Thought for the day

by Henry on November 5, 2008

Whatever disappointments and unhappiness lie in the future, my two sons are going to grow up in an America where it is a _done deal_ that an African-American with a foreign-sounding name can run for President and win. That’s pretty nice to wake up to.

{ 27 comments }

1

Delicious Pundit 11.05.08 at 3:17 pm

Unless they want to marry other men, that is. Then they’re not real Americans, anywhere, apparently.

2

michael e sullivan 11.05.08 at 4:17 pm

1: They are in Connecticut at least.

Prop 1 in CT was primarily fought along the same lines as prop 8 in CA. It’s not obvious from the question “Shall there be a constitutional convention…”, but Yes was being pushed hard by the anti-gay forces, because similar to california, courts recently ruled that gay marriage is legal according to the state constitution. Unlike CA, they weren’t able to get a ban amendment on the ballot, so they tried to sneak this one past us, hoping for the “Oh, that sounds like a reasonable idea” vote, and then follow it up by getting plenty of anti-gay (and anti-abortion) lobbyists appointed to the convention.

But it didn’t happen, and not only that, Dems swept to sizable supermajorities in both state-houses, so it’s quite unlikely we’ll be seeing any real challenge to that decision in the next few years. New York may join us soon as well, they already recognize marriages from MA and CT.

I’m sorely, sorely disappointed about CA though. It hurts my heart on a night and day when I wanted to rejoice with abandon.

3

sanbikinoraion 11.05.08 at 4:18 pm

We’ve had a woman Prime Minister in the UK but that doesn’t necessarily mean that women have any more power than they otherwise would have done, surely?

One could argue, in fact, that Nu Labour has done more for womens’ rights than Thatcher ever did.

4

Kmack 11.05.08 at 4:38 pm

Don’t worry, D.P. Our sons and daughters can still get married to a person of the same sex in a church, temple, mosque, meeting house, resort, or anywhere else–so long as someone they regard as an authority is willing to declare them “married.” It’s just that the state generally refuses to declare them “married”–even when, as in California, there is no de jure, functional difference between marriage and domestic partnership.

By the way, gay marriage supporters might want to reconsider the tactical value of insisting on a close comparison–as D.P. tacitly does, in spoiled sport fashion–between the civil rights and broader social circumstances of African Americans and homosexuals. This mainly has the effect, at this point, of (not unreasonably) annoying many African Americans–more than a few of whom might otherwise be converted to support gay marriage or at least not to support outlawing extension of “marriage” to same-sex unions.

Back on point: As an African American and an Obama sympathizer, I must confess to not feeling all that moved by the racial symbolism of Obama’s election. But I tend to side with Derrick Bell about the (very modest) cash value of racial symbols.

5

a. y. mous 11.05.08 at 5:10 pm

How much is Gay Marriage about ego? As in you validating my choice (or I validating yours)? As it is about spousal monetary compensation and estate & property rights?

Else, no one ever in the history of mankind has ever stopped penis in anus, gender notwithstanding. Not to speak of tongues in vaginas, which always was a superb turn-on for any and all.

This whole thing smacks of making point for the sheer sake of making a point, which I find stupid and a waste of energy.

6

Uncle Kvetch 11.05.08 at 5:26 pm

How much is Gay Marriage about ego?

None. HTH.

Else, no one ever in the history of mankind has ever stopped penis in anus, gender notwithstanding. Not to speak of tongues in vaginas, which always was a superb turn-on for any and all.

Thanks for sharing.

Asshole.

7

a. y. mous 11.05.08 at 5:37 pm

Dear Uncle,

None? So it _is _ about compensation? Huh?

But you don’t mean that, do you? No? Get real, uncle! No one has ever stopped you from having a person of your same sex as your soul-mate. Or room-mate. Or class-mate. Or field-mate. Or bed-mate. Ever. Yes, you couldn’t bequeath your estate to him or her. But only by default. You could always choose to. That, perhaps, is bound to change. And good news too. But that is all there is to it. So much hullabaloo over gay marriage, and decade comes to century, we end up with opposite sex unions as “special”. As I said, stupid.

8

Uncle Kvetch 11.05.08 at 6:05 pm

So much hullabaloo over gay marriage, and decade comes to century, we end up with opposite sex unions as “special”.

