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

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.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Today's Chuckle

Stephen Colbert brilliantly skewers the demeaning dissenters of the Supreme Court:

Today's Headlines

Via Newseum - click to enlarge:

Today's Quote

Via Joe.My.God.:

Friday, June 26, 2015


No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

—Justice Anthony Kennedy, Obergefell v. Hodges majority opinion (emphasis mine)

Equal dignity in the eyes of the law:  the Supreme Court this morning in a 5-4 decision made same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

That makes it the law of the land.  Full text of the ruling, including dissents, in PDF format here.

THANK YOU, Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, Breyer, and Kennedy. You have recognized us as fully human beings, inherently possessed of the same rights to liberty, equality, and human dignity as everyone else, and we are deeply grateful.

A new era has begun, a whole new world for us queer people. It's beautiful.

And I have lived to see this day.

Just rolled out of bed and speechless with amazement here.  I'll post more stuff on the ruling as I get to it.

President Obama spoke about the ruling from the Rose Garden this morning, saying: "Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt."

Full text of the President's remarks here.

And love rules in Texas - OMG Texas fucking Texas:

See also this post I made last year on Dallas couple Jack Evans and George Harris, who have been a couple since 1961.

And go check out the delightful corporate responses celebrating today's ruling at Joe.My.God.

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reviews the constitutional standing of marriage in general, and explains why today's ruling is a win-win victory:

Your Head Trucker, by the way, respectfully disagrees with the learned Chief Justice Roberts, who in his dissent opined that "The Constitution has nothing to do" with gay marriage. As Matt just pointed out, it has everyfuckingthing to do with it, and with the promise at the heart of America - that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - the Chief Justice's deeply Catholic views on the subject notwithstanding.

But I fear that his dissent, as well as the clownish, apoplectic hyperbole of Justice Scalia's dissent - in his calmest phrase, he calls the ruling "a threat to American democracy" - are not merely unworthy of the highest court in the land, but will furnish ammunition for the haters for generations to come, and indeed invite a vehement, if not violent reaction.  By their dissents - which would callously deny to millions of ordinary Americans the equal protection and dignity of the laws -  they have disgraced themselves, and deeply dishonored the court and the country.

As much as we are entitled to celebrate this day - which by curious coincidence or design is also the anniversary of the Lawrence and Windsor decisions - we must not expect that prejudice, bigotry, and murderous hatred will simply dry up and blow away. The shooting last week in Charleston shows only too clearly that they can remain and fester in ugly, evil ways for many decades:  part of the sad, tragic story of our flawed human race.

And yet, sometimes we manage to lift ourselves above the level of the primordial mud and the law of the jungle, and approach towards the love that moves the stars - and today is one of those times.

Conservative commentator S.E. Cupp celebrates today's marriage ruling, and calls it a victory for conservative values that the Republican Party needs to embrace:

Andrew Sullivan, one of the earliest and most vociferous advocates for marriage equality, returned to his now-retired blog today to reflect upon the meaning of this victory:
This core truth is what Justice Kennedy affirmed today, for the majority: that gay people are human. I wrote the following in 1996:
Homosexuality, at its core, is about the emotional connection between two adult human beings. And what public institution is more central—more definitive—of that connection than marriage? The denial of marriage to gay people is therefore not a minor issue. It is the entire issue. It is the most profound statement our society can make that homosexual love is simply not as good as heterosexual love; that gay lives and commitments and hopes are simply worth less. It cuts gay people off not merely from civic respect, but from the rituals and history of their own families and friends. It erases them not merely as citizens, but as human beings.
We are not disordered or sick or defective or evil – at least no more than our fellow humans in this vale of tears. We are born into family; we love; we marry; we take care of our children; we die. No civil institution is related to these deep human experiences more than civil marriage and the exclusion of gay people from this institution was a statement of our core inferiority not just as citizens but as human beings. It took courage to embrace this fact the way the Supreme Court did today. . . .

