How to solve gay marriage


The chief justice of the State of Alabama, Roy S. Moore, aka Roy the Great and Powerful, has ordered — yes, ordered — the judges in every one of the 67 county probate courts in the Yellowhammer State (yeah, I looked that up) to disobey the order of a Federal District Court judge and refuse to “issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent” with state law.

State law in Alabama, you might have guessed, bans gay couples from getting married. Because Alabama. I’m guessing it also says something about Supreme Court chief justices acceding to the orders of federal judges and the U.S. Supreme Court judges who uphold those orders, but I could be wrong here. Because Alabama. Continue reading

And now a word from the other side

Supreme Court issues two illegitimate decisions on same-sex marriage (Brian S. Brown,

In the interests of fairness and balance, we offer this opinion from the president of the National Organization for Marriage.

I don’t agree with any of it, but it’s a reasonable opinion . . . or it was until I got to this:

First, a homosexual judge in a long-term gay relationship was assigned the case, and refused to disclose his relationship before declaring that marriage is unconstitutional. 

And that is just plain offensive. By Brown’s logic, a homosexual judge is incapable of making a fair and just decision on a case involving homosexuality. Would he say that black judges shouldn’t be assigned to racial cases? That religious judges shouldn’t be assigned to cases involving religion? Wouldn’t the same supposed bias be attributed to a heterosexual judge in this case?

Implying that the judge who ruled on this case was incapable of doing his job responsibly is an affront to the judge, the judiciary, the citizens of California and pretty much every other decent-thinking American.

That comment is a disgrace. Shame on the writer.

Game over


The old joke used to go, “I have no problem with gay marriage unless they make it mandatory.”

The old joke stands.

I’m straight. Can’t help it, I was born that way. But some people aren’t, and they were born that way, too. And whom they choose to love, and whom they choose to be their sex partners, is none of my damn business. And it most definitely is not my government’s business.

Opponents of gay marriage are adamant that their god intended marriage to be between a man and a woman. But that argument makes marriage a religious ceremony, and that has to be decided within their religion. Those opponents don’t have to morally accept  a marriage between two men or two women. But now they have to accept it legally. It’s the law.

As long as the government chooses to sanction marriage — and as long as it authorizes government employees such as judges and mayors and justices of the peace to engage in the act of marrying people — then it has to be fair. Same-sex couples are entitled to the same civil rights as opposite-sex couples.

Years ago, an editor at my workplace ordered that these unions be referred to as “same-sex marriages,” and not “gay marriages,” because he said it wasn’t about sex, it was about marriage. I disagreed. It was all about sex, I said. Opponents of gay marriage  wouldn’t give a damn if those married gays weren’t having sex.

I doubt you’ll find a single opponent of gay-marriage who is fine with gay sex outside of marriage. It is homosexuality that sets their hair on fire, not the notion of homosexuals getting married.

So today was a good day. The Supreme Court got it right. I would have preferred something more sweeping, something on the lines of Loving v. Virginia, but today’s rulings forbid the United States of America to discriminate against gay couples, and they make it much easier for gays to get married.

Thirteen states allow gay marriages now, and California’s addition to the club means 30 percent of Americans live in those states. And gays who don’t live in one of those states can travel out-of-state, get married, and be entitled to all federal benefits.

A majority of Americans now support gay marriage. Most polls show that young Americans overwhelmingly support gay marriage.

That sound you hear is the sound of dominoes falling. Another pillar of bigotry is crumbling at our feet.


Get the government out of the marriage business

The Supreme Court is going to rule very soon on the issue of gay marriage, and right now we can be certain of this much:

Roughly half the country is going to be very upset.

And understandably so.

If gay marriage is illegal, then it’s discrimination against gays. And discrimination is wrong. Just. Plain. Wrong.

But if gay marriage is legal, it’s an affront to a lot of people’s religious beliefs. And that’s wrong, too.

I am willing to accept the notion that marriage is a religious vow, and every church, mosque or synagogue has a First Amendment right to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Religious bigotry is none of the state’s business.

But once I accept that notion, I have to ask why the government is officially recognizing a religious rite.

How about we settle this dilemma once and for all by getting the government out of the marriage business?

You got married? Good for you. Have a ball. But your government doesn’t care. None of its business.

You want the legal rights of a couple? Get a civil union certification. And the government will not and cannot discriminate on issuing them. Two adults, legally united. Anyone may apply.

Get the married checkbox off the 1040. Require hospitals to allow visitation privileges only to blood relatives and persons in civil unions. Marriage does not give you the rights of survivorship. That requires a recognized civil union.

And there you have it. If gay marriage violates your religious beliefs . . . Fine. Don’t recognize a gay marriage. But you DO have to recognize a gay couple’s civil union. And their civil union will be the exact same one that straight couples must get in addition to their marriage certificate if they want to have the legal rights of a couple.

Basically, it’s time to end the marriage between church and state.

That wasn’t so hard, was it? Next crisis!

Must read 06/17/13

State photo-ID databases become troves for police. (Washington Post)

In many ways, this is much more disconcerting than the NSA data-mining “scandal.” Top of the website this morning:

The faces of more than 120 million people are in searchable photo databases that state officials assembled to prevent driver’s-license fraud but that increasingly are used by police to identify suspects, accomplices and even innocent bystanders in a wide range of criminal investigations….

The most widely used systems were honed on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq as soldiers sought to identify insurgents. The increasingly widespread deployment of the technology in the United States has helped police find murderers, bank robbers and drug dealers, many of whom leave behind images on surveillance videos or social-media sites that can be compared against official photo databases.

But law enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities.


Study finds supportive tilt to gay marriage coverage. (New York Times)

Tough call here. The piece points out:

The study lends credence to conservative charges that the nation’s news media have championed the issue of same-sex marriage at the expense of objectivity. Others have argued that news organizations are right not to overly emphasize opposition to what many see as a core civil rights issue.

And that’s what makes it a tough call. Would news coverage that tilted toward legalizing interracial marriage have been wrong? What about news coverage that tilted toward freeing slaves? We strive for fairness and balance, but does every issue require that each side get equal time?


Ohio police chief takes criminals to task online. (AP)

49,000 is about to multiply exponentially. What a fun story. Don’t be a mope:

KENT, Ohio (AP) — If you’re up to no good in this pocket of northeast Ohio, especially in a witless way, you’re risking not only jail time or a fine but a swifter repercussion with a much larger audience: You’re in for a social media scolding from police Chief David Oliver and some of his small department’s 49,000 Facebook fans.


Bloomberg plan aims to require food composting. (New York Times)

I’m sure the right will blast this as nanny-statism, and it’s seriously hard to imagine pulling this off in New York City, but . . . It really is a great idea. It will save money and it’s environmentally sound.

If composting can make it here, it can make it anywhere. It’s up to you, New York.