QuickiesScience

Skepchick Quickies 11.11

  • Worse than Prop 8 – Arkansas passed its propisition to not allow cohabiting couples of the same or opposite sex to foster or adopt children. And since gay marriage isn’t recognized there, ALL gay couples are cohabiting. This passed even though, “Arkansas already has three times as many children needing foster care and adoption than it has available families to take them in.” From Geran.
  • A doctor, a mutation, and a potential cure for AIDS – Gene therapy may be the answer.
  • Dutch parliament to consider forcing “unfit” mothers to take contraception – Don’t read the comments if you don’t want a headache. From Steve.
  • John Scarborough drops the F-bomb – “To summarize: Scarborough has led obscenity witch hunts, and was instrumental in pushing the fucking Janet Jackson nipple debacle.  Moreover, he threw a fucking temper tantrum when Bono did exactly what Scarborough did here, and accidentally let a “fuck” fly on TV, because he was caught up in the moment. “

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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127 Comments

  1. More proof that religion cares more about keeping homosexuals out than providing for the welfare of children. What’s sucks is on top of that a solidly republican state will no be screaming for liberal money to pay for all those homeless kids. Can you say hypocrite

  2. @jabell2r: What makes you think they want to pay for them? If they weren’t sinful in the eyes of god they wouldn’t be homeless. They just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. It’s better for children to be homeless than to be in the care of gay couples.

  3. Anti-homosexual agenda still pisses me off. Shocking.

    But the Scarborough thing makes me SO fucking happy.
    “Wait, did I actually use the word?”
    “You almost did.”

    No dude, you fucking did. NOW PAY FINES.

  4. Also I’m still PISSED at a friend of mine — an AGNOSTIC friend — who voted FOR prop 102. Why? “I thought the anti-102 people were lying in their campaign…”

    Yeah, so I ended that 10+ year friendship. WTF.

    Now I’m depressed again. I’m going to get a chocolate muffin, maybe that’ll help. :(

  5. @Amanda: It was ridiculous. He’s married, of course, and his wife likes the girls, and they regularly have other woman with them.

    So, like, as long as it’s sex, it’s a-ok, right? Of course! But marriage, omg! That’s just crossing a line!

    I couldn’t take the hypocrisy of an agnostic man married to a bisexual woman voting YES on prop 102. What kind of bull is that?

    People are so fucking stupid sometimes!

  6. Any suggestions on what to write on a sign? I might buy a plain white T and some glitter glue or something too, even though I’m not at all artistically inclined. It might be all lopsided and oogly, but it’ll say something! Any suggestions? I always suck at trying to come up with catchy slogans.

  7. Also “fuck” is like the most beautiful, amazing word we have. I don’t get how people can be so offended by it. It has so many uses. It can be almost anything you want it to be. You can use it when you’re angry, sad, frustrated, happy, turned on … it is the ONLY word we have that can be used in almost any situation.

    FUCK is a thing of beauty.

    Fuckity fuck fuck fuck!

  8. Why all the fuss over prop 8? Semantics over “marriage”? Civil unions or domestic partnerships (or whatever the hell they’re called) are still valid in CA for gays.

    This is how stupid CA is, wasting millions of taxpayer dollars to amend a state constitution in case Webster’s dictionary makes a revision.

  9. @marilove: Neil Gaiman has a great speech where he talks about how fantastic the word fuck is and how useful it is. I can’t find it quickly right now (and figured googling ‘Neil Gaiman fuck’ probably isn’t the best idea while at work) but I am sure it’s on YouTube somewhere. Check it out if you haven’t seen it before – very funny and cool.

  10. I wouldn’t have noticed that F-word drop if the others in the studio hadn’t acted like small children and started giggling and pointing it out. Fuck is a beautiful, versatile word, with so abso-fucking-lutely many uses.

    An I’m pissed off at the voters from Arkansas, and feel for the children.

  11. @mxracer652: Except they are a bitch to get, and not as easy as it is to get married.

    Also, hello, separation of church and state is important. And “separate but equal” is fucked up, no matter how you fucking look at it.

    There is NO logical reason to be against gay marriage. The ONLY reason is to either be a homophobic bigot, or to promote legislature based on religious doctrine.

    Both are wrong.

    A quote from Neil Patrick Harris that I loved: “I’m voting because I fell in love and I want it to matter.”

    Get it yet? Words matter in our society. Words have meaning. Marriage is IMPORTANT in our society. First of all, it’s a legal document, not a religious document, so the church needs to stay the hell away from it. Secondly, marriage is important socially, emotionally, and culturally in our society.

    To call it something different to appease religious folk is “separate but equal” and offensive.

  12. @marilove:
    I disagree with you, in that marriage is historically a religious thing and something that the state should be involved in at all, as a violation of SOCAS. The state doesn’t recognize baptisms, or bar mitzvahs, whatever.

    To keep the SOCAS intact, the correct thing to do would be partnership contracts for everyone, similar to an LLC. No clergy would have legal authority to preside over such matters. Fill out the forms w/ your lawyer, pay the fee & get your legal document back in the mail.

