I know Mikasaur2000 already posted this, but it’s so fantastic I need to post it again.
Posts tagged ‘gay marriage’
Whoa! It seems I was totally wrong when I expected the California Supreme Court to uphold the ban on gay marriage. Instead, they struck down the ban as unconstitutional, allowing same sex marriage in the state. Conservatives are already rallying to try to get a constitutional amendment banning it on the ballots in November,
but it seems pretty unlikely that they’d be able to get the two thirds majority needed to pass it. Edit: it only takes a simple majority, which seems much easier. I don’t know if it is likely to pass. Hooray, progress!
Also, there is currently some finegaling in Congress these days over funding the Iraq invasion. It would be awesome if the legislators finally grew a spine and started passing bills that would, you know, stop wars of aggression and ban torture and provide education and medical benefits to veterans (admittedly, that last one is not related to Congress, but it’s despicable enough to mention along with the rest of this crap). but unfortunately I doubt this will actually go anywhere, and even if it did, Bush would almost certainly veto any such measure.
In natural disaster news, the cyclone that hit Burma and the earthquake in China have each left tens of thousands dead. Burma is in trouble because it is a poor country that doesn’t have the infrastructure to help the refugees or to rescue the people still trapped. China is in trouble because the areas worst hit are in hard-to-reach mountainous areas, and the earthquake coupled with heavy rains the next day wiped out most of the roads and airports, so it’s hard to send aid to the victims.
Hooray, getting my blog back onto the “Civil Liberties and World News” bit, rather than the “and computer science and stuff” part. I had begun to wonder if I needed to change the title of this blog.
Today the California Supreme Court began considering the constitutionality of gay marriage. The overwhelmingly Republican court is expected to deny the pleas of dozens of plaintiffs hoping the state will sanction their marriages. A decision is expected in about 3 months, so this shouldn’t drag on forever and with any luck I’ll remember to follow up on it when the results are in. In the meantime, I can hope against hope that the court will extend the same rights and liberties to everyone.
The news of the week comes in two different parts, and I think that they both are distressing.
The high court of Maryland held up a law which has banned all gay marriages there. They didn’t, however, say lawmakers cannot repeal the decree if they want. In other words, neither the ban nor gay marriage is unconstitutional there. This nonetheless comes as a setback for anyone trying to legalize it; I fear that repealing the law will not happen for several more years at this rate.
Also, the EU rejected a plea from their parliament asking to cancel the ban of all liquids on flights coming into or leaving from Europe. They claim that the liquids can still pose a threat in the hands of some mythical terrorists (these people, apparently, somehow are able to blow up a plane with the liquids but cannot, of course, simply carry them on in the smaller containers allowed). The problem as I see it lies in the fact that the only known terororists ever considering using a liquid explosive were foiled without such a ban, and instead they were caught using only police and detective work (note that I thought there were older attempts, but I can’t seem to find them again; I recall that they also had planned to use liquids and they, too, were stopped by police work instead. I think this had been in the ’90’s sometime, but it’s honestly just a gut feeling.). However, the EU’s Commission decided that lifting the ban would still “lower its guard” and instead they require “the full range” of (useless and impotent) measures in place. These rules are so stupid; I wish someone there would just tell them they’re being irrational.
Even though my blog is (edit: formerly) titled “Civil Liberties and World News,” I haven’t posted on either of these subjects in a month and a half. It’s time to return to that theme.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has started calling for the closure of Guantanamo. I fear it won’t be closed until we have a new president (and possibly not even then), but it’s nice to see that more people are standing up and saying that everyone should have a right to a trial. Moreover, a recent court decision stated that the US cannot indefinitely hold prisoners without trial. It would be fantastic if this kept up momentum. We’ll see what happens.
Also, the Massachusetts legislature defeated a proposed amendment to ban gay marriage (if the measure had passed, it would have gone to a public vote in 2008). There’s one tricky part left, though: a law almost a century old that states that non-Massachusetts residents can’t get married there unless the marriage would be legal in their home state. This was originally intended to fight interracial marriages. Let’s hope this law gets repealed soon!
In more worrying news, minorninth writes that national labs (including JPL) are putting tighter security clearances on all employees, including janitors and secretaries. They are now required to disclose
drug use (edit: apparently this is currently legal, although many people think it shouldn’t be), financial records, their armed services numbers, and other totally inappropriate things. If you actually work on a sensitive project, there’s even more: they want to know about your international vacations and medical history (edit: upon further inspection, this looks like this part might actually be an acceptable thing, too, since these people have been granted special clearance by the government). The worst part about this is that the mainstream media doesn’t seem to be picking up the story at all, which is really too bad. I hope more people find out about this before this becomes the de rigeur.
The news everyone seems to be talking about is that former US President Gerald Ford has died, presumably of something related to old age. Although I had always had the impression that he was a bumbling fool and everyone disliked him for pardoning Nixon (which apparently lead to his defeat in the next Presidential election), lots of people seem to be coming out of the woodwork and saying how great Ford was at bringing the nation together and healing them after the Watergate, Vietnam, and civil rights problems the country was experiencing.
