Random musings on whatever subject strikes my fancy, published every other day.

Tag: Marriage Equality Page 1 of 3

Ken Paxton Loves Left-Wing Bloggers Like Me

so smug!

Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, has been instructing county clerks across that state to disregard the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.  To disobey the law of the land.

“How can that be?”, you say.  “Isn’t he sworn to obey all laws?  Isn’t that the oath he took when he was admitted to the bar?”  Well, actually, no.  At least not from what I can discern in the plain meaning of the words of the New Lawyer Oath of the Texas Bar Association:

I, _______, do solemnly swear to support the Constitutions of the United States, and of this State; that I will honestly demean myself in the practice of law; that I will discharge my duties to my clients to the best of my ability; and, that I will conduct myself with integrity and civility in dealing and communicating with the court and all parties.  So help me God.

(Aside: isn’t it funny that this oath doesn’t mention Texas by name?  Did they just take some boilerplate from the ABA and slap it on their own letterhead?)

So “obey” is not mentioned, and “support” could just mean something like “cheer on,” right?  And “integrity” – well, what would a Ken Paxton know about that?  Not so much, it seems.  See, telling clerks that they should ignore a Supreme Court ruling is just part of a pattern of law-ignoring that seems to suit Ken’s personal style.  Today I found this gem:

Special prosecutors will ask a Texas grand jury as early as this month to indict the state’s attorney general on first-degree felony charges for suspected securities laws violations, one of the prosecutors said on Thursday.   A spokesman for Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who came to office earlier this year with strong Tea Party support, was not immediately available for comment.

Now, if Ken didn’t love me, why would he be so generous to me with material?

Why Conservatives REALLY Hate Marriage Equality

During the whole debate and the progress of the various legal cases, conservatives argued incessantly that gay marriage would damage if not destroy straight marriage. Obviously this is not true, but unless we assume that they are all drooling morons, why would they keep saying that?

In an awesome essay for TPM, Amanda Marcotte explains that “traditional marriage”, to these conservatives, means more than the correct combination of genders.  It means that a woman is not independent, but under the control of a man:

It’s true that women in modern society no longer feel like they have to be married to be granted entrance into adult society. Single women living by and supporting themselves is no longer considered scandalous. Marriage is, bit by bit, becoming more about a partnership between equals who choose each other for the purpose of love and happiness. Which means it’s becoming less about giving men control over women’s lives.

A disturbing theme runs through a lot of causes championed by the Right, and it is this: Men are supposed to be in control of women, especially their sexuality and their reproductive capacity. Since men cannot themselves make the next generation, they feel they must own the means of production. So “traditional marriage” doesn’t just mean with respect to the sexual binary. It also means that the female becomes subservient to the “leadership” of the male — “leadership” is a common euphemism among the religious right-wing for absolute male hegemony. 

The Biblical view of women as property that occasionally talks back is no accident; extreme religious men today view their wives’ opinions with some bemusement.  They know that they need to make sure their peaceful homes don’t fall prey to constant nagging, so they try to learn the tricks to keeping her quiet.  Where I come from, this is called shalom bayit – “the peace of the house.”  That sounds nice, but remember: that same culture calls the husband ba’al – “owner.”  The more you know.

Conservatives’ desire to control women explains their attitudes toward sexuality, birth control, sex education, equal pay, workplace diversity, and even rape.  It’s kind of scary how little is NOT explained by this framework.  Are we becoming conspiracy theorists?  It’s hard to be sure when everything fits the overall rubric so effortlessly.

The good news is that marriage is quickly losing this “control freak” quality.  For more and more couples, marriage is entry into a joyful partnership of equals and not the subservience of one to the other.  That’s why same-sex marriage had to become reality.  In Justice Kennedy’s description of what marriage is and why any couple should be allowed its benefits, he gave no comfort to the controllers and all to the partners. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”  Search in vain for any mention of who’s in charge.

“Who wears the pants in your family?” was the taunt hurled at men deemed insufficiently in control of their women.  Not all that long ago — in my lifetime! — this had a sting.  It was what they called “fighting words.”  That today it generates more confused looks than embarrassment and rage is a huge accomplishment for our society. 

Law of the Land?

A Supreme Court decision is the Law of the Land, unless Christian bigots dislike what the court says.

The Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, probably doesn’t really give a damn who marries whom.  But he’s no stranger to what works in Texas politics, and what works there is playing to the persecution myths of the white Christian heterosexual cis-gender males, the most grotesquely over-privileged group ever to walk the face of the earth.  In a press release he called Friday’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges “a judge-made edict that is not based in the law or the Constitution” and said it “diminishes faith in our system of government and the rule of law.”

