Marriage equality is bringing changes to the gay community. Constantino Diaz-Duran details an unexpected one. He explains at The Date Report:
As a Christian, I believe there’s a proper way to lay a solid foundation for a life-long covenant. I believe promiscuity and premarital sex devalue love and water down the sanctity of what I understand as marriage. This was one of the values of my youth that I cast aside when I came out. I believe God calls us to be chaste until marriage, not because sex is wrong or dirty, but rather because it is beautiful–a gift from Him. Sex brings a couple closer together, keeps them strong, and reminds us that God wants us to be happy in this life. Sex is, to use a word some might dislike, holy. It belongs in the context of Holy Matrimony.
Now that I’m comfortable with my faith and my sexuality, I see that while I did not choose to be gay, I can choose to at least try and live as a Christian. I am dating a Christian man I met online. We were first drawn to each other’s pictures (what can I say: he’s hot), but it’s our faith and shared interests that really brought us together. We have prayed together, and we believe God wants us to behave as a Christian couple.
And so, and even though neither one of us is a virgin, my boyfriend and I have decided to abstain from premarital sex–including oral sex, masturbation, and even sexting. Our relationship is young (it’s been less than two months since we made it official, though we’ve known each other for a year) and we don’t know where it will go. What we do know is that living by our values will only make us stronger.
I guess we should have expected something like this…
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Two US Senators, a Democrat and Republican, are introducing a bill that would help level the tax playing field for LGBT citizens. LGBTQ Nation reports:
U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Monday introducing the Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, a bill that would end the taxation of employer-provided health insurance for domestic partners, as well as the penalty imposed on employers who provide equal benefits to their LGBT employees. The bill, which was also introduced in the 112th Congress, addresses inequality in the U.S. tax code dealing with same-sex partners and spouses.
While the bill is highly unlikely to pass in the current gridlocked environment in Congress, we applaud Senators Collins and Schumer for making the attempt.
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10 years after the US Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws in Texas, and effectively across United States, 17 states still have these laws on the books. The Washington Blade reports:
Laws that make it a crime for consenting adults to engage in sodomy remain on the books in 17 states and continue to be enforced in several of those states 10 years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared such laws unconstitutional… According to LGBT activists and gay rights attorneys, most of the cases in which police and prosecutors enforce sodomy or “crime against nature” statutes involve marginalized groups such as transgender sex workers or gay men arrested by undercover police officers for engaging in or soliciting sex in parks or other public places.
According to the Blade, the states which still have sodomy laws on the books are:
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas*, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana*, North Carolina, Oklahoma*, South Carolina, Texas*, Utah and Virginia.
The asterisks indicate states where sodomy laws apply only to gays. Montana is still technically on this list, but the state’s Governor plans to sign a repeal of the law today.
Down in Texas, a bill to repeal that state’s sodomy law just passed out of committee on a 5 to 0 vote. Towleroad reports:
SB 538 would repeal S21.06 of the Penal Code, the Homosexual Conduct Law, which was declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision. The bill would also amend the Health and Safety Code to delete the statement that “homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under S21.06, Penal Code.”
Surprisingly, very gay friendly Maryland, which just recently approved marriage equality by a public vote, still has a sodomy law on the books. The Washington Blade reports:
Gay and lesbian residents of Maryland may be surprised to learn that while their state approved a law last year that allows them to marry, it has yet to repeal an antiquated law that classifies their intimate sexual relations as a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. LGBT activists may also be surprised that only one of the eight openly gay members of the Maryland General Assembly confirmed to the Washington Blade that she would introduce legislation to repeal the state’s sodomy law. “I definitely would introduce it,” said Del. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City), who is one of five out lesbians serving in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Why didn’t the others bother to respond?Add a comment
The head of the United Nations says governments around the world need to protect their LGBT citizens. Towleroad.com reports:
We should all be outraged when people suffer discrimination, assault and even murder – simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We should all speak out when someone is arrested and imprisoned because of who they love or how they look. This is one of the great, neglected human rights challenges of our time. We must right these wrongs. Governments have a legal duty to protect everyone. But far too many still refuse to acknowledge the injustice of homophobic violence and discrimination. We need to document this problem and share information with States on a regular basis for discussion and action.
Although the UN has very real little power, they do have a big platform, and it’s great to see the Secretary General actively advocating for LGBT rights.
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Just as US Senate Democrats opposed to marriage equality quickly dwindled last month, House Democrats are doing the same. The latest – California representative Jim Costa. Towleroad reports:
“In the San Joaquin Valley, family always comes first but what that family looks like is not always the same. While I respect the opinion of those who might disagree, I support marriage for all couples who wish to make this life-long commitment.”
The six remaining house Democrats? Cedric Richmond (LA), Kurt Schrader (OR), David Scott (GA), Terry Sewell (AL), Bennie Thompson (MS), and freshman Filemon Vela (TX).
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There’s a cool new animated map of the USA showing the fight for marriage equality in the USA from 1970 to the present. The Atlantic Wire reports:
But what our map GIF shows is that this wave of support for gay rights follows two large anti-gay rights wave, first under President Bill Clinton and then under President George W. Bush. Dark gray above shows when states banned gay marriage statutorily. Black shows when states extra-banned it by constitutional amendment. Light red shows when a state adopted domestic partnerships or civil unions. Red shows states with gay marriage. The most recent entry on the map is Delaware, where legislation allowing gay marriage was introduced in the General Assembly on Thursday With Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, supporting the bill and Democrats in control of the state legislature, the only thing keeping the First State from being the 10th state to have marriage equality will be if Illinois, Rhode Island, or Minnesota get there first.
