June 7, 2006
dear senate: get back to work!
posted by soe 5:13 pm
The Senate did not manage enough support to force the Federal Marriage Amendment bill to a vote. (Thank goodness!) Now that we’ve taken that waste of time and energy off the table, can we please insert a federal finger into more important pies like an exit strategy for Iraq or a plan to institute the Kyoto Protocol environmental standards or a national living wage act?
Or if we’ve given up all hope of our elected officials actually trying to solve federal problems, maybe we can ask them instead to consider equally wacky federal amendments to appease other key constituents, such as the amendment that all adults over the age of sixteen must drive an SUV made in the United States.
December 6, 2005
posted by soe 11:52 pm
Nine months before the D.C. mayoral election, we have five candidates for the office. Three are current D.C. Council members, one is the former head of a telecom corporation, and one is the son of a deceased DNC chair.
At last night’s forum, apparently the moderator asked them about civil unions. (Due to our special despised status as a protectorate of Congress, legalizing gay marriage is out.) Three candidates — Adrian Fenty, Marie Johns, and Michael Brown — spoke in favor of legalizing them in the District. The other two were not.
The other two — Council Chair Linda Cropp and Council member Vincent Orange — will not be getting my vote.
Thanks for making my job easier for me, candidates. I appreciate it.
October 1, 2005
a morning mind is a muddled mind
posted by soe 8:29 am
No post yesterday. I was running around like a madwoman all day trying to get uncooperative pages to magically turn into pamphlets to take with me to focus groups in Pittsburgh this coming week.
Today marks the first day civil unions are legal in Connecticut. Congratulations to all those who are becoming legally united after prolonged periods of waiting. I wish you the best (and when I say best, I mean that I hope eventually that stupid politicians get off their butts and realize that their relationships are no more or less valid than yours and that your relationship, therefore, deserves equal protection under the law, not just different protection, which is what they have offered you now, as you well know).
Today is also our friend Mike’s birthday. I do not have Mike’s email address, or I would say this to him in an e-card. But as I don’t, his wife Shelley (who sometimes reads this blog) will just have to pass along our best wishes for a jam-filled, headache-free birthday weekend.
My plans for today center around relaxing. I have failed the first step — sleeping in. I don’t guarantee that I won’t return to bed, but that’s not really the same thing.
- I will shop — both at the Crafty Bastards arts and crafts fair up the road, where I hope to buy some Christmas presents, and at a grocery store, where I hope in exchange for some money they will give me something to outfit my larder. It’s been looking a bit Mother Hubbardish since we returned from England.
- I will walk. DC’s cultural office is offering a number of cool-sounding historical tours today that sound like they could be fun and informative. If I weren’t sick and in the middle of a frantic crafts project and between two plane flights, I might be adventurous and explore a neighborhood not my own, but as it stands, I think I’ll pick one of the offerings that stays nearby (Georgetown, Embassy Row, Eleanor Roosevelt’s DC life…).
- I will knit. I will knit a lot. This cold/flu/whatever has severely hampered my progress at a critical time. I still harbor delusions of finishing in time for next week’s deadline (thoughts enabled by knitting and non-knitting friends who have seen me beat innumerable deadlines in the past in just the nick of time), but I am rapidly running out of days (and people seem not to understand that I should knit instead of work this week).
- I will watch baseball. It is the final weekend of the regular season, and, while my team is out of contention (although they did admirably well and will end the season with a better-than-.500 record for the first time in a couple of years), Rudi’s team is not. The Sox and the Yankees face off to determine the supremacy of the AL East and whether they can continue to thumb their noses at each other in the post-season. If the Sox lose, I won’t take it personally. I grew up in Connecticut and have no disagreements with the Yankees, except when they play the Mets.
I think that sounds like a busy day, so I’m not going to do anything else (or, at least, plan to do anything else). Posting may be a bit haphazard this week, as I’ll have to do it at Kinko’s in Pittsburgh…
August 30, 2005
posted by soe 11:41 am
Generally, I remain ambiguous about Starbucks as a company. On the whole, I try not to buy into the corporate chain concept, feeling that they run small local outfits out of business (whether intentionally or accidentally). On the other hand, as far as chains go, Starbucks seems like it tries to respond to local customer demands — shade grown coffee, smaller musical artist playlists, community-based charities, etc.
