A Victory For Marriage Equality And A Long Road Ahead

The historic Supreme Court decision last week to overturn the ironically named Defense Of Marriage Act was a significant win for human rights. While it does not exactly bring marriage equality to the entire US, the ruling does set a wonderful human rights precedent. It will also have a very real impact on a lot of married couples who will now have the federal government recognize their spousal rights . . . if they are legally married within an equality state.

Unfortunately, while the number of Marriage States is still growing, the majority of the states are still dragging their heels. That includes my state, where same-sex marriage is still off the table. The knowledge that things will get better is only a small comfort, since there are people being denied their fundamental rights right now.

Still, this is a win. DOMA is dead, and couples all over the country will benefit, even if many of those benefits are mundane things—like filing taxes jointly.

The Supreme Court made a narrow ruling on Prop 8 (California’s now-dead ban on same-sex marriage), ruling that the case technically should not have come before them rather than ruling that they found fault with a voter referendum on whether or not fellow American citizens get all of their rights or not. It seems like a distant victory to many of us, but California is a populous state and people can resume having their rights to legally recognized marriages.

Which is really wonderful. Both were, for many Americans, largely symbolic victories. But while the Obama administration figures out exactly how to best recognize marriages on a federal level (there’s a lot involved and they’ll have to figure out how some things work), we’re all celebrating—and we should. Because this was a good thing. And we should celebrate now, because we have a lot more civil rights ground to cover for the LGBT community.

Also, here’s my favorite response to the ruling, which came from Logo’s own blog on Tumblr (as a gifset, but I’ve screencapped it to show you, here). It’s just . . . perfect.

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Majority Of US Catholics Support Marriage Equality

This news should not really be so surprising, should it? The US population is continuing to (slowly) grow more accepting of the rights of its citizens. Despite apparent backtracking in some places (states moving to restrict a woman’s right to choose and access to birth-control, a few states—including my own—passing measures opposing same-sex marriage instead of recognizing it), we are, as a group, moving forward.

And it would have been nice if this weren’t even an issue (when I was a child, I had no idea that same-sex marriages weren’t legally recognized), but it’s better late than never. It’s nice to see that American Catholics are taking the lead among US Christians. Which, if I lived in a purely theoretical world, would be surprising.

Thinking about things theoretically (and ignoring my life experience), I know that I would expect Protestant Christians to be more in favor of same-sex marriage than their Catholic counterparts. Roman Catholics get their . . . let’s call them “policy updates” . . . from the Vatican, and the Church has shown no ambiguity in their disapproval of marriage equality. They are not only opposed to same-sex marriages within their own institution, but to legally recognized same-sex marriage between non-Catholics, within other religious traditions or entirely secular.

The Vatican sets policy for Catholics worldwide and, one might think, all actual Catholics would abide by that. But we know that that is not the case. The Vatican is also opposed to almost all forms of birth-control. Meanwhile, a survey of US Catholics found that eighty-two percent of them believe that the use of birth-control is morally acceptable. The Catholics who have Weasley levels of children, and it is not intentional? Or the Catholics who “lapse” just enough to have premarital sex but who balk at using condoms? They’re the exceptions, not the norm.

That’s showing itself to be the case for marriage equality, and I am delighted. Perhaps it is because Catholics are more populous in urban areas of the US, where attitudes are generally more liberal (it’s not always as easy to label a minority group as scary or immoral when you live around a bunch of them and know it).

I am excited for a better future. Also, impatient for it. Let’s get everyone on board with marriage equality as soon as we can, okay?

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Superman: Not Having Orson Scott Card’s Anti-Gay Nonsense

This story, about Orson Scott Card signing on with DC Comics to be a recurring guest writer for a Superman comics series, was one of those posts that I kept putting off writing because I was sure that the story was going to develop. When it first struck my interest, it was just that many comic book stores were planning to boycott that specific title. Later, I read that the series lost its artist over the controversy. More recently, DC announced that it had put the project on hold.

This is good news.

I should explain, in case you’re wondering: “Who is Orson Scott Card?” or, better yet: “Wasn’t he that nice man who wrote Ender’s Game?”

Orson Scott Card is a writer. I really enjoyed reading Ender’s Game—as a ten-year-old, it was nice to read a book about a young, intelligent protagonist. The writer had clearly put a lot of thought into how young, highly intelligent children thought.

