Brett Kavanaugh is neither a good man nor a man of great integrity

I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. I believe her account of what happened to her and I believe that she was sexually assaulted and would have been raped if accomplice Mark Judge had not jumped on the bed. Thankfully, the asshole did, which enabled her to escape and hide in a bathroom. Of course, the man who would be the next justice on the Supreme Court denies this happened, which effectively means he is calling her a liar (as are many people, some of whom don’t seem to understand that victim testimony IS evidence while others don’t understand that the government is bound by the presumption of innocence, not civilians).

In the wake of the sexual assault claims against Brett Kavanaugh, the nation’s eyes have been upon him. After all, no reasonable person should want the perpetrator of sexual assault (and attempted rape) to serve on the highest court in the land. So of course rape apologists (who are not reasonable people) have been coming out of the woodwork to smear, shame, and victim blame Dr. Ford. Others have chosen a rather curious tactic of attempting to speak to the ::ahem:: “good name” of Brett Kavanaugh. There of course were the 65 women who wrote a frankly bizarre letter affirming the character of Kavanaugh. Aside from being a public relations stunt, the letter was meaningless. I’m sure there are plenty of people that Kavanaugh has never sexually assaulted. Which has no bearing on those whom he has sexually assaulted.  Then there’s former President and First Lady, George W Bush and Laura Bush, who continue to stand by their longtime friend, even after listening to Dr. Ford’s passionate speech. They think of Kavanaugh not only as a “fine friend, husband, and father”, but as a man of the highest integrity.

I suggest the 65 women as well as Laura Bush and her war criminal husband go spend some quality time reading about the true moral character of Brett Kavanaugh. They can start with the multiple lies Brett Kavanaugh has told, many of which were spoken during his hearing last week:

Word cloud containing terms that I feel apply to Brett Kavanaugh

Continue reading “Brett Kavanaugh is neither a good man nor a man of great integrity”

Brett Kavanaugh is neither a good man nor a man of great integrity
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I am over the requests for civility in the wake of Scalia’s death

For those in the United States, you had to be living under a rock to have missed out on the news that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently passed away. The 79-year-old judge was found dead at a West Texas hunting lodge (and apparently his death is part of a ::snicker:: liberal conspiracy by President Obama). Over the weekend, I read a great many comments regarding his death, from those who expressed sorrow at his passing to those who were glad that he died. I also read quite a few comments and articles from people lambasting those who expressed joy over his passing and arguing that people ought not “speak ill of the dead”. I have to say, at first I found it disconcerting that people were basically cheering that a man died. But I read what people were saying and realized people had legitimate grievances with the man. These grievances include:

Continue reading “I am over the requests for civility in the wake of Scalia’s death”

I am over the requests for civility in the wake of Scalia’s death

Marriage equality has come to the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in favor of marriage equality!

“The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.”

There it is, the ruling that gay-marriage advocates and opponents have been waiting for since April when the Court took up the case—but really, for years long before that. There is now a constitutional right for people of the same sex to get married in the United States.

In the Court’s opinion—authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic who has long been seen as the possible swing vote on gay marriage, joined by JusticesStephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, and with four separate dissents authored and joined by combinations of  Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas—lists four major reasons for its decision in Obergefell. First, Kennedy writes that “decisions about marriage are among the most intimate that an individual can make.” Allowing LGBT people to marry is a matter of personal choice and autonomy, just as it was in the Court’s 1967 in the case Loving v. Virginia, which outlawed bans on interracial marriage.

Second, Kennedy writes, marriage is a distinctive institution: “It supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals.” Here, he points to the Court’s opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut, which affirmed the right of married couples to use birth control. “Same-sex couples have the same right as opposite-sex couples to enjoy intimate association.”

But then, the decision takes an interesting turn: The Court seems to flip the oft-used reasoning of same-sex marriage opponents, who claim that gay marriage is harmful to children and families, and disruptive to the longstanding order of American society. In the oral arguments for Obergefell, several justices raised this very question—even Breyer, who joined in the decision, said that marriage between a man and a woman “has been the law everywhere for thousands of years. Suddenly you want nine people outside the ballot box to require states to change [this configuration].” But on Friday, Breyer joined four of his colleagues to do exactly that.

