as in a state like Georgia. National pundits may have stressed the film industry-especially the Mouse-as key to Deal’s veto but Coca Cola is the big macher in the Peach State. For all I know, they threatened to unleash the demonic ghost of Ty Cobb to spike the bill. Pun clearly intended. Yeah, I know: Ty Cobb was racist but he liked kicking ass and his Coke stock made him a wealthy bigot man.

The malakatude of Bryant and the Magnolia state lege is another example of the dichotomy between Southern politics and Southerners themselves. I’ve lived in the South for half my life and the people-even in rural, rednecky areas-are as warm and friendly as their politics are retrograde. It has been the source of much frustration for me that the same nice neighbor who would give you the shirt off his back votes the straight wingnut ticket. I wish I had the answer to this but I don’t. I do, however, wish that more people would-as I do-view politics as an extension of their everyday life as opposed to an abstract battle of heroes and villains. Besides, prejudice is rude and one thing most Southerners agree on is/are manners. (I found the whole agreement thing disagreeable in that sentence so I decided to punt as well as pun.)

This is not a typical malaka of the week post. Even I have a hard time finding anything funny in a bill that blatantly discriminates against some of my fellow citizens. And that is why Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is malaka of the week.

I’ll give the fierce Nina Simone the last word:

There Will Always Be Mississippi

As a beleaguered liberal resident of the Gret Stet of Louisiana, I can always look eastward at our neighbors in Mississippi and say, their lege is worse than ours:

Additionally, the bill would allow religious groups to fire someone whose “conduct or religious beliefs are inconsistent with those of the religious organization,” and let those organizations block adoptions due to religious beliefs.

The legislation allows clerks to refuse to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples, too.

Ben Needham, the director of Project One America, a LGBT advocacy project in the South run by the Human Rights Campaign, told Buzzfeed News that the Mississippi legislation is “probably the worst religious freedom bill to date.”

State Rep. Randy Boyd (R), one of the bill’s sponsors, has said that the legislation was aimed at protecting Christians from discrimination.

“This bill doesn’t stop anyone from getting what they want from the state. I have a problem with the discrimination of Christian belief,” he said, as quoted by CNN. “I don’t uphold discrimination but I believe the Christian belief is more discriminated against than other things. … I’m trying to get a happy medium here where people get their rights and other people aren’t pressured into doing anything they don’t believe in against their religious beliefs.”

Bryant has not indicated whether he will sign the bill, but told a CNN affiliate in Mississippi that the legislation “gives some people—as I appreciate it—the right to be able to say, that’s against my religious beliefs and I don’t need to carry out that particular task.”

I expect Bryant to sign it. There are fewer businesses there with a national profile than in Georgia. Of course, that didn’t stop Pat McCrory up North in Tarheel country.

Former Goober PBJ would sign such a bill but John Bel Edwards will not. He recently rescinded an anti-gay order issued by his predecessor. Elections have consequences.

Thanks, Mississippi.

Today On Bad Idea Theatre: Pope Frank & Yelp For People

We begin with the first major gaffe of  Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s papacy. Here’s Charlie Pierce’s hot take on it:

The big news today seems to be that Kim Davis, the goldbricking county clerk from Kentucky, met secretly with Papa Francesco in Washington and that he endorsed her current status as a faith-based layabout. Given this pope’s deft gift for strategic ambiguity and shrewd public relations, it’s hard for me to understand how he could commit such a hamhanded blunder as picking a side in this fight. And it’s odd that he (or someone) sought to publicize it through an American media entity that is not wholly sympathetic to his papacy. Inside The Vatican, the e-newsletter that broke the story, is edited by Robert Moynihan, a 79-year old whose patron was Benedict XVI.

 God, the crowing from the Right is going to be deafening. Everything he said about capitalism and about the environment is going to be drowned out because he wandered into a noisy American culture-war scuffle in which one side, apparently the one he picked, has a seemingly ceaseless megaphone for its views. What a fcking blunder. What a sin against charity, as the nuns used to say.

I think it was a bad idea but it’s not breaking news that Pope Frank isn’t a fan of marriage equality. He opposed it while Cardinal of Bueno Aires. I don’t think it’s cause for an emotional meltdown by liberals. That’s what the Right wants. I’m not playing their game.

I was also one of the people who thought people were getting carried away by the papal visit. Kindly Doc Maddow was convinced that the “radical” pope would change American politics. Why? I have no idea. Pope John Paul’s early trips to America were the cause of just as much acclaim and hype. I’m not aware that his visits changed American politics for good or ill.

