Saturday, November 29, 2008

On the Golden, Day Two

Today the seas have calmed even further, and the ship steams quietly south southwest towards Hilo, where we will arrive early Monday morning. With no shore excursions possible, Princess tries to fill the day with activities of all sorts: lei-making, ukulele lessons, photography and computer seminars, movies (“The Dark Knight”), trivia, bingo, line dancing and yes, even a shuffleboard contest – all the middle-of-the-road pastimes one associates with cruise ships. I have foregone them all, preferring to play poker in the casino (I’m up, but only a little) and sit on the balcony and read the first of my books (“Pied Piper” by Nevil Shute, best-known for his novel “On The Beach”) as the ocean slips past at the rate of 20 knots an hour.

And eat. I’ve done some eating, though not nearly as much as possible. The options are many, but not terribly varied: there is a traditional dining room, where one is seated with other cruisers. You eat at the same time every evening and sit with the same people. There are also two “anytime” dining rooms, where you can either share a table or dine in solitude. Additionally, there is a 24-hour buffet, a hamburger/hot dog grill, a pizzeria, a coffee bar and two “specialty” restaurants, one Italian, one a steak house. These last two require an extra fee of $20/person. There is also a “chef’s table” option, which is $75/person additional, but it includes eight courses, paired wines, a trip to the galley and a visit from the chef. It is, however, reputed to be quite excellent.

Which is more than one can say for most of the food on board ship. Like pretty much everything else on Princess, the food is militantly middle-of-the-road. There is nothing to offend, but also nothing to inspire. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s impossible to create world-class cuisine for 2500 people, and have it ready 24 hours a day. From time to time, a dish arrives that is quite good, but mostly it’s all very workmanlike. And given that I’m only paying about $100/day for my lodging, entertainment (such as it is) and food, I’d say they’re pretty good workmen. On our previous cruise (aboard the Emerald Princess), though the food was of slightly higher quality, the pizza was awful. On this ship, though, the pizza is actually pretty decent. My guess is the guy throwing the crusts is better at his job. Maybe the lower humidity in the Pacific (as opposed to the Caribbean) enters into the equation. Either way, it’s nice to be able to grab a slice in the afternoon, or to temper the bitter taste of an exceptionally bad beat (as when I flopped a straight, only to lose to a full house).

Tonight is formal night, though not for us. Black tie just isn’t Bob’s style. But we’ll put on our nicer duds, head down a few decks and see what the industrial kitchen is putting on the plates.

Tomorrow: who knows, we’ll see what mood strikes. Perhaps if I do well at the morning poker tournament (the first of the trip), I’ll bore you all with the details.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

On the Golden, Day One

First, Happy Thanksgiving to all. In this time of economic stress and political turmoil, it’s important to remember that all of us (at least the readers of the Feast) have much for which to be thankful. In addition to my biggest blessings (chief among them my amazing daughter and adorable husband), I’m also lucky enough to be writing this on the balcony of my stateroom on the Golden Princess as she steams southwest to Hawaii.

Let’s talk about cruising a bit, shall we?

I’d never thought of myself as the sort of person who would enjoy life aboard a giant yacht filled with 24-hour buffets, clanging slot machines, boutiques filled with mostly useless tchotchkes and ruthlessly cheerful (albeit) second-rate entertainers. On the other hand, I love the ocean, love having round-the-clock access to pizza slices, love playing poker and love watching humanity go about its business. On this seagoing hotel, I have all that and more.

We set out last night from San Pedro Harbor, Port of LA, just as sunset. The police boat escorted to the breakwater, and we sat at the stern a while and watch the lights of LA recede into the distance as the great, overfed masses of America (and the world, for there are plenty of Canadians and Brits about, and I hear snippets of conversation in French, Spanish, German and Russian) waddled about us. Make no mistake, if you like your humanity in XXL, a cruise ship is the place for you. The Golden Princess weighs in at 109,000 tons, and 60% is housed in inside cabins on the fiesta deck.

