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.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Kentucky Ordered to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

The hits just keep on comin'.  Yesterday, federal District Judge John Heyburn, like half a dozen other judges around the nation in the last couple of months, ruled in Bourke v. Bashear that gays are human beings, yup, and are thus entitled to the equal protection of the laws. However, his ruling goes only halfway to full marriage equality: it requires Kentucky to recognize all gay couples married out of state, but does not require Kentucky to start issuing marriage licenses to gays.

The ruling was effective immediately, not stayed as the state had requested. The governor and attorney general are considering whether to file an appeal within the next 30 days. Nevertheless, a separate case that does ask for the right to marry in Kentucky is already on the docket of the same federal district court, so perhaps in a couple of months, Judge Heyburn will let the other shoe drop.

Full text of the ruling here. See the last section, pp. 18-23, for Judge Heyburn's beautifully written exposition on constitutional rights and the duty of judges to uphold them even despite popular votes or legislative actions.

Update, 3/1/14: Judge Heyburn yesterday stayed his order until March 20, to give state officials time to implement administrative changes necessary for state agencies to implement the ruling. The case is continuing with another set of plaintiffs who seek an order requiring Kentucky to issue marriage licenses, and has been renamed Love v. Bashear.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gay Marriage OK in Texas! But Not Just Yet

As fate would have it, your Head Trucker slept through the breaking news stories yesterday.  I reckon all you boys have already heard it, but just for the record I'll summarize.

First, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed that state's antigay "Religious Freedom Restoration" bill, saying she saw no fucking reason for giving anyone a free card to deny service to gays - or anyone else, for that matter - just because "it's against my religion."

Of course, the potential loss of the Super Bowl and the objections of a hundred or so major corporations operating in Arizona just might have had a little something to do with the honorable Guv's decision, ya think?

BTW, your Head Trucker vividly recalls that fifty years ago, the preachers and politicians were all in a lather, pounding their Bibles to denounce racial integration as a sign of the last days, a scheme of the devil, and rebellion against God Almighty, which would surely and quickly cause the destruction of the family and the downfall of the country. Do watch all of this little clip from 2012:

But even more wonderful yesterday was the ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia striking down the Texas ban same-sex marriage as being unconstitutional on grounds of due process and equal protection.  He also stayed his ruling, pending appeal by Texas to the Fifth Circuit.

The map below from the Dallas Morning News shows the current situation in these United States; click here for the interactive version.

Click to enlarge.
Federal court rulings are stayed pending appeal in 
Nevada, Utah, California, Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia - and now Texas.

His Honor said, in part:
Regulation of marriage has traditionally been the province of the states and remains so today. However, any state law involving marriage or any other protected interest must comply with the United States Constitution. In United States v. Windsor, U.S. -, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), the United States Supreme Court recently held that the federal government cannot refuse to recognize a valid state-sanctioned same-sex marriage. Now, the lower courts must apply the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor and decide whether a state can do what the federal government cannot:  discriminate against same-sex couples.

The issue before this Court is whether Texas' current definition of marriage is permissible under the United States Constitution. After careful consideration, and applying the law as it must, this Court holds that Texas' prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process. Texas' current marriage laws deny homosexual couples the right to marry, and in doing so, demean their dignity for no legitimate reason. Accordingly, the Court finds these laws are unconstitutional and hereby grants a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from enforcing Texas' ban on same-sex marriage.
Thank you, Judge Garcia!

New York University law professor Ari Ezra Waldman analyzes the ruling:
Judge Garcia's decision is notable for several reasons. I will highlight two here at the outset. First, he does not dive into the heart of the level of scrutiny debate. He is content to say that marriage discrimination cannot even pass a low rational basis test. Second, he gives us a law nerd moment that students of gay rights will read for years to come to show how one case leads to the next which leads to the next and so on. Without Windsor, this case would look very different; without Lawrence, we wouldn't have gotten Windsor. And without Romer, we wouldn't have gotten Lawrence. As Judge Garcia writes:

Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution.

And how does he know that and that it applies to the notoriously marginalized LGBT community? Judge Garcia continues:

Supreme Court precedent prohibits states from passing legislation born out of animosity against homosexuals (Romer), has extended constitutional protection to the moral and sexual choices of homosexuals (Lawrence), and prohibits the federal government from treating state-sanctioned opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages differently (Windsor).

Given that, the unconstitutionality of Texas's discriminatory statute seems pretty clear.

All I can say is, unfuckingbelievable. And I have lived to see this day. I just wish my husband had too.  Back when we first got together, 15 years ago, we just couldn't imagine we'd ever be able to marry in Texas or anywhere else in the world.

