C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Why Opinion Changed So Fast on Gay Marriage

Matt Baume offers his theories on the changes in social attitudes towards the gays over the last three decades:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday Drive: The Stars and Stripes Forever

Sousa's quintessential American march, as performed in their magnificent style by the world-famous Dallas men's choir, the Vocal Majority, whom your Head Trucker has been lucky enough to see and hear in concert several times:

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Fourth!

PBS will air the annual concert A Capitol Fourth live from the West Lawn of the U. S. Capitol beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.  Along with the U. S. Army Band "Pershing's Own," headliners include Alabama, Barry Manilow, and KC and the Sunshine Band.  Description:
Celebrating 35 spectacular years on the air, A Capitol Fourth will kick off the country’s 239th birthday with an all-star musical extravaganza that puts viewers front and center for the greatest display of fireworks anywhere in the nation. America’s favorite Independence Day celebration is broadcast live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, before a concert audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home, and our troops watching around the world on the American Forces Network.

Here's a short interview with Jerry and Michael Colbert, father and son producers of the program:

And here's a clip of KC and the Sunshine Band rehearsing in front of the Capitol yesterday:

Gawd, I can't believe the once-young-and-studly Harry Wayne Casey, whom I saw in concert in 1976 at the height of his fame, looks like a boring old middle-aged man . . . like me!

Where does the time go?

And the White House released this video celebrating a good week for the President, and marking in part the progress of liberty and equality in this our wayward but beloved land of hopes and dreams:

Friday, July 3, 2015

Waitin' for the Weekend


It's been a week since the historic ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land, and Freedom to Marry offers this celebratory rendition of a classic tune:

And one more time - here's that fabulous moment again:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Episcopal Church OK's Same-Sex Weddings

By coincidence, the Episcopal Church began its triennial General Convention in Salt Lake City last Thursday, the day before the Obergefell ruling came out, which was celebrated with applause and a conga line (yes, you read that right) by attendees. On Tuesday, the House of Bishops approved resolutions authorizing same-sex weddings, and the House of Deputies followed suit yesterday. Episcopal News Service reports:
The House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops’ approval the day before of a canonical change eliminating language defining marriage as between a man and a woman (Resolution A036) and authorizing two new marriage rites with language allowing them to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples (Resolution A054).

The resolutions marked the culmination of a conversation launched when the 1976 General Convention said that “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance and pastoral concern and care of the church,” said the Very Rev. Brian Baker, deputy chair of the Special Legislative Committee on Marriage. “That resolution began a 39-year conversation about what that full and equal claim would look like. The conversation has been difficult for many and painful for many.” . . .

The two new liturgies, “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage” and “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2” from “Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You and You Will be a Blessing, Revised and Expanded 2015” from the supplemental Blue Book materials of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, are authorized for use beginning this Advent. Those rites offer the option of using “wife,” “husband,” “person” or “spouse,” thus making them applicable for all couples. The liturgies can be found on pages 2-151 here from the materials provided to convention by the standing commission, including one rejected by bishops in their deliberations. . . .

Both resolutions say that clergy retain the canonical right to refuse to officiate at any wedding.

The changes take effect on the first Sunday of Advent, November 29. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Many dioceses in the New York-based church of nearly 1.9 million members have allowed their priests to perform civil same-sex weddings, using a trial prayer service to bless the couple. Still, the church hadn’t changed its own laws on marriage until Wednesday.

The Episcopal Church joins two other mainline Protestant groups that allow gay marriage in all their congregations: the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The 3.8-million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lets its congregations decide for themselves, and many of them host gay weddings.

The New York Times reports:
The Episcopal Church is the U.S. wing of the Anglican Communion, an 80 million-member global fellowship of churches. Ties among Anglicans have been strained since Episcopalians in 2003 elected Bishop Gene Robinson, who lived openly with his male partner, to lead the Diocese of New Hampshire. Many more conservative Episcopalians either split off or distanced themselves from the national U.S. church after Robinson's election.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans, earlier this week expressed deep concern about the move to change the definition of marriage.

During debate Wednesday, the Rev. Jose Luis Mendoza-Barahona of Honduras said the new church law goes against the Bible and would create a chasm in the church. "The fight has not ended, it's starting," he said during debate at the convention. "Those of us in the church who are loyal followers of Christ are going to remain firm in not recognizing what happened today."

