Good morning, everyone. I am now on the tip of the North Fork of Long Island surrounded by clams, lobsters, farm stands and local wines. Iâm sitting on a screened porch looking out over an old wooden deck at the water below, a large lake-like body that feeds into the sound. Itâs called Hashawakasomethingmaka Pond, if you must know.
The news doesnât excite me this week, but I should probably not be the judge, given that my professional energy level has slowed over the course of the last couple of weeks. No longer a taut electric wire, alive and sparkling with bright ideas and observations, I am now a torpid blob of self-indulgence. Eat. Drink. Sleep. For novelty, change the order.
However, my languid attention was caught this morning by a flicker of a headline from the Focus on the Family newsletter. âStudy Claims Gay Couples are Eager to âMarry,ââ it read, infuriatingly using quotations for a legal status that is now ours by law in two states. We are not getting âmarried,â expanding a forbidden term and applying it to our own extra legal commitment ceremonies. We are getting married, licenses in hand, by the order of county clerks throughout California and Massachusetts.
(By the way, Massachusetts has dotted the iâs and crossed the tâs on the repeal of its marriage residency requirement on AUGUST 7, and the East Coast is now clear for would-be brides and grooms from around the country to âtie the knot.â)
So anyway, the Focus on the Family article continued meandering down its mean-spirited narrow trail, pausing for a typically incoherent commentary of the Williams Institute study under review, compliments of Focusâs âassociate marriage analyst,â Jenny Tyree.
âThe reportâs projections,â Tyree informs us, âassume that the inherent nature of male-male and female-female relationships is the same as male-female and that they will respond similarly to legal recognition. But it seems unlikely when science tells us that male and female are unique, even at the cellular level.
âMarriage traditionally celebrates the differences between male and female, and gives a mother and father to children,â she continues. âThere will be little to celebrate, however, if marriage is reduced to nothing more than benefits for two consenting adults.â
If any of you can spot the logical connections between Ms. Tyreeâs several âobservations,â please feel free to shout them out. As far as I can tell she is attempting to make the case that gay couples are incapable by nature of experiencing romantic love and forming life commitments, thanks to our chromosomes, or so âscienceâ tells us. I say, bring on the âsenior marriage analystâ and let him or her have a go at the confounding subject. Meanwhile, Jenny, I look forward to the day you take the quotes off âmarriageâ just like you eventually had to take the quotes off âgay.â
And you know what? It doesnât really matter anymore what Focus on the Family thinks or writes. Because no one cares! Over the last year or so, James Dobson has faded from view, his âinfluenceâ has waned, and his âpowerâ has weakened like the approval ratings of the man who perhaps single-handedly brought the fundamentalists to their knees by personifying the Christian Right while bungling the myriad responsibilities of leading the free world.
One of the other plaintive headlines on the Focus site wistfully proclaims: âColumnist Calls on McCain to Meet with Dr. Dobson,â and goes on to rehash some FoxNews.com nonsense from a Dobson sycophant, Mark Joseph:
âFire up the Straight Talk Express or whatever itâs called and get your tail to Colorado Springs,â Joseph advises. âEvangelicals donât have popes; they have leaders with names like (Dr.) Dobson, (Chuck) Colson, (Rick) Warren, (Billy) Graham and (Albert) Mohler. Unless you have a death wish, suck it up, fly to Colorado Springs. âŠLet me be blunt with you: If you donât do this, you will lose the election. Itâs just that simple.â
As an entrenched Democrat, I heartily endorse Mr. Josephâs proposal. A rickety photo-op with McCain and Dobson showing off matching slack-jawed grins would do wonders for the Independent vote. I hear Colorado Springs is beautiful in late October.
Unfortunately, McCainâs not that stupid.
Not that McCainâs that smart. The absurd commercial accusing Obama of being too charismatic to lead the country, with its sly link between the handsome black candidate and young fair complexioned females like Paris Hilton, fell flat as a starched white sheet.
And on Tuesday, Paris Hilton herself shot back with a brilliant video on the comedy Web site funnyordie.com that I imagine is going to make McCain and company wish theyâd never messed with the usually vapid - but in this case hilarious - super celeb.
For the six or so people who havenât seen it, Bikini-clad Hilton addresses her audience from a pool lounge chair, where she chides the âold white haired guyâ for propelling her into politics, adding nonetheless that sheâs âtotally ready to lead!â and delineating a complex energy policy while glancing down at a copy of Cosmo. She signs off: âIâm Paris Hilton and I approve this message, because I think itâs totally hot.â
If truth be told, the original McCain ad only showed a nano-second of Paris, but by the time the media is through with the story, America will assume he posted an elaborate, and presumably laughable, comparison of the Democratic nominee and the tabloid blonde.
In other Presidential news, Obama wrote a nice letter to the Family Equality Council in response to an inquiry about his views on gay and lesbian families from Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler. After a long list of generic family-friendly initiatives, Obama added that âwe also have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT families.
âBecause equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights is not some abstract principle,â the Senator continued. âItâs about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom. Thatâs why we have to repeal laws like the Defense of Marriage Act. Thatâs why we have to eliminate discrimination against LGBT families. And thatâs why we have to extend equal treatment in our family and adoption laws.â
Obama then pledged to be a president who âstands up for American families - all of them.â
McCain? He never responded, even though Chrisler sent him the identical letter, but maybe he just hasnât gotten around to it since Chrislerâs letters to the candidates were dated July 23.
Alternatively, he may not have recovered his GLBT balance after butchering the issue of gay and lesbian adoptive parents a few weeks back. McCain initially opposed gay adoption, expressing a preference for children to be raised by âtwo parent, traditionalâ families. McCain, an adoptive father himself, was eventually pushed into a corner and forced to admit that a gay parent would be preferable to relegating a state ward to an institution. Thanks Old Man, or as Paris calls him, White Haired Guy.
Audacity of Hate
Moving on, I just read that four major groups are threatening to back out of the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools unless the Association moves the convention out of the San Diego-based Manchester Grand Hyatt. The owner of the hotel, Douglas Manchester, reached into his pocket for $125,000 to help put Californiaâs marriage amendment on the November ballot. He has been rewarded by a GLBT boycott, which it seems is drawing in progressives all sorts.
So far, the Society of American Law Teachers, the Legal Writing Institute, the AALS Section on Legal Writing Research and Reasoning and the AALS Section on Teaