Ding Dong, DOMA’s Dead (and So is Prop 8)

Photo by Nate Chongsiriwatana. Used under Creative Commons license.

In one of the better days for the United States recently, the Supreme Court of the United States knocked down the “Defense of Marriage Act,” pointing out, quite reasonably, that you can’t actually defend marriages if you’re telling some people that their unquestionably legal marriages are less marriage-y than others. Here’s the full decision (pdf link). As a bonus, it also punted on California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage, in the basis that those bringing the suit (who were not the state of California) had no standing to do so. That effectively allows same-sex marriages to continue to happen in the Golden State, since the state government itself has chosen not to defend Prop 8, possibly because it’s a bigoted, hateful piece of crap. Here’s the full ruling on that, too (pdf link).

So in one day: Those same-sex marriages that are legally constituted in their respective states are to be recognized on a federal level; the most populous state in the union gets its same-sex marriages back. Again, all things considered, one of our nation’s better recent days.

Caveat: Same-sex marriage still is not legal everywhere in the United States. Here in Ohio, where I live, there is still a ban on it in our state constitution. Two-thirds of the states still don’t have same-sex marriage and/or have active laws (or constitutional amendments) against it. If anyone believes peeling off those laws and constitutional amendments is going to be a walk in the park, you’re at the very least a lot more sanguine about it than I am.

What the DOMA ruling does do, I think, it make it a lot less easy for those who work to deny same-sex marriage to say they do so out of anything other than bigotry. 57 million people in the US now live in states where same-sex marriage are legal, and (now) recognized by the federal government; in those states no opposite-sex marriage has been threatened or undermined by those same-sex marriages, the respective state governments did not fall and in general the world did not end. Religious organizations who oppose same sex marriage don’t have to sanctify them. And no one’s slippery-sloped themselves into marrying a goddamned horse or dog, for Christ’s sake.

None of the arguments against same-sex marriage, at any level of reasonableness, have stuck the dismount. At this point, the reason you’re against same sex marriage is just because you don’t want people of the same sex to have the same rights and privileges you do, because waaaaaaah.  I think it’s fine (if sad) if one believes same-sex marriage is somehow wrong, but otherwise leaves people to do as they will. But if you’re out there trying to keep people of the same sex from getting hitched, then we have a word to describe what you’re doing.

Now, as it happens, I don’t believe everyone who has a bigoted point of view is inherently a bigot, in the sense that they actively go out of their way, day in and day out, to discriminate against other people. It takes a while for the scales to fall from one’s eyes. But I will say that the correlation between bigots and bigotry is pretty high. I think we’re at the point where on this matter, the longer you hew to bigotry, the less convincing a protestation that you’re not a bigot is going to be. The axing of DOMA makes it that much harder to pretend. I think that’s just fine.

237 thoughts on “Ding Dong, DOMA’s Dead (and So is Prop 8)

  1. This will be a fine place to remind people that they should be polite to each other in the comment thread, lest they risk a malleting.

    This is also a fine place to remind people that in conversations regarding same sex marriage, I find the “see, this is why the government shouldn’t be involved in marriage” tactic to be malletable. We don’t live in your libertarian fantasy world at the moment. Don’t try to make the thread about that non-existent world.

  2. “And no one’s slippery-sloped themselves into marrying a goddamned horse…”

    Oh, but it will come, you mark my words. And just think of the children: bunch of little centaurs running around the place. And minotaurs, too, out there in cattle country. Them Texans will be all over it. When you look at what they’ll elect as a governor, there’s no telling what they’ll marry, given half a chance.

  3. Your marriage is protected by Ohio’s Cone of Vigilance. Here in [redacted] we now have polymorphous, perambulating orgies and mass daycaring 24/7. Not sure if that is a feature or a bug.

  4. I rejoice for this– wish my gay elders had lived to see it and benefit from it, so glad that my gay family members and friends have this day to celebrate!

    Now, if only the Court hadn’t taken the edge off the joy by kicking the Voting Rights Act to the curb yesterday, I’d be totally whooping it up right now. I can’t help but think that on some level, there was a subtext going on here: “Do you think they’ll notice us trashing their voting rights?” “Yeh, but maybe if we let the gays marry it’ll slide by, and then when we get the pesky brown folks outta the electorate we can go back and clean up the gay thing.”

    Sigh.

  5. I find it slightly disappointing that we didn’t get a “seven state ruling” by redefining all of these civil union laws on the books in various states. I wasn’t naive enough to think the court would release a broad ruling. However, as you said, now almost 60 million people have the right to get married. That momentum has got to count for something in the long run.

  6. Perfect result from a Ferderalism point of view.

    So was “separate but equal,” but whatever.

  7. It’s a very good day for my husband and me. We’re very happy with today’s results.

  8. Mr. Scalzi, I do not appreciate you calling California’s state gov’t a, “a bigoted, hateful piece of crap.” If anything my state did not choose to argue against Prop 8 because those in charge were more over worried about being reelected. This is not an issue of bigotry.

  9. While not everyone who has a bigoted point of view may necessarily be a bigot, everyone who is a bigot does have bigoted points of view. If we oppose the points of view, rather than just the bigots, we get both the bigots and those otherwise good people with scales over their eyes. Plus it’s also damn hard to tell the difference sometimes.

    I’m wondering if anyone’s going to come along to challenge the idea that bigoted POVs don’t automatically make one a bigot, though.

  10. Ever wonder why a nation formed out of oppression continues to allow the oppression of its own citizens. It shows how little most of us know and understand our own history. This is a big step in the right direction.

    Oh, as you alluded to, the bigots and hate-mongerers will always hide behind their religion as a way to justify their hatred for anything not like them.

  11. I was amazed at how happy these rulings made me. One less obstacle to happiness in the lives of my gay friends and relations. (And three hundred million other Americans, too.)

  12. I just can’t understand how people advocating against same-sex marriage can’t see the difference between the right to hold a (lamentable) opinion about discrimination against a group of people and attempting to make that opinion a law enshrining inequality, and grasp why the latter is just flat out wrong. Legalizing same sex marriage doesn’t diminish marriage between 2 straight people – and if the only reason your marriage means anything is because “those other people” can’t get married, then you’re defining your marriage on the wrong terms.

  13. This means that states with laws banning one sort of marriage will have a chance to explain why that law is any more valid than a law prohibiting a Jew and a Muslim from marrying, because they will be challenged by same sex couples married in states where sanity and human decency prevails.

  14. Wyatt – how about just the Mormons, Catholics and Church Ladies of all races in CA being “bigoted, hateful pieces of crap”? Including my mother, who is a White Church Lady – and who trying to argue marriage equality with is akin to building a sand castle in a desert.

  15. In re: bigoted points of view v. bigots.

    Is it the act or the thought? For an analogy, are you gay if you like the same sex, or only if you act on it? Except that it makes it easier to communicate with the bigots and is probably the better way to win them over, I think the bigoted point of view does make one a bigot and if you prefer the same sex, you don’t have to sleep with someone to be gay.

  16. ::I don’t believe everyone who has a bigoted point of view is inherently a bigot, in the sense that they actively go out of their way, day in and day out, to discriminate against other people.::

    Oh, I do, Scalzi! Of course, I’m a LOT less reasonable than you are – and proud of that fact, because I believe we also need bug-eyed fanatics to push too far, so the rest of you can stake out a more “reasonable” position that still gets you basically what you wanted…. ::Halo::

  17. Yeah. I knew a few people who were opposed to marriage equality because of sincere concerns over the impact on churches of the laws changing.

    I say “knew” because I think they’ve all since observed that, in fact, the impact hasn’t been a thing, and the happy couples have been a thing.

  18. Mr. Scalzi, I do not appreciate you calling California’s state gov’t a, “a bigoted, hateful piece of crap.” If anything my state did not choose to argue against Prop 8 because those in charge were more over worried about being reelected. This is not an issue of bigotry.

    EPIC READING FAIL.

  19. @Amstrad: I believe that federal employees that were married in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriages will be able to get marriage “benefits,” including health/ life insurance etc.

    The only limitation is where the marriage takes place; under this decision, a federal employee who attempted to be married in a jurisdiction that doesn’t recognize same sex marriage would NOT get those benefits. Nor would a person married in a same-sex recognizing jurisdiction get benefits if employed by the state (Ohio, for example) if that state doesn’t recognize.

    A same-sex couple that marries in NY and moves to (or lives in and simply vacationed in NY to get married) Ohio will be able to file a joint federal tax return but will have to file two individual state tax returns.

    I don’t think that this state of affairs will persist. Indeed, there is language in the majority opinion that seems to leave the door open to a broader recognition of same sex marriage.

  20. Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, but I like to follow the Supreme Court… I would have liked to see the DOMA ruling also say, explicitly, that states are required by the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution to recognize other state’s same-sex marriage even if they don’t have them themselves, but I guess that will be a matter for another day. I like the Prop 8 ruling because I really think that the standing issue was mudding the waters; and it also makes it harder for people to sue against marriage equality just on the grounds that they don’t like it. And while the DOMA ruling does not establish equality throughout the land, let’s give Scalia his due: he points out in his dissent that the same arguments being made to strike down DOMA as a violation of equal protection by the Federal Government can be made, word-for-word, to strike down state bans on marriage equality as a violation of equal protection. Quite so; now let’s see those laws fall one by one. (Justice Ginsburg has said that she thinks that the ruling in Roe v. Wade was “too soon”, that public opinion was going in that direction, but that the decision galvanized the opposition and took the wind out of the sails of the proponents; and there were many that feared the same would happen with a broad ruling on marriage equality now. I think I agree, so I think that in the long run this two decisions will be a better foundation than a sweeping ruling would have been).

    PS First time commenting… please be gentle with the hammer.

  21. Well, well. I’m federally married now.

    My boss came to our office space and said “should I be expecting some of you to be late tomorrow morning after dancing in the streets half the night?”

    My straight coworker said “Actually, all of us will be street dancing tonight in celebration, so no meetings before 10am on Thursday.” I love living in Washington.

    Once again, John, I say to you: You are the best man I have ever known. Thanks for your support.

  22. Very happy with the result. So much resolved, but so many problems left. Because states can still refuse to recognize out of state marriages, I imagine my sister still worries everytime she travels outside of the Freedom Zone.

  23. Federally married now: we’ve leveled up! Our power to do absolutely nothing to heterosexual marriages increases to, to, well, nothing!

    I sure will be happy to cease technically committing perjury on my federal tax forms even though we will end up paying more taxes. It just felt wrong, checking that marital status single box.

  24. @uleaguehub: I’m in the same boat. I want to be throwing a party, for this, and for Wendy Davis taking one hell of a stand in Texas yesterday, but Voters Rights has got me in a bit of a funk.

  25. Banning same sex marriage at the state level is effectively dead. States have to recognize same sex marriages made in other states. Its a pain to have to go to another state to get married and it sucks, but it renders these laws meaningless.

    Just like to point something out… I think Dick Cheney was the first major politician to come out in favor of gay marriage. I think he did during Bush’s first term and he did so as a Republican. Obama was opposed to same sex marriage and only changed when it was politically safe (and his VP pushed him into it). Cheney stating he supported same sex marriage took alot more political courage given how easily that would be to alienate his supporters.

    Im sure some of you will go ‘he only supported it because he has a gay daughter’. You want to fault a guy for wanted to go to his daughters wedding? I believe she got married not long after states started legalizing gay marriage.

    I think its politically stupid for republicans to oppose gay marriage. I don’t see why someone who is gay should always want higher taxes and more government spending. They do alot of stupid stuff. Democrats have been pretty lucky about this.

  26. Aturo: “I would have liked to see the DOMA ruling also say, explicitly, that states are required by the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution to recognize other state’s same-sex marriage even if they don’t have them themselves, but I guess that will be a matter for another day.”

    That’s a separate issue, but you better believe it’s an issue to be raised soon. (The sooner the better.) Today’s ruling has opened that door quite nicely.

    At any rate, Scalia’s dissent looks to be written by the staff from The Onion.

  27. Yay!

    None of the arguments against same-sex marriage, at any level of reasonableness, have stuck the dismount.

    There never were any at any level of reasonableness.

    At this point, the reason you’re against same sex marriage is just because you don’t want people of the same sex to have the same rights and privileges you do, because waaaaaaah.

    I’ll take coercive religious practices for five hundred, Alex.

    Now, as it happens, I don’t believe everyone who has a bigoted point of view is inherently a bigot, in the sense that they actively go out of their way, day in and day out, to discriminate against other people.

    No, but they’re still trampling the liberties of others, and that’s even worse than merely holding bigoted beliefs. Why you’re stepping on my toes is way less important than the fact that you need to get the fuck off my toes.

    This is also a fine place to remind people that in conversations regarding same sex marriage, I find the “see, this is why the government shouldn’t be involved in marriage” tactic to be malletable.

    Mallet this if you want, but the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution means that all laws should be enforced equally. Whatever rights the Federal government grants to some citizens, the Constitution compels them to extend to all citizens. Of course the Constitution is only as good as the government that obeys and protects it, so booyah to the Supremes for protecting the Constitution today.

    @timeliebe

    Wyatt – how about just the Mormons, Catholics and Church Ladies of all races in CA being “bigoted, hateful pieces of crap”?

    That sounds kinda bigoted. So are you saying that the way to not be bigoted is to leave a church? Is Church Ladies an actual organization. Otherwise it sounds like a vaguely sexist jibe. Why not substitute Church Ladies and Gentlemen?

    @Kilroy

    Except that it makes it easier to communicate with the bigots and is probably the better way to win them over, I think the bigoted point of view does make one a bigot and if you prefer the same sex, you don’t have to sleep with someone to be gay.

    Personal sexual preferences and orientation are not bigotry. Dictating the sex lives of others on their basis is. You are defined by your actions. Bigotry isn’t some platonic ideal. It’s something you do or do not choose to do.

    Note: Since my opinions apparently come across in a lecturing tone, I think I’ll starting adding a general disclaimer to them that these are only my persona opinions and interpretations are never offered as indisputable fact. If only there were a pithy Latin phrase to encapsulate that which I would have thought would be the baseline for all conversation…

  28. It’s amazing how a small group of people can announce a truly shitty decision one day and a truly awesome decision the next.

    Is there an effective treatment for SCOTUS whiplash? Cuz I haz it.

    [glancing at the Mallet]. Just saying. I don’t want to derail the thread.

  29. @ Guess:

    U.S. Representative Barney Frank (retired) beat Darth to it by, um … [counts on fingers] … oh, I don’t know, a couple of decades, probably.

  30. Guess:

    You want to fault a guy for wanted to go to his daughters wedding?

    Yes, I do. It takes no moral courage for one of the most powerful men in the nation to take a stand against his party on an issue when it affects his immediate family. Cheney’s motivation was purely self interest. It had nothing to do with having an epiphany about equality. He had nothing to lose. His political career was at its apex. He risked nothing, so his action was not courageous.

  31. I can’t help but think of all the friends, acquaintances and co-workers who stand to (at least eventually) benefit from this ruling. All my friends in California who are no longer in limbo with regard to their marriage statuses. My dear friends who are a national and non-national and who may now be able to apply for residency/citizenship under spousal rules. My friends who can’t be covered under their spouses’ insurances because they’re gay (how long before that law suit, eh?), The families who will be able to collect social security together, file taxes together, adopt their children together.

    And the wonderful drama at the Texas Statehouse last night, where the women in the gallery held their own filibuster after Wendy Davis’s was put down (under some pretty bogus parliamentary stuff). Hopefully, the next attempt to take womens’ constitutional rights away will go down in a similar way.

    Now, if only we could find a way of reviving the Voting Rights Act and help John Lewis regain his legacy, the week would be an all out victory.

  32. It’s nice to hear good news once in a while, so yay.

    I think the current advice from certain corners is to never call anyone a bigot but to say some particular thing they’re saying/doing is biggotted. If you say someone has the heart and soul of a bigot, then the conversation turns to the spectral evidence of what exactly is in their heart and soul. If you say the action they took or the thing they said are bigotted action or words, then you keep the conversation at least one level removed from derailing, at least with regard to soul-based evidence. Of course, if you tell someone who just used a racial slur that those are racist words, they might try to strawman your statement into demonizing them as having the heart and soul of a racist, but they do that specifically *because* it’s a really handy place to derail. How do you know what’s in my soul? Prove it.

    This will definitely make it harder for other states to argue that gay marriage will destroy the economy, salt the fields, set fire to the crops, and various other nonsense. The main deflective argument against gay marriage is “if you allow it, then armegeddon will happen” with no proof of armegeddon. The more states that allow gay marriage and the longer they allow it, the harder it is to say it will bring about the end of the world.

  33. Josh, Guess:

    I’d be happy not to have a discussion about Dick Cheney’s motivations go too far. It’s full of derail-y qualities.

    I’m perfectly happy to say that the conservative case for marriage equality, while apparently a minority view, is one that makes philosophical sense to me.

  34. While I’m elated by these decisions (I guess a ruling on Prop h8 on the merits was too much to hope for), my joy is muted by my horror over the gutting of the Voting Rights Act.

    I think we need to be somewhat restrained, lest a wedge be driven between gays and racial minorities. “You laughed while we suffered; you feasted while we wept” is not something we want said. It plays into the hands of the GOP, whose efforts against gays won’t slacken just because of this.

    That said, it’s a great day.

    As for Scalia, who apparently wrote that they shouldn’t strike down DOMA because it was democratically enacted…he had no problem striking down democratically-enacted legislation yesterday. Speaking of bigoted, hateful pieces of crap.

  35. From a friend who is a lawyer, and gay has posted his analysis here:

    He makes the interesting point that “The whole point to the initiative system is to create a law making process which bypasses state officials. If the very officials the process is designed to circumvent are the only parties who can defend an enacted initiative, the initiative system is seriously undermined.”

    I think that’s a good thing, but Progressives may disagree.

  36. Gulliver – is it “bigotry” when you’re bigoted against bigots for being bigots? If so – then yes (to quote Whit Bissell in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN), I’m downright bigoted!

    You cannot deny the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, AND Good Christian Women of most religions poured money and support into passing Prop 8 over the Will of the Pluralistic, Non-Religious Right People.

    As for objecting to “Church Ladies” – I think you’re just trying to find something to be mad about because you’re just annoyed at me for not meeting your High Standards Of Fair-Mindedness(TM). I grew up with Religious Right Bigots (don’t worry – you can get together with my relatives and all agree I’m Going to Hell!) – and “Church Ladies” are definitely a thing in that crowd.

  37. Xopher:

    At the risk of being derail-y (but without intention to be), I’ve wondered how the contrast between yesterday’s decision and todays’ would play out between the affected groups. Will some read a sort of “most favored minority” status into two restrained but pro-gay rulings coming the day after a rather sweeping anti-racial-minority ruling. That would be disastrous because equality should be everyone’s cause on behalf of everyone else. The last thing we need is tension between different minority groups. Hopefully it just won’t be an issue.

  38. I’m a progressive, and I think the California initiative system has proved to be an abomination. Majority rule should not be used to take rights from minorities.

  39. Faulting person A’s motives for doing the right thing just because you don’t like person A is, well, kinda personally motivated itself. There’s no love lost between me and he who shall not be named, but it’s sort of (ironically) dickish to fault someone for being motivated by caring about people in the particular rather than the abstract. Judging people by their actions means udging them on how they impact others. Judging people by their motives means judging them irrespective of how they impact others. If you dislike someone because their actions as a whole are, in your estimation, more detrimental than beneficial to others, then you’ll gain more traction with the peanut gallery by not denying them credit where credit is due. If you refuse to give them credit for doing the right thing, you preach only to the choir.

    Hopefully I kept that comment meta enough to avoid the tickle of loving correction.

  40. I agree, Josh, and that’s why I keep saying our celebrations should keep including “but we still have to fight because of the VRA.”

  41. The California initiative system was a fine idea when it was put into the state constitution. The problem is that they trusted people to think for themselves, and do the right thing. They never counted on a rich out-of-state church deciding that it was OK to pour millions of tax-free donations into a political campaign of lies and distortions.

  42. Wiredog: I am a hippie, latte-drinking, prius driving, California progressive and I hate the initiative system. It undermines the power of our votes and the people we elect, gives minorities and/or extremely rich the ability to put crazy things on the ballot that we then need to spend millions of dollars on to explain to people why they shouldn’t be voting for them. So in my case the striking down of Prop 8 was a win and the weakening of the initiative system was an added bonus.

    I am most happy though for the international gay couples who now have means of getting their spouses into the country. I predict a fantastic influx of international fabulousness :)

  43. @timeliebe

    You cannot deny the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, AND Good Christian Women of most religions poured money and support into passing Prop 8 over the Will of the Pluralistic, Non-Religious Right People.

    Nor would I want to. But that’s not what you said. You said Mormons, Catholics and Church Ladies. I don’t know any of these Church Ladies(TM) you speak of, but as someone with close progressive Mormon and Catholic friends who support marriage equality, I take exception to your pigeonholing everyone who identifies as a Mormon or Catholic.

    As for objecting to “Church Ladies” – I think you’re just trying to find something to be mad about because you’re just annoyed at me for not meeting your High Standards Of Fair-Mindedness(TM).

    I’m neither mad nor annoyed at you. I was trying to politely point out that Church Ladies sounds vaguely sexist and offered a possible alternative. I take it as read that you, who I know as a longtime contributor of good character, aren’t intentionally saying something sexist and that my “high standards of fair-mindedness(ɔ)” are no higher or fairer than your own, and thought you might be open to the observation that the term may be. But instead you impugned my motives.

    Anyway, I am so totally done with this off-topic discussion. Cheerio.

  44. John, thanks for the cogent summary. I appreciate your making the distinction between having a bigoted point of view and actively being a bigot, which I hadn’t considered before. I think this will help me be more kind toward those who don’t share my convictions.

  45. Gulliver, I’m not confident enough in my ability to stay “meta” enough to reply to your comment, except to say that this

    Faulting person A’s motives for doing the right thing just because you don’t like person A

    is not what I said.

  46. @Wiredog: without getting into the pluses or minuses of the California initiative process (which I think has serious problems):

    “The whole point to the initiative system is to create a law making process which bypasses state officials. If the very officials the process is designed to circumvent are the only parties who can defend an enacted initiative, the initiative system is seriously undermined.”

    Under California law, the proponents can defend the law in California courts. The issue is whether, after enacted, they have an actual cause of action in federal court to defend a law or require that the government enforce the law. Generally speaking, private citizens do not have the right to defend laws just because they like or support the laws: private citizens in a nominally dry county cannot defend dry laws because they feel strongly that drinking is evil, if a court determines that the law is invalid. In federal court, you have to have a specific injury or a direct connection to the law in order to have standing. I don’t see how those who proposed an amendment to the California Constitution can defend that Constitution in federal court against a federal challenge to the constitution, any more than they would be able to defend other parts of that constitution that they were not involved in enacting. This was not about demanding that the state enforce the amendment (which would be done in state court, where they do have standing to do so), but about appealing a decision by the federal court that the amendment/proposition was invalid under federal law. I will note that Scalia, during oral arguments, made comments along the lines of your quote above, yet joined the final opinion.

  47. Congratulations from Holland, land of tulips, cheese, windmills and little boys who stick fingers in… Ah, forget about that last one – though it would make for another nice bigoted ‘argument': “See, the moment you allow same sex marriage, you’ll have gazillions of little boys sticking their state-sponsored ringed fingers…” Et cetera, et cetera.

    Still, one of the coolest bits of news I read today. (Yeah, I’m late. I was travelling the whole day yesterday.)
    J.

    PS: in the famous (just made up) later stages of drinking party games: worst airplane seating ever, “I’ll raise you with a Scalia on an eight hours flight to vladivostok”, should score some serious points.

  48. DOMA’s dead. Yea! Never should have been passed.

    Prop 8 dead because of standing? My, my. Standing is always important, and the USSC tends to pay more attention to it than other courts. Good for them.

    Voting acts section 4(b). It was a good idea when it was passed as a supposed “temporary” thing, and it’s long past time for it to go. Some states formerly excluded from supervision may need it, others don’t, now. New ways of discrimination have been found (and always wll be.) Such laws should come with sunset provisions, ten or twenty years at most, and those (or the USSC) seem to be the only way to get Congress to meaningly look at them again.

  49. I’m a Californian, and I am glad our state-wide bigoted piece of crap legislation is dead alongside the federal bigoted piece of crap legislation. I look forward to the march of progress across the United States as similar bigoted piece of crap legislation is struck down, and the bigoted pieces of crap who write and vote for this kind of bigoted piece of crap legislation are booted out of office.

  50. Cheers – you now have as many people allowed to enter into gay marriage as in the whole of the UK :).

  51. Interesting hypothetical side-effect: If you’re in a same-sex marriage, you can now check Married on your Federal 1040, right? But if you live in a state that does not recognize same sex marriages you have to check Single, right? OK, so my state requires a copy of the federal tax form when filing state taxes… hence there will be an obvious difference in the number of dependents claimed. Sure to raise some issues.

  52. I used to say I live in America because of heterosexual privilege. Partners in same sex marriages can now get spousal visas – that makes my sore heart happy.

  53. I say great (seriously). But, to have true “equal justice” we now have to recognize polygamy and polyandry. And it isn’t just a snarky “right wing” politician bringing it up. There are plenty of groups (fringe Mormons, devout Muslims not to mention flower children) who practice the latter two.

    So, Scalzi, are you going to truly stand up for human rights and equality before the law and support polyandry, polygamy and group marriage?

  54. Wile I will definitely celebrate today’s actions by the Supreme Court and appreciate the sentiments expressed by John in the headline, at the risk of sounding too lawyerly, I am not sure that I can agree that DOMA is (completely) dead. While I have only skimmed the opinion, it appears that the only issue before the Court was the the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA and, as usual, the Court’s decision was limited to that narrow issue. This means that it can be argued that Section 2 of DOMA, which exempts states from the requirement that they give full faith and credit to a legal same-sex marriage from another state, still stands. It will be interesting to see how this will work out. (I believe that there is a pending case in Kentucky, where I live, which involves whether a member of a valid out-of-state same-sex marriage can invoke the marital privilege in a criminal case and refuse to testify on that ground.)

    Also, while I will definitely celebrate today’s ruling, I will remain concerned because of the slimness of the Court’s majority and the often scary language contained in Justice Scalia’s and Justice Alito’s descents.

  55. John, if you were not already married and I were not already married I would be asking you to marry me. That was beautiful.

  56. “Voting acts section 4(b). It was a good idea when it was passed as a supposed “temporary” thing, and it’s long past time for it to go. Some states formerly excluded from supervision may need it, others don’t, now. New ways of discrimination have been found (and always wll be.) Such laws should come with sunset provisions, ten or twenty years at most, and those (or the USSC) seem to be the only way to get Congress to meaningly look at them again.”

    I’m going to have to go with Justice Gingsburg’s dissenting opinion on that one: “Throwing out the Voting Rights Act when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you aren’t getting wet.” The problem with the VRA decision is that people like Justice Roberts were never in the rainstorm in the first place. He may not have ever needed those protections & provisions, but there’s a damn good reason why disenfranchised people have needed (and frankly in many places, still need) that particular umbrella (see what the Texas AG put into motion a mere 2hrs after the SCOTUS decision – they didn’t even bother to wait for the ink to dry). Even though some of those provisions might have been worth looking at again, tearing them away w/o anything to put in their place and trusting that things will be just fine for the same disenfranchised voters that need protection was myopic at best. And we’re *really* going to trust this Congress – you know, the one where our House is still wasting time trying to roll back women’s reproductive rights with bills that will never pass the Senate and that seems pretty gosh darn reluctant to extend protections for domestic violence to some of the most vulnerable people in our society – to “meaningly look at [those provisions] again”?

    I’m really glad that SCOTUS did the right thing with striking down DOMA and Prop 8, but the moves forward those decisions represent for equal marriage rights are overshadowed by what the gutting of the VRA represents.

  57. I’m a Californian and a left-of-center moderate (remember those?), and I find little to commend in our state’s initiative system. It was supposed to be one of those fire-ax-in-the-glass-case things that you break out only in an emergency, but instead has been used to promote a wide range of crackpottery, often with the support of monied special interests. So I can’t say that I’m terribly sorry to see it weakened. Given the choice, I’d junk the whole initiative system and replace it with something more in tune with the original intent. So, no love from this sorta-kinda-progressive for the initiative process.

    And goodbye, Prop 8, you vile piece of garbage.

  58. @ scorpius

    Ah yes, the old “If you allow X people equal treatment under the law, you must want to allow Y people equal treatment under the law!” argument.

    It’s true that if we’re not careful, *everyone* will expect equal treatment under the law. But I don’t think there’s any immediate danger of that, so don’t worry.

  59. John, this might be the most civil comments thread I have ever seen on this topic. This mallet you speak of, is it available on an rental basis or are you going to be selfish and keep it all to yourself?

  60. @Bearpaw,

    Your post is unclear. I thought that “equal treatment under the law” was the essential argument for the anti-prop 8 and anti-DOMA crowd.

    If you truly believe in that (and you must since your celebrating this victory) then you must agree with equality under the law for polygamy, polyandry and group marriage.

    Or you’re a hypocrite. And a bigot.

  61. @Josh Cochran: Respectfully, my meta-comment wasn’t a reply to any other specific comment. I was merely adding my 2¢ to that line of discussion. I will always include an @ sign if I’m addressing someone’s particular statement.

    @htom

    It was a good idea when it was passed as a supposed “temporary” thing, and it’s long past time for it to go. Some states formerly excluded from supervision may need it, others don’t, now.

    Is it not better for some states of have unnecessary supervision of Federal elections than for some to not have necessary supervision? Perhaps the solution is nationwide supervision?

    New ways of discrimination have been found (and always wll be.)

    How is that an argument against cessation of the fight against old ones? Or am I missing you’re point?

    @scorpius & Bearpaw: Actually, I’m all for equal treatment under the law. Consenting adults and all that.

  62. Yes!

    (Am trying not to let their appalling decision on voting rights color my happiness about this…)

  63. It seems like the DOMA decision makes it much easier to challenge laws that limit marriage, and the Prop 8 decision makes it much harder to defend them. I expect the justices were quite aware of that. All they had to do was push the first domino.

  64. Gulliver – is it “bigotry” when you’re bigoted against bigots for being bigots? If so – then yes (to quote Whit Bissell in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN), I’m downright bigoted!

    Yeah, it actually is pretty bigoted when you can’t critique bigotry without being sexist and making offensively inaccurate generalizations about whole religious groups (like the whole “all Muslims are terrorists” meme so beloved of the far-right). Plenty of Catholics have supported marriage equality for many years. I know because I’m one of them. Really, if you want to play the bigots game by their rules, I can’t stop you but it’s nothing to be proud of.

  65. But, to have true “equal justice” we now have to recognize polygamy and polyandry.

    And to have true free speech, you should be able to shout “Fire” falsely in a crowded theater. You’re not. (well, okay, the standard is different than it was in that case, now, but the principle still applies). Constitutional rights are limited. The Randian “but you must follow the logic to its utmost end to test it” is the meat of a thousand Internet threads and about as connected to reality.

  66. Regarding Prop 8, I think the ruling on standing was inevitable. Look at the split on the decision. My guess is that both sides thought they lacked a majority and a plurality decision wasn’t going to mean anything. So they kicked the issue down the road. Another case will arise, probably sooner than the Court would like.

    As far as the initiative process is concerned, I think it has major flaws. In many states, California and my own state Colorado, a simple majority is all that is required to amend the State Constitution. This is disastrous, because it leaves a state vulnerable to monied interests from outside the state and results in state constitutions that are a mess of amendments that are inappropriate for a constitution and many that become quickly outdated or are overturned. Amendment by supermajority would solve this problem, while still allowing he people to make those important changes where they feel their government is failing them.

    We haven’t decided in my family whether we will get married the next time we are visiting family in CA. I refuse to do the farce that is civil union. You get a handful of rights at best, and not the most important ones. And if Colorado ever does change it’s mind on marriage equality, we would have to dissolve the union in order to marry. I’m holding out for the whole milk kind of marriage.

  67. Yeah, I’m going to co-sign Xopher Halftongue. And, frankly, if the best arguments the Usual Suspects can come up with is that marriage equality is the slippery slope to incestuous harems of Lannisters, farm animals and household appliances? So. Much. Win.

    Since my native New Zealand passed marriage equality, I certainly haven’t noticed any moves to legalize polygamy, incest or bestiality. Anyone anywhere else in the world where marriage equality exists?

  68. Without delving into the debate over the Voting Rights Act (which I think is off-topic) I note that Justice Scalia’s dissent in the DOMA case raging against the Court involving itself in overturning “democratically adopted legislation” stands in sharp contrast to his vote yesterday overturning the VRA, which was reconsidered by Congress in 2006 and passed after dozens of public hearings and a more than 15,000 page legislative history being developed in support.

    But you know, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

  69. @ Xopher

    Oh, I dunno. It sometimes has amusement value. For instance, you’ll note that they misread my response in their hurry to be obnoxious.

    I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one here amused at the thought of me being bigotted against people in poly relationships.

  70. Voting acts section 4(b). It was a good idea when it was passed as a supposed “temporary” thing, and it’s long past time for it to go.

    Not really. Almost every jurisdiction still that was covered by it didn’t even wait until the day was over before stating that they were going ahead with laws found to be discriminatory by Congress, lower courts, and/or the Department of Justice. Also, note that at no point–not even once–did SCOTUS point to the part of the Constitution for a law that they repeatedly called unconstitutional. No, this was a straight-up gift handed to those who would like to suppress votes, with a wink and a nod.

    Some states formerly excluded from supervision may need it, others don’t, now.

    Which ones, specifically? I have yet to see anyone definitively prove that there have been zero discriminatory laws passed. The jurisdiction that brought up the suit (Shelby County, AL) hadn’t even gone 10 years without trying to change voting rules and districts via discriminatory practices.

    New ways of discrimination have been found (and always wll be.)

    You are aware that the mechanisms in Section 4 which provide the ability to redress in Section 5 were there precisely to prevent that kind of thing from happening, right? Now, instead of the laws getting looked at before they go into effect, people who had their votes suppressed have to wait until it happens, then submit greivances individually. At since having your vote suppressed means that you have lost a great deal of the ability to redress said greiveances (to say nothing of those already financially and/or politically disadvantaged), it’s much harder, close to impossible really, for significant action to be taken in a timely manner. And of course, if someone takes the White House due directly to voter suppression, they can appoint people to the DOJ who just won’t address it at all, and since SCOTUS clearly doesn’t believe discrimination (which, I should note, every single Justice admitted still exists) is that bad, there wouldn’t be judicial recourse. And the same people who would benefit from voter suppression would have been elected to Congress, so that’s out too.

    So there you have it: If your vote is suppressed, you have no recourse as you did before yesterday, and the power to change it is denied. How is that not a nakedly political attack on civil rights and the Constitution, in particular the Fifteenth Amendment.

    Such laws should come with sunset provisions, ten or twenty years at most, and those (or the USSC) seem to be the only way to get Congress to meaningly look at them again.

    Again, you really need to do your research. The VRA was reauthorized four times between passage and yesterday, most recently in 2006, and included sunset provisions. Each time Congress was provided with literally tons of evidence (the most recent one had IIRC 150,000 items) of discriminatory laws. At the same time, there has been so little evidence of voter fraud produced that it is, in terms of decimal places, essentially zero. So why do all these laws need to be passed again?

  71. BTW, here’s some proof that those states you claim “don’t need” to follow Sections 4 or 5 really, really do:

    Supreme Court ignores extensive social science evidence of voting discrimination against Blacks and Latinos in Section 5 jurisdictions

    After studying census records from 2000 to 2010, voting records from 2000 to 2012, public opinion data, lawsuits about the Voting Rights Act and all relevant state legislation in recent years, Crayton, Barreto and the other scholars strongly disagree.

    Their research found “clear and statistically significant evidence” that discrimination is still widespread today, though often in different forms, and even remains more widespread in Section 5-covered jurisdictions than elsewhere.

    The scholars found that minorities in Section 5-covered jurisdictions continue to suffer from socioeconomic disparity that hinders their ability to participate in the political process. Those jurisdictions, they found, are also twice as likely as non-covered areas to adopt policies that make voting more difficult for African-Americans and language minorities. For example, last year a Latino Decisions blog post by Prof. Gabriel Sanchez documented that in Texas, racial and ethnic minorities were significantly less likely to possess a valid photo ID card for purposes of voting than were Whites.

    Finally, their research found an extensive pattern of racially polarized voting — where Whites vote as a bloc against minority candidates — and racial prejudice against minorities that was statistically distinct and more negative in Section 5-covered jurisdictions, than the country overall. (Results posted below)

    Professor Luis Fraga of the University of Washington, a national expert on the Voting Rights Act and co-author of the report said, “We all look forward to the day when such legislation will not be necessary. Our current reality, however, makes very clear that there is a continued role for the Justice Department and federal courts to guarantee that African-Americans and language minorities do not have their right to vote limited by states and local jurisdictions.”

    Barreto, who holds an adjunct appointment in the UW School of Law, said the brief compiles objective empirical data to conclude that minority voters in Section 5-covered jurisdictions face more discrimination and racial prejudice, and have systematically less access to resources than White voters.

    “These facts directly dispute the Shelby petitioners’ claims and demonstrate the continuing need for the Voting Rights Act,” Barreto said.

  72. Bearpaw: Oh, by all means, if it amuses you. I just want to be sure you don’t expect it to be useful, informative, or productive. If you’re just having fun, carry on.

    To my mind, though, the racists came out with the same crap after Loving v. Virginia as the gay haters are now. “Well, then, you should be able to marry your dog” and all that. It’s nothing new, and I don’t see any reason we should engage with these long-since-refuted arguments.

  73. Scorpius: If you truly believe in that (and you must since your celebrating this victory) then you must agree with equality under the law for polygamy, polyandry and group marriage. Or you’re a hypocrite. And a bigot.

    Nuh uh. You started it. MOM!

    Dude, seriously?

    Look, it will take me all of 10 seconds of google to find large organizations dedicated to demonizing gays, opposing gay marriage with millions upon millons of dollars, forward bigotted nonsense like god hates fags, try to say that gay marriage will bring about the end of America as we know it.

    Do people who support gay marriage also oppose polygamy with large organizations with millions of dollars of backing, demonize polygamy, say bigotted nonsense like god hates polygamy, and say polygamy will bring about the end of the word? No.

    What you fail to acknowlege in your false equivalence, Scorpius, is the context of reality. Organized groups forcefully opposing gay marriage with million dollar campaigns isn’t the same as individual folks being indifferent to polygamy.

    So, no, not a hypocrite, not a bigot.

    What you’re trying to do is actually quite similar to the “privilege” conversation that tries to reframe a straight, white, male who doesn’t doesn’t discriminate to be “privileged” and therefore morally equivalent to active bigotry itself. You’re trying to take a LACK of vigorous lobbying FOR or AGAINST polygamy and say it is morally exactly the same as violent organized opposition against gay marriage.

  74. Doesn’t the DOMA decision say quite a bit about the relationship between the citizens of a state and the federal government? The portion in which the federal government redefines what marriage is for people living within a state was struck down, but the portion which prohibits one state from redefining marriage for another state was not.

    I can’t help but wonder if this will be precedent in other challenges to federal power.

  75. In general agreement with your comments. I will point out that while change on this issue won’t be a ‘walk in the park,’ Colorado’s progress in this regard has been, for me, amazing. So, who knows where it’s going. Anyway, good on us as a country. We haven’t quite forgotten what it means to be ‘fair’ and ‘equal,’ which to me is every bit as important as ‘free.’

  76. I would have preferred Prop 8 were tossed on the basic issue of gay marriage rather than standing.

  77. >I would have preferred Prop 8 were tossed on the basic issue of gay marriage rather than standing.

    Indeed. Tossing it out on standing will now undermine all direct democracy in California, as any time a proposition gets passed the state doesn’t like, it just needs a lawsuit against it which it will choose not to defend.

    We allow citizens to file environmental lawsuits with standing if they have even been to the place in question just once – but we do not allow citizens in a state to have standing to defend laws *passed by the citizens*? This is a very, very bad ruling.

    Much better to have ruled directly on it.

  78. @Xopher Halftongue: I agree. I was halfway through typing a rebuttal to the bullshit assertion that the slippery slope exists when I realized I was being successfully derailed.

    As for my views on poly-marriage: I agree entirely with John’s 2008 breakdown of the issue, with the caveat that some would also have said that same-sex and interracial marriages were politically untenable in their lifetime, so maybe it is a lack of vision on John’s (and my) part. That said, I think there just aren’t enough poly-relationship people who want a state-recognized marriage to elicit the grassroots support that are typically needed to extend rights to marginalized groups. It’s sad, but true.

    It is, however, no reason not to celebrate this civil rights victory, any more than the VRA overturn makes today’s victory any less good. It’s okay to be happy for one group even if you’re sad for another. If causes for misery mooted causes for joy, no one could ever be happy. And while I’ve met a few people who really don’t think anyone ever deserves to be happy, none have ever convinced me that happiness about good things does any harm to victims of bad things.

  79. @ Xopher

    Here’s the thing I notice when people try to conflate same-sex relationships, poly relationships, bestiality, and pederasty: They’re implying that meaningful consent is not an important distinction to them. Two of those things are very much not like the other two, but their personal ew-yuck reactions overwhelm the difference that someone else’s capacity for individual choice and action makes.

    It generally makes me wonder in what other circumstances they disregard the distinction of meaningful consent.

  80. One of the nice likely effects of this decision is that my sister-in-law’s partner can apply for a green card when they get married. That has prompted some woo-hooing in family emails today, along with the woo-hooing for the already-married family who will now be treated equally by the federal government.

  81. @Bearpaw

    They’re implying that meaningful consent is not an important distinction to them.

    This! This times a million! How is this not blatantly obvious to every asshat who tries the slippery slope “argument”? In what reality is ew-yuck a litmus test for justice?

  82. @ BillK

    I’m not a lawyer so I freely admit that my understanding of this may be flawed. Reading the following paragraph from this story:

    “[I]t is not enough that the party invoking the power of the court have a keen interest in the issue,” the majority wrote. Because the Court did not find that the Proposition 8 proponents had “concrete and particularized injury,” the justices concluded that they “have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the Ninth Circuit.”

    I read this to mean that because those defending the law aren’t actually impacted by its success or failure in court, they don’t have standing. Not that they simply lack standing because they’re not the state of California. Of course the very next paragraph mentions the dissent taking your original interpretation.

    I completely agree that a clear Constitutional ruling in favor of marriage equality would have been much better. Considering the ideological divide on the court, though, I wonder if it’s better that they didn’t address the question directly. A 5-4 split against equality might have created a disastrous precedent that would make things worse.

  83. the portion which prohibits one state from redefining marriage for another state

    Well, your position is certainly clear (a person in favor of Marriage Equality would have said “allowing one state to disregard lawful contracts of marriage from another state”).

    The answer, though, is that that section of DOMA was not challenged, and the Court didn’t address it. That challenge is coming, I promise you.

    I would have preferred Prop 8 were tossed on the basic issue of gay marriage rather than standing.

    Couldn’t get a majority on that…or maybe could have, but there were enough Justices in doubt about the standing issue to keep it from coming up.

    Almost wish CA had defended it. Oh well, 20/20 hindsight.

  84. Indeed. Tossing it out on standing will now undermine all direct democracy in California, as any time a proposition gets passed the state doesn’t like, it just needs a lawsuit against it which it will choose not to defend.

    We allow citizens to file environmental lawsuits with standing if they have even been to the place in question just once – but we do not allow citizens in a state to have standing to defend laws *passed by the citizens*? This is a very, very bad ruling.

    Much better to have ruled directly on it.

    Just an FYI for those who may have been puzzled as to why Sotomayor (and possibly Kennedy) dissented on Prop 8: The above is why, because it would have meant the case would be decided on the merits instead of vacated and remanded.

  85. Cranapia asked:

    “Since my native New Zealand passed marriage equality, I certainly haven’t noticed any moves to legalize polygamy, incest or bestiality. Anyone anywhere else in the world where marriage equality exists?”

    Same-sex marriage became legal nation-wide in Canada in 2005, after nine of fourteen provincial and territorial jurisdictions had already legally recognized it over the preceding two years. In November 2011, the Supreme Court of British Columbia upheld Canada’s criminal prohibition of polygamy as constitutional (despite the fact that there have been no successful prosecutions in 60 years). Seems there is some traction on that slippery slope, after all.

    Which is not to say that that prohibition will stand forever. I expect that polyamorous marriages will likely be legal in Canada in my lifetime. But it establishes that same-sex marriage and polyamorous marriage are different things, that each must be argued on its own merits, and that there are logical and legal rationales for the argument that allowing one does not automatically grant a free pass for the other.

  86. Still, the “see, this is why the government shouldn’t be involved in marriage” is a fine topic for another time. If it happens in another place, I guess that’s also fine.

  87. @Genufett – I’d like to use your comments on the VRA in a discussion on fb about same. You are much more eloquent than I. Is that cool?

  88. Xopher at 2:05- I’m a progressive, and I think the California initiative system has proved to be an abomination.

    i’m a Californian and I agree.

  89. Banning same sex marriage at the state level is effectively dead. States have to recognize same sex marriages made in other states.

    No, it’s not. No, they don’t. I can’t move to Mississippi and still be married. Yet. SCOTUS did not overturn that part of DOMA. Yet.

  90. @Xana: I’d be glad to have someone spread the knowledge. There’s a lot of misinformation about it being spread around, and the best remedy is cold hard facts.

  91. @BillK

    I don’t think that’s actually the case. Relevant passage is fairly early on in the ruling:

    “The parties do not contest that respondents had standing to initiate this case against the California officials responsible for enforcing Proposition 8. But once the District Court issued its order, respondents no longer had any injury to re-dress, and the state officials chose not to appeal. The only individuals who sought to appeal were petitioners, who had intervened in the District Court, but they had not been ordered to do or refrain from doing anything. Their only interest was to vindicate the constitutional validity of a generally applicable California law. As this Court has repeatedly held, such a ‘generalized grievance’—no matter how sincere—is insufficient to confer standing.”

    From that and looking further in the ruling, what seems to be the case is, Proposition 8 was challenged, the state government failed to defend it. The petitioners acted as the defense (which is allowed). The petitioners lost the case. The petitioners tried to appeal, and the court asked them to show that they had standing. Case makes it up to the Supreme Court, Supreme Court rules that the petitioners do not have standing to appeal the case. But they were still allowed to provide a defense when the state government failed to defend the initial case, they just don’t have standing to appeal the case, because losing the case means the state government has to do or not do something, not that the petitioners have to do or not do something.

    Also, this only applies to the federal courts.

  92. @BillK (and others): How far is a State required to go for an initiative law? In the case of Prop 8, the State of California appeared as a defendant both in the California Supreme Court (where 8 was upheld on the specific and esoteric criteria used to challenge it under California law – as 8 had been tailored to avoid the language that had rendered the previous anti-marriage-equality initiative Prop 22 unConstitutional prima facie at the State level), and in the Federal District Court (where 8 was found to be unConstitutional at the Federal level.)

    In the District Court, the State’s Attorney General admitted pro forma that Prop 8 had been legally passed under California law, and had withstood such challenges as were made under California law, but that his legal opinion (partially confirmed by the California Supreme Court) was that 8 was Federally unConstitutional.

    The District Court found the same (and it’s a very slightly more formal version of Scalzi’s “WAAAAA” observation above): “Here, the purported state interests fit so poorly with Proposition 8 that they are irrational…What is left is evidence that Proposition 8 enacts a moral view that there is something “wrong” with same-sex couples.”

    Was the State of California, spending taxpayers’ money, required to continue defending an initiative (passed by a 3% margin) that neither their Executive branch (a Republican Governor, a Democratic Attorney General, and miscellaneous officers of unidentified party affiliation), nor a Federal judge, could find any sound reason for other than bigotry?

  93. (Pardon the second post, but:) @Genufett: One could just as easily argue that Thomas and Alito joined in the dissent for the exact same reason: that the case would otherwise be decided on the merits. (Particularly since Justice Kennedy’s ruling in DOMA is, in spots, practically word-for-word to the 9th District’s ruling on Prop 8.)

  94. Much better to have ruled directly on it.

    With this court, you take what you can get. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  95. Bearpaw: Here’s the thing I notice when people try to conflate same-sex relationships, poly relationships, bestiality, and pederasty: They’re implying that meaningful consent is not an important distinction to them.

    Polygamy is as consensual as two-person marriage. But the folks who are arguing FOR gay marriage rights don’t neccessarily fund multi-million dollar organizations that OPPOSE polygamy. So, the homophobic bigots who want to stomp up and down that it’s exactly the same thing are only kidding themselves.

    Mentions of bestiality only confirm that their “morality” is heavily based on the “ick” factor more than anything. I was reading a psychological study that showed that, at least in kids, it was possible to sway the subject’s moral judgements on something simply by exposing the subjects to disgusting smells and sights. I think that explains a lot of the homophobic reactions. It’s a visceral, emotional reaction rather than a cognitive level approach to finding a real moral standing.

  96. I don’t see how the legalization of gay marriage automatically leads to the legalization of polygamous or polyamorous marriage.

    Legalizing gay marriage is just another step on the civil rights road of removing restrictions on who a given person can enter into a marriage with. Despite what some might have one believe, it does not really change the fundamental structure of a civil marriage in any way. It remains a legal union between two consenting adults, regardless of gender. It can be argued that it does not give the right to marry to anyone who did not have it before; it only removes restrictions on who a person can marry. Gay people possessed the legal right to marry the entire time, just not to marry those they loved, which is why removing the restriction was so important.

    As for the reference to Catholics and Mormons, I think it’s important to distinguish between people who follow a given faith and the Churches themselves. Many people of every religion support gay marriage, even when the organizations they belong to do not.

  97. I kept my No On 8 sign stored carefully for all these years b/c I just couldn’t throw it away for some reason.

    Today is that reason. It went back on the lawn.

    If the SCOTUS ruling slows down the stupid propositions, I’m fine with that as well. Dear LORD, just the thought of not having all those negative ads on my teevee every two years is worth it, not even counting the whole civil rights vs. moneyed organization issues.

    I wish the DOMA ruling had gone all the way with full faith and credit, but we take what we can get. Although gutting the VRA is going to slow down progress on all sorts of equality.

  98. I fully expect some state(s) to stop issuing marriage licenses completely than to bear the disgrace of issuing them to gay couples.

    I’m a Californian. I voted against prop 8. I will also agree that our state government while perhaps not bigoted, it’s certainly a piece of crap.

  99. Add me to the list of Californian liberals that hate the Initiative system, for the same reasons that Zee outlined above, namely that too many idiotic propositions get put on the ballot, many of which prey on particular fears of the populace, and millions of dollars get spent in a fight over pretty much every one of them–in our most recent election, there were a couple that purported to help Education in the state, but one of them was actually very much a threat to Public Education funding.

  100. @BillK, I’m guessing you haven’t read the Prop 8 opinion. The 30-second version is that a state can’t hand out tickets to sue in Federal courts. Whether the plaintiffs have standing in California courts is entirely separate from whether they have standing in Federal courts.

    Does this destroy the initiative process? Of course not, because not every initiative will raise a Federal question or involve the Constitution in any way. An initiative that only touches on California state law will get no purchase in the federal court system, and thus California – not federal – standing rules will apply to those initiatives.

    By the way, the ‘standing’ ruling ought to please anyone who is actually pro-federalism and anti-judicial activism. That jurisdiction is very well settled….oh, and it was also built largely on the corpses of cases brought by environmental groups or other do-gooders (e.g. Lujan). That is why the odd split in the Court; conservatives do not want to expand the doctrine of standing to allow the morally aggrieved to rush into court unless they have an actual, controversial injury.

  101. What I’d like to see, and know I won’t:

    Tomorrow morning, Kamala Harris (Attorney General of California) announces that the State of California will be filing to have Prop. 8 reinstated. “We intend to take this issue back to the Supreme Court. We intend to defend Prop. 8 energetically, competently, and to the best of our abilities. And we intend to lose as broadly as possible.”

    Can you imagine what kind of knots that would tie everybody in?

  102. Miles: I fully expect some state(s) to stop issuing marriage licenses completely than to bear the disgrace of issuing them to gay couples.

    I would wager money that won’t happen.

    The reason is that there are way too many benefits, rights, and legal protections once you get married (medical benefits, inheritance, child custody, and so on), that to deny them to straight people for any length of time would cause an uproar.

  103. Great. As soon as the forms are ready my brother and I should go down to the LA County offices in Norwalk to get married.

    Should make for some interesting estate planning. And we could adopt. When one of us passes on the other could marry our son. Pass the estate on from spouse to spouse indefinitely and avoid having the IRS get their fifty percent estate tax.

  104. Oh goodness, are we now jumping from “What about polygamy? CHECKMATE, LIBERALS” to arguments about incest? (As to both, by the way, haters tend to forget the other half of the analysis: compelling state interest justifying the limitation. Which, for both, there is. Please, haters, up your game.)

    @Logophage, pretty sure the time for CA to appeal has expired.

  105. It is good to see these changes towards justice and equality for all happen in my lifetime. Thank you, justices of the Supreme Court.

  106. @Greg S: Wow, you suck at trolling. If you must troll, at least put some effort into it. You’re making trolls look bad.

  107. Logophage,

    I would not be surprised if that happened. That’s close to what the feds did. Windsor wanted an estate tax refund of $363,000 on the basis of being a same sex spouse as recognized by the state of New York. The feds said no way, you are not a spouse under federal law so the estate tax exemption does not apply to you. Windsor sued and won in district court. The feds still said “No refund for you!” and appealed the decision. The appellate court ruled in favor of Windsor again, and the feds appealed to the Supreme Court. Then the government actually argued at the Supreme Court level that they should lose the case the lower court rulings should stand!

    So while the Executive branch took the position that the DOMA law was unconstitutional, they still enforced it so that Windsor would have standing to sue, but the Solicitor General argued that they should lose the case.

    This absurdity is part of what Scalia’s dissent address, the fact that there is no controversy between the two parties means the Supreme Court doesn’t have the power to decide anything in this case.

    I’ve only been able to skim them so far, but I highly recommend everyone read the entire majority opinion and the dissents. No matter what side you agree with, it is a great intellectual exercise to understand the legal reasoning on both sides.

  108. I’m not going to “let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” in this instance. When you’ve been a hopeless(flu) progressive for enough decades, you start to recognize long-term patterns. So yes, the gut punch to the VRA hurts, but that fight’s not over by a long shot.

    And as of today, my sister is a full citizen of the country of her birth. You can’t bring me down with any nitpicking about how, or why, or who, or when.

    Over the long run … From Stonewall to today, two generations to get out of the closet and into ordinary parenthood. And how many of us can remember those pictures of the Little Rock Nine, and the screaming viragos in the crowd behind them? The “screaming bigot” in the most well-known of those pictures went through a change of heart rather quickly, and a few years later apologized to the student she’d been harassing. And Governor Wallace even publicly acknowledged he’d been on the wrong side in the Civil Rights fight.

    Dick Cheney changes his mind because it affects his daughter? – be honest, if you grew up straight in most of this country, you changed your mind because you got to know a gay person as a person and not as a stereotype. I thought I was pretty liberal until my sister came out to me and I heard that “click” in the back of my head that re-ordered my view of the world. Most of us who grew up with certain privileges in this country have a longer road to empathizing with the difficulties of other genders, classes, races. It takes a personal experience to drop the scales from our eyes, as John said.

    So I’m not going to call anyone a bigot on this. Because name-calling won’t make anyone more willing to listen to my point of view. And I’m going to remember my Grandfather, who almost 100 years ago voted against suffrage, because he thought it would just double the cost of elections and women would just vote the way their husbands did anyway. Ten years later, as a newlywed, he found out how wrong that was! And twenty years after that, he was campaign manager when his wife ran for the Assembly.

    Change happens, folks. It doesn’t happen as fast we want, but today we get to celebrate it. Enjoy, have a great parade this weekend, and buckle down for the next round. :)

  109. Greg S: When one of us passes on the other could marry our son. Pass the estate on from spouse to spouse indefinitely

    Meh. I’m pretty sure that’s called a “trust”.

    More scary next time, mkay?

  110. First off, my apologies for taking so long to get back to this. I knew in March, when the cases were argued, that whatever day they were handed down I would be completely distracted; I wrote two 10,000+ word summaries of the decisions and spent hours explaining them to people online, because for those hours this morning, the court decisions were literally all I cared about. I have been waiting for this decision on some level since November of 2008.

    That said, that wasn’t the only reason i’ve taken so long to get back to you. Your question put me in a difficult spot, and I had to think for a while about how to respond to it. On the one hand, you are my friend, and I understand that you are asking me about this because you are honestly concerned about the group interaction and how you can help to make it better, and you are seeking my help as a friend in trying to figure out what’s going on; and on the other hand, you explicitly asked me to disclose the contents of conversations I may or may not have had with another friend, in a way that I perceive as potentially violating my responsibility to him to keep any confidences he may have placed in me. This is something I take seriously, and I needed some time to figure out what I believe my responsibilities as a friend are to you, what i believe my responsibilities are as a friend to Ryan, and whether and how they conflict.

    ——

    Your explicit question to me was whether Ryan and I have ever discussed you; I think the answer is self-evidently yes. We’re all in reasonably tight knit social circle, and I think it’s a reasonable assumption that all of us have discussed each other with one another at some point or another. That said, the *implicit* question, not explicitly stated, was what Ryan has said about you in his conversations with me, and I’m uncomfortable disclosing that, for the same reasons that if someone asked what you’d said about them, I’d feel uncomfortable disclosing it – both because doing so without your express permission would feel confidence-violating, and because doing so *with* your express permission would potentially lead me to being in the middle of whatever issues arose between you. Since I value you both as friends, I don’t want to be in that situation.

    That said, I *am* comfortable telling you what *I* think, and what I’ve observed, and what my perceptions are of interactions that I’ve been present for. And I’m happy to talk with you further about this, because I think you are asking for the right reasons, your heart is in the right place, and you genuinely want to resolve the situation.

    * I do not think Ryan dislikes you. I think there are times when you annoy him more than you annoy me (for example, although that’s a bad example because i’m hard to annoy). I think there are probably *particular behaviors* you engage in which are problematic, both for Ryan and other people.

    * As an example from last night, I think Ryan was perceiving your comments to Dennis as being unnecessarily harsh and critical and mean, and that he was finding that unpleasant to experience. My experience of Ryan is that he has high loyalty to friends, and part of that is he’s going to take it badly when someone is being mean to a friend, and I think that’s how he was perceiving that particular interaction.

    * My impression is that you didn’t understand those same comments to be mean. I’m not sure if I did, because I was distracted by other things; I was finding your complaining about certain doom to be annoying. *I’ve been guilty of this in the past*, to be sure, so I’m hardly speaking from a position of strength here, but it really drags down everyone’s enjoyment if one of the party is coming from a defeat-is-certain-low-morale perspective. This isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things, but it’s frustrating in the moment, and one of the things that I’ve had to work long and hard to understand about friendship is how it’s ok for friends to be frustrated and annoyed at each other in the moment and still hang on to the affection which undergirds the friendship. I was focused on *that* reaction, or that set of reactions, and not really paying attention to your conversation with Dennis until I noticed Ryan’s reaction to it.

    I hope that makes sense and is helpful. :)

    I’m happy to talk about this more, if you want. Like I said, I understand that your motivation in asking is trying to figure out how to make the group dynamics comfortable and pleasant for everyone, and I’m completely in alignment with that. :)

  111. (To be spoken as if in all italics, preferably by William Shatner, gasping desperately the whole while): “Aaack! Must…not….respond…..to…idiotic…trolls. Must…NOT!” (more gasping and anguished throat grasping).

    Commercial break.

  112. I’ve yet to hear a non-religiously based argument against marriage equality. Congrats to all those who are fighting for equality.

  113. Troll outbursts are the Cheyne Stokes gasps of a dying demographic.

    Back in prehistorical times (around 1998), I was sure SSM (it wasn’t called “marriage equality” yet) would be a done deal within 10 years. Everything was looking pretty good then, so I think my optimism can be excused. It’s not a “done deal” yet, and won’t be until every state recognizes SSM. The Neo-Confederacy might not get there for another 20 years, when the next census can have an impact on the gerrymandering that keeps right wing nuts in power.

    But their day will end, as the tide of progress swamps them. I look forward to it with great joy.

  114. @mythago: Oh goodness, are we now jumping from “What about polygamy? CHECKMATE, LIBERALS” to arguments about incest?

    By the way, did you even TRY to think that the term marriage of convenience might be a better description than incest. You seem to be stuck in the same box as the supporters of proposition h8.

    @gulliver: @Greg S: Wow, you suck at trolling. If you must troll, at least put some effort into it. You’re making trolls look bad.

    Why should brother/brother or sister/sister be excluded? There are good genetic reasons against brother/sister or first cousins. Genetic reasons do not apply to brother/brother or sister/sister unions.

    @Greg: Meh. I’m pretty sure that’s called a “trust”. More scary next time, mkay?

    My parents had a trust with my sister as a trustee. When my dad passed away, the trust continued on for my mother. The trust was revocable as long as my mother was alive. When my mon passed away, the trust had had to be dissolved. The trust became irrevocable once both of my parents had passed away and had to be dissolved according to the terms of my parent’s will.

    Spouse-to-spouse IS different from parent-to-child. Of course, if you are Kennedy rich you can set up corporate trusts which are a different matter.

  115. Greg S. Spouse-to-spouse IS different from parent-to-child.

    well, then there’s no problem since you can’t marry your son.

    See? you solved your own worst-case scenario.

  116. @scorpius (and the “polygamy” crowd), honestly, if I was boss of the US we wouldn’t have state-sponsored marriage at all. Since that’s not going to happen anytime this universe, I’ll settle for marriage equality. Which means that yeah, in principle I am in favor of recognition for those relationships (with restrictions- none of the FLDS stuff, obviously). Practically, though, since it’s nothing but a distant hypothetical, I don’t concern myself much with it. Better to focus on realistic goals, imo.

  117. It was a very big gamble and it succeeded and will help a great deal, so I’m happy for that and for my gay friends and relatives. But just the day before I was facing the bleakness of the VRA decision. And Rick Perry has called for a second special session to try to pass the female slavery and execution omnibus bill in Texas after the successful movement against its passage. Regardless of the growing changes in the electorate, enough authoritarian politicians have leverage in political office and the courts to enact and uphold illegitimate laws, destroy millions of lives and cause the death of thousands of innocent people while selling off everything to businesses who fund them. Globally, corporations looking for short term profits for their executives are stripping countries of rights, economic viability, education, and livable land and resources, as if they don’t live on the same planet. We’re looking at twenty more years of bloody battles and eroding liberties and opportunities as the West and the planet head back into a high tech, environmental dead zones version of the Middle Ages. That’s my daughter’s main lifetime. So I am only happy at the pause in battle, in the end. I am very happy for the folk in California.

