Tag Archives: Proposition 8

Attacking their allies isn’t a winning strategy for black-rights activists

As dozens protesters shout, Tia Oso of the National Coordinator for Black Immigration Network, center, walks up on stage interrupting Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, right, as moderator Jose Vargas watches at left, during the Netroots Nation town hall meeting, Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Associated Press photo

Black-rights activists commandeered a progressive forum in Phoenix on Saturday, even taking the microphone from the frustrated moderator, left, while Democratic presidential aspirant Martin O’Malley, right, who had been trying to speak, looks on. This was a bad political move. Those gathered at the event weren’t there to have an outside group take over the event, and those gathered at the progressive forum aren’t the enemy. It was a safe target for a hostile takeover, however, since the attendees at the progressive event didn’t really need the lesson.

So if I understand the “#BernieSoBlack” meme correctly, democratic socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is to be derided because he isn’t black.

Wow.

Of the five-thus-far announced candidates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination (all of them white), a President Sanders probably would be the best booster of black Americans – probably even better than Barack Obama has been (which isn’t saying all that much, I know [I mean, Obama is great with the rhetoric…]) – but Sanders is to be derided because he isn’t of the “right” race. (Not that that’s racist or anything…)

As I’ve noted, yes, it would be nice if the most progressive presidential candidate weren’t another older white man, as we’ve had more than our fill of older white men in the White House and in other positions of power, but the bottom line with Bernie Sanders is that he is the most progressive presidential candidate that we have today.

It’s not Sanders’ fault that no black (or Latino or Asian or…) American is running for president on the Democratic Party ticket (but hey, black Americans have Ben Carson!), and the demographics of Sanders’ home state of Vermont aren’t exactly his fault, either. (Vermont was about 94 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 estimate.)

Thus far there isn’t a “#BillarySoBlack” meme because, I suppose, Billary Clinton is seen as an extension of Bill Clinton, whom black American writer Toni Morrison in 1998 billed as “the first black president,” even though his “welfare reform,” his support of NAFTA, and his other right-wing, pro-plutocratic and pro-corporate policies harmed, not helped, black Americans as well as Americans in general.

The Clintons are great at saying that they’re on your side; actually acting in your best interests, however, is much more challenging for them (as it has been for Obama).

But, I believe, I get it: Barack Obama is in office for only another year and a half. Statistically speaking, while the door has been at least cracked opened, we probably won’t see another black president any decade soon. If the Repugnicans take back the White House in November 2016, of course Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be replaced, and if the Democrats keep the White House, she may or may not be kept on (I’d like to see her kept on).

Black Americans very apparently are concerned, and rightfully so, that the work that Obama’s Justice Department has started on civil rights won’t be continued after he leaves office. If the Repugnicans regain the White House, of course that work will stop. If the Democrats keep the White House, black Americans want to ensure that they don’t drop the ball.

It’s a big ball to drop. Unarmed black Americans are more than twice as likely to be slaughtered by a cop than are unarmed white Americans, and in 2009 almost 5 percent of black Americans were incarcerated, compared to fewer than 1 percent of white Americans. Black Americans have the lowest median household income of all of the races in the U.S. (Latinos have the second-lowest, while Asian Americans have the highest and white Americans have the second-highest).

I could give many more such statistics. Black Americans, by almost every measure, indeed struggle more than the members of any other racial group, and of course institutionalized racism is the largest factor in that. And of course symbolic actions alone, like banning the Confederate flag (while that’s a necessary step), aren’t going to reverse these grim statistics.

As much as these statistics capture the real suffering of real human beings, it disturbs me that mindless, knee-jerk political correctness has driven us to the point that it widely is considered to be quite unseemly to assert these days that all lives matter. Billary Clinton and Martin O’Malley now know this after both of them made the political mistake of recently publicly asserting that “all lives matter,” which very apparently is interpreted by many if not most within the black American community and the black American community’s uber-politically correct supporters to mean that black Americans’ concerns are being minimized by the blithe pronouncement that “all lives matter.”

All lives do matter, of course, but of course it’s critically important to note that not all Americans have it the same, that the average white American and the average Asian American, for instance, have it much better than do the average black American and the average Latino American.

I know – I’m not supposed to mention Latinos and Asians, because so many of us are addicted to the binary view of race relations, the view that race relations really are only black and white (and black vs. white and vice-versa).

But that’s just not the reality of the United States of America.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates for 2013 are that 62.6 percent of Americans were white only, 17.1 percent were Latino only, 13.2 percent black only, and 5.3 percent Asian only, with the rest being of another race (such as Native American) or of more than one race. The pie graph looks like this:

(The lettering of this pie graph, which I found online, is small, so, if it helps, the blue area represents whites, the reddish-pinkish area represents Latinos, the green area represents blacks, the purplish area represents Asians, the turquoise represents those of more than one race, and the orange-ish represents Native Americans.)

Seeing it graphically helps to give us some perspective, I think. We are a diverse nation, but we also are supposed to be (in my book) a fairly proportionately representative democracy, albeit one that still protects minorities’ equal human and civil rights.

To those who think it’s just awful that Bernie Sanders was born white (as a Jewish American, however, he is a minority [Wikipedia notes that Sanders’ “father was a Jewish immigrant from Poland whose family was killed in the Holocaust, while his mother was born to Jewish parents in New York”]), I’d point out that a solid majority of Americans are white. (And, of course, Jewish Americans weren’t always considered to be white in the United States. And we’ve yet to have a Jewish U.S. president.)

I state this obvious fact (that most Americans still are white) because “Black Lives Matter” so often off-puttingly, offensively comes off as “Only Black Lives Matter” – especially since you get into trouble for asserting that “all lives matter” or even that “black and all lives matter.” Again, black Americans inarguably have it worse, as a racial group, than does any other racial group in the U.S., but black Americans, at 13 percent of the U.S. population, don’t comprise even one in five of all Americans (Latinos, whose numbers in the U.S. overtook blacks’ around 2000, are reaching that point, however).

For such a relatively small piece of the American pie to be demanding political power that is much greater than its actual numbers – such as the apparent demand that Barack Obama be followed only by another black president (even though the only black American who is running for president right now is the unelectable wingnut Ben Carson) – is not only unseemly and undemocratic, but it’s a shitty political tactic.

I can think of no better way to sink your own minority cause than to act like your minority cause is the only cause, or at least, the most important cause.

As a gay man, I’ve long recognized that without the help of our heterosexual allies, we of the non-heterosexual minority never would have achieved same-sex marriage (we still have a long way to go toward full equality, of course).* I’ve never advocated that we non-heterosexuals kiss heterosexual ass or beg for crumbs from the heterosexuals’ table, but at the same time, some political tactics that alienate one’s supporters or would-be supporters – such, as, oh, say, interrupting presidential candidates who are trying to speak to the members of a progressive group, even commandeering the microphonearen’t smart.

These tactics make you feel good about yourself – you rebel, you! – but they run counter to your own stated objectives. People who already are on your side or who could (have) be(en) on your side now have less respect for you; you have shown that you have no concerns outside of your own immediate concerns for yourself and your own group, and those toxically narrow identity politics don’t work anymore (if they ever did).

And when justifiably aggrieved blacks attack a progressive like Bernie Sanders, isn’t that just because they know that he won’t respond in a vicious, violent way? I mean, are these same people going to even try to similarly crash right-wing events? I much doubt it. So why attack those who already are on your side? Just because you can?