Inevitably, this emboldened petty officials around Texas to disobey the law, and sure enough we have Hood County clerk Katie Lang saying she won’t issue any same-sex marriage licenses because “It’s my religious liberty, my belief in traditional marriage”.

Here’s what they don’t get.  And I see I am going to have to make this simple enough so that even stupid people like Paxton and Lang can understand it.  So I will take a cue from Randall Munroe of xkcd when he explained the Saturn V launcher that took us to the moon.  (I hope Paxton and Lang aren’t in denial about that, also.)  Munroe decided to use only the thousand – sorry: ten hundred – most common words to explain one of humanity’s most amazing technological accomplishments, and created a panel called Up Goer Five.   Along those lines:

When two people love each other they might want to share a home, they might want to share it for all of their lives. They might want a baby, or a few.  The state where they live likes this, because having families in the places where people live makes those places nicer.  So the state gives people who share this way some good stuff.  They are allowed to visit each other in the hospital, without being bothered.  They are allowed to pay less money to the state, and to have easier ways to make the papers for doing that. The state accepts less money because the people making a family help make the state a better place in ways money doesn’t help with.  Families, love and sharing are just good for the state and all the people who live there. 

Now, the people who say what’s allowed in all the states have said that no state can stop two people who want to love, share and make a family from doing that.  Even if the two people don’t fit the old idea of “one of them has to be a man and the other one has to be a woman.”  

Some people think a god will be angry about this.  But any people who care about what the god thinks are free to stick to the old idea when they make a family.

thanks to http://splasho.com/upgoer5/ for making that a lot easier than it might have been

At least Cleburne County (AR) Clerk Dana Guffey had the integrity to resign over this issue, rather than remain in office, refuse to do her job, and impose her religious bigotry on others.  Kudos to her for that.

DBAs take on Marriage Equality, or The Y2Gay Problem

A geekily-hilarious but also serious treatment of one of the least bigoted objections to the Marriage Equality decision of last Friday: the database administrators of the world now have hell to pay.


Of course, we live in the twenty-first century, and in the words of Eddie Izzard, “there’s gonna be a lot more guys with makeup during this millennium”. Basically what I’m talking about is your non-conventional people, your non-male-non-female folks. Just having sex as a “male or female” choice is as short-sighted as having “marriage” as a “husband or wife” choice. You may need something like:
- id
- forename
- surname
- birthdate
- sex_id (foreign key references column sexes)

- id
- partner_1_id (foreign key references column humans.id)
- partner_2_id (foreign key references column humans.id)
- marriage_date
- divorce_date (NULL if marriage not ended)

- id
- string
…where the latter table would contain such well-known sexes as “female”, “male”, “intersexed”, “not stated” and leave room for juggling later, since gender roles will doubtless become more non-trivial as time passes.
In fact, the whole “gender”/”sex” thing is more complicated than this. As we all (should) know, “sex” is a strictly biological term referring primarily to the shape of the organs between your legs while “gender” is more of a mental identity or social role term, so let’s include that too:

Yeah – go read the whole thing.  It’s actually all quite funny.

The Last Marriage Rally?

We attended the rally/celebration yesterday to celebrate the excellent outcome of Obergefell v. Hodges, confirming that the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law does indeed include LGBTQ people.

It would be easy to say, well, look at us 61 years after Brown v. Board of Education, and we still have to fight racism.  42 years after Roe v. Wade and we still have to fight for women’s autonomy over their own bodies.

But the reason we cite those landmarks is that they switched the game.  They each put the forces of regression and ignorance on the defensive.  Enlightenment took the high ground.  That doesn’t end the fight, but it gives the right side the advantage.

So was this the last marriage rally?  Probably not.  But all future rallies will be anchored in this position of strength and defending it, not clawing for something more from a position of having less.

It was a good week for the Supreme Court.  They found in favor of an expanded view of the Fourth Amendment and the Fair Housing Act.  They found the common sense to interpret the Affordable Care Act the way Congressmen all said they should, the only obvious way.

As a Facebook wag pointed out, it was a pretty lousy week to be an authoritarian racist homophobe who thinks poor people should be denied health care.  Because the week was capped off when Justice Anthony Kennedy, a man whose name has seldom been linked to the phrase “stirring prose”, wrote:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies
the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice,
and family. In forming a marital union, two people become
something greater than once they were. As some of
the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage
embodies a love that may endure even past death. It
would misunderstand these men and women to say they
disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do
respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its
fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned
to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s
oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the
eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.
It is so ordered. 
read the whole opinion here. I have to go now.  Someone’s chopping onions.

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