Congress Must Codify Same-Sex Marriage, Will GOP Vote For Freedom And Liberty?

Given the ideological ruling from the United States Supreme Court this year, which overturned a 50-year precedent about the right of women to make their own reproductive health care decisions, which also struck at the heart of privacy as an unenumerated right, comes the need to codify same-sex marriage in our statutes.

This week the House of Representatives will vote on the matter, and as news reports questioned this morning, how will the GOP whips deal with the matter among their members?  Can the GOP actually try to gin up opposition to the effort at codifying this fundamental right into law?

With conservatives already seen to be in the extreme seating section of our society, and the majority of the nation reeling from the abortion ruling, will there be an attempt by the GOP to further their distrust among suburban voters and moderates in the nation? Will they provide another log to the culture wars so to play to the angry base of the party, at the expense of their long-term goals?

The reason to have deep concern about this matter rests with the words and actions of the justices, themselves.  Several told the judiciary committee, during their hearings as nominees, of their appreciation for precedent. They convinced enough senators they were sincere. The explosion of the social fabric of the nation, and the threats of more to follow underscore their lack of honesty, regard for the Court, and the laws of the nation.

When they blew up Roe v. Wade it was the words of Justice Clarence Thomas that caught equal attention as the abortion decision, itself. He wrote in a separate opinion that the legal rationale for the decision to overrule the abortion decision could be applied to reconsider other recent landmark cases—including same-sex marriage.

It is truly reprehensible to even need to consider at the margins the loss of rights that a conservative majority on this court might unleash upon the nation concerning same-sex marriage. 

There are hundreds of thousands of couples who have gotten married, adopted children, formed businesses, engaged in legal contracts, and live life in this nation like any other married couple.  We cannot, will not, stand silent knowing, due to presidents who could not muster a mere majority vote from the electorate but still were able to plant jurists on the court, that our fundamental rights can now be exploded and destroyed.

To have anyone tell me that my marriage is not valid, or threatened in any way, or not protected under the laws of this nation is beyond the pale.  That is a line that must not be crossed. 

I have often commented on this blog about sending a positive and reaffirming message to young people who are gay and live in rural and isolated areas.  I grew up in such a place and know the need to have advocates who are fighting in the nation for a better and more just society. I have been a constant voice for gay rights over the decades, and in so doing, trust that it will aid some other young person in this state or around the nation. 

Our nation must not take any action that sends a message to gay youth that their lives do not matter, their individual sexual orientation less important than any other. If conservative Republicans turn their back on freedom and liberty in the congress this week, as it pertains to gay men and women in this nation, then the midterms will be a pitched battle. 

As for me, I walk my talk, and would encourage congress to protect the marriage of Thomas, a black man who married a white woman. As such I would ask that the congress pass legislation to codify Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 decision legalizing interracial marriage, a topic I need to note the conservative justice did not opine about in his abortion opinion.

Justice Thomas Writes Opinion For Rolling Back Gay Marriage, Contraceptive Sales, But Did Not Mention Loving v. Virginia

There is plenty of reason to feel ashamed of the Supreme Court today for its purely partisan and doctrinaire ruling which overturned Roe. v. Wade. With no regard for the social realities of the early 21st century, a majority of the males on the court tossed aside precedent and dived into the idealogic depths. They view women as birthing chambers, as the powerfully worded dissent correctly stated, “from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of.”

While the abortion ruling was one the nation knew was coming for a couple months, the gravity of the ruling and the explosion of emotions and political consequences which will follow surely will be quite unlike anything we have witnessed before in the nation. At a time the political divides are already severe, and the anger among citizens is at an intense level, the court opted for a highly partisan and purely ideological ruling rather than a measured and competent address of the issue at hand.

As if the ruling itself was not jarring and threatening enough to the nation, Justice Clarence Thomas in his cold and calculating conservative concurring opinion called for overturning the constitutional rights the court had affirmed for access to contraceptives and LGBTQ rights. This, too, was not totally a surprise as many, including this blog, have argued since the leak of today’s ruling, that they were the next steps of the conservatives in the judiciary. Some commented on this site that I was basically exaggerating.

But those registering concern about the undermining and stripping away of other rulings were not just blowing smoke.

Reading the separate opinion today by Thomas allowed us to understand his initial view that the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization did not directly affect any rights besides abortion. But then in his customary angry nature that is often seen while sitting petulantly in silence during oral arguments, or his 19th-century views when writing, he argued that the constitution’s Due Process Clause does not secure a right to an abortion or any other substantive rights, and he urged the court to apply that reasoning to other landmark cases.

