stAllio!'s way
Saturday, February 21, 2004 
okay, at first this looks like good news: victoria dunlap, county clerk in sandoval country new mexico, began offering same-sex marriage licenses on friday until the state came in & tried to declare their licenses invalid.

"They can say they're invalid and they're not going to recognize them, but when people go to try to enforce the rights and privileges that go along with being married, it'll just turn into a lawsuit," Albright [one of the gay newlyweds -ed] said. "This is far from over. ...We're still very happy with what happened today."

& then In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley indicated he would "have no problem" with allowing same-sex partners to marry.

so you read something like that & you think, wow, san francisco has started this chain reaction of gay weddings. maybe, just maybe, this thing will get so big on its own that the federal govt will be forced to legalize.

but then you notice a passage like this:

Dunlap, a Republican, was not available for comment, but advocates suggested that her motivation may have been to gain sympathy for a possible ballot initiative seeking to overturn a 2003 act prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

whoa, what? so the theory is that she allowed some gay marriages in order to piss off the local bigots enough that they could start discriminating against gays again? a cynical attempt to reinstate discrimination by galvanizing the hate crowd? definitely an odd twist. but if true, could this approach really work?

i can see how this could get the ballot initiative passed. but like newlywed albright mentions, this thing is already a guaranteed lawsuit. new mexico courts will already have to address this issue. so even if voters pass the initiative, it could still be struck down by the courts before it ever takes effect.

so this thing could backfire. even better, the blowback could snowball into that chain reaction i mentioned. regardless how cynical the motivation, this is still a symbolic precedent. now two areas in the u.s. have issued same-sex marriage licenses. this could embolden other mayors or court clerks in other regions. the more places try it, the more could be inspired. i don't see my mayor, bart peterson, making that kind of move but it would definitely change my opinion of him. he might be a corporate sellout, but if he were also a strong civil rights activist in the middle of the bible belt... that would be pretty swell.

Thursday, February 19, 2004 
san francisco has filed suit against california, demanding that portions of state law that prevent same-sex marriages should be declared unconstitutional. as a result, i found a cnn article that mentions the rights currently denied to homosexuals.

Supporters of same-sex marriage say denying gay and lesbian couples marriage licenses denies them basic rights.

"We're talking about state inheritance, we're talking about state property issues, we're talking about children's issues, we're talking about power of attorney," Ralph Neas, president of the group People for the American Way, said.

"It's an equal protection issue. It's a fundamental civil rights issue," he added.

Critics of same-sex unions say those rights can be afforded through other means, and homosexual couples don't need a marriage certificate to validate them.

Genevieve Wood, vice president of the Communications Family Research Council, said that redefining marriage might be a slippery slope.

"If we're going to get into redefining marriage, why would we stop at just allowing homosexual marriage?" she asked.

"There are people out there ... who want to engage in polygamy, they think that's a good family structure. There are others who think that group marriages are a family structure," Wood added.

three paragraphs about rights, three paragraphs about definitions. & would the world really end if group marriages were legalized? she could have at least mentioned bestiality.

speaking of ludicrous arguments, the fbi is going to start placing "fbi warnings" on cds, software, cereal boxes, prophylactics, pretty much anything they can slap that seal on.

do they really think anyone pays attention to the warnings on videos? i just fast-forward through them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004 
surely by now you've heard that new san francisco mayor gavin newsom, who once looked like yet another pro-corporate shill in liberal clothing, has done an amazing thing & showed some of the democratic presidential candidates a thing or two by granting actual marriage licenses to gay couples! naturally, reactionaries nationwide started flipping out, but so far the courts have not been willing to grant a stay. it's a wonderful day to be gay in the bay.

prez bush is "troubled". gov schwarzenegger has chimed in, telling sf to stop (despite allegedly being in favor of gay rights & having said during the campaign that he didn't care what gay people did... although google news refuses to give me any news links from back then, so i can't offer any quotes right now). schwarzenegger cites prop 22, the "only straights deserve to get married" law, as the reason san francisco is in the wrong. newsom is standing tall, saying that equal protection means equal protection, therefore prop 22 is unconstitutional.

what's really astonishing is how well conservatives have framed the debate. you can find tons of stories that are just drowning in quotes about how marriage is "between a man & a woman" (which sounds to me like a slightly more PC version of the "adam & steve" speech)... but how many articles have you seen that even briefly mention why gays want to get married in the first place? i can't think of any... if you know of some, i'm looking for some link love baby, so give em to me.

just like the public never got an honest answer to "why do they hate us?" back in '01, they're not being told "why do them queers want to get married?"

i was raised catholic & they taught us all about the sacrament of marriage, so i understand the religious significance. but marriage is more than just a religious thing. it's also a civil institution: the state grants all sorts of special legal priveleges to married persons, & right now if you're not in the bay area, gays do not legally have those rights. they don't want to destroy anyone's religion: they just want the same rights that everyone else has. really important stuff like basic access to health care.