Ever prone to motion sickness, I’ve boarded both my cruises with some trepidation. But with a little help from Meclizine, knock (teak) wood, I’ve had no problems thus far. Granted, it’s a bit odd when you are walking and the floor is in a different place when your set your foot down than it was when you picked it up. It’s disconcerting but not frighteningly so. A bit like biting into a See’s candy that you thought was buttercream but turns out to be filled with caramel: it’s not what you expected, but it’s not unpleasant, either. With the swells relatively small (4-6 feet), and the ship’s stabilizers at work, the ride is quite smooth. When seated, it feels rather like riding a horse in slow motion. At night, lying in bed, the sensation is one of being in a brobdignagian hammock, gently swaying back and forth.

At the moment, the weather is cool, and the sea stretches out in all directions, nothing but blue horizon and the occasional dolphin coming to investigate what beast has invaded its waters.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the food on board ship.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Don't Let It Happen!

Free speech is under attack. A new UN resolution has passed. It was designed to appease Muslims who are apparently concerned that their faith is associated with terrorism. Gee, wonder how that happened?

Good Point

In today's issue of Salon, there is an excellent interview with author and essayist Richard Rodriguez, who most people know from his video essays on "The News Hour" on PBS.

Although the interview mainly concerns Proposition 8 and the fight for equality, this is perhaps my favorite quote from the piece: "To my knowledge, the churches have not accepted responsibility for the Bush catastrophe. Having claimed, in some cases, that Bush was divinely inspired and his election was the will of God, they have failed to explain why the last eight years have been so catastrophic for America."

Yeah, what about that? If these people believe God called on Bush to do a great work, where are the results?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Big Victory First?

In the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8, the focus on marriage equality seems to be primarily taking place at the state level. Massachusetts and Connecticut, of course, already have full marriage equality. Legislatures in New York and New Jersey are expected to see legislation to create marriage equality will be introduced next year, and both governors have stated they will sign that legislation if it passes, as it is likely to do. The Supreme Court of Iowa will hear arguments December 9 in the case that will determine whether marriage equality will become the law in that state. Cases have been filed here in California to overturn Proposition 8 on various grounds.

But what if the place to start is at the top? What if, instead of focusing on state battles -- whether legal or electoral -- we turn our attention as a community on achieving equality on the federal level? After all, even Sarah Palin agreed gay people deserve full civil equality.

Here's what I could see: Congress passes a law which creates a new Federal-level civil union. All people who are currently legally married would be grandfathered in and continue to receive all 1049 federal benefits that apply to married couples, including those pertaining to taxation, Social Security and immigration. Everyone else who wanted to take advantage of those benefits would, as of a specific date, have to obtain a civil union license. These could be made available through federal agencies -- or perhaps states and counties could be empowered to issue the licenses.

Now, in order to get Federal benefits of marriage, every couple -- straight and gay -- must first obtain a Federal civil union. To get the state-level benefits of marriage, they need to obtain a state marriage license. If they don't live in a state with marriage equality, gay couples would have to go without those benefits. Straight couples would have to get a state marriage license to go with their FCU. Most gay couples would have to suffer along with the federal benefits only. It's an imperfect system. But it would be a major step toward equality.

And with civil equality in place at a federal level, individual states would likely begin to fall in line and extend equality there, as well. Mississipi and Utah might ultimately need some Supreme Court convincing to come around, but ultimately equality is going to win. Marriage might end up being a word with primarily religious connotations, but that's fine. As long as we are all treated identically under civil law, God can do whatever He wants. (Like there was any stopping Him, right believers?)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It ain't Edward Tufte...

...but it makes its point.

What I've Been Saying, Only Better

Once again, Andrew Sullivan nails the issue with clarity and intelligence. Click the link to read the whole thing, but here is one of many money quotes:

"The reason the marriage debate is so intense is because neither side seems able to accept that the word "marriage" requires a certain looseness of meaning if it is to remain as a universal, civil institution. This is not that new. Catholics, for example, accept the word marriage to describe civil marriages that are second marriages, even though their own faith teaches them that those marriages don't actually exist as such. But most Catholics are able to set theological beliefs to one side and accept a theological untruth as a civil fact. After all, a core, undebatable Catholic doctrine is that marriage is for life. Divorce is not the end of that marriage in the eyes of God. And yet Catholics can tolerate fellow citizens who are not Catholic calling their non-marriages marriages - because Catholics have already accepted a civil-religious distinction. They can wear both hats in the public square."