I hope that the “Black Lives Matter” movement continues. It’s vital to keep the issue of police brutality against blacks in the national spotlight. If it’s not, the deaths – the (negligent) homicides and the murders – of black Americans at the hands of the police will continue unabated.

But if the “Black Lives Matter” movement wants to succeed in the long term, it’s going to have to stop attacking allies (because they probably won’t fight back, being allies), and it’s going to have to realize that blacks comprise a minority of Americans, and that there are other oppressed minorities of Americans – and that yes, all lives do matter.

To acknowledge that simple fact is not to dismiss the living hell that the United States of America is for so many of its denizens, a disproportionate number of them black and Latino (and otherwise non-white). To acknowledge that fact is to gain and to keep allies on your side, because as powerful as you think you are, you can’t do it alone. You do need allies in this fight, and that means taking an interest in others’ interests and concerns, too.

Echo chambers are an awful lot of fun, but they don’t bring about a lot of lasting political change.

P.S. I see that long-time Billary Clinton stooge Joan Walsh of Salon.com predictably used the Phoenix incident to try to bash Bernie Sanders and boost Billary (even though Billary, like her hubby, always has been all words and promises but little action), as though Sanders needs a lecture from the DINO-loving Walsh, but vox.com notes that “Hillary Clinton was invited [to speak to the progressive group (Netroots Nation) in Phoenix on Saturday], but declined the invitation.”

At least Bernie showed up. You can’t fuck something up if you can’t even be bothered to be there, can you? No, Queen Billary prefers much more controlled, stage-managed “events.”

And of course Walsh won’t point out that it’s pretty shitty to interrupt and commandeer someone else’s event, no matter how just your cause might be, and that it’s pretty pointless to attack those who already support you — um, how about crashing a police officers’ convention when your main grievance is police brutality? — because that doesn’t fit in with her little narrative.

Some have posited that Billary was behind the crashing of the Netroots Nation in order to try to make her challengers look bad. That doesn’t strike me as impossible.

But after Bill Clinton’s record, anyone who believes that Billary Clinton would be “the first female black president” needs his or her head examined.

Finally, I note that not to be outdone by “Black Lives Matter” in alienating allies based upon toxic identity politics, Joan Walsh gleefully indirectly but surely calls Bernie Sanders’ white-male supporters “bro-cialists” and “bro-gressives” — because to be a white male by definition is shameful and bad, you see — even though about a third of Americans are white males, a group that’s too large for progressives to be able to afford to alienate entirely.

All white males should support Walsh’s DINO candidate, Billary Clinton, you see, simply because Billary is a woman who calls herself a Democrat, or they’re — we’re — to be demeaned as “bro-cialists” and “bro-gressives.” (Har har!)

You know, some might call Joan Walsh a “femi-Nazi.” Not I, of course, but some!

*On that note, on the day that I cast my vote for Barack Obama for president in November 2008 – happy to be able to vote for the first non-white president in U.S. history – 70 percent of California’s black voters voted for Proposition H8, which banned same-sex marriage (which the U.S. Supreme Court just last month ruled is unconstitutional).

It was, to put it mildly, a slap in the face to have had the black community’s back but to be betrayed by the black community like that.

Barack Obama didn’t come on board with same-sex marriage until 2012; he had to “evolve,” he said. Bernie Sanders already had publicly “evolved” on same-sex marriage before both Obama and Billary Clinton finally did, and arguably, Sanders publicly was supporting same-sex marriage way back in the 1970s.

There are plenty of pseudo-progressives — DINOs like Billary Clinton and Barack Obama — whom one can attack as being pseudo-progressives, as not really having oppressed minorities’ interests in mind or at heart.

Bernie Sanders isn’t one of them.

If all that matters is that our next president is black, then by all means, let’s elect Ben Carson, right-wing lunatic that he is.

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We are the champions, my friends!

Supporters of gay marriage rally after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry

Reuters photo

Jubilant supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court today. (The huge red flag in front of them is marked with a pink equality sign.) In a landmark decision (Obergefell vs. Hodges), the nation’s highest court ruled 5-4 today that no state may outlaw same-sex marriage.

It was only in 2004 that former “President” George W. Bush – whose campaign manager at that time is a gay manused same-sex marriage as a wedge issue to help him “win” “re”-election. And it was only in 2008 that while the nation historically elected its first non-white president on November 4, the anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition H8 passed, 52 percent to 48 percent, here in California, the most populous state and one of the bluest states in the nation.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a long-overdue landmark decision, ruled that all 50 states must allow same-sex couples to marry. The decision isn’t exactly a shocker, as only 14 backasswards states before today’s decision had been holdouts on same-sex marriage. Indeed, apparently the nation’s highest court, which almost always is behind the curve, with 36 states already ahead of it on the legalization of same-sex marriage, had found it politically safe to rule, correctly, that the U.S. Constitution (specifically, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [and also the amendment’s Due Process Clause]) forbids any of the states from forbidding any two adults (who are consenting and who aren’t closely related to each other, of course…) from marrying each other.

I wish that today’s landmark decision had been greater than 5-4, but, of course, the wingnutty haters would argue that any decision by the U.S. Supreme Court affirming the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, even a unanimous one, somehow is tyrannical or undemocratic or oppressive or blah blah blah. (Just as elections are valid only when they go the wingnuts’ way, judges are “activist” only when they rule in a way that displeases the wingnuts, you see.)

However, recent nationwide polls unanimously show that a solid majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, with support anywhere from the upper 50s to low 60s.

I have no doubt that were the issue of same-sex marriage put up to a national vote – but let me emphasize that no one’s constitutionally guaranteed equal human and civil rights ever should be put up for a vote – a solid majority of Americans would vote “yes.” The U.S. Supreme Court today has not violated the will of the American people; it has only pissed off a minority of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging fucktards.

My same-sex partner of more than seven years and I have yet to marry, even though legalized same-sex marriage was restored in California in late June 2013. I’d like to say that we have been waiting for same-sex marriage to be the law of the land before we get married, that we haven’t wanted to wed until everyone in the United States may wed, but it’s probably closer to the truth that we can be slow to act on things on which we don’t absolutely have to act immediately.

That said, today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a milestone, right up there with Loving vs. Virginia, the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made it illegal for any of the states to outlaw mixed-race marriage.

And today’s Supreme Court decision probably will speed up my marriage to my partner. So maybe we more or less were waiting for this day after all.

P.S. While we’ve had a big victory today, the fight for equal human and civil rights for everyone continues, of course; there are no federal protections for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals in the the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for instance, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals from being fired for being who they (we) are, repeatedly has been introduced in Congress since the 1990s but has yet to be passed.

But we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.

P.P.S. Chief “Justice” John Roberts, in his dissent in Obergefell vs. Hodges, remarked, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. … Just who do we think we are? It can be tempting for judges to confuse our own preferences with the requirements of the law. …”

Funny. Roberts wasn’t on the court at the time, but his remarks (especially “Just who do we [U.S. Supreme Court justices/“justices”] think we are?”) make me think of Bush vs. Gore, the 5-4 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision that put George W. Bush into the White House instead of the vote of the people.

(Al Gore won the popular vote by more than a half-million votes, and I’m confident that he won the pivotal state of Florida, where George W. Bush had a lot of help from his brother, then-Gov. Jeb Bush, and the state’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who wrongfully had purged likely Democratic voters from the state’s voter rolls.)