Check out the link above for the map – it runs kinda fast, but it’s really cool.
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Will the next Republican nominee for President support gay marriage? It is a question that was unthinkable years ago, but amid a rapid shift in public opinion and demographics, it is being seriously considered in GOP circles.
“At the rate this issue is changing within the party, I think it’s not out of the question,” said Margaret Hoover, a former George W. Bush White House aide and one of the leading Republican Party operatives calling for the recognition of same-sex marriages. “It’s not if, it’s when — 2016 or 2020,” said another Republican operative.
The confidence to even ask the question is buoyed by a sea change in Republican Party thinking on the issue over the past several weeks. Dozens of top party operatives and former politicians — including six former aides to Mitt Romney and seven current or former members of Congress — have signed onto an amicus brief supporting the legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8 in advance of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the gay-marriage ban. Ohio Senator Rob Portman endorsed gay marriage on Friday after revealing that his son is gay. And new polling has brought to light a clear shift in the opinions of Republicans and the nation at large.
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Lisa Keen at Keen News Service focuses on Kennedy’s questions:
In the Proposition 8 argument, Kennedy asked three questions concerning legal standing and five concerning constitutional issues. On legal standing, he sent mixed signals. He expressed discomfort with the idea that the governor or attorney general of California could seemingly “thwart the initiative process” by refusing to defend a voter-approved initiative all the way through the appellate process. He also rebuffed a statement by Chief Justice John Roberts–who said a state “can’t authorize anyone” to press an appeal. Kennedy said the Yes on 8 proponents were “different from saying any citizen.” Those two points seemed to support allowing Yes on 8 standing to appeal. And yet, he acknowledged there is a “substantial question on standing.”
So what happens if the case is decided on a technicality? keen notes:
If the court finds a problem with legal standing or jurisdiction on either of these cases, it will likely issue that decision in the near future. Discussions of legal standing do not generally require a great deal of rumination. If it decides on the merits, the decision or decisions will most likely come out–as they have with past major gay-related opinions–in the final week of the session–the last week in June.
Interesting. So there’s at least a small possibility that we might have a decision in these cases before June.
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Two weeks ago, Hillary Clinton announced her support for gay marriage. Placid and well-coiffed, she looked at the camera with Clintonian firmness, and said, “L.G.B.T. Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones, and they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage.”
That Monday, she joined the ranks of prominent Democrats–and even a share of prominent Republicans–in the righteous chorus seeking to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, which her husband signed in 1996. (Not known for his penitence, Bill Clinton published an op-ed asserting that the law “is itself discriminatory” and “should be overturned.”) Whether the law is struck down now, as DOMA is challenged before the Supreme Court, or years later–when the seventy per cent of under-thirty voters who support marriage equality rise up in age and power–there is no doubt, as Jeffrey Toobin wrote last week in the magazine, that nothing now “can reverse the march toward equality.”
There is a question, however, in the language Clinton used, the particular lip service she chose to pay. The United States moves inexorably toward granting equality to the L.G.B., but in the process–while still pronouncing that satisfying final consonant–we often, in practice, drop the “T.”Add a comment
Over the course of Spring Break, my traditionally blue Facebook page was turning red. My friends, it seems, are overwhelmingly supportive of gay rights, changing everything from their profile pictures to their banners in response to the recent Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor. Likewise, thousands more rallied outside the high court to show their support for marriage equality, hoping that change will come with the ruling.
But the case in its original context is not about legalizing gay marriage. Instead, it is a dispute about taxes. Edith Windsor, the plaintiff, and Thea Spyer, her partner of 41 years, married in Canada six years ago. When Spyer died two years after the marriage, Windsor received her partner’s estate, along with a tax bill for more than $300,000. According to the federal court, the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, prevented Windsor’s eligibility for a spousal tax deduction because it can only be awarded to opposite-sex couples, even if a same-sex couple is legally married under state law.
I have been watching this debate from afar, weighing my opinion, not quite willing to change my Facebook photo to the red equal sign that has so quickly became a symbol of the debate. I say this, not because I am interested in protecting the sanctity of marriage (having studied the history of marriage with Lane Fenrich, I have learned that this sanctity is nearly nonexistent in America), but because I have been grappling with the debate in the context of my politics (liberal) and my religion (not so liberal).
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April is here and that means the seasons are about to start changing...for some it's a pleasant relief because those days when depression hits with clouds and snow and rain will soon be on the wane. For others it means spring allergy season is almost upon us and with the first buds will come the runny noses and watery eyes. Others will be happy to see more sunny days to get outside and run or work out, while others will start planning those summer pool parties, half marathons, bike tours and other events.
What we're trying to say is that this time of year, more than almost any other, presents plenty of challenges for our bodies — whether it be mental as days lengthen or physical as some try too hard to get set for Speedo and Spandex season. Here are a few thoughts and things to watch out for:
—If you are planning to boost your physical regimen with the change of seasons, start with a visit to your doctor’s office and get checked over. After a long winter, you might need to start more slowly than you’d like, plus muscles and bones unused to all that work might need to be checked to make sure you don’t end your season before it begins with a sports injury.
Be sure to get your doctor's OK before you start that new activity — be it biking, running, lifting, boot camp or whatever. Also, Spring is a good time to think about losing a few pounds you might have picked up in front of the TV this Winter, so ask the doc for some diet recommendations. Just remember that fad diets are just that — fads which rarely work, often can cause harm to your body and all-too-regularly don't allow you to eat properly so you keep weight you might lose off. This is also a good time to visit http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ and calculate your body mass index (BMI).