I've said similar (though not with such erudition) in many blog and news comments. We can have both civil marriage equality and respect for religious views of marriage.

What Kind of Blog Am I?

According to, The Rational Feast (and by extension, its author) is defined as:

"The logical and analytical type. They are especially attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about."

That's closer to the truth than I might have expected.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Court Steps Back In

The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear suits brought by a variety of organizations on behalf of gay and lesbian couples affected by the passage of Proposition 8, and by religious and civil rights groups who worry that Proposition 8 will set an unfortunate precedent that could be used in the future to discriminate against churches and minority groups.

Briefs must be submitted by January 15 and oral arguments will be heard some time in March, with a decision expect within 90 days after that. It was in March of last year that arguments were heard before the Court in the in re: Marriage cases that led to the overturning of Proposition 22 and, ultimately, the approval of marriage equality in California and the placement on the ballot of Proposition 8.

The question is, is this a good thing for the community? The uproar from the right will be ear-splitting should the Court rule that Proposition 8 is actually a "revision" of the Constitution and not simply an amendment. "Activist judges" will likely not be enough of an expression of contempt, and I imagine Hannity and Limbaugh and Maggie Gallagher and the rest of the anti-equality cabal will have to develop a different, more censorious term. "Tools of Satan," perhaps? The churches will take to the streets just as we have. They will immediately begin efforts to recall the justices. They will work incessantly to remove from offices those legislators who refuse to pass a constitutional revision. (2/3 of the legislature would have to pass such a measure, and given that a majority of this same body twice passed legislation to create full marriage equality, that seems unlikely.)

There will be long-lingering animosity toward the gay community, and the issue may never fully resolve itself. But that's OK - it was never going to be fully resolved, even if we ended up winning the battle at the ballot box. For some people, same-sex marriage is always going to be intrinsically wrong, no matter how it comes to be legal.

What can the religious right do?
- It's virtually impossible for them to forward their agenda in the legislature as currently composed.
- It's unlikely they can vote out of office enough legislators to change that composition.
- They could appeal to the Ninth Court, and then to the SCOTUS, but it's unlikely they will win in either venue.
- If they lose at the US Supreme Court, they could attempt to re-introduce a Federal Marriage Amendment, but that's unlikely to gain the traction it needs (though it will certainly galvanize the opposition) to clear Congress. Even if it could, only 13 states have to reject the amendment.

Any of those reactions will take years to play out. And during that time, states with a combined population of 40 million (or more, if legislators in New York and New Jersey also approve marriage equality, and if the Iowa Supreme Court rules in favor of equality) will have equal access to marriage.

The battle goes on!

A Win for Religious Freedom

This decision by the Indiana Supreme Court seems like the correct one to me, even though the ACLU (whom I generally support) fought against it.

The case revolved around whether it was OK to have "In God We Trust" as a free option for license plates. From what I can gather, car owners had two free options for license plate phrases -- either "In God We Trust" or "Lincoln's Boyhood Home."

This seems fair and equitable to me -- believers can choose a plate that matches their beliefs, and any one who doesn't want the reference to God have a secular option. Not sure where the problem was with that in the first place.

Comments, anyone?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

And now, for something completely different...

In an attempt to begin to once again broaden the scope of The Rational Feast and move away from 24/7 Proposition 8, I present to you this photo of a cool item on

I'm liking how the artist combined a man's tie with suit coat fabric to create a pillow that would be perfect for a den or dad's easy chair.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Forgive them, for they know not what they do

The day before yesterday I received an e-mail from Marc Shaiman, a composer and musical director, whose main claim to fame is as the composer of "Hairspray," for which he and his partner won the Tony. OK, Marc didn't send it to me, it was forwarded.