In what I consider more interesting news, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that the state Senate must vote on the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The legislature moved to recess without voting on it, which is against the state laws. However, the court aknowledges that they cannot force the lawmakers to vote on the issue (and the lawmakers have done this before). Assuming the amendment gets at least 25% of the Senate’s votes, it would go to a public election. This makes a lot of sense for constitutional amendments; it seems like they should be ratified by the people. However, it seems like a really bad idea to let the often ignorant, stupid, and bigoted masses decide on civil rights issues (can you imagine what would have happened if segregation had been put to a popular vote in 1954, instead of just letting Brown v. Board of Education stand?). We’ll see what happens, and although it would be nice if lawmakers followed the law, I really hope that gay marriages aren’t banned.
Finally, it looks like President Bush is considering changes in his Iraq policy, though I personally doubt he will set any sort of timetable. From what I’ve seen on CNN (Anderson Cooper is so awesome!), we need more troops over there to keep everything from collapsing into civil war (you know, more than it already has), but we don’t appear to have many more troops to send over. The whole thing is a disaster, but at least Bush is starting to consider new options instead of just burying his head in the sand. Time will tell how this turns out.
I’m back in MN for a week, and although it’s great to see friends from high school again (and hopefully play some more bridge with Jim), my mom is already driving me nuts. I think I just need to spend as much time as possible outside of the house, and I’ll be ok. If you’re in town, give me a call; my number is on Facebook (yes, psifer, it really is)!
Today’s nerdtacular tip is brought to you by the letter π and the number e: if you telnet into port 80 of a webserver, you can write your HTTP requests by hand. I haven’t quite figured out how to use this to my advantage yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s there somewhere… I can now fill in my own custom values when submitting forms, without bothering to download and edit the source for the page with the form on it, if nothing else (though I’d still need to look at the source to see what parameters the form contains).
A quick example →
First off, you may recall that last week the Supreme Court ruled the Guantanamo tribunals unconstitutional. Urged on by this, Congress is gearing up to tackle the issue. It sounds like it’s possible Congress will just give the Bush Administration the blank check he needs to continue the same trials, but a more likely scenario is that legislation will be enacted that reaffirms the Geneva convention and gives prisoners a fair trial. Here’s hoping!
Japan is still pushing for a UN resolution enacting sanctions against North Korea. China will certainly not support the harsh language proposed, but if Russia abstains from the vote, China will be the only country with veto power to go against the measure, which puts them in an awkward spot. We shall see what happens.
The Pope made a visit to Spain to try to rally the people against gay marriage. Last year, Spain legalized it (as well as adoptions by gay couples), but the Pope seems to be mobilizing a lot of people against these laws. He apparently said that “acting as if (God) did not exist or relegating faith to the purely private sphere, undermines the truth” about the world. Whoa! I can understand if you want to believe in whatever deity you do (and if you want to believe that everyone who disagrees with you is wrong), but I have major issues with anyone trying to force their religion of choice onto others. and this guy is explicitly stating that making your religion a private choice is bad!? The Pope went on to yearn for the good old days when Spain was under Catholic rule (presumably this includes things like the Spanish Inquisition). The odd thing is that lots of Spaniards seem to agree with the Pope’s statements. Having never been to Spain, this all strikes me as kinda scary, but I could be getting a skewed viewpoint. Is this actually typical of the Spanish populace?
Today the Senate voted down a gay marriage amendment, 49-48 (it needed 60 votes) (thanks to mikasaur2000 for the link to the article, which is a rather good one). I watched the Daily Show yesterday, in which John Stewart debated the topic with Bill Bennett and made some excellent points. For instance, Mr. Bennett claimed that marriage was threatened by this, and gave a slippery slope argument that if we allow gay marriage, we might eventually need to allow polygamy and other commonly disliked practices (he also noted that in every religion and culture, marriage is between men and women). Stewart turned this around and made the opposite slippery slope: if the government can ban gay marriage, they could then go further and ban interracial marriages (which are also looked down upon in almost every religion and culture).
The thing that bugs me about this issue is that proponents of such an amendment say it’s necessary because otherwise judges will strike down the current laws banning gay marriage as unconstitutional. If such laws are unconstitutional, my first impulse is not to change the constitution to fit my whims, but to question my viewpoint and wonder if it could be incorrect. Imagine what would have happened if, instead of fighting a civil war, the government had simply made a constitutional amendment to allow slavery, since the majority of the country at the time was for slavery but could see a vocal and growing number of people opposing it? If we can make constitutional amendments for laws that would otherwise be unconstitutional, what keeps us from making constitutional amendments for all laws? It seems like the proponents of the ban are attempting to keep the courts out of the battle because they know the courts will strike down any such law, and that by making a constitutional ban, they can circumvent the courts entirely.
On an interesting but less significant note, China seems to be blocking Google and a number of other websites from the outside world. Although this in itself is not new, this time they’re causing a lot of inconvenience and people are starting to complain. In particular, Google has been censoring the results on www.google.com.cn but not on www.google.com (which until now could still be accessed from China). This is certainly not a surprise, but it’s interesting to note that this is starting to stir up a lot of discontent.
With any luck, there will be more news posts now that summer is in full swing.
Well, I have to be at the airport in less than 5 hours, and haven’t packed yet. So, guess what I’m doing? That’s right; after playing bridge for a while, I’m now looking around on Facebook. I thought I’d copy this post from the Straight But Not Narrow group, as written by Justin Huang (although I have edited his post for spelling):
10 reasons Gay Marriage is wrong:
1. Being gay is not natural. And as you know Americans have always rejected unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.
2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because, as you know, a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. The sanctity of Britney Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world is underpopulated.
7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.
9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.
…just something to think about. See you Claremontians soon!