    If one wants to have the dog & pony show in a church & call it a marriage, whatever, but they still need to do the secular contract to make it legally recognized in our secular government.

  13. mxracer652, why the fuss about Prop 8 you ask?

    Because domestic partnership or civil unions DO NOT provide the people involved with the same legal rights that a marriage provides. I believe there are only four countries that give the same rights to same-sex couples when it comes to marriage. Norway, Spain and Canada call it marriage, and UK calls it civil partnership.

  14. @mxracer652: “historically a religious thing”

    Sure, it’s historically religious … in the churches.

    But if you get married in the U.S., it isn’t the church issuing the LICENSE. Notice that word? LICENSE? Yeah.

    It’s our government. It’s a *legal* document.

    PERIOD.

    If the government wants to call ALL marriage “civil unions” or somesuch, then go ahead! They can call heterosexual and gay marriage “civil unions” — and let the churches define it as they want and recognize whatever marriages they want.

    But they can’t call one “marriage” and the other “civil unions” — that’d be infringing on separation of church and state, and would just be yet another example of separate but equal.

    And maybe you don’t understand because you’re straight.

  15. @mxracer652: I actually agree with you – the definition of marriage should not be defined by the government at all and all partnerships that matter in a legal sense should be considered civil unions. However, the fact is that the state *has* defined marriage and the legal rights associated with it. So that definition should be fair and equal. If the state was saying that they were no longer recognizing ANY marriage, I would probably be ok with that. But they’re not recognizing the marriage between two types of people. That’s wrong.

  16. @mxracer652: And … why was it okay for my married friends, Justin and Angie, both atheists, to get married by the Justice of the Peace — no church involved at *all* — while my gay friends can’t do the same? Why are my atheists still *married* (notice that word?) under the law, while my gay friends — many of whom DO believe in God — can’t marry?

    And I know a LOT of religious gay folk. In fact, I know quite a few churches in Phoenix alone who are FOR gay marriage.

    Why is it okay for ONE religious belief to have so much control over our government and its laws? Doesn’t that scare you, as a skeptic?

  17. @Masala Skeptic: This this times this.

    I’ve dated women and men before and while I don’t particularly have any desire to get married (probably because even as a young child I realized I wasn’t straight), if I do, it’ll likely be with a woman.

    Except, wait, I live in Arizona, so I can’t. Never mind.

    How is that fair?

  18. @mxracer652: But they still call it “domestic partnership” and hetero marriage “marriage.”

    So basically you’re for religious groups having a huge impact on our laws in our country? And you’re against separation of church and state? And you’re for “separate but equal”? Is that what I’m reading from you?

    You call your a skeptic and you’re actually arguing FOR that shit? REALLY?

  19. Let me reiterate.

    If you are for Prop 8 or argue for Prop 8, then you are either a homophobic bigot, or you have fallen for the religious bullshit that says Teh Gayz Are Evil And Will Ruin Marriage. Or both, usually both.

    Period.

  20. @marilove: If the government wants to call ALL marriage “civil unions” or somesuch, then go ahead!
    We’re on the same page. I guess our sticking point is on power of words: they are just fluctuations in the density and pressure of the local atmosphere and only have as much meaning as you/me/I personally give them. Yes, I am an emotionally devoid cold hearted bastard.

  21. Why why why would we even want to have words like ‘virtually’ and ‘substantive.’ Why would we even make a distinction? It’s a legal term – use the same legal term for everyone -that’s called equality. Using one term for one person and another term for another – that’s called discrimination, even if the the two terms mean you get the same benefits. It’s separate water fountains.

  22. @mxracer652: Fine, if they are legally equivalent. The problem of definition is still very real though and you haven’t answered any of our points around that. I say again: Why would we even make a distinction? It’s a legal term – use the same legal term for everyone -that’s called equality. Using one term for one person and another term for another – that’s called discrimination, even if the the two terms mean you get the same benefits. It’s separate water fountains.

  23. I was talking to my husband about this the other day, and here is my take on it…

    Religious people want marraige to be sacred. It should be for a man and a woman in just the image that they want it to be. FINE. Let’s let them have it and end the argument.

    I think that ALL couples should be civil partners. The current definition of marraige should be changed to “a religious ceremony recognized by whatever religious organization the couple belongs to.” But first, they should have their civil union. Just as all of us (like my husband and I) should have our civil union.

    This way, the only people who are separate are the religious people. And they can do that by choice. My husband and I would have exactly the same thing as my daughter and her girlfriend – and NEITHER would be called marraige.

  24. @mxracer652: In California, maybe — but according to wki, which is where I got that quote from, it is “virtually” equivalent.

    Oh, and it’s kind of not the same, since it’s not actually marriage, and it’s called something different in our legal system.

    So, you know, separate but equal.

    Also, you do realize that such partnerships aren’t recognized in a lot of other states, right? How is that fair?

    Why is it fair that you (a straight person, I presume) can get married and move whenever you want, with no worries that you’re rights as a married person will be recognized in another state … but a gay couple? Kinda screwed, dontcha think?

