Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Al Sharpton has actually earned my respect.
I am considering a move to Maine. Well, possibly. I guess I'm really just considering the consideration of a move to Maine.
This is going to be the longest week ever.
Ask, Tell. Please!!
Hopefully, this will help put to rest all the misguided and counterproductive blaming for the passage of Proposition 8 that's been floating around for the past 9 weeks or so.
The interwebs are full of amazing photos.
Ann Coulter is a raving loon. Then again, this is nothing new.
ATTENTION ALL ASPIRING POLITICIANS: If you are an ally (and a friend), it will help you get re-elected.
And lastly, let me introduce you to two of the most hilariously brilliant women alive. One, you know very well:
I mean, did that really happen?
The other I have been slyly hiding from you, but I've decided to come clean about it and admit it. Hi, I'm Leesh, and I'm OBSESSED with Sarah Haskins.
"Sandwiches are for boys!" I don't think she can get any funnier! Oh, wait...
Happy 2009, y'all.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I'm only posting the first (and best) part of the blog post, but you should definitely go here and read the whole thing if you're interested.
NJ Commission: Civil Unions 'encourage unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children'
Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 02:52:20 AM EST
In a report due to be be released soon (10 AM here), a New Jersey commission charged with (among other things) "evaluat[ing] the implementation, operation and effectiveness of the [New Jersey Civil Union Act,] collect[ing] information about the act's effectiveness [... and] determin[ing] whether additional protections are needed" has unanimously found New Jersey Civil Unions to be deficient in providing the protections readily availed to those married in New Jersey:
This commission finds that the separate categorization established by the Civil Union Act invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children.
The commission report has not yet been released, but the Associated Press obtained a copy of the report by the Civil Union Review Commission and released a wire story on it. The commission was created by the Civil Union Act when it was passed and signed into law in 2007. The Civil Union Act was passed in response to the October 2006 ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis v Harris that required the state to "either amend the marriage statutes or enact an appropriate statutory structure within 180 days" to grant the constitutional rights bestowed by marriage for same sex couples. Since its formation, it has held several hearings and taken public testimony on nine different occasions hearing from over 150 people. It released an initial report in February and the initial conclusions of that report showed the Commission was leaning towards marriage equality finding
1. For the overwhelming majority of civil union couples who testified, the federal Employment Retirement Income Security Act, commonly known by its acronym ERISA, is the reason employers have given for not recognizing their civil unions.
2. In Massachusetts, a marriage equality law has prompted many employers to provide equal benefits to same-sex wives or husbands.
3. The testimony presented by many civil union couples indicated that their employers continue to discriminate against them, despite their familiarity with the law.
4. Civil union status is not clear to the general public, which creates a second-class status.
5. The Civil Union Act has a deleterious effect on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex youth and children being raised by same-sex couples.
6. Many witnesses testified about the unequal treatment and uncertainties they face during a health care crisis, particularly in hospital settings.
7. Institutional interaction with civil union couples has been less than optimal.
8. Testimony indicates that the Civil Union Act has a particularly disparate impact on people of color.
9. The requirement that same-sex couples declare civil union status, a separate category reserved for same-sex couples, exposes members of the United States military to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
10. The classification of civil union may place marital status in question when one of the partners is transgender.
While the commission is likely to add to these findings in its final report based on testimony taken and evidence gathered since the initial report, this list of initial conclusions is not likely to be diminished in any way. Its chorus of rationale for supporting the extension of marriage equality in the Garden State is only likely to grow longer. Indeed, as stated above according to the the AP report, the final report will state "This commission finds that the separate categorization established by the Civil Union Act invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children."
I posted this on my Facebook yesterday, and a friend of mine who has a civil union in NJ had this to say in response:
"Great note [Leesh]. I actually wrote a nice (short, damn studying) letter to my NJ Assembly Reps and Senator asking them to vote in favor of marriage equality when it is reconsidered.The findings of this committee may seem "vague" or far-fetched, or as if they don't really have an impact on couples that actually have civil unions, but my friend here proves otherwise. And, unfortunately, people may be inclined to scoff at his experience and say something like, "Well, you were obviously able to give them what they requested, and you got your insurance coverage. What's the big deal?"