I have no idea what that means. Based on this conversation so far, I don’t care, either.

Anyway, I’m sorry that we aren’t willing to just accept the second-class status that you apparently think we deserve. Apparently you think we should just celebrate the fact that the authorities don’t throw us in jail or mental hospitals anymore, and be grateful for that. But instead we have to get all uppity. It’s clearly very upsetting for you.

9

novakant 11.05.08 at 7:27 pm

no one ever in the history of mankind has ever stopped (…)

This is so obviously wrong, it would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad.

about ego? As in you validating my choice

And what exactly is wrong with validating each other’s choices with a marital agreement.

As it is about spousal monetary compensation and estate & property rights?

And what is supposed to be wrong with guaranteeing financial security through an act of law. And what does that have to do with homosexuality? Are you trying to tell us that heterosexual couples never factor in such aspects into their decision to get married?

And why am I even bothering, you little [insert one or more explitives of your choice].

10

Laura 11.05.08 at 7:35 pm

Yes, you couldn’t bequeath your estate to him or her. But only by default. You could always choose to.
This is simply false. There are hundreds of cases of loving gay partners leaving their estates to their long-time companions, only to have next-of-blood-kin show up and successfully contest the wills – even when the parent or sibling was a homophobe who hadn’t spoken to the deceased in years, while the partner nursed him through last-stage AIDS. Wills don’t mean anything if judges are bigots. Yet another reason why marriage, rather than mere civil unions or domestic partnerships, is important.

11

Kenny Easwaran 11.06.08 at 1:37 am

mous – I seem to recall a little court decision five years ago, called Lawrence v. Texas, that explicitly put an end to state prevention of both sexual acts you mention (in some states, the law only applied to same-sex partners, while in others it applied to everyone).

Also, you might want to reconsider your presupposition about what acts (if any) really are “a super turn-on for any and all”.

12

Spiros 11.06.08 at 2:36 am

When Bobby Jindal becomes president in 2016, then you’ll really be able to sell your sons the American dream.

13

a. y. mous 11.06.08 at 5:03 am

A blunt expression of dislike is not “anti-” anything. It just is that. An intense discomfort in its presence. But you have rights as much as I have duties. So, no need to get all tight and bunchy about it.

Novakant, there is nothing wrong at all. But not saying it is about financial security and benefits and continuing to focus upon “freedom of choice” as the be all and end all of social approval is not right either.

Laura, if judges are bigots, then not only wills, even laws don’t mean anything.

Kenny, point taken. And hope made as well.

My point is not so much about the gay part (which you would have noticed by now, I am not too fond of. But, no objections. Just not me. That’s all.) as it is about the marriage part. Unless there is a clear legal definition of the purpose of marriage, hetero or homo is inconsequential. Why do you want social approval of your choice of partner in life.

14

Doctor Science 11.06.08 at 5:43 am

Henry:

That is very well put, and exactly why I have wept with joy from time to time over the past few weeks. It really is an incredible milestone for this country.

15

krhasan 11.06.08 at 6:53 am

The impact in the Third World will be enormous. The President will be the son of an African Muslim, with middle name Hussein. He has lived for years in Indonesia, and even has tenuous links with Pakistan through his mother’s work there. Frankly, I don’t expect his policies to change much, but the very fact that he is who he is will give the US’s image a boost all over the world (without having to appoint marketing experts to do so).

16

notsneaky 11.06.08 at 7:01 am

Uh, DFTT folks.

17

Roschelle 11.07.08 at 12:15 am

These guys are amazing! They already have a president-elect website up and running detailing what can be expected throughout this transition process. It’s strikingly similar to the Barack Obama website that helped make his campaign an online success.

18

Aki 11.07.08 at 2:02 am

So what are the chances the GOP will eventually run Arnold Schwarzenegger for President? And that the American electorate would lap this up as more hope and change?

19

jacob 11.07.08 at 2:25 am

Aki-

Pretty much zero, since he’s constitutionally ineligible. One has to be a “natural-born” U.S. citizen to be president, which means both Schwarzenegger and Granholm are out.