I think of the gay kids in the future who, when they figure out they are different, will never know the deep psychic wound my generation – and every one before mine – lived through: the pain of knowing they could never be fully part of their own family, never be fully a citizen of their own country. I think, more acutely, of the decades and centuries of human shame and darkness and waste and terror that defined gay people’s lives for so long. And I think of all those who supported this movement who never lived to see this day, who died in the ashes from which this phoenix of a movement emerged. This momentous achievement is their victory too – for marriage, as Kennedy argued, endures past death.

I never believed this would happen in my lifetime when I wrote my first several TNR essays and then my book, Virtually Normal, and then the anthology and the hundreds and hundreds of talks and lectures and talk-shows and call-ins and blog-posts and articles in the 1990s and 2000s. I thought the book, at least, would be something I would have to leave behind me – secure in the knowledge that its arguments were, in fact, logically irrefutable, and would endure past my own death, at least somewhere. I never for a millisecond thought I would live to be married myself. Or that it would be possible for everyone, everyone in America.

But it has come to pass. All of it. In one fell, final swoop.

Know hope.

Here's YouTube's own celebration of marriage equality:

And to cap this momentous day in American history, here's a live shot time-lapse video of the White House bathed in a rainbow of light to celebrate the victory of love:

In case the video isn't working when you view this post, here's a screen shot I took - isn't it beautiful?

See more landmarks lit with the rainbow here and here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Meet Jim Obergefell

A short interview with the lead plaintiff in the history-making case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which the Supreme Court will rule on tomorrow or Monday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Cross and the Confederate Flag

An ungodly sight:  the Confederate battle flag at the South Carolina State House remained, per state law, at full staff while the national and state flags were at half staff this week for the victims of the Charleston shooting.
Since the horrific shooting in Charleston last week, the uproar over the presence of the Confederate battle flag on governmental premises in various Southern states has exploded across the airwaves and the blogosphere. As a native Southerner whose ancestral lines stretch back to 17th-century Maryland and Virginia, the descendant of slave-owning planters and Confederate soldiers, your Head Trucker could write a long and nuanced post about all that, from several different points of view; but I content myself with simply presenting this excerpt from an essay written this week by Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
White Christians ought to think about what that flag says to our African-American brothers and sisters in Christ, especially in the aftermath of yet another act of white supremacist terrorism against them. The gospel frees us from scrapping for our “heritage” at the expense of others. As those in Christ, this descendant of Confederate veterans has more in common with a Nigerian Christian than I do with a non-Christian white Mississippian who knows the right use of “y’all” and how to make sweet tea.

None of us is free from a sketchy background, and none of our backgrounds is wholly evil. The blood of Jesus has ransomed us all “from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers” (1 Pet. 1:18), whether your forefathers were Yankees, rebels, Vikings, or whatever. We can give gratitude for where we’ve come from, without perpetuating symbols of pretend superiority over others.

The Apostle Paul says that we should not prize our freedom to the point of destroying those for whom Christ died. We should instead “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Rom. 14:19). The Confederate Battle Flag may mean many things, but with those things it represents a defiance against abolition and against civil rights. The symbol was used to enslave the little brothers and sisters of Jesus, to bomb little girls in church buildings, to terrorize preachers of the gospel and their families with burning crosses on front lawns by night.

That sort of symbolism is out of step with the justice of Jesus Christ. The cross and the Confederate flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire. White Christians, let’s listen to our African-American brothers and sisters. Let’s care not just about our own history, but also about our shared history with them. In Christ, we were slaves in Egypt—and as part of the Body of Christ we were all slaves too in Mississippi. Let’s watch our hearts, pray for wisdom, work for justice, love our neighbors. Let’s take down that flag.

And that, if you are a Christian, says it all, I think. The full text of Dr. Moore's essay is here.

