Well, the Easter egg roll was a big success, donâ€™t you think? Yes, I am a decadent cynic who has covered the GLBT civil rights movement every goddamn week for over a decade and I donâ€™t do rainbows and bunnies without quelling an instinctive gag reflex. But, that was a brilliant PR move by the powers that be in our community of family friendly activists.
Apparently, one White House press corpuscle asked (the retiring) Scott McClellan whether next yearâ€™s roll will â€śinclude all sexual orientations including those wearing armbands that proclaim pain is pleasure?â€ť Scott dodged the noxious query with the old nonsequitor gambit, replying in classic zombie mode: â€śThe Easter Egg Roll is a very happy tradition at the White House that dates back to 1878.â€ť But really! Couldnâ€™t McClellan have mustered up the nerve to ask the reporter whether he wanted fries with his crack?
â€śAll sexual orientationsâ€ť refers to homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality. It does not refer to the endless variety of human sexual addictions that plant their hooks into people of all sexual orientations. Pedophilia, for example, is not a sexual orientation. Itâ€™s a Catholic coming of age ritual.
We Win, Yay
Some good news just came over the wire as I write. Apparently the Arizona senate voted down a bill that would give preference to heterosexual adoptive families, forcing state agencies to prove that there were no straight households available before placing a child with single applicants. The law would have made it a zillion times harder for gay and lesbian individuals to adopt kids, not to mention straight singles who may be in an excellent position to care for one of the stateâ€™s wards. OK, maybe only a billion times harder. But still.
My impression is that these adoption bills do not have the traction of the attacks on same-sex marriage, even though I keep reading that adoption will be the next front in the War on Gays. But I havenâ€™t seen any legislation making serious headway, although I suppose thereâ€™s a remote chance that (lengthy pause) I could be wrong. (Cue: guttural scream.)
Speaking of legislative news, Colorado is on the verge of sending that domestic partner referendum to the voters this fall. It passed a senate committee and will have a floor vote soon. Meanwhile, not only are the bad guys busy with their petitions to put an anti-marriage amendment on the ballot, but thereâ€™s a new posse of black hats trying to qualify a measure to ban domestic partner and civil union benefits as well. In theory, there could now be three gay related items up for a public vote.
Unlike most anti-marriage amendment evil doers, the original Colorado group thought theyâ€™d have a better chance by offering language that makes no mention of civil unions, or other ties, but simply defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Apparently, that wasnâ€™t vicious enough for some of their confreres in gay bashing, so this additional amendment has reared its ugly head, and Iâ€™m not sure where either cohort stands in terms of name gathering. The broad ranging domestic partner law, by contrast, was initiated in the legislature and will almost certainly wind up on the slate next November.
It should be interesting, nâ€™est-ce pas?
We Lose, Boo
So, we lost a tough one before the Ninth Circuit last week. Perhaps you recall the case of the Harrahâ€™s bartender who refused to comply with an elaborate dress code that required women bartenders to â€śstyleâ€ť their hair and put on their faces every day, complete with blush, mascara, lip stick and the whole cosmetic enchilada.
Darlene Jespersen, a 20-year veteran of the casino, was willing to wear the rest of the outfit, but she just didnâ€™t feel comfortable piling on the paint. And she got fired for refusing to follow the code.
Lambda thought she had a pretty good case against the company, based on the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination and sex stereotyping in the workplace. Hello? When your dress code requires you to tart yourself up with a half dozen beauty products, you essentially have a sex-based burden on your back and are being forced to personify a corporate vision of stereotypical feminine looks to boot, doncha think?
But the courts have repeatedly disagreed, culminating in the 7-4 verdict from the full bench of the West Coast appellate court. Basically, the majority thought Harrahâ€™s dress code was neutral in that men had regulations of their own to follow as well. Neat hair, clipped nails and so forth. The fact that women had to wear makeup, the majority said, was an inconsequential fact of grooming life. It was not an effort to target women or force them into restrictive gender roles. Jespersen, they wrote, did not offer any evidence to prove that putting on makeup was a hardship. As for the idea that requiring makeup is inherently squeezing women into a particular, and sexist, feminine role, the majority ruled that again, Jespersen had not proved her case.
Strangely, however, the majority agreed for the first time that a dress code that promotes a sexual stereotype for no good business reason can be a violation of Title VII regardless of whether the other gender has the same problem. They just didnâ€™t think Jespersen had provided enough â€śproofâ€ť to send her case to trial. Four dissenting judges thought that was absurd, bless their hearts.
I just spent an hour or so reading about a case in Indiana, another strange one, but a victory this time. The Court of Appeals upheld the joint adoption of a toddler by the two mothers who have taken care of the girl as foster parents since she was a few days old.
In doing so, the 2-1 majority neatly sidestepped a 2005 amendment to the adoption code by the legislature that was meant to discourage gay second parent adoptions. The lawmakers rewrote the statute to state that parental rights are automatically severed by adoption unless the adopting parent is married to the original parent. But, as the majority in this case noted, that provision says nothing about whether two unmarried people can adopt jointly if itâ€™s in the childâ€™s best interest. So there!
The dissenting judge pointed out that the legislature surely did not intend to prohibit a sequential adoption by an unmarried couple, but then turn around and allow the same two people to adopt jointly. Heâ€™s probably right about that, but thatâ€™s the legislatureâ€™s fault for not writing a clear-cut amendment in the first place. Something on the order of: â€śWe hate gay people and donâ€™t want them adopting any children under any circumstances.â€ť Letâ€™s see whether the state attorney general appeals this one to the state supreme court.