20

john b 11.07.08 at 3:11 am

“Yet another reason why marriage, rather than mere civil unions or domestic partnerships, is important.”

in .uk civil unions convey exactly the same legal rights, including inheriting, as marriage. yes, the naming convention is a sop to bigots, but it’s a good indicator that not being called ‘marriage’ doesn’t have to affect the actual rights associated with the process.

21

salientdowns 11.07.08 at 3:31 am

Unless there is a clear legal definition of the purpose of marriage, hetero or homo is inconsequential.

I suspect it’s possible to find a clear legal definition of the consequences of being married, i.e. rights and responsibilities, which in any reasonable sense translates the legal definition of “the purpose of marriage” into “enacting a union between 2 people in which both partners agree to the following rights and responsibilities. 1, 2, 3, etc.”

Regarding marriage vs. civil union, lots of people think it’s silly to insist we give exactly identical legal rights to two different types of marriage-like entities without calling them the same thing. And more importantly, calling gay marriage something other than a “marriage” might prevent a lot of specific law about “married individuals” from applying.

22

c.l. ball 11.07.08 at 2:41 pm

We are still waiting, however, for a woman of any ethnicity to become president, or even be a major-party candidate. This is more glaring given that the number of female governors and senators (the usual presidential recruitment pool) is much greater than the number of non-white males in that set.

Obama had committed himself to overturn DOMA, and Biden’s VP debate claims would require that. Greenwald has a good piece on this.

23

Righteous Bubba 11.07.08 at 3:03 pm

We are still waiting, however, for a woman of any ethnicity to become president, or even be a major-party candidate.

This was an awfully close call. I’m not worried that Democrats wouldn’t nominate a woman; that Hillary isn’t president-elect is due to campaign blunders on her part.

24

Michael Turner 11.07.08 at 3:41 pm

Regarding marriage vs. civil union, lots of people think it’s silly to insist we give exactly identical legal rights to two different types of marriage-like entities without calling them the same thing.

We already do that with marriage-like entities that are already called “marriage” — different states in the U.S. have different laws regarding marriage. In some places, a man can marry a 16-year-old girl. In others, not. The differences are virtually endless.

I’ve long thought that the best way around this impasse would be for gay rights activists to:

— Accept civil unions as the practical status quo solution.
— Work to make the law regarding civil unions as uniform as possible around the U.S.
— Then work to make civil unions a better deal than marriage, for most people.

Basically, when most straight couples are signing civil union papers down at city hall, for all the advantages, but saying “married” in casual conversation, you’ve won.

Until that day, when cultural conservatives complain that step 3 means “gays are privileged”, you come right back with this: “What the hell are you talking about? Nobody’s preventing you from entering into a civil union. In fact, precisely because we’re so considerate of everybody’s basic human rights, we’ve lobbied strongly for the ability to convert a marriage directly to a civil union, the same day, without even getting divorced first. Divorce can be so wrenching, you know. Traumatic for the kids.”

Of course, then you’ll get hit with, “But I don’t want to have to say I’m the ‘domestic partner’ of somebody, for various legal purposes, in order to get all the same rights you have with civil unions.”

That’s when you get to roll your eyes, sigh, shake your head sadly, and respond, “Oh, that objection is just so —gay.”

25

Magnus Ramage 11.07.08 at 3:55 pm

in .uk civil unions convey exactly the same legal rights, including inheriting, as marriage.

AFAIK, this is true once the civil partnership (sic) is enacted. H0wever, there’s a significant difference in the enacting process – civil partnerships may not happen in a church or other place of worship, and must be conducted in a strictly secular fashion. For same-sex couples who are part of a religious community, that’s quite a big issue. Increasing numbers of liberal churches are willing to bless same-sex unions (Quakers have been good on this in the UK), but the actual legal process has to happen separately, which is quite different from opposite-sex unions.

26

a. y. mous 11.07.08 at 4:11 pm

>> civil partnerships may not happen in a church or other place of worship, and must be conducted in a strictly secular fashion.

It may have changed. I am not one of Her Majesty’s subjects. But isn’t the crown the head of the church as well? In which case that makes sense. Toleration of being a-religious is secondary to acceptance of the state church.

27

mollymooly 11.08.08 at 1:06 am

I remember when Mary Robinson became President, there was a similar sense of new-dawn optimism in Ireland. And that even though the President is a powerless figurehead. Symbols are important.

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