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.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Federal Court OK's Marriage in Florida

Freedom to Marry reports:
Today, August 21, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Florida, the first federal judge to strike down Florida's ban on marriage for same-sex couples. His ruling follows four previous state court rulings in favor of marriage for same-sex couples in Florida earlier this summer. . . .

Some excerpts from the ruling:
•The founders of this nation said in the preamble to the United States Constitution that a goal was to secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity. Liberty has come more slowly for some than for others. It was 1967, nearly two centuries after the Constitution was adopted, before the Supreme Court struck down state laws prohibiting interracial marriage, thus protecting the liberty of individuals whose chosen life partner was of a different race. Now, nearly 50 years later, the arguments supporting the ban on interracial marriage seem an obvious pretext for racism; it must be hard for those who were not then of age to understand just how sincerely those views were held. When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination. Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.

•Just one proffered justification for banning same-sex marriage warrants a further note. The defendants say the critical feature of marriage is the capacity to procreate. Same-sex couples, like opposite-sex couples and single individuals, can adopt, but same-sex couples cannot procreate. Neither can many opposite-sex couples. And many opposite-sex couples do not wish to procreate. Florida has never conditioned marriage on the desire or capacity to procreate.

•The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the fundamental right to marry. The Court applied the right to interracial marriage in 1967 despite state laws that were widespread and of long standing. Just last year the Court struck down a federal statute that prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages lawfully entered in other jurisdictions. The Florida provisions that prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages lawfully entered elsewhere, like the federal provision, are unconstitutional. So is the Florida ban on entering same-sex marriages.
The ruling is in Brenner v. Scott; full text here.  Or see Freedom to Marry's website for an updated (though hideously ugly) map of where marriage laws and rulings now stand.

In other news:
After a 10-hour public hearing that lasted into the wee hours, the Fayetteville, Arkansas, city council yesterday passed an LGBT rights ordinance 6-2. Joe.My.God. has a great clip of Mayor Lioneld Jordan's passionate defense of equality, inclusion, and diversity here: it's worth your time to hear a straight white Southern man speaking up for the gays.

And next door in Tennessee, Mayor Karl Dean of Nashville has also come out for marriage equality.

How Many British Accents?

Episode 5 of Anglophenia:

Bonus: From BBC America, five ways to improve your British accent, if you're not British.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


From Irish activist group LGBT Noise:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Vito Russo's Our Time, Episode 6 - Writers

Broadcast on public television station WNYC on March 16, 1983.  Includes a tribute to Tennessee Williams, who had died just a couple of weeks previously.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 8/18/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Drive: Summer of '69

Atlanta skyline, 1969.
Click to enlarge.

Though strange and fateful things were happening around the nation and the globe, August 1969 in my corner of the world was a golden afternoon of slow time and drifting thoughts - a calm before the storm - brilliant sunshine over the green fields of the South, the sultry summer heat, electric fans, and open windows - airports, railroad stations, and zipping down the interstates in a Mustang convertible, top down, no seat belts, no worries, no fears - barbecue on the grill, a table on the patio set with china, sweet tea and lemonade and ice cubes clinking in a glass - smiles on beloved faces, letters in a familiar hand, 6-cent postage stamps, cartridge pens, the smell of new notebook paper, anticipation of starting high school - the sweet, stinging fragrance of crushed pine needles, a flaming stand of climbing roses, the crisp, heady smell of new-mown grass, the cheery pink pom-poms of a mimosa tree - a bike ride up a long, steep hill - the plunging descent down the other side - the easy ride home - twilight and evening star, a new-old moon, darkness and crickets and dreamless sleep, safe in my familiar bed.

Or so I thought.  I was 14. It was another time, childhood's end, a land unreachable now by any means - but sometimes I remember that August in the heart of the South, my beautiful, tragic homeland - and feel again the thrill of youthful hopes vibrating in the air, hear again the sounds of tunes that made me smile or sigh - and think bittersweet thoughts of home, where I can never go again - where none of us can ever return.

