New policy for this blog. When a post starts approaching 3,000 words it’s time to split it off into another post.
This round of hearings really ticked me off because I’ve heard the same tired arguments for the last three years and it doesn’t get any better over time.
I’ve already touched on Chris Young and his fiance Kara Russo. In that case I guess there really is someone for everyone, the mentally unbalanced seek out and find the other mentally unbalanced. Sometimes they even reproduce and whoa be to us.
But another perennial numb nuts is Dr. Dan Harrop. This idiot has run for Mayor of Providence among other things. His take is that Domestic Partnership laws are enough, that we should not have access to marriage because we’re gay. He cites studies about children raised by gay people and how it isn’t optimal. He also cites a certain pediatrician by the name of Michelle Cretella.
Cretella is a frequent letter writer to the Providence Journal. Things like “Humans are more than animals” are popular but her anti-gay screeds are always fun.
Both Harrop and Cretella have their medical doctorates (M.D.) which is relevant in this case.
I’ve noted that many of the M.D.’s I meet or correspond with have a certain mental disability that enhances their belief in the almighty. Yes, I’ve met a lot of Jesus freak doctors.
Part of that I believe has to do with the fact that medicine is equal parts art and science. But sometimes the art overtakes science.
As to Harrop and Cretella’s contention that gay people don’t make good parents I decided to do a little searching to see what I could dig up.
Here’s the one from the APA. This one pretty much dashes the arguments of Harrop and Cretella.
Of course NARTH has their take on it too, which says there is an effect. NARTH = National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuaity. I just bet the dynamic duo is taking material from this.
Here’s one from WebMD. The score is now 2:1 against Harrop and Cretella.
: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices ; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
As it was I was seated next to a gentleman dressed in all black and hold a cane. As luck would have it, he had on a NOM 1 Man 1 Woman sticker.
During some of the testimony of the pro side I heard him mutter “How intolerant of them.” at which point I looked at him and said “So, you’d like to talk about intolerance?”
During one part of the testimony my new found neighbor got up with her partner and their infant daughter. The neighbor made a very interesting point, we’re no different from anyone else. It’s just who we choose to love that sticks in their craw.
So my seat mate then mutters “They can’t even have kids.” at which point I turned on my seat, looked right at him and said “One of them could be her biological mother, or have you not heard of IVF or even the old turkey baster method?”
It was at this point he just got up and left. Good, I’m glad I rocked your precious little world a little bit.
Another of the opposition was this cute old couple. They went on about their 9 kids, 23 great grandchildren, etc. and how gay marriage would devalue all of that.
Figure, of their 9 kids if they all married they had a kid of their own, so that’s 18 people. Add the 23 great-grands and you’ve got 41 people.
Applying the 5% to 10 % rate at least 2 to 4 are probably gay. Chew on that for a bit.
I really hope we can put enough pressure on House Speaker Murphy to let a marriage equality bill come to a vote. The reason I say this is that since the House is more proportionately representative of the population centers we have a much greater chance of a yes vote on H5744. It already has 30 co-sponsor including the team of Reps. Arthur Handy, Gordon Fox, Edith Ajello, Frank Ferri and Amy Rice.
I’m also told my Rep. Steven Costantino is on board as one of the co-sponsors and I’m trying to find out who the others are.
I also not the top survey on the ProJo is “Should same sex couples have the right to marry” Right now it’s 60/40 in favor with 976 votes. Statistically it’s not a valid sample size or distribution but this is encouraging.
So I got there just before 3PM. Seating was ridiculously tight, didn’t see the point of tagging seats (Reserved for MERI) since people were already there and there were perhaps 35 available seats.
The surprising thing this year was the number of people who showed up in opposition to marriage equality. Of course it was sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage, RI Chapter. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Diocese had something to do with this and later on you’ll see how right I am.
I’ve already dispelled the logic of NOM. They are using emotivism to fan the flames. Recall emotivism being the formation of evaluative judgment based upon feelings or perception. We know it today as truthiness from the Colbert Report.
