Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Gay Marriage -- An Eight Part Series

In this series, I address and/or correct each of the following eight points often raised by gay marriage opponents:

Part 1
"Marriage" is a religious word

Part 2
Marriage is a religious institution and state should never have gotten into the business of marriage

Part 3
Legalizing gay marriage, as opposed to gay "civil unions," would violate the separation of Church and State by forcing churches to marry gay couples in violation of the tenets of their faith

Part 4
Gay marriages would set legal precedent that would open the door to incestuous marriage

Part 5
Same-gendered marriage would bestow "special" rights/privileges on gays.

Part 6
If it's "anything goes!" so long as you aren't already closely related, legal recognition of gay marriage will lead to all sorts of terrible things... bestiality marriage, polygamy, pedophilic marriage, exploitation by straights for monetary or other gains, etc.!

Part 7
Gay marriage isn't natural and shouldn't be allowed because gay couples can't produce offspring from their unions!!!

Part 8
You can't change our laws for something that affects only a small percentage of Americans.

Part 8 -- Gay Marriage Series

  • You can't change our laws for something that affects only a small percentage of Americans.

We can, we do and we always have. . Slavery was outlawed -- slaves were not the majority population. Interracial marriages were given legal recognition -- those seeking to marry outside their race were not the majority population. We've strengthened and protected the rights of the handicapped -- the handicapped are not the majority population. Etc…. Legislating on behalf of "the least among us" is a path well trod because, as Americans, we legislate for the greater good, not necessarily the greater number.

Further, those who are seeking to ban gay marriages are doing exactly that!! They are seeking to make a change to state laws and/or to our constitution that would place an official limitation on the rights of that same small minority of people.

It bears noting, here, that legal recognition of same-gendered unions wouldn't necessarily apply only to "gay" couples. As I discussed in a previous installment, same-gendered marriages would be entered into for all the reasons opposite gendered marriages are currently entered into.

For example, platonic "estate marriages" are and long have been a very common practice among seniors. Legal recognition of same-gendered marriages would help to level the playing field for female senior citizens seeking estate protection from greedy relatives through marriage to a trusted friend. Women tend to live longer, thus single senior females greatly outnumber single senior males and a much higher percentage of senior males than senior females currently have the option to take advantage of these protections.

Gay Marriage -- Table of Contents

Part 7 -- Gay Marriage Series

  • Gay marriage isn't natural and shouldn't be allowed because gay couples can't produce offspring from their unions.

Female senior citizens in opposite-gendered relationships can't produce offspring, either. But we allow them to remain married and even to enter into new opposite-gendered marriages, after they are no longer able to conceive and bear children. Lots of people, for a wide variety of reasons, are unable to produce offspring, choose not to produce offspring or choose to cease producing offspring. Currently, all of these people are allowed to remain in or enter into new opposite-gendered marriages that are recognized as legal unions, by the state.

According to this reasoning against same-gendered marriages, any existing opposite-gendered marriage should be rendered null & void and entrance into a new marriage denied if either spouse or would-be spouse is found to be unable to produce offspring or is unwilling to maintain an active sexual relationship for the purpose of producing offspring.

Gay Marriage -- Table of Contents

Part 6 -- Gay Marriage Series

  • If it's "anything goes!" so long as you aren't already closely related, legal recognition of gay marriage will lead to all sorts of terrible things... bestiality marriage, polygamy, pedophilic marriage, exploitation by straights for monetary or other gains, etc.!

Rest assured, all of the age, species and other restrictions that currently apply to opposite-gendered marriages, would also apply to same-gendered marriages and all of the ways people might exploit same-gendered marriage are already being exploited by people in opposite-gendered marriages.

All of the things that those who oppose same-gendered marriages are afraid same-gendered marriages might lead to can already be arrived at, by exactly the same logic, through the existing recognition of opposite-gendered marriages. Recognizing same-gendered marriages neither increases nor decreases the likelihood that those feared scenarios will come to pass.

The reasons for recognizing same-gendered marriages are the same as the reasons for continuing to recognize opposite-gendered marriages. However, some of the reasons given for banning same-gendered marriages would, if officially cited as reasons behind the ban, inadvertently set precedent that could later be used to ban marriages of some opposite-gendered couples (most notably senior citizens and couples who are unable to procreate, naturally,) to cease legal recognition of clergy-joined unions or even to do away with legal recognition of ALL marriages.