“Protecting the right to marry is that it safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education,” Kennedy writes. Not all straight married couples have children, and they’re certainly not required to do so by law, he reasons; the same rule should apply to gay married couples. But more importantly, for those gay couples that do want to have kids—including the many, many couples who adopt or have children using the genetic material of one parent—seeing their unions as less than marriage under the law creates a “more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue thus harm and humiliate the children.”

Finally, Kennedy affirms that marriage is “a keystone of the Nation’s social order.” It is the institution at the center of the United States’ legal and educational structures, and because of this, “it is demeaning to lock same-sex couples out of a central institution of the Nation’s society, for they too may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage.”

“Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations,” Kennedy writes. This is, perhaps, the most striking argument of all, for it is an argument about the nature, significance, and dignity of marriage itself. “The ancient origins of marriage confirm its centrality, but it has not stood in isolation from developments in law and society,” Kennedy writes, but the “institution—even as confined to opposite-sex relations—has evolved over time.”

I really have nothing to say other than I feel almost blissfully, joyously happy. Not just for myself (really, I don’t have anyone in my life, so marriage remains theoretical for me), but for so many other people out there. There are who knows how many people who have wanted to marry, but were prevented from doing so bc they were lesbian, gay, or bisexual.  And it comes during Pride month! This is one step closer to being treated as full human beings in the eyes of the law.  Thank you SCOTUS. Thank you for doing the right thing!

Marriage equality has come to the United States

The bible is no guide to morality

As the United States Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, poll after poll after poll demonstrates that the majority of U.S. citizens support the extension of marriage rights to LGB people. Nevertheless, bigots across the country are apoplectic at the idea that two men or two women may soon be able to marry in all 50 states. 2016 Presidential hopeful and all-round shithead Ted Cruz thinks that “gay marriage” (which is different from “hetero- marriage”…not) is the greatest threat to religious liberty in USAmerican history. The vile End Times radio host Rick Wiles thinks that god is sending drought and famine to California to punish the US for “gay marriage” and abortion (such a nice guy, that Yahweh, to increase the suffering of humanity). Anti-gay bigot Phyllis Schlafly thinks the goal of “gay marriage” is to wipe out the Christian religion (in her world there’s no such thing as a gay Christian or non-gay Christians who support marriage equality). Rafael Cruz, father of the aforementioned bigot Ted Cruz, thinks that “gay marriage” is part of a plot to destroy America. On his hate-filled site Barbwire, Matt Barber says that a SCOTUS ruling in favor of marriage equality will-I kid you not-spark a revolution. Meanwhile, Pastor Jim Garlow (one of the key leaders in the passage of California’s Proposition 8) says that the anti-gay right will become ::snicker:: an underground resistance movement. Alan Keyes thinks that “gay marriage”, like climate change, will lead to the destruction of humanity. Cliff Kincaid thinks marriage equality puts us on ‘the road to ruin‘, James Dobson (of hate group Focus on the Family) and Tony Perkins (of yet another hate group, the Family Research Council) both think “gay marriage” signals the “fall of western civilization” , and conservative commentator Robert Knight thinks that gay people are “stealing the moral capital of marriage“, whatever the fuck that means. All of that is just a small sample of the ridiculous rhetoric of the Radical Religious Right.

Whether it’s “the Bible says homosexuality is immoral and we all should follow the Bible because reasons” or “traditional marriage, as found in the Bible, is the only permissible form of marriage”, homophobes in the U.S. frequently (though not exclusively) cite the Bible to justify their bigotry. They view that religious tome as a guide to morality that all humans should follow and that U.S. laws should be based upon. The problem with that is the Bible is anything but a guide to morality.

I’ll let Betty Bowers explain why there is no such thing as ‘biblically-defined traditional marriage’:

Secondly, to those individuals who believe that their “sincerely held religious beliefs” should form the basis of laws in this country, let me introduce you to the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution:

The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion.

