bigotry

We Do

Here’s an update on the continuing destruction of traditional marriage in the United States:

BACKGROUND:  In June 2013, the Supreme Court declared the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. That ruling compelled the federal government to recognize and treat equally all marriages considered to be legal in any one of the 50 states. At that point, there were half a dozen or so states that extended marriage equality to same-sex couples.

That ruling was a critically important step in civil rights in America, because while state laws govern who can be married, the vast majority of legal and financial benefits of marriage are bestowed by the federal government. In fact, there are 1,138 federal benefits that accrue to married couples that are not available to swinging singles. Benefits in areas such as Social Security, Taxation, Estates & Inheritance, Adoption, Immigration, Family & Medical Leave, Employee Benefits for Federal Workers, and much more. It’s not just about all that sanctimonious sanctity stuff.

That 2013 Supreme Court ruling did NOT strike down the anti-same-sex-marriage laws in any of the 40+ states still banning marriage equality. But the ruling was a seismic shift in the legal landscape. The writing was on the wall. The bigots had lost. But they kept up the fight… if only to keep those contributions flowing from America’s pews and Barcaloungers.

Dozens of lawsuits were filed by same-sex couples wishing to marry in every state which still banned marriage equality. These cases percolated up through the judicial system. In state courts rising to state supreme courts, and in federal courts rising up through the appellate levels. And you can almost feel sorry for the folks working so diligently to fight marriage equality. Almost. They tried soooo hard. They tried everything. They continued even to the point of looking absolutely ridiculous – and wasting millions of their taxpayers’ dollars. And now, they have not only lost… They have been annihilated. In fact, on more than a few occasions, they have been basically laughed out of court. As well they should be.

Since DOMA was eviscerated, there have been something like 40 court rulings in a row in favor of marriage equality. In every corner of the country. From judges known to be liberal, moderate and conservative. Appointed by Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama. The bigots always put the same question to the courts: We think it’s icky, so why can’t we prevent gay marriage in our state? And they got the same answer every time: Denying gay Americans access to marriage is a direct (obvious, flagrant) violation of their Constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. Period. Now go home. And brush up on your constitutional law. One of my favorite of these rulings came from a federal judge in Pennsylvania, who wrote:

Penna.MarriageRuling.JohnEJonesIII

In some cases, a state stopped its legal campaign to prevent marriage equality once a federal court said it could not. (That was true in Pennsylvania after Judge John E. Jones III issued his ruling, excerpted above.) The governor or attorney general knew that to pursue this to the appellate court or Supreme Court would be a pointless waste of time and money. In the reddest of the red states, though, there was no backing down. Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead! When the 4th, 7th and 10th Circuits had all ruled in favor of marriage equality, five states appealed to the Supreme Court: Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Indiana and Virginia.

The Supreme Court put these five cases on the list of those they would consider taking at the end of September. But when the Court released the list of cases it would definitely be taking in the new term, none of these marriage cases were on it. Hmmm. Que pasa, Supremos?

THEN TODAY, the first day of the new term, a bombshell: The Supreme Court announced it had rejected the marriage appeals from all five states. Whaaaaaa? That was initially misconstrued as a refusal to rule on these cases, but the decision not to consider the appeals is a de facto ruling, as it lets stand all of the appellate court rulings in those cases. And all of those rulings were in favor of marriage equality. And – double bonus feature! – Circuit Court of Appeals rulings, once given the force of law, apply to ALL of the states covered by that circuit. So, in addition to the five states who challenged the rulings, an additional six states are swept up in the nuptials news. It may take a few days for their unused kansas.ybmachinery of legal equality to crank up, but you will soon be able to gay marry the gay of your dreams in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Kansas… looks like you’re not in Kansas anymore!