If you’ve collapsed on to your fainting couch just remember: Pope Frank hasn’t changed his positions on poor people, capital punishment, and the environment. He just met with a Protestant non-entity from Podunk. That’s it.

I’ll give Billy Wilder and Izzy Diamond the last word of this segment:

 The other bad idea of the day is this one:

You can already rate restaurants, hotels, movies, college classes, government agencies and bowel movements online.

So the most surprising thing about Peeple — basically Yelp, but for humans — may be the fact that no one has yet had the gall to launch something like it.

When the app does launch, probably in late November, you will be able to assign reviews and one- to five-star ratings to everyone you know: your exes, your co-workers, the old guy who lives next door. You can’t opt out — once someone puts your name in the Peeple system, it’s there unless you violate the site’s terms of service. And you can’t delete bad or biased reviews — that would defeat the whole purpose.

I’d prefer to be unlisted on Peeple but if you must rate me, lie and give me 5 stars. I wonder if Jude is going to petition Peeple and demand recognition of his awesomeness. Stranger things have happened…

That concludes today’s edition of Bad Idea Theatre. I should, however. mention something that’s a helluva good idea: supporting our anthology Kickstarter. There are worse ways to spend your money like this papal pizza box:

Papal Pizza Box

Talk about a bad idea. Time to make like a Philadelphian: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Saturday Odds & Sods: You’re With Stupid Now

Cavalcade

Sideshow Banner by Fred G. Johnson.

This week has been a bottomless pit of stupid. We’ve seen an obscure county clerk treated as a hero by the Right and as a villain by the Left. She’s neither, she’s an outlier who’s best ignored. #MLKim my ass. We interrupt this rant with a message from Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys:

Back to the week in stupid. We’ve seen Ted Cruz and a Huckabee staffer have a physical confrontation at the Eye of the Tiger event in Palookaville, KY. Who knew that the guys in Survivor were litigious libruls? We’ve seen a man in a suit try to wrest a sign away from a Code Pink protester at a Dick Cheney event. Stay classy, neo-cons…

Speaking of empty suits, the dullest Greek in history, New Orleans Advocate owner John Georges, teased the media and Twitteratti with the possibility he might enter the Gret Stet Goober race. In the end, he didn’t run but a lot of bandwith was wasted on a boring rich guy who ran and lost for Governor in 2007, and Mayor of New Orleans in 2010. In that time span he’s been a Republican, Independent, and Democrat. Some decider; he can’t even make up his mind as to what he believes in, other than himself.

In New Orleans, we’ve seen Mayor Mitch Landrieu threatened with house arrest if he doesn’t settle an endless lawsuit with the Firefighters Union. This dispute seems to have been going on since the Louisiana Purchase. It may be time to resurrect Gen. Wilkinson or Gov. Claiborne to settle the issue. They’re long dead but still have more life than John Georges as well as better hair than Mitch Landrieu…

A friend asked me the other day why I haven’t done a Malaka of the Week post for a few weeks. It’s because there’s too bloody much malakatude to choose from. There’s a wealth of stupid, which brings me to this week’s theme song. It comes from Aimee Mann’s ab fab 1995 album I’m With Stupid. We’re all with stupid this week, y’all:

Okay now that I’ve vented, on with the Saturday post, which does involve some stupid but not this much:

did-you-eat-a-bowl-of-stupid-for-breakfast-funny-poster

Now that you’ve consumed some empty calories, join us after the break. Fast…

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Show Me An Anti-Hero…

…and I’ll show you a reformed sinner with a martyr complex. Why does it martyr?

I think Mary Elizabeth Williams nails the whole Kim Davis affair:

So she never imagined she’d be in this position? When at the time of her mother-in-law’s death, six U.S. states already had marriage equality? I think that Davis might either be a very poor planner or she’s not being entirely honest here. I do, however, believe her “heaven or hell” imperative. I believe she is convinced that she has transgressed profoundly, and that her belief in her forgiveness is what is driving her now. Who but a person who honestly believes she’s done things that would merit eternal suffering would be so very steadfast in refusing to do anything she thinks would put her back in such grave danger? Who but someone with such an apparent terror of the Lord’s retribution would be so resolute about refusing to uphold the Constitution of the United States, as she promised she would?