  118. @MRAL: Meh, I support everyone having all the rights (and more) available in a marriage contract entered into with anyone other consenting adult. Whether or not it’s called marriage is basically a semantic (and therefore pretty pointless, IMHO) argument. You can call it Bob’s Your Uncle for all I care…doesn’t change the rights so granted. The fact that it’s termed marriage is just cultural baggage of history. This would be the place to note that civil unions aren’t just marriage by another name, they’re a fraction of the rights that marriage exercises. Even if they were legally equivalent, the state should use the same term for every marriage or we really will be right back to separate but equal. This fight isn’t over semantics, despite what some DOMA and Prop 8 advocates would like us to believe. This fight is over human rights.

  119. Me, I’m just hoping that:

    A) Oregon (either in the person of the People or the Legislature) trashes its own version of Prop 8 (Measure 36) next year (sine die is only a few days away, so it’s unlikely to happen in ’13), and

    B) I get together with someone who’d make that worthwhile…

  120. @ Kat

    I think the same thing about my son every day. This is the world he’ll grow up in. These are the non-issues we’ll be fighting throughout his youth – long settled battles like minimum wage, social welfare, voting rights, equal protection under the law – while today’s needs are ignored completely. He’s growing up in a world where we’re being dragged backward a hundred years or more. His world will be less modern and less civilized in some ways than the one I grew up in. It makes me very sad and very tired.

  121. Homosexual sexual marriage…meh, ok, whatever… Us Heterosexuals have made a joke of the ‘Institution of Marriage’, why not let the LGBT community join in the hilarity. I’m curious (and drunk too, hic) about what everyone thinks about the whole climate change issue and President Obama’s war on coal.

  122. @Kat Goodwin & Josh Cochran: The whole apocalypse now, back to the dark ages, grim gloom and doom lapsarian prognostication thing has been steadily repeated since at least recorded history, and probably before. Progress is unsteady, replete with setbacks and requires constant vigilance, but I don’t buy the dystopian visions any more than the utopian ones. Not optimism, mind, just the-future-doesn’t-suck-ism. YMMV.

  123. @Gulliver: “Two steps forward, one step back.” — V.I. Lenin. Smart guy, in that case at least.

  124. I had a somewhat stressful discussion with my friend today at lunch, as he thought SCOTUS got it all wrong. He had nothing but disdain for the LGBT community (and conflated homosexuals with transgendered), but resisted the notion that he was in any way bigoted when I called him on it. Funny, because he’s in most other ways an intelligent, educated, well-informed person whose take on current events I normally tend to agree with. And no, he’s not religious in any way whatsoever.

    He’s just an idiot when it comes to non-hetero sex.

    As a native Californian (and resident for another 30 days) I’m confident that our state initiative process has evolved into its own little industry, with full-time political operatives trolling to see what positions they can get funded, with near-full-time signature gatherers available (for a fee), with professional fund-raisers available to assist, with media folks available to design and produce advertisements, with media outlets happy to sell advertising space and time, and with lots and lots of attorneys available to shepherd the process and defend the results in court afterwards. It’s become the California initiative industry. And I don’t think many folks in that industry actually care a whit about what the initiative says or what it portends for the populace. They see a bandwagon and they jump on it, because it offers a paycheck.

    I wonder who’s worse: my friend the idiot bigot who is at least honest about his bigotry, or the mercenaries who got Prop 8 on the ballot and passed, with little if any regard for the results of their actions?

  125. @Bearpaw, @Scalzi

    If it came off as I was calling Bearpaw a bigot, I apologize for my lack of clarity. I was following up on the idea that the Prop 8 law was bigoted. If it is then denying the rights of consenting adults to join in marriages with “sister wives” or “Brother Husbands” is also.

    Once the idea of marriage equality is out there legitimate groups (not people wanting to marry their cat) who want to change it in there direction. You can’t unring a bell.

  126. Sorry John. Had to respond:

    MRAL said: (with restrictions- none of the FLDS stuff, obviously)

    Why would you restrict the fringe Mormons? Not all of their marriages are with young girls, you know. Would you say “with restrictions – none of the Muslim stuff, obviously” since Fundie Muslims put a high price on marrying prepubescent girls?

    If you’re going for restricting it to “consenting adults” you have to restrict both groups but you don’t have to do it in a targeted way, just make marriage between consenting adults.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled furball discussion about gay marriage.

  127. @Nick from the OC: Guessing your friend hasn’t bothered to read even the summary of the opinions, then? Because “they got it all wrong” here really means he is in favor of judicial activism, as long as it goes his way.

  128. Mythago,

    Yes. And no. It was actually worse than that. I won’t get into it here. Let’s just say he would feel at home in 1938, in terms of his tolerance for LGBT people. His rationale was … stupid. To say the least.

    He couldn’t care less about the judicial logic. Just the results.

  129. Scorpius: the idea that the Prop 8 law was bigoted. If it is then denying the rights of consenting adults to join in marriages with “sister wives” or “Brother Husbands” is also.

    Yes. Yes. No one here is a homophobe, right? We all want to extend the right to marry to gays, right? But the damn stickler of a problem is if we don’t do it in such a way that results in an absolutely fucking perfect, bigot free way, then, well,we’re duty bound to maintain a bigotted position that discriminates against, say, 30 million poeple, rather than change it to a system that discriminates against, say, 1 million people. It’s right there in the constitution, Common Sense, and I think Sartre said that very thing in “Critique of Dialectical Reason” where he said “Je suis condamné à être libre.”

    O fuck me.

  130. Greg,

    We libertarians have been for Gay marriage a lot longer than you on the left. So we’ve had to struggle with these issues. But Libertarians are much more pragmatic and reality-based than Lefties and know that multiple-marriage is the next logical consequence. The Libertarians who are strongly for GM have already made up their mind that they are for group marriage. You on the left haven’t thought it out completely, you never do.

    And please, 30 million gay people? More like 10 million. Please, don’t lie with stats (or simply make them up) I take that personally.

  131. Someone today managed to explain to me why conservative Christians lump bestiality and pedophilia with same sex marriage and polygamy, but progressives don’t. It actually makes a twisted kind of sense.

    Progressives (including at least two people in this thread) decide if a sexual act is moral based on notions of consent. For them, same sex sex and polyamorous sex is moral if and only if all parties are able to, and do, consent. Hence, they see nothing inherently immoral in these sexual activities, just as they see nothing inherently immoral with two person heterosexual sex. These activities are all morally neutral, and become moral (or immoral) based on the presence (or absence) of consent.

    Bestiality and pedophilia by definition lack consent, because neither a child nor an animal can consent to sex. Therefore, these activities are inherently immoral. So when someone says, “If we allow same sex marriage, we have to allow cow fucking and child rape!” the progressive listening can’t understand why these have any connection. It is as if someone said, “Well, since you disapprove of cheating on exams, you must disapprove of spy novels, too,” because the two things seem unrelated.

    On the other hand, religious conservatives do not separate sex acts into immoral and moral based on consent. They do it by whether G-d approves of the act. The list of moral sex acts is very short: one man and one woman who are married to one another. All other sex acts are immoral. So masturbation, lesbian sex, gay male sex, three-ways, heterosexual outside marriage, bestiality, polyamory, child rape, and other perversions are immoral in exactly the same way.

    So they see same sex marriage as legitimizing immoral sex. When they say “If we allow same sex marriage, we have to allow cow fucking and child rape!” they are comparing two things that have the same moral value. They’d complete the other comparison by saying “Since you think it’s okay to cheat on exams, I imagine you lie on your tax return, too.”

    This explanation made me see that it’s not necessarily an “ick!” factor (although of course it often has that, too). But the person who explained this to me is a conservative Christian who believes that heterosex outside marriage is immoral, even though he did it “once or twice”. No “ick” factor on the heterosex outside marriage, but that doesn’t keep him from believing it’s immoral.

    I now see the slippery slope argument differently. As a social progressive, I think that polyamory and gay sex are morally neutral, just like any other sex act that does not inherently violate consent. Cow fucking and child rape do violate consent, so they are immoral.

    When I first came out in the 1980s, lesbian separatists, with whom I sympathized although I never quite was one, used to disdain the idea that lesbians would ever even WANT to get married. Well, years passed and we got older and a lot of us had kids and started trying to plan our estates and prepare living wills, and suddenly marriage seemed a whole lot more appealing. We watched Karen Thompson lose access to her life partner after a terrible accident, when her parents decided to claim guardianship and tuck her away in a care taking facility instead of providing the rehabilitative care Karen had been supplying. We watched friends in custody battles being faced with judge’s orders that prevented them from co-habiting with any non-spouse adult or face losing access to their children (and that thing happened again in Texas earlier this year).

    Today’s rulings are not the whole battle, but they are important victories, because they make it clear that the government is not going to use the religious notion of morality to govern marriage. Which is a good thing. I am a religious person, and I make some choices based on my faith, but I do not think for a second that the government should force the rest of you to make the same choices. So, if the details could be worked out, I would extending marriage rights to any group of consenting adults, even though there is no circumstance under which I would avail myself of such an opportunity. I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime, but if you’d asked me in 1981, I wouldn’t have executed to see this day, either.

    Sorry for the length; feel free to mallet me if I went on too long.

  132. @scorpius: Not at all. It’s just that every time it’s brought up, lefties get drowned out by the uproar from social conservatives (including faux-libertarians like Rand Paul who are fine with infringing statism at the state level) who lack the cognitive capacity to understand the difference between consenting adults on one hand, and animals and inanimate objects on the other hand. But if it makes you feel better to believe progressives haven’t considered the implications, enjoy your bubble. There are some “liberals” who will fight tooth and nail against poly-relationships if it ever looks likely to gain traction, just as there are some “liberals” who fought and continue to fight against same-sex marriage, but they’re not progressives. You of all people should know political alliances are not monocultures.

  133. Scorpius: We libertarians have been for Gay marriage a lot longer than you on the left.

    Oh nonsense. Libertarians generally aren’t for gay marriage as they are for using gay marriage as a crowbar to try and pry the government out of regulating marriage entirely.

    But Libertarians are much more pragmatic and reality-based than Lefties

    demanding the perfect to be the enemy of the good (you must agree with equality under the law for polygamy, polyandry and group marriage. Or you’re a hypocrite. And a bigot.) is not pragmatic. You probably meant a different word there.

    As for reality-based, well, laissez-faire is French for libertarian fairy tale.

  134. Since my native New Zealand passed marriage equality, I certainly haven’t noticed any moves to legalize polygamy, incest or bestiality.

    Well, we were thinking of the bestiality bit, but we couldn’t stand the thought of the inevitable jokes from Australians…

  135. I see we’re still stuck on polygamy as a point of discussion, although I have mentioned at least a couple of times now that it’s not on point. This is the place where I hoist the Mallet and let you know it’s itchin’ to be used.

  136. I would have liked to see sexual orientation treated as a suspect class with appropriate standards of review. That would have opened up the floodgates on every aspect of legal discrimination. In some ways it is a sad day when we have to celebrate closely defined procedural decisions like yesterday’s as the equivalent to Brown v. Board of Education. The Court stepped out of the way of a moving train; they weren’t stoking the engine.

    On the other hand, it is gratifying to see this process move mostly by democratic will. If only we were smarter and braver on everything else. Damn, somedays it is still good to be an American!

  137. So this was the first thing I saw on the IntraWeebs when I got home from my (INCREDIBLY strange-in-a-good-way, interesting, and much shorter-than-expected) stay at summer camp. My first thought was:

    “YYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take that, Fred Scumbag and your little crap-covered hate mill!”

    My second thought was:

    “Holy crap, Scalzi, you said it all a hundred times better than I could have. Then again, that is why you are the kick-ass famous author and I am just an adoring fanboy.”

    Important note to all of the social conservatives who have not yet trolled this thread: Homosexuality is natural, especially in social animals such as penguins. Having an extra, nonreproductive pair that act as extra parents in a colonial breeding environment (such as a penguin colony) can increase hatching and fledging success of the young, who will most likely share a significant portion of their DNA with the aforementioned nonreproductive pair due to the high likelihood of at least one of the parents of the young penguins whose care the nonreproductive pair assists with being related to at least one member of the nonreproductive pair in question. This results in a strong indirect selective pressure toward gay penguins, which is why we have gay penguins in zoos.

    Obviously, the same can be said of many other animals:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_animals

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_homosexual_behavior

    Since homosexuality is clearly a beneficial and natural phenomenon, and in any event is entirely between the partners in a homosexual relationship (because what people do in the bedroom is private), why the fuss? Thanks to five justices of the Supreme Court for seeing sense.

    @ Gulliver:
    “””It’s just that every time it’s brought up, lefties get drowned out by the uproar from social conservatives (including faux-libertarians like Rand Paul who are fine with infringing statism at the state level) who lack the cognitive capacity to understand the difference between consenting adults on one hand, and animals and inanimate objects on the other hand.”””

    Dude, there is nothing I hate more than social conservatives drawing false equivalences like that. That was a beautiful post. You got one thing wrong, though; those social conservatives don’t just lack the cognitive capacity to recognize their error–they have lower cognitive capacities than the inanimate objects that they are so worried about.

  138. @PrivateIron, I don’t disagree, but c’mon, tell me you don’t also geek out at a well-written closely-worded procedural decision. :D

    (Especially one as full of quiet zingers as Hollingsworth. Pointing out that the Prop 8 folks were telling a different story in the lower courts, for example.)

  139. I geek out, sure, but the crowds don’t celebrate…I want my landmark Court decisions to have a certain special something….[cue Michael Palin waving off the musical number]

  140. Since the word bigot gets thrown around a lot, I thought I would refresh myself on the definition.

    a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

    Everyone focuses on the second part of the definition and seems to forget about the first part.

  141. Thank Reason for Common Sense from SCOTUS, although they could have gone the extra yard and said: Nah.. those “state amendments” outlawing people to live their lives happily are Federal Unconstitutional. That would have been a good thing. Or ya know, at least saying fooking bigutted states like my own have to give “full faith and credence” to gay couples who move here… like with a driver’s license.

  142. @ Floored by …

    The funny thing about the “it’s unnatural” argument is that when someone points out — as you do — that it actually *is* natural, the argument often immediately flips to “we should be better than animals”.

  143. Got a good laugh from your tweets about how long your marriage was lasting now that it was being attacked by other people being allowed to have same sex marriages. LOL

  144. @Bearpaw

    Things happen that way when dealing with people who see the point they’re defending as outweighing the evidence they’re using to defend it. Arguing from the conclusion is silly, but they don’t see it that way.

  145. Favorite quote from a Facebook friend reporting from The Castro last night: “The arc of history bends towards disco.”

  146. @ Bearpaw: I’ll just hit back with a “So how is heterosexuality “better” than homosexuality? And why should we be “better” than other animals, and what does that entail?”

    I love making fundies’ heads explode.

  147. @ Floored by …

    Their heads almost never explode. God is their infinite trump card.

    Believe me, I know. That used to be me, decades ago. My head did explode, but it was mostly a controlled, self-inflicted detonation.

  148. @sorcharei,

    I think you do the “other side” of this argument a disservice by oversimplifying their viewpoints. Like I said, I’m on Scalzi’s “side” on this, but I still listen to, respect and am even swayed to some degree by the arguments of “the other side”. I’m no zealot on this or any other issue and am always open to changing my mind based on a good, rational argument.