So yes, a good day for equality and for America. We went from 19 to 30 states with marriage equality. More than 60% of Americans are now living in states with marriage equality. Not “gay marriage”. Just… marriage. And the bigoted anti-gay laws in the remaining 20 states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, etc) are now hanging by a legal thread. Stay tuned for more rainbow-colored rice being thrown, coast to coast. Click here for a great series of maps showing the status of states with marriage equality, and the states with pending appeals (i.e., the next to go).freedomtomarrylogo

Many of us are disappointed that the Court did not take on these cases and issue a definitive ruling wiping the remaining discriminatory laws off the books, just as it did in 1967 with bans on interracial marriage. That may be yet to come. Some believe the 5th Circuit offers the (sad) possibility of issuing a pro-discrimination ruling. That would be appealed to the Supreme Court – which would have no choice but to take the case, given its action today. You cannot have a country where marriage equality is the law of the land, except in a handful of states. For excellent in-depth coverage of all the legal actions and status in the battle for marriage equality, go to FreedomToMarry.org.

And if you are mourning the loss of your treasured, traditional biblical marriage, I offer you this message from Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian. Like so many of your fellow flock, you may not really understand what kinds of marriage the bible endorses. Let Betty show you the light.

The End (so far)

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Regarding Offended White People

A fellow blogger re-posted this comment from a DailyKOS thread. I would have shared it directly from his blog, but he’s not set up that way. So here it is with a link to the original by eodell. It’s a rant. And it’s a very good rant.

Regarding offended white people

I’m not sure who I’m addressing this to, since all of the black people here and a lot of the decent white people already know this, and the racist whites won’t get it, but what the hell.

Dear white racists and your fragile fee-fees:

Relax, I’m white, too. Look, I can do the secret handshake and nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Lemme whitesplain something to you, fellow white men: no one buys your bullshit.

That’s because your bullshit runs like this: For historically- and presently-oppressed black people to be treated decently, they must carefully avoid doing anything that could be remotely twisted into behaving like a white racist, even if you’re squinting and looking at it from five hundred meters away in a thick fog. Because that would be racist, and therefore hypocritical, and if that’s the case, they deserve to continue to be oppressed.

Here’s the thing you thick-headed assholes totally fail to get: NO ONE DESERVES TO BE OPPRESSED, PERIOD. You can talk all you want about how it’s okay for black people to be mistreated if— but get this, there is no “if”. It’s not okay, ever. That’s why we call it mistreatment. Your error is to think that it’s ever justified, and your active misdeed is to constantly search for a justification. Black people, collectively, are not guilty of anything. In fact, a basic principle of civil society is that we reject the notion of collective guilt. Some individual black people, like individual white people, have done bad things, and in those cases, may deserve judicial punishments. But even those people don’t deserve mistreatment from some random white guy on the street. And black people in general don’t owe anyone anything as a prerequisite for being treated decently. No one does.

Now I know there are a bunch of you in the back of the room waving your hand and getting ready to launch the argument that it’s racist to complain about white privilege. No, it is not. Complaining about white privilege is not the same as assigning collective guilt to white people. White privilege is a pervasive feature of our society and our legal system. It’s hard to see if you’re white (and you’re not looking or actively trying not to look), but it is real, it is powerfully destructive, and if global warming had the kind of statistical support that evidence of white privilege has, Bill O’Reilly would be haranguing FOX News viewers to install solar panels.

And here’s the subtle point that you folks either can’t or won’t grasp. White privilege is especially the responsibility of white people to fix, not because we’re all racist schlubs like you are, but because white privilege itself means that we’re the ones who have the power to change it. Black people don’t have that power, again because of white privilege, and not because they aren’t sufficiently careful in the way they phrase their complaints about being mistreated. It’s our problem and our responsibility as white people to fix not because whites are collectively guilty, but because it is the responsibility of ALL PEOPLE to fight for decent treatment for ALL PEOPLE. It just happens that, because of our shithead ancestors and a helping handful of historical accident, we white people are the ones who can do something about it. When the finger on the trigger is white, it’s pointless to ask a black guy to lower the gun.

And quite frankly, given all the shit that our black fellow citizens have put up with, and all the shit they have to deal with every. fucking. day., if some of them lose their tempers and say things that aren’t carefully calibrated to kiss your privileged, hypersensitive asses, well, is that actually surprising? You lose your minds when black people just complain verbally about being kicked. Imagine how tough it would be for you to keep your cool if someone was actually doing something to you instead of just talking.

Finally, yes, I know this is pointless. You want to be offended to fluff your fragile egos, and you want black people to please shut the fuck up and stop harshing your mellow. I hate to break it to you, but as long as people are being murdered by the state, given draconian sentences for crimes that in many cases they haven’t even committed, and being held in poverty and privation and a constant state of fear, those of us who actually give a shit about our fellow citizens are going, at the very least, to make some noise about it.

In the meantime, if you can’t be bothered to do your duty as an American to protect your fellow Americans with the considerable power at your disposal, at least shut the fuck up and stop making an ass of yourself.

Regards,
Your fellow privileged white guy

http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1333114/54616395#c494

[088] See Change

honeymaid.boxTurns out, the revolution will be televised. If you watch the news, though, you might miss it.

Hint:  Keep an eye on the commercials.

Last month, Nabisco’s Honey Maid graham crackers aired a 30-second television commercial. “This Is Wholesome” features a diverse mix of families enjoying themselves and their Honey Maid graham crackers. There are the gay dads… the interracial parents… and the drum-playing-rocker-dad-with-tattoos (huh?)… and the Latino/single dad. Watch:

Clearly, straight-white-nuclear families are no longer consuming graham crackers in sufficient quantities, so Nabisco is going after… everyone else. Which is what you’re supposed to do if your shareholders expect you to sell more of what you make, not less. Honey Maid grahams is a $100M business – and those crafty Keebler elves are fierce competitors in the share-of-crunch battle.

So, on one level, this is just Advertising & Marketing 101. But there’s something else going on here. It’s in the messaging Nabisco chose to sell its graham crackers to an American tv audience:

No matter how things change,
what makes us wholesome 
never will.

Honey Maid.
Everyday wholesome snacks,
for every wholesome family.

Nabisco wants us all to buy more of its graham crackers. To achieve that goal, it is spending millions of dollars to make a little 30-second film about Honey Maid’s brand personality: Wholesome and Fun! And we know that because we can see these different families having good, wholesome fun and eating good, wholesome Honey Maid graham crackers. The something else comes at the end of the spot, where Nabisco wants us all to know that it makes snacks for every wholesome family.

Cue the hellfire and damnation in 5… 4… 3… 2…

1milmoms 03.20.14

The group which styles itself ONE MILLION MOMS (actual number = several thousand) – bless their hearts – unleashes a scalding memo taking Nabisco to task for its “This is Wholesome” commercial! “Nabisco should be ashamed of themselves” scream all the moms! Sadly, @1milmoms haven’t caught fire on the social media. That tweet was retweeted six times… and only four of those even bothered to ‘favorite’ it. Ouch.

Of course, there aren’t one million moms with their knickers in a knot over Nabisco’s ‘shameful’ marketing. There also are not one million dads. These are “projects” of an all-too real organization called the ‘American Family Association’. AFA is oh so many things. Mostly, it is a designated “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the well-respected tracker and opponent of hatemongers in America. (Have a look at their website, and make a donation if you can. They do important work.)

AFA and its thousands of ‘moms’ and hundreds of ‘dads’ are SUPER busy folks though! They’re not just going after your Teddy Grahams. Oh no! They are boycotting Home Depot and Chevrolet and Red Robin burgers and the Air Force Academy and the Southern Baptists, Dodge RAM, Pepsi, NBC, ABC, Disney, the Boy Scouts – all for being insufficiently anti-gay. Oh, and they absolutely do NOT want you to see the new movie “Noah”, a filmed fiction which apparently does not conform to their own version of the written fiction. Whew! It is NOT easy to be a low-information bigot these days!

So, an American corporation or organization or politician does something in the name of diversity or progress, and the Lord’s Idiots scream and moan… and usually, that’s the end of it. But not this time. This time, something really interesting has happened.

Nabisco answered its antediluvian critics. Not in a press release or a tweet – although that would have been remarkable on its own. No, they produced a 2-minute response that says (in the nicest possible way): SHUT THE FUCK UP! It’s called “Love”:

.

What’s the big deal? It’s this: marketers tend not to get too far out ahead of their customers, if at all. When Nabisco produced and aired the original ad, they already knew it was well within the ‘norms’ of American civilization in 2014. When the lunatic fringe did their hateful song and dance, Nabisco could very easily have ignored them. After all, the Thousand Moms and Hundred Dads and the parent hate group do not get much play beyond their own echo chamber. Who cares? Well, Nabisco cares, enough to stand up and say, your hatefulness was drowned out by vastly greater messages of support. And they went to the time and the trouble to translate that support into a visual representation of the radical concept of “love”. Bravo Nabisco!

The world has changed. The bigots have lost. The anti-gay bigots. The anti-black bigots. The anti-latino bigots. Even the anti-tattoo bigots. Oh, they’re still around, in diseased little pockets, and they make some noise now and then. But no one is listening. America has moved on. Disney doesn’t care. Chevy doesn’t care. And Teddy Grahams doesn’t care. I think I’ll go buy a box of Honey Maid graham crackers and celebrate the continuing demise of the haters.

The End Is Nigh – for the bigots!
Day 088 #100happydays

 

 

 

This Is Why We Fight The Hate

Alan Turing

Alan was a 40 year old with a bright future. His career was going well, and he had recently started dating a nice guy named Arnold. One night, though, he came home to find his apartment had been burglarized. He reported the crime to the police. And when they learned that he was in a relationship with a man, they arrested him for the crime of being gay. His career was ruined. To avoid jail, he was forced to undergo chemical castration. Shortly after this, at the age of 41, Alan committed suicide.

That was 60 years ago. Alan was Alan Turing, the mathematician who broke the Nazi’s Enigma Code. One of the great heroes of WW2, he is credited with saving countless Allied lives – and very likely saving Britain from a German-speaking future. You’ve already read how quickly England forgot this man’s contributions. Click on the link, below, to read Katie Halper’s excellent piece on this shameful chapter of history.

Yesterday, the Queen of England issued a royal pardon to Alan Turing, erasing the 1952 conviction… that erased the remainder of his life. There are some things that, once taken, cannot be restored. Not even by royal proclamation.

More than 50,000 others were prosecuted by Britain for the same “crime”, their lives left in ruins. And for what? To satisfy the moronic mob mentality that gay is sick, evil and therefore must be criminal.

Sixty years later, and we’ve come so far from those dark days. We dance at the weddings of our gay friends and relatives, and they check the “spouse” box on government forms. The U.K. and much of Western Europe recognize same-sex marriage. America’s states fall like dominos: 18 of 50 now recognize marriage equality (2 more than last week), along with the federal government.

But the same old hatred lingers in the shadows of ignorance and bigotry. As our communities evolve into a more egalitarian and humane society, the haters come out of the shadows and become ever more shrill. The election of a black president brought the most virulent strains of American racism out from under the rug where that had merely been swept, never eradicated. And now, too, the folks who hate “the gays” grow more vocal and visible as they lose every battle on the way to losing the war.

Here come the pseudo-pious douchebags of the American christianist right: from the pulpits to the pols to pathological “God Hates Signs” turds… and these strange duck people who have now crawled out of the swamp. They peddle their noxious, fraudulent “ex gay” persecution of gay kids. As Russia’s economy slumps in the 15th year of Herr Putin’s reign, he turns to the old standby of gay bashing to put a little air under his right wing (and the world rewards him with the Olympics). The murderous anti-gay cabal running Uganda is funded and fanned by the Who-Would-Jesus-Kill wing of the Republican Party. Not to be outdone by the christianists, the Islamic nations keep their people in 14th century chains… and India decides to resuscitate an anti-gay law left behind by its British overlords in the 1840s.

noh8Had Alan Turing lived, he would be 101 years old today. If he could experience the world we live in now, he would likely blink in disbelief at the progress toward racial and sexual equality we have fought so hard to achieve. But he would also be sadly, terribly familiar with the fear and loathing that still exists for sexual minorities, women and people of color.

As hard as it is to take, I prefer the hatred to be forced out into the open, on display, for all to see – because sunlight is the best disinfectant. Disney / ABC / A&E might be confused about whether hate sells… but most people are repelled by it. Especially this time of year. So lather up with the sunscreen, all you duck people, preachers and pinheads. The forecast is for supernova.

Britain posthumously pardons scientist it chemically castrated.