Full text of the ruling in De Leon v. Perry:

Update, 3/1/14:  Texas Attorney General filed notice with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on the 27th that he will appeal Judge Garcia's ruling.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Two Tales of Two Dads

A couple of charming videos of gay dads and their kids. Which would get all concerned life in the slammer in Uganda, stoned to death in Nigeria, kicked in the head in Russia, and fired in Phoenix.

(Caution: may cause assorted hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions in your place of viewing. Fireproof clothing advised. Watch at your own risk. The Blue Truck is not responsible for any damages.)

First, Mark and Tim in North Carolina from Freedom to Marry and the Campaign for Southern Equality:

And in Paul and James in Minnesota from The UpTake:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

You Disgusting Homo

Photo:  the Gaily Grind.
The President of Uganda doesn't like you one little bit, you dirty queer, because he has proof from Uganda's top scientists that you weren't born gay - you just choose to be a nasty faggot.  He says so in an interview with CNN's Zain Verjee (watch the whole interview at the link):
After signing the bill that made some homosexual acts punishable by life in prison, Museveni told CNN's Zain Verjee that, in his view, being homosexual is "unnatural" and not a human right.

"They're disgusting. What sort of people are they?" he said. "I never knew what they were doing. I've been told recently that what they do is terrible. Disgusting. But I was ready to ignore that if there was proof that that's how he is born, abnormal. But now the proof is not there."

Museveni had commissioned a group of Ugandan government scientists to study whether homosexuality is "learned," concluding that it is a matter of choice.

"I was regarding it as an inborn problem," he said. "Genetic distortion -- that was my argument. But now our scientists have knocked this one out."
Yesterday, President Museveni signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014, which means life in prison for homosex, or even getting married to a person of the same sex. So can anyone found to be "promoting" homosexuality in any way.  Ugandans living abroad can also be extradited home for punishment for any offense named in the law. The bill originally specified the death sentence, but the penalty was reduced to life imprisonment in the final version.

Ugandan newspaper front page from 2010; gay activist David Kato was subsequently beaten to death in his home.
The Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper today printed a list of 200 homosexuals. When signing the law, Museveni told the assembled crowd: "One of the cultures that we detest is oral sex. The mouth is for picking food, not for sex. We know the address for sex. That address [the mouth] is not for sex. It is not healthy." 

A similar bill was enacted in Nigeria last month, where judges have sentenced offenders in the Muslim northern part of the country to be whipped, while crowds have rioted in the streets protesting such judicial leniency, and threatened to burn down the courthouse - the frenzied crowds want to exercise their god-given right to stone the devilish homos to death, as prescribed by sharia law.

Thus begins a new Holocaust, which is largely due to the work of American evangelists like Scott Lively, who have spread their message of hate and murder to Uganda, Nigeria, Russia, and other parts of the world. Lively is currently facing a charge of crimes against humanity, but your Head Trucker doesn't think it will stick.

Here's the text of the bill. Read it. Keep our Ugandan brothers and and sisters in your thoughts and prayers, and never forget that this is exactly what the Christianists would do to us right here in the USA - if only they could.

Official trailer for the 2013 documentary God Loves Uganda, detailing the extensive antigay influence of American evangelicals:

New York Times op-doc, The Gospel of Intolerance, using footage from God Loves Uganda:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 2/23/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Also, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), one of the last surviving leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, speaks out in this video launching the Southerners for the Freedom to Marry campaign:

Last month Equality Florida filed a lawsuit on behalf of six couples seeking the right to marry in the Sunshine State. The always delightful Sharon Gless, who has a home in Miami Beach, speaks out for marriage equality in Florida:

Cagney & Lacey was the one show in the 1980's I never missed watching; come to think of it, I don't even remember any other shows from that decade at the moment, but I loved that one. Doesn't Sharon look fabulous still?

I don't get the engagement/wedding rings on the right hand, though. Anybody have a clue?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

No Gays Allowed - Is That Legal?

Anderson Cooper interviews Arizona state representative John Kavanagh on the expansion of the Arizona Religious Freedom Restoration Act, now awaiting Governor Jan Brewer's signature.

I never heard of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act until now - but it is a law, and the ACLU did indeed support it, on behalf of American Indians.

This will make a big ol' can of worms for the Supreme Court to unpack, if and when the Arizona law ever gets that far. However, after all is said and done and the shouting dies down, I can't believe the Supremes would ever allow carte blanche discrimination against the gays - or anyone else - just because "it's against my religion."

While we're on that note, it's also formally "against the religion" of the straight boys to go running after poontang they haven't put a ring on - but when has that ever stopped them from grabbing all they can get a-holt of?

Sunday Drive: Don't Laugh at Me

Someone hurt my feelings rather badly the other day, for no good reason. The song isn't an exact match to the situation, but it will do.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Is Gay Marriage a Threat to Traditional Marriage?

