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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Save The Date: How To Be Nice About Getting Married (And How To Be A Decent Potential Guest)

I will start at the beginning.

I mentioned a while back that a couple of my friends had gotten engaged. I was excited. They are not my first friends to get engaged, but I am closer with them and I am the reason for which they met. Which is neat. Also, they have the most adorable cats ever, and one of them is super friendly and loves attention more than some dogs (if you’re in the bathroom or behind another closed door, he may just reach one of his front legs under the door, like a ravenous zombie, to gain your attention).

Right, so, anyway, they got engaged last autumn. They are getting married about three months from now, and they sent out the Save The Date cards and put up a website for their wedding about a week ago. I got mine, my mother (to my horror) got hers, and I was actually playing a game online with my superbestfriend when I heard his boyfriend say that they had received theirs.

Despite my occasionally paralyzing social anxiety (not the same thing as being shy or introverted, though I am introverted), I am all kinds of excited for their wedding. Or, more accurately, for their reception, as their wedding will be private and in a city too gaudy for me to name (but I love them anyway).

So, that’s the background. The story comes from the content of their website. Alongside their honeymoon plans and the location of the reception and their backstory, they also included this:

Shocking, I know.

First of all, this is beautiful. My favorite thing about it is that it includes the serial comma, which is non-optional. But I also love the rest of it. Like the future bride and groom, I live in one of the counties of North Carolina that voted against Amendment One (though we live in different counties). Being inclusive is expected, but using your wedding as a platform to promote marriage equality is a great move.

I do not know all of the details (or any of the details, really—it’s none of my business), but I know that there has been a little bit of fallout from a couple of relatives. Specifically because these relatives feel that by being vocally inclusive and supportive, my friends are excluding those who are opposed to marriage equality (among other things).

I mean, I could launch into a tirade about how I vehemently disagree with people who oppose marriage equality or people who are offended by non-religious wedding ceremonies or people who are uncomfortable around non-religious people or members of minority religions. And so on.

But this is really about, um, not being a dick. Usually people RSVP when they receive the actual wedding invitations, but RSVPing in advance is fine (I have already informed my friends that I am exercising with their wedding in mind, joking that I will need to fit into a wedding dress). Even if you are saying that you cannot attend.

I feel like hostility in most situations is uncalled for. Hostility with respect to a loved one’s wedding is wildly inappropriate. An “it’s them or me” attitude about attending a wedding is appropriate if another person on the guest list is, say, a rapist (though really if your friends are knowingly inviting a rapist to their wedding, politely declining is the way to go).

Don’t be a dick. Opposite-sex couples who hold off on getting married because same-sex couples do not yet possess equal rights are freaking awesome. Opposite-sex couples who get married but are vocal in their support of marriage equality are freaking awesome.

It’s easy for me to say that if you’re threatened by that, that you probably don’t belong at the wedding (or, you know, this century or planet). But really, don’t be a dick. Go to the wedding (or, in this case, wedding reception). You can have your beliefs (even the awful ones) and still be a decent, functional person who can go places where not everyone feels the same way that you do.


PS: I almost used a modified: “you can have your cake and eat it, too,” line in that last sentence. I decided against it, but also realized that there may very well be wedding cake at this reception. You guys, I am such a foodopotamus and wedding cake is wonderful. Though, as the many-times-divorced Lt. Provenza on The Closer said, he liked the taste of wedding cake, but his wedding cake: “always tasted like prison food.” But I’m not saying that about this lovely couple, though. I adore them to pieces.

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