NOTE: There is already a small but growing number of activists on the anti-gay-marriage side of the issue who are on that side of the issue because they are anti-marriage, period. These people are, indeed, planning to use the precedent set by gay-marriage bans as a means to end legal recognition of any marriage. If you are among those who are worried about how legalizing same-gendered marriage might affect your opposite-gendered marriage, you should be aware of this movement and also worry about how banning gay marriage might affect your hetero marriage.

Gay Marriage -- Table of Contents

Part 5 -- Gay Marriage Series

  • Same-gendered Marriage would bestow "Special" Rights/Privileges On Gays.

Regardless of any of the reasons a couple might choose to marry, establishing close familial ties where none exist, otherwise, is the sole purpose for the legal existence and recognition of marriage in today's American society.

Note that you are not forbidden, by law, from marrying ANY relative, only from marrying those relatives who are already very closely related to you -- first cousins, your siblings, the siblings of your parents & grandparents and those relatives who are in direct lineage to you (children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, etc...) If you are unmarried and you die, today, these relatives, alone, are closely related enough to you to be counted among your surviving kin and heirs.

These people already enjoy the most important of the so-called "special privileges" that you bestow on and receive from a spouse of opposite gender, through marriage: the rights of next-kinship.

Let's say you're a man who's been in a tragic car accident, you're lying in a coma and, as it happens, you've been in a committed 20 year incestuous relationship with Mom or Sis. She's already very closely related and thus, already one of your next of kin. As a close relative, she can visit you in the hospital, speak with your doctor about your condition, petition the court to become your legal guardian, make decisions regarding your care, see to your final arrangements, attend your funeral and inherit your estate, as per your wishes. That you shared a home, as adults, in the years preceding your tragic accident, only strengthens her position as your closest surviving heir, should another close relative seek to usurp her. You didn't have to marry her to give her those protections.

If your incestuous relationship has been with a relative who's not as closely related as your mom or sister, but is still too closely related to marry, legally, you can protect these close relatives from closer relatives with a living will and a last will and testament. Any will, living or final, can be contested and overturned, but when you've named close relatives in these documents, you make it MUCH harder for other relatives, even those who are more closely related to you, to overturn than if you'd named unrelated or distantly related persons.

Now, let's say it wasn't Mom or Sis you were involved with, but a boyfriend of 20 years, with whom you've built and shared a life. Let's say, too, that Mom and Sis are homophobic gay-haters who disowned you the day you came out to them, haven't spoken to you since that day and have never even met your partner. For all intents and purposes, you've been dead to Mom and Sis for a couple of decades or more, already -- all that's left is to bury your body.

Even if you and your partner have living wills, legal last wills and testaments with every t carefully crossed and every i carefully dotted AND you have taken the extra precaution of forming a corporation or limited partnership to further protect one another's interests, your partner is still not related to you. That you shared a home, as a adults, in the years prior to your tragic accident makes you nothing more than roommates.

Your doctor cannot discuss your medical condition with him. Your Mom and Sis can not only step in and successfully bar him from your bedside in your final moments of life, they can petition the courts to become your legal guardians, gaining control of your medical care, access to your money (even if every penny of it is held jointly with your partner and your partner is the only one of the two of you who had an income during that 20 years!) and take over your share of control in your corporation or limited partnership.

They can prevent your partner from having any input, at all, on your final arrangements and bar him from attending your funeral to say his final good-byes.

Because you've named a person unrelated to you, Mom and Sis can easily contest and over-turn the terms of both your living will and your last will and testament. As your closest living heirs, they can force your partner to sell the home you've shared, to give them "their" half of the proceeds of its sale (again, this is true even if he's the only one of the two of you who had an income during your years together, and he, alone, paid for the home you shared and held jointly as a couple!)

Legally, they are your next of kin and your closest living heirs. The man you've built and shared a life with for the last 20 years is, legally, nobody to you.

Not only could Mom and Sis easily take half of everything you and your partner held jointly in addition to everything you held separately from your partner, if you did form that corporation or limited partnership, your partner could suddenly find himself incorporated or partnered, against his will and yours, with two people who inherited your interest in that "business" and who've never had any use for him or for you... and they could use that to wreak havoc on what he has left of the life you once shared.

This hypothetical example isn't a "COULD happen" scenario -- this is a "DOES happen" scenario.

