Tag Archives: gay

Of Sex and Shackles

Jeremiah was mortified to learn that Facebook offers more than 58 choices of gender identity. Many of them are duplicates! Worse, Facebook has added a freeform text field. This is a missed opportunity for Facebook and for social scientists, because we will not have clear categories to use for marketing and research.

Inventing your own freeform gender identity is part of the fun, but you cannot run, e.g., a dating site this way. Public institutions that need to collect gender information will probably follow Facebook’s lead – and give up. We wondered if it would be possible to categorize modern American gender identities and, if so, how many categories there are.

  • Biological gender – male or female. This may be of decreasing relevance to society, but it is still important for medical research.
  • Sexual preference – gay, straight, or bi. This one is tricky because it relies on the gender identification of your partner. Caitlyn and Candis are both trans female, so they’re lesbians.
  • Elective gender – male, female, or cis. When people say that being trans is different from being gay, what this means is – a different check box.
  • Gender role – masculine, feminine, or non-conforming. Many gay couples adhere to “traditional” gender roles, which is really odd because this is the most obsolescent aspect of gender identity.

Now that our lesbian pals can get hitched, Sue will be the “husband.” Why does a gay couple in the twenty-first century adopt roles from monochrome television? Who knows? Who is John Galt?

That works out to 54 choices, so maybe Facebook had it right after all. As enthusiastic as we are about the proliferation of gender choices, we can’t help but think this is an epic distraction from the ongoing curtailment of civil rights in America.

Everyone is so busy with this narcissistic sense of who they are in terms of sexual orientation or gender, and this intense gender consciousness, woman consciousness at the same time, and meanwhile…

Camille Paglia, herself a lesbian and a feminist, says that preoccupation with gender is a symptom of decadence. It is too easy to focus on things of immediate personal importance, and not notice what’s really going on the country. Chelsea Manning is trans, and she’s in prison.

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Black and White and Red

Researching the Windsor decision, we found that comment about being gay and black, and could not resist running this image.

TDCoupleThis is not one of those Benetton ads, calculated to offend.  It is a genuine solicitation from Toronto Dominion, a Canadian bank.  Gay marriage has been legal forever in Canada, and it’s a big business.  So, why is Jeremiah offended by all this?  An interracial gay couple?  Guess again – they’re Canadian!  They have nationalized health care.

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And Your Wife, Too

In Russia, gays have “the same rights and freedoms as everyone else.”  LOL.  That’s what we’re worried about – the same rights and freedoms as everyone else in Russia!  Seriously, though, we had a real challenge analyzing the legal issues facing the Supreme Court this month.  The H&HS Department is the plaintiff in the first case:

Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Ken Klukowski presents this as a states’ rights case, and Jeremiah would normally side with the state – except that it is also a civil rights case.  It is not reasonable for a vote of the majority to deprive any minority of their civil rights.

The Justice Department has declined to defend the second case:

Whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State.

This one has a plaintiff with real damages, denominated in dollars.  Edie Windsor is suing over tax due on her wife’s estate, which she does not have to pay if the IRS legally recognizes her marriage.  Note that the IRS is a federal, not a state, entity.  This seems like an open-and-shut case of equal protection.

So, we have the state versus federal argument, and the state versus individual rights – and we have the legislation versus constitution argument.  These all work out in favor of gay marriage, assuming the Court can read a “right to marriage” between the lines, as they have previously found a “right to privacy.”

Opposing arguments are blatantly bigoted, like Archbishop Cordileone stating, without evidence, that gay marriage is bad for children.  The Church State Council wrote such a piece of sophistry – “equality” is your religion, tradition is ours – that they overlooked the one good church versus state argument.

The root problem is that the state has used marriage pervasively as a legal status.  Who else can be on your health care?  Your tax return?  Your gym membership?  Who else can visit you in the hospital, and pick your kids up from school?  The church cannot now claim trademark rights, as it were, and assert that this legal status is subject to their authority.

 See also:  Same-Sex Unemployment

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Families Sundered

A gay couple we know is splitting up to find work.  Carol (not her real name) will keep her job here, while her partner takes a job in Atlanta.  She has been out of work for a while.  They will still see each other on weekends.  This should be only a rough patch in a long-term relationship.  Jeremiah says  the job market will turn up after the election.  Still, it’s a hell of a thing for a young couple to go through.

See also: Same-Sex Unemployment

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Civics Quiz

President Obama says he supports gay marriage.  What does this mean?

A. You should vote for Obama because gay marriage is a good thing.

B. You should vote for Romney because gay marriage is a bad thing.

C.  Nothing.  It means nothing.

The correct answer is C, as Jeremiah wrote a few weeks ago.  The president’s opinion about constitutional matters is meaningless.  As part of that post, we described how the gay marriage issue would be settled in the real world.  In case there was any doubt, a federal appeals court today kicked the DOMA along its path toward the Supreme Court.

Candidates Romney and Obama are required to weigh in on civil rights issues, to placate certain interest groups.  These are zealots on the right and left, respectively, who don’t understand how the government works.

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Same-Sex Unemployment

Jeremiah is a staunch supporter of gay rights, but we’re going to have to give the economy top priority this year.  The candidates have starkly differing views on the role of government, and this will have far-reaching consequences.  If you are gay and you favor a big central government, your choice is easy.  Barack Obama is the man for you.  On the other hand, if you are a gay entrepreneur, then you have a dilemma.

It’s too bad there is not a third party that features capitalism and civil rights (see Jeremiah’s four quadrants).  Fortunately, the Federal government is not actually the venue for rights issues.  That venue is the judiciary, with legislative input at the state level.  Greybeard activists will recall Brown v. Board of Education.

Here’s how it shakes out.  Under the 14th Amendment, states may legislate additional rights but they cannot subtract from your “basic” rights.  So, the first line of appeal for gay rights is your state legislature.  If gay marriage passes there, you’re done.  This is how marijuana is being legalized, one state at a time.

If yours is an intolerant, defense-of-marriage state, then you will have to sue.  Note that you must suffer an “injury” first, like being denied health coverage, and then you must sue the relevant state department.  As these lawsuits multiply, Federal courts – and ultimately the Supreme Court – will find that marriage, or at least its civil benefits, is a basic right of all Americans.

This is a long process, but it’s the only one.  Congress and the President will not settle this matter, any more than they have settled the abortion issue, racism, or women’s rights.  We are still waiting for that Equal Rights Amendment.  By the way, the Brown verdict was 9-0.  It didn’t need a packed bench or judicial activism.  The time for justice had come.

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Scott Brown is Pro-Choice

Readers will recall New York’s special election, which Republicans chose to lose rather than soften their position on abortion.  This year, the GOP seems to have evolved.  The new senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, supports Roe v. Wade.  He also has a moderate view of gay marriage.

The party seems to have learned a lesson from NY-23.  This time, they are embracing their man.  Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell invoked the “big tent” notion, which hasn’t been heard since Newt Gingrich.

Republicans from the northeast are not exactly like Republicans from the south or the west, we understand that. We have a big tent party.

Brown describes himself as a fiscal conservative and a social moderate.  This is exactly what the party needs in November.  If your platform is out of touch with the voters, then it’s time to change your platform.  That’s right, Republicans, the time for change is now.

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