Shaiman was writing to inform the world of how the artistic director of the California Musical Theater company in Sacramento (I knew it as "Music Circus" and saw several performances there) had donated $1000 to the Yes on 8 campaign. Shaiman, rightfully incensed that a man who leads the creative process in a world where gay men make up a huge percentage of the creative talent both on and behind stage would so callously work against their interests, called for a boycott of CMT.

He got more than that. After a firestorm of e-mails and publicity, with many other theater professionals vowing to join the boycott, the artistic direction (Scott Eckern) resigned this morning. This is despite his issuing an apology yesterday and promising to donate an equivalent amount to the Human Rights Campaign.

As you can imagine, this has raised hackles on both sides of the issue. Those who support Eckern argue that he is entitled to express his personal opinion and that this has nothing to do with his job. Of course, those who were offended by Eckern's actions are also free to express their opinions by refusing to support his work.

My personal view would normally be that Eckern paid too high a price. He did apologize and match his donation, after all. Unfortunately, I think he deserves to lose his job -- not for his political opinion, but for sheer stupidity. Andrew Sullivan labeled him "Dumbest Man Alive" in a posting yesterday. I mean, really, you work every day with gay actors, writers, dancers, set designers, etc. and then you actively contribute to a law that would enshrine them in the Constitution as second-class citizens? It's not just stupid, it's thoughtless and cruel.

But wait, it gets worse. It turns out Eckern's sister is gay! That's right, he donated $1000 to help ensure that his sister and her partner could never enjoy the benefits of marriage. A man that displays that level of insensitive idiocy needs to find another job. Perhaps at a meat processing plant or a recycling yard or a toxic waste dump.

That said, let's move on to some more over-reactions to the Prop 8 vote. Apparently an activist group called "Bash Back" disrupted Sunday services at a church in Delta Township in Michigan. You can read the story here. You're not helping the cause, fellas. Hate can't be defeated with more hate. The only cure for hate and intolerance is love and understanding. Same thing is true for the morons who ripped a giant foam cross from the hands of an old woman who'd shown up at rally in Palm Springs protesting the passage of Prop 8. These idiots surrounded the woman, shouting at her and crushing the cross under their feet.

I wish I'd been there. We need to meet intolerance with understanding and hate with love and more love. We must counter stupidity with wisdom and fear-mongering with rationality.

We need to come together, not tear each other apart.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another Bit of Idiocy to Rail On

Today's idiocy? Laws against the cultivation, possession and use of marijuana. Click here for an interesting overview of how our nation's pot laws got to the point they are and why repealing them would be a smart idea.

Money quote: "Anslinger immediately drew upon the themes of racism and violence to draw national attention to the problem he wanted to create. Here is a quote regarding marijuana...
"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.""

Monday, November 10, 2008

Powerful as this is...

...I can imagine religious types responding to his invocation of the Golden Rule by saying "but what I would want others to do unto to me is to help keep me from sin. That's what I'm trying to do -- save gay people from continuing to live in a gravely sinful state."

The Forerunner Speaks


Still Crushed

Tomorrow will be a week since the voters of California took the unprecedented step of removing rights from a group of people. The history of the state -- indeed, of the country -- has been one of extending rights, not limiting them. A week, and I still feel as crushed and deflated as I did when I saw the first returns and knew that what my gut had been telling me was right -- we are still too hated and misunderstood to be treated equally.

I read the blogs, I read the comments sections of news articles. I feel the anger, the hurt, the disappointment. I don't know what to do with it. How could all those millions of Californians have justified to themselves that it's OK to discriminate? To treat one group of people different from another?