Now, let's switch gears one last time and say that, prior to your tragic accident, the laws had changed and you had legally married the man you'd shared your life with for 20 years. Your husband would be your legal next of kin, just as a wife would have been. As such, your doctor can discuss your condition with him. He cannot be barred from your bedside and robbed of those last precious moments with you. He can petition the courts to be named your legal guardian. Your living will, if you have one and your last will and testament can still be contested and overturned, as any will can be, but because you've named a spouse, particularly a spouse with whom you've had a long term committed relationship, it's a LOT harder for another relative to overturn. Your husband can see to the final arrangements you had discussed with him in those somber, private moments when you discussed things neither of you wanted to think about. He can say his final good-byes at your funeral. You can pass in peace, knowing you've protected your spouse.

Protecting the ones we share and build our lives with isn't a "special privilege," it's a basic human right.

Gay Marriage -- Table of Contents

Part 4 -- Gay Marriage Series

  • Gay marriages would set legal precedent that would open the door to incestuous marriage

My knee-jerk reaction to this argument is always:
So what? If marrying your mom or your sis is what floats your boat, it's no skin off my nose who you marry and I'd rather you marry YOUR mom or sister than marry MY mom or sister and later put her through the horror, pain and embarrassment of discovering what you've been doing behind her back throughout your marriage.

My second knee-jerk reaction is to point out that so-called "hetero marriage" might lead to legal recognition of marriages between opposite gendered kin and should be banned before it does.

But, my knee jerk reactions to this ignorant argument aside, the fact remains that legal recognition of same-gendered marriages won't lead to legal recognition of marriage between very close family members for the same reason legal recognition of opposite-gendered marriage hasn't led to legal recognition of marriages between very close family members of opposite gender:

It isn't necessary to marry a close relative to establish a legally recognized familial tie to that person.

(More on this topic in my next installment.)

Gay Marriage -- Table of Contents

Part 3 -- Gay Marriage Series

  • Legalizing gay marriage, as opposed to gay "civil unions," would violate the separation of Church and State by forcing churches to marry gay couples in violation of the tenets of their faith.

This is BS! Furthermore, those who seeded this propaganda into the general populace KNOW it is BS!! They're counting on your ignorance to ensure that their bigotry will continue to be legitimized through our marriage laws.

Churches are currently free and regularly exercise their rights to refuse to marry any opposite-gendered couple, without being under any obligation to provide ANY reason for their refusal, much less one that speaks directly to the tenets of that church's faith.

Not every religious group believes and/or teaches that same-gendered relationships are sinful or an abomination.

With legal recognition of same-gendered marriages, churches would remain just as free to refuse to marry any same-gendered couple with or without citing religious or any other reasons for their refusal.

By contrast, recognizing only same-gendered civil unions (as opposed to both civil unions and unions of holy matrimony) would mean that clergy, regardless of the tenets of their faith, would remain FORBIDDEN from legally joining same gendered couples, according to the tenets of their faith, as that power would be reserved to State.

If allowing clergy the power to join, if they so choose, same-gendered couples, in both the eyes of God and the eyes of the law, violates separation of church and state, it follows that allowing clergy to join, if they so choose, opposite gendered couples, in both the eyes of the God and the eyes of the law, also violates separation of church and state.

In areas like mine, where options are already severely limited for opposite gendered couples, this would further limit a same-gendered couple wishing to marry to having a ceremony performed by a judge, in open court, between cases, if time allows.

Thus, same-gendered couples, in areas like mine, who could otherwise have found clergy willing to officiate their ceremonies, would be excluded from the simple rights of choosing to have a private ceremony for just family and friends, setting a specific date and time, choosing a venue for the ceremony, having music, decorations, a photographer, etc. Further, regardless of where they live or how many options they have for civil ceremonies, same-gendered couples of faith who wish to be joined in the eyes of their deity, under the tenets of their faith, would be forced to have a separate religious ceremony to do so.

Holding same-gendered marriages to the strictest interpretation of separation of church and state opens a door, through the setting of precedent, for opposite gendered marriages to be held to the same strict standards. In other words, it could be used to argue, successfully, that no clergy-performed ceremony should be recognized by the state and that only with a separate civil ceremony, should ANY marriage obtain legal recognition.

Gay Marriage -- Table of Contents

Part 2 -- Gay Marriage Series

    <.li>Marriage is a religious institution and STATE should never have gotten into the business of marriage.

Marriage is NOT an institution of religious origins. Marriage began as a secular institution and secular marriage predates holy matrimony's addition to religious doctrine by a period of centuries.