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Time for a few questions from the mailbox...and probably the biggest one to arrive from multiple sources lately is actually a repeat of a golden oldie: Do I buy that new (fill it in: computer/iPad/phone/laptop/music player) now or do I wait for the next one to come out?
And despite the playing field changing a lot since I last covered this, my reply has not changed much: buy the device you want when you can afford it and be 100% aware that about the time you get the box open they will come out with a new "latest/greatest" which will make you unhappy you did not wait.
You might be looking at my reply and laughing, but I am totally serious: There will always be something new either out, coming out soon or "in the works." The problem is you can't talk on, surf with or listen to a wudda, cudda or shudda — you need to have that player, computer, iPad or other tablet in hand — and for that you have to make a commitment.
I know what I am saying is not kind and gentle reassurance because the only thing you can be sure of is that someone, somewhere will be out with something newer, faster and better tomorrow. So that said what can you do?
First, be an aware consumer of electronics. Do some research online, in books and magazines or by asking friends. If you want a pc and all your friends are on Macs that might be a message in itself. If you have an iPhone, want a new one and all your friends love their Droids they got for half the price, that, too might be a message.
Also see what device fits. You'd not just walk into a shoe store, point to a pair and buy the sample would you? At the very least you'd ask a clerk for correct sizing then put them on and walk around on the stores carpets a bit. And the same applies here.
Visit Best Buy, the nearest Apple Store or other retailer (everyplace from Target to Kmart and Costco sell phones, pads and computers nowadays) and try out what you are considering buying. And kick the tires, too. If they don't have a demo out to touch, that alone is worth questioning.
And if you really want to go for a ride, ask a friend with that device if you can come over (take him to dinner after or bring a bottle of wine — it's just polite) and play with their laptop, desktop or iPad for an hour or two. See if it will do your spreadsheets, play your music with decent fidelity, stream your movies and Netflix and if it will connect to the internet and stay connected.
And ask the friend whose device it is if they'd buy one again. That will tell you way more than any reviews, magazines or store displays ever can. If they say yes, ask why and if they say no ask why, too. Remember that not everyone uses the same device the same way for the same purposes so if they tell you their partner doesn't like the sound quality but all he listens to is screaming rock turned up so loud that it distorts, don't take that for a final answer until you play your jazz or classical music at the level you like.
Also read a bit to be an informed buyer. Go see what the pundits have to say about a replacement for what you are about to buy. Is there a strong rumor that a new pc, pad, phone or gadget is about to be released? If so, what will it do or have that the one you could walk in and buy today can't?
We no sooner got used to our latest iPad than Apple came out with a newer, faster one. Do we regret buying when we did? Not at all as trying one of the newer ones we found the changes were barely noticeable for us who read newspapers on Pressdisplays app, magazines on Zinio's app, play Words With Friends and enjoy a spot of internet radio. Maybe if we were using the iPad for other things we'd feel differently, but for us the one we got almost a year ago (the first with retina display) is not only just fine, but still great. Remember those shoes — it's all about fit and chances are what fits your needs just fine today will still be pretty much perfect in a year or two.
Also, and finally on this topic, go into a new purchase looking at a life span. From past experience, we know that GUI's for a computer is about 4-6 years. For our iPhone, two years till we get a new subsidized replacement from our carrier. I'm on my 3rd iPad but only my 2nd laptop as I rarely even use my laptop which dates from 1999. It all depends what you personally need, want and use the device for and how often.
Our second question is closely related to the first and that's the calls we get asking about extras. "Should I buy personal training on my iPad?" and "Do I want AppleCare, Geek Squad or the pc equal?''
I've never been to a Gynecologist. How important is it for me to go see one? Since I don't have sex with men is it necessary to go?
Read my answer by clicking read more ------------------->
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The times, they are a changin'. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder whether gay, lesbian, bi & trans folks are todays canaries in the coal mine.
For those of you unfamiliar with the canaries' function, the phrase refers to the fact that well into the 20th century; coal miners would bring canaries into the mines to serve as early-warning signals for toxic gases — primarily carbon monoxide. The birds were more sensitive to the presence of the gas and would become sick before the miners had been exposed to dangerous levels.
I began to consider this (admittedly odd) analogy when members of the Indiana General Assembly — as retrograde a group as one could find outside, perhaps, Mississippi or Alabama — announced that they would not hold a vote during this year's session on a measure to amend the Indiana Constitution by inserting a ban on same-sex marriage.
To appreciate the magnitude of this announcement, you'd have to have lived in Indiana the past several years.
Legislative homophobia has been a given and the prospects for this particular piece of bigotry had been considered bright. Those who oppose the measure had settled for strategies meant to "kick the can down the road."
Indiana is one of those states where amending the constitution is difficult; a proposed amendment must be passed in identical form by two separately elected legislatures, after which it goes to the public in the form of a referendum.
Opponents focused on getting changes in some of the more ambiguous and mean-spirited language of the proposed amendment; changing the language would delay what seemed inevitable.
The working assumption has been that the ban was a slam-dunk to emerge from the General Assembly, and that an eventual public vote would lodge discrimination solidly in the state's charter.
The vote could still occur during next year's session, of course. The 2012 election ushered in Republican super-majorities in the Indiana House and Senate. Worse, the state elected a dyed-in-the-wool culture warrior as governor. Prospects for defeating or even delaying the ban looked even more hopeless.