So no-Christian beliefs should not be the basis for laws in this country as that would favor the Christian religion over others. Also, requiring all citizens of the U.S. to adhere to the tenets of Christianity would be a violation of the First Amendment right of all citizens to believe and worship (or not) as they choose.

With regard to the belief held by bigots that the Bible is a (or the) source of morality, I have one thing to say: you folks have a completely fucked-up view of morality. To you, morality is all about following the rules laid out by your deity. These rules are many and varied, and include prohibitions on worshiping other gods, working on the Sabbath, wearing clothing of mixed fibers, eating shellfish, and masturbation. Biblical rules also call for unruly children to be stoned, for wives to be subservient to their husbands, for women to be silent in church, for rape victims to marry their rapists, for Christians to kill anyone who holds different religious beliefs, for the execution of anyone who doesn’t listen to a priest or judge, and much more (the Skeptics Annotated Bible has an extensive list of the various forms of injustice found in the Bible). Meanwhile, the god of the Bible condones slavery, rape, and genocide (and note the absence of two of the three from the 10 Commandments, which are wrongly cited by many as the foundation for laws in this country). I daresay that most rational people hold that slavery, rape, and genocide are bad things (and if you don’t, please get as far away from other human beings as possible). Immoral things even. And therein lies the problem with claiming the Bible is a (or the) source of morality–all manner of horrific actions are condoned in that tome while completely innocuous actions are condemned (all because Yahweh says so). And yes, I’m aware that many people recognize the barbaric nature of many Old Testament teachings, and prefer to focus on the teachings of the New Testament. Leaving aside the fact that many believers do not do this, there is still a big problem-original sin. The doctrine of original sin punishes humanity for the actions of Adam and Eve. I can’t fathom how anyone could argue that it is moral to punish people for actions they did not commit and I feel the doctrine of original sin is deeply unjust. Whether it’s the Old or New Testament, there is no coherent set of guidelines or principles in the Bible which people can use to decide whether a given action is moral or immoral. As such, the Bible is neither A, nor THE, source of morality, and should not be consulted in deciding which actions are moral or not.

As I alluded to, I believe that rape, slavery, and genocide are immoral, but what do I mean by that? What does it mean for an action or behavior to be immoral? I define morality as principles that help us distinguish between right/wrong or good/bad behavior with an eye to engaging in behavior that is right/good. A starting point for identifying the rightness or wrongness of a particular action ought to be something like “Will this course of action result in others being harmed?” rather than “What does this religious book say?” With the vast majority of humans living in societies in which they have to regularly interact with others, it is vitally important that codes of conduct be established to regulate those interactions to ensure that all (or most, given that criminals do exist) people are able to live in relative harmony with one another while maintaining the freedom to engage in activities they desire. Hence legal prohibitions on theft, assault, battery, rape, or murder. Such actions bring demonstrable harm to their victims, harm that most people would prefer to avoid. Of course, any discussion of morality as it relates to the law must acknowledge and address the existence of immoral laws (slavery was once legal in the U.S. as was marital rape until the 1980s), so I won’t pretend that the above is anything close to a final word on morality. I do think that viewing morality through the lens of “will this action/behavior impact others” provides a better framework for deciding the moral nature of a given action than consulting the Bible.

Under this (admittedly underdeveloped and provisional) system of morality, actions that result in harm to others should be avoided. The key word there is ‘actions‘ (or you can substitute ‘behavior‘). As with heterosexuality, homosexuality is a facet of one’s identity, not an action or behavior (contrary to misinformed anti-gay bigots, being gay is not the same thing as engaging in gay sex)Therefore, there is no need to question whether it is moral or not. In fact, I do not believe there is a moral component to human sexuality. It is neither right nor wrong. The issue of marriage equality is a bit different as marriage involves actions and behaviors between people, so theoretically there could be a moral component to the issue. Do same-sex marriages result in harm being inflicted upon others? Bigots claim they do and often cite the infamous Regnerus study to support their belief that children raised by same-sex parents are harmed by having gay parents. Aside from the fact that marriage is not inherently about having or raising children, new research not only debunks that study (again), it also shows that children living with same-sex parents demonstrate “comparable outcome profiles to those from other family types, including intact biological families.” Just imagine me giving a middle finger to all the homophobes out there.