P.S. - Just last week, the Southern Baptist Convention at its annual meeting issued a call for civil disobedience against same-sex marriage.  Southern Baptists, as you may know, split off from their Northern brothers on the issue of slavery in 1845.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Sigh.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Uniquely Nasty

A new documentary film from Yahoo News:

Yahoo News presents a groundbreaking documentary "Uniquely Nasty: The U.S. Government's War on Gays." The film is a historical investigation into a dark, and little known, chapter of America's recent past, including new details about J. Edgar Hoover's "sex deviates" program and a blackmail threat that led to the suicide of a U.S. senator - an event that haunted a generation of gays in politics.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 6/22/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Just so you know, the remaining dates on which the Supreme Court may issue the gay-marriage ruling are this Thursday, Friday, and next Monday, which is the last day of the term. See the court's calendar at Scotusblog.  A summary of proceedings to date on Obergefell v. Hodges is here.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Drive: The Syncopated Clock

An amusing 1951 hit by Leroy Anderson, still often heard on "grown-up" radio in my childhood.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, June 18, 2015

President Obama on the Charleston Shooting

I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. . . . this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it.

Transcript here.

"Nine" by Barry Blitt for the New Yorker.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Which Way Do You Sway?

Via Joe.My.God., handed out at Philly Pride:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 6/15/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Here's a link to that Pew Research Center poll that Matt mentioned.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Drive: Strauss, The Blue Danube

As performed by André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra, recorded live at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, with dancers from the Elmayer Dancing School. Just lovely.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Trooping the Colour, 2015

The Queen's Official Birthday was observed in London today with the splendid pageantry of Trooping the Colour, as has been the custom since 1748, when King George II was on the throne.

Her Majesty took the salute in person on Horse Guards Parade, then returned to Buckingham Palace for the traditional balcony appearance with the other members of the Royal Family, ending with a flypast by the Royal Air Force. Splendiferous!

First, a brief overview from the BBC via CNN:

And here is the tail end of the day's events, including the flypast and a lovely scene of four generations in the line of succession:

Finally, for those who are interested, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery:

Update, 6/14: Here is the BBC coverage of the whole magnificent show:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Why Are Brits So Obsessed with Tea?

Anglophenia's Kate Arnell explains:

Monday, June 8, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 6/8/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

More on the Guam marriage ruling here.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Drive: My Love Is like a Red, Red Rose

An exquisite rendering by the late Eva Cassidy of the song by Robert Burns:

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Westward the Women

Steve Hayes reviews the 1951 film:
Action director William Wellman takes you on a perilous journey through the old west as Robert Taylor leads a wagon train full of women to California in “Westward The Women” (1951). Filled with action, romance, comedy and tragedy, this is a rip-roaring adventure that will have you glued to your seats from beginning to end. Featuring a terrific cast that includes Denise Darcel, Julie Bishop, John McEntire, Henry Nakamura and the wonderful and hysterical Hope Emerson, you won’t want to miss a moment of the journey west with this wagon load of wonderful women!

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

Friday, June 5, 2015

Waitin' for the Weekend

Stewart Takes the Cake-Bakers' Side

Sir Patrick Stewart on the Ashers Baking Company lawsuit in Northern Ireland:

What I Say: Your Head Trucker is inclined to agree with Sir Patrick. It is, as he said, a "deliciously difficult" subject: here we are not talking about merely providing a service, but about freedom of expression.

Think about it: would you want to be forced to write or print something that said "No Gay Marriage" or "Vote for Bush" or even "God Hates Fags"?

And how important is a cake, anyway?   I wouldn't want to buy a cake or anything else from someone who despised me.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Do I Sound Gay?

Opening in theaters and VOD July 10th.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner Comes Out

For the record, yesterday's cover story in Vanity Fair is something your Head Trucker never expected to see in his lifetime, for several reasons. It will take time for everyone to get used to the idea, but that's only to be expected.  Transgender and gay issues are two very different things - what I can relate to is the feeling of being excluded from society, and having to hide who you really are, 24/7.

So all good wishes to Caitlyn in this new segment of her life.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 6/1/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

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