And more, the ProJo tipped it’s hand and we find out that Bishop Tobin is on the Board of Advisers for NOM RI. More, the article on the hearings even said the push back was from none other than the Catholic Church. Interesting.
“I felt as if I was treated not as a second-class citizen, but as a non-citizen,” Goldberg told the Senate Judiciary Committee, an hour into the first hearing this year on the 13-year push by gay-rights advocates for the right to marry in Rhode Island, and the pushback from the Roman Catholic Church and other opponents.
Pushback? I say we push back on the RC Diocese of Providence and make the sons of bitches pay taxes on all that cushy property they own. They’ve broken the cardinal rule, you don’t play in the secular sphere if you want to maintain your exempt status.
I cannot believe the church would actively rally against a gay person like this. It runs completely contrary to my early life in Catholic schools and Churches. A good friend says we’re seeing the dying gasps of the religious institutions. I certainly hope so as they’ve done much more harm than good recently. Maybe I’m being too charitable, we do know who started the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc. But their own Bible tells the following:
In essence the Bible evolves too. We discard those parts that no longer apply, or at least many of us do. So Bishop Tobin, do you still think Timothy 2:11 should be enforced?
In other news the legislature has changed the process to sign in to testify. Ostensibly it’s to protect confidentiality but it does nothing of the sort and I’ll explain why after I explain the new procedure.
Instead of a sign-in sheet you now have xeroxed copies with the bill number on top where you can put your name, address, phone, etc. Met a neighbor via this process btw. Let’s just say that Knight St. in Providence is pretty gay.
Now I’ll explain why it doesn’t protect confidentiality. They sort the sheets pro/con and then they’d bring four people up at a time, two pro, two in opposition. But they call people BY NAME!
Another swift move by our legislature.
At one point before the hearing started Chris Young, that annual sideshow approaches me to hand me a NOM “Marriage: 1 Man, 1 Woman” sticker. I just wagged my finger at him and told him to take crazy somewhere else.
One thing I did note about the NOM crowd. The vast majority were old people.
I did catch one comment from the NOM crowd, “You’ve got the religious guys here now.” You mean the bat shit crazy religious guys.
As usual Catholic priests tend to be rather portly. I guess priests don’t take the vow of poverty. We also heard from the morbidly obese Fr. Bernard Healey, the paid lobbyist of the Diocese of Providence. Of course Healey brought up the usual arguments. Sorry Bernie, the sky hasn’t fallen in MA or CT despite the best efforts of the Church in those states to demonstrate that it has in fact fallen.
Then we had sideshow bob, Fr. Michael Kelly of the Immaculate Conception Church in Westerly, RI. Another mentally unbalanced cleric.
Back to Chris Young, his testimony was wrong on many levels not the least of which he tried to negate a quote I’d sent to Rep. Frank Ferri and that Ferri used in his testimony. But he was so disorganized and disrespectful. Picture it, Young gets up, spreads his papers on the table and then starts searching for something on a piece of paper. Long gaps between statements, things like that. Young is bat shit crazy, no doubt about that. Young’s girlfriend Kara Russo is crazy too. I have to wonder, my father used to have a buddy with that last name and I think he had a daughter. I’ll have to dig into this a bit.
They finally tossed him out of the hearing room at about 9:30PM for backtalk to one of the speakers.
The most egregious award goes to Senator Leo Blais(R) of District 21, Coventry, Foster, Scituate. Blais sponsored S0136, which would have defined marriage as that between a man and a woman. I should think that by now having an (R) after your name should be a major liability. It shows that one has the supreme ability to pander.
Blais was openly disrespectful, laughing at testimony, and then chastising a young ACLU attorney to be careful what he wished for, which Blais qualified with the Prop 8 debacle.
I’m sorry to say Senator Blais that a Prop 8 situation could never occur in Rhode Island because we don’t have voter initiative and we never will because if there is one thing for which we can count on our legislator, that one thing is to preserve their power.
Of course Blais trotted out the usual arguments, if you pass gay marriage you’ll get polygamy, prostitution, drug issues, etc. Someone actually commended Blais for leaving out bestiality this year. And I find out that the arguments came from non other than Bishop Tobin himself.