You’d think that demonstrating the errors in their logic or pointing out the flawed nature of their evidence would be enough to cause bigots to rethink their views. Sadly, that’s not the case. Not only do they have a deathgrip on their dogmatic beliefs, they also hold a great deal of power and influence in this country. While that influence has waned in the 37 states where same-sex marriage is legal, 13 states still refuse to grant same-sex couples the right to marry. That’s due in no small part to the opponents of marriage equality who continue to marshal their time, energy, and resources to prevent LGB people from having the right to enter into legally recognized marriages. That’s why this matter has come before the Supreme Court. Hopefully, come June, the justices will make the correct decision and bring LGB people one step closer to equality.

The bible is no guide to morality

LGBT News Round-Up 10.8.14

Kennedy orders temporary stay in Idaho, Nevada same-sex marriage rulings

Justice Kennedy, lost in thought as he considers “Do I continue to deny Americans the right to marry, or do I do the right thing and allow LBGT people to get married. I’ll wear my pensive face for this photo so that people may see how tough a decision this is.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling that declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada.

Kennedy’s order came a little more than an hour after Idaho filed an emergency request for an immediate stay and about 10 minutes before the state said that state and county officials would otherwise have been required to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The order also applies to Nevada, where marriage licenses to same-sex couples were going to start to be issued later Wednesday.

The delay could last just a few days. Kennedy’s order requested a response from the plaintiffs involved in Idaho’s gay marriage lawsuit by the end of day Thursday.

The full court almost certainly would weigh in to extend the delay much beyond the weekend. That has been the justices’ practice in other cases in which a single justice initially blocked a ruling from taking effect.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada on Tuesday. A day earlier, the Supreme Court let similar rulings from three other appeals courts become final and effectively raised to 30 the number of states where same-sex couples can marry, or soon will be able to do so.

This is justice delayed. Again.

Update:

Justice Kennedy allows same-sex marriage to commence in Nevada

* * * *

Kentucky town rejects a non-discrimination ordinance 

The proposal failed on a 5-3 vote Tuesday night in the Kentucky town in the Appalachian foothills, according to media reports. The meeting drew a standing-room-only crowd, and others filled a former service station next door to watch the deliberations via television.

The measure would have prohibited discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people in housing, employment and public accommodations.

Councilwoman Violet Farmer, who opposed the measure, expressed support for the concept of treating everyone fairly but questioned the need for “another protected class.”

Chester Powell, another council member who voted against the proposal, cited a lack of documented complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation. “I’m not seeing any reason for the ordinance,” Powell said.

Next time you’re looking for discrimination, why not try asking the LGBT people who have experienced it. For fuck’s sake, this is a town that denies that discrimination exists.  Do you people really think you’re that damn special? Do you think you live in some sort of bubble that prevents homophobia and discrimination from affecting the citizens of your town? Homophobia is a widespread problem and it occurs in Anywhere, USA. That you don’t see it is due to your heterosexual privilege, which allows you to navigate through life oblivious to the difficulties faced by LGBT people for their sexuality and gender identity.

* * * *

 Nevada Democratic State Senator Kelvin Atkinson proposes to his long time partner

“I’m black, I’m gay, I have dealt with a lot of what you folks are talking about,” Atkinson told his fellow Senators. “I know some of you,” he said, for first time are “hearing me say that, that I am a black gay male.”

Atkinson added he had “heard some people say some nasty, ugly things, because they didn’t know” he was gay.

Yesterday, speaking at an event hosted by Freedom Nevada at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, Atkinson again surprised his audience who were celebrating the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling striking down marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho.

“I didn’t want to go to another state,” Sen. Atkinson told the audience.

He said he always felt he’d stay in Nevada and would “stick it out,” until marriage came to his state, “and hopefully Woody would stick it out with me and we’d wait until this was done so that I could do what I thought that I wanted to do, and that was to propose to him.”