But that's where it gets interesting.
A couple of statewide polls show a solid majority of Hoosiers — whatever their position on same-sex marriage — oppose amending the constitution.
And The U.S. Supreme Court accepted two significant cases: one involving a challenge to DOMA and one an appeal of California's Proposition Eight. The President was reelected handily, even after his very public endorsement of marriage equality.
What I find interesting is that the sea change on gay rights issues is only part of the story — only one indicator of a broader social/political shift that is just becoming visible.
Here's my current analysis (and it's worth every penny you are paying for it — in other words, probably nothing): The upheavals we now refer to as "the sixties" created an enormous backlash.
All of a sudden, there were uppity black folks, bra-burning feminists, anti-war activists and other troublemakers undermining the natural order of things.
Those various movements: the womens' movement, civil rights movement, antiwar movement permanently changed American society, but they also engendered huge resentment and push-back. That backlash was what ushered in the so-called "Reagan revolution," and energised the culture warriors and "family values" organizations.
Just as the 60s movements became excessive and spawned reaction, the GOPs rightward march has now gone much too far.
Women, minorities, young people and other reasonable folks are abandoning the party in droves. Except for a remaining fringe of old, white, Southern heterosexual men, Americans have become comfortable with diversity and the other results of the disorienting sixties — at the same time they are getting increasingly uncomfortable with the extremism and "us versus them" worldview of today's conservatives.
Gays are among the first to benefit from what is beginning: a swing back from the precipice and a long-overdue reconsideration of what America should look like.
The canaries are breathing. It's a good sign.
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When I was a scrawny little pup, I dreamed of the day I would be older, bigger and free to come and go as I pleased. The world seemed to be waiting for me to claim it as my own. I would be able to drive wherever I wanted, eat cake for dinner, have a body like that of my beloved comic book heroes and live in my own apartment where I could blast my Duran Duran music as loud as I wanted.
Then as the years flipped past and I grew up and out, I found myself longing for the sweet simplicity of childhood. No responsibilities, no bills, no dramatic relationships, dinner on the table every night and summers off. It's the eternal conflict that all of us face in every aspect of our lives: wanting what we cannot have.
It's human nature to desire the things that we don't have and if we are told we can't have them, we want them even more. When we see someone leading a seemingly perfect life, we feel a twinge of envy at the things they have that we do not. The hard truth is, however, that we don't know the true nature of their lives and what they have done to get these things which seem so fantastic. A person with many amazing material possessions may be thousands of dollars in debt. Someone with a perfect body may have sacrificed their deeper health to achieve that physical ideal. Not only that, but the odds are pretty good the person you envy is missing something that you have taken for granted, such as a family that loves you, the comfort of anonymity or even a clean bill of health.
Every day we are bombarded with images of people who are seemingly better than we are, have more than we do and live their lives in a manner we can only dream of. This country has become so adept at making any entitled moron or screeching hillbilly into an overnight celebrity that it leaves many of us wondering: "Where's my television show? I'm much more interesting and easier on the eyes, so why am I not getting paid six figures to have people watch me complain about my love life and throw drinks in people's faces?"
The culture of celebrity is a fertile ground for breeding the "grass is always greener" mentality. We see these talentless nobodies rise to fame, fortune and People Magazine covers and we resent them for having the fame and wealth they obviously don't deserve.
It should be you, right? But when you realize they can't even go to the grocery store without being followed by paparazzi who love taking unflattering snapshots of them how will you feel then?
Speaking of snapshots, it seems that everywhere you turn there are images of perfect bodies splashed across billboards and in magazine layouts. We secretly think: "I wish I looked like that", but there are many factors that are part of those carved abs and pumped-up biceps.
Let's start with how these bodies are created. Take it from me, it's not easy. Even without whatever hand you've been dealt on the genetic level, there are the grueling workouts, the strict diets and the sweat-soaked cardio — and that's all before the Photoshop is brought in. Contrary to what the media will have you believe, it's not just Hydroxy- cut and Skechers Shape-Ups.
Being unbelievably good-looking and carrying around a warrior's physique is a double- edged sword. Sure, everyone thinks you're beautiful and can't wait to get you between the sheets, but that's all you have to offer right? When you've got a face like Will Grant who cares about your views on all the facets of life? Who needs a brain when you've got a 44-inch chest and a 30-inch waist? So once again: would it be worth it?
Would you trade brains for brawn? Don't get me wrong, I know for a fact you can have both, but the way beauty in all its forms is perceived is that you must be a one-trick pony. And this feeling is prevalent in the gay community more than anywhere else.
In our culture there is always a race to have a prettier face, a better body, a sleek new car or dazzling home and the impossible ability to hold on to the fragile gossamer of youth. Maybe it's because in a dark comer of our mind we believe if we have all of these things plus the material touchstones of perfection, then we will finally be loved. Sure, not everyone feels this way, but when you have grown up in an environment where who you are is deemed unacceptable, it also seems to mean that you are unlovable as well. This leads to overcompensation and the desire for things that may be out of reach: A beautiful body, a beautiful boyfriend, barrels of cash, an expensive home and all things that are newer, better and shinier.
The desire for the things we can't have is a familiar monster that rears its ugly head in our sexual and romantic lives and can consume you if left unchecked.