“Contrary to the assertion of others, this is not an issue about civil rights,” he wrote. “Freedom is not unbridled license. … In short, there’s never a right to do something wrong … The fact that two adults consent to an action doesn’t make it morally right or socially acceptable. After all, two consenting adults can engage in drug use, prostitution, bigamy, polygamy or other immoral activities.”
“…hatred, persecution, prejudice and ridicule of homosexuals is a grave sin … But we also believe that homosexual activity is immoral and contrary to natural law, the tenets of the Bible and the teaching of the Church.”
Yoo hoo, Bishop Tobin! Over here. Yes, now that I have your attention let me explain something to you. There exist two spheres in RI, the religious and the secular. You sir have no control over the secular and should sit down, minister to your flock of sheep and let us have our rights granted under the RI Constitution. And you can’t have it both ways, you can’t denounce freedom to marry while at the same time condemning hatred, persecution, prejudice and ridicule.
Matter of fact, Tobin is practicing at least four of those condemnable transgressions.
Scott Spier (Spears, who knows, the NOM RI web site just goes to the national site, they could give a shit about the locals!) invoked Article 1 Section 3 of the RI Constitution, but he’s doing so disingenuously because the marriage equality bill would not require churches to perform ceremonies for gay people.
He went on to say that here we have a collision between the rights of gay people an those of churches. I say if you want to play on the political stage, lets see you churches start paying full taxes on those churches they own.
Another thing he mentioned was that it would curtail free speech. This was a major WTF moment for me. You can say whatever you’d like in the confines of your church. I noted he did bring up the shrill point that street preaching would be illegal. I’d like to see street preaching illegal but then I enjoy goading them so maybe we can let them stay.
Spier actually went on to rail about Scandinavia saying they have gay marriage and now they allow polygamy! Luckily a young attorney with the ACLU corrected him saying only Norway had gay marriage and not polygamy.
I did note a couple things about my Senator, Paul Jabour (D) District 5, Providence.
When someone mentioned that maybe some legislator had gay relatives in same sex relationships I noted that Jabour nodded his head. A friend of mine is a psychologist and he tells me that the full breadth of Kinsey’s research called the number of gay people between 5% and 10% of a population. It’s a range, not an absolute number. More astounding is the range for bisexuality, 30% to 40% of a population. I think Senators Perry, Levesque, and Jabour get it. We are everywhere.
And when a religious homophobe trotted out the tired arguments about Leviticus I noted Jabour shaking his head. I pretty much did the same every time someone brought up a religious argument against marriage equality. If you really want to get technical, homosexuality isn’t the only abomination in Leviticus. There are a number of others, like shaving ones beard, eating shelfish or pork, sharing a bed with ones menstruating wife, etc.
The other things the religious brought up was that marriage was for procreation. So tell me, is the marriage of our friends any less valid because they chose not to procreate? How about those who are beyond the reproductive years? Is their marriage still valid?
It goes without saying, the church needs fecund women and virile men to re-populate their ranks. But when you keep spouting hateful messages you turn off many who might be in your congregation. Why don’t these churches understand that their prime directive is to spread the message of love and understanding, of compassion and care for those less able. Instead they’ll round up the wagons because “Those gay people can’t marry! It runs contrary to the natural order!” which is the worst form of emotivism or truthiness if you will.
We also heard from Mark S. Goldberg whose partner committed suicide, but state law stood in the way and he couldn’t claim the partners body for over a month. Not to mention the fact that he couldn’t cremate his partner in RI because most crematoriums didn’t recognize the relationship between Golberg and his deceased partner Ron Hanby.
There were a number of sad stories, one woman explained how her girlfriend had sever neurological issues and that hospitals, doctors, and even banks won’t accept the partner as having legal power of attorney.
That’s the other thing Senator Blais seems to think we can do legal maneuvers around the fact that we can’t marry. Sorry Senator, you’re wrong again as usual.
My testimony was a little disjointed because almost all the points I wanted to make had already been covered. I did however urge the committee that at a minimum they should pass bill S0271, the Divorce Equality bill and let Ormiston v. Chambers proceed lest another court challenge end up undoing the Family Court Act of 1967.
