Daily Archives: May 9, 2012

I am in favor of DOMA

But in my version, it is slightly different.

Since being gay in the military is now OK, I’m sure there is some clumping up of gay people in the services, as would be natural for any sociological phenomenon. So, we help this along a little and create Gay Brigades formed entirely of GLBTA troops (the “A” troops are important to keep the numbers up, I imagine).

The Gay Brigades are then sent as Federal Troops into churches and city halls in North Carolina to Defend same sex couples’ 14th Amendment rights.

And we call it the Defense of Marriage Act-Up.

That is all, thank you very much.

More from The President on Gay Marriage

I just got this note from President Obama, and I thought you might like to see it:

Greg —

Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:

I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I hope you’ll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality:

http://my.barackobama.com/Marriage

I’ve always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years I’ve talked to friends and family about this. I’ve thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, I’ve gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I’ve come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn’t dawn on them that their friends’ parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

If you agree, you can stand up with me here.

Thank you,

Barack

What is religious freedom?

Earlier this week a group of Catholic CEOs of secular companies based in Michigan, calling themselves “Legatus,” filed a law suit in federal court against the US Health and Human Services over the issue of providing health insurance coverage that included things that Catholics don’t like such as birth control. This is a fight that has been going on for a while and that I’m sure you’ve heard of.

The Secular Coalition of America, under the leadership if the newly appointed Executive Director, Edwina Rogers, is chiming in.

The law suit seeks a rulting to block the implementation of the rule that requires that all employees get the same coverage, whether they work for a company that happens to be headed by a Catholic or not. The HHS ruling is obviously not only in line with the ideal of separation of church and state, but it is also logical on the general grounds that basic insurance coverage or any other normal benefit should not be withheld on the whims of some crazy-ass beliefs that happen to be held by a company’s owner or CEO.

But Legatus argues the opposite, and thus, the absurd: Holding a company to a legal standard that happens to violate the owner or CEO’s particular belief system violates that individual’s religious freedom. According to Rogers:

Legatus is asking the government to place the religious beliefs of the employer over the individual religious beliefs of the employees, and they are doing it under a smoke screen of religious persecution. True religious freedom allows for individuals to make personal moral and health decisions for themselves.

Every American is entitled to their personal religious beliefs and practices, but they do not have the right to impose them on others –including their employees—or ask for privileging from the government.

A prior attempt in the US legislative process to force employees to bend to the will of their quirky employers (be they Catholics or, say, Cannibalistic Unitarians or whatever) failed. According to a SCA press release:

Rather than infringing on the employers’ religious freedom, the HHS rule actually supports the religious freedom and rights of individual Americans by allowing each person to decide for herself and himself whether contraceptive coverage is appropriate in their life—and not forcing them to follow the religious views and perspectives of their employers—or anyone else.

In addition to cost saving benefits, there is ample scientific data that represents medical benefits of contraception for women who are contraindicated for pregnancy, as well as demonstrated preventive health benefits from contraceptives relating to conditions relation to conditions other than pregnancy. (e.g. treatment of menstrual disorders, acne, and pelvic pain).

It certainly is nice to see the Secular Coalition of America acting on this. It is a shame this even has to be an issue, though. It is utterly obvious that employers should not be able to pick and choose among benefits based on personal beliefs. Seriously. What if the CEO of some big company converts to a different religion and it isn’t Benefit Selection Month! It would be chaos (and not the good kind of chaos). Or, what if this extended to schools. Would the School District’s superintendents dietary preferences, which may well be religious, be imposed on everyone else? Only Kosher food in the cafeteria? Or Vega. Or, I heard of these people who ate dogs in a religious ceremony in a small town in Upstate New York. What if one of those guys was in charge?

Unthinkable. But of course, there is not a lot of thinking that goes into these fights from the Religious Right’s side of things.

Mess with the Nazis

The Nazis in Greece, who over the weekend gained some seats in Parliament, are likely to continue to be a factor in a new election experts say will likely be held in about a month or so. These are the real deal … apparently they self identify as Nazis but the party name is “Golden Dawn” and they have a record of violence and nastiness. They even do the Nazi salute and everything.

Here’s the thing: Their web site is hosted on WordPress, and WordPress has a policy that should actually exclude them from using that resource. For this reason, people who dislike Nazis are invited to SIGN A PETITION asking WordPress to toss them off their servers. If this happens any time over the next week or two, it could actually disrupt their activities in relation to the upcoming vote and maybe Greece will end up with fewer Nazis in Parliament.

Please go sign the petition and get your friends to sign the petition.

Thank you very much.

But seriously. Go sign. Please.

OBAMA ENDORSES SAME SEX MARRIAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

Right here, look!

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People around the blogosphere are griping about this. They don’t like it. They are saying things like “it should have happened sooner” or “why didn’t he do this sooner” or “I’m still mad” or “oh, that’s just becuase it became obvious that he had to change is position for political reasons.”

The first most obvious fact about any political change like this is that it should have happened sooner. Congratulations for noticing that, you should get a PhD in political science. The second most obvious fact about an issue like this is that actual politicians who are actually elected to non-trivial office play the politics. Thank you for noticing this. Maybe you should write a book about it.

So, what is the next step? I suggest continuing to gripe about how long it took, devaluing the event as a political move so it becomes less important, that sort of thing. We wouldn’t want a very positive and hopeful statement by the most powerful and influential person on the planet to lead to anything good, right?

Or, maybe you could take advantage of the situation. Make this into something other than a mere chance for all of us to show off our political wit!

So, what is the next step?

How about working with the momentum! Try to get the Dems to turn this into a stronger push for election season, a stronger backlash against NC’s boneheaded move, stronger support for action against currently proposed anti-gay legislation or constitutional change!

Or what? Do you have other suggestions? Let’s have them!