    Again, as a Skeptic, you should be damn outraged that religion is having such a large fucking impact on our laws.

    Or are you against seperation of church and state?

  25. Some sign suggestions from our local Atlantans:

    “Love not 8”
    “Proposition h8”
    “Did We Vote On Your Marriage?”
    “Can We Drink From Your Water Fountain?”

    There’s always the classic “Hate Is Not A Family Value”.

    If you’re feeling particularly feisty you might try “Jesus Voted NO On Prop 8”

    “Prop 8 props up hate”

  26. @elianara: We beat this to death on the blog last week, but California Family Code 297.5 expressly grants domestic partners all of the same rights as married couples – inheritance, health care decisions, etc. – but only applies to rights conferred by California. Neither the California Supreme Court decision (which granted the use of the word “marriage” to same sex couples 5 months ago) nor Proposition 8 (which reversed it) had any effect upon federal rights or benefits or the fact that no other state has to honor California marriages due to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

    The Arkansas statute is a whole different matter. However, there seems to be much more than a legal/constitutional battle to be fought. That is, the administrative agency in Arkansas had its own internal ban in place before the Arkansas Supreme Court struck the ban down in 2006 (which prompted the initiative). I would be interested in knowing how many adoptions were actually granted by an agency that is inherently homophobic – court ruling or not – when the decision is so discretionary to begin with. In any case, I have quetsions that this particular ban will hold up in the federal courts since the Arkansas proposition is unique in its breadth (i.e., no unmarried couples may adopt) as compared to the laws of the other states (whereas Proposition 8 is not).

  27. @mxracer652: Late to the party as usual, but a friend of mine asked this *very same question* to me just last week. I see that other people have responded, but I just wanted to post what I wrote to my friend. Just because:

    While domestic partnerships/civil unions are a big step in the right direction, they still do not confer all of the same rights that “marriage” does. In California, CUs are not protected from voter-initiated statutes for example. There are also big differences in handling dissolutions of unions. Also, many companies refuse to acknowledge CUs and therefore do not extend the same benefits to these couples. There are, additionally, many federal benefits which are only available to married couples such as: protections under Family Medical Leave Act, social security/pension benefits, tax benefits, and worker’s comp protections.

    But, even if civil unions came with all of the benefits that marriage does, it reeks of “separate but equal”. We would be aghast if a state were to bring back “colored-only water fountains”. But the argument could be made: the water fountains are the same, they both deliver clean water, what’s the big deal? But it defines a subset of people as having to be kept separate. We don’t accept separate but equal arguments with respect to race, religion, or gender. Why on Earth would we accept one for sexual orientation?

    Thirdly, at least in CA and AZ, these are propositions to *amend the Constitution*, something I think should not be done lightly. CA has a ridiculous process for amendment whereby a simple voter majority can change the constitution. Undoing that isn’t quite as easy. It also is contrary to the nature of our country. Look at the amendments to the federal constitution. With the exception of the 18th amendment (which was later repealed), no amendment limits the rights of individuals. Every amendment places limits on what the government can do; it is the embodiment of the ideals of the Founding Fathers that “we the people” control our destiny. These types of amendments limit the rights of the people, a notion I find odious.

    With that, I’ve been up all night at the telescope and I’m going to bed.

  28. @Masala Skeptic: Same words, same definitions, same legal rights and privileges, recognized in every state across the bored.

    I don’t care if they call it “MONKEY BUTT!” as long as it’s all 100% equal.

    Until that happens, I will not be happy.

    As I told my lovely hypocritical “friend”: One day gay rights will be synonymous with civil rights, nay, human rights. And I will be there fighting.

  29. If they are going this crazy by making marraige inclusive, imagine how they would feel if we take marraige out of the picture altoghether. It would be worth the fight just to watch their heads explode (see my earlier comment).

    I do think that something radical needs to be done. An entire shift of the way we look at marraige (or unions) is necessary. The religious crazies will never give up their view of marraige, and will never want anyone else to change it. So I say we give it up altogether.

  30. @mxracer652: “If I got outraged every time religion or general stupidity got in the way of common sense, I’d go crazy.”

    Um. This is kind of a huge deal and a HUGE reason to become outraged. HUGE. Going, “OH WELLS WHATEVS!” won’t change anything.

    I’m pissed, rightfully so, and I’ll be pissed ’til the day we all have equal rights, regardless of race of sexual orientation. Period.

  31. ,(11/6/08) the County of Santa Clara filed a lawsuit with San Francisco and Los Angeles that petitions the California Supreme Court to direct State officials to refrain from implementing, enforcing or applying Proposition 8. Even though the final election results are still pending, our county felt the case was important enough to file preemptively.

    The lawsuit asserts that: “the California Constitution does not allow a bare majority of voters to divest a minority group of rights conferred by the equal protection clause. The 1911 Amendment to the California Constitution creating the initiative process provides that, while initiatives can amend the Constitution to help further its purpose, initiatives cannot be used to revise its basic structure, which includes the notion of equality. Thus, Proposition 8 is not a valid constitutional amendment.”