The purpose of "marriage" (in both its secular origin and its adaptation into religious doctrine) was not to form an equal partnership or create a familial and/or loving bond between any two people or to sanction physical relations in the eyes of the state or a prudish deity, but to provide a man with a deed to his wife, children and other marital assets (slaves, livestock, tools, home, etc.) and to provide men with legal recourse should those assets be stolen from them.

Church later "got into the business of marriage" for the same reasons State had created it.

You have to remember that Church either WAS State or held governing authority higher than that of State in various societies at different points in history and antiquity. Church was thus motivated to add marriage to its doctrine not in conjunction with its role as a spiritual institution, but in conjunction with its role as a political/governing institution.

Gay Marriage -- Table of Contents

Part 1 -- Gay Marriage Series

  • "Marriage" is a religious word.

The word "Marriage" is NOT a religious word -- it is a generic word that applies equally to secular unions and religious unions. "Holy Matrimony" is the specifically religious term for marriage. "Civil Union" is the specifically secular term for marriage.

Gay Marriage -- Table of Contents

Sunday, January 29, 2006

...And the dog you rode in on, Santorum!

(How did I manage to miss THIS story?!)

Santorum actually stood in front of a room full of people, spoke at length about the courage and dedication of our brave men and women who put their lives on the line in service of our great nation, then proved he has absolutely no understanding of what they go through when he asked the people in that room to do the same as our troops by slapping one of his campaign stickers on their vehicles!! He then asked them if it was too much to ask them to serve their country by putting his sticker on their cars.

Read the full story, on santorumexposed.com

I don't know about you, but my jaw is on the floor! The level of audacity, ignorance and complete lack of respect for our troops or anything they go through that Rick Santorum demonstrated in just that one call to inaction is beyond staggering!

Mr. Santorum, I dedicate this posting of my famed "Applied A Bunch Of Stickers..." parody lyrics to you. You earned it, buddy. (That's not a good thing.) Enjoy!

Applied A Bunch Of Stickers To My S.U.V.
by Melhi (Written 7-9-'05)
To the tune of Tie A Yellow Ribbon by Tony Orlando & Dawn

I do my part, I pay my dime.
Now I help to gnaw a big bite out of crime
It's due to me the P.O.W.s will soon be free!
It doesn't take much work to do -- simple as could be!

It's.. done.. ea..sil..y,

Applied a bunch of stickers to my S.U.V.
This one over here,
Stamps out H.I.V.

This slogan, here, is fixin' our e-con-o-my,
Supportin' the troops
And veteran groups,
Ending poverty!
It's all by stickin' helpful stickers on my S.U.V!

Cure cancer, end lung disease
Win the war on terror single hand-ed-ly
Your little kid is missing? He'll be found because of me!
A simple plastic sticker's all we need to keep us free!
Achieve a lasting peace!

A pile of legislation will be his-to-ry
We'll get four more years
Cheaper gas-o-line
Kids say no to drugs and it's because of me,
I've straightened the fags,
Protected my flag,
And I'll convert the whole wide world to Chris-ti-an-it-y!

Will the home team's fans be cheering?
In the bag, it's guaranteed!
I've stuck their mascot's sticker on my S.U.V.!

I'll bring 'em home, mmm hmm.

(Buy a sticker for your S.U.V.
Buy a sticker for your S.U.V.
Buy a sticker for your S.U.V.

Buy a sticker for your S.U.V.
Buy a sticker for your S.U.V.
Buy a sticker for your S.U.V.)

A brief personal indulgence

Every once in awhile, some silly little something happens that makes our day. My day was made, today, by just such a silly thing.

My two favorite books are The Universal History of Numbers by Georges Ifrah and Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Today, as I was going through the stats for my Monkees site, I was surprised to find two referrals from Neil Gaiman's Journal. Sometimes, I visit some of the more surprising referral pages listed, only to discover it's some kind of mistake... that there is no link to my site. But, sure enough, about half way down the page of his June 27, 2004 entries there's evidence that for the briefest moment, Neil Gaiman, co-author of one of my two all-time favorite books, was aware of the existence of something of MINE! WOW!

Sometimes, the feeling of "I'm just one insignificant person" can really drag us down and make us question whether we can make a difference. While this whole Gaiman linking to my Monkees site thing is completely unrelated to political activism, (mine or anyone else's) discovering that link was a good reminder that one person can, indeed, stand out in a crowd of millions, even if only for the briefest of moments. Thanks for the boost, Neil. That's two I owe ya!

