Posts Tagged ‘365gay’

Who’s Hiding Now?

September 23rd, 2011 4 comments

Since 365gay is shuttering after next Friday, I’ll be doing a lot more blogging back here. This is good, in a way, because I’ll be motivated to write on a broader array of subjects than I’d be covering for the past year or so. (I’m also told that the site will…disappear, along with all my work. I’m trying to figure out how to preserve it. Any ideas?)

Anyway, here’s today’s penultimate column; might as well reproduce the whole thing:

Who’s hiding now?

A couple of recent developments – one seismic, the other not so much – point to a tidal shift in the battle for LGBT equality and dignity.

The biggie, of course, is the long-overdue interment of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” You’d have to be made of a certain kind of dense mineral not to be moved by the stories that we’re hearing of soldiers who can now go about their jobs without fear of being outed, then ousted. And the squawking of those on the hard-right who’d threatened to get repeal undone are dying away like the gasps of an almost-extinct species.

Yet the repeal creates problems more complex than the one it solved. Once these gay and lesbian (but not transgendered) soldiers stand revealed in the fullness of their identity, it’s also going to become almost immediately apparent that they’re still not equal. While they now are allowed to exist, their relationships are not, because these soldier are not considered legally married for federal purposes. So all the benefits that straight service members take for granted – including housing for their families and spousal death benefits – aren’t available to sames-sex couples. Because of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) that’s true even if the couple is considered legally married in their state of residence.

This glaring inequality has the potential to do some serious damage to the anti-equality forces. Soldiers not only enjoy tremendous respect, but they live in such stifling proximity to each other that these inequities can’t be missed. In short order, this new set of stories – told now neither by ex-soldiers, nor by soldiers concealing their identities, but by open and proud service members – will create a compelling narrative that should accelerate the momentum toward the repeal of DOMA. Equality and openness beget more of the same.

This could finish even better than you’d think it might. Because members of the military are constantly on the move, and often overseas, it won’t do to have their marriages recognized some of the time (when they’re in states that allow same-sex marriages) but not always (when they’re anywhere else). So the move to pass something like the Respect for Marriage Act (“RMA”) will also gain steam. Under that proposed bill, once you’re legally married in any state that allows it, you’d be forever deemed married for federal purposes. While the RMA still won’t force states to recognize marriages from other states, the pressure on them to do so will increase dramatically.

No other approach makes sense for the military – it would be a logistical nightmare for the government (and the same-sex couples) to move in and out of legal marriage as they changed location. This is already a problem with same-sex marriages under state law: try dissolving your Massachusetts marriage in Texas, for example. But the military setting brings the problem into sharp relief.

So the reality of our lives, as we push further and more boldly into the open, has created irresistible pressure for equality. Look no further than recent polling data on marriage equality for evidence that the message is getting through.

And that brings me to the second development, which is a sort of flip side. As our openness and equality become an increasingly tight and strong braid, our opponents find themselves on the defensive. That’s not a good place to be when you have no good arguments for your position.

So, once again, we had the Prop 8 opponents trying – but failing – to keep the videotape of the trial from being made public. (An appeal has been filed, of course.) And a couple of weeks ago, the lawyers working for the House of Representative on the DOMA case politely refused to consent to the videotaping of oral arguments before the federal appellate court. They gave no reason for their refusal, but let me suggest one:

They know their arguments are neither sympathetic nor compelling.

The more they say, the worse — the meaner, frankly — they seem. David Boies, one of the attorneys on the Prop 8 challenge, said it succinctly: “The witness stand is a lonely place to lie.” (Watch the video, especially around the 3:00 mark. Boies is devastating.) Indeed, the Prop 8 defenders’ witnesses were such a disaster that the release of the videotapes would be a huge boon for our side. Better to keep it – and all opposition arguments – under wraps. I’d be begging for the same result were I the lawyer representing them.

Who’s hiding now?

John Culhane is stepping up the pace of his own blogging at as his work on this site rockets toward its conclusion next week. You can also follow him on Slate, Twitter (@johnculhane), or through his legal scholarship. He’s also working on a book about civil unions, and invites your stories.

Legal Round-Up

September 9th, 2011 3 comments

Sorry for the WiE radio silence lately; I’ve been occupied with the start of school (my kids’ and my own) and some time-consuming projects.