Right after me Peter from MERI had a very good analysis of marriage through the ages. It’s not the unchanging sacrament the religious bigots would have you believe. Yes, I called them bigots because that is precisely what they are.
It is my firm believe that we will NEVER obtain legislative redress to our grievance. Our political leadership is just too afraid to come out in support. What they don’t realize is that the average elderly voter in RI has the memory span of a tse tse fly, they won’t remember neigh they probably don’t even know what their legislator is doing.
And it astounds me that we have at least three gay members of the House, and it was alluded to that there are even some in the Senate, and in the House your #2 is gay yet we can’t get a marriage bill passed.
I do hear the House version of a gay marriage bill has 30 sponsors this is good news since it represents nearly half the total number in the house.
Maybe we can overcome Speaker Murphy’s objections. Who knows.
But mark my words, RI will get marriage equality the same way MA and CT did, through judicial review. The case in RI is clear, our Article 1 Section 2 rights are being violated by not allowing us the same rights to marry as a man/woman couple.
I’m still hopeful Rep. Arthur Handy(D) District 18 Cranston has introduced H5744 along with co-sponsors Handy, Fox, Ajello, Ferri and Rice.
Let’s see, Fox – Gordon Fox (D) District 4 Providence, House Majority Leader and openly gay.
Ajello – Edith Ajello (D) District 3 Providence, Deputy Majority Leader. Only known atheist in the House and a staunch supporter of gay rights. I absolutely, positively love Rep. Ajello.
Ferri, Frank Ferri (D) District 22 Warwick. Openly gay state rep. I’ve had a pretty good email correspondence with Ferri, he even used a quote from an 1814 court case that I sent him which I got from my cousin Tom.
And last but not least, Rice, Amy Rice (D) District 72 Porstmouth, Middletown, Newport. Let me just say she’s not one to tolerate bogus religious arguments lightly. When she gets on a roll the religious cringe.
I’m going to write Rep. Handy and see who the other co-sponsors are. I wonder if Costantino is one?
It’s a very simple bill but this language should assuage the religious:
24 SECTION 3. Chapter 15-3 of the General Laws entitled “Solemnization of Marriages” is
25 hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
26 15-3-5.1. Protection of freedom of religion in marriage. – (a) Consistent with the
27 guarantees of freedom of religion set forth by both the First Amendment to the United States
28 Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of the Rhode Island Constitution, each religious institution
29 has exclusive control over its own religious doctrine, policy, and teachings regarding who may
30 marry within their faith, and on what terms. No court or other state or local governmental body,
31 entity, agency or commission shall compel, prevent, or interfere in any way with any religious
32 institution’s decisions about marriage eligibility within that particular faith’s tradition.
33 (b) Consistent with the guarantees of freedom of religion set forth by both the First
34 Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of the Rhode Island
1 Constitution, ordained clergy, ministers or elders as described and authorized in sections 15-3-5
2 and 15-3-6 of the general laws to officiate at a civil marriage shall not be obligated or otherwise
3 required by law to officiate at any particular civil marriage or religious rite of marriage.
Bill status on this says it was just submitted day before yesterday so I’ll keep a track on it and see where it goes. The House hearings are much more fun anyhow, They don’t get as cranky about the occasional outburst as the Senate does. This means we’ll get to see Chris Young’s testimony again, and this time I’m going to sit on the side of the room with my video camera so you can see what a wingnut this guy is.
1. What do find is the most exciting part of a new sexual encounter?
The thrill of the chase. Seriously. I think this is common in all men, gay or straight.
2. Do you have “a most exciting part of a sexual encounter” with a usual partner?
The lead in, foreplay, whatever you call it.
3. How open and honest are you about your life with someone you just met?
I’m pretty guarded with strangers. So I tightly control information until I get more comfortable.
4. How open and honest are you about your life with someone you work with?
Pretty open. It’s not worth hiding info about your life at work. Though in some cases I have to tightly control who knows what. Couple of jobs ago everyone in my unit knew I was gay except one person who we all call the Shrew.