As Dan Savage notes, “It’s a pretty neat trick: If I bring up Kim Davis’s four marriages, I’m being rude and mean-spirited and her first three marriages are in the past and she’s saved now.” But I believe it’s more complicated. For Davis and her cohort, her past is both her shame and her credentials. They are evidence of her sin and her repentance, the things that grant her permission to judge others, and leave her no other choice but to do — and not do — as she chooses. She’s like an ex-gay who believes himself “cured” — her own perceived sins give her a sense of authoritative horror at the actions of others.

Even though she appears to be an opportunist and a hypocrite, Kim Davis is really a fanatic. She’s consumed with outrage like a reformed smoker in a cigar bar; a reformed alcoholic in a dive bar; or a reformed junkie in an opium den. She’s absolutely convinced of the rectitude of her cause. Additionally, she had a “revelation” when her mother-in-law died; how Mormon of her. She’s, of course, not LDS, but people will do crazy, self-defeating things when they think God is sitting on their shoulder, whispering in their ear. I call her an anti-hero at the top of the post but she’s like the people behind the Scopes monkey trial, and firmly believes in her own heroism. The judge in this case doesn’t give a damn: the law is on his side.

Thus far the reaction on the Right has been underwhelming. Sure, Gov PBJ and former Arkabilly Gov Huck Upchuck have supported Ms. Davis but many GOPers just wish this issue would go away. Does that mean it’s gone for good? Hell no, we find ourselves discussing contraception right now; many of the right’s issues are put in the deep freeze next to Walt Disney and Ted Williams (both ardent right-wingers, sorry BoSox fans) to be revived at a later date. Yes, I know that Uncle Walt’s body isn’t frozen but in this instance I’m like the editor at the end of Liberty Valance: “When the the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Time to circle back to the post title, which was influenced by David Simon’s Show Me A Hero. This saga of massive resistance to public housing in Yonkers, NY in the 1980’s is eerily relevant to many things that are going on today, including Kim Davis’ uncivil disobedience in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The pols who support her are pandering opportunists just like the hacks in Yonkers who fought with their mouths. If you haven’t seen Show Me A Hero, check it out OnDemand and HBOGo. The title comes from a quote from Scott Fitzgerald “Show me a hero, and  I’ll write you a tragedy.”

As I said before, Davis herself is a true believer and reformed sinner, not a hypocrite. That does not make her massive resistance any less odious but it explains why she’s doing it. She’s also delusional and poorly advised by lawyers who are every bit as fanatical and wingnutty as she is. Her resistance is doomed to fail, if she’s unwilling to follow the law, she should resign.

One more thing. Why is it always necessary to comment on a woman’s appearance and clothing when they’re in the news? The fact that Davis is dowdy has nothing to do with the issue at hand. We never hear about what male pols are wearing or the fact that Senator Aqua Buddha has pubic hair on his head. Perhaps the Insult Comedian with cotton candy piss hair is a break through in that regard. The MSM is obsessed with his hair and the fact that Trump collection ties are made in Mexico. Now there’s a hypocrite and opportunist.

I’ll give the last word to Da-Da-David Bowie:

UPDATE: Kim Davis has been found in contempt of court and is in the custody of the US Marshal’s service until she complies with the Judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to *everyone* in her jurisdiction.

Gospel of Athenae 1:1-15: Fuck This Guy

thisasshole

Behold, a massive jerkoff sits at the controls of the North Mississippi Daily Journal:

I don’t write a column often, but as publisher and CEO of the Journal there are times when I feel a responsibility to share my thoughts on a subject and ensure our company is not misunderstood based on our job to report the news and share both sides of a story. I’ll also preface the following thoughts by saying if you don’t believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the source of authority that trumps all others, you’re not likely to agree with the rest of this column.

So you don’t want your company to be misunderstood as a news organization.

Gotcha.

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court gave federal recognition to same sex marriages making it the law of the land. Our governmental authorities, like all of us, are not perfect, and they don’t always follow God’s plans. However, inasmuch as their decisions and authority is not contradicting God’s Word, we must obey according to Romans 13:1-7. On those occasions when government leaders make decisions that are contrary to God’s Word and expect us to do things contrary to God’s will, we must obey and honor God instead as Peter and the apostles did in Acts 5:29.

Does God send a memo as to which laws contradict Him and which don’t? What font does He use? I think He uses Comic Sans just to fuck with people.

Regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, marriage is still what God said it is in Genesis 2:24, the union of one man and one woman for life. While this decision will require states to issue “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples, this does not make it acceptable to God.

As yet the Lazy Sumbitch has not made His dissatisfaction known.

It’s not like He lacks the budget, either. One or two forecasts calling for frogs raining down from the sky and I think we’d all crack His code. Therefore we can all assume He either a) has bigger shit to worry about or b) actively approves of all these gay couples getting hitched in His holy name.