So legally flawed was Bush vs. Gore that the right-wing “justices” who elected George W. Bush to the White House explicitly stated in the ruling that the ruling applied only to the 2000 presidential election.

Again: A justice or judge is only “activist” if one disagrees with his or her ruling. Otherwise, the ruling was quite legally sound. Not that this is sore-loserism or anything.

And I find it awfully interesting that to the right wing it’s perfectly OK for the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court to do such things as pick a Repugnican as president, allow corporations and plutocrats to buy elections, and gut the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Yet should the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court actually do good instead of evil — such as by expanding freedom and civil rights to include everyone, which is in perfect line with such founding sentiments and declarations that “all men* are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (from the U.S. Declaration of Independence) and that we should “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” (from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution**) — the treasonous right wing cries bloody fucking murder.

P.P.P.S. Roberts also hatefully scribbled in his dissent that “however heartened the proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever: the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause. And they lose this just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs.”

Wow. What a colossal asshole. First of all, Roberts parrots the fascistic belief that we non-heterosexuals (and, to a greater extent, non-gender-conforming individuals) must beg and supplicate heterosexuals for our equal human and civil rights (which is our “cause” of which he speaks). Equal human and civil rights aren’t our birthright, you see; no, we are to be at the mercy of the heterosexual majority to deem us worthy or not.

This is sick, evil shit. Roberts is not fit to practice law as an ambulance chaser, much more sit as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Moreover, as I noted, before today’s ruling, 36 states already had legalized same-sex marriage (without the nation subsequently imploding!), and nationwide polls consistently have shown solid-majority support for same-sex marriage.

Yet in Robert’s sick and fucking twisted, right-wing universe, we non-heterosexuals can’t win. Even when we actually are winning — actually, we already have won in the court of public opinion — he declares, against mountain ranges of reality, that we are losing public support just when we were on the cusp of winning it!

And when would Roberts ever have declared that we’d finally won this precious critical mass of support from the heterosexual majority? Never. It would have been a dream indefinitely deferred, of course.

It’s not the American public that is behind; it’s Roberts and his evil, fascistic ilk who are far, far behind.

*If the founders didn’t include women in their use of the word “men,” we include women now. That’s called progress, which, of course, is anathema to the retrogrades who comprise the right wing.

**Roberts concluded his mean-spirited dissent with this:

… If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

I respectfully dissent. [What a fucking lie — his entire dissent is incredibly disrespectful.]

Again, not only does the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibit outlawing same-sex marriage because one finds it to be against the crap that is in the Bible (we’re not actually a fucking theocracy) or icky or whatever — rights can be denied only if actual harm can be demonstrated by the exercise of those rights (in which case they’re no longer actually rights, really), and the haters repeatedly have been unable in the courts of law to demonstrate any actual harm caused by same-sex marriage — but the preamble to the Constitution sets the tone and the intent of the entire document, methinks. And again, the preamble is this:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Key words there include “establish Justice,” “promote the general Welfare,” and “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and Posterity.” (Mention of concern for “Posterity” seems to indicate that the authors of the Constitution did have an eye to the future, that they didn’t intend for the Constitution to be Frozen In Time.) And, of course, “a more perfect Union” means that you continue to improvenot that you advocate that the U.S. remain stuck where it was at its founding.

The wingnuts on the U.S. Supreme Court and those who love them claim that the U.S. Constitution says nothing about expanding freedom and justice for all, yet isn’t it there in the opening of the Constitution? Doesn’t the idea and the ideal of continual progress actually foreshadow the entire fucking document? And where does the Constitution say that only heterosexual, white, conservative, “Christian” men are to have equal human and civil rights, while the rest of us are to grovel at their feet for our equal human and civil rights, as Roberts very apparently believes?

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Pink triangle proposition won’t become law in California, but it’s the thought that counts

History repeats itself. Above are shown victims of fascist Nazi Germany’s persecution of accused gay men, tens of thousands of whom were required to wear an inverted pink triangle marking them as non-heterosexual. A theofascist California lawyer has submitted to the state’s attorney general’s office a ballot proposition to “put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method” “any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification.”

An Orange County, California, lawyer has paid the $200 filing fee to start the process for his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” which would, at its most merciful, prevent any non-heterosexual from being a public school teacher, a police officer, an elected public official or any other public employee, and which would, at worst, “put [non-heterosexuals] to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

My reading of the fairly short “act” gives me the impression that the sentiment is not entirely unlike the Catholick Church’s or the Mormon cult’s: Merely having same-sex attraction is bad, but actually acting upon it is the worst, because the fuller phrasing of the “act” is: “the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

In a shout-out to Vladimir Putin, the “act” also mandates that:

No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.

Although this modest proposal first emerged weeks ago, this past week it has hit the media as “news.”

The legal consensus is that California Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose office is the first stop for any ballot initiative in the state, does not have the legal authority to shut down the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” even though it patently violates the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution. The legal consensus also is that the office of the California secretary of state, the second and final stop for a state ballot initiative, does not have the legal authority to stop the “Sodomite Suppression Act.”

Of course, the right-wing lawyer who has proposed the “act,” a Matt McLaughlin, has cleared the easiest, lowest bar in the California ballot initiative process: he paid his $200 to the state’s attorney general’s office to obtain his ballot title and ballot summary, which he first must obtain from the attorney general’s office before he may begin to collect the 365,880 valid signatures of registered voters in order to qualify his ballot initiative for its placement on the November 2016 statewide ballot.

Collecting that many signatures would require some resources; McLaughlin would have to print his own petitions in a strict format dictated by state law and would have to get the bodies to go out and gather all of those signatures, be they paid or be they volunteers or some mixture of both.

Vox.com posits that the “[California state] Supreme Court is likely to step in and stop the [ballot] measure, particularly if the proposal gets enough signatures to qualify for the ballot,” but doesn’t cite its source of this assertion.

Oddly, though, neither Vox.com nor Slate.com, in their explainers on the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” notes that even though the majority of California’s voters might adopt a ballot initiative (for which only a simple majority is required), a federal court always can rule that the ballot initiative violates the U.S. Constitution (and, to my knowledge, the state’s Supreme Court can rule that a ballot initiative violates the state’s Constitution).

There is precedent for this: The hateful, anti-immigrant California Proposition 187, passed by the state’s voters by a disturbing 59 percent to 41 percent in November 1994, was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 1997 (indeed, most of the law never even went into effect, because the same federal judge had imposed a permanent injunction on most portions of the law in December 1994).

And in November 2008, California’s voters narrowly passed (52 percent to 48 percent) the hateful, anti-non-heterosexual Proposition 8, which then was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2010. (The federal judge’s ruling was challenged legally but ultimately was left intact by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013, and same-sex marriages in California have been legal since then.)

The California Supreme Court declined to prevent the unconstitutional Proposition H8 from appearing on the ballot, so it would be interesting to see what the court would do if it were asked to prevent the “Sodomite Suppression Act” from appearing on the ballot. Indeed, while Prop H8 “only” sought to outlaw same-sex marriages, the “Sodomite Suppression Act” calls for the Nazi-style wholesale slaughter of non-heterosexuals who ever have acted upon their same-sex attraction.