And it's not just strangers. Our family has been friends with another family (mostly the parents) for more than 30 years. This lovely (or so I thought) couple have known me for more than three decades. They attend many of our family functions, including my mom's recent 90th birthday party. They have met my husband, greeted him warmly, laughed at the many funny things he says. Yet, I discovered (a few days before the election) that they had voted "yes" on 8 via their absentee ballot. These are not stupid, uninformed people. The husband owned a good-sized ad agency in San Francisco. But they helped to vote away my rights. I can't imagine what I might say to them should I ever see them on the street. (They live just a few miles from us.) It's certain I will never see them at another family event, because if anyone in my family had the audacity to invite them, they can't expect to enjoy my presence, as well.

So where do I go? We gay people are a tiny minority in this country. We have some political power, but apparently not enough. I have confidence that in 20 years, we will have full legal equality, but it seems clear that we will never be fully accepted. Or even truly tolerated. The "ick" factor will always be too much for most people.

I'm not ready to stop fighting for equality, but I'm not sure what strategy to employ. The only weapon I have at my disposal is logic and reason. And that hasn't worked. Our adversaries don't care about logic, apparently. Their fear is clearly too great to be overcome by logic. It's like a former friend of my husband's who -- when we were visiting Lake Tahoe together -- was afraid of a thunderstorm because he worried lightning would strike our 20+-story hotel and cause it to collapse. It was a base, irrational fear. But it was his fear, and nothing I said could make his heart beat any less quickly.

Far too many Californians are like that frightened little man -- and nothing I say can relieve their anxiety.

To all of you who have read this far, thanks for letting me vent on you.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The People Have Spoken?

Proposition 4, the parental notification measure on Tuesday's ballot, marked the third time the issue has been put to voters. The backers of the measure (which lost 52%-48%) now say they expect to try a fourth time. I don't have a problem with this; it's clearly their right to do so and it will be their money they spend in the attempt. As the father of a teenage daughter, I'm even sympathetic to their cause. (Though I voted "no" on 4 because I realize not every girl has parents who will react helpfully in a time-sensitive situation fraught with so many complications.) I also believe the optimum number of abortions ought to be zero.

However, I can already anticipate the outcry when marriage equality proponents begin the process of putting an initiative on the ballot to repeal Proposition 8: "What happened to the will of the people?!" "We already voted on that!" In the two elections since the first time parental notification initiatives were put forward, I haven't seen any commentary along those lines. And I read a lot. Why the difference?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Something Else for a Change

After all the campaigning and debate and disappointment of the past months, it's time to turn to something else for a moment. The blog has been focused almost exclusively on marriage equality for a long time. And if you look at the masthead above, you'll note that "golf" was intended to be one of the key subjects of The Rational Feast. So let's get back to it for a moment.

Yesterday I was this close to starting to call myself a "golfer." Long-time readers of the blog may remember I don't call myself a "golfer", but rather "someone who plays golf." I just haven't felt skilled enough to take on that moniker. Yet.

After taking two months away from the game due to injury, I recently picked up the clubs again. As an 18 handicap, I usually shoot in the mid-90s. I break 90 once in a while, have flirted twice with breaking 80, but can also shoot in the high-90s and even go over 100, especially on challenging courses. But in my first three rounds after the break I shot 91-89-89. The last 89 was on a pretty tough track, and 21 of those strokes came on just three holes.

Yesterday when I went out (on a gorgeous fall day) to my local course, I said to myself that if I could break 90 again I would start calling myself a golfer. The day started well, I nailed my drive straight down the middle. My approach landed a bit short and I ended up making bogey. But I followed that with two pars. The rest of the round I was up and down, but mostly consistent. I parred one of the toughest holes on the course (actually the toughest hole on the course, even though the scorecard doesn't list it as such), but then things started to fall apart a bit.

Between the 13th and 14th holes at this course there is a long uphill climb. Golfers in carts take the winding path up the hill, but walkers (like me) have a funicular (yes, a funicular) to take them to the 14th tee. Unfortunately, yesterday the lift was out of order so I had to make the long hike up. This took enough out of my legs that my next two tee shots were awful, causing me to go double-bogey, bogey. On top of this, I putted terribly, missing several four to five-foot putts that I ordinarily hole. Going into 18, I needed a birdie to break 90.