God’s position is consistent and will not change regardless of how any judge rules. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that this is an unacceptable lifestyle before our Almighty God, and the more we condone and embrace it, the more we become a nation that is forgetting God and the principles upon which this great nation was founded.

Which begs this most critical question: So fucking what?

When this country was founded I was the property of my husband and my next door neighbor was three-fifths of a person. All of that was completely acceptable to Almighty God and the principles on which our nation was founded, so you’ll pardon me if I don’t mourn their passing.

Our response and reaction to this decision by the Supreme Court doesn’t need to be one of hate, but rather one of love, including those who experience same-sex attraction, without comprising our beliefs and while maintaining strong convictions on the Bible’s teachings.

Nothing says love like quoting Leviticus and refusing to publish people’s wedding announcements: 

I also questioned Foster in the email about something he did not directly disclose in his anti-gay marriage column: He has directed advertising and sales staff at the Daily Journal to refuse to accept for publication announcements of same-sex marriages. As of now, anyone in Northeast Mississippi who wants to see publication of wedding announcements of marriages of same-sex couples must turn to another news organization.

Or to a company that is not going to be misunderstood as one under any circumstances.

A.

Fuck Yeah, Jefferson Parish

The floodgates are finally opening in Louisiana:

Jefferson Parish will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses to anyone who applies for them on Monday, Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer said.

 Gegenheimer’s office made the decision about 10 a.m. after speaking with his agency’s legal counsel, attorney John Litchfield. Litchfield spent the weekend reviewing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on Friday to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide and said Jefferson Parish should begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples immediately.

By about 10:30 a.m., Gegenheimer said, Jefferson Parish issued what appeared to be Louisiana’s first same-sex marriage license to a pair of women whose names are Celeste Autin and Alesia LeBoeuf.

Autin and Leboeuf work in the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court’s Office, Gegenheimer said.

Common sense and personal knowledge trump malakatude from the Governor and Attorney General. This makes the otherwise very conservative Mr. Gegenheimer a good next door neighbor indeed. One could even call this a Gegenheimer maneuver…

Orleans is the most gay friendly parish in the state, but it’s also the only one where the Gret Stet guvmint issues marriage licenses at a state office building. To be fair, if this were up to the Mayor and Orleans Clerk of Court, we would have been the first in the state.

It’s unclear exactly when couples will be able to marry but I suspect it will be sooner than the 25 days mentioned in the article.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jindal is reduced to sputtering irrelevant inanities about abolishing the Supreme Court to save money. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

UPDATE: A New Orleans couple obtained a license in Jefferson Parish and were married by an Orleans Parish judge. Congratulations to Michael and Earl.

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Fuck Yeah, America

As expected the Supremes have legalized same-sex marriage in the entire country in a 5-4 vote. The majority opinion was written by Anthony Kennedy thereby cementing his place in history as the Gay Rights Justice. To those pundits who insisted that Kennedy was the “swing vote” in this case: You were wrong and I was right.

I cannot wait to hear the reaction here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. PBJ just shit his pants.

The Eddie Haskell Factor Revisited

This post started off as another trip in the Adrastos Wayback Machine to February 8, 2007. That’s when I published one of my favorite Bobby Jindal posts; comparing him to a teevee character both of whom are psalm singing sons of bitches like Diaper Dave. We’ll get there eventually, but Gov PBJ remains the Eddie Haskell of politics: a smarmy creep who kisses up and kicks down.

PBJ is back in the news with his latest pander to religious bigots and the far right of his party. A Louisiana house committee killed the so-called  religious freedom act, which spurred the Governor into spurious action:

Just hours after a Louisiana House panel overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to effectively kill one of his priority pieces of legislation, Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order that he said would continue to give life to the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act’s intent.

 House Bill 707 had sought to carve out protections for people who oppose same-sex marriage. The executive order is much narrower in scope, Jindal admitted, and some opponents of the measure have questioned whether the order will have much impact. But after the House Civil Law Committee’s 10-2 vote Tuesday to end the measure’s chances this session through a procedural move, Jindal argued that his possibly temporary order was the “next best thing.”

“It applies to all of the executive branch of state government,” Jindal told reporters minutes after issuing the order. “It will offer good protections for the people of Louisiana.”

Y’all have heard of a fig leaf, right? This is one. Despite all the outrage this action has inspired in the easily outraged sectors of social media, this order is of limited scope and will lapse when PBJ leaves office in 2016 unless his successor gives it CPR.