Dr. John Corvino is chair of the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Le dîner de Mariele

For once, a truly funny video out of the barrage of just-thinking-of-you emails from distant relations:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: The V.I.P.s

Steve Hayes reviews the 1963 film:

Catch more fabulous movie reviews at Steve's YouTube channel.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Delicious Dishes

Way cool. I want these. Even though I rarely cook anything these days more creative than a Stouffer's dinner.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 2/17/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Guest Post: Uniformly Gorgeous

Contributed by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain:

Tim’s Take on Spain

Uniformly Gorgeous - My Mijas Firemen

By way of a short prologue, I ought to say that this guest post should have been with you for the start of 2014. However, I managed to bracket Christmas and the New Year with visits to the hospital for surgery, which I then followed up with by having bronchitis. I’m not sure if Spain is still the sick-man of Europe, but I sure feel like the sick-man of Spain!

Anyway, although it’s a month late, the arrival of the new year is often symbolised by a baby, and the lovely image below shows our favourite Spanish goalkeeper, Iker Casillas (see my previous post if you missed him), holding his newborn son, Martín, who arrived on the 3rd of January. Needless to say, the Spanish press was full of jokes about Martín being in a safe pair of hands! Felicidades to Iker and mum Sara, and a big Hola to Martín.

Now, back to our subject, the first in an occasional series looking at Spanish men in uniform. Today it’s the turn of the my local firemen who are based in Mijas, one of the pretty white towns, or Pueblos Blancos, famous in Andalucia, and about 14 miles away from my home.

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society” – so wrote Samuel Langhorne Clemens, under his pen name of Mark Twain.

“I love a man in uniform, or out of it come to that” – writes Tim Turner below, using his real name.

So let’s get my first guest post of the year off with a bang, or at least some smoke and flames. Here’s the smoke.

And here’s the flames. Who could resist a big red helmet like that?

Welcome to my local firemen, Los Bomberos de Mijas.

Continued after the jump . . .

Friday, February 14, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

On this chilly Valentine's Day, here's something to raise the steam in your pipes:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Marriage Ban in Virginia

In the case of Bostic v. Rainey, U. S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen today struck down Virginia's anti-gay marriage laws on grounds that they violate the U. S. Constitution's guarantees of due process and equal protection.  However, no gay wedding bells will ring in the Old Dominion anytime soon:  the ruling is stayed, pending appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Judge Allen, appointed to the bench by President Obama in 2011, began her ruling with this quotation from Mildred Loving, plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court interracial marriage case Loving v. Virginia in 1967:

On page 22 of her ruling, Judge Allen declared:
Gay and lesbian individuals share the same capacity as heterosexual individuals to form, preserve and celebrate loving, intimate and lasting relationships. Such relationships are created through the exercise of sacred, personal choices - choices, like the choices made by every other citizen, that must be free from unwarranted government interference.
The judge also deliciously hoisted Justice Scalia with his own petard:
In Windsor, our Constitution was invoked to protect the individual rights of gay and lesbian citizens, and the propriety of such protection led to upholding state law against conflicting federal law. The propriety of invoking such protection remains compelling when faced with the task of evaluating the constitutionality of state laws. This propriety is described eloquently in a dissenting opinion authored by the Honorable Antonin Scalia:
As I have said, the real rationale of [the Windsor opinion] is that DOMA is motivated by "bare . . . desire to harm" couples in same-sex marriages. How easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status.
Judge Allen concluded by saying, in part:
The Court is compelled to conclude that Virginia’s Marriage Laws unconstitutionally deny Virginia’s gay and lesbian citizens the fundamental freedom to choose to marry. Government interests in perpetuating traditions, shielding state matters from federal interference, and favoring one model of parenting over others must yield to this country’s cherished protections that ensure the exercise of the private choices of the individual citizen regarding love and family. . . .

Justice has often been forged from fires of indignities and prejudices suffered. Our triumphs that celebrate the freedom of choice are hallowed. We have arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect.
Read the entire ruling here.

Judge Allen's ruling is the first in a Southern state to uphold marriage equality (Oklahoma, where a similar ruling is pending appeal, is only sorta-kinda Southern in some places, more Western actually). Yesterday, a judge granted partial marriage recognition in Kentucky.  Today, another same-sex marriage lawsuit was filed in Alafuckingbama, of all places; click here for a map of lawsuits in progress or on appeal nationwide.

My word, all these judges across the country suddenly discovering that teh gayz are human, and entitled to the equal protection of the laws just like they was people. Something your Head Trucker brought up 35 years ago, but nobody wanted to listen to me then. Still, better late than never, right boys?