Perhaps you can relate. Take your pick, if any of these mean something to you.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Night Mail

1937 advertisement for the L. M. S.

How the Royal Mail was delivered from London to Scotland on the L. M. S. is shown in this fascinating 1936 documentary, with poem by W. H. Auden and score by Benjamin Britten.  Classy.  And what an amazing amount of work those postal fellas did.

1935 system map of the L. M. S.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What's My Line? 6/6/54

I'm sure many of my truckbuddies will, as I do, remember What's My Line fondly - the original series ran on CBS from 1950 to 1967, and was always entertaining, always elegant.  It's hard to watch these shows now and not weep for the decline of intelligence, beauty, and civilized behavior.  But if you need an antidote to all the sad, distressing news of late, try this delightful episode featuring, as a stand-in, the lovely young Margaret Truman - and some surprising guest occupations!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In Memoriam: Lauren Bacall, 1924-2014

The New York Times reports on the death of screen legend Lauren Bacall at age 89:
Her voice comes at you low and flat, wildly insinuating, electric and lingering. In another age, Lauren Bacall’s voice might have been called mannish. When she opened her mouth in To Have and Have Not — taking a long drag on a cigarette while locking Humphrey Bogart in her gaze — she staked a claim on the screen and made an immortal Hollywood debut. But in 1944 at the exquisitely tender age of 19, she was also projecting an indelible screen persona: that of the tough, quick-witted American woman who could fight the good fight alongside her man.

[Film critic Parker Tyler] pinpointed an androgynous quality in Ms. Bacall that helped distinguish her debut and made it such a playful gloss on the classic femme fatale: “Her Hepburnesque Garbotoon, clearly confirmed in her subsequent pictures, equals Dietrich travestied by a boyish voice.” Like Garbo and Dietrich, two other goddesses that Tyler invoked, Ms. Bacall’s on-screen presence in To Have and Have Not draws on both feminine and masculine qualities that suggest an excitingly capable woman. Guided by [director Howard] Hawks, Ms. Bacall calmed her trembling chin, gave Bogart a sexy little slap and filled out her character with so much personality that she transcended her third billing (after Walter Brennan) to become an erotic emblem of American wit and war-ready grit.

It’s been said of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers that he gave her class while she gave him sex. There’s another calculus in the Bogart and Bacall pairing. Ingrid Bergman may have warmed Bogart up in Casablanca, but it was Ms. Bacall who lit him on fire. She later complained about being in his shadow; in truth, each burnished the other’s legend, as all four of the movies they made together prove. She made some good ones without Bogart, who died in 1957, including the fizzy How to Marry a Millionaire. But after the 1940s, as pneumatic blondes blew up and gender roles were re-established, she didn’t often find the film roles that suited her cool, steady gaze. The movies couldn’t see it, but she was born to go quip to quip, curled lip to lip, with a man.

Bacall in a famous pose - risqué for the time - atop a piano with then-Vice President Harry Truman in February 1945 at the National Press Club Canteen for servicemen in Washington, D. C.

Marriage News Watch, 8/11/14

Sorry, fellas, I got distracted with some projects and just haven't had a chance to post anything the last couple of days.  Here's Matt Baume to bring us up to date on marriage cases around the country.

Updates, 7 p.m.:

Unless the Supreme Court steps in to postpone marriages for same-sex couples in Virginia, they could begin getting licenses to wed as early as next Wednesday, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit refused a delay Wednesday morning. If the procedure that has been followed in similar cases is used again, however, the Justices would be likely to order a postponement, if asked. . . .

For the first time in nearly fourteen months, a state’s ban on same-sex marriage has withstood a constitutional challenge in court. A state judge in Tennessee ruled last week that “neither the Federal Government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state’s responsibility.” The decision, issued last Tuesday, has just become available in electronic format. . . .

Also worth reading by Lyle Denison at SCOTUSBlog: "The marriage ruling “streak” and what it means, made simple"

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