if you're married, you're eligible to sign up your spouse for health benefits under your insurance plan. then if your spouse falls deathly ill, you can help make important health care decisions regarding your spouse. gays can't do anything like that unless they're lucky enough to get a forward-thinking hmo. & if your gay partner falls deathly ill, you'll be locked out of any important health decisions, no matter how long you've been together or how estranged your partner might be from their "blood" relations. hell, gays are even lucky if they get hospital visitation rights. & the same basic rules apply to just about every other area of law... inheritance, social security, you name it. in effect, if you're gay, the state doesn't care about your relationships. but if you're straight, you can get all those nice perks, regardless of whether you actually care about your spouse or not.

check it: There are more than 1,000 benefits on the state and federal level associated with marriage that are currently denied to same-sex partners, including numerous tax, insurance, hospital visitation and bereavement rights. so why is it every time we hear about the gay marriage issue, all we hear is quibbling about defintion of terms?

some people understand this & try to pussyfoot around the issue with things like "civil unions"... wherein gays would be kinda, sorta married (at least legally), but not actually married. i can appreciate that these people don't want a bunch of rabid fundies spitting all over them, but it doesn't change the basic truism that the massachusetts supreme court pointed out: the fact that brown v board of education proved that "separate is seldom, if ever, equal." civil unions might be a step in the right direction, & are obviously better than nothing, but i can't believe it's not butter is not butter, and civil unions are not marriage. to quote again from the court decision, civil unions creat "an unconstitutional, inferior and discriminatory status for same-sex couples."

most importantly, even if the govt legalizes gay marriage, it doesn't mean your church has to do the same! if you belong to the church of "god hates fags", the state is not going to bust down your door & force you to start experimenting with homosexuality. you can keep on being as bigoted as you want. hell, divorce & remarriage are quite legal, but not all churches recognize them. (the catholics sure don't.) legalizing gay marriage won't force anyone into opening their minds, their hearts, or their crotches. so if it doesn't affect you but helps millions of people, how could that possibly be wrong?

anybody who knew anything about mad cow disease before the recent US scandal could tell that the USDA was trying to pull off a whitewash (or is that what they call a greenwash?) by repeatedly telling us how safe things are, but refusing to fix the enormous loopholes in the livestock industry that allow mad cow to spread.

now, congress has started to figure that out too. turns out that the infected cow found in december (allegedly the only infected cow in the continent, if you're gullible enough to believe that) wasn't a downer cow after all!

In their letter to Veneman, Davis and Waxman said they had reviewed affidavits or statements from Ellestad; from Randy Hull, who trucked the cow to slaughter; and from David Louthan, who killed the animal. All three said that the animal was ambulatory and showed no signs of sickness. While the statement from Hull is new, Ellestad told reporters at his slaughterhouse, Vern's Moses Lake Meats, that the animal was not a downer soon after the mad cow infection was found in December.

In their letter to Veneman, the committee leaders also reported that Ellestad provided a contract showing that he did not accept downer cows for slaughter, and Hull provided one saying that he did not haul them. The committee letter also introduced a Jan. 6 letter faxed by Ellestad to USDA officials in Boulder stating that the brainstem sample that tested positive for mad cow disease was not sent because the animal was a downer, but because of a preexisting contract that his business had with the USDA to provide a supply of brain tissue samples.

Davis and Waxman pointedly wrote that the Jan. 6 fax had not been released to Congress or the public, and concluded that "if it is confirmed the BSE-infected cow was not a downer, public confidence in USDA may suffer."

may suffer? i guess they're right because it depends on whether the general public ever actually hears that veneman & the usda are camped out deep inside the cattle industry's pockets...

so the cow wasn't a downer after all, & it was apparently sheer random luck that it ended up getting tested.

Monday, February 16, 2004 
alert bloggers have tracked the doctored kerry photo (via the new republic boards) to a free republic user known for anti-democrat photoshopping.

you can track my 12" through the mastering/plating process at the aardvark recent order progress page... it's BT#24/BRR#01. though i'm not sure why some orders get mastered immediately & others don't. i imagine it has to do with payment (whether the check has cleared), but you never know...

as always there's lots going on in the news & i don't have time to mention most of it... but here are a few bits about a doctored photograph of kerry, where some republican hack has photoshopped jane fonda into the picture... apparently some vietnam freaks really hate jane because she dared to speak out against the war (like millions of other americans)... & they hope to capitalize on that hate by associating kerry (who protested the war after fighting in it) with her. i've seen letters to the editor & such bitching that kerry is trying to win political points off his war hero status, even though he protested against the war after getting home... as though that somehow negates his military service. strange, it seems to me that serving in the vietnam war made him incredibly qualified to criticize that war... i don't see any contradictions there. whatever.

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