But, Wikipedia notes, citing a 2006 California Supreme Court case, “As a general rule, it is improper for courts to adjudicate pre-election challenges to a measure’s substantive validity.” In other words, the state Supreme Court apparently believes that voters get to weigh in on a ballot measure first, and the constitutionality of the measure, if it is passed, is to be hashed out in the courts only after the measure’s passage.

Thank Goddess for the federal court system and its ability (indeed, its duty) to weigh in on whether laws passed by the states’ legislatures or by the states’ voters violate the U.S. Constitution, as history has shown that even the states’ highest courts are fairly toothless, by choice or by design (to my knowledge, the states’ highest courts have jurisdiction only over their states’ constitutions, and state judges don’t have the legal authority to determine whether a state law violates the U.S. Constitution*).

True, it took years for the odious and unconstitutional California Prop H8 finally to be undone by the federal court system (that said, while today same-sex marriage is legal in California and in 35 other states, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage once and for all), but, even if the “Sodomite Suppression Act” were to make it to the November 2016 California ballot (unlikely, given the amount of money that is required to get anything on the statewide ballot in the nation’s most populous state) and pass (which is highly unlikely in this blue state), a federal court (if not also the California Supreme Court) immediately would halt its implementation, of course. Not a single bullet would be fired into the head of an accused non-heterosexual (not by the state government of California, anyway).

But, you know, it’s certainly the thought that counts, isn’t it?

Apparently wingnutty lawyer Matt McLaughlin is unlikely to be disbarred by the state for his ballot proposition. While proposing a law that blatantly violates the U.S. Constitution by proposing the wholesale murder of an entire class of human beings amply demonstrates McLaughlin’s blatant moral turpitude (if not also his blatant incompetence) as a lawyer, whose duty is to uphold the state and federal constitutions, not propose to violate them, McLaughlin should, in my book, be disbarred, but apparently he will be able to hide behind his First-Amendment “right” to propose, Nazi-style, that a whole class of people be executed.

Still, if you believe, like I do, that McLaughlin should be disbarred, you can sign, as I have, an online petition calling for his disbarment by clicking here.

Even if McLaughlin were just pulling an attention-grabbing stunt, his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” whether he means it seriously or not — to be safe, I assume that he is quite serious** — is hate speech, and lawyers who practice hate speech (which does not warrant First-Amendment protection, since it so obviously so easily can result in violence, even death, or other injury against its intended targets) should be disbarred.

I might thank McLaughlin, however, for demonstrating quite publicly that his Nazi-like mentality, although a minority mentality, still exists. And shudderingly, I surmise that while many if not most homophobes wouldn’t go so far as to execute an accused non-heterosexual individual with their own hands, the worst of the homophobes, if such execution were routine even here in the United States of America, wouldn’t much care and would do little to nothing to stop it.

*Alabama state Supreme Court Chief “Justice” Roy Moore, for instance, has claimed, quite incorrectly, that he has the legal authority and ability to override and ignore a federal judge’s ruling on the federal constitutionality of same-sex marriage in the state. Moore was removed from the post of Alabama Supreme Court chief “justice” in 2003 for having ignored another federal judge’s ruling on another federal constitution issue, but he was not disbarred, as he should have been, and thus he legally was allowed to run for the post again, which, insanely, is filled by popular election in the backasswards state of Alabama.

**Not much is known of McLaughlin, but the San Francisco Chronicle notes that “McLaughlin, a lawyer since 1998, tried to qualify an initiative in 2004 that would have added the King James Bible as a literature textbook in California public schools. He was quoted at the time as saying he was promoting classroom use of the Bible for its ‘rich use of the English language’ and was not trying to indoctrinate students.”

So McLaughlin apparently has a history of toxic, theofascist fundamentalism and apparently wishes for a theocratic state, much like the members of ISIS, whose mentality is the same but whose bible is different.

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Brendan Eich(mann) got what he deserved

Outgoing Mozilla chief executive Brendan Eich

Former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich gave a hate group $1,000, paid a price for it, and this poetic justice is deemed to be a “violation” of “free speech” in the fascistic United States of America. (Yes, the fascistic Nazis persecuted non-heterosexuals, too.)

Most discussion of whether or not the “free-speech rights” of Mozilla co-founder and short-lived CEO Brendan Eich — who stepped down as CEO Thursday after a firestorm had raged over his having donated $1,000 to the 2008 Proposition Hate effort — have been trampled upon wholly ignores or glosses over one simple historical and legal fact: a federal court in 2010 found Prop H8 to be unconstitutional — and thus illegal.

As Wikipedia recounts it, “In August 2010,  [United States District Court for the Northern District of California] Chief Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the [anti-same-sex-marriage California constitutional] amendment was unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, since it purported to re-remove rights from a disfavored class only, with no rational basis.”

So, before we blather ourselves into a lather about “free speech,” let’s take a good, long, hard look at exactly the kind of speech that we’re actually defending here — and in this case, it is hate speech.

Yes, it is.

To have supported Prop H8 was to have supported the continued mindless oppression of a minority group picked out for such continued mindless oppression. “Mindless” oppression because, as Vaughn Walker (whose original ruling still holds as the law of California, since the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legally upheld it) correctly ruled, there is no rational basis to prohibit same-sex marriage.

To have supported Prop H8 was to have supported something that was and that remains unconstitutional and thus illegal.

Whether or not hate speech should have First-Amendment protection — especially when hate speech (yes, even “just” giving $1,000 to a “cause” meant to continue to oppress a certain minority group) so often results in very real harm to many very real people — is another discussion, but for the time being, let’s not pretend that Brendan Eich was just trying to do something nice for someone and that he paid a price for it, that no good deed goes unpunished.

Let’s also not pretend that if Eich (whom I really want to call Eichmann) had a “free-speech right” to donate money to an unconstitutionally and thus illegally oppressive “cause,” that those who wanted his head on a silver platter for his donation didn’t also have a free-speech right to call for his head on a silver platter (so to speak [of course]). They did. They do. We do.

And let’s not pretend that Eich was fired for having given a $1K donation to a hate group. He was not fired. He resigned.

He resigned, apparently, because in his high-level job, his very apparently being a homophobe tarnished the public reputation of the entire organization. Most large organizations wouldn’t have well-known white supremacists as their CEOs, either.

Let’s not pretend that a CEO, a very public person, having given $1K to Prop H8 and then having been fairly forced, socioeconomicopolitically, to resign because of that donation is just like! you or I, a very private person, having given $1K to Prop H8 and actually having been terminated from our much-lower-level employment because of it. Let’s not do that, because context, including the level of the power of the players involved, is everything.

Brendan Eichmann — er, Eich — got what he deserved for having financially supported a hate group. If he believes that his constitutional (such as his First-Amendment) rights have been violated by anyone, then he may sue to his hating heart’s content. Presumably, he has plenty of cash with which to do so. (But he won’t sue, because he has no fucking case.)

There is nothing more to discuss.

