Friday, November 30, 2012

Lincoln and Same-Sex Marriage

Kyle and I saw Lincoln today.  We both agreed it was a great piece of cinema.  The acting a tour de force especially for Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.  Hal Holbrook also delivered a fine performance.  Although sprinkled with Spielberg's usual "fairy dust," asKyle calls it, the film was done with a lighter touch and the expected heart-wrenching, tear duct stressing coda, was toned down.

Both of us agree about the irony of watching the beginning of the end of slavery as SCOTUS was deciding how to the deal with gay and lesbian equality was on our minds.

Today the Supreme Court of the United States was expected to release its decisions to review, or not to review, 10 pending cases on marriage equality.  The basic premise of these cases challenge the constitutionality of DOMA (the so called "Defense of Marriage Act), Proposition 8 in California.  Indeed no action was announced kicking the can down the road until at least Monday... and perhaps beyond.

Great sources for information are found at  AFER.ORG, the website of the organization that is challenging Proposition 8.  This site has many informative videos and links.

If you choose to dig further, I commend to you a four part investigation of how this may be handled by the The Supreme Court at SCOTUSBLOG by Lyle Denniston.  Part I tackles the constitutional standard, Part II, the arguments for, Part II the argruements against and the final part the court's options.

The last read of interest is a opinion piece which argues that this is the most important decision that these nine justices have faced or will face." Tom Goldstein says,
Our country and societies around the world will read the Justices’ decision(s) not principally as a legal document but instead as a statement by a wise body about whether same-sex marriages are morally right or wrong.  The issues are that profound and fraught; they in a sense seem to transcend “law.”  Given the inevitability of same-sex marriage, if the Court rules against those claiming a right to have such unions recognized, it will later be judged to be “on the wrong side of history.” 
The real irony of watching Lincoln as the court decides is personified in Justice Clarence Thomas. The only African-American currently on the court (and also in an "inter-racial" marriage) is one that will assuredly come down on the wrong side of history. His position is due completely to people who came down on the correct side, including Abraham Lincoln.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NYSED Building is 100 years Old

Over the past few months I have spent 4 days in the hideously 1960s vintage annex to the New York State Education Department.  The main building is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and they just don't make 'em like they used to!

During the course of my stay, I did get to wander through the original building.  A favorite part of structure is the rotunda.  The main levels surround the opening that spans 5 floors. The centerpiece is a silvered pendant chandelier.

Pretty cool!

Bishop of Maine on Marriage Equality

The Rt. Rev. Stephen Lane is someone I count as a personal friend.  As the Bishop of Maine, he was faced with the need to respond to marriage equality and how the Episcopal Church will live with it when, on November 6th, the people of Maine voted to extend marriage to all.

In his usual well-informed and pastoral style Bishop Lane has issued guidelines that can be viewed here.

The document is beautifully, clearly and directly written with sensitivity the concerns of all.  No clergy is mandated to bless any marriage.  They never have been and never will be. But the bishop makes it clear from the get-go that he is giving permission for his priests to bless these marriages and legally act as they would for any marriage.

The bishop was Canon to the Ordinary in Rochester, an office he served with grace and knowledge of the the church and the requirements of the office, before he was elected as the Bishop of Maine.  Steve,  I love you more than ever!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Flag of Marriage Equality

A week ago the map of marriage equality in the United States was dramatically altered.  Carl Tashian's Flag of Marriage Equality is also ready to be updated!  I made a video of the flag's progress. Your comments about the video in this rough form are welcome as well as suggestions for a music track.

The Flag of Equal Marriage (Carl Tashian) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Night 11:30 pm R-184 O-172, BUT...

Going on 11:00 pm and Romney is ahead in electoral college 184 to 172.  HOWEVER his is running of states he can take.  Nate Silver has not been wrong on a state yet. Virginia is out, but Tim Kaine was elected.  Florida has slight lead for Obama with Miami-Dade, an Obama stronghold.  Ohio is not in, but Sherrod Brown was reelected.  All good signs.  Silver has predicted victories in all three.  California is about to close.  This is going to happen!

Election Night 9:30 R-153 O-148

Obama has Wisconsin. Tammy Baldwin... ?

NY closed... Election results are coming in.  Of course NY was called for Obama in 15 minutes.

Watching Louise Slaughter and Kathy Hochul who we want returning to Washington. Louise is predicted to retain her seat.  Kathy Hochul is a "race to watch." She defeated a tea party candidate last year.

Election Night 8:30ish R82-O64

Electoral Votes: NBC Reports Romney-82, Obama-64

Big news is that Florida looks to be going well for Obama.  Of course they are not reporting early on that one... wonder why???

Nate is looking better and better.

Why Do I Torture Myself? Elect Night 7:30 33-3

Three states closed and few closing now.  Torture.  Virginia is too close to call and that's the most important first indicator.  Different source report differently.  CNN lighting up a bar chart on the Empire State Building.  NBC projecting the electoral college decisions on a map on the ice in Rockefeller Center, dubbed 'Democracy Plaza' for today.

Most indicators are a <1 are="are" blue="blue" even="even" have="have" is="is" leanings="leanings" light="light" meaningless.="meaningless." nbsp="nbsp" on="on" or="or" p="p" pink="pink" precincts="precincts" reported="reported" rural="rural" site.="site." so="so" the="the" their="their" this="this" urban="urban" using="using" which="which">
My vocabulary has been expanded to include, 'down ballot.' In NY that would be 'cross ballot.'  It means the candidates other than the president.

Called:  Kentucky, Indiana, WV and SC are red, Vermont is blue.  Electoral Votes: Romney 33, Obama 3.

Monday, November 5, 2012

TOMORROW: Why your vote matters for LGBT people

I am updating my Facebook cover to reflect the the importance of tomorrow's election for LGBT Americans, and not only Americans, but hope for LGBT people around the world. It could give them great hope that this country, a model of democracy, cares about ALL of its citizen.

There is a clear choice.  One party has a platform that institutionalized discrimination.  One party has a platform that supports full equality.  One party supports the so called 'Defense of Marriage Act' (DOMA) and a constitutional amendment that would make it part of the Constitution.  One party calls for the repeal of DOMA and opposes amending the constitution to deny rights and responsibilities to a particular segment of our society.

The GOP is on record to deny LGBT their rights.  The Democrats are for marriage equality and protecting the rights of all.

Four states vote on Marriage Equality tomorrow.  Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota will go to the polls to decide if civil marriage is available for all. Martin O'Malley, Governor of Maryland, said,"I want to leave my kids a society where everyone's home is protected under the law."

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) Maryland

The first openly gay Senator, Tammy Baldwin, could be elected in Wisconsin. While there are a number of openly gay member of the House of Representatives, this will be the first member of congress voted in by an entire states electorate.

If you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered or you love or even care about someone who is, please think carefully about your vote and how it will affect the future of equality for you, your neighbors, your loved ones and every single American.

Please, if you are on the fence, or even leaning right, let this decide which candidate deserves your vote.

One final note:  If you identify as Christian, vote on the principals that Jesus spoke, not the values that have been adopted by some followers to exclude some of God's children.  Vote to include.

Thank you!

Update:  Did I leave out SUPREME COURT APPOINTEES?   Yikes!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cher and Kathy on the Election and Women

Listen up .... Cher is speaking!