  32. @mxracer652: Everyone has to pick their own battles. I feel that something that legally discriminates against a large proportion of the population is something worth fighting for. I don’t blame you for not wanting to fight. But you shouldn’t just agree with it or dismiss it either.

  33. @mxracer652: And maybe it doesn’t outrage you because you’re straight (I presume) and therefore this doesn’t discriminate against you. You can get married, in any state, at any time, no questions asked.

    Well, it directly effects me. Besides, I consider Arizona AND California to be both my home states (I grew up *right* on the border), so it effects me deeply.

  34. @CosmicThespian: There are, additionally, many federal benefits which are only available to married couples such as: protections under Family Medical Leave Act, social security/pension benefits, tax benefits, and worker’s comp protections.
    OK, the CosmicThespian convinced me.

    marilove, you’re right.

  35. @mxracer652: Good to hear about being on the same side, but, frankly, I think it’s a good thing that others ARE outraged about it. Otherwise, nothing would ever change and religious bias and/or stupidity would rule over common sense.

    @marilove:

    One day gay rights will be synonymous with civil rights, nay, human rights.

    I think this day, if not here already, is quickly approaching.

    That’s the thing about the “fuss” about Prop 8. We can debate marriage semantics all day, but the truth is that this is no longer just an issue of marriage. Culturally, this is becoming a flash point for the gay rights movement, and dismissing its significance to those it affects the most is disrespectful and harmful to that movement.

  36. I love how religious people insist they aren’t hating on homosexuals – it’s GOD who is doing the hating.

    If it’s God, why not let him handle it for himself?

    There is, of course, no evidence whatsoever that gay couples are bad parents. Religion trumps science again.. sigh.

  37. @CosmicThespian:

    With the exception of the 18th amendment (which was later repealed), no amendment limits the rights of individuals. Every amendment places limits on what the government can do; it is the embodiment of the ideals of the Founding Fathers that “we the people” control our destiny. These types of amendments limit the rights of the people, a notion I find odious.

    What about the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Cosntitution (federal income tax)? What about Article XV of the California Constitution (limiting what people can charge others for interest)? And is there the right to marry in the California Constitution?

    And what if “the people” decide to define marriage in a way that you or I don’t agree with? Is it any more odious to have the democratic process make that decision than four of seven justices on the California Supreme Court (the ones who granted the constitutional right to marriage only 5 months ago)? Is anyone bothered by, or at least skeptical of, the process? Remember, when it is so easy for a court to disregard the actual text of the Constitution to meet “good” policy objectives (e.g., the “right of privacy” is implied from the words “due process” in the 14th Amendment), that sort of tyranny of the courts can cut both ways. The now conservative U.S. Supreme Court read the term “being necessary for a well-regulated militia” right out of the 2nd Amendment entirely. It is also poised to overturn Roe v. Wade with just as much authority as it had to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson (the separate but equal case).

    As for “separate but equal,” there are a lot of intstances of that phenomenon in our society which the courts cannot and will not touch.

    In the end, you have to win hearts and minds.

    In any case, African-Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of these propositions, even among those who described themselves as “not religious”, and of the interviews I saw, one statement kept popping up to explain the difference between Prop 8 and the Loving case (interracial marriage): “Race is something you are born with; sexual orientation is a choice.”

    How do you all feel about that? I disagree. But it seems to be at the philosophical center of the public debate and is not being discussed here.

  38. @Jen: My youthful optimism has been beaten down. I only started following politics when I was of age to vote, and a decade later, the sheer stupidity of the public has just worn me down to apathy.

    Wait until some more of these shit brained seniors & baby boomers die off.

    Loving v Virgina was only 41 years ago. It’s come a long way since then.

  39. @TheSkepticalMale: Sexual orientations NOT a choice and anyone who says as much is damn ignorant.

    We can fight that with science.

    We’ll win. We’re getting closer. This was a minor set back in some ways, but it seems to have rejuvenated people in the fight which is a VERY good thing, and I am confident it will probably get overturned, which will be a precedent in itself. Failures and set backs can be good things in disguise.

  40. For the benefit of marilove, who was unable to participate in the horse beating last week, Prop 8 is irrelevant to the issue of rights and privileges. It is entirely about the word “marriage”. It is debatable whether the definition of the word is worthy of constitutional consideration, but it should be understood that that is the only issue involved. California’s Domestic Partnership law recognizes all the rights of spouses as rights of same-sex Domestic Parters. It also grants all privileges of spouses to same-sex Domestic Partners. California law cannot alter the Federal “Defense of Marriage Act”, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman at the Federal level. From DOMA:

    In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

    So for any Federal issue, the terminology used by California law is irrelevant. The entire debate around Prop 8 seems to have been misinformed on both sides.

    I am a Hedge

  41. @Im a Hedge: Ah, but we have to start somewhere. And that somewhere is California, which has been a huge movement toward progressive ideals and laws.

    It may not seem important to you, but for those of us it harms, it IS important.

    It WILL be a domino effect, even if a slow one. Once California is the leader in gay rights, it will just continue on from there, until Federal law is also changed.