Remember all those girls who had crushes on you in high school and college? Remember all the straight boys you had crushes on in high school and college? These are two peerless examples of wanting what you can never have. As far as wanting to be in a stable loving relationship when you're a singleton in a world of men, that is something that is not out of reach — unless of course the object of your affection is connected to someone else.
When you desire a person you can't have, whether they are already in a relationship or simply not interested, it may be because you see in them qualities that attract you. Maybe it's their smile or their body or their sense of humor or even their commitment to their current boyfriend.
But just because you have a fondness for someone's mate or someone who has no romantic interest in you doesn't mean you can't find someone equally amazing with many of the same qualities if you just put forth a little effort. The truth is that even if you do find that someone, they won't have the delicious danger of the forbidden, and if that is what really turns you on, you're in for a world of hurt. Not only could you cause the demise of a relationship when you pursue one of its pair, but once you chase something down and finally get it, the thrill is gone and your gaze will shift elsewhere.
On the flip side, you have the people who are in relationships but who see the freedom and variety of the single life as something to be missed. Instead of appreciating the emotion, sanctity and security of their relationship, they see the world as missed opportunities and a constant parade of temptations.
Many people deal with this by deciding an open relationship is better than a traditional one-on-one relationship, thereby reducing the importance of the emotion that falls into monogamy. Why not have your cake and eat it too? That isn't happiness. That's greed. And if you are in a monogamous relationship and give in to the seductive power of forbidden fruit or you are the one that seduces someone away from their partner, will either of you be able to move any further with your union? Or will you merely turn to the next seemingly unattainable conquest now that the excitement has peaked?
There is nothing wrong with ambition, confidence and having high hopes for yourself in this life. When you look at something you want that is seemingly out of reach, you need to take a step back and ask yourself if it's truly something that is unattainable or if it is even worth aiming for.
None of us can go back in time to our youth or fly like Superman, so those are merely fantasies and dreams of things we will never have. To have fame and fortune may be attainable for some, but is that truly something that you can handle? Living comfortably is one thing, but having more money than you know what to do with opens up a Pandora's box of woes, as does having a camera crew follow your every move.
What about your appearance? If you want to have a great body, you have to be willing to work for it, and if there is something about your looks that you want to change, the science is out there. But before you do something drastic, you have to realize that everyone in the world sees beauty differently. The very thing you want to change may be the one thing your true love finds most desirable.
Speaking of true love, if you're in the habit of coveting other people's boyfriends maybe it's better to find someone who is unattached to set your sights on. The room for heartbreak is a lot less on all fronts. And if you're lying next to your partner at night thinking about all the fun you used to have when you were single, I can guarantee you that when you were flying solo you day dreamed about having someone to come home to every night.
Our culture saturates us with stories and images of people who have more than we do. It tells us that we need a beautiful mate, more money, better clothes, sharper abs, faster cars and all the trappings that will finally, truly make us happy and loved by all.
If you look closer you will see that more often than not, you have many, many things that already make you happy and to want for trivial things merely because you are made to believe they are important or because they are forbidden is a road to disappointment.
So the next time you see something or someone you feel may greatly improve your life ask yourself this: Are these things really better than the things I already have? Or am I just trained to be dissatisfied with what I have now?Add a comment
Why has the last month seen such a rush of Senators supporting marriage equality? Nate Silver, our community’s statistics guru, explains. From 538.com:
The hypothesis implied by the model is that this timing reflects when same-sex marriage began to reach a national majority (or at least a plurality) in some polls. Otherwise, it is hard to understand why same-sex marriage endorsements increased considerably in the Senate in 2011. Democrats had just come off a very bad election year, in which they were punished by voters in part for being too liberal. President Obama had not yet endorsed same-sex marriage. It had not yet won any victories at the ballot booth (as it would in 2012). However, by 2011, it had become possible to argue that support for same-sex marriage had become the majority position. By extension, it was also reaching majority status in more and more states. The perception of majority status may influence the politics of the issue in profound ways. Mr. Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage last year may have been typical in this sense. Once it became arguable that support for same-sex marriage represented a majority view, it became harder for a blue-state Democratic president not to support it.
So basically it’s because marriage equality is now perceived to be be the majority position, and the Supreme Court hearings just goosed the whole thing along. But will it last?
While there will almost certainly be a few more endorsements over the next year or two, it’s very likely that the rate of increase will slow down. Some of this is just a mathematical necessity: a bounded quantity (there are only 100 senators) cannot continue to grow exponentially forever. More than that, however, if the recent cavalcade of endorsements is caused in part by senators perceiving that same-sex marriage has potentially become the national majority position, endorsements will begin to decelerate once it has become unambiguously the majority stance. Some senators will continue to oppose it, either because it does not yet constitute a majority position in their states (like Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, they may say it should be decided at the state level), or because they oppose it on moral grounds, or because they are more concerned about a primary challenge than the general election.
So let’s keep the pressure on the Democratic Senators now (strike while the iron is hot, and all that)!
Politico says that even with the change of heart, Senators are being remarkably careful about how they’re endorsing marriage equality:
There’s clearly a new playbook for senators just now coming out for gay marriage: quietly post something on Facebook, slip it into your Tumblr feed or release a statement to friendly media outlets. What most lawmakers are not doing is talking for the cameras… But for all the hoopla over their announcements, combined with media coverage of last month’s Supreme Court arguments on the issue, these moments are scripted to be public — but not too public. There’s little footage available for opponents to use in the next campaign or live interviews with reporters who might ask difficult or inconvenient questions. The fact that so many of these announcements are coming from lawmakers who are retiring or just reelected helps make it even safer for them to take a stand.