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Win some, lose some, but we queer ducks are still ahead of the haters

The first gay couple to be married in Utah, Michael Ferguson and his husband Seth Anderson, kiss as Blake Ferguson and his girlfriend Danielle Morgan watch after the pair married at the Salt Lake County Clerks office in Salt Lake City, Utah

Reuters photo

Michael Ferguson, center, and Seth Anderson, right, of Salt Lake City, were the first gay-male couple to legally marry in the “Christo”fascist state of Utah, on December 20. This unexpected, incredibly ironic historical event more than makes up for this pathetic shit:

This undated image released by A&E shows Phil Robertson, flanked by his sons Jase Robertson, left, and Willie Robertson from the popular series "Duck Dynasty." Phil Robertson was suspended for disparaging comments he made to GQ magazine about gay people but was reinstated by the network on Friday, Dec. 27. In a statement Friday, A&E said it decided to bring Robertson back to the reality series after discussions with the Robertson family and "numerous advocacy groups." (AP Photo/A&E, Zach Dilgard)

Associated Press image

So A&E cravenly has caved in and decided to keep “Duck Dynasty” intact. Here is the “patriarch” of the “reality” show — who won’t be missing from a single episode — spewing forth racist, homophobic and generally stupid-white-male-bigoted venom and bile*, yet the shameless corporate weasels (redundant…) of A&E assure us that “A&E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect.”

Yes, so much so that Papa Duck (a.k.a. Phil Robertson) got only a slap on the wrist, if even that, and that from now on it will be business as usual. (Oh, but as a parting gift, a consolation prize, much like Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat, A&E has promised, “We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign [public service announcements] promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company and the values found in Duck Dynasty. [!] These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.”

When I was earning my journalism degree, my cohorts and I thought of those who actually were going for a public relations [PR] degree at our university as PRostitutes. We remain correct.)

I had figured that the highly-lucrative-among-white-trash “Duck Dynasty” would live on, albeit at a more appropriate venue, such as FOX. No doubt, there remains a captive audience for the stupid white man’s hate speech. (If they see and hear it on the tay-vay, then it must be the truth!)

Oh, well. I have added A&E to homophobic operations that I steadfastly boycott, including Chick-fil-A (there is one nearby that I’ve never stepped foot in), Cracker Barrel (OK, so I don’t think that we have even one of those restaurants here in Northern California, but I’d never step foot in one, anywhere, ever), and a local ice cream restaurant named Leatherby’s that I haven’t stepped foot in ever since I learned that its “Christo”fascist owner gave $20,000 toward the passage of Proposition H8 (true, the restaurant always struck me as at least a bit dirty and nasty anyway, so that wasn’t exactly a difficult boycott).

But recently there was another addition to another list, a list that is much more important than is my own personal boycott list: the list of states where same-sex marriage is in effect.

To that list we have added Utah. Yes, Utah — to a large degree the home of the now-overturned anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition H8, which wouldn’t have passed here in California in November 2008 if the Utah-based Mormon cult hadn’t aided and abetted the hateful effort (how do they keep their tax-exempt status?) — now has same-sex marriage.

That wonderful irony blows the pathetic Papa Duck right out of the water.

Lest you believe for a nanosecond that the “Christo”fascists of Utah have had a sudden change of heart, that they actually have taken to heart the actual teachings of Jesus Christ (to love others and to not be a fucking asshole), know that in this case, change had to come from without: It was a federal district court judge, not the voters of Utah or the state’s legislature or the state’s highest court, who ruled, correctly, that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage has violated the equal, human and civil rights guaranteed to all Americans by the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, and which no one, not even the grand wizards of the Mormon cult in Salt Lake City, is above.

And know that of course the bigoted state of Utah, which is owned and operated by the Mormon cult, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and to stop same-sex marriages in Utah, which recently have been going on at a record pace. (Reports The Washington Post:

Salt Lake City — In the week since a federal judge overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, the number of weddings in the state has skyrocketed, shattering records and accruing thousands of dollars for Utah’s 29 counties.

As of close of business Thursday [December 26], more than 1,225 marriage licenses had been issued in Utah since last Friday [December 20]. Of those, at least 74 percent, or 905 licenses, were issued to gay and lesbian couples. …

Salt Lake County shattered a previously held record of 85 marriages in a given day, by handing out 353 on Monday [December 23] — the first full day of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. …)

This! Unbridled! Happiness! MUST! STOP! NOW!

(That is, after, all, the central teaching of Jesus Christ!)

I’ll live with the fact that a “reality” show about a white-trash family (again, I think of them and their kind as the American Taliban) that I’ve never watched and never will watch continues on.

And that battle isn’t over. Thus far, the weasels of A&E have done the math — the accounting, more accurately — and have calculated that it was safe for them to rescind their indefinite suspension of Papa Duck from his family’s “reality” show before it even had gone into effect.

We’ll see if there is any blowback over this — again, A&E is a venture of Disney and the Hearst Corp. — and if so, whether this blowback makes the assholes of A&E change their minds on Papa Duck and his “reality” show once again.

In the meantime, I expect the U.S. Supreme Court to refuse to intervene in same-sex marriage in Utah, leaving same-sex marriage intact there, which is, after all of the Proposition H8 drama, incredibly fucking funny. (Not that equal human and civil rights for everyone is a joke — it is not — but still!)

What would be even funnier still would be if the U.S. Supreme Court does get involved in the issue of same-sex marriage in Utah, at the state of Utah’s request — only to rule in favor of same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Unlikely, perhaps, but not impossible, and that ruling will come from the U.S. Supreme Court in the not-too-distant future — with or without A&E’s PSAs “promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people.”

*In addition to the quotes widely publicized from Papa Duck’s interview in next month’s edition of GQ, in recent years he also said these things (click that link [to the Los Angeles Times’ website] to see the links to the YouTube videos that are videorecorded evidence of these quotations):

  • “Look, [if] you wait ’til they get to be about 20 years old, the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket. You gotta marry these girls when they’re 15 or 16; they’ll pick your ducks.”
  • “Why do they murder and why do they hate us? Because all of them … 80 years of history, they all want to conquer the world, they all rejected Jesus and they’re all famous for murder. Nazis, Shintoists, Communists and the Mohammedists. Every one of them the same way.”
  • “Women with women. Men with men. They committed indecent acts with one another. And they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant God haters. They are heartless. They are faithless. They are senseless. They are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.”

As Andrew Sullivan has pointed out, this rhetoric is chillingly reminiscent of the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Nazi Germany, where the Jews were blamed for all evil. Sullivan wrote, in response to Papa Duck’s remark to GQ that when it comes to “sin,” you simply “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there”:

… [To] posit gay people as the true source of all moral corruption is to use eliminationist rhetoric and demonizing logic to soften up a small minority of people for exclusion, marginalization and, at some point, violence.

If you think I’m hyperventilating, ask yourself what the response would be if in talking about sin, Phil Robertson had said, “Start with Jewish behavior…” The argument would be totally recognizable, once very widespread, and deeply disturbing. What we’re seeing here – and it’s very much worth debating – is how fundamentalist religion seizes on recognizable, [“]immoral[“] minorities to shore up its own sense of righteousness. You can gussy it up – but it’s right there in front of our nose. …

This is the type of speech that A&E attempts to excuse, as though some fucking PSAs are going to make it all A-OK.

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Haters’ minds are in the toilet, as usual

Updated below (on Saturday, November 9, 2013) 

This is what it’s about — not about horny heterosexual boys trying to get at the heterosexual girls in the girls’ bathrooms, as the wingnuts blatantly are lying about a California law that protects transgender public-school students. But even that said, the law is about a lot more than the bathroom, anyway.

In July, the California state Legislature passed a piece of legislation titled AB (Assembly Bill) 1266, which California Gov. Jerry Brown signed on August 12.