Demonic Mountain Men Sever Testicles On Video
I simply cannot read my writing this morning. Among the items on my news list are what seems to be â€śconsternationâ€ť or â€śconstellation,â€ť along with â€świspy,â€ť â€śmacaw,â€ť and â€ślesbian bh clf.â€ť Itâ€™s almost tempting just to write about these subjects without further investigation. Alternatively, we can go straight to the legible stories, which include a recap of how tax policies affect same-sex married couples, new draconian laws in Nigeria, a fine speech by Al Gore, and Lambda Legalâ€™s decision to sue a Chicago-area charter school for refusing to recognize a Gay Straight Alliance.
Oh wait! I just remembered this instant! â€śConstellationâ€ť or â€śconsternationâ€ť is actually â€ścastration,â€ť the story of a deranged man who lived in a trailer somewhere and videotaped himself castrating willing subjects. It arrived in my inbox only hours after I finished last weekâ€™s column and I was beside myself with disappointment at the time.
But now, I am delighted. Itâ€™s been so long since weâ€™ve been able to sink our teeth into a thick juicy chunk of raw depravity, and of course itâ€™s particularly welcome after the heart-warming business with the Easter eggs. Wonâ€™t you please descend with me into the nether reaches of damnation as we explore the infernal appetites of these twisted beings?
The dateline is Waynesville, a â€śsmall county seat in the mountains of western North Carolina.â€ť Wasnâ€™t that where Eric Rudolph used to hang out? According to Court TV, â€śpeople whisperedâ€ť about the three men who lived together south of town. And rightly so, I might add! In March, police arrested the trio and searched their dungeon, where they unearthed bloody scalpels, syringes, and videos. In the kitchen freezer, police found human testicles in a Tupperware container. The three men are accused of performing surgery on at least six people, and are charged with a brace of felonies including practicing medicine without a license.
I guess they didnâ€™t live in a trailer, and clearly, more than one guy was involved. But that just makes the story all the more fun!
Richard Sciara, 61, Michael Mendez, and Danny Reeves, 49, claimed the castrati wanted the, um, procedure, and traveled from far and wide to avail themselves of the menâ€™s services. According to the Asheville Citizen Times, Sciara was known as Master Rick on the web, and considered Michael and Danny his slaves.
One of the menâ€™s lawyers said the clients were not victims. â€śI would hesitate to use that word,â€ť said Bill Jones who represents Mendez. â€śEven the police are saying this was consensual.â€ť As of the April 12 article, however, law enforcement had yet to locate any of the six or more gentlemen who fell under the knife, hence their enthusiasm for the exercise was a matter of conjecture.Â
Who knows? Maybe theyâ€™ll turn up at next yearâ€™s Easter Egg Roll. After all, once you let gay families in, how can you possibly close the gates to masochistic lunatics who seek out redneck dungeon masters to hack off their balls and put them on ice?
Found in Translation
Now hereâ€™s a startling coincidence. Just after I wrote that story, my Internet connection was severed because my computer â€śperformed an illegal operation.â€ť Bad computer! Excuse me while I go wash my hands.
Just because you were wondering, â€świspyâ€ť stood for â€śWisconsin poll,â€ť a sort of encouraging survey that showed support for an amendment to ban same-sex marriage has dropped from 66 percent to 61 percent in the last two years.
â€śMacawâ€ť was â€śMcCain,â€ť who clarified his John Kerry-esque position on same-sex marriage by telling the press that he remains opposed to a federal constitutional amendment, but supports a ban on marriage in his home state of Arizona. Why? Because itâ€™s a â€śmatter for the states to decide.â€ť
And â€śbh clfâ€ť was â€śbth ctf,â€ť which stood for â€śbirth certificate.â€ť That story involved a New Jersey judge who refused to let two women put both their names on their childâ€™s birth certificate, partly because the non-biological mother had already filed adoption papers.
Arenâ€™t You Glad They Rescued Molly?
In other news, the city of Portland, Oregon is poised to pass an equal benefits ordinance as we go to press, requiring contractors that do business with the city to offer the same benefits to gay and straight staff. And the Equality Riders from Soulforce continued their dramatic trek through Americaâ€™s rightwing campuses, getting roughed up by security at North Central University in Minneapolis, but managing to engage some students nonetheless.
Finally, I was cheered by a comment in an LA Times article about the Christian Legal Society, an organization set up to push the courts to allow freedom of religious expression to trump laws or policies against gay discrimination or harassment.
The head of this group, Gregory Baylor, is upset that sexual orientation is beginning to attract the kind of protections society places on race. â€śThink how marginalized racists are,â€ť he tells the Times without a hint of irony. â€śIf we donâ€™t address this now, it will only get worse.â€ť
Oh, and arenâ€™t you glad they got that cat out of the wall in Manhattan? I was sure she was going to die and add another ounce of depressing news to our surreal daily fare. Todayâ€™s AOL headlines include â€śReports Conflict on Beheading of Iraqi Teachers,â€ť â€śHollywood Baby Boom. Stars Deliver on Same Day,â€ť and â€śCops Search Duke Suspectsâ€™ Roomsâ€ť What? No update on Natalie?