So, I will go to Starbucks, but don’t go out of my way to choose them if a local option (like Tryst in D.C. or Klekolo in Connecticut) presents itself.
But I might have to up my drink quota if the Concerned Women of America have their way.
They object to an Armistead Maupin quote that appears on some Starbucks “great thoughts” cups:
My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long. I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don’t make that mistake yourself. Life’s too damn short.
My guess is that if the first sentence hadn’t been included these “concerned” women would have been fine with the sentiment. But because it was associated with being gay, it became something to dismiss and belittle.
I’m fine with these women choosing to boycott Starbucks. That is their choice, just as my boycott of Wal-Mart is my choice. But they should understand that what they’re suggesting is both censorship and discrimination. And as they seem to imply that their own group is both censored and discriminated against, I would suggest that a little more tolerance on their part would make their own request for respect less hypocritical.
Because, if I remember correctly, another great philosopher suggested that the best way to live is to “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Don’t you think that would make a great cup?
June 16, 2005
don’t you just love activist governors?
posted by soe 6:54 pm
According to an AP report that came out this afternoon, Gov. Mitt Romney has announced he will back a gay marriage ban to the Massachusetts constitution written by the Coalition for Marriage and Family Initiative.
This new proposed amendment will be brought forward as a citizen’s initiative petition. That means the attorney general will have to sign off on the language. (What do we know about the MA AG? Would Tom Reilly sign off on ridiculous language if the courts of Massachusetts have already ruled on the subject?) Then volunteers (who do not have to be residents of the state) have to collect 65,825 voters’ signatures (3% of the citizens who voted in the last gubernatorial election) within 64 days of receiving approval from the AG’s office. Finally, 25% of the legislators have to vote for the amendment in consecutive sessions before the amendment can be placed on a general ballot. Apparently if enough lawmakers fail to vote in favor of it, citizens can get around them by collecting more signatures (an additional .5% of the citizens who voted in the last gubernatorial election) to put it on the ballot themselves. No more than 1/4 of the signatures may come from any one county. (As an aside, a 1998 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling dictates that any extraneous markings on a petition sheet (such as an address if it is not requested, a personal statement, or page numbers) would invalidate the entire sheet. I wonder how that will affect this effort.)
The Boston Archbishop and several other Massachusetts bishops have already pledged their assistance in reaching the required number of signatures.
Romney had previously supported a legislative amendment that would have legalized civil unions while making marriage illegal. He has withdrawn his support from that bill because he believes that the civil union issue muddies the water. (I.e., he doesn’t like the idea of giving gay people rights.)
In his press conference he talked about how “individuals in our society should be able to make the choices they want in their lives and that we have respect for people’s choices. We have a high degree of respect and tolerance for people whose lifestyle and choices and orientation is as they may choose.” Note the repeated use of “choices” and “lifestyle.” Romney would like citizens to remember that gay people choose to live a lifestyle that he considers abhorrent and undeserving of state recognition or benefits. Remember, they could choose to live a lifestyle that he would find more palatable.
The fact that a Mormon Republican governor (did I just hear Howard Dean snickering into his sleeve?) doesn’t like gay marriage is not particularly surprising to me.
But what I find most galling is the Romney quote in the final paragraph of the news wire story:
“If the question is, ‘Do you support gay marriage or civil unions?’ I’d say neither. . . . If they said you have to have one or the other, that Massachusetts is going to have one or the other, then I’d rather have civil unions than gay marriage. But I’d rather have neither.”
Let’s hope the Massachusetts citizenry would rather not re-elect such a close-minded person to their highest state seat. And let’s hope he isn’t the Great White Hope of the GOP for 2008.
May 11, 2005
oklahoma equates hustler and heather has two mommies?
posted by soe 7:30 pm
In the category of “Oh, for goodness sake!” comes this news out of Oklahoma: The State House has passed a resolution, HR1039 INT, trying to force libraries to restrict access to material “deemed harmful and inappropriate” or “arguably prurient” to adult-only access and distribution sections. And by this, they mean materials featuring gay people.