    Gotta start somewhere.

  42. @marilove:

    It may not seem important to you, but for those of us it harms, it IS important.

    Many of the claims of harm appear unfounded. It remains a legal requirement in California that same-sex couples receive equal treatment by the State, with the sole exception of the term “marriage”. It seems that legitimate criticisms must target the value of the term, not any impact on substantive rights and privileges, because there is no such impact.

    I am a Hedge

  43. @Im a Hedge: Unfounded?

    It doesn’t have to do only with laws. Marriage is important in our society for nearly everyone, of every race, color gender, and, obviously, sexuality. It’s important emotionally, it’s important socially, and it’s important culturally.

    It is a “separate but equal” and it also takes away from “separation of church and state.”

    Prop 8 and similar props were and are harmful to the gay rights and civil rights cause. Whether you see it or not.

    If we don’t fight against it, things will never change on state OR federal levels.

    Aren’t you married? I seem to recall that you aren’t.

    Isn’t it nice?

    Aren’t YOU bothered by the fact that *I* probably will never be able to marry, just because I prefer one sex over another? It’s not like I chose to. It would be a hell of a lot easier to be heterosexual, let me tell you. For one, I could argue that Prop 8 isn’t “harmful.”

  44. @marilove:
    While I understand that emotional involvement is often important in issues, our particular personal situations should not be relevant to the facts of the matter. I have not offered an opinion on the propriety of Prop 8. I have attempted to separate the actual issues involved from the perceived issues. Most of the pro-8 rhetoric I have encountered is based on things not actually in the proposition. Likewise for anti-8 rhetoric. If you read the text of Prop 8, California’s Domestic Partnership law, and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, I think you will find that the only issue at stake in Prop 8 is the meaning of the word “marriage”. Aside from this word, no Rights are changed and no Privileges are changed.

    As you weren’t involved in the previous discussions on the issue, I’ll re-post my quick summary of the issue:

    gay marriage proponent: “Homosexual couples should have all the legal rights and privileges the heterosexual couples have.”

    gay marriage opponent: “No they shouldn’t.”

    gay marriage proponent: “Yes they should.”

    gay marriage opponent: “Well, alright, but just don’t call it “marriage”.”

    The proponent has won, and the opponent is being childish. That is the extent of it. Any couple can get married. If they want the State to recognize their relationship, California will do so. They have a legal charade by which they call heterosexual marriages one thing and homosexual marriages another thing. But there is no other difference, in any area over which California has authority.

    As The Skeptical Male has pointed out several times regarding the issue, the real problem is the Federal DOMA nonsense. Prop 8 has been blown all out of proportion. It’s real impact is negligible. It’s a strange situation where two sides are having a fierce battle over a false issue. To be clear, I am not saying the same-sex marriage is a false issue, I am saying that Prop 8 is not about same-sex marriage in anything other than name.

    If you can show what practical effect the passage of Prop 8 will have, please do. I have not been able to find it myself.

    I am a Hedge

  45. Sorry, but I think having kids is a privilege, not a right. It’s not like the thing in Holland is going after short people, ugly people, or even stupid people. It’s targeting people who have been proven to be unfit / abusive parents. Am I missing something?

  46. @marilove:

    I seem to recall that you are.

    I didn’t mean to dodge your question. I am married, but you can call it “Monkey Butt” if you want. It wasn’t an issue for me, but it meant something to Mrs. Hedge. I can’t be trusted with any important decisions, so I went along. (Apparently, I’m not even qualified to determine which decisions are the important ones.)

    I am a Hedge

  47. @Im a Hedge:

    “It’s real impact is negligible.”

    No, no, no, no. It’s real impact is NOT negligible. You must fight the so-called “small” battles to win the overall big battle. We can’t win the Federal issue until we get at least a few large States to agree with us, I guarantee you that.

    “If you can show what practical effect the passage of Prop 8 will have”

    How ’bout discrimination? How ’bout being against separation of church and state?

    Those are enough for me, and I don’t care if you think I’m being childish.

    Fuck discrimination. Fuck it. I don’t care if you think it’s negligible. YOU can get married! It doesn’t effect you.

    It is an important fight, and I will be there this Saturday fighting it. Period.

  48. @marilove:

    I don’t care if you think I’m being childish.

    It was the gay marriage opponent I called childish. They don’t like how things went, so they are taking their word and going home.

    By practical effects. I mean an example where someone is denied an actual right or privilege that would not have been denied if Prop 8 had failed.

    I am a Hedge

  49. @whitebird: I think the issue is that when a government or any organization is given the ability to regulate our bodies ourselves, there is potential for all sorts of misuse of power.

    It starts with keeping abusive parents from having kids… something most ratonal people can agree to.

    It could very well escalate into “bad” parents… and subjective things like what makes a parent bad… because they refuse to vaccinate… because they believe in Noodle monsters instead of God… because they are gay… because they are unmarried…

    See my worry?

    I don’t have the answer, but things like that make me wary.

  50. @Im a Hedge: How about the right not to be discriminated against our own government because of religious reasons? How about the losing battle of seperation of church and state?