This is what happens when a Governor has a 32% approval rating, they lose key votes. I’m not sure who’s more delusional, Jindal or Chris Christie. At least Christie is a talented stump performer whereas Jindal has all the charisma of a Jello salad.  PBJ keeps serving himself up at church suppers in Iowa but it’s not working. When you’re that unpopular back home, it’s hard for voters to take your candidacy seriously.

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Headline Of The Day: Josh Marshall Edition

The Louisiana lege is in session, desperately trying to divert attention from the destruction it and Gov PBJ hath wrought in the last 7 years. (Contemplating the wreckage makes me feel all Old Testamenty hence the hath.)And what do GOPers do when they’re in such a fix? Find a social issue hot button to mash down on via legislative resolution. Ain’t no hotter button right now than marriage equality, and while you’re at it, demand the two Jewish  female Supremes recuse themselves.

Here’s Josh Marshall’s headline on a post linking to the TPM story linked to above about the whole mishigas:

I decided to use Kevin’s tweet because it had such a pretty picture of the headline about the ugliness coming out of the Louisiana lege this week. They should be trying to keep our flagship public university from sinking instead of pulling meaningless stunts like this. As for Governor PBJ: fuck you and piss off back to Iowa.

 

 

Lazy (Media) Days

I’m never surprised when the national MSM media falls back on cliches and platitudes but it still bugs the living shit out of me. At a time when research has been made easier by the interwebs, they prefer spewing out the received knowledge of the conventional wisdom rather than doing any actual reporting.

The political punditocracy are usually the laziest media cats, but some of the “reporting” out of Baltimore and the Supreme Court beat has been lazier than Oscar and Della on a hot August afternoon.

I turned on MSNBC a few hours ago and they had two of the players from The Wire on as talking heads: the guy who played Bodie and the chick who played Snoop. I know that they’re actual Baltimoreans (as opposed to the Baltimorons who run the Orioles) but having the folks from The Wire on the news blurs the line between fact and fiction a bit too much for my taste. And I say that as someone who was into the show before it became a trendy hipster fetish object. However realistic some of it is, it’s a bloody teevee show and watching it doesn’t make one an expert on West Baltimore or the BPD. Here’s what some dude on Twitter had to say:

It’s a momentous week at the United States Supreme Court as the Justices took up the Obergefell vs. Hodges case, which will, more likely than not, result in legalizing same sex marriage from sea to shining sea. The MSM remains obsessed with characterizing Justice Kennedy as the “one to watch” or the “swing vote.” Kennedy is that BUT ON OTHER CASES, you maroons. His historical legacy is clear: he’s the gay rights judge. You know, he’s the author of all the groundbreaking gay rights cases of the last decade. There are obviously 5 votes for some method of legalizing marriage equality, the question is not IF but HOW. The MSM prefers the manufactured drama of “what will the swing judge do” to counting votes. They’re a lot like Congressional teabaggers in that regard: they can’t count votes either.

The other aspect of the MSM Supreme Court coverage that drives me batty is the incessant tealeaf reading as to what the Justices comments mean or what their body language means during oral arguments. Time for more self quotation:

Oral arguments at the Supreme Court used to be much less flamboyant in the pre-Scalia era. There were many very distinguished Justices who rarely spoke during them. Why? Because the briefs and negotiations over opinions are what really matter. The former is undramatic and the latter is conducted in private, which is why the MSM is disinterested in both. If it doesn’t bleed, it don’t lead or some such shit.

Btw, I don’t use the acronym SCOTUS because it looks too much like scrotum. And while that may work for Scalito and Thomas, I prefer to show the other Justices more respect than that. Not that that ever stopped me from calling Felix Frankfurter, the Hot Dog Man…

After those groaners, I’ll attempt to restore a measure of decorum to the proceedings by giving 10cc the last word:

 

 

 

Malaka Of The Week: Mike Johnson

I’ve written a lot about Johnsons this week of both the metaphorical and literal variety. The latest Johnson on my radar (blogdar?) is State Rep. Mike Johnson a Republican from Bossier City, which is in North Louisiana. He’s the unctuously self-righteous biblebanging cretin behind-you guessed it-the so called religious freedom act. Johnson and our equally unctuous (the word ofthe day, apparently) Governor have made passing this atrocity a priority this legislative session. And that is why Mike Johnson is malaka of the week.