18 is a strange hole, a par 5 with almost a 90-degree dogleg right. I hit a beautiful 3-wood off the tee that faded perfectly, caught a cart path bounce and ended up in a great spot. I was in slightly thick grass, but I was only 180 yards from the green. I hit a solid hybrid to the front bunker -- then proceeded to shank the bunker shot. I was out of the sand, but left with a long breaking putt to make bird. I made a great stroke, but it didn't go in the hole. Then I missed the four-footer for par and ended with 91.

Oh well, time to start a new streak.


Every morning since Tuesday (I know, that's only three mornings, but I'm an impatient person) my first thought has been of the body blow the gay community took on election day. I'd like to move past the loss, accept it, and get on with the next step, whatever that is.

Herein lies the problem. What is the next step? Andrew Sullivan believes the best path is to forget the courts and do the hard work of convincing Americans that extending marriage equality is the right thing to do and to therefore achieve equality at the ballot box or in state legislatures. Bringing suits, he believes, will only result in backlash and bad feelings.

He has a point. I'd imagine a not-insignificant portion of Californians voted "yes" on 8 not because they didn't believe in marriage equality, but simply to teach the California Supreme Court a lesson about overturning the will of the people. If the suits that were filed the day after the election end up making their way to the US Supreme Court and the cause of equality prevails there (as it ought to, given the 14th Amendment) will we have won a legal battle but lost a larger, more important war? Americans may grudgingly accept same-sex marriage as a matter of law, but will equality always be stained by the fact that it was imposed upon the country by appointed judges and not elected officials or the American people themselves?

But what if African-Americans had waited until a majority of people felt they deserved equal access to education or the right to marry outside their race? How many more years would it have taken? Would they still be waiting for full equality? Although some extensions of civil rights (women's suffrage is the most important that comes to mind) have come through legislatures, many more had to be decreed and "forced" on the American people.

Of course, no court, no legislature -- not even a majority vote of the people -- can create acceptance. Loving v. Virginia gave interracial couples the right to marry, but I'm certain many still feel a twinge when they see a black man with a white woman. The law can be changed in a moment, but only time (and knowledge) will alter hearts and minds.

For me, the main problem with Sullivan's suggestion that we pursue electoral action is that people are very slow to change their minds. In the struggle to convince people that marriage equality is the right thing to do, we come too often to the impenetrable barrier of religious faith. Many millions of people believe there is an invisible superbeing that watches over us all and expects us to strictly follow rules established by books of mysterious provenance, filled with stories that would, if found on other pages, be considered "magic." No matter how rational or logical an argument you present to the more dogmatic among them, no matter how much evidence you provide, they can always fall back on "God says so" and that will -- for them -- settle any argument.

If Yes on 8 supporters had to back up their points with convincing evidence -- as they would in a court of law -- they'd have a very hard time prevailing. That's why Proposition 22 was declared unconstitutional -- because there is no rational reason to treat gay people differently under the law, even when it comes to civil marriage.

Unfortunately, voters don't have to be given rational reasons. They can say to themselves, "God wants it this way" and nothing can be done to sway them from that position. In California, if you can get a majority of people to agree with you, you can do almost anything -- at least until it runs up against the US Constitution. It happened with Proposition 2 in Colorado and could happen with Proposition 8 -- the SCOTUS could overturn it.

I'd rather have voters or the legislature extend equality, but to be honest, I'll take it any way I can get it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Retribution Coming?

Another one from the Volokh Conspiracy:

"To the 70% of black California voters (75% of black women voters) who supported Proposition 8, here's something to consider: it doesn't matter who's in the White House or who's in Congress, when you're applying for a job, what matters is who's reading your resume and what s/he does with it.

If your name is Lakesha, Darnell or anything similar, those of us who work in HR presume you're black. Because of the discrimination, exclusion and hate you chose to embrace and uphold, those of us who are gay and work in HR may now pause to consider whether we should contact you for an interview or simply place your resume at the bottom of the pile."

Can't say I'd do the same. But I understand the emotion behind it. Doesn't make it less wrong, though.