Thomas stunningly wrote, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

Oddly, Thomas left out the famed Loving v. Virginia, the landmark civil rights decision that ruled that laws banning interracial marriage violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. His marriage seemed not to need judicial review.

As we know from years of following the Court and also following legal scholars and noted writers the reckless action today that produced a tingling thrill for conservatives when overturning the landmark decades-old abortion decision, now leaves other precedents vulnerable.

I fully understand that the typical person in Topeka or Green Bay is not pondering the long-term consequences of today’s ruling. But those who follow the cases at the Supreme Court and the politics of moving certain cases forward, and the means by which they make such a journey, do pay attention.

That is why it was sophomoric and utterly ridiculous for anyone to claim two months ago that gay people in our nation had nothing to worry about regarding our marriage rights. What we warned was a possibility was put into writing today by a Supreme Court Justice.

A black man who was able to marry a white woman because of a Supreme court ruling.

Irony is very much alive.

Pope Francis Takes Step With Gay Rights, Akin To Bill Clinton

It is clearly a sign of either how much weighty news or bombastic rhetoric is created each day when the words of Pope Francis expressing support for same-sex civil unions is not the event that would create continuing top-of-the-fold conversations. While following the news of a pope creating a major and truly significant break from his predecessors regarding gay people, a correct position for religion, and all of society, I was aware of just how hard it is to steer headlines away from the chaos of this year. That, in and of itself, is a story we need to ponder.

But the words from Francis are powerful and very important. He made a public statement that the world-wide church needed to hear. “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” Francis said in the documentary, “Francesco”.

“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

As a gay man, but not a Catholic, I have a range of feelings about the pope’s words. While many in the world have moved far beyond civil unions for gay people to the socially responsible and correct legal construction of gay marriage there is still much work to be done for allowing freedoms with sexual identity. In regions of the world where bigotry still has a grip and the Catholic hierarchy is less tolerant of homosexuality, this message was most important to be planted by a pope.

Words matter, as I often note on this blog when talking about leadership. I have long approved of the tone and focus of Francis, knowing the Vatican requires more light and less dogma. But it also needs to be stated that until church doctrine is changed the words of a pope will not alter the harm that is done to gay members of that faith.

Traditional Catholics are wedded to the idea a smaller church that holds to never-changing doctrine is better than a larger church that wishes to adapt to a modern world. As a person of faith, I can grasp the over-arching argument traditionalists hold, but know the best path taken comes down to applying Jesus’ teachings in our lives.

I view the opposition to bigotry as more powerful and uplifting than the harsh restraints and words of damnation. I am inspired by those in religious callings who speak about income disparity, racism, or poverty, as this pope has done continuously. The old and worn-out tropes about contraceptives, abortion (and gasp!) homosexuality are not connecting to younger people who do not live in the cloistered world–and have no desire to do so.

I thought of President Bill Clinton this week when this news of Pope Francis was reported. In the 1992 presidential campaign, he spoke about the need to not dismiss or undermine gay people in our military. From his promise the Clinton administration moved to enact ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. It was not a President Truman type moment regarding the military, but it was a start. From there larger steps were taken as the years progressed. That is how governments and large institutional changes begin and evolve.

With a first step.

When tolerance is too often threatened and marginalized in the world there is really only one way to greet the words of Pope Francis. With a smile and two-thumbs up.

Now step two……

Marriage And Laughter

Old-couple-laughing

At times I think of people who have had starter marriages.  It always seems a sad term to be used in our society.  But the fact remains there are far too many of them–those first marriages that last five years or less and ends without the couple having any children together.  I guess we should be glad no children were created as that would just add to the sadness of the divorce.

Coming from a home where marriage was meant to last, (my parents would have celebrated 60 years together at the time of mom’s passing) and coming from my own personal experience of a relationship/marriage going on 20 years, there is strong recognition that the totality of events that unite two people makes for the best path to happiness.

I know of what I write as James and I have spent more time together than most couples ever will.  Other than when he was in front of a college classroom (about 8 hours a week) our days have been spent together.   Just this weekend we mentioned that the idea of being bored is something we have never experienced as a couple.

This weekend I read an interview in The New York Times with Bob Newhart.  He was asked about how to make marriages last.

You and Ginny have been married for 56 years. Incredible in this town.

It is and it isn’t. Among comedians it’s not unusual. Buddy Hackett, Jack Benny, George Burns, Alan King, they all had long marriages. That’s why I think laughter is the secret to longevity of relationships. If you can laugh you can get through it.

I can completely–100% echo–Newhart’s statement. Laughter is so much a key to life and healthy spousal relationships.