    Those are some important, practical issues. As a Skeptic, you should realize that.

  51. @Im a Hedge:

    If you can show what practical effect the passage of Prop 8 will have, please do. I have not been able to find it myself.

    Practical issue: What about the people who have gotten married in the last five months?

    Practical issue: To fight DOMA it would be easier if there were multiple states that refused to accept it… I don’t know how DOMA can be repelled at the federal level without states backing up the removal.

    Practical Issue: Implied or outright statement of “you gays are not equal under the law”

    Practical issue: a bare majority 52% of the voting population used the constitution to take away/keep away rights of a minority. (Are you okay with THAT slippery slope?)

  52. @marilove:

    Tell THEM the impact is negligible.

    I don’t know what the status is of couples married before the passage of Prop 8. I don’t know if the Proposition applies retroactively or not. Something I read was indicating this would likely be an issue in the court pretty soon.

    However, if the effect is that their legal classification changes from “Marriage” to “Domestic Partnership”, that does seem to be negligible. This is unless I have misunderstood something about the California Domestic Partnership law.

    If I knew a couple in this situation, then I would in fact try to reassure them that the practical impact of this would be negligible. Based on my understanding of the situation, such couples are being caused needless worry, because the scope of Prop 8 is being over-exaggerated.

    I am a Hedge

  53. @Im a Hedge: ” that does seem to be negligible”

    Just like using separate water fountains is a negligible problem?

    Um, hello. Separation of church and state. Separate but equal.

    THESE ARE NOT SMALL ISSUES.

    “because the scope of Prop 8 is being over-exaggerated.”

    You are basically telling us that we have no reason to fight, no reason to be angry. Are you kidding me?

  54. @Im a Hedge: “Practical issue: To fight DOMA it would be easier if there were multiple states that refused to accept it… I don’t know how DOMA can be repelled at the federal level without states backing up the removal.”

    See what we’re trying to say?

    The small battles are not “negligible”. THEY MATTER.

  55. @Im a Hedge:

    If you read the text of Prop 8, California’s Domestic Partnership law, and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, I think you will find that the only issue at stake in Prop 8 is the meaning of the word “marriage”. Aside from this word, no Rights are changed and no Privileges are changed.

    Ah, there’s the rub. The meaning of the word marriage. I think the problem is this: by allowing prop 8 to go forward and saying “Eh, it’s only semantics,” we are, in effect, agreeing with the people who say that homosexual marriage lessens the value of heterosexual marriage. We are also agreeing with those who say that calling two gay people married ‘harms society.’ That fuels the fire of discrimination by simply saying “yes, we acknowledge that gays are not equal to straight people- straight people have that word and gays are not allowed to use it.”

    If you think that isn’t true, go read some of the stuff at http://www.protectmarriage.com/. Stuff like:

    couldn’t be prouder of the campaign we have waged. Together, we’ve raised important issues about same-sex marriage including implications for religious freedom, freedom of expression and, most importantly, how same-sex marriage will be taught to children in our schools.

    Like marilove said, words are important. They always will be. There’s a cultural impact here that means much, much more. Marriage is so engrained in our society and culture. By forcing homosexuals to use a different word, we are, in fact diminishing their union, saying it’s simply not as ‘real’ as marriage. Maybe you consider that an emotional argument. Maybe it is. I’m OK with that though.

  56. @Kaylia_Marie:

    Practical issue: What about the people who have gotten married in the last five months?

    I hope my previous post addressed this acceptably.

    Practical issue: To fight DOMA it would be easier if there were multiple states that refused to accept it… I don’t know how DOMA can be repelled at the federal level without states backing up the removal.

    While DOMA says that the Feds can just ignore the States’ definitions of marriage, I think this is a good point. If there were several States explicitly including same-sex couples under “marriage”, this might make a difference at the Federal level. This could encourage the Congress to repeal DOMA, or impact court decisions at the Federal level. I think this would have been a legitimate argument in opposition to Prop 8. Was this case made in any of the anti-8 ads or statements? (I’m not in CA, so I wasn’t exposed to everything.)

    Practical Issue: Implied or outright statement of “you gays are not equal under the law”

    While it’s a bad thing, this is kind of implication is not what I mean by restricting my point to “practical” concerns. I mean things that have an identifiable, concrete impact on specific individuals. A law that says you may not will you estate to a non-relative of the same sex would be an example of a “practical” impact. California law specifically prohibits this kind of practical legal discrimination against same-sex couples.

    Practical issue: a bare majority 52% of the voting population used the constitution to take away/keep away rights of a minority. (Are you okay with THAT slippery slope?)

    I am not at all okay with that. I think a Constitutional amendment process based on a simple majority of the voters is a bad idea. But there aren’t any rights that were taken away in this case.

    I am a Hedge

  57. I was curious,

    I looked up how to get a domestic partnership in CA…. is it easy? Is it costly/

    Well… umm look at this: http://www.sos.ca.gov/dpregistry/forms/sf-dp1.pdf

    Am I reading it right… is it saying that to qualify for a domestic partnership you have to be gay or old?… Does this mean I can’t domestically partner up with Anthroslug* if we decided we wanted to avoid the marriage word?