But in an interview after the vote, Robinson said he was "delighted" and "proud" of the church. "It's a day I wasn't sure I would live to see," said Robinson, who is now retired. "What we're seeing I think in the Episcopal Church, and last week with the Supreme Court decision, is an entire culture evolving into understanding that gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender people contribute just as much as anyone else to this society and deserve all the same rights."
In London, Lambeth Palace issued this statement from Archbishop Welby, who holds the "primacy of honor" in the Anglican Communion, but no governing authority over any church outside of England:
While recognising the prerogative of The Episcopal Church to address issues appropriate to its own context, Archbishop Justin Welby said that its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.

At a time of such suffering around the world, he stated that this was a moment for the church to be looking outwards. We continue to mourn with all those who are grieving loved ones and caring for the injured from the terrorist attacks in Sousse, Kuwait and Lyon, and from the racist attacks in Charleston.

He urges prayer for the life of the Anglican Communion; for a space for the strengthening of the interdependent relationships between provinces, so that in the face of diversity and disagreement, Anglicans may be a force for peace and seek to respond to the Lord Jesus’ prayer that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (John 17: 21).
The United Kingdom Parliament passed the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill in 2013, with weddings beginning in March 2014.  However, the legislation specifically exempted the Church of England, the established state church, from conducting any same-sex weddings.

Welby spoke in the House of Lords in opposition to the bill in 2013, saying it would "abolish marriage" and "weaken society," but in 2014 appeared to waffle on the subject in an interview with Pink News:
Asked in the interview what his message for the LGBT community was, he said: “We are struggling with the issues across the Church globally. “It’s complicated with ramifications that are very difficult to deal with in many parts of the world.” "He added: “As you know I have said, and got a fair amount of flak for it within parts of the Church, we have to accept, and quite rightly, that the Same-Sex Marriage Act is law, and that it’s right and proper, it’s the law of the land, and that’s great.”

A spokesman for Lambeth palace said: “The Archbishop has said numerous times that he accepts the right of Parliament to change the law and that the Church should continue to demonstrate the love of Christ for every person."

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bonne fĂȘte du Canada - Happy Canada Day!

Good wishes to all my Canadian truckbuddies. Check the live feed of festivities across the country on CBC, starting at 7 p.m. Eastern Time here.

Canoe medallist Mark Oldershaw, named today as Canada's flagbearer for the Pan-American Games, to be held in Toronto beginning July 10.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

More on Marriage, aka The New Normal

Your Head Trucker is still pinching himself to be sure that last Friday's marriage ruling is really and truly real. I guess it must be, though, with all the conservative heads exploding up and down the country. To give just one example, Time magazine just published an essay by "crunchy conservative" writer Rod Dreher bemoaning the fact that orthodox Christians must now "learn to live as exiles in our own country":
For one, we have to accept that we really are living in a culturally post-Christian nation. The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist. To be frank, the court majority may impose on the rest of the nation a view widely shared by elites, but it is also a view shared by a majority of Americans. There will be no widespread popular resistance to Obergefell. This is the new normal.
Apparently, Dreher thinks all the real Christians left standing should go out and build their own private little communities in the woods, like St. Benedict, where they practice complete holiness to their hearts' content, 24/7.  I wonder if that means no phones, no lights, no motor cars, not a single luxury?  Good luck selling that new monastic plan, bud - which presumably includes jumping into a thornbush every time an erotic thought pops into mind, like the devout Benedict.

Dreher is, however, honest enough to make these admissions:
Social and religious conservatives must recognize that the Obergefell decision did not come from nowhere. It is the logical result of the Sexual Revolution, which valorized erotic liberty. It has been widely and correctly observed that heterosexuals began to devalue marriage long before same-sex marriage became an issue. The individualism at the heart of contemporary American culture is at the core of Obergefell — and at the core of modern American life. This is profoundly incompatible with orthodox Christianity. But this is the world we live in today.