AB 1266, which is not long, can be read in its entirety here.

AB does at least a few things where the biological sex and the gender identification of public-school students are concerned.

To me, perhaps the biggest substantive change that the new law makes is that it mandates that “A school district may not require a pupil of one sex to enroll in a particular class or course, unless the same class or course is also required of a pupil of the opposite sex.”

If I understand English correctly, that means that public schools in California may not have sex-segregated and sex-specific courses. When I was in junior high school (in Arizona), for instance, all seventh-grade male students were required to take shop, but no female students ever were required to take shop, and all seventh-grade female students were required to take home economics, but no male students ever were required to take home ec.

At my junior high school, which was comprised only of seventh- and eighth-graders, eighth-graders could take shop or home ec, regardless of their sex. Seventh-graders, though, had no choice, but were funneled into shop or into home ec solely based upon their sex.

Under AB 1266, in California, such sex-segregated class requirements — boys must take shop and girls must take home ec — are no longer allowed (again, if I understand English correctly).

AB 1266 also proclaims that “Any school personnel acting in a career counseling or course selection capacity to a pupil shall affirmatively explore with the pupil the possibility of careers, or courses leading to careers, that are nontraditional for that pupil’s sex.”

I remember the principal of my junior high school summoning a bunch of us seventh-grade boys into his office after we’d signed up to take home economics the next year. We’d already taken our required one year of shop,  and, not wanting to take a second year of shop in eighth grade, we signed up to take home economics instead.

I remember the principal trying to talk us out of taking home ec. A few of us boys caved in to his pressure, but most of us (including myself) took home ec anyway. (I am gay, but most of the other boys who also decided to take home ec instead of another year of shop were not, to my knowledge, also gay.)

I don’t remember the principal’s exact “argument” (this was in the early 1980s…), but, in retrospect, my guess is that it was his personal belief that boys shouldn’t take home ec, and so he was going to try to dissuade us from doing so. (No, taking home ec did not “make” me gay. That was a pre-existing condition, so to speak.)

Had AB 1266 been the law of Arizona at that time, it would have been illegal for the principal to try to dissuade me and the other boys from taking home ec; he wouldn’t legally have been able to try to shove his own backasswards gender-role biases down our throats. (And had AB 1266 been the law of Arizona at the time, of course, I wouldn’t have been forced to take shop, which I hated, unless the girls were forced to take it, too.)

So I’m happy that today’s public-school students in California are set not to have to experience what I did, which was having backasswards/conservative/wingnutty gender roles shoved down my fucking throat.

I write “are set” because AB 1266 is set to go into effect on January 1, 2014.

But not if the haters get their way.

They’re in the middle of a campaign to gather enough petition signatures to put AB 1266 up for a “yes” or “no” vote before California’s voters in November 2014 (this process of reversing a piece of legislation at the ballot box is called a referendum).

The haters’ deadline to turn in the required number of signatures (more than half a million of them) is within less than a week. If, after their signatures are examined, they meet the signature requirement, AB 1266 will not go into effect on January 1, but will be suspended until after the voters of the state weigh in on it in November 2014, a year from now.

The intended effect of AB 1266, that I can discern, is to make public-school students feel like it’s OK to be themselves. The intended effect of AB 1266, that I can discern, is to cut down on such problems in our public schools as gender-identification-related (and sexual-orientation-related) bullying (including, of course, physical violence), ostracism, depression, drop-outs, and yes, suicide. It’s to help make every public-school student feel safe to be who he or she is, regardless of whether he or she possesses the XY or XX chromosomes and regardless of whether he or she identifies with the gender associated with his or her chromosomes.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

In that same spirit, it does no one any injury for his or her peer to identify as a male or as a female, regardless of whether his or her peer possesses the XY or XX chromosomes. (There are some rare variants of the XY or XX chromosomal set-up, but let’s please keep this simple…) It neither picks anyone’s pocket nor breaks anyone’s leg, so to speak. (Ditto for same-sex marriage, of course.)

But this is the portion of AB 1266, the very last sentence of AB 1266, that the wingnuts have focused upon like a hate-and-ignorance-filled laser: “A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.” (Emphasis mine.)

The wording is, admittedly, vague. “Facilities” can encompass a lot. Presumably, “facilities” includes restrooms and locker rooms.

However, sexual activity isn’t supposed to be going on inside of school or public restrooms and locker rooms anyway.

You’re not supposed to be exposing yourself to others in restrooms. The last time that some male apparently exposed himself to me (he proudly displayed his erection to me, to which I did not outwardly react at all) in a men’s restroom was many years ago, and he did it at a urinal, so that he could have plausible deniability, apparently. My point is that other males just aren’t showing me their junk in men’s restrooms (whether I’d want them to or not), and I assume that in women’s restrooms, too, women aren’t exposing themselves to each other.

So I don’t understand how it hurts anyone should a transgender student use the restroom of the gender the student identifies with. I can, however, see a problem with, say, forcing a male-to-female transgender student to use a restroom that is restricted for use only by biological males. Maybe this student will avoid using the boys’ restroom like the plague in order to avoid being beaten up.

I can see that because, unlike the wingnuts, I possess a degree of fucking empathy.

Communal (versus individual) showers in public schools are, in my opinion, a bad idea (the film versions of “Carrie” aside) — we should afford our students their privacy, just as we adults want our privacy — and so that shouldn’t be an issue anyway, but, on that note, let me say that I recall, in junior-high-school P.E., being rather aroused by my naked male classmates, with whom I was forced to take communal showers. (Luckily, I never got an erection, if memory serves. [Yeah, that’s something that I think that I’d remember, given the homophobia of that time and place…])

The wingtards who falsely paint AB 1266 as allowing horny (straight) boys to take showers with girls and to use their restrooms overlook the fact that gay male students and lesbian students routinely take showers with and share restrooms with members of the sex to which they are attracted. Indeed, non-heterosexual students don’t have the option of showering with or using the restroom of the sex to which they are not attracted. And this has been the case forever. Duh.

AB 1266, if it stands — if it is not overturned by the voters (who tend to be significantly more trans-phobic than homophobic) — does have details to be worked out. For instance, what would be the criteria for a public school to have to acknowledge that a student is transgender? Would the student have to dress as and act as the gender the student claims? Or would the student’s word be enough? Would a psychological evaluation have to be done to determine that yes, indeed, this student is transgender?

And, of course, how would post-P.E. showers be worked out in schools that for some reason still have communal showers?

But these details are worth working out, because no student should experience discrimination that makes his or her getting a decent education difficult to even impossible.

AB 1266 is about much, much more than (presumably straight, horny) boys using the girls’ bathrooms (for sexual kicks), but, just as the wingnuts lie through their venom-filled fangs about same-sex marriage, which neither picks anyone’s pocket nor breaks anyone’s leg, the wingnuts lie about AB 1266.

Wingnut Randy Thomasson, for instance, of the Campaign for Children and Families (which sure sounds nice, like the Campaign for Puppies and Kittens), proclaims, on his hate group’s website (yes, the Southern Poverty Law Center says that Thomasson’s organization is a hate group), SaveCalifornia.com:

If you’re like me, you’re angry about the Democrats’ new law requiring transsexual school bathrooms on every public school campus.

