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February 29, 2004

Activist Judges Wanted

I find myself unnaturally drawn to this gay marriage debate. I think it's a very compelling topic which is to complex to be decided quickly ore easily. There are a lot of reasonable positions which are getting excluded, which suggests to me that any action on this soon would be regretted. So with regards to the FMA, all bets are off. Of course I never took it so seriously that I thought it would get off the ground. Upon review it seems too clever by half and heavy handed - a sledgehammer for a ball peen job.

Still I think I have a point which bear repeating which is that the activism should not be in attempting for gays to get Married thus eliminating all of their issues in one fell swoop but rather for the emphasis on biting out the chunks of discrimination in the 'thousands' of areas where they are institutionalized.

For the record, I would stipulate that, despite the dubious sounding 3rd point (I doubt I've ever had a job with benefits that good) Debwire's List is real and significant:

  • ability to make decisions on a partners behalf in a medical emergency.
  • petition for partner to immigrate.
  • up to 12 weeks leave from work to care for a seriously ill partner or parent of a partner.
  • parenting responsibilities of children brought into a family through birth, adoption, surrogacy or other means.
  • ability to purchase continued health coverage for a domestic partner after the loss of a job.

While I may sound like one of those footdragging Christian ministers MLK railed about from Birmingham, I wonder aloud if this is not a bourgie movement. King might have asked, if not now then when. I ask why now and not back then.

Long ago when I was putting together the Race Man's Home Companion, I found one Judge Frank M. Johnson. He authored a number of decisions which seem to be obvious. There's a case, for example, desegregating bus depots in Birmingham. Can gay couples muster the dozen or so most critical test cases and set up trials to test the constitutionality of these discriminations, or has that avenue been deemed futile? Where is the Bull Connor of the emergency room that is keeping gay partners from giving medical consent? Surely there's a wrongful death suit lurking somewhere just waiting for its day in the court of public opinion.

Independently of state issued civil unions, take it to the courts. Please.

Posted by mbowen at February 29, 2004 11:06 PM

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This link may be of interest to you as well as its focus is primarily on not only the topic of gay/lesbian civil marriage and rights, but particularly those within the black community:

"The National Black Justice Coalition is an ad hoc coalition of black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered leaders who have come together to fight against discrimination in our communities.

The goal of the organization in 2004 is to build black support for marriage equality and to educate the community on the dangers of the proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to discriminate against gays and lesbians."

Link: The National Black Justice Coalition

Posted by: Deb at March 1, 2004 06:52 PM


EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON (of BlackAmericaToday.com): Gay marriage is a civil rights issue...

I could go on for days, but this is a start. :-)

Posted by: Deb at March 1, 2004 06:58 PM

quoth Ofari:

Then there's the brutal memory of slavery and segregation. Blacks insist that there's absolutely no way you can compare a state barring same-sex marriage to the centuries of slavery and the near century of relentless racial violence and apartheid like discrimination laws they've suffered. But this is a terribly, lop-sided, and self-serving read of history. It also ignores or denies the fact that gays have been murdered, socially stigmatized, and have suffered gender Jim Crow like discrimination in America and countless other countries. In creating a pecking order of oppression, a kind of my oppression is worse than
yours, blacks can then pick and choose when and where they will fight discrimination, or worse, to denigrate another group deemed less worthy of support their battle against in discrimination. This is foolhardy, and irresponsible.

Homophobia and racism are frequently two sides of the same coin. Many ultra-conservatives who oppose gay rights have been staunch opponents of affirmative action.

If homophobia and racism are two sides of the same coin, then playa hating is a third side and voter apathy is a fourth. Earl has overstepped his bounds, as have lots of others. I'm underwhelmed at the 'injustice' here.

Be all that as it may, one of the reasons I am a Republican is because I have little interest in the politics of civil rights and more interest in those of social power. Ironically, I believe that the actual powers that gay couples are trying to accrue here are indeed social powers and not civil rights.

The whole problem with this entire movement is that activists for the gay cause have decided that it is a clash of civilizations and an all or nothing proposition. Their rhetoric is completely overblown and I'll really be glad to stop hearing it soon. The last time I heard this much bloviation was when Republicans went apeshit over inheritance taxes in 2001.

Nobody is going to pass a Constitutional Amendment, certainly not the way the FMA is worded now. So everybody untwist your panties, calm down and bring some test cases to the courts. That's the only way progress is going to be made.

Wager: One year from today, you'll all be talking about a court decision.

Posted by: Cobb at March 1, 2004 10:54 PM

The "up to 12 weeks leave from work to care for a family member" is the law, not from a cafeteria plan. If your business has 50 or more (IIRC?) employees, you must be permitted up to 12 weeks per year for medical leave for yourself or your family. It's called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and it's the law (see here: http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/). The leave is unpaid leave, of course - in a nutshell, the law says you can't be fired for missing work (yeah, almost 1/4 of the time) due to a personal or family medical condition.

Great blog, BTW.

Posted by: JohnT at March 2, 2004 08:52 AM