She speculated about it plenty of times though. And because of that I marginalized her.
5. How open and honest are you about your life with a casual acquaintance who lives in your neighborhood (or the parent a your child’s friend or…)?
Pretty good with neighbors actually. I guess it’s that rootedness kicking in.
Bonus (as in optional): Define a “normal” as in “normal relationship” or “normal sex life”.
Everything is normal when it comes to sexuality when you realize that sexuality exists along a continuum. A normal relationship is also a pretty broad thing.
Right now I’m reading Dick Meyer’s “Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in New Millenium”. It’s a very interesting book in that it boils down just what is wrong with society in the U.S. right now.
But one part really struck me. He mentions feeling based judgment. I’m seeing some of this coming from the National Organization for Marriage, an oxymoron if there ever was one.
They feel that it is morally wrong for members of the same sex to marry. Their recent ads play on the poor children, having to understand why Heather has two mommies, or David has two daddies.
The real motive behind their campaign is explained by this quote form the book.
The idea of choosing goods and values individually, by taste, and preference, is what truthiness is all about. It actually has a philosophic pedigree. It is called “emotivism” a term resurrected by MacIntyre from early nineteeth-century British philosophy. In After Virtue, MacIntyre defines it this way: “Emotivism is the doctrine that all evaluative judgments and, more specifically all moral judgments are nothing but expressions of preference, expressions of attitude or feeling.” So in this view there is no difference in saying “the death penalty is wrong” and “I don’t like the death penalty.” “Gay marriage is immoral” is just another way of saying “I don’t like gay marriage.”
Now I have to go request MacIntyre’s “After Virtue” from the library. But it also exposes the arguments of groups like NOM, FoF and AFA. They’re operating purely on emotivism.
Expressions of preference, attitude or feeling. This precisely defines the crime committed by Maggie Gallagher and her associates and the anti-gay crowd.
I’m so glad I’m reading this book now because this will definitely play into my testimony on Thursday night. I know that NOM is already planning to pack the house, but I’m planning to hold seats too.
Of course those preferences and feelings come directly from their religious leanings. What I can’t reconcile is that you have a large group of Christian clerics in support of gay marriage, yet you have Gallagher who is opposed but she’ll never ever say why she really opposes gay marriage. Instead she’ll cite bogus studies, talk about the harm to the children, etc. It comes to my studies of the Bible, the NOM group is an Old Testament group. They see God and his law trumping all. But they will use deceptive tactics to make that point because they know the religious argument is no longer credible.
The wing nut crowd generally points to a few passages in Leviticus while ignoring all the others, and occasionally you’ll see a New Testament reference from 1st Corinthians. The source material is pretty thin and they’re guilt of taking it all out of context.
This makes what Gallagher and ilk like her disingenuous and wrong.
A lot of people are under the impression that the manufacturing core of Rhode Island left because taxes were too high.
In this post I will explain why I believe that to be untrue.
Taxes have always been present. Taxes aren’t the only factor that flushed out manufacturers like Gorham Silver, Brown & Sharpe, and FranColor.
Granted the whole tax break situation is lopsided. The companies and individuals that least need and deserve tax breaks and cuts get the lions share. Please explain how Fidelity needs massive tax cuts to have a presence in RI? Or Bank of America? I’d just as well see them pull up stakes and leave rather than to hold employees as ransom.
That said I think it is time for me to explain the drain on the manufacturing base in Rhode Island and in the nation as a whole.
Recall that the inception of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) happened during the early 1970’s, the EPA with the Ash Council Memo to President Nixon in 1970, and OSHA in 1971.
I contend that those two organizations had more to do with the flight of manufacturing than anything else.
Think for a moment, the environment was under severe strain in the 1970’s. You still had fuels containing lead, you had house paint with lead in it, but most of all you had toxic discharge from manufacturing processes that was fouling our air and waterways.