Johnson’s bill is designed to solve a problem that does not exist; you know, the whole gay wedding cake/photographer thing. Johnson is out to make a name for himself and PBJ is out to make himself the *most* extreme candidate in the GOP Presidential field on this issue. In short, he’s trying to run to the right of Mike Huckabe. Who knew there was any room to Huck’s right? I thought Chuck Norris took up more space than that.

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How Many People Need to Suffer for Discrimination to be Wrong?

Rod Dreher, being stupid on purpose: 

That’s the other thing about the Indiana freakout: Where, exactly, are the many examples of businesses discriminating against same-sex patrons? If Indiana in 2015 were like Mississippi in 1956, that would be one thing. But the number of cases nationwide where this has happened has been small, involving rare instances in which a commercial service is arguably a form of coerced expression.

America has changed on homosexuality — for the better, in most cases. Refusing to serve gay customers is bad for business, which is why almost nobody does it. It is understandably offensive to gay couples to have, say, a baker refuse on religious grounds to make their wedding cake. But in today’s America, there are many more bakers who would love their business. Besides, a country in which gay rights is enjoying landslide approval is a country that can afford to give a modicum of protection — a day in court — to religious dissenters from popular sentiment.

Yeah! If it’s just a LITTLE discrimination, now and then, that’s fine. If it’s just a few people getting hurt, say, beat up coming out of clubs or getting shitcanned because their bosses think they’re flouncy, then really, what’s the big deal? Those few people can suffer to make Rod Dreher feel like he’s being heard. His feelings are just as important as their actual lives, after all.

I wonder how bad it has to get, for Rod Dreher to think discrimination is worth addressing. I wonder how many restaurants have to put up “no fags” signs, or what the language has to be. He’s the one who decides, apparently, when other people are really hurt. I wonder how he got that job, deciding what discrimination was legitimate enough to interfere with his life.

A.

Pence On Fire

The most interesting thing about the great Hoosier Hoo-Ha is how little thought the Indiana lege and Governor Pence gave to the *possible* implications of the whole mishigas. It’s true that 19 other states have similar laws but Indiana’s drew more attention from the MSM for two reasons. First, Pence is thought to have Presidential ambitions. Second, the Final Four will be in Indianapolis this weekend. The MSM has a short attention span but it loves to speculate about candidates and who among us doesn’t love March Madness? Btw, I’ve adopted the Wisconsin Badgers as my tournament team for the second year in a row.

Back to the pantsing of Mike Pence after the break.

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Mike Pence: We’re Discriminating But Not Like in a Mean Way or Anything

Just fucking kill me: 

I spoke with Pence on the same day that thousands of people rallied at the Statehouse in opposition to the law. And the same day that Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle announced that his company will abandon a deal with the state and city to expand the company’s headquarters in Indianapolis because of RFRA’s passage.

Oesterle’s statement is a telling sign that the outrage over RFRA isn’t limited only to the political left. Oesterle directed Republican Mitch Daniels’ 2004 campaign for governor. And it’s a signal that the damage from the RFRA debacle could be extensive.

Behind the scenes, Pence and his team have been scrambling to mitigate that damage — both to the state and to the governor’s political career.

Pence said, for example, that he had a “cordial and productive” conversation with Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, who announced shortly after Pence signed the RFRA legislation on Thursday that the company will cancel all corporate-related travel to Indiana. That conversation, however, has not led to a reversal of the Salesforce decision.

I asked the governor if he had anticipated the strongly negative reaction set off by the bill’s passage. His response made it clear that he and his team didn’t see it coming.

“I just can’t account for the hostility that’s been directed at our state,” he said. “I’ve been taken aback by the mischaracterizations from outside the state of Indiana about what is in this bill.”

Yes.  I can’t account for the mischaracterizations of what is in the bill, based on what is in the bill.

This is standard HELP HELP I’M BEING OPPRESSED nonsense, making out that the people who are speaking up about being discriminated against are the ones being mean, and why do they have to bother us so with their trivial needs for civil rights and the ability to get their groceries and such? Why can’t they just lie down and let us roll over them, so we don’t have to bother with all of this?

As for this utterly dishonest argument:

In defense of the legislation, he noted that 19 other states and the federal government have adopted RFRA laws similar to Indiana’s. And he pointed out that President Barack Obama voted for Illinois’ version of RFRA as a state senator.

Eat a very gay dick, Pence: 

But the Republican governor and possible presidential contender left out an important fact. While Illinois does have a law that gives special protections to religious objectors, it also bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. Indiana, on the other hand, has no such ban.

And if you think THAT is an accident I have some lovely beachfront property in Indianapolis to sell you.