For [my husband] and I, who have a civil union, we too have felt the difference that is based merely on the words 'civil union' instead of marriage. When I tried to gain coverage under [his] insurance, which is part of the reason we got the civil union when we did, they told us "It's not even worth it to submit your civil union certification. Our office will not even look at it. You need either a marriage license, or a letter certifying your intent to remain together, a lease or mortgage with both your names on it, a joint checking or credit account with both names on it, and at least one bill with both names on it." If we had been "married," we wouldn't have had to provide more than our marriage license. Kinda ridiculous.
And I don't mean to look a gift horse in the mouth. I'm thankful that the company provided coverage, and provided 'another route' for non-married, same-sex couples. Their explanation to us for why they didn't want our civil union certificate was simply that they had no idea what it meant. We were either married, or unmarried, and if we were unmarried, we needed to provide everything under option B.
I wrote this into my letter to the NJ reps, and I asked them to consider that all my family wants is the same rights, responsibilities, and social recognition as theirs, nothing more. We just want to be equal. Cross your fingers, and for those of you in NJ, write some letters!"
Well, why should we have extra red tape and proverbial hoops to jump through, just to get the legal protections that the NJ Supreme Court has declared should be rightfully ours?
Monday, November 24, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
But the phrase took on an entirely different meaning to me today when I read an article off Huffington Post stating that the group is having to lay off 20% of its employees .
Really, James?! Really? I mean, I'm feeling a little bit like Amy Poehler here, but, REALLY?!? Ohmygod, are you serious ?!
You were so worried about gay marriage ruining the familes of Californians that you donated over $500,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign, and yet you now have so many budget cuts that you can't afford to keep your OWN DAMN MEMBERS in paying jobs. What about THEIR families, James? Apparently you don't care too much about families being ruined by hunger or debt, only by the possibility of them being "threatened" or "unsanctified" by a lesbian couple down the street (logic which I don't think I'll ever understand).
It's one thing for you to eat the debt from your own discriminatory donations; it's quite another for you to fire your own employees for lack of funds after so happily giving the money that could have kept them employed to a cause that will undoubtedly be overturned by the courts.
Granted, since they work for/are members of Focus on the Family to begin with, they barely even deserve my symapthy at the loss of income, but somehow I just find this appalling.
James Dobson--asshole to his OWN people, too!
Monday, November 17, 2008
The hilariously snarky people that run the blog find some of the most ignorant and poorly written comments out there from Prop 8 supporters and then mock them mercilessly. Seriously, go spend an hour or so reading different entries and you will find yourself laughing more than not, I assure you.
This one, posted today, however is the most brilliant thing I have ever read. Enjoy!
(The first part in bold is what the ignorant Prop. 8 supporter wrote; what comes after is the blogger's response.)
November 17, 2008
“A Wrong Choice that Creates Confusion, by FinestCityMan
Like those from San Francisco Bay,
They argue, we are born Gay!
Truth will prevail and lies will be exposed.
To intimately love the same sex is what you CHOSE.
All people are tempted to do what is not right,
But grasping onto sin is what we need to fight.
Planting a penny in soil and expect it to grow,
Is like the ‘confused love’ of them that don’t know.
Turn eight flat on its side,
It is a symbol that means never die:
For infinity, a man with a man is a mistake.
Think of the future, always vote yes on Prop 8!”
Everyone up in Bay-ville liked gay folks a lot;
FCM, who lived well south of Bay-ville, did not!
He raved and he ranted in passionate verse
With meter that wobbled and rhymes that were worse.
He urged all his readers to vote “yes” on 8
To help California stay narrow and straight.
He typed all night long on Election Day Eve
About cocker spaniels and Adam and Steve—
And when it was clear that the bigots had won,
He said, “Hallelujah! My work here is done!”
But something incredible happened that day:
The gay people just kept right on being gay!
They hadn’t been wiped out. They hadn’t been banished.
None of them vaporized, kicked off, or vanished.