    Oh wow… http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=fam&group=00001-01000&file=297-297.5 the actual statue… straight people aren’t allowed to domestically partner up unless they are old.

    Equal my ass.

    (Don’t freak A—just a hypothetical)

  58. @Im a Hedge: “But there aren’t any rights that were taken away in this case.”

    Really? Because gay couples could marry and now … suddenly they can’t. They were given the right they should have had to begin with, then it was taken away with.

    I just can’t fathom how you cannot see this.

  59. @Masala Skeptic:
    Masala, I think that’s the best explanation of the problem with Prop 8 that I have heard. I’ve read it a couple times, and I think I completely agree with you. Like I’ve said, I’m not in CA, so I wasn’t exposed to all of the Prop 8 discussion. In the bits that filtered out to me, I didn’t come across anything as factual and rational as what you have said. You have accepted that the issue is about the word, and you have made a case as to why that should be considered important.

    Add Kaylia Marie’s point about the States putting symbolic pressure on the Federal Government, and point out the sheer silliness of using your Constitution as a dictionary, and you’ve got a strong case. This case doesn’t rest on false assertions, so it can’t be undermined by someone pointing out that the assertions are false.

    I am a Hedge

  60. Ok… so

    I live in CA.

    If I want a legally valid commitment to a partner….

    I cannot have a civil union because CA doesn’t have that.
    I cannot have a domestic partnership because I am not gay or over the age of 62.

    I have to get married.

    What a load of total BS.

    I don’t have to be married by a religious person… I can use a boat captain or a judge… but I will still be filing a marriage certificate and still be legally married.

    And if I go to a state that has civil unions and get one… then my union won’t be recognized in my home state? Is that right? Is the internet lying to me?

    Anyone else have a problem with this?

  61. @marilove:
    I think you’ve assumed that someone’s rights are being taken away, and haven’t continued to examine that assumption. You’re indignant when someone else fails to see this, but rather than support the assumption, you have continued to assert the assumption. I’m questioning the assumption. It doesn’t help me if you just re-state the assumption. From my investigation, no one’s right’s have been taken away. You can correct me by providing examples of rights that have been taken away. Not the right to a particular label on the legal documents (which is the thing actually at issue here), or a nebulous “right to be respected by society”, or something like that, but an actual right recognized by the State for some people and denied for others. I gave an example of the kind of thing I’m talking about, regarding inheritance. Are there rights, in this sense, that are taken away from anyone by Prop 8? Rather than cursing me some more, you could provide some actual examples and I will happily agree with you.

    I am a Hedge

  62. More sign ideas from the ATL folks (and online):

    “Are we going to vote on interracial marriage next?”
    “Protect the family! Stop supporting h8!”
    I looked some up online and found some good ones.
    “Gay is the new black”
    “I can’t believe we still have to protest this crap”
    “Separate Church and Hate”
    “Would you rather I marry your daughter?”

  63. @Im a Hedge: Prehaps there aren’t rights that are being taken away … because they weren’t given those rights they should have to begin with.

    Why should it be about what has been or has not been taken away? What about what the fact that gays are being discriminated against by their own government?

    I’d say they DO have rights being taken away from them, because they aren’t seen as equal under our laws.

    A heterosexual couple can legally get married. A gay couple legally cannot.

    Essentially, the heterosexual couple is being treated different than the gay couple, and the gay couple is being REFUSED the same rights as the heterosexual couple.

    Their rights are being taken away by the very fact that they haven’t been allowed them from the beginning.

  64. I’m all for making it so anyone can have their relationship made into a legal union, and for letting the religious people do whatever weird rituals they want and calling it marriage.

    But, what do we call it when we enter into a civil union, instead of getting married? Getting civilised? Getting unionised? Getting wedded? Someone is going to have to come up with something really good for it to be accepted into the language.

  65. I would have more outrage about this, but that Jonas Brother has a new girlfriend, which has taken up my available bandwidth.

    HEY JONAS PUNK! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO POOR TAYLOR SWIFT? Dickweed.

    But yeah. Bigotry is bad. It’s embarrassing to be dealing with this stuff at this stage. And I’m really surprised at the minorities who celebrated the culmination of MLK Jr’s dream by quashing the civil rights of another group.

    So yes, fight this tooth and claw. Protest peacefully at every opportunity. Scream loudly when these tax-exempt religious institutions start farting around with the laws. And stop buying Jonas Brothers music until Taylor Swift finds love again.

  66. @Kaylia_Marie:If the constitution is the means by which we as a society agree that there are certain fundamental rights that should never be trampled on by the majority, I agree (and it stands to reason) that a bare majority should never be able to amend the constitution.

    What I don’t understand, Kaylia, is that you’re stomping your feet saying the designation domestic partnership is not good enough for homosexual couples – marriage is the be all, end all …
    @Kaylia_Marie: … And then you’re dissing marriage and lamenting the fact that you (as a heterosexual under the age of 62) cannot form a domestic partnership?! Kudos if you are intending to be ironic … Boy, I’m glad Rebecca is dishing out the conversational meds.