Here’s the link to this week’s 365gay column; it’s a round-up of a few recent developments that, I think, bode well for LGBT couples.

There won’t be too many more columns, and then I’ll figure out my next writing move. Likely, the posting on this site will pick up.

Categories: Social Justice Tags:

How To Protect Yourself, and How You Can’t

August 12th, 2011 No comments

For those in relationships that aren’t legally recognized, it’s tougher than you think to gain all the protections and peace of mind that you’d want.

Wait — it’s impossible. Read all about it.

A Traveler’s Guide to Gay Relationship Recognition

July 15th, 2011 No comments

Some of it ain’t pretty. But most of it’s good. It helps to venture into Canada! Here’s the report, with emphasis on developments in NY.

Every Reader Deserves an End to Dan Savage’s “Mother/Father” Posts

June 9th, 2011 No comments

I was just forwarded a press release, indicating that Dan Savage is about to receive a special “Webby” award for his ground-breaking “It Gets Better” series. He should. It’s really broadened the dialogue about the complex challenges that face many of our LGBT (and, especially important in talking about teens, Q) youth. The entire nation — not “just” those of us in the LGBT community — owe him a huge thanks. As I write in this week’s 365gay column, the idea is so obviously good that it’s only surprising that no one thought of it sooner.

But in this same column, I go after Savage for his just juvenile “Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father” posts. These exploitative, peep-show pieces portray heterosexual couples who have done awful things to their kids. Here’s a little snippet from the column, for which I’m expecting substantial blowback. But I still think I’m right about this:

[W]hat is Savage trying to say in this series? That some of the mothers and fathers out there are capable of doing terrible things to their kids? Everyone knows that. Sadly, everyone also knows that some same-sex parents have done equally terrible things.

And these are exactly the sorts of examples we might expect the most ignorant of our right-wing opponents to use against us. Stooping to their level, while it may gratify some visceral urge for revenge, is hardly contributing to the real debates and issues that surround the fight for equality and dignity for all families.

And we hope (or anyway, we need to hope) that most parents – whether single, or partnered with either a same- or opposite-sex person – are doing the best they can, given their circumstances. Every child deserves good parents, we might better say. Demonizing the majority to make a point about the ignorance of our worst-intentioned opponents is just irresponsible, especially for someone with as broad an audience as Savage enjoys (mostly deservedly).

[T]here’s a certain childishness to these posts; Savage is peeved at those who say, in the face of clear and contradictory evidence, that kids only thrive with opposite-sex parents.

So am I.

Like Savage, I’m a gay parent, and at times I feel a petty urge to compare my wonderful children to kids being poorly raised or served by their opposite-sex parents. But it IS a petty urge, and we shouldn’t give in to it, our justified frustration notwithstanding.

Should We Boycott Straight Weddings?

May 26th, 2011 No comments

This issue has lately gotten a great deal of press. My take on it is here. It might surprise you. Hint: It’s important to separate the symbolic, commitment part of marriage from the legal incidents of it.

Arrested Development in Tennessee*

May 12th, 2011 No comments

(*Sorry, I couldn’t help thinking of that old-school hip hop song.)

This week’s 365gay column discusses the threatened “don’t say gay” bill in Tennessee, which would permit the discussion of only one kind of sexuality (guess which one?)  in all public schools except at the high school level. I address the issue from a number of perspectives: constitutional; public health; basic safety.

Adopt those Kids! But Stay “Legal Strangers” to Each Other!

April 14th, 2011 No comments

In this week’s 365gay column, I plumb a great mystery: Why do most states allow same-sex couples to adopt kids, but not to marry each other? Do we “forget” to keep caring about the best interest of the child?

They (NOM) Took the Words Right out of my Mouth

April 7th, 2011 No comments

…and twisted them to their own evil purposes. And then they (the National Organization for Marriage) refused to post my comment that would have led back to my original column, so readers might compare for themselves.

Not OK. The whole sad mess is chronicled in this week’s 365gay column.

Categories: 365gay column, NOM Tags: , , ,

That Other Marriage Debate

March 31st, 2011 No comments

Marriage equality is often at the top of the LGBT rights check-list.

But what about the inequality inherent in the super-privileged status we accord marriage in the first place? This week’s 365gay column explores that very question.