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Why I’m Not Blogging

September 24th, 2010 No comments

Regular readers of of this blog have been  struck  by its shrinkage over the past few weeks. Basically, I’ve been linking to my 365gay columns and that’s it.

I don’t have a clear explanation as to why. It’s not as though I consciously  thought: “Hmm, I think I’ll cut way back for awhile.” It just sort of happened, even though I’ve meant to write about all sorts of things ranging from a review of an offensive book I read by Amy Wax (which I will do soon), more on the BP compensation fund, the U.S. Open tennis, and a review of the surprisingly effective “Billy Elliot” (which I saw with my mom).

I guess it was a combination of just naturally needing a break after one-and-a-half years of more or less daily blogging (with many of the posts long and time-consuming), the constant (but welcome) press of the weekly column and the slightly different and more demanding pressure it places on me, and a few administrative issues that will likely be resolved within a few weeks.

So I guess I’m in a rethinking mode. My guess now is  that I’ll resume regular blogging next week, but probably fewer times per week. Most of the LGBT-related stuff will now be on 365gay, which has a larger and more targeted audience. (I’ll continue to do short, linking posts to my work over there). But I’m an interested know-it-all, and have probably too much to say on all kinds of other issues, too.

Also, look for a new and glitzlier look to the site, starting some time next month.

I still love doing this too much to stop.  But a little time for rest, reflection and recharge is a good  thing, no?

Categories: blogs Tags:

A Real Vacation (I Think)

July 23rd, 2010 No comments

I’m to get up in about six hours, shovel whatever still needs to be packed into our trunk, and get out of here: Two weeks up in Cape Cod, and with little or no internet access. (What kind of monsters are these realtors?)

So I won’t be blogging — unless I do. A decision in the Prop 8 case, for example, could probably get me to figure out a way to do so.

While I’m gone, I’ve scheduled some repostings, starting with my several posts on late-term abortion where I was drawn into a discussion with Andrew Sullivan. (There are several links to his responses.)

Thanks to everyone for the continued — and growing — support. But I really do need this break.

Categories: abortion, blogs Tags:

A Rose by Any Other Name….? (and an angry email)

July 8th, 2010 No comments

In this week’s column at 365gay.com, I address the issue whether civil unions should be considered a serviceable political compromise for the time being, while we await full marriage equality. As you might expect, lots of comments have come in already.

But I wanted to share a very different sort of comment; one that you wouldn’t often see on that site because it’s so negative. Here’s the text of an email I received today; you should read the 365 post first for context, although I think he fairly (not selectively) quotes me. I’ve highlighted my language from the column for ease of reference:

Regarding the article, “Culhane: Should we hate civil unions, or love them?“, I have a few thoughts.

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle stated she took longer to decide this issue of ‘Civil Unions vs. Marriage’ than any other brought before her.And that she had decided to veto the civil union bill after much deliberation.
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“With her body blocking the state seal – with its (loosely translated) motto of “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness” and its depiction of the Goddess of Liberty – Lingle issued the by-now boilerplate blather about letting the people, rather than the legislature, decide. It’s as though she’d just been transported to a place where the rules of representative democracy had been suspended”

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The whole of the statement you made, as seen above, reeks with biased slander and a hint of self aggrandizement. Is “The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness” the translation of “Ua Mau Ke Ea O Oka Aina I Ka Pono” or not? If it is, and it is according to some those local boys I’ve known for years, your veracity has come under scrutiny.

Now, this “…boilerplate blather about letting the people, rather than the legislature, decide…” is the Governor simply doing her job in a representative democracy. So, what are you trying to say here…..we must leave the state legislature to do their job fulfilling their responcibilities under a representative democracy but, as Governor, she must kowtow to the wishes of the State Legislature!?! Surely you’re not trying to tell us that the Governor isn’t the representative voice of all the States population!?! Her job would be, as the State voice under a representative democracy, to consider what we the people want as a whole. Doesn’t this make sense to you at all?
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But I want to focus on something the governor said during her press conference: Civil unions are marriage ‘by another name.” Since she opposes same-sex marriages (she didn’t say why), she also opposes civil unions.