  149. @ Gulliver
    The whole apocalypse now, back to the dark ages, grim gloom and doom lapsarian prognostication thing has been steadily repeated since at least recorded history, and probably before. Progress is unsteady, replete with setbacks and requires constant vigilance, but I don’t buy the dystopian visions any more than the utopian ones. Not optimism, mind, just the-future-doesn’t-suck-ism. YMMV.

    In principle I agree. I don’t mean to sound like I think the utter collapse of society is imminent or anything so dramatic. I’m generally an optimistic person, actually. It’s just an enormous disappointment to me that in my adulthood, and my son’s childhood, we’re actually having to refight the political battles of the civil rights movement and the Great Depression. So many of the “controversies” of today are holdovers from my childhood’s distant past. I (naively) grew up thinking that racism, sexism, the minimum wage, access to healthcare, the continued existence of a healthy middle class, etc, were settled issues with a few bitter but marginalized holdouts slowly dying off. It would probably be fair to say that my disappointment comes from realizing that our society is nowhere near as advanced as I thought it was. You’re right, we are still making progress. It’s just that for the last five years or so it seems like our two steps backward are bigger than our one step forward.

    I should add that I’m a native Texan and watching my state’s part in this week’s festivities has been more than a little depressing. Although it’s important to remember, as someone pointed out on Twitter yesterday, that Wendy Davis and the people in the gallery on Tuesday night are Texans, too. As ugly as things are back home, Texas isn’t as unversally red as its gerrymandered politics makes it seem.

  150. @Josh Cochran

    Fair points all. In my lifetime I’ve seen many fights repeated, and I’m only a little younger than our host. But I look at the sweep of world history and, to paraphrase Don Hilliard’s Lenin quote, it’s pretty much ten steps forward, nine steps back. Even a broken Lenin was right twice a lifetime :)

    Also, while I’ve only lived in Texas for just under a decade, I’m engaged to a native Texan and we’ll likely make our home here in Austin for the foreseeable future, so I definitely share your commiseration about the hind-bound attitude towards women’s rights, particularly since I grew up in a lower-middle working class family.

  151. [Deleted again. Dude, coming on a thread twice to tell people who bored you are with the topic belies a certain interest, I would say – JS]

  152. @ Bearpaw: Interesting. In that case, can you give me any pointers on writing fundies? I am writing a book where one of the characters is a fundamentalist, and a major plot arc is her realizing that everything she knows is bullshit.

    @ Josh Cochran (plus Gulliver):

    [rant]

    Gerrymandering or no gerrymandering, there is a serious amount of crazy in Texas. Seriously, the governor can’t count to three and thinks that cutting the state firefighting budget as wildfires ravage the state is a good idea, you guys have at least one state legislator who thinks that rape kits somehow prevent pregnancy, and last but not least, Senator Ted “Asshole” Cruz, who thinks that Vietnam veteran and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is a North Korean spy.

    That’s a lot of crazy. All of which, by the way, is well-documented on the Internet. The Rick Perry stuff is on RationalWiki and endless reposts of the Daily Show, the rape kit story was on the Daily Kos earlier, and teh Cruzer got about a hundred NY Times articles devoted to the pure, refined stupid that spewed from his frothing lips during Hagel’s confirmation hearings.

    [/rant]

    Damn, that felt good. I’ve been needing to get that out for months.

    Important note: I am not claiming that all Texans are like the nutjobs that keep getting elected there. I am merely saying that, for the nutjobs to be elected, there must be a certain degree of nuttiness among the general population, and that they likely outnumber the Wendy Davises (and yes, I saw some of the footage and read countless articles about her filibuster, and yes, I loved it all).

  153. @MoveAlong:

    [Deleted for responding to something I’ve deleted – JS]

    @Bearpaw:

    The funny thing about the “it’s unnatural” argument is that when someone points out — as you do — that it actually *is* natural, the argument often immediately flips to “we should be better than animals”.

    +1. Isn’t it funny how folks who say GLBTI folks should sod off and die because they’re “unnatural” lose their enthusiasm for nature when you declare that you’re going to take a crap in the middle of their lawn, then come back to the parlour and see if you’re flexible enough to lick your arse in front of company? Seems to be perfectly natural conduct for every dog I’ve ever owned.

  154. @ Floored

    What makes you think we’re less aware of that insanity? Believe me, the “blue” Texans of the world know those problems and a thousand others, backward and forward. As frustrating as it is to see all that from the outside, imagine yourself with a generations-long, deeply vested personal stake in the place, and feeling powerless to change it.

    I’m not quite sure how to take your post. It sounds in places like you’re trying to offer proof, as though I’d think you were making it up or deny it. But that was the point of my initial comment about Texas. A huge part of my political discouragement (in my earlier response to Kat) is seeing what my home has become. I voted for the first time in the election that was the real turning point for Texas: Ann Richards vs GWB for Governor in 1994. The Way Things Are there is a big reason I’ve never tried to have my own family (my wife and our son) move back there. It’s so troubling because this is not always the way it was. I got a truly first-rate public education in Texas, but seeing how Bush, Perry, and Company have attacked public education, I couldn’t count on my son getting the same, even in the same schools I attended.

    And your last paragraph is dead on. There IS a lot of that nuttiness in a lot of the people there nowadays. But from the outside perspective, they’re nameless, faceless crazy people in another state. To me, they’re family members, old friends, people I went to school with, people I worked with, who almost to a person were not this way. The big mystery to me is how they went from ordinary folks to religious zealots and archconservatives between, say, high school and the Facebook age. It’s just not possible for me to give up on the people there completely. I spend a lot of time wondering what it would take to make them see the light…but I have yet to come up with an answer.

  155. @scorpius:

    I think you do the “other side” of this argument a disservice by oversimplifying their viewpoints. Like I said, I’m on Scalzi’s “side” on this, but I still listen to, respect and am even swayed to some degree by the arguments of “the other side”.

    Except the specific argument you brought up (and which we’ve had a two-strike wave-off from) is really nonsense? You might also want to keep in mind that all this might be little more than an intellectual game to you, but I find it rather hard to show any patience towards (let alone respect for) any more people who equate my life (and other people’s families) to child molestation and pretty much every kind of perversion you care to imagine. It gets tiresome quicker than you might think.

  156. @ Josh Cochran: Thanks for the compliment! My only advice is to hope that something changes soon, and that someone who doesn’t gut education becomes governor.

    As for how reasonable people become crazed zealots…I have no idea. Some comparison to Islamic radicalization and Wahhabiya zealots (the fundamentalist Sunnis who included bin Laden) is probably a good starting point for discussion, but otherwise I am mystified.

  157. @Floored: There isn’t really one single answer, but a place to start to understand religious fundamentalism in America is by researching the term Great Awakening. There’s a certain degree of cyclicity to these things.

  158. @cranapia,

    but I find it rather hard to show any patience towards (let alone respect for) any more people who equate my life (and other people’s families) to child molestation and pretty much every kind of perversion you care to imagine.

    Most of those opposed to gay marriage actually don’t compare it to child molestation, that’s simply what the Left wants you to believe. So they can defeat their enemies (and they really do think of them as “enemies” rather than “opponents”) without coming up with a rational and consistent argument.

    Lies and distraction is how the President and the Left wins these days, just look at the horrid IRS scandal.

  159. Lies and distraction is how the President and the Left wins these days, just look at the horrid IRS scandal.

    Yes, it’s pretty horrid that Republican Congressman Darrell Issa–the man who lied about how far he claimed the scandal went–requested that the IRS Inspector General to limit their examination to conservative groups, and where it’s now revealed that both liberal and conservative groups (and some that were neither) were investigated. Sure sounds like the someone needs to be investigated for taxpayer fraud and attempting to influence an ongoing investigation through lies and distraction, only it’s the Congressional GOP and the right, so thanks for reminding us!

    Most of those opposed to gay marriage actually don’t compare it to child molestation, that’s simply what the Left wants you to believe. So they can defeat their enemies (and they really do think of them as “enemies” rather than “opponents”) without coming up with a rational and consistent argument.

    Except for the 2nd runner-up in the GOP Presidential primaries and his 3.5m supporters, one of the largest “traditional marriage” groups (including the 3rd runner-up and his 2.5m supporters), the biggest talk radio host and his 14m listeners, the management of another “traditional marriage” group and their 3.5 million subscribers, and one of the most popular pundits on Fox News and his 3m viewers. And that’s just the big ones! But that’s just a tiny minority of almost 30 million, right?

  160. Most of those opposed to gay marriage actually don’t compare it to child molestation, that’s simply what the Left wants you to believe.

    No, Scorpius. I’ve had people say exactly that to my face, so it would be really excellent if you tried being a little less condescendingly man-splainy. One reason why “the Right” doesn’t get much respect from me these days is because they routinely lack the courage – and baseline integrity – to own their own words and actions.

  161. @ Gulliver: I presume you mean the First Great Awakening. ;)

    That was a reaction to decreased confidence in the Puritan churches of the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies, though, and those earlier Puritan groups bear all the hallmarks of modern Falwellian/Robertsonian Christofascists. Maybe fundamentalism is a feature of religion in general…

    Anyway, that’s enough philosophy for me for one day. i’m going back to obsessively waiting for “The Mallet of Loving Correction”.

  162. @cranapia,

    I said “most”. I’ve known gay men explicitly interested in pedophilia (they’ve said so to my face right before I dropped them as a friend/acquaintance) yet I know the near infinitesimally small size of that sample of gay men (even though it’s over 10) is not representative of all or even most gay men (or even of 99% of).

    You can’t infer to the majority based on the small minority of people you’ve known of that set.

  163. Lies and distraction is how the President and the Left wins these days, just look at the horrid IRS scandal.

    You mean the one where they didn’t actually deny a single group their tax emption? The one where they used keywords to search for progressive groups as well? Yeah, I thought so.

    The number of major figures on the right who’ve tried to make a connection between gay marriage and pedephilia is long and growing longer. Trying to pretend that it’s all a bunch of leftist lies is disingenuous..

  164. We’re really going very far off topic here, people. Reel it in or face the Mallet. If I hadn’t been traveling earlier today, there’s a bunch of stuff that would have been malleted already.

  165. OK, new topic. I’ve said for a long time that gay marriage, and gay adoption, are going to “mainstream” gay people. Meaning that you’ll have Bob and John and their 2 children (and dog) moving to the suburbs. With Bob working 40+, Bob spending the weekends mowing the yard and working on the house while John cleans the home and cooks. With Bob and John attending PTA meetings, neighborhood meetings and worrying about little Johnnie’s and Beth’s college fund. With them attending block parties in khakis and polo shirts there’s only the next, logical step:

    They’re going to become Republicans. Oh, sure they won’t ALL become Republican; but the shift in the percentage of gays who do will be significant.

    To the sadness of both parties. ;)

  166. @rochristr, I think what you’re hearing is the collective wail of a contraction in the job market. Now that marriage equality is pretty much inevitable, what is there for a former NOM intern or a FRC blurb-writer to do? My prediction is that they’ll move on to (more) attacks on the transgendered, but that really doesn’t have the same, fearmongering fundraising potential.

  167. “Since homosexuality is clearly a beneficial and natural phenomenon”

    Beneficial? Just throwing lines out there like that does not make them true.It is beneficial to the one who is engaged in such things on their own free will. But not beneficial to society or humanity, at least no more so than one’s desire to marry a blonde. So please quit trying to glorify it as some significant thing for mankind…..

    As for natural or not, I have no idea. Darwin is either wrong or it is not natural, rather a preference. Either way I don’t care but let’s employ logic and stop trying to justify it with hokey statements. It is what it is and people should not care.

  168. @RimRider, I believe the entire point was mockery of the arguments about same-sex couples being “unnatural” and somehow thwarting evolution. There probably are a few people who really do believe gay is inherently better, but thankfully they don’t show up here much.

  169. Man-splaining and straight-splaining really are exactly the same, aren’t they?

    Intersectionality: it’s a true thing, people.

    @Floored, I’m glad you didn’t have to spend 2 whole weeks in the bug-ridden wilderness.

    I continue to be gleeful about the ruling. I know we have much farther to go, starting with getting gay marriages covered under full faith and credit, as well as getting the fookin idjit states to stop making it legal to fire someone just for being gay.

    It’s a hopeful sign that the young’uns are increasingly less likely to have the “ew, ick” factor.

    @sorcharei: I’m guessing you and I are of a similar age, and honestly, WORD. Everything you said.

  170. Scorpius, I believe that gay people (or anyone else for that matter) will declare themselves Republican when it matches the majority of their political beliefs. From what I have observed of Republican rhetoric over the last few years, I do not expect a vast sea change in the near future.

  171. Gulliver: Well no, I’m not having a dystopian vision. Demographics what they are, down the road, the politics are likely to improve in the U.S.. Right now, we have fewer and less violent wars and less violent crime globally, so barring unforseen cataclysms, I don’t see those future demographic changes disappearing.(Although there are several potential cataclysms that don’t have bad odds.)

    But right now, during my daughter’s lifetime, a version of dystopia is already here. We’re living in it and if you move to Texas, you get a front row seat of the U.S. category, even as Texas purples slowly. Due to gerrymandering, voter suppression and other tactics, extremist wingnuts hold office and make the laws that are running our lives. And the battle against it will be bloody and long and nasty, and a big problem with it is inertia and a global media that doesn’t give a fuck. And the environmental damage has already been done. The ocean ecosystems are pretty much dead: http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=3253 for instance. Authoritarians have set up fiefdoms in places like Wisconsin and Greece that are largely going unchallenged while they change the laws, throw people in jail and steal stuff. I don’t have to predict nasty stuff. There’s always nasty stuff. But right now the nasty stuff is running the U.S.

    The issue is that we have people with billions and running global corporations that are giant free-floating countries who do believe in dystopian visions and that they are a good thing to control the labor forces on the planet. They work very hard to enact these visions, and even if they don’t entirely succeed, the damage again is here and will extend the main part of my daughter’s life. And social conservatives and other authoritarians pursue a dystopian vision that has already stripped out civil rights.

    There will be marriage equality in the U.S. But it will be ten to twenty years of hard fighting — a generation more at the least. And black people in the U.S. are in crisis, facing situations worse than they’ve had since the 1960’s even before the VRA gutting. In some states, women are legally the property of the state government. And nothing but slogging court battles will change any of it. So forgive me if I am not thrilled with the state of things today. It’s the joyful dystopians who are coming after us, not the other way around. And Lenin was an idiot. It’s only one step forward because we let it be. There are a lot of people working to make it more than one step forward net gain. But we’re not exactly a real democracy right now, and the way is perilous.

  172. @Kat Goodwin
    ” Right now, we have fewer and less violent wars and less violent crime globally”

    What planet do you live on? Do you have the vaguest idea concerning what you are talking about? Or are you all about your intellectual superiority and what you believe the ideal utopian society should be about.
    “…less violent wars…”, spoken like somebody who doesn’t have a fucking clue.

  173. When it comes to homosexuality, it’s a natural phenomenon. It occurs in nature and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about penguins or humans. It may even be beneficial from a survival point of view in certain circumstances. But, when it comes down to the ‘perpetuating the species’ it’s kind’a of hard to see homosexuality as beneficial except in very limited and unusual circumstances.

    In a liberal, first world society, who does what to whom in the bedroom and, who wants to marry who… hey, whatever works.

  174. SMC: “What planet do you live on? Do you have the vaguest idea concerning what you are talking about? Or are you all about your intellectual superiority and what you believe the ideal utopian society should be about.
    “…less violent wars…”, spoken like somebody who doesn’t have a fucking clue.”