The crowd began to cheer, and Woody, Atkinson’s partner of six and a half years, Sherwood Howard, smiled, and looked surprised.

Atkinson observed that the cameras were “live right now,” and the audience screamed, “Do it!”

Howard nervously made his way on stage, and Atkinson said, “Woody, I know it has been six years, they haven’t alays been great, but we’ve been great partners.” He added that Woody does a lot of his political work and he is “the one person I trust the most toy be there with me, to be there for me, to be that confidant, to be my friend, and my partner.”

“So I’ll say it in front of everybody, will you marry me?”

Howard said “Yes”.  Hoo-Ray!

* * * *

Black America wants gay weddings protected from discrimination despite opposing gay marriage

Even though only around 4 in 10 African Americans support same-sex marriage, new research has found that a majority of them still feel that it is wrong for businesses to be legally able to refuse to provide goods and services to gay couples who are getting married.

The Pew Research Center found that 61% of the African Americans they surveyed agreed that it was wrong for for-profit businesses to deny same-sex couples goods and services based on the owner or employee’s religious beliefs.

In comparison only 45% of White Americans thought businesses should not be allowed to deny wedding related services to same-sex couples.

This was despite 53% of White Americans saying they supported the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Researchers at the Pew Research Center believe the high level of support among African Americans for gays and lesbians to be legally protected from discrimination may be a result of their shared experience of being discriminated against.

Why do I think the opposition to same-sex marriage is religiously based? LGBT Americans have the same rights as enumerated in the Bill of Rights.  To deny that is to deny citizens of this country basic human rights.  To deny rights to a segment of the population based on their sexuality is homophobia. It’s bigotry. I don’t care what your justification is.  Even if your god existed, it would still be bigotry.

LGBT News Round-Up 10.8.14

KABLOOEY! Bigots’ heads explode in the wake of SCOTUS decision on Marriage Equality

Conservatives across the country, especially in Utah, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Virgina, and Indiana hoping SCOTUS would weigh in on marriage equality were bitterly disappointed today.  Several lower court rulings in those states found the bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, and of course conservative assholes across the country got their fee fees hurt.  They appealed to SCOTUS in the hopes that the highest court in the land would take up their appeals and rule in their favor. Today, SCOTUS decided they would not take up any of the lower court rulings on marriage equality. That means those states where the rulings were stayed will be null and void (though not immediately). Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in those five states will be able to get legally married very soon.  But wait, there’s more. Six other states–North and South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and West Virginia–all fall under the jurisdiction of the appeals courts that struck down the bans.  This means that same sex marriage will soon be legal in 30 of the 50 states in the US.

marriageisaboutlove-300x224

Continue reading “KABLOOEY! Bigots’ heads explode in the wake of SCOTUS decision on Marriage Equality”

KABLOOEY! Bigots’ heads explode in the wake of SCOTUS decision on Marriage Equality

KABLOOEY! Bigots' heads explode in the wake of SCOTUS decision on Marriage Equality

Conservatives across the country, especially in Utah, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Virgina, and Indiana hoping SCOTUS would weigh in on marriage equality were bitterly disappointed today.  Several lower court rulings in those states found the bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, and of course conservative assholes across the country got their fee fees hurt.  They appealed to SCOTUS in the hopes that the highest court in the land would take up their appeals and rule in their favor. Today, SCOTUS decided they would not take up any of the lower court rulings on marriage equality. That means those states where the rulings were stayed will be null and void (though not immediately). Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in those five states will be able to get legally married very soon.  But wait, there’s more. Six other states–North and South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and West Virginia–all fall under the jurisdiction of the appeals courts that struck down the bans.  This means that same sex marriage will soon be legal in 30 of the 50 states in the US.

marriageisaboutlove-300x224

Continue reading “KABLOOEY! Bigots' heads explode in the wake of SCOTUS decision on Marriage Equality”

KABLOOEY! Bigots' heads explode in the wake of SCOTUS decision on Marriage Equality