As you know, AB 1266 — cobbled together by homosexual-bisexual-transsexual activists, the immoral teachers’ unions, and their Democrat [sic] state representatives, who control California state government — forces all K-12 government schools to permit biological boys into girls’ restrooms, showers, clubs, and sports teams, and biological girls into boys’ restrooms, showers, clubs, and sports teams. …

That is, of course, a wildly gross exaggeration of AB 1266’s actual intent, “to permit biological boys into girls’ restrooms, showers,” etc., and to permit “biological girls into boys’ restrooms, showers,” etc.

Thomasson’s manipulative, lying rhetoric Orwellianly doesn’t even allow you to consider the fact, the reality, that there are biological females who consider themselves to be males and vice-versa. No, the “Democrat” Party, you see, just wants to turn our public schools into sex orgies! After all, we all know how “immoral” those teachers’ unions are!

Yes, this is hate speech. This is language that, as the Southern Poverty Law Center correctly states, increases the likelihood of hate crimes being directed at a certain group (in this case, non-gender-conforming individuals [and non-heterosexuals, too]).

I hope that the haters don’t get enough valid signatures on their hateful referendum. If they do, just as was the case with Proposition Hate (which Thomasson supported also, of course), at the minimum, millions of dollars will be blown on the ballot-measure campaigning.

And while I’d love to think that a majority of California’s voters would uphold AB 1266 if it went to the November 2014 ballot, as I have noted, the typical American these days unfortunately is more accepting of a gender-conforming non-heterosexual than he or she is of a non-gender-conforming individual, especially a transgender individual.

“Gay is the new black,” left-wing radio show host Randi Rhodes was saying almost a decade ago, when George W. Bush used same-sex marriage as a huge wedge issue in his 2004 “re”-election campaign (even though his campaign manager at that time, Ken Mehlman, is gay [Mehlman, whose treason I will never forgive, came out in 2010]).

We’ve come a considerable way on equality for gay men and lesbians since then. Illinois just this week became the 15th state (in addition to the District of Columbia and some other jurisdictions within states) to legalize same-sex marriage, and ding, dong, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) is dead, and so is the euphemistically named “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA).

But in most jurisdictions of the United States it’s still wide-open season on transgender individuals, and AB 1266 is a step toward the realization of actual liberty and actual justice for all — an idea and an ideal that the wingnutty, treasonous haters always have hated.

Update (Saturday, November 9, 2013):

In case you doubt anything that I wrote, above know that yesterday, in front of a local store, I saw a stupid white man, a “tea-party”-looking type, collecting anti-AB 1266 petition signatures. His hand-drawn sign, which he’d affixed to his table, called for “no co-ed bathrooms,” which is not, of course, the heart and soul of AB 1266, and hilariously, he also had written on his sign, “boys in boys and girls in girls,” which sure looked like an advocacy of homosexuality to me, but which meant “boys in boys’ bathrooms and girls in girls’ bathrooms.” (These are the same fucktards, of course, who didn’t know what “teabagging” means…)

Anyway, this asshole, of course, was totally misrepresenting AB 1266, and so when he shouted to me and my same-sex partner as we passed by his table, “All you have to do is sign [the petition]!”, I remarked to him, “I have read the law. You are totally misrepresenting it.”

To this he had no response, which is not a surprise, since the use of words isn’t his strong suit. (Lying and hating are his talents.)

If you think that non-gender-conforming students don’t have any significant problems in our public schools, know that in Oakland this past week, a 16-year-old thug set fire to the skirt that an 18-year-old was wearing while the latter was riding a public bus. The 18-year-old, whose birth name is Luke Fleischman, reportedly considers him-/herself neither male nor female, but “agender” or of “nonbinary gender,” and goes by the name Sasha.

Sasha now is in a burn unit in San Francisco with second- and third-degree burns. (I would contribute to Sasha’s recovery fund, but they’ve met their goal and aren’t accepting any more donations right now.)

This shit happened right here in California, and it’s exactly this kind of shit that AB 1266 was meant to stop.

But the “tea-party” traitors and their ilk are perfectly OK with gender-conformity-related persecution, even such persecution of minors, continuing. (Because Jesus and God want it that way!)

But probably more common that such attacks as the one on Sasha are such incidents as the eighth-grader in Kansas who recently was suspended from school for carrying a purse. Reports a local news outlet:

A 13-year-old Kansas eighth grader says he was suspended from school for carrying a purse.

Skylar Davis says the Vera Bradley purse is his form of expression. He adds that girls carry purses, so he should be able to do the same. Skylar’s vice-principal disagreed and told him to stop carrying the bag.

When Skylar refused, he was suspended. His mother questions the suspension because she found no mention of bags or purses in the school handbook.  She also questions the timing since Skylar has been carrying the bag since August.

The school has not commented on the suspension.

So fuck, not only do our non-gender-conforming students have to take prejudice, discrimination and abuse from their peers, who at least perhaps can be at least partially excused for their actions because of their immaturity, but our non-gender-conforming students have to experience such treatment even from the so-called “adults” whose duty it is to foster their well-being. (This news story, by the way, leads me to believe that very little has changed in many if not most American public schools since my bigoted asshole of a principal in junior high school tried to talk me out of taking home economics.)

I hope that Skylar’s family sues the school for the suspension that was based upon prejudice, discrimination and bigotry. And the chauvinistic vice principal needs to be reprimanded at the very least, and such suspensions need to cease and desist.

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The Supremes give me reverse November 2008 déjà vu

Updated below (last on Friday, June 28, 2013)

For this progressive Californian, this week feels like an uncanny reversal of Election Day 2008: In November 2008, we Californians saw our nation’s first non-all-white president* elected, a historical milestone — but with the narrow (52-48) passage of Proposition H8, which wrote homophobia into the California state Constitution by banning same-sex marriage, we non-heterosexual Californians were stripped of our constitutionally guaranteed right to marry, which the California Supreme Court earlier that year had ruled was ours.**

Yesterday, in a typically 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, claiming that the act’s provisions were too outdated, despite the fact that Congress had renewed it overwhelmingly in 2006, which wasn’t all that fucking long ago.

In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg nailed it on the head when she remarked, “Throwing out [U.S. Justice Department] pre-clearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes [to voting laws] is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

While I surmise that Congress will restore the Voting Rights Act in the future, that won’t happen, of course, with the current wingnut-dominated U.S. House of Representatives. Indeed, media reports are that the fascists of the red states, in light of this new U.S. Supreme Court decision, are working fast and furiously to reinstate their voter suppression laws (previously shot down by the Justice Department) just in time for the 2014 midterm elections.

I have to wonder, of course, if that was the goal of the wingnuts on the high court: To help the struggling Repugnican Tea Party in the next national elections. Hey, they’ve certainly involved themselves in election-fixing before, which even former U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Sandra Day O’Connor, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan and who, with four other like-minded “justices,” put George W. Bush in office, has expressed a potential problem with.

Yesterday was a giant leap backwards for the equal human and civil rights of non-whites, and was yet another stain on our nation caused by yet another 5-4 vote by the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, right up there with the court’s 5-4 coronation of George W. Bush as president in late 2000 even though he’d lost the election by more than a half-million popular votes and even though the pivotal state of Florida clearly had been stolen as a “victory” for Bush and with the court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision, which reinforced the bogus concept that corporations are just like individual people, and that just like individual people, corporations have First Amendment rights.

