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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, November 30, 2003


Queer Meets World

posted by Trammell at Sunday, November 30, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
In her screed from last week "Some Folks Just Shouldn't Get Married" Charlotte Alllen makes this ludicrous case:
There are reasons why formally and publicly recognized unions of men and women constitute the world's oldest and most enduring social institution. By keeping, or at least attempting to keep, sexual activity and procreation within the family, marriage fosters the stable emotional and financial conditions that are best for the raising of children; parents focus their energy and resources upon their offspring and each other. Marriage also protects women financially and emotionally after their years of childbearing and peak sexual attractiveness have passed. It creates powerful kinship networks that transcend personal feelings -- witness "The Sopranos" -- (NOTE: yup, gangsters are far better than fags) and provides incentives for the accumulation and orderly transmission of property.
Well, in Saturday's LA Times, three letters appeared that strike to the heart of her so-called argument:
In paragraph four, Allen offers these reasons: Keeping sexual activity within the family; stable emotional and financial conditions best for raising children; focusing energy and resources upon offspring and each other; financial and emotional protection after the passing of peak sexual attractiveness; powerful kinship networks; incentives for the accumulation and orderly transmission of property.

Thank you, Charlotte Allen. You only thought you were writing against gay marriage. Instead, you've just laid out the best reasons to support it!

- Ryan R. Sanderson

+ + +

My partner and I are registered as domestic partners, but still there are reminders everywhere that we are not married. When we applied for health insurance for my partner our request was denied twice and delayed for nine months -- despite the fact that my employer voluntarily agreed to include her on the company policy -- because domestic partners are not automatically recognized by the insurance provider.

We finally got it straightened out, but only after my partner was rushed to the emergency room after a car accident with no health insurance. It was a terrifying moment.

Some people say that we are pushing too fast for our rights. When I am working alongside others, paying taxes and contributing to the strength of my community, I don't believe I should have to wait patiently to have the same rights as other people. For my partner and me, one day is too long to wait.

- Amy Wilder Drake

+ + +

Charlotte Allen's "Some Folks Just Shouldn't Get Married" embodies the misperceptions about gay marriage that have been rife on the right. They are, no doubt, expecting to use this as a wedge issue in the elections, but what the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts decided was that the state could not limit the legal institution of marriage to "man and woman," that a gay or lesbian couple qualify for the same legal rights and obligations as a heterosexual couple. This is not to say that Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims or Buddhists are required to sanctify the union, only that the state must apply what is essentially civil contract law to grant the gay couple a legal framework of respect and protection.

A religion can make the requirement that a man and a woman be involved. A religion can say that both bride and groom must be believers in the same religion to have their union blessed by God; but that blessing is out of the province of the state's authority.

Conservatives say that if gays are allowed to make their unions legal, that somehow invalidates traditional marriage. Thus the shibboleth that is always mentioned in this line of attack: Why, if two men can marry, why not a man and his dog? Think of contract law. If two businessmen can draw up a contract, why can't a man and his dog? Because a dog cannot give consent. Only legal equals can sign contracts. An adult cannot marry a child, because a child cannot give consent. An invalid contract is not legally binding. Many clergymen from smaller churches are willing to bless gay marriages. Would Allen be saying that some churches' positions on the question should be endorsed legally but other religions' positions should not? Is that "freedom of religion"?

- Jim Hassinger

As ya'll know, over at Points West we are strong proponents of, at the very least, civil unions. I'm tired of being circumspect about this in any regard. Though I'm currently single, one day I will marry, or something close to it, and I'll blog about it. I guarantee it.

Folks, it is time.

P.S. By the way, I'm sick of the lack of overall support and relative silence in the progressive blogging comunity on this issue -- I'm taking it to the people and you will be hearing about this from me and mine quite a bit in the near and far future. A few months ago, the Out for Dean folks thought this queer blogger little better than an Uncle Tom -- hyperbole mine -- but if we are going to win with Dean, we cannot be shy. Dean is not shy, and I love him for it. We must face this issue head on, and make our case directly to the American People. After all, it is basically Dick Cheney's position from the 2000 debates.


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.