  67. @TheSkepticalMale: Stamping my feet? Hmmm

    What my point was… and still is (and I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear enough) was that whatever we call it, domestic partnerships, marriage, civil unions, whatever… it should be equal.

    Right, ok I hear you nodding along.

    If it is A, B, and C all provide equal rights and status and what not… then why bother to call them different things? Why have the difference in name between a marriage and a domestic partnership?

    Two things… by calling them different words you are (you in the general sense) you are just drawing attention to how they are different.

    They obviously aren’t equal… we are saying “loving committed relationships between gays are called THIS and the same relationship between straights is called THIS”

    And that is what I have a problem with.

    Does that make any more sense?

  68. Not to open up a whole other can of worms… but the concept of what is considered a state thing vs. what is regulated at the federal level and how that is determined is really interesting to me.

    Anyone know where I could find some background information?

    I am looking for information regarding what types of laws are under which category… are health things more in one area and civil rights the other? Do things normally start at the state level and only after being argued about end up at the federal?

    (Excuse my ignorance, I attended a teeny tiny religious school and didn’t get much in the way of history or government… playing catch up in my 20s)

  69. @Kaylia_Marie: Kayla, I would recommend starting at wikipedia and going to the page on “States’ rights” (I cannot create an effective link here because of the punctuation in the web address.)

    The original idea of “federalism” (a federal government with only powers that are necessary to keep the union together, with the states holding the rest of the powers) was arguably jettisoned following the Civil War (with the Fourteenth Amendment, and the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to apply to all of the state governments as well) and the “New Deal” (where federal economic policy exploded in size). What I found interesting about constitutional law is that over 95% of federal laws are based on two provisions of the U.S. Constitution: (1) the power of Congress to “regulate interstate commerce”; and (2) the power of Congress to raise money through taxation and then dish it back out to the states with “strings” attached.

    DOMA is particular interesting, constitutionally speaking, because it not only indicates what the federal government will recognize as a “marriage” (when as a rule, the federal government, and particularly, the U.S. Supreme Court, has generally avoided ever getting involved in family law or probate law matters), but also because it tells the states that they do not have to follow the constitutional mandate to grant “full faith and credit” to the proceedings of other states (e.g., recognizing marriages conducted in other states). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_Marriage_Act

  70. one statement kept popping up to explain the difference between Prop 8 and the Loving case (interracial marriage): “Race is something you are born with; sexual orientation is a choice.”

    Okay, let’s assume that this is true. (No, I’m not saying it is, and I know TSM wasn’t saying it is, but let’s assume for the sake of argument.) Let’s say that a woman chooses to fall in love with another woman, or a man chooses to fall in love with another man, and that preference was not inborn. That means that people can choose who they fall in love with. Well then, that argument can take down interracial marriage as well, because while race may be inborn, the preference for a partner of a different race is not. Why should the state/nation sanction those who choose to marry outside of their race?

    I really don’t see how it’s any different. Gender and race are both inborn. Why is it okay to choose to marry someone regardless of race, but not to marry someone regardless of gender?

    To make the analogy even clearer, let’s assume we’re talking about a bisexual person who likes men and women completely equally and a white person who is equally attracted to blacks and whites. Either of these people could theoretically be happy with a partner of either choice: male/female for the former, black/white for the latter. Why is telling the former that they must choose a person of the opposite gender in order to be recognized by the state any different than telling the latter that they must choose a person of the same race?

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that even if homosexuality were a choice (which, no, it’s not), that shouldn’t make a goddamn bit of difference. Not that I think I have to convince anyone here of that.

  71. (Just to be clear, I know that the fact that homosexuality is not a choice DOES make a difference in society and policy in many ways. I’m just saying it SHOULDN’T. If it doesn’t matter whether you have an inborn preference for someone of another race or whether it was a choice doesn’t matter, than it shouldn’t matter in cases of gender, either.)

  72. A twist to the whole fostering and adopting children issue: http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSTRE4A47RB20081105?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&rpc=69

    Essentially, in England, they want to ban smokers from being able to foster children. Initially, when I sent this link out to my friends, I got the reaction, “oh well, that’s good, second-hand smoke, blah blah blah” and I thought, for real? Essentially what this bill does is say that all smokers are irresponsible twats who will smoke around their children. It’s a slippery slope indeed; good luck to those who are about to embark down it. What about drinkers whose drink, granted, doesn’t physically harm their fostered children? What about people with a history of mental illness in their family? Should their rights to adopt be removed as well due to the possibility that depression or schizophrenia might kick in after adopting? Jesus.

    And I definitely think the Dutch’s attempt to force women who have been deemed “unfit parents” to take contraception is wrong. It’s assuming that people don’t change, and the birth control pill is not healthy for some women to take. I’d also like to know how much better a foster home is going to be for these kids. It’s definitely a slippery slope too – who else can we force contraception on? Maybe next it’ll be anyone who’s been to jail. Anyone with a history of mental illness…

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