Concise, party of one?

It's an argument I have made on several occasions -- but never with more brevity than this:

"A frequently overheard slippery slope is:

Gay marriage = Less procreation = Human extinction.

But this slippery slope only works if we all become gay.

What process originating in gay marriage will make me divorce my wife and marry a man?

What process originating in gay marriage will make any appreciable number of straight people turn gay?"

From a commenter on the blog, Volokh Conspiracy.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Oh, The Irony!

Although some say the voting on Proposition 8 is still too close to call, with two million late absentee ballots still to be counted, I don't see a path that leads to the defeat of discrimination. I think, for now, we must accept that most Californians believe that our relationships are less deserving than theirs.

While that is a very bitter pill to swallow, I believe that one day we will drink from the cup of true equality. One day people will see the light and realize that love is love and that no one's commitment to care for another person has more value (in a legal sense) than anyone else's.

If Proposition 8 does indeed pass, I lay the blame on two groups: the LDS church and African-Americans. The Mormons donated massive amounts of cash (up to 70% of the bankroll for the Yes on 8 campaign)and African-Americans were the only demographic that voted for discrimination. Unfortunately, I think that neither of these two groups are sufficiently cognizant of the deep irony of their opposition to marriage equality.

The LDS church still suffers from an image of being a church that supported polygamy, a highly alternative view of traditional "one man, one woman" marriage. They were driven from more than one state, their leaders slain, in part because they held a non-traditional view of marriage. Yet today they marshal their not-inconsiderable resources to crush another form of non-traditional marriage.

But at least I can understand where their opposition comes from. And the discrimination against them ended, for all intents and purposes, over a century ago. What I cannot understand is how African-Americans, who still suffer from discrimination, can extend bigoted thinking to any other group of people. Though the spectre of racism still hangs above the heads of African-Americans, their battle for civil rights effectively ended with the election of one of their brothers to the highest office in the land. Yet, after throwing off their chains, instead of melting them down, they wrapped them around us. That I will never understand.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Little Empathy, Please

After all the debate, all the arguing, all the back and forth on the issue of marriage equality, today I want you to think about just one thing. I want you to imagine how it would feel if other people were allowed to vote on the validity of your relationship. How would you feel if millions of people were stepping into voting booths right now to decide whether YOUR marriage would be “valid or recognized”?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Another Reason to Love Andrew Sullivan

Once again, he hits it dead center.

Money quote: "In so many ways, real conservatives should be rejoicing. How did such a marginalized group come to seek such a traditional way forward? And yet so many "conservatives", rather than hailing this socially positive development, demonized those of us who stood up for it, cast us out of respectable conservative discourse, and tried to do all they can to destroy and uproot our families.

It's an emblem of what went so horribly wrong with conservatism. Fixing it will be a critical element of putting it right. Until the Republican party finds a way to talk to gay and lesbian people and our families, they will fail to become a modern political movement."

Equal -- on so many levels

Please click on this link. It's a simple, straightforward -- but very powerful -- affirmation of how ordinary our families are. How similar our lives are to heterosexual couples.

Money quote: "How much of your waking time is spent thinking about how you raise your children and the sort of people you want them to be? Do your children complain about going to religious services on the weekend, like mine do? Do they say, "Are you kidding me?," like it's a surprise, rather than your weekly routine? Do you have parents that you are also looking out for? Are you sometimes divided between the kids and your folks?"

Children Will Listen, 2

Here is more evidence that the concerns of people that children will learn about same-sex marriage if Proposition 8 fails to pass are unfounded. Why? Because Prop 8 supporters gave the issue FAR more visibility by putting the issue on November's ballot.

Money quote: "The irony is that gay marriage has become the No. 1 topic of discussion on school playgrounds and sports practice fields precisely because of Proposition 8. The political battle has done far and away more to raise awareness of same-sex marriage among schoolchildren than the state Supreme Court's ruling in May ever would have. This last month has been a giant teachable moment on gay marriage -- which is probably not what Proposition 8's backers intended."