A.

Not Everyone Got Enlightened At Once

History did not begin when we noticed it: 

So much of our gay history, even from gay activists, comes from a touchstone that the past was a horrible place and that only after 1969 did things improve. This is not so dissimilar from our popular history of sexuality. Both on both counts, the history is much more complicated and if the 1950s and early 1960s were a period of repression of gays (and sexuality more broadly), before World War II, it’s a whole other country out there.

I think we have this idea that once upon a time it was just GREAT to be a racist, bigoted shitbag of a human being. Like once upon a time it was EASIER, I get that. Fewer people looked askance if you used racial slurs or called the company secretary Sugar Tits. Generally the law of the land backed you up if you wanted to mistreat people who were different.

But some people have always felt differently. Some people have always understood racism, bigotry, general misery and the futility of punishing someone else for being different. We didn’t ALL wake up in the 1960s and discover that women were people and blacks and whites could go to school together without the earth caving in and being gay was nobody’s business but yours.

Some people were never asleep, and erasing the moments of decency that may have existed in the past so we can celebrate the present creates the impression that it was merely the passage of time that made bigotry suspect. As if change was an inevitability of the clock, and not the result of the hard work and heart’s blood of so many.

Yes, there are events that changed the tide of public opinion and there are moments that reversed the river of shit we tend to send at those whose lives are strange to us, but in the rush to celebrate where we are, we should remember that it’s where some people have always been. This is from the New York Times, circa 1883:

 If Mrs. Dubois chose to marry a woman, whose business was it? Such a marriage concerns the general public less than the normal sort of marriage, since it does not involve the promise and potency of children. It has been well established that if a woman chooses to wear trousers she has a right to wear them, and no one will venture to deny the right of any two women to live together if they prefer the society of one another to solitude. Why, then, has not Mrs. Dubois the right to live with another woman who wears lawful trousers, and why should so much indignation be lavished upon Mrs. Dubois’s female husband? There are many women who, if they had the opportunity, would select other women as husbands rather than marry men.

A.

Forward Out of Darkness, Forward Into Light

Or, as we say around these parts, FUCK YEAH ALABAMA: 

The well-worn path of defiance against the federal courts, and the imagery that invokes, is one the governor ofAlabama said he would rather not travel.

Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican and a Southern Baptist, said he believes strongly that marriage is between one man and one woman, but that the issue should be “worked out through the proper legal channels” and not through defiance of the law.

The governor noted that Alabama is about to be in the spotlight again with the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed after civil rights marchers were attacked and beaten in Selma, Alabama — events chronicled in the Oscar-nominated movie “Selma.”

“I don’t want Alabama to be seen as it was 50 years ago when a federal law was defied. I’m not going to do that,” Bentley said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.

“I’m trying to move this state forward.”

In other words, we’ve already lost, and now we’re just trying not to look like bigots while still getting the bigot vote, because the bigots are the Republican party’s eternal political booty call and they never, ever, ever stop believing that someday Republicans will finally put a man-woman ring on it.

I mean, Jesus, enough, okay? Look at this shiz:

Love won. It took far, far longer than it should have. This should never have been a thing, but love won anyway.

A.

Which One Is The Horse’s Ass?

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That’s obviously a rhetorical question. It’s the two legged one on the right:

“I just wanna send a message saying, you know, how far are we gonna take this thing?” Reverend Edward James told local station WJTV.

The reverend’s game of dress-up came after a federal judge overturned Mississippi’s gay marriage ban in late November. He told the local station that he hopes he and his horse, Charlotte, make an impression before the federal court of appeals hears arguments on Jan. 9.

“I’ve had 100-percent support so far, thumbs up, tooting on the horns, I’ve even had a couple come out and give me a hug and hug the horse,” James said to WJTV.

The station spoke to local LGBT advocate Eddie Outlaw, who shrugged off the pastor’s gesture.

“I thought it was laughable and I believe he was going for a ridiculous protest and he certainly got one,” he said.

A friend of mine suggested an alternate title for this post: Mississippi preacher says “neigh” to gay marriage. I quite like it, as well as this comment by our very own Tommy T, “Is the horse a mare? ’cause if it’s a stallion, that would be sick.”

Okay, I’m finished horsing around. The only thing more ridiculous than this protest would be posting a Tull song from the tour they wore jump suits. That’s why I’m gonna do it. Tommy would approve. Btw, Ian was in white. Does that make him the bride Rev. James?