The dominos are piling up with breathtaking speed now. It's all over but the shouting, screaming, and whining from the nasty hardcore bigots on the religious right.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

In Memoriam: Shirley Temple Black, 1928-2014

After a fabulous career in Hollywood and later in diplomacy, beloved child star Shirley Temple has died at age 85, which seems so strange to say.

Accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Screen Actors Guild in 2006.

My favorite of her movies is The Little Princess (1939), in which she plays Sara Crewe, a little Victorian girl stranded in a boarding school when her soldier father is reported killed in the Boer War, and thereafter the now-penniless girl must work for her room and board. Cesar Romero and Arthur Treacher play memorable roles as sympathetic friends to Shirley's character. I never knew till now that the movie was filmed in brilliant Technicolor, so I'll have to watch it again - a lovely monument to Shirley's life and career.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Birth of the Modern World: 50 Years Ago

On February 9, 1964, the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, and the whole world changed, for good or ill. Some might say it was then that the inmates began to take over the madhouse, but so many commentators have expatiated on the cultural shifts since that point in time that your Head Trucker feels no need to add to the discussion. Still, here are a couple of retrospectives made by CBS News at the time of the thirtieth anniversary, in case you need reminding of the electrifying first appearance of those mop-headed storm troopers.

And here's an amusing reminiscence by Mitzi Gaynor about appearing on the second Sullivan show featuring the Beatles, broadcast from Miami Beach on February 16:

Marriage News Watch, 2/10/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Purpose of Sex

Dr. John Corvino is chair of the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Two Fat Ladies

Last month while browsing through YouTube, your Head Trucker happened to come across the Two Fat Ladies, Jennifer Paterson and Clarisssa Dickson Wright - and what a happy discovery that was.  Although they were a big hit in Britain in the 1990's, I never heard of them till now, but these old gals are a hoot.   In this episode, just in time for the Mardi Gras season, Jennifer shows how to make a gallette des rois, the original version of what we call a King Cake.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The French Riviera: A History of Pictures

Monet, Antibes: Afternoon Effect, 1888

A fascinating examination of how the lumineux Riviera landscape affected the course of Impressionist painting, and how the painters in turn popularized the idea of the enchanting Cote d'Azur.  The host of the program is a camera hog and a bit creepy, but if you can ignore his scene-stealing you'll learn some interesting things.

Part II of the program, continuing on through the world wars and into the career of Picasso, is here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Scottish Parliament Passes Marriage Equality Bill

By a free vote of 105 to 18, the Scottish Parliament today passed the Marriage and Civil Partership (Scotland) Bill, against opposition led by the Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church, and other churches. The bill does, however, provide that no church can be forced to perform same-sex weddings. In advance of the bill, the Scottish government sought public comments on the change to the marriage laws and received more than 77,000 responses.

No date has yet been announced for the first same-sex weddings in Scotland, but they may begin in the autumn, extending marriage equality to most of the United Kingdom.  The UK Parliament last July passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in England and Wales, and the first weddings will take place on March 29. Northern Ireland, with a long history of conflict between militant Protestants and Roman Catholics, remains without marriage equality, although civil partnerships are celebrated there. The Republic of Ireland is set to hold a national referendum on same-sex marriage in 2015.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 2/3/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Just to refresh your memory:

Freedom to Marry has updates on legislative and judicial proceedings in all the states, if you're interested.

America Is Beautiful

Yesterday, Coca-Cola aired this ad for the Super Bowl (what is that, anyway - some kind of game show?). Pretty cool ad, it features a gay couple and their kids, among many other representatives of our great American salad bowl.

Coke also made a short behind-the-scenes film about the ad:

I say, three cheers for Coke! I never thought I would live to see a soft-drink company, especially this one headquartered in Atlanta, come out for gay rights. Wow.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Drive: Vivaldi, Winter

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

--Thomas Merton, via Wounded Bird

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Controlling Your Body, Killing Your Soul

Title page of an anti-masturbation book originally printed in London in 1716, reprinted in Boston in 1724.

I suffered through years of agony in a fundamentalist kind of church, agonizing over my terrible but unstoppable sin of masturbation, to the point of suicidal despair.  I suspect some of you fellas can relate.

It's hard to believe that kind of ignorant, assoholic propaganda is still going on in the 21st century, but apparently it is.  Below, a foul-mouthed but brilliant dissection of the underlying motive for all that - which is to control you and sell you more toxic snake-oil.

There is religious faith which is wholesome, fortifying, and sane - and it's important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, or to take someone's hope away.

But condemning young men to hell for beating off is neither good, nor sane, nor holy.  It is a monstrous con job, an evil mind-control scam.  But listen to what Dusty says:

Original anti-masturbation video here.

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