Gotta be gay friendly. But not too gay friendly, if you know what I mean.
Which GOP Senators might be next? Elahe Izadi at the National Journal has some guesses:
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – What she’s said: If there’s only one more Republican that flips, it’s probably going to be Murkowski. She told the Chugiak-Eagle River Star that her views are “evolving” but stopped short of endorsing gay marriage. “I think it’s important to acknowledge that there is a change afoot in this country in terms of how marriage is viewed,” she told the paper.
The political calculus: Murkowski indicated that where she falls on gay marriage could depend on where Alaskans stand. The state passed an amendment in 1998 that defines marriage as between a man and woman. But there are signs that it’s not political suicide to support gay marriage even in a heavily Republican state like Alaska. Her Democratic colleague, Sen. Mark Begich, has come out in favor of gay marriage, and he is up for reelection in 2014.
Hit the link above for the other four.Add a comment
From Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas over at WonkBlog:
Is gay marriage winning? It would seem so.
As this graph from Dylan Matthews shows, support in the Senate has risen at a genuinely exponential pace, rocketing from 11 supportive senators in 2011 to 50 in 2013. The flip in the country has been almost as impressive, though not quite as swift. According to the Washington Post/ABC News poll, support for gay marriage has gone from about 40 percent of the population in 2004 to almost 60 percent today.
Amidst all this, it’s become popular to say that gay marriage has actually “won.” At Bloomberg View, Josh Barro brushes this away as glib triumphalism. “It doesn’t feel that way to gay men and lesbians,” he writes. “Unless the Supreme Court rules in our favor this summer, we will likely have to spend more than 20 years fighting to repeal provisions in 30 state constitutions before national marriage equality is achieved. Many of us will be dead, or at least old and unmarriageable, before then.”
Recall that even if the Supreme Court invalidates California’s Prop 8, only about 28 percent of the country will live in states that recognize same-sex marriages. If Prop 8 stands, then only 16 percent of the country will live in such states.
Even though the fight will go on for some time, you can just feel the shift in momentum. It’s an exciting time to be alive.
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While NOM keeps its hands relatively clean, they want others to do their dirty work. On Top Magazine reports:
When asked why NOM, the nation’s most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, is not taking “a hard stance” against gay relationships, Brown said “different groups need to do different things.” “It’s concerning to a lot of people that the arguments being used in the various court cases concede that homosexual relationships are legitimate and not a perversion or what have you, we just don’t like them,” said Brian Camenker of MassResistance. “And we wonder if there was more of a hard stance that they are not legitimate, that it is perverse, unnatural and what have you, that we might have some better success in some of the cases.”
In an age when folks are becoming more and more comfortable with the LGBT community, calling us perverts seems like exactly the wrong strategy to win over converts. But hey, that’s just me.
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Last March (2012), after Starbucks backed a Washington state ballot initiative legalizing same-sex marriage, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) organized a "Dump Starbucks" campaign in response during the annual shareholders' meeting. The goal was to get closet-cases and people who despise the LGBT community to stop buying cups of coffee at Starbucks, which would cause Starbucks' market value to tank until they recanted their support for equality. You could almost hear NOM's Brian Brown say, "Mwahahaha!"
What was the economic effect of Dump Starbucks? Well, the NASDAQ, a barometer showing the health of the stock market, was already in the midst of a dip – it ended up dropping over four percent; Starbucks ("SBUX" as listed in the NASDAQ) only dropped a little over one percent. In other words, as "The New Civil Rights Movement" pointed out last year, the entire market took a little dip during that time and despite that, Starbucks remained strong. Speaking as a Starbucks barista, this is no surprise to me; people find a way, any way, to pay for their addictions.
This ridiculous campaign then mysteriously disappeared from the news faster than a Newt Gingrich marriage....until now.
CEO Howard Shultz (my boss) recently told a shareholder, who was protesting the company's stance on marriage equality, that he was free to sell his shares and invest in a different company. The far-right's reaction: Dump Starbucks...2.0! Yes, the failed and hilarious faux campaign is back.
So you can see through this non-sequitur, here's what Shultz actually said at the annual shareholder meeting last week:
"If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."
See?! Can't you just hear and see the anti-Christian drivel oozing from Shultz's mouth?? Outrageous...we must all boycott this hippie-pinko-commi-faggy corporation at once! Gays are recruiting our children! They're gross! And something about gay sex!
It really is astounding that in 2013, there are entire organizations devoted to making sure loving, committed couples who happen to be the same sex cannot marry because it would somehow damage their members' own insecure marriages. Somehow, committed, same-sex couples have a magical power to turn others gay...don't catch "the gay," people!
What's even more astounding is that the cultural tide is turning rapidly. Poll after poll shows public support for same-sex marriage well over 50 percent. Some polls go far into the 60s. Support for marriage equality is even more pronounced and strong with members of my generation ("millennials"), where the number is between the high 70s and low 80s.
The be-afraid-of-the-scary-gay-couple tactic is even failing to work on growing numbers of young Evangelicals and conservatives, maybe because they're able to tell the difference between equal rights under the law vs. specific religious belief, as opposed to their parents and grandparents.
The Supreme Court is gearing up to hear two landmark cases in the struggle for equal rights and if the make-up of the court is any indication, along with increasing public support, things are looking good for marriage equality.
NOM's Brown recently compared marriage equality to slavery and vowed to go for an amendment to the U.S. constitution if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of equality. Good luck with that, Brian. Keep fighting the losing, bigoted fight.
