Welcome back to another installment of Courtgasm; where powdered wigs meet hairless muffs and double jeopardy is doubly penetrated.
This week I’m focusing on the softer side of love and talk about marriage, particularly same sex marriage. Though marriage is often considered the point in your life where sex stops and the bitterness of “adult life” begins, I feel this topic certainly merits a post. Though I am straight and can have all the one-night stand Britney Spears marriages I want, I choose to abstain from marriage entirely until we have marriage equality. All joking aside, this is serious business and affects peoples’ lives and deaths.
In case you were locked in solitary for 5 days, forgotten without food or water by the DEA, this has been a huge week for same sex couples, at least in regards to getting attention (we’ll see if anything tangible comes from it). On Tuesday, it was reported that Vice President Joe Biden is supportive of same sex marriage.
At the time, this created a political dilemma for President Obama, who was seen as being in a position where he could not support gay marriage without risking much of his political clout in key swing states in the Midwest. But, on Wednesday, the President announced that he supported same sex marriage, ending any potential dilemma. Now the only dilemma is, should he actually support it or just say it to get votes, then go back on his word, just like he did with medical marijuana (Before the election, and after).
All cynicism aside, Obama does have a fairly good track record on gay/straight equality issues, which suggests that we can take him seriously on this point. He is partially responsible for the ending of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (responsible enough to take credit for it at least). What matters is LGBT individuals can openly serve in the military now and the Pentagon says there has been little noticeable impact on troop morale. (Clearly the change of policy is having no positive impact and was thus a bad idea, perhaps we should go back to DADT.)
Under Obama’s presidency, though entirely unrelated to anything he did, the national Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has been ruled unconstitutional again recently. DOMA is the unpopular bit of legislation passed by Democratic president Bill Clinton, under much duress from conservative hooligans back in the late 90′s. DOMA has been interpreted to say that, within the US, marriage is only between a man and a woman.
One major step forward Obama could take would be repealing DOMA, since as long as it is law same sex marriage are arguably invalid. I don’t know if he will be willing to go quite that far, as he doesn’t seem the type to risk his political capital on anything other than his pet projects. Who knows though? The campaign is already making marriage equality an issue for the upcoming election (as if it wasn’t already?).
Despite these nominal gains, the overall trend of recent years has been one towards suppressing our sexual mores. In the current issue of the Silicon Valley Metro there is an article called The Sex War
Since sexual expression is a form of human expression, and thus legal under the Constitution, then logically marriage should also be legal as the ultimate embodiment of human sexual expression. Unfortunately, our laws are hardly ever based off logic, emotional grandstanding tends to effect policy much moreThe emotion factor, combined with a renewed vigor in the religious right, are probably the biggest blockades to sexual and marriage freedom in America today.
I’m not just talking about marriage equality anymore, or even our freedom to sodomize each other(only made legal in 2003 with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, I’m talking about our freedom to be kinky, the freedom of sex workers to have a safe work environment, and all other elements of our sexual life. While gay marriage is getting all the press, our sexual life is under an increasing attack by the moral forces at work in this country.
You’ve seen my previous posts about my difficulty getting condoms despite having insurance, over-regulation of the adult entertainment industry, misunderstanding sexting, and more, this is all part of an ongoing trend. While we probably have more sexual freedom today than ever before, based off objective measures on what is legal versus what used to be illegal, we are seeing a growing tendency to take away those freedoms
No sooner did President Obama publicly affirm his privately held beliefs on gay marriage, he had a team of people on the phones to religious congregations across the nation.
This is exactly what I am talking about when I mention the rise of the religious right in America and how much of an impact it has on elections. Religion, primarily Christianity and Judaism, has a huge power to sway elections in America; politicians are considered foolish to ignore those votes. Jefferson would be rolling in his grave over the collapse of his “wall of separation between Church & State,” if he wasn’t busy being erased from the history books for espousing that view<. As a great man once said, Mr. Gorbachev… erhm Obama, tear down this wall!
All snarkiness and smartassery aside, it does seem like things are moving forward in this country, in terms of gay rights and our overall sexual freedom, despite recent efforts to undo what has been gained.
According to a review of the major polls over the past year, for the first time ever over 50% of Americans support gay marriage. That has little to do with President Obama, even better it indicates a general change in our societal beliefs, showing a greater acceptance for marriage equality. This is confirmed by the explosion of Gay Straight Alliance clubs across the country, even in conservative strongholds in the Midwest.
While Prop 8 was passed back in 2008, it has proceeded to lose at every step of the way through the courts so far. Now, four more states (Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington) are considering ballot initatives to legalize gay marriage this fall. If nothing else, maybe same sex couples can at least get some recourse on their mortgages, which manage to be even more borked than the general publics, purely due to the fact that it is a same sex couple sharing the home.
As a parting note, the California state legislature is considering a bill, sponsored by Equality California, which would ban gay conversion therapy of teenagers, like the business ran by former Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann. The bill is in its final committee before a floor vote and could use all the support it can get, so please look up and contact your legislator. This would make my home state the first in the nation to take solid action towards implementing sound public policy, which would protect our kids from religious brainwashing. Like the tobacco industry, these religious fanatics like to prey on them while they are young and legally cannot say no (<3 age of consent allowing parents to abuse their children legally). Like I said previously, this issue is bigger than just marriage equality, this is about the defense of our sexual lives and our very right to be sex positive individuals.