 

 

“A good dress rehearsal”

He was shorter than his partner, although they both looked nice in their “of the era” tuxedos, and his name was Scott. He was about 25 or so, short and yet stylish brown hair combed back and perfectly moussed.

In 1996, I went to the State Capitol building to see a handful of gay and lesbian couples take part in a “gay wedding.” A member of the group “The Lesbian Avengers” officiated the event and friends gathered to support these 15 couples who were tying the knot.

The State Journal sent me out there on a Friday, which meant I had absolutely no time to prepare. I was also working under an editor who remains the litmus test for everything I do in journalism: If she would do X, I clearly shouldn’t. I ran out there to interview people, hoping to find out more about what was happening and why when I got back.

After the guests showered the couples with rice and released the balloons, I started nosing around to get interviews. Some declined because it was supposed to be their day and they didn’t want to waste a moment of it talking to a twerp like me. Others declined because although they wanted to do this, they weren’t doing it to make a statement.

My favorite answer came from two of the most pleasant women I ever interviewed, one of whom said, “Don’t bother talking to us. We’re just a couple old dykes. Go talk to the kids. They’re the future of this thing.”

That’s what led me to Scott and Eldert.

They didn’t want to talk, but they did. They feared repercussions for taking part in something so “out” as this ceremony, and yet they both sported simple gold wedding bands. Eldert didn’t say anything after that. Scott, however, explained he worked at a law firm (or a conservative business, I forget) and he worried about losing his job.

They wouldn’t give me their last names, something my editor berated me for when I got back to the office.

“You can’t use them without last names,” she said with an exasperated tone.

“But they had good stuff to say and they have real-life concerns about what might happen,” I pushed back, using that journalism law/ethics education I got at the U.

“If we DON’T use their names, it looks like they’re ashamed or hiding,” she said.

I had no ground to stand on, as she was the editor and I was a part timer with about six months under my belt. Still, I got to keep them and one quote:

“That was a good dress rehearsal,” Scott said. “I hope to have the opportunity to do it for real some day.”

I could never remember Scott’s partner’s name. I had to look it up among the yellowing newspaper clips I saved from my working journalist years. I never forgot Scott’s name, possibly because I knew five gay guys in college really well and they were all named Scott or were dating someone named Scott. Still, I can see him all these years later.

I really thought about him when the Supreme Court essentially slapped people over the debate on “same-sex marriage” this week. The court basically said, “Quit acting like assholes” and refused to deal with states hoping to keep “teh gayz” from going all “Adam and Steve.” At the time I wrote about the ceremony at the capitol, not a single state in the union recognized marriages that were not between a man and a woman. The closest thing to it was the 1993 ruling in Hawaii that said the denial of licenses to gay couples was unconstitutional. The case went back to the lower court and had yet to be fully settled at that point.

Even then, the Hawaii thing seemed to be a freak-show/tourism ploy. A number of friends who had been in long-standing relationships realized that even if they did this, in spite of the “full faith and credit” clause, were going to be outlying anomalies.

The 15 couples who gathered were hopeful, but realistic. They held out hope that if more people could see gay couples committing to each other and understand that a life-long partnership was a life-long partnership, regardless of gender, the tide would turn.

Eventually it did. It went from one or two states to five or 10 states and then suddenly the majority of the states figured this out. More and more people heard the term “gay marriage” and saw neighbors and friends, who were normal, loving couples. They stopped thinking every person who was gay was spreading disease, engaging in bestiality and trying to fuck their kids behind the 7-11. News stories stopped running the 1970s footage of leather boys partying on Fire Island with every story on gay rights issues.

Anyone who understands politics, or who watched the original Star Wars trilogy, knows the empire will strike back at some point. However, the courts, the legislatures and the sheer numbers finally seem to back the idea that this issue might finally become something we eventually see as antiquated. After all, people in this country (mostly) stopped saying “inter-racially married couples” so maybe we’ll get there on gay marriage some day as well.

I spent the last couple days scanning the marriage licenses in Dane County, looking for Scott and Eldert. Without a last name it was hard, but I figured there couldn’t be too many Eldert’s out there. No dice.

Maybe I was even being too optimistic. They could have moved away. Hell, they might have gone their separate ways. Statistics indicate about 40 to 50 percent of marriages end up in divorce and those usually last a median length of eight years.

Still, I have to hope that Scott and Eldert are still together and that they are planning to get that piece of paper they fought so hard for.

Every victory starts with one or two minor steps toward a goal. Saying “I do” when it didn’t count for anything to anyone but each other fits that bill.

Because of that, I’m going to raise a glass to them tonight.