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“Civil unions are marriage ‘by another name.” There is no need to redefine the word marriage and a definite need to distinguish between a ‘civil union’ and a ‘marriage’. You may think there is some kind of underlying ill-will towards gays or perhaps some kind of homophobia in play. But the fact is you couldn’t be farther from the truth.

It has become apparent that there is an agenda being pushed upon the majority of the population of America and it is happening on the State level. Here is where the push began…when those who call themselves gay wanted what married people have…and I’m not talking about all the financial and other benefits that go along with being legally married. The simple truth is, and I’ve had enough gay friends to know, they want the title of marriage because they see their relationships as the same as those who are married. But they’re not! I’ve seen more gay sexual addicts than I’d care to shake a stick at….it’s like the ‘lust rheostat’ is turned on high and stuck there. It’s all about being “Out”…about being “In Your Face”…about “Being Gay and Proud Of It”. And most of all, it’s about bringing down the established white christian morals that have stifled this country for so long.So, you might want to start writing the truth.
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“So how can it mean the same thing as marriage? Lingle might be right to say that civil unions are marriage “by another name,” but names have weight. The word “marriage” is particularly totemic, as we can emphasize by this table-turning little experiment: Imagine a suggestion that same-sex couples’ unions be called marriages, but that opposite-sex couples would be granted the right to enter into civil unions. Would anyone then really want to suggest that the name wasn’t terribly important?”

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You’ve gt to be kidding? I would be willing to bet almost anything that, if the tables were turned, it wouldn’t be such a big deal!  But, of course, we’ll never know will we! So, this little point is irrelevant!
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Perhaps nowhere was the importance of this distinction better understood and deconstructed than by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Writing in response to the question whether the legislature might carry out the court’s mandate of conferring marriage equality on same-sex couples by creating the civil union, the court said this of the proposed bill:
[I]t is a considered choice of language that reflects a demonstrable assigning of same-sex, largely homosexual, couples to second-class status. The denomination of this difference…as merely a “squabble over the name to be used” so clearly misses the point that further discussion appears to be useless.
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Are you cherry-picking bits of information and wording it in such a way as to reflect you will and desires? This is what I found:

“In a 50-page, 4–3 ruling delivered on November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found that the state may not “deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by “civil marriage” to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry.” Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, writing for the majority, wrote that the state’s constitution “affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens,” the state had no “constitutionally adequate reason for denying marriage to same-sex couples,” and “The right to marry is not a privilege conferred by the State, but a fundamental right that is protected against unwarranted State interference.” On the legal aspect, instead of creating a new fundamental right to marry, or more accurately the right to choose to marry, the Court held that the State does not have a rational basis to deny same-sex couples marriage on the ground of due process and equal protection. (the court gave the State Legislature 180 days to change the law to rectify the situation)

She said “It forbids the creation of second-class citizens….”! Big difference, wouldn’t you say!?!

I must say, Mr. John Culhane, Professor of Law, Widener University, I would not want to be a student sitting in your class where I’d be fed an assortment of lies served up by a biased, or should I say prejudice, bigot!

jim

——

Well, I know I would need a thick skin when I embarked on a life of blogging. This is the kind of thing you get. Most of what “jim” said is, I think, self-refuting, and I want to turn to reading and then analyzing the DOMA decisions that came down this evening, so I’m not going to get into it in detail. Just a very few quick points:

(1) There was Goodridge, which jim summarizes, and then there was the Opinion of the Justices in response to a question presented by the state senate. The latter is what I was quoting.

(2) There are plenty of sex addicts — men, women, straight and gay. No one suggests that the presence of sex addicts in the heterosexual population should lead society to ban their marriages, so why is it different for gay couples? Note the implicit homophobia in the attempted demonization of gay men (what about lesbians, by the way?) while ignoring similar, heterosexual impulses.

(3) jim claims to have gay friends. If so, I hope he’s open enough with them to share this email. If he does, he could learn something through their responses — if they’re not so pissed they simply walk out on him.

——–

Look for my analysis of the DOMA cases later tonight, or tomorrow morning.

Don’t Mess With Idina!