OSC is also a Mormon, and well-known for his strong anti-gay political views. Now, I once read an article suggesting that no one should avoid OSC’s work for his political commentary and activism, because he is a Mormon, and that opposition to gay rights (including marriage equality) has long been a part of LDS policy. Basically, the writer (of an article which I read years ago and was unable to relocate) said: “His religion is anti-gay, so if you’re going to avoid him for sharing that view, you should avoid everyone of his religion, which would be impractical.”

Guys, that’s nonsense. For one thing, I’ve had Mormon friends who are totally fine with gay rights, and who support marriage equality. Similarly, I’ve had Catholic friends whose views on gays and gay marriage are totally at odds with the Vatican’s (and they’re not isolated exceptions—more than half of US Catholics support the legalization of same-sex marriage).

There is a difference between being a part of an organized religion and holding all of the same beliefs—particularly social and political beliefs. There is also a difference between holding a belief and being a vocal commentator on the subject. Now, if you do hold a belief (such as a stance regarding marriage equality) and use whatever status or spotlight that you acquire to speak on it, do not be surprised if your views impact your financial ventures.

Personally, I’d rather watch five of my dollars burn than give a business like Chick-fil-A one red cent. That’s my right and my choice. I no longer purchase anything from Papa John’s or Domino’s because of their oppositions to Obamacare (narrowing all of my non-grocery store pizza purchases to Pizza Hut). I do not give money to the Boy Scouts and I will not make any purchase that might lead to Orson Scott Card making a profit.

While OSC has always been wrong, morally, on the issue of gay rights, the tide of public opinion in the US is now turning against him. A DC Comics project shelved because his involvement was too controversial. Enders Game is getting a theatrical release, but some of the film’s producers do not want OSC involved in the film’s promotion, concerned that his involvement would be the touch of death to ticket sales.

I know that, no matter how much I loved the novel a decade and a half ago, I will certainly not be seeing the film—until it becomes available for me to view, for free.

Thank you, DC Comics, for putting your OSC project on hold. Let’s keep it that way. I have no doubt that Superman would approve.

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What Is Up With The Pope Lately?

If you’ve read anything about the pope recently, you have probably read about him talking about same-sex marriage. He talks about it a lot. And at weird times. The pope is using just about every major speaking opportunity to emphasize his opposition to same-sex marriage. And, while I know that that’s his position, it’s weirding me out.

What’s strange to me is not that the pope’s stance is exclusively for opposite-sex marriage. The Catholic church, which has survived for over 1,500 years, has historically been slow to change its views but it has changed them. It will change them again, over the next century or so, if it intends to survive as an institution (which will be interesting to watch, either way). In 2113, will we see a female pope, married priests, and same-sex marriages performed with the blessing of the Vatican? Possibly. I doubt that it will be that soon. But, since I intend to live forever and the science for it seems almost within reach, it should happen in my lifetime.

So, I get it. Right now, the Catholic Church is opposed to marriage equality, and they do not care for the trend in parts of the US and Europe of same-sex couples receiving rights and privileges just like heterosexual couples.

What I do not understand is why Pope Benedict seems determined to bring it up at every occasion, particularly when there are much more pressing issues (school shootings and other instances of gun violence, anyone?) that he might be addressing. Like, does he know that it makes many people who otherwise like him uncomfortable (there are plenty of anti-choice people who support gay rights). Is he just pulling a Kathy Griffin and bringing up what he’s been advised against mentioning because it’s entertaining to him?

I’m going to go with no. I think that he is trying to double-down on his position. Which I understand—supporting your ideals, even when they’re the worst, makes sense. Practically speaking, it’s not doing Catholicism any favors in the long-run. And while he makes ridiculous comparisons (same-sex marriage “deceives human nature” and other statements), they’re consistent with the Vatican position on the topic.

It’s unfortunate for a lot of reasons, but we can all take comfort in the fact that he’s not just on the wrong side of history on this—he’s on the losing side. Latino voters within the US, the majority of whom are Catholic, voted for Obama and support same-sex marriage. Europe, where Catholicism is even more prevalent, is pushing forward with marriage equality, nation after nation.

Eventually, when the dust settles and marriage equality here to stay in the West (the Middle-East and Africa, in particular, are going to take a while), we can expect to hear about it less from the Vatican. Until then, expect a lot more of the pope’s public addresses to label female reproductive autonomy a “threat to world peace” and marriage equality as a “lie.”

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