The technology existed even back in the 1970’s to mitigate the pollution but manufacturers and the companies that owned them decided they’d balk. They balked because of the cost of the measures to install scrubbers, and filtration, cooling and other systems to control pollution in their effluent. Even today you still get static from companies like PG&E or Southern Union and National Grid about pollution controls. The difference is, the latter three mentioned are energy companies who can’t just up and move out, instead they’ll pass the cost of pollution controls on to ratepayers.
But manufacturers could move out and they did. That first wave happened in the mid to late 70’s. First to the southeastern U.S. and from there it was China, India, in essence any third world shit hole that didn’t have any environmental law, or any worker safety provisions, or even a regulatory agency over food production.
This explains the problems we’re seeing in China right now. Tainted food is becoming epidemic in that part of the world and the pollution in some parts of China is astounding.
It goes back to something I’ve howled about on a regular basis. Big Corporations have far too much power. They control our political, regulatory and other agencies at this point in the game. And I’ve already explained the solution, just a tiny little verbiage change to a constitutional amendment and poof, corporations no longer have the same rights as a flesh and blood being.
Through a spokesman, Murphy said last week that: “A marriage in my eyes is between a man and a woman.” Paiva Weed affirmed that she too remains opposed. Why? “That is my personal position.” She will not elaborate, but says: “As a member of my community, I feel that I am in tune with them.”
As a member of your community? Sweetheart you’ve been pretty supportive of gay people over the years why the sudden change of tune? Could it be a certain Bishop?
What the fuck! I want my civil rights and I want them now, not three years from now. I’m reminded of Judge Hurst’s advice to the women in the Ormiston v. Chambers case. Hurst said that the women mounted their challenge on the wrong grounds, that if they brought it under a constitutional basis the court would more than likely find in their favor and invalidate the Family Court Act of 1967.
Why the hell hasn’t there been a court challenge for gay marriage in Rhode Island? The denial of rights under Article 1 Section 2 is clear as day. So why won’t anyone step forward and do it, sue for the right to marry.
I’ve heard it said that the RI Judiciary is hostile to the cause. I say we’ll never know unless we try.
You don’t know how pissed off I am right now. It’s another year of testimony, another year of committee approval and another year of our rights being denied.
This shit has to stop and stop now. I’ve heard people say RI has bigger problems. I think invalidation of the Family Court Act of 1967 would be one of those big problems. And you know what, I think we need it to embarrass the legislature.
I can’t wait for the hearing on Thursday. I’m going to pretty much echo what I’ve said in this post. I’m tired of being told I’m a second class citizen and taxpayer. Yes I’m a taxpayer you assholes in the legislative leadership.
Fuck you William Murphy and my severe scorn for Paiva-Weed and Governor Carcieri.
I say this because all of these people hide behind their electability. The Governor can just give it up, he’s a lame duck now anyhow.
I just got word from the MERI blog that the National Organization for Marriage is running ads on RI radio stations that are against gay marriage in RI. This six days before the hearing in the Senate Judiciary committee. (Feb. 26th).
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way I need to say a few things.
First of all this is a Rhode Island issue, not a national issue. Yet the assholes at NOM will try and try to deny we gay people the right to marry.
It goes without saying that their opposition to gay marriage is rooted in religion. Of course they’ll run an ad saying their little precious snowflake shouldn’t have to hear about two mommies or two daddies. Boo fucking hoo.
That kind of propaganda really pisses me off because I know that the root of their arguments lay in several passages in the Bible but the most egregious are in Leviticus and in 1 Corinthians Book 6, verses 9-10.
But think for a moment. If you read the entire book of Leviticus you see that it does a few things. Initially it sets up God’s elect on earth, the clergy. Then it sets up the structure to support the clergy. Lastly it puts together rules to grow a small tribe into a large tribe by prohibiting contact with blood, shellfish, pork, and finally homosexual activity.
The thing that gets me is don’t you think an omniscient God would know about homosexuality and at least have a word for it other than “he who lay with another man as with woman.”
Reading through the entire Bible you get the sense that God is something of an idiot. He’d have to be, after all he let Lucifer become Satan.
I have a message for Maggie Gallagher from NOM. Shut your fucking pie hole. And I do hope I get to testify before you do because I’m going to shoot you down.