I recall many years back very late at night James and I got into one of our laughing jigs.  We were talking about some event or other and the giggling started.  The laughing grew louder.  The old lady who then lived in the upstairs condo started pounding on the floor to stop any sign of merriment.  Failing that she then started slamming doors.  Which only made our laughter the richer.

Smiles and laughs take place in this home soon after waking up and continues well into the night.  I often ask James if “anyone else on this street is laughing like this?”  We tend to think not.  We also know that loving the simple things in life is the key to being content and happy.  From loving the fireflies in summer as darkness sets in, to the long walks and country drives I think couples miss so much by not laughing along the path of life together.

As young couples prepare for marriage and attend counseling classes, I would suggest the religious figure in charge of the meetings devote time to the need for laughter every day.  That should not be a new concept or one hard to understand.  But clearly, with the high rate of divorce from starter marriages, it is a lesson needing to be learned.

And so it goes.

California Should Vote No On Justice Carol Corrigan For Anti-Gay Votes

There are so many races of import come the mid-terms in November.   Gay Americans have a stake in many of them.  One of those races is for the California Supreme Court.  Justice Carol Corrigan must be defeated.

There is no way to defend her actions.

In 2000, Prop 22 passed which defined marriage in California as between one man and one woman.

In 2006, thanks to the leadership of then-Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom the matter ended up in the courts.  A trial court threw out the gender requirements, and then a series of cases went to the California Supreme Court which came to be known as the “Marriage Cases.” In a 4-3 ruling, Carol Corrigan issued a dissent saying she supported marriage equality, but that it should be decided by proposition.

The 4-3 decision temporarily legalized marriage equality in California and 18,000 couples got married.  Then, Prop 8 happened.

It was then that Justice Corrigan ruled in favor of sustaining Prop 8 as the law of the land.  simply unacceptable.

Corrigan voted twice against marriage equality and she took a misguided position in the second case which eventually took the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn in 2015.

As a result of her legal rulings against the civil rights of the LGBT community this is more than enough cause to not retain her as an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.

About Donald Trump, Jr.’s Divorce Papers Being Served….

The divorce news about Donald Trump, Jr. has taken to the front page of NY paper. This paper is owned by Trump family friend and strong supporter Rupert Murdoch.  LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON.

So many gay men and women fought hard to secure marriage rights.  They grasp the meaning of a soul-mate and what vows mean.  Those are just cheap words to the Trump family.

Years before Vanessa Trump filed for divorce from Donald Trump Jr., their marriage was rocked when — around the time she was pregnant with their third child — he cheated on her with a contestant from “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

Page Six has exclusively learned that Don Jr. — then a so-called “adviser” on the NBC show — fell for busty Danity Kane star Aubrey O’Day while filming “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2011.

Sources say that Vanessa — who filed for divorcefrom President Donald Trump’s eldest son last week after 13 years of marriage — was devastated when he told her that he planned to leave her for O’Day.

Vanessa was pregnant with their third child, Tristan, around that time.

Another Fox Anchor With His Sexual Misconduct Making News

It never seems to end when it comes to men treating women poorly at Fox.  And a married man, too!

The latest takes places as Fox Business anchor Charles Payne has been suspended by the network while it investigates sexual harassment allegations made against him by a female political analyst. Payne, who hosts Making Money on the network and appears on various other programs, has acknowledged what he described as a three-year “romantic relationship” with a married female political analyst who frequently appeared on Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel from 2013 to 2016. Payne admitted to the extramarital affair in a statement to the National Enquirer published Wednesday that included an apology to his wife, children and friends.

Yes, that should clear the air for all with a public apology of caddish behavior along with the ripping of the marriage vows.  Classy is not an adjective for Payne.

Support For Same-Sex Marriage Grows

Not even Justice Gorsuch can stop the movement.

Pew Research Center: “Two years after the Supreme Court decision that required states to recognize same-sex marriages nationwide, support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally is at its highest point in over 20 years of Pew Research Center polling on the issue. By a margin of nearly two-to-one (62% to 32%), more Americans now say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry than say they are opposed. …

For the first time, a majority of Baby Boomers favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Currently, 56% of Boomers favor same-sex marriage. … Blacks have long been less supportive of same-sex marriage when compared with whites, but the share of African Americans who favor same-sex marriage has risen 12 percentage points since 2015, from 39% to 51%. … For the first time, a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents do not oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Today, 48% of Republicans and Republican leaners oppose same-sex marriage, while 47% favor this. … Overall, white evangelical Protestants continue to stand out for their opposition to same-sex-marriage: 35% of white evangelical Protestants favor same-sex marriage, compared with a 59% majority who are opposed.”