What exactly is the end game of these groups? Most of the products we use in our modern society come from corporations that support equality. Will bigots like AFA's Bryan Fischer or FRC's Tony Perkins simply live on farms outside Atlanta, hiding from the equality-supporting zombies (Yes, that was a "Walking Dead" reference....)? Unless they plan on living like the Amish, their ridiculous boycotts will accomplish nothing more than making them look like the narrow-minded bigots they are.Add a comment
I’ve had to do some soul searching recently regarding marriage equality, not because of where I stand on the issue (I firmly believe that every American should have the right to marry the person they choose) but because of where some of my friends stand.
This week I had the awesome privilege of witnessing history: hundreds of gay men and women and their straight allies rallying on the steps of the Supreme Court, while inside the justices listened to arguments on the legality of California’s Proposition 8 and the federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Like many others, I changed my Facebook profile photo in solidarity. I tweeted news articles and my personal thoughts on the issue. Then, on Thursday morning, I received a message from a college friend of mine. She wrote, “I hope you know, that even though we have different perspectives on this issue, I still love you.” I was excited to hear from her but saddened and angered by her response.
My friend and I graduated from Asbury College, a small, Christian liberal arts school about 15 miles from Lexington, Ky. We both graduated with the same degree in media communications. We’re both journalists. And although we’re both Christians, we apparently differ in our beliefs about homosexuality and gay rights. But how could someone I care about not support my right to choose whom I marry? And how should I respond?
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We’ve always looked to the US Supreme Court as the final arbiter of legal disputes, sorting out the arguments, and then, for better or worse, settling the matter. But what if they decide to take half-measures in the marriage equality cases? Doyle McManus speculates at The Los Angeles Times:
The court seems ready to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, while ruling quite narrowly on California’s Proposition 8, allowing a lower-court decision to stand. Such an outcome would make gay marriage legal in California without deciding whether state bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional… What happens to two gay men who marry in New York and then move to Salt Lake City? Will they still be married? If they have children, will the kids have two parents under Utah law? And will their federal benefits, such as survivors’ Social Security benefits, travel with them, even though they’ve moved to a state where their marriage isn’t valid? Will they file their federal tax returns jointly but state returns separately? And don’t even think about the issue of divorce.
He also suspects it will divide the GOP further:
And when the question is changed from marriage to equal rights, the wedge potential is even clearer: Republicans divide right down the middle as to whether homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples, 49% to 48%, with young people again more permissive than older voters. One leading GOP fundraiser described the conflict to me as “between the Christians and the donors” — Christian social conservatives who want the party to stand forthrightly against gay marriage, and donors who want the GOP to broaden its appeal to young people and moderates as a path toward winning the next election.
Unless the Court surprises us and rules for an unambiguous right for gays and lesbians to marry across the country, we’re likely in for another 5-10 years of state-by-state fighting over the issue, a prospect I hadn’t really considered unless the Supremes had issued a clear no on both cases.
And although the Justices voted Friday in the two cases, we’ll have to wait until June or maybe July to hear the results. And I don’t know about y’all, but I suck at waiting.Add a comment
There’s just so much to report today on our opponents – we’ll start with New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who says gay and lesbian couples only get to be friends, sorry. Think Progress reports:
Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, “I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness. And – and we – we want your happiness. But – and you’re entitled to friendship.” But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that – especially when it comes to sexual love – that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally. We gotta be – we gotta do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we haven’t been too good at that.
Think he’s a bit bitter that he’s only “entitled to friendship”, too?
In a slightly less condescending tone, the new head of the Anglican church has called for graceful disagreement on marriage equality, Gay Star News reports:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who wasted no time in speaking out against gay marriage equality on his first official day in office this year, today gave an interview calling for Anglicans to demonstrate to society they can agree to disagree. ‘We need to understand reconciliation within the Church as the transformation of destructive conflict, not unanimity,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t mean we all agree, it is that we find ways of disagreeing, perhaps very passionately but loving each other deeply at the same time, gracefully and deeply committed to each other.
In closely related news, 69% in the UK think the Church of England is out of touch, a new poll says. Pink News has the details:
More than two-thirds (69%) of the population believe that the Church of England is out of touch with society and half (54%) believe that it does a bad job of providing moral leadership. Almost half disagree with its stance on same-sex marriage. The Easter Sunday YouGov poll for the Sunday Times also found than four in ten respondents believe that priests and vicars cannot be trusted to tell the truth. More of the public disagree with the Church of England’s objections to same-sex marriage than agree with it. 49% said that the Church is wrong to oppose same-sex marriage, while just 37% said they agree with the Church’s stance.
Pastor Joel Osteen also softpedals his approach. From On Top Magazine:
“Where do you draw the line?” host Jake Tapper asked. “Do you think that it’s important for those individuals who are in same-sex relationships to at least have the same rights as more traditional couples?”
“It’s a fine line,” Osteen answered. “We’re for everybody, but, of course, as a Christian pastor my base is off what I believe the Scripture says. Marriage is between a male and a female. But again, we’re for everybody. But that’s where I draw the line.”
Over at Fox News, wingnut “psychiatrist” Keith Ablow repeated the tired old like about the slippery slope to polygamy. On Top Magazine reports:
“The government should never have been involved in these personal matters and that’s why it’s coming back to bite us. Because frankly Laura, it’s just completely illogical to me and I think highly prejudicial that a state or the federal government would say two men can marry but not two women and a man. Three people can be in love. If love is the arbiter, then three people can marry.”