They took to the streets with their struggle to marry—
And he sighed and dug out his rhyme dictionary
To keep writing couplets (not always heroic)
Defending the morals of the Mesozoic.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
For almost a week now, I have remained largely numb as a result of the 2008 election cycle. This country did something extraordinary, inspiring and oh-so needed in electing Barack Obama to become the 44th President of the United States. In a country where he would have once been considered property, where his parents’ relationship would once have been illegal, where he and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden would once have not been able to sit next to each other on a bus or take a drink from the same water fountain—where still today people believe he should die because of his name and the color of his skin—he is now the leader. He has shattered what was (arguably) the last ceiling left for African-Americans to break. Now, almost all doubts among the black youth of America as to their worth has vanished. Now, they can see a bit of themselves in the President of the United States of America, and they know that the American ideal that “Anything is possible,” is actually a reality.
The video and images that have surfaced since Tuesday night absolutely amaze me. In Newark, my friends and I ventured from the apartment building where we watched the results to a predominantly black bar right next door. Several of us have gotten to know the general manager there, and we had to go see her. We had to share our joy with the city of Newark.
Being in that bar gave me an incredible feeling. People were crying; people were hugging; people were celebrating. It was as if our hometown sports team had just won the national championship, only it was all of us that had won. Our country won. Since that night, I’ve discovered that the celebrations in Newark were tame compared to the rest of the world. The celebrations flowed on streets in cities all over the country and all over the world. They celebrated in Kenya, in Australia, in Spain and England. They celebrated in Israel and France. It was as if, with three simple words, this country’s reputation and dignity was reinstated worldwide. Those words were President-Elect Barack Obama.
Obviously, inexplicably mixed with my elation over the presidential landslide, is my complete confusion and devastation from the passage anti-gay marriage amendments in California (Proposition 8), Florida (Proposition 2) and Arizona (Proposition 102). Add Arkansas’s new ban on adoption by non-married couples, and I’m left with even more uncertainty regarding my own standing as an American.
Until last week, I don’t think I’ve ever felt marginalized for being gay. Even having spent 22 years in two of the reddest states in the country, I have never really felt discriminated against, and never felt as though I am any less of a person. Looking back, I think I owe the majority of that credit to my family for being the people they are. I have been incredibly fortunate in that my parents, siblings and extended family are all genuine and loving people. They made my coming out experience exactly what it should be—a complete relief, awkward, joyous and most importantly, painless. After being brought up in that environment, I unconsciously (or perhaps, consciously?) surrounded myself with incredibly fair-minded, loving friends who also accept and love me for exactly the person I am. They don’t simply tolerate me; they love me. To them, I am who I am.
Having said that, however, I have always been keenly aware that not everyone is as blessed as I am. Homophobia and bigotry do exist, as evidenced by anti-LGBT hate crimes, discriminatory hiring processes, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Defense of Marriage Act, and countless other overlooked aspects of our society. After the 2006 election, thirty states had written discrimination into their constitutions by banning gay marriage, but I still don’t think the magnitude of those decisions resonated with me, not until last week.
On Wednesday, I didn’t go to class. Part was a result of being slightly hungover from the previous night’s celebrations, but the larger part of that decision hinged on the fact that the verdict on Proposition 8 was still out, and I honestly didn’t know how emotionally stable I would be when it was finalized, regardless of the outcome. So I stayed home and refreshed several news sites and kept CNN on almost all day, waiting for a break in the story. Eventually, though it was not officially declared until Thursday, it became painstakingly clear that we had lost. I don’t really remember the moment in which I accepted that fact, but I know that what surprised me the most was all the emotions I didn’t feel. I was angry and insulted and deeply, deeply saddened, but somehow it all still felt very stinted and surreal. I haven’t been able to articulate anything I’ve been feeling. Though there are the obvious reasons why I think this proposition is incredibly, incredibly wrong (not to mention, unconstitutional), I’ve known since Tuesday that there is a feeling even deeper in my heart that makes this hurt on a level that I have never felt pain before.