June 27th, 2010 2 comments

Yikes! A silly post that I wrote about Idina Menzel last night while wasting time in front of the TV elicited some of the nastiness comments I’ve gotten.

Interesting. I’ve written about very sensitive stuff, including abortion, and generally gotten respectful disagreement. Granted, my tone here was snarky — but it was mostly a joke, people. I don’t really think Menzel believes her son can dream about unicorns, and really, does it matter? There’s hardly a lot at stake here.

Don’t insult celebrities, or their fans will come after you. One even criticized my parenting, questioning my decision to leave my kids home with a sitter when, he claims, there were tornado warnings in the area. I’ve done my share of bad parenting, but if there really were tornado warnings I’m guessing the concert would have been called off. Oh, well. It’s not like I let them sail around the world, or anything.

And for the record: Read the previous post, and you’ll see that I did like her music (even “Poker Face”), and the way she dealt with some of her more obnoxious fans (who knows? maybe they’re the same ones who wrote me). She was even kind of sweet about it, obligingly singing a quick “Happy Birthday, Anniversary, and Anything Else” and telling the story about her visit to the hospital to deal with broken ribs.

But I defy anyone to listen to her random musings and tell me how she gets from A to…some non-contiguous letter.

Hmm….is there a future in gratuitous celebrity attacks? Does Liza Minnelli marry gay men?

Bloggy Bloggenstein…

June 3rd, 2010 No comments

…is what David calls me. This cartoon nails it:

(h/t Daily Dish)

Categories: blogs, humor Tags:

New Blog on Nanotechnology Law

April 9th, 2010 No comments

My colleague Jean Eggen and her co-blogger, student Eric Laury, have just launched a new blog dealing with the legal aspects of nanotechnology. It’s likely the first of its kind, and should be worth following for both law and science geeks. Here’s her description:

I am pleased to start the conversation in this blog on the legal issues that are beginning to emerge about nanotechnology.  My entries will focus on efforts to determine what risks the new technologies may pose to consumers and the population in general.  My expertise in the area of toxic tort law is uniquely suited to examining the emerging health concerns from the viewpoint of anticipated litigation.  My co-blogger, Eric Laury, Widener Law ’11, will focus on the legal issues involving the development and use of the technologies, including intellectual property matters.

Expect big things on this “tiny” subject. Check it out when you have a minute.

A Few Days’ Respite

March 31st, 2010 No comments

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be away from Internet access (OK, I’ll still have my iPhone) for a few days. So I’ve decided to take a few days off from blogging — for the first time since I’ve started, really. In my absence, several of my favorite posts from the past year-plus of blogging will re-run, with original posting dates at the bottom. The site has many more readers than it did at the start, so I thought I’d run a few of my favorites (not necessarily the ones that received the most comments).

I hope you enjoy them. Meanwhile, for something new, check out tomorrow’s column over at 365gay.com; the topic is a bullying case from upstate New York, and my take on the Obama Administration’s positive role in bringing about a settlement. It should post in the late morning or early afternoon. If I can, I’ll alert readers when it goes up.

May you all enjoy some time with friends and family during these few days that have religious significance for so many.

Categories: 365gay column, blogs Tags: , ,

What is Wrong With Ann Althouse?

March 21st, 2010 5 comments

Ann Althouse’s blog features many funny and deliberately irreverent observations. I can’t always tell whether she’s being serious, and that’s OK — if not a job requirement — for a blogger. But it seems that her love of blog traffic (of which I’m admittedly envious) has overtaken her best judgment. Her recent post on the ugly racist and homophobic incidents that unfolded at yesterday’s Tea Party protest in Washington, as reported by, among others, that left-leaning MSM outlet known as “Fox News”, is just nuts. Here are some choice nuggets from her defense of the nasty people who hurled racial and anti-gay epithets at several African-American congressmen and at Barney Frank:

“There’s nothing wrong with showing anger at the thing that motivates you to protest. That’s what protests are for! The members of Congress have a lot of power, and they ought to have to hear the anger their exercise of that power is causing. It’s outrageous for them to pose as victims without very good cause. So what if some idiot said a bad word?”