While I'm indulging in a rare moment of personal discourse, I'd like to share one other, even sillier, thing with you.

I don't know what I was dreaming, to have any idea as to the context, but as I woke, a few days ago, I spoke something in my final moment of dreaming, that has stayed with me, since.

"The baby boomer generation was going to be the one to cure cancer, but the guy who was going to do it got drafted and was killed in 'Nam."

My tone was as though I was regurgitating well-established facts I had long since bored of repeating ..."Two plus two equals four. Blue and yellow make green. The cure for cancer died in a rice paddie. Water freezes at 32 degrees." Very odd.

Of course, there's no deeper meaning or truth to the statement. It's just something conjured in a sleeping mind. The sobering truth of our waking reality is that we'll never know what our fallen soldiers might have gone on to accomplish.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I Wonder If It Made His Wife Cry...

Speaking yesterday at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, Ann Coulter said, "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee." She added, "That's just a joke, for you in the media." (Full story)

A joke, eh? (ouch!) Perhaps it was the lack of it being funny that threw us off.

You Know What Really Bugs Me?

Domestic Spying.

The Bush administration has been putting the expected spin on their illegal wiretapping, now it's O.K. for them to have ignored the law because it was (surprise, surprise!) "terrorist" surveillance.

What we don't know: How many innocent, law abiding, patriotic Americans have been subject to this surveillance and thus included in that ("terrorist") description.

Can You Dig It?

The tunnel from Mexico...

On the news reports I've seen, so far, everyone has seemed to be genuinely surprised at the discovery, not of the tunnel, itself, but of the discovery that these tunnels exist, at all. Surely, I must be misreading these reactions.

Even I could have told them tunnels between Mexico & the U.S. existed. I didn't have any knowledge of the actual tunnels and it's not like I've been going around yanking on the shirtsleeves of strangers trying to spread the word that "they're out there."

It's one of those "given" things that, if you think about it for even a split second, you just know. I assumed tunnels under the border were one of those things all of us knew had to exist. Frankly, I'd have been shocked to my socks if we'd learned that they DIDN'T exist.

Sidenote: It does confuse me that illegal immigrants are coming over and under the border in search of our jobs. Doesn't Mexico offer direct flights to Indonesia and China?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Let's Stage An Election (Parody)

To kick off this most joyous new election year, I thought I'd entertain you with a little parody ditty I wrote back in early Oct. 2004. Enjoy!

"Let's Stage An Election"
by Melhi
To the tune of "Walk Like An Egyptian" by The Bangles

Watch the old man sing on the tube
He'll do the fad dance for their vote
With the youthful clique (Oh way, oh!)
He's younger now, quite the daddio!

If the younger man's sense of style
Is not so manly, make him flex
Girl's love his smile? (Polls say so!)
Then flash his teeth on the TV set!

Give 'em hype, get it spinnin' tight, hey!
Way oh, hey yo! Oh way, oh way, oh!
Let's stage an election!

The bald net execs, script the race
They push the polls, for the ratings score
Exciting news! (Oh way, oh!)
It pops! It zings! See the numbers soar!

All the viewers so into looks
That's how they judge who's the better man
If he's wrinkl-ing (No way, oh!)
They schedule him for inject-i-ons

Do the lids, nip and tuck his face, hey!
Way oh, hey yo! Oh way, oh way, oh!
Let's stage an election!

Make the scene on the screen, stay on track
Flex their arms, then they talk some smack
Must rock the vote (Oh way, oh!)
So strike a pose with the quarterback

Autographs to sign, photo ops
And hanging out in the union shops
Now sing and dance (Oh way, oh!)
Go with the platoon on their walk

All the "ragazines" follow them
The party boys pay to fly them in
On the radio (Oh way, oh!)
They know their lines, keep repeating them

"Mindless schlock! Someone make it stop, hey!"
Hey, no way, yo. No way, Jose` oh!
Let's stage an election...
Let's stage an election...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

It's an election year (my favorite kind of year) and you know what that means. Yep, the time for finger pointing and blame-placing is officially here! Time to let those who earned it own it!

Of, by and for the people, baby! (Man, I love this country!)

It goes without saying that there's a lot at stake at the national level. But, it's vitally important that we pay equally close attention to our respective state & local issues and races. The buck may stop at the White House, but it starts its long arduous journey at home.

By the end of this new year, let's make sure we've sent the message loud and clear that this is our country, they work for us and we, the people, haven't been rendered null and void, just yet!

Happy New Year, everyone!