Right-wing blowhard Charles Krauthammer (yes, the one who looks like Dracula), forsees a coming assault on religion. Newsbusters reports:
“But it gets really sticky. If the Court were to decide that to deny same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, then you’ve got Georgetown University, a Jesuit university, married housing. It’s a Catholic university. So it says that it’s only going to allow heterosexuals. It will get sued. This will become an assault on religion. And the religions, which I think are sincere in their beliefs, are going to be under assault and under attack.”
Joe.My.God reports on a white supremacist who fears gay marriage will mean fewer white babies:
Gay marriage is bad because it means fewer white babies will be born. “I will not give in to your homofascism! You’ll have to kill me first!” (This guy is probably BFFs with Tony Perkins.) The crazy really gets uncorked in the last three minutes.
In Gambia, President Yahya Jammeh spoke out against gays in particularly nasty terms. LGBTQ Nation reports:
“Homosexuality is anti-humanity. I have never seen homosexual chicken, or turkey..0 If you are convicted of homosexuality in this country, there will be no mercy for offenders. We will put you in the female wing of the prison,” Jammeh said.
Almost every one of these objections are grounded in religion, and yet, there are many people of faith who have come to embrace gay and lesbian couples.
In the end, love is love.Add a comment
By now if you have not heard about the two cases affecting gay marriage which were heard by the SCOTUS then you have no Facebook and have lived under a rock. Let’s cut to the chase, here are my predictions (f you want to know my reasons then read the rest of the column):
Prop 8: the court will be very conservative the decision will have the effect of allow gay marriages in California only.
DOMA: The Supreme Court will find that Federal Government has no legal basis to make a distinction between gay and hetero marriages and thus invalidate the part of the law that forbids federal government to recognize gay marriages.
What the court will NOT do is find that there is a fundamental right that protects gay marriages and thus all states must recognize or adopt gay marriage.
These results may not be what we are asking for however they are huge steps toward full recognition.
Traditionally (rooted in constitutional law) the federal government has allowed States to dictate laws in certain areas. One such example is marriage. That is why it is possible that each state has slightly different marriage laws, for example the way a divorce is conducted. With this in mind I believe that DOMA will be invalidated. The reasoning goes like this: Massachusetts has dully enacted law that defines marriage as including same sex couples therefore the federal government must respect that state’s right to do so and failure to recognize such marriages for purposes of federal law would undermine the states right to define marriage. This is very likely to be the reason why DOMA will go down in history as unconstitutional because it violates each states right to define marriage as they wish.
The more difficult law to predict is Proposition 8. Not only is it difficult to predict how the justices will decide but, also what rationale they will use. But, I am still predicting that the result will be that gay marriages will be available in California, come this fall.
My prediction though is that the court will decide that it is not proper for SCOTUS to decide on this case. This would be a technical maneuver based on procedural rules. Simply put the Court may say that those defending the law did not have a right to do so and therefore it is not proper for them to hear the case. If they make such a ruling then the decision of the last court (Ninth Circuit) will stand. That court found that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional as it affected gay people living in California only. So that gives us the result I mentioned already.
Now the even more difficult prediction of how each justice is going to vote. Scalia, Alito and Thomas will both vote against anything that would allow gay marriage in any form. Not because of legal reasoning but because they have indicated they are very much against gay marriage even before the hearings were held. Then there is the obvious “for” gay marriage votes: Sotomayor, Kagan and Ginsburg and Breyer. Now remember any decision requires at least five votes. Therefore the deciding justices will be the swing votes of Roberts and Kennedy.
Kennedy has been cast as the consistent swing vote, the deciding vote in recent years. He seems more against DOMA than Proposition 8. That is why it is easier to predict DOMA. But since DOMA suffers from one huge flaw, that it intrudes on states right to determine laws of marriage it is very possible that Chief Justice Roberts will also strike down DOMA. Traditionally conservative justices, such as Roberts, have gone to great lengths to protect states from federal government intruding. It is odd that in the case of DOMA the conservative justices are okay with states being dictated by federal law. But I think that Roberts is smart enough to know that this is his legacy, after all he is the chief justice and history is being written as we speak. He sees the writing on the wall and will not want to be cast as falling on the wrong side of history. DOMA will likely go down 6 to 3.
Proposition 8 is harder to predict. Again the ultra conservative and ultra liberal will vote the same. Again, leaving Kennedy and Roberts to decide. I think the vote will be whether or not SCOTUS should hear the case or not. It will not be whether proposition 8 was properly passed or not or whether it violates gay citizens constitutional rights. In that case it is conceivable that Justice Roberts will like to appease the conservatives and say that it is proper for the court to hear. Kennedy on the other hand will say that it is not. Prop 8 will go down on a 5 to 4 vote.
Now let’s wait until sometime this summer to see how accurate my predictions are.Add a comment
Over at the Advocate, Kerry Eleveld has five take-aways rom this morning’s Prop 8 hearing at the US Supreme Court. My favorite:
As expected: Justice Antonin Scalia did go on a rant of sorts, insisting that Olson explain, “When did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage?” Olson offered, respectfully, “When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriage?” (The suggestion being that it became so when the Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) Scalia responded, “Don’t answer my question with a question!” Then, like a dog with a bone, he insisted on getting a date certain when it became unconstitutional. Finally, Olson conceded, “There’s no specific date.”
Ask a question to which you know there’s no answer, and then browbeat your opponent for not answering it. Vintage Scalia. But he can’t take his own medicine – typical.
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