Daily Archives: February 9, 2010
First we had a school board in Oklahoma, the Land of Children Of The Sally Kern, dismiss a couple’s request to remove a book from the library because it had a :::gasp::: story of kids with two mommies [see What The Hell Is Wrong With Oklahoma?]. And now, we have some odd goings on up in Virginia!
It seems that David Englin, a Democrat from Alexandria, wants Virginia to repeal its constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. He says the amendment, which voters approved four years ago, is unfair to gay and lesbian couples, and he’s trying, for the third time, to repeal it.
“If we are to take our founding values seriously, where we say that every human being deserves equal treatment under the law, then we cannot enshrine in the Constitution a policy that boils down to nothing but bigotry,” Englin said.
But, in the 2006 general election, 57 percent of voters, the majority of them apparently asshats, supported amending the Virginia Constitution to say: Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. It went on to say that Virginia will not recognize “a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage.”
Of course, feeling that sort of discrimination didn’t go far enough, because it kept the hatred focused purely on gay folks living in Virginia, they also decided that Virginia will not recognize “another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.”
Englin has had enough with Virginia’s Constitution containing discrimination, and he is once again sponsoring House Joint Resolution 55; it is similar to proposals he carried in 2007 and 2009. Neither of those proposals got much attention, but Englin isn’t giving up.
With his help, Virginia may once again be able to proudly state: Virginia is for lovers.
And mean it.
I came out a long time ago, in California, and it wasn’t really that difficult. Most of my friends knew, though family was a little different. As I’ve said before, I had no “funny uncles” or aunts to lead me out of the closet and into the gayborhood.
But I did it, and I never looked back. Or so I thought.
When I moved to Miami, it was the same thing. I’d meet people who’d ask if I was married, and I’d say, “No, it’s illegal.” That always prompted a look, and an explanation because a lot of people back then–and we’re only talking the last decade or so–didn’t know gay people are prohibited from getting married.
But I was out, and all was good.
When we moved to South Carolina, someone suggested that, because of the religious and political climate here–it’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity–that perhaps I shouldn’t talk about being a big flaming queen. And, you know, stupid as it is, I took them up on that awful piece of advice; for a while.
We moved out of Miami and into Smallville to get away from hurricanes and traffic and congestion and, well, just a sense of negativity that seemed to exist there. Carlos looked online for a job and soon found one in a town just beside Smallville. There were emails and phone interviews, and then he was flown to South Carolina for a face-to-face; the job was his, and so we sold the Miami house and loaded up the furry kids and moved.
When we got here, I didn’t work for a while. My mother had cancer and passed away a few months after our move. But, when I did get a job, I mistakenly remembered those words and didn’t tell anyone I was gay. Oh, I’d told my boss in the interview, but as I met co-workers and clients I didn’t say a word. When they asked why I left Miami for Smallville, I’d say, Have you ever been to Miami?”
Laughter. And no more questions.
But then I realized I had inadvertently stepped back into the closet by taking that awful advice, and so I soon changed my answers. I remember the first person who asked me, after I decided to come out again, why I’d moved to Smallville; I said, “We wanted to get out of the craziness of Miami and my partner took a job here.” I froze, waiting for the fire and brimstone, the wrath of god, to come out of their mouths and, well, I got this, instead:
“What does he do?”
And I was out; again. And, so, I give Smallville credit because, in the last three-plus years of living here, I haven’t met one person who looked at me differently, or treated me differently, or not at all, because i was a gay man.
I give props to Smallville; it’s a small town, but not a town of Small minds.
And so, that’s my long-winded way of saying that I was especially struck by the following quote from Andrew Sullivan. It speaks mostly to the military policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but also speaks to the much quieter, social policy of DADT; it isn’t right to force people to deny who they are, but to also deny the existence of their family.
“Try never mentioning your spouse, your family,
your home, your girlfriend or boyfriend
to anyone you know or work with
–just for one day.
Take that photo off your desk at work,
change the pronoun you use for your spouse
to the opposite gender,
guard everything you might say or do
so that no one could know you’re straight,
shut the door in your office if you have a personal conversation if it might come up.
Now imagine doing it for a lifetime.
it warps your mind;
it destroys your self-esteem.”
We’ve all heard the waterboarding stories; it isn’t torture, says the likes of Hellhound Dick Cheney, but a necessary means to garner information from someone unwilling to talk freely. Some of us think it is torture, and that the United Sates should never use it; others think we use any means necessary to get information.
Which, apparently, is how Joshua Tabor feels, because he used it to get answers; from his four-year-old daughter.
Tabor admitted to police that he had used the CIA torture technique because his child was unable to recite the alphabet and it made him angry. He told them that as his daughter “squirmed” to get away, he submerged her face three or four times until the water was lapping around her forehead and jawline. Tabor, who had just been awarded primary custody of his daughter a month earlier, admitted that he’d chosen this particular punishment because his daughter was terrified of water.
He was arrested after neighbors reported seeing him walking down their streets near his Tacoma, Washington home, wearing a Kevlar military helmet and threatening to break windows. When police went to his home they discovered the alleged waterboarding incident after speaking to his girlfriend. She told them about the alleged torture and Tabor’s daughter was found cowering in a closet, with bruises on her back and scratches on her neck and throat.
Asked how she got the bruises, she said: ‘Daddy did it.’
When we use torture to gather information, for any reason, we are also teaching torture, and then it takes just one person, for whatever reason, to apply it to his daily life.