Christianity is profoundly incompatible with individualism? Um, yeah, if you live in some kind of kinked-up theocratic dictatorship, I suppose - which is no doubt exactly what Dreher and his ilk would dearly love to impose on all the rest of us. And why not, if only they could? Notice Dreher's profoundly egotistic sense of ownership (emphasis mine):
But orthodox Christians must understand that things are going to get much more difficult for us. We are going to have to learn how to live as exiles in our own country. We are going to have to learn how to live with at least a mild form of persecution.
Excuse me - just whose country is it, anyway? I thought Mr. Jefferson wrote that all men are created equal - not just the Christians, not just the orthodox, and certainly not just the dudes who are so tight-assed righteous they squeak when they walk. Dreher and company do not have the title deed to America - it belongs to all of us.

Which some folks in Texas are still having trouble understanding - quite a few small-town Baptist county clerks still think they and their church own the place, and are refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, because Bible

Marriage map of Texas from the Dallas Morning News.

The ACLU of Texas has a hotline you can call to report any difficulties in obtaining a marriage license: 1-888-503-6838, Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

But even out here on the prairies and plains and deep in the piney woods, they are coming around, one by one.  Because Constitution, as Senator Elizabeth Warren explains:
In America, because of our Constitution, senseless discrimination – discrimination that demeans the worth of our neighbors and our coworkers and our family members – cannot survive when it is brought out of the darkness. It has never been easy for us to shine the light on such discrimination. But when we see it, when we stop looking away and finally acknowledge it, it is never long before we formally recognize what is compelled by our Constitution. We recognize what has always been there: equality and dignity under the law, for all Americans, no matter who they are.

And here is a very timely history lesson for everyone, courtesy of the irrepressible Matt Baume:

Update, 7/1/15: The Dallas Morning News has posted another interactive marriage map of Texas counties:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 6/29/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Also in today's news: despite the defiant blustering of recalcitrant state officials over the weekend, gay marriages are now taking place in Louisiana and Mississippi, though some county clerks in Alabama and Texas are still refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because God, Bible, and "religious liberty," etc.

And law professor Michael Dorf at SCOTUSblog makes a wry observation on Justice Scalia's assoholic dissent in Obergefell:
And then there is Justice Scalia, who professes to worry about the ruling’s implications for democracy but seems more irked by Justice Kennedy’s prose style. In perhaps the most intemperate line in the U.S. Reports, Justice Scalia mocks the opening line of the majority opinion: “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.”

Justice Scalia replies: “If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began” in this way, “I would hide my head in a bag.” This from a Justice who – just in cases that are centrally relevant to the issue in Obergefell – once began a dissent by accusing the Court of mistaking “a Kulturkampf for a fit of spite” (as though Prussian anti-Catholic policies were an appropriate model for Colorado’s treatment of its gay and lesbian minority), in another dissent compared same-sex intimacy to bestiality, and in a futile effort to read Loving as having nothing to do with evolving values, invented his very own inaccurate text of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Forget about the bag. Justice Scalia should not appear in public except in a full burka.

Dorf also explains why the majority opinion is firmly grounded in the Constitution's guarantee of Equal Protection, emphasis mine:
Were the dissenters more interested in understanding than ridiculing the majority opinion, they would see that equal protection considerations help explain why a right to same-sex marriage does not necessarily open the door to polygamy, adult incest, and the other supposed horribles in their gay shame parade. With a few notable exceptions, for thousands of years people have been stigmatized, beaten, and killed for the sin of loving someone of the same sex. The dissenters regard this shameful history only as the basis for continued denial of constitutional rights. The majority, by contrast, sees in this history of subordination a special reason to be skeptical of the reasons advanced for excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage.

Justice Kennedy writes: “Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, th[e] denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on gays and lesbians serves to disrespect and subordinate them.” It really is that simple.

And while your Head Trucker is no legal expert, he finds a very interesting philosophical parallel in reasoning between the marriage ruling and the case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954):
To separate [children in grade and high schools] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone. . . . We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.

Equal justice under law. That's the way it goes in these United States. 'Nuff said.

The west pediment of the Supreme Court building.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Debunking the Dissents

Matt Baume does a fine job of pointing out the flawed dissents in the marriage-equality ruling:

Sunday Drive: Amazing Grace

If you haven't heard the eulogy for the Rev. Senator Clementa Pinckney that President Obama gave on Friday, do listen to it below. It is one of the finest presidential speeches ever made, an elegant, apt, historic statement about race, grace, and America that will be remembered long after you and I are dust, my friends.

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