It’s mind-blowing to ponder the fact that the voting rights for which so many Americans fought and even died were eliminated at the stroke of the poisoned pen of just one right-wing U.S. Supreme Court justice. (Yet at the same time I suppose that it’s a little encouraging to know that it was only a 5-4 vote, that only one “justice” made the difference.)

I hope that the backlash against the right wing’s ongoing attempt to suppress voters is considerable. Generally speaking, the right-wing traitors among us win little battles here and there, but over time, they continue to lose the war. They stymie and delay progress as much as they can, but progress still marches on, and the haters go down in history as the haters that they are or were.

But today, unlike in November 2008, there was good news for us non-heterosexuals when the US. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4 (of course), that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which Congress passed in 1996, is unconstitutional, as it violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws (duh).

This ruling means that no same-sex couple that has been married in a state with legalized same-sex marriage may be denied any of the federal benefits of marriage that are enjoyed by opposite-sex married couples.

However, this also means that same-sex couples in most states will not have the same rights as do same-sex couples in other states (those states that have adopted legalized same-sex marriage), which, of course, is a patently unfair and thus an untenable situation.

Yes, the nation’s high court, while it struck down DOMA, by yet another 5-4 vote refused to touch Prop H8, ruling that, as Reuters puts it, “supporters of [Prop H8] did not have standing to appeal a federal district court ruling that struck the law down.” Thus, the court apparently very intentionally avoided directly ruling on whether or not any state may constitutionally outlaw same-sex marriage, leaving same-sex marriage, for now, as an untenable issue of “states’ rights.”

Because the U.S. Supreme Court wouldn’t touch Prop H8, the lower federal courts’ rulings that Prop H8 is unconstitutional (because it violates the Fourteenth Amendment) stand, and my understanding is that this means that California will have same-sex marriage again, as it did briefly in 2008 (between the effective date of the California Supreme Court’s ruling for same-sex marriage and the effective date of the same-sex-marriage-nixing Prop H8) — but, I understand, there’s more legal wrangling ahead as to what, exactly, the Supremes’ refusal to touch Prop H8 means for California.

It was cowardly, irresponsible and short-sighted of the court to rule that DOMA is unconstitutional on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment but to then refuse to rule that accordingly, no state may outlaw same-sex marriage on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment, but apparently today’s rulings were, pathetically, the best that we could get from this right-wing court.

Of course it would have been nice if either or both of today’s high-court rulings on DOMA and Prop H8 (the court’s cowardly refusal to issue a ruling on Prop H8 was the court’s “ruling” on Prop H8) had been 6-3 or even 7-2 (or hell, even 8-1 or 9-0), but the right-wing homo-haters have no credibility in (predictably) calling the 5-4 decisions the “tyranny” of the U.S. Supreme Court against the American majority when a series of recent nationwide polls clearly show that a clear majority of Americans favor same-sex marriage.

And those fascistic haters who claim that to overturn Prop H8 is to overturn the will of California’s voters conveniently ignore the two facts that (1) any ballot measure passed by a majority of any state’s voters can be overturned by a federal court if that court deems it to be unconstitutional (Civics 101 — duh) and that (2) while Prop H8 passed in November 2008 with 52 percent of the vote, polls show now that around 60 percent of Californians support same-sex marriage; were Californians to vote again on the issue again today, same-sex marriage would pass by a decisive margin. Prop H8 no longer is the will of the majority of California’s voters.

So: Today we can celebrate a significant although incomplete victory for same-sex couples who desire legalized marriage and the rights (and, yes, the responsibilities) that come with legalized marriage.

But we need to fight like hell to regain the ground that we just lost where voting rights are concerned, and we need to fight like hell to gain full marriage equality for same-sex couples in all 50 states.

The U.S. Constitution’s demands for fairness and equality demand that we do so.

*True, Barack Obama (whom I don’t really consider “black” but consider to be of mixed race) turned out to be a huge disappointment, a George W. Bush Lite, but I did cast my vote for him in November 2008 before I knew how his presidency was going to unfold. I voted for him in 2008 at least in part because I thought that it was great to be able to vote for the first non-all-white president in U.S. history. (In 2012 I could not, in good conscience, vote for Obama again; I voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.)

**And this was no radically left-wing California Supreme Court; when it ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2008, most of its justices at that time had been appointed by Repugnican, not by Democratic, governors.

Update (Wednesday, June 26, 2013): Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown has instructed the California Department of Public Health, which comes under his authority, to direct all of California’s 58 counties to begin to issue same-sex marriage licenses as soon as is legally possible, which might take a month or so.

Update (Friday, June 28, 2013): The homo-hating wingnuts here in California (and elsewhere) are going apoplectic over this (from The Associated Press today):

The four plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban tied the knot [today], just hours after a federal appeals court freed gay couples to obtain marriage licenses in the state for the first time in 4 1/2 years.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris presided at the San Francisco City Hall wedding of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier as hundreds of supporters looked on and cheered. The couple sued to overturn the state’s voter-approved gay marriage ban along with Jeff Katami and Paul Zarrillo, who married at Los Angeles City Hall 90 minutes later with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presiding. …

Although the couples fought for the right to wed for years, their weddings came together in a flurry when a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order [this] afternoon dissolving, “effective immediately,” a stay it had imposed on gay marriages while the lawsuit challenging the ban advanced through the courts.

Sponsors of California’s same-sex marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, called the appeals court’s swift action “outrageous.” Under Supreme Court rules, the losing side in a legal dispute has 25 days to ask the high court to rehear the case, and Proposition 8’s backers had not yet announced whether they would do so. …

Call the homo-haters a waaaaaambulance! Anyway, the AP story continues:

The [U.S.] Supreme Court said earlier this week that it would not finalize its ruling in the Proposition 8 case until after the 25-day period, which ends July 21. But San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who joined the two couples in the lawsuit, said [today] that the Ninth Circuit panel had the power to lift the stay it imposed.

“The fact of the matter is the only thing holding up the weddings was the stay that the Ninth Circuit had in place,” Herrera said. “The fact that there is a separate 25-day period allowing the petition to go for a rehearing is separate and apart from that stay.”

[California Gov. Jerry] Brown directed California counties to start performing same-sex marriages immediately after the appeals court’s order. A memo from the Department of Public Health said “same-sex marriage is again legal in California” and ordered county clerks to resume issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. …

Anyway: Wow. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s handed-down decision on Wednesday not to touch the Prop H8 case, we Californians had figured that there would be a wait of at least around a month for same-sex marriages to resume in California; we didn’t expect them to resume this quickly.

I misspoke above, by the way: The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday did not uphold both federal district court Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision that Prop H8 violated the U.S. Constitution and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in February 2012 to uphold Walker’s original ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday vacated the circuit court’s ruling, which then reverted the matter of Prop H8 to Walker’s original 2010 ruling.

Frankly, Vaughn Walker, who is now retired, is a hero to me. Yes, he is a gay man, and yes, the homo-haters tried (but failed) to have his 2010 pro-same-sex-marriage ruling invalidated because he’s gay (apparently only [presumedly] straight white men can be fair and impartial judges, you see), but Walker is no left-wing radical: He was nominated as a federal judge first by Ronald Reagan and then by George H. W. Bush, and apparently his political leanings are conservative-libertarian.

I consider Walker’s ruling to be a landmark document in U.S. gay, lesbian and bisexual history. You can read it, if you want, here.

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