Yeah, so what?  And how do we know that it was just “some idiot” and not a broader swath of the protesters? Althouse has the goods: Her husband told her (apparently he saw everything), and there’s a 48-second video that doesn’t contain any nastiness, posted on her website. Then she concludes, on that basis, that the race card was being played for nothing. “Shame!” (The fact that she actually uses the term “race card” is a problem by itself, but never mind.)

Nice evidence. Let’s look at some reliance  evidence, shall we? Here‘s a story, told by witnesses, recounting how Barney Frank had to call the capitol police to haul away some protesters who were banging on his door, shouting through the mail slot (classy!), and calling him “Homo communist” and telling him, cleverly, to “go homo to Massachusetts.”

Althouse might not know, somehow, that gays live in a society where our physical security is often at risk. (But by saying that, I’m sure I’ll be accused of playing the “gay card.”) Frank might well have believed that people banging on his door, shouting, and calling insults, might be about to do him harm. But that doesn’t seem to have occurred to her.

Later, she added a final inanity to the post, disputing the account that one Congressman had been spat upon by noting that no arrest had been made. Therefore, she’s assuming it’s a lie. What? Perhaps the offender eluded detection, slipped away, or the police weren’t right on the spot — to name just a few other possibilities in the real world of imperfect law enforcement. But she needs to provoke, so there it is.

All of this might be tolerable, barely, but for the willingness she has to post any and all comments, without editing or comments of her own, no matter how horrible. Andrew Sullivan repeated a few of these that her readers had for him this past Fall, and they’re far worse than anything accompanying this story. But some of these are bad enough. . As a law professor and a member of the profession, she should show some minimal discretion. Here’s an example of the kind of comment she allows (this from a reader reacting to a gay commenter’s offense):

Hey downtownload, you dumbfuck of a homo, did it ever occur to you that the more you show your naked hatred of “straights” the more it will be returned? It is good, profoundly good that normal America is getting it full in the face from all the marginal shits, it’s a lesson that will be well and truly learned and never forgotten. A tidal wave coming your way in November, fagellah.

At the least, she might have edited out the more vituperative epithets. But that’s not what drives traffic to her blog.

Next Step in my Plan to Rule the World: A Weekly Column at 365gay

March 16th, 2010 1 comment

Just a short post tonight to announce that, as of this Thursday (3/18), I will be writing a weekly column for the website 365gay.com.1  This will give me a chance to speak to a much larger audience, as the site is related to LogoTV, the gay and lesbian cable network. (Logo, in turn, is a trademark of Viacom.)

This offer came about after what might have been a one-off post that I did this past Friday at the invitation of Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Vanasco; the piece received a good response, and now I’ve been invited to contribute on a regular basis.  I’m thrilled.

For those who read this blog regularly, you will find much that’s similar in my weekly post over at 365gay. I’ll be discussing legal issues in ways that I hope are both comprehensible and compelling to interested lay people. Of course, as the website name itself more than implies, these posts will focus on issues directly affecting the LGBT community, but as always I will try to connect these issues to other themes and will strive — sometimes against the odds — to find humor in (almost) every situation.

This blog will of course continue at its sometimes relentless pace, and I will link to the weekly column from here as well.

Thanks to everyone who’s read this blog over the past year and a couple of months, and to those of you who scooted over to 365gay to check out my post. As always, I welcome your comments, input, and suggestions — either here, or over at 365gay.com. For starters, does anyone have a good idea for a title for this column?

Now I have a column to write….

  1. Does that mean they’re not gay on Feb. 29?

My Big Fat Lead News Story on 365gay.com

March 12th, 2010 No comments

Having seen my posts on the anti-discrimination controversy in Virginia, the Editor in Chief of one of the premier gay on-line news sites, 365gay.com, contacted me yesterday evening and invited me to submit a post on the subject there. I wrote it last night, and it went up this morning. You can find it here. (By the time you read this, they should have taken care of the misspelling of my name; which oddly appears only in the headline, not in the by-line).

If you have a few seconds to click over there, I’d appreciate it. This was a big deal gig to land, and I’m excited about it.