The entire text of the bill is below:
A Resolution memorializing Oklahoma libraries to confine books with subject matter inappropriate for children to adult-only sections; and directing distribution.
WHEREAS, the development of children requires certain guidance and protection by adults to ensure that their maturation is timely and results in a greater degree of personal responsibility and respect for their role in society; and
WHEREAS, such development should be at the discretion of a childâ€™s parents free from interference from the distribution of inappropriate publicly cataloged materials; and
WHEREAS, libraries should remain public establishments free of exposure to children by material that may be deemed harmful and inappropriate; and
WHEREAS, materials concerning human sexuality and those of an arguably prurient nature are such that should not be readily available for consumption by children; nor should the distribution of such materials to children be supported by public finance; and
WHEREAS, a recent survey shows that 88% of Oklahomans favor restricting the availability of homosexually themed books and over 50% of those favor withholding funds from libraries that fail to do so; and
WHEREAS, Oklahomans approved by over 75% vote a State Constitutional amendment restricting marriage to that between one man and one woman and thus rendered materials promoting homosexual marriage inconsistent with current law.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 50TH OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:
THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives memorializes Oklahoma libraries to confine homosexually themed books and other age-inappropriate material to areas exclusively for adult access and distribution.
THAT a copy of this Resolution be distributed to the American Library Association; the Oklahoma Library Association; the Mayor of Oklahoma City, Mick Cornett; the Oklahoma City Council; and the Metropolitan Library Commission.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine that Oklahoma libraries (or, for that matter, libraries pretty much anywhere) are stocking terribly many children’s books that describe actual sexual acts — of any orientation. So what we’re dealing with are references to gay people living in everyday life kind of situations — parenting, running businesses, grocery shopping. Yeah, I’d definitely like to protect children from seeing those kinds of “harmful” and “prurient” scenes.
Or, we’re dealing with books like, “How It Feels to Have a Gay or Lesbian Parent: A Book by Kids for Kids of All Ages,” the only book I found when I searched for “gay” in Powell’s online children’s section. Yes, I would hate it if a young adult (the reading level would preclude it appearing in the young children’s section) stumbled across that book. I mean, it might actually teach them coping skills or tolerance.
As this is only a House Resolution, it does not carry the impact of law. But it sets a negative precedent that is frustrating to those who believe in the First Amendment, freedom of information, education, or equality.
May 4, 2005
posted by soe 12:34 pm
Thank goodness we don’t want to take a stand or anything…:
“Gays in D.C. May Not File Jointly.”
April 21, 2005
don’t mess with the district
posted by soe 3:14 pm
I hadn’t seen today’s paper, so thanks to Erik who brought it to my attention: “District Warned On Gay Marriage.”
Home rule is one of the things that drives DC residents batty. We may not agree on the way to legitimize DC’s legal standing, but we do agree that it needs to be achieved. Because until it is, we legitimately are vulnerable to these sorts of threats made by people who have no reason being in our business.
April 20, 2005
gay marriage okay in dc?
posted by soe 1:18 pm
Home to a large gay population, DC has long tried to walk the fine line between being able to accomodate its residents and appeasing the federal government that oversees the running of the city. (Congress has the right to overturn DC laws when it so desires.)
It was rumored in the last few years that the District administration would be open to recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere but that it feared doing so would bring retribution from a right-wing Congress.
This article, “Married D.C. Gay Couples Can File Taxes Jointly,” would seem to indicate that the city is trying to find a quiet, back-door approach to doing so. My fingers are crossed for Edward and Richard that their filing is successful.
April 14, 2005
a hearty thank you…
posted by soe 9:27 am
…to those Republicans who voted against a DOMA and in favor of the bill. I was going to list the Republicans in a similar way to the Democrats, but then I discovered there are very few common-sense Republicans in the state of Connecticut.
My heartfelt thanks go out to:
Sonya Googins, Glastonbury
Diana S. Urban, North Stonington
Lenny T. Winkler, Groton
I also thank Clark Chapin of New Milford, who voted against both the DOMA and the bill. Since I can’t tell whether he meant to vote against the bill all along or switched his vote after the bill legalized discrimination, I will assume his intentions were good.