    Sigh. There are these people called scientists and political scientists, like the one I’m married to, and international research organizations, and they do studies, collect data and, you know, present FACTS that do show a decline of violence and war statistically since the 1950’s and violent crime in the U.S. since the 1980’s. So maybe you might want to do a basic Net search, asshole, before you troll someone. I can’t help it if all you do is watch Murdoch’s propaganda channels. Here are some links from the actual planet, the one that I live on and actually have a fucking clue about, unlike yourself. Which is not a matter of intellectual superiority or utopian philosophies (I hate utopians thanks,) but of simply paying attention:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/22/world-less-violent-stats_n_1026723.html

    http://www.wanttoknow.info/g/violent_crime_rates_reduction

    http://www.hsrgroup.org/human-security-reports/20092010/overview.aspx

    http://www.internationalpeaceandconflict.org/forum/topics/interview-joshua-goldstein-author-of-winning-the-war-on-war?xg_source=activity#.Uc0NHZx7qUM

    http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/ud/kampanjer/refleks/innspill/engasjement/prio.html?id=492941

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-decline-of-violence

    That doesn’t all mean, however, that I am sanguine about the legal and other battles for civil rights being waged in our country and elsewhere, and how people, including people I love, are hurting. Which is why I’m glad DOMA and Prop 8 are struck down, but I’m not jumping up and down thinking everything is peachy now for marriage equality or anything else.

  175. Kat: ” Right now, we have fewer and less violent wars ”

    I… uhm… what???

    The US supported Saddam in the 80’s because they were afraid Iran would win the Iran/Iraq war. (the Iran/Iraq war killed about a quarter million civilians total) We were afraid of Iran because of the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis. We got the Iranian Revolution and theocracy because of the Shah’s brutal dictatorship. And the US put the Shah in power by overthrowing a democratically elected government of Iran in ’53. And the US/CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran because they were going to kick out British Petroleum and BP talked to MI6 who talked to the CIA.

    THen if you move forward from the 80’s, support for Saddam flipped when he invaded Kuwait. (US policy was to keep oil supplies in the mid-east fractured, and keep the controlling countries as weak as possible) A decade or so of sanctions killed probably at least a hundred thousand Iraqi civilians. And the invasion and occupation probably killed another two hundred thousand Iraqis.

    Then if we go back to 1979, Carter started dumping guns into Afghanistan to start a rebellion against the soviet occupiers. Reagan got credit for giving stinger missiles to Bin Laden’s buddies. THe war from ’79 to ’89 caused about a million civilian deaths, a couple million civilian wounded, many millions of civilian refugees.

    When the Soviets pulled out, in ’89, the US dropped interest in Afghanistan completely, and the Taliban and various warlords filled in the power vacuum. And Bin Laden and Al Queda set up camp there. Which lead to 9/11. ANd then the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Which has killed probably ten thousand civilians.

    So, that’s roughly 1.5 million dead civilians in the last three decades.

  176. To the Holder of the Mallet of Loving Correction:

    Yes, I was troll with my posts.

    So, no more comments. I will let the readers go back through the earlier posts and decide how many variations of “traditional marriage” are unacceptable to the supporters of same-sex marriage.

    Besides, wasting my time on blog postings is cutting into my summer reading. I went to the library this afternoon to find the next item on my summer reading list: Animal Farm.

  177. @ Kat Goodwin:
    “””And Lenin was an idiot.”””

    Er…no. He was an idealist, which can have similar effects, and an ideologue (ditto), but he was a reasonably competent leader and enough of a realist to see that hard-line Communism sucks in practice. His New Economic Policy (government control of big business, especially manufacturing, combined with privately-owned food production) had the USSR’s economy on the upswing, until Stalin burned it all to hell with his idiotic collectivization program.

    @ Greg, Kat Goodwin, SMC, et al:

    Hey, maybe we should tone it down a little, before the Esteemed Wielder of the Mallet of Loving Correction knocks us into next Saturday? Because you guys seem to be starting a giant fight over a very small distinction and a poor choice of words (“less violent war” doesn’t sound quite right). Maybe you guys should go and reread “Fuzzy Nation”, as I will, and come back later with clear heads. And please stop insulting each other. Save that for the genuine trolls.

    *obligatory begging of Scalzi to please, please bring back John Perry for “Human Division” season 2*

  178. PrivateIron: “Very happy with the result. So much resolved, but so many problems left. Because states can still refuse to recognize out of state marriages, I imagine my sister still worries everytime she travels outside of the Freedom Zone.”

    It’s amazed me to have discovered (in the past week) just how swiss-cheesy the Full Faith and Credit Clause is, when it comes to marriage. I can’t imagine how many families don’t realize it until the legal sh*t hits them in the face.

  179. Estimated Deaths in World War I: 37 million

    Estimated Deaths in World War II: 60 million

    Estimated Deaths in Korean War: 2.6 million.

    Estimated Deaths in Vietnam War: 5 million.

    So yeah, less violent is probably wholly accurate – less people are killed and less infrastructure is destroyed. I think people underestimated how insanely surreally destructive war in the first half (or three quarters) of the twentieth century was.

    Simply by dint of massive wealthy countries not throwing their full military weight at each other, the wars that have occurred post Vietnam aren’t on the same scale. Beyond that, we have also gotten better at killing people precisely.

  180. Kilroy said:

    “. . . you don’t have to sleep with someone to be gay.”

    Well, I suppose not. But sleeping with someone, a certain someone anyway, sure makes me happy!

  181. @Floored: Lenin was a fool, but no idiot (literally someone incapable of functioning in public life). If you enjoy biographies, Robert Service has one of Lenin which I recommend:

    But be warned that this is neither a history of the October Revolution nor early Russian communism, but of the figure who was largely the fulcrum for both. There’s a trend these days of biographies based partially on persona correspondence (David McCullough’s John Adams is probably the most famous recent example). Some readers don’t care for this, but I rather find it insightful given the lack of time or access to do such research myself.

    Always a pleasure to meet a fellow history buff :)

    Back to you regularly scheduled thread and thanks to our host for his momentary indulgence.

  182. I’m entitled to my own opinion of Lenin, thanks, Floored. Gulliver brought him up and I was explaining that I don’t think he was a very astute person and that the quote of his isn’t that relevant to the topic, in my opinion. You can disagree, of course.

    As for SMC, that person decided to take advantage of Scalzi being at an event and it being late to troll attack and derail the thread. He lashed out at a casual comment of mine that was there mainly to point out to Gulliver that I did not actually view the globe as descending into apocalyptic war, and which had little to do with the thread topic. Ordinarily I would have left it for Scalzi to handle, but since he’s absent, I decided to squash the derailment by simply providing the factual data. I have no plans to engage further with SMC about this or other things.

    The factual data is simple: global war and violence of war have declined; violent crime has declined in the U.S. Why war and violent war declined — U.N. efforts, increase in democracies and sort of democracies, etc. — is a subject much studied and debated by scientists and social scientists because that’s what science does. It is a major issue in the field of Security Studies. But the actual data they are studying is not disputed and anyone can click on those links to learn more about the data. And other horrible things, like human trafficking, have increased.

    We think there’s more war recently because the corporate and conservative media doesn’t bother reporting on every conflict, especially in the past. The Internet has made more information about conflicts available to people and in their awareness, the media does go after sensationalism, and America has been involved in a number of high profile conflicts in the past two decades, as well as 9/11. This all feeds into cognitive bias that goes against the actual numbers.

    We see the same thing with marriage equality and gay rights. The beating death of a gay man in Manhattan gets a blip of a mention by the media whereas having extremist nutballs on news shows to call gays pedophiles is nearly constant. So naturally lots of people believe there isn’t any violence against gays and that gay people explaining the dangers they live with are lying.

    That’s why again while I’m happy about Prop 8 and the partial striking of DOMA, the prospect of a bloody legal fight for the next couple of decades does not fill me with joy — a fight we would not have without authoritarians in office. And I don’t agree with Gulliver that we should be all thrilled with tiny progress when there are wrecking Godzillas running the country. Like this one: http://www.salon.com/2013/06/28/penn_lawmaker_blocked_from_doma_speech_because_of_gods_law/ It’s easy to brush these off. But these are the people making the laws that can put you in jail.

  183. @Floored @ Bearpaw: I’ll just hit back with a “So how is heterosexuality “better” than homosexuality?

    As I understand it, because when we have sex, we risk pregnancy, which makes the sex super sexy. Or something like that.

    At that point in the sermon, I started thinking about the hottie I had a teenaged crush on giving me a blowjob instead, and I missed the rest of what the priest was saying.

  184. The factual data is simple: global war and violence of war have declined

    Yeah, it resembles the late 19th century in that regard. The first half of the 20th century was something of an outlier in terms of war deaths so it’s hard to tell whether now is just a return to (something like) normal, or a genuine shift in the way war is fought.

  185. @Kat Goodwin

    I’m entitled to my own opinion of Lenin, thanks, Floored. Gulliver brought him up…

    Minor correction: Don Hilliard quoted Lenin and I casually riffed off that. I think Lenin was, at political maneuvering, very astute, but I think he was a socioeconomic fool and that he badly underestimated Stalin. Anyway, it wasn’t my intent to dispute your opinion and I agree it’s irrelevant to this thread.

    And I don’t agree with Gulliver that we should be all thrilled with tiny progress when there are wrecking Godzillas running the country.

    Yeah…that’s not what I said. If you knew the stories I’ve written set over the next two centuries, thrilled would not be the word anyone would ascribe to my outlook. I just don’t think we’re backsliding “into a high tech, environmental dead zones version of the Middle Ages” – or, rather, the high tech and environmental catastrophe yes, but not the Middle Ages. Specifically, I have strong doubts that the new feudalism (which already has it’s nose in the tent) will be able to control the sociological and technological forces of this century. Which doesn’t mean they can be written off; their impact can still have tremendous influence on whatever ultimately emerges from their loss of control, and that result could be better or worse. Anyway, I respect your opinions and expectations and, to quote Casey Stengel, I never make predictions, especially about the future.

  186. @Kat Goodwin: May I refer you to the following by another sometime poster hereabouts, the lovely and talented (and Hugo-winning, and just generally Damn Nice Person) Ursula Vernon, with her recent essay “Rain On My Parade And I Will Cut You”:

    http://www.redwombatstudio.com/blog/?p=5562

    While I realize that this may be the classic Appeal to Authority – since she’s an insanely talented artist and writer who has a Hugo, and I’m not, I don’t and probably never will – I still think nevertheless that she’s got it right.

    As I noted here before (multiple times, and possibly to exhaustion/annoyance), I’m a gay, white, single, ex-military guy. with no marital prospects at the moment…but a small bit of Hope.

    I am cheered by the fact that this conservative Court managed to find in itself the guts to redress a stupid and reactionary law that fouled our Nation by its passage. I am cheered by the fact that the same Court threw out a stupid and even more reactionary State law that no one except its instigators could find it reasonable to defend.

    Things ain’t necessarily going to be easy from here – but on my part, they just got a LOT more easy than they’ve ever been, from then ’til now.

    Your fights are important to you, My fights are important to me Time for both of us to drop the “I/me/mine” bullshit and go for the same fucking target. It’s probably not the same target either one of us ever aimed for…but it’s a helluva lot better than we reasonably expected.

  187. Don Hilliard: Point taken. (Although it was reasonably expected that the Supreme Court would rule the way it did on both; it just wasn’t sure.) I think we have a certain amount of shock whiplash going on, but I am very happy at the positive developments, I do believe we’ll get there on marriage equality, and I’m proud of Wendy Davis, Leticia Van de Putte, and the others who fought so hard and made a wonderful stand. And congrats to Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, who were the first to marry in San Francisco when the stay was lifted!

  188. @mythago: It’s sort of amazing the lengths to which so many social conservatives will go to infringe on the liberties of others when they themselves gain nothing beyond their satisfaction in oppressing others. This is why I don’t understand why fiscal conservatives don’t give social conservatives the shove off; the latter waste resources on economically meaningless fights.

  189. Because A) most fiscal conservatives are also social conservatives; and B) those who aren’t find social conservatives who are devout very easy to fleece of money and those who are simply opportunist social conservatives are very useful in blocking the opposition, repressing and controlling the labor force partly through the removal of civil rights, and privatizing government assets so they can swoop them up. (See Wisconsin.) There are reasons that the Southern Strategy worked and continues to work and it goes for gays and women too. Far from wasting resources and money, the fights of social conservatives send money right into businesses and conservative groups’ pockets and keep people focused on those battles and not the fiscal theft arrangements they are making. (What it all does to the government and the working economy they don’t care.) Right now, groups like NOM are thrilled with the Supreme Court decision on Prop 8 and DOMA because they were losing funding and now the money will pour in for one last long gasp. And most of that money will go missing, I’m sure. But every time “social” conservatives “infringe” and go to war, it’s exceedingly useful for “fiscal” conservatives. Right now, the conservatives are arguing over who gets what cut of power and moolah, but the goal remains the same and united.

    You remember, for instance, when Billy O. was so sure that the “fiscal” conservatives had abandoned Todd Akin in the wake of his rape pregnancy comments and their strong words of censure in the national election, that they’d cut off funding, and that he’d be kicked off the nomination. I bet him that not only would Akin not lose the nomination to run, but that the conservatives would turn around and restore him funding once the furor died down. Which is exactly what happened. They really don’t give a crap.

  190. @Kat Goodwin: Oh, I understand that the politicians, GOP and many national conservative groups are cynical power-mongers. And while I can’t really claim to be surprised by it, I remain ever amazed at how fiscal conservative voters continue to believe that social conservatives favor small government. It’s like believing the ocean is dry. Then again, liberal voters continue to believe the Democratic party is liberal, despite the fact that both they and the Roblicrats must be fought tooth and nail for every concession to civil rights. Reality seems to be negotiable in politics.

  191. Gulliver: I remain ever amazed at how fiscal conservative voters continue to believe that social conservatives favor small government. … Then again, liberal voters continue to believe the Democratic party is liberal,

    First of all, I vote Democrat, but I don’t think the current administration is liberal. I think Obama is probably one of the nicest moderate-right-of-center presidents we’ve had in a long while.

    But I voted for Obama because the only real alternative was Romney-bot was far-right-wing insane. And third party voting is pointless in the American voting system. It’s called strategic voting. And anyone who says you shouldn’t strategic vote in American presidential elections is a liar and possibly a fool.

    I assume that quite a large percentage of fiscal conservatives voting for social conservatives falls into the same line of thinking. The social conservative is seen as closer in political posiiton than then democrat candidate, therefore the fiscal conservative votes for the social conservative as a strategic vote.

    Granted there is also tribalism at play as well. But really, if you talk to most fiscal conservatives in america, they generally track closer to social conservatives than the democrat candidate.

    The only people who think this isn’t true are third party voters. Third party voters generally think that voting third party in an American presidential election will somehow “stick it to the man” and third party voters think that if people would just figure this out, they would all “stick it to the man”. The problem is that reality shows that for most americans, the closest presidential candidate closest to their personl political position is one of the two main parties.

    I am a strong supporter of concdercet voting (instant runoff) for presidential elections, but I dont support it because I think it will radically change the political position of americans. I support it because it will demonopolize some of the monopolization of power that the Democrat Party and Republican Party as political engines have.

  192. Gulliver: “how fiscal conservative voters continue to believe that social conservatives favor small government.”

    They don’t believe that social conservatives favor small government. The fiscal conservative voters don’t believe in small government. They believe in small government for other people and things that they don’t like. Those fiscal conservatives who are not also social conservatives vote for social conservatives because they don’t care what the social conservatives do on social conservative issues and they don’t care what they do on fiscal issues either, as long as they are no tax Republicans. It’s about money, or the perception of money. The anti-gay rights movement has made a boatload of money for fiscal conservative politicians, lobbyists, etc., and allows them to raid state treasuries and state assets, while repressing labor and wages. Even if they lose the gay rights battle — which they don’t care about, it’s pretty much a win-win for them in the bank columns. Civil rights issues are never just about civil rights. They are “wedge” issues used to wedge open the coffers.