That brings me to tonight. I crawled in bed, prepared to get to sleep at a decent hour, and began flipping channels when Keith Olbermann caught my attention. Normally, I don’t really watch Olbermann because I simply don’t have time, but I’ve always loved his Special Comments. Tonight took the cake. Luckily, I caught it just when he was starting, and I began crying almost instantly. Eloquently, passionately, fervently and bravely, Olbermann said everything I didn’t even know I felt.
I have now watched that clip four times; it only first aired about two and a half hours ago. I cried on all four occasions and have no apologies. Thank you, Keith, for speaking for those without voices. Thank you for so accurately exclaiming that, “The other guy counts too!”
I count. I fucking count. And I have you—the supporters of these hate-filled amendments—to thank for reminding me and millions of other gay Americans of that fact. Thank you for giving us a platform to rally around. Thank you for motivating us. This is exactly what we, as a country, needed. There is hope within all the rotten.
On the very day that America won perhaps its greatest victory in achieving true equality, we were also handed one of our biggest blows to true equality since the 1950s. Though Obama’s election is something to be truly celebrated for the milestone it is, our nation is still very, very far from realizing equality, and it was precisely in this moment that we need to be reminded of such.
When talking about the relation of my legal education to the new emergence of the gay rights’ movement, one of my very good college friends (and possibly one of the greatest straight allies in my life) had this to say to me: “Don’t let [this] consume you so much that you lose sight of what you’re doing… The thing that will keep us sane is knowing that there will always be something to fight for… there’s always going to be idiots out there that make us use our intelligence to fight for what is right.”
That is something worth crying over.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Prop 8 seeks to amend the California Constitution to define marriage as "one man and one woman." This would not only reverse the May California Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex couples to marry (and therefore nullify the marriage licenses of thousands of happy couples), but it will actually eliminate many domestic partnership and civil union rights of opposite-sex couples in California. Plainly, this proposition sucks and would be GIGANTIC step backwards for gay rights, the state, and the country as a whole.
Unfortunately, the proponents of the proposition are being backed by many wealthy and powerful religious groups and coalitions, and have been severely out-fundraising The Gays. Hence, eight witty, intelligent, outspoken and (most notably) gay lady bloggers have joined forces to help fight the good fight. Without further ado, I present to you THE 8 AGAINST 8:
Here's how they describe themselves in a note on their Facebook group:
Eight lesbian bloggers have come together in a coordinated effort to help place the discriminatory ballot initiative called Proposition 8 in its rightful place in the dust heap of history.
The bloggers are:
Grace Chu and Grace Rosen of http://www.gracethespot.com
Pam Spaulding of http://www.pamshouseblend.com
Dorothy Snarker of http://dorothysurrenders.blogspot.com
Lori Hahn of http://www.hahnathome.com
Kelly Leszczynski of http://www.thelesbianlifestyle.com
Sinclair of http://www.sugarbutch.net
Riese of http://marielynbernard.blogspot.com and
Renee Gannon of http://www.lesbiatopia.com
Promotions and giveaways are available:
See http://gracethespot.com/?page_id=494 for more details
As of the latest update on Grace the Spot at 10:15 pm tonight, 145 people had donated $7,885. This is pretty impressive. These ladies are only $115 shy of their goal (and possibly at it by the time this posts), and there are still five days left in the project! But, don't let that dissuade you. Please, please, please donate something if you can afford to. Even if it's only $5-10, it will add up.
I can tell you, on a personal level, that this proposition means an awful lot to an awful lot of people. Though I have never lived in California, I feel as though this proposition directly affects me on a level that no politically motivated decision has in my lifetime. If the ability for same-sex couples to marry cannot stand in one of the most liberal & accepting states in the nation, then I sincerely believe I will never see it on a scale larger than a few northeastern states. The sad fact is that the LGBT community is one of the few groups of people in this country that are still widely, openly and acceptably discriminated against. It's not right; it's not fair; and more than anything, it's not American.
If you know anyone in California, please urge them to VOTE NO on Proposition 8, and if you are capable and so inclined, please donate whatever you can to the cause.
Ellen (and I) thank you.