    As for liberals believing that the Democratic party is liberal — no, really no. If that was the case, Gore would have been president. You’re confusing liberals pushing to advance liberal positions within the party with beliefs in party alliance. The Democratic party is a coalition ranging from liberal and progressive to what would have once been considered moderate Republicans. That being said, the Democratic party public agenda is mainly liberal and supportive of civil rights, even if its politicians aren’t always, and when the public communicates enough support for civil rights issues, Democratic politicians feel safer backing them up. Gay rights in the U.S. have advanced on the basis of a triad: gathering visible and polling public support, gays coming forward and filing lawsuits challenging the unconstitutional laws, and the military desperately needing all the qualified people they can get and so backing up gay servicepeople (despite the evangelized Airforce) which allows pressure to be put on the federal government as a whole.

  193. @Kat Goodwin: While I agree with the majority of your last, I gotta ask: where is this business of an “evangelized Airforce” (sic – the proper term is Air Force, or USAF, as I know from having served in it) coming from?

    Having done some research out of curiosity, I have found nothing dating later than 2005, except for a few hair-on-fire claims from conservative Christian websites that the DoD is somehow threatening Christianity by specifically stating that proselytizing by chaplains – with the intent of “converting” members of other faiths, Christian or otherwise – is NOT ON.

    Yes, the Air Force Academy is located in the same area as James Dobson’s idiots (or as they’re generally known in my circle, “Focus On Your Own Damn Family”.) Yes, the cadets there probably get hit with more than their share of evangelical Christianity when out in the town, and yes, probably a majority of them come from conservative and religious pasts. But even those whom four years’ worth of schooling can’t teach to think for themselves are nowhere NEAR the full strength of that service, nor any other underDoD.

    Want some background? (This is “anecdata”, since it comes from my own experience from 1989-1993, with some extensions because I do pay attention, so take it as you will – but do realize that I was smart, a journalist and a trained observer.)

    – My chief training instructor in Basic (female, NCO at the time, and officer when she served as one of the “tiger team” investigating sexual harrassment issues at the Air Force Academy years later) had a rule shared by many other training instructors: if you didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, you got about two hours (the time it took the religious members of your flight to march to the church, attend services, and march back) on the squadron ‘patio’ – a small cement enclosure with pop and candy machines, pay-phones and newspaper vending machines. There was a sense of fairness, even in (most of) those a-holes in the campaign hats. Some of them were religious, most of them weren’t.

    Once in “the real Air Force” – i.e., not what we’d been put through in boot – the religiosity went further down. I will admit that I served in an occupation – broadcaster and journalist – that didn’t attract people with little ability for critical thinking. (We had one or two who couldn’t get their head around the gay thing when DADT went through – one of them in my experience at least was warned off with a flat “If you fuck with this airman i will PERSONALLY blow your limited career to Hell-and-gone” – but in the main we got to continue doing our friendly sparklepony stuff.) But my opinion as a trained observer is that for most members of the various services, the issue never mattered. (And matters still less, 20+ years on.)

  194. And following on, given my job: early on in my career, Armed Forces Television bought (in a moment of stupidly/uninformed-ness) an Evangelical-produced cartoon for Sunday mornings that showed Jesus (good guy) versus an uncomfortable number of hook-nosed, scheming, ratty-assed Jews.

    That lasted about three weeks, given the distribution of the era. The Armed Forces Chaplains’ Board said “What The Holy Fuck Is This?” and trashed it. With good reason.

    From experience, the US military are a reflection of the public…only a bit in advance (for good or ill.)

    Don’t ever make the mistake of assuming that those serving in uniform are unlike you…or beneath you.

  195. @DAVID: No patronizing intended nor extant. Reading the article you linked, it is VERY much a 50/50 argument. Yes,there are people in the US military that will abuse their rank to advance their personal political/religious position. The worst I’ve encountered was a Korean-American, right-wing, converted-Muslim little tick of an Annapolis Navy officer who used his position to slam a) Jews,b) Democrats and c) the Japanese.

    (Srsly: I and the other former Navy/US Armed Forces people in his class both slammed him to the wall in person, and went to his USN commanding officer to shut down the crap he was spewing in class. We succeeded under the Hatch Act. We shouldn’t have had to do it in the first place.)

    And in my (limited) experience – that shit don’t fly, regardless of religion. Yes, it flies under the radar for a while…but it finally draws notice. And it gets hammered.

    As it should. I will freely admit that the US military tends toward Christian (and Cathoilc in the case of the US Marine Corps, a fair number of whom I served with in my time) – but that’s nowhere near the all, nor the thrust of it. (Shit, I know one past USAF troop who was the first, AFAIK, to have ‘Wiccan’ put on her dogtags.)

    For the rest, @DAVID, I will say only this: I will never discount the experience of a person – male, female, gay, straight, black, Asian, Latino, whatever – who served their country. But, as a fellow veteran, I would like to hear it from them – OK, I don’t mean directly into my ear, that would be mostly ridiculous (though I’ve heard stories that I totally believe by that path) – as opposed to a conflation of “someone said that…”

    I’m an old sergeant. If you’re going to argue my experience, @DAVID, you better show me three stripes or better before you tell me I’m wrong.

  196. @Scalzi: Aw, crap. If you don’t find my comments on this topic useful or germane, Mallet ‘em by all means. No offense intended or taken.

  197. @Scalzi: But, if you’ll pause a moment (and yes, I admit this is esprit de’la escalier) – the US military, as I said, is in my experience a microcosm, and an advanced one, of the US public in general. I decided 20 years ago that what I saw in the USAF was at least 2 years in advance of what I would see in the US public…and I don’t see anything lately that contradicts that.

  198. I’m an old sergeant. If you’re going to argue my experience, @DAVID, you better show me three stripes or better before you tell me I’m wrong.

    I’m confused by this statement. Are you really saying that someone’s attained rank in the Armed Forces gives them the right to discount your lived experience, or even that rank makes any difference at all to such behavior?

    I think the lived experience of an individual shouldn’t be discounted or contradicted by any other person (even though, as you point out, it’s anecdata), and rank doesn’t make an exception to that.

    I know the person who wrote the Army Chaplain’s Manual (I may have the name wrong) chapter on Wicca, and she told me back in the 1980s (at a time, mind you, when you could be fired from almost any civilian job for admitting to being Wiccan) that soldiers were allowed to have Wicca on their dogtags and no one was supposed to bother them about it. It’s gotten worse and then better since then.

    To bring this back around to the DOMA discussion, I’ve been quite impressed by what I’ve heard from military friends (again, anecdata) since the fall of DADT. When the military turns, it turns on a fucking DIME. Gay students at West Point and Annapolis bringing their same-sex partners to the formal dances (I forget what they’re called) the very next year, coming out to their squadmates within DAYS of DADT falling and hearing nothing but “oh? OK”; one friend who said some fairly chip-on-the-shoulder stuff (“none of you had a problem with me before, and if you do now get ready for a fight”) and got only “chill, dude, nobody cares, we’re cool.”

    The returning-ship-first-kiss thing happened with a same-sex couple very shortly too.

    I expect DOMA’s fall will be as efficiently implemented in the mils. I don’t generally favor hierarchical, chain-of-command organizations, but damn they’re good at shifting policy.

  199. My fault, Scalzi, although again, it was a casual mention to mainly stop claims that the military isn’t working on supporting gay servicepeople on the grounds that the Air Force (and Academy) has had problems with religious discrimination and proselytizing, by my acknowledging that issue. And those problems have existed and do exist, DH, though they are working on them. (Again, political scientist husband who studies in this area.) Trying to sweep it under by claiming there’s a few bad apples doesn’t hunt, especially with all the cases that have come out. But in spite of that, the military’s support of gay servicepeople and willingness to remove the barriers even in the face of massive Republican Congressional objections has been a major third plank in the advancement of gay rights in the U.S. In general, the military has to be progressive in order to survive, unless the draft returns, and it is making valiant efforts, although it is really sucking at the issue of interior sexual assault of both men and women personnel, in my opinion. (And no, I don’t want to discuss it.)

    What is the situation now is a state-by-state battle that has better odds with some of the federal barriers removed, and the battle for California basically over (one hopes.) Energized by the court decision, anti-gay-rights groups can now raise another truckload of money, some of which they will pour into Oregon and New Jersey, etc. Chris Christie, having now established his federal bonafides by acting slightly less of a dick, is now back to full dickishness for the primary season by vowing to uphold social conservatism he doesn’t give a fuck about by fighting gay rights. My hope is that this is a giant nail in his coffin nationally though. Oregon’s currently got a Democratic governor and so there’s a shot. It’s just going to be horribly slow. But I do hope that there are a ton of great celebrations across the country for the true meaning of the 4th — all citizens having equal rights under the law — and for gay pride events. And I wish all of them safety.

  200. @Xopher – No. I was admittedly doing a bit of dick-swinging. As in, “If you are not a veteran, of my age or before – or even after – do not presume to judge one way or another. And if you do, you’d better be prepared to tell me to my face that I was somehow a lesser troop – and be aware that I know damn well that I wasn’t.” The “three stripes” is code.

    To you, petty perhaps…but to me, damned important. I hold two of the highest non-combat medals the Air Force gives out. I was damned good at my job, I was and am proud of what I did.

    Basically: I served for 4 years in the USAF, 1989 – 1993. During this time, “DADT” was passed by the Congress and the President.

    Even at that time, a large number of serving US troops really didn’t care about the sexual orientation of their fellows. I may not be the best example, but I would say that at least 40% of my unit knew or at least suspected that I was gay after DADT was passed – and DID NOT CARE. One or three senior Sergeants suspected or knew – and did not care. (Although one – and I can understand his adherence to the regulations at that time, though I won’t commend him for it – more-or-less directly warned me against saying anything that he might have to take official notice of.) And, quite honestly, had my local or major command known, I’d have been out for good. (No pun intended.) I will say, though, that I seriously doubt that the Air Force is more “evangelical” now than during my service, particularly with what I’ve read

    Original point being that, as I said before, the military is often a good gage to what the US public will do – or at least accept – a few years later. Yes, some of the troops are stupid and homophobic – and I don’t think that’s gone away entirely even 20 years on – but I think it’s a lot lower proportion than even when I served.

    And finally, in the past year, the President and the Congress have lifted the law that said I wasn’t fit to serve my country – despite the fact that I did a fucking good job of it for four years.

    And now, in a fair number of States, I can get married to the guy of my dreams if I want to.

    (Except, er, the one I currently live in. But wait and hope.)

  201. I can give some insight into the tax question. My wife and I live in California and we were issued a license and actually got married before Prop 8 went into effect (I think the number of couples who got licenses at that time was 16K but I could be wrong).

    When it came time to file our taxes, we both filled out single federal forms and then Turbo Tax (yes, we used Turbo Tax. We’re lazy as sin) would generate a fake married federal form which we would then use for the state taxes. This next filing season, it’ll only be two forms which is a relief because I always ended up doing the taxes. Shirl would bring me food and drink and then retreat to the living room while I slogged through the process.

    Seeing DOMA and Prop 8 go down in flames actually didn’t hit me as much as the Voting Rights Act being gutted, if only because certain folks on the right had been gunning for it for the past few years. It leaves me with a gut churning feeling about how much harder it will be for certain groups (some of whom look like me) to jump through hoops to be able to exercise the right to cast a ballot without fear or coercion.

    And contrary to popular belief, when you can’t get to the place where you need to get something like a Voting ID because you don’t have transportation, can’t get off your job, or the number of places to get one have been reduced, or don’t have money for the cost, those are real barriers to voting. As are reducing the hours, closing polling places, and distributing false information about voting times and locations – all of which happened during the last election cycle.

    Sadly, I’m not holding my breath for people to be up in arms about the Voting Rights Act. I hope I’m very wrong about that.

  202. I’m an old sergeant. If you’re going to argue my experience, @DAVID, you better show me three stripes or better before you tell me I’m wrong.

    Oh, brother. The “If you haven’t served, you don’t know what you’re talking about” argument. Well, look, if you want to argue that your four years in the Air Force (which finished in 1993, as far as I can tell) trump Kat Goodwin’s husband, who studies the military for a living, and me, a military historian in my day job, that’s fine. I don’t find someone who left the USAF in 1993 necessarily a credible witness about its current culture, especially at the Air Force Academy, where the folks starting in the fall were born after you left the service.

  203. I will limit my comment to this:

    A. So glad you managed to restrain yourself.

    B. I made very clear in the original posts (i.e., putting the dates in in the first place, and also referring to my admittedly limited experience) that I only personally served for four years. (More like seven, but I don’t count the time on reserve.)

    C. Having been out of active service since 1993 does not mean that I haven’t maintained connections and traded information with the people I served with…several of whom are still in active service to this day either as senior NCOs or as officers, and every single one of whom was and is committed to equal treatment – and equal rights – of the airmen, sailors and soldiers they command, and have worked every day since 1993 or before to promulgate that. You may count or discount that as knowledge and experience as you will.

    And D: Tomorrow’s Independence Day, and I now have slightly more rights than I did 8 days ago. Off to enjoy that little victory.

  204. @Kat Goodwin: I don’t deny that those problems existed then and now. Having served during a time when a gay-bashing murder was covered up – later foiled by an intrepid Stars and Stripes reporter – by the Navy Criminal Investigative Service: unofficial motto at the time, “If you have a murder, we’ll be there in 2 days. If you think the perp’s a queer, we’ll be there in 30 minutes.”, I can’t watch any episode of the various NCIS series these days without remembering that and either sniggering or gagging.

    But, things have generally gotten better in those years since.

  205. Don: I imagine the climate between when you served and now is night and day better, yes. And my main point, again, was that the efforts of the military to advance the rights of their gay service people (and the understanding of most military personnel that a member being gay means diddley in them doing their jobs,) is one of the three major supports to the advancement of gay civil rights in general of the last ten years.

    But, that doesn’t mean we ignore things that have happened and the struggles of military personnel. The 2005 issue at the Air Force Academy was quite big and wide. Numerous military personnel have lodged complaints and talked about discrimination, harassment and proselytizing in branches of the military and particularly the Air Force — being forced or coerced to go to evangelical Christian events, being punished for refusing to do so, difficulties with advancement, etc. Just because the military is progressive and lets soldiers put “Wicca” on their dogtags doesn’t mean that Wiccan soldiers don’t run into problems and we should ignore the experiences of those who do. And the strong presence of conservative evangelicism in the Air Force command structure is well known in policy circles.

    Which is the only reason I mentioned it. I figured if I did not acknowledge it, that someone else might bring it up when I was talking about the military aiding the advancement of gay rights. And are they working on this issue? Yes, and on the issue of sexual assault which also concerns gay service people. And they’ve done it in the face of considerable opposition from authoritarian theocrats in Congress. But that doesn’t mean that everything is hunky dory now, and we shouldn’t pretend that it is. But because the military does hold to the actual Constitution in dealing with its personnel and their rights far more than many civilian organizations, the military in general has been since the draft was eliminated slowly progressive in civil rights. And that has certainly helped, especially in the last few years. It’s certainly better than what has occurred recently in Ohio, Texas and North Carolina.

    On a personal happy fan note, musician, actor, novelist John Barrowman (of Doctor Who, Torchwood and Arrow fame,) whom I adore, married his partner of twenty years, Scott Gill, in California, right before the 4th, now that Prop 8 is bye-bye. So I very much take the point of Ursula Vernon’s “Rain On My Parade And I Will Cut You,” that you rightly brought to my attention. Uphill as many rights battles including some issues in the military may still be, I wish sunshine and confetti for gay Americans, whether they ever plan to get married or not.

  206. @Kat Goodwin: I think you and I are very much of the same mind on 95% of this, as before.

    I think any expansion on that comment would be a derail that we’ve already been warned against, and I don’t want to put The Proprietor to any trouble or grief past what I’ve already managed. My e-mail is not difficult to find, if you want to discuss this further.

  207. And on a related but mostly frivolous note @ Kat: yes, John Barrowman is a total sweetheart. (And is more gooey about babies than 90% of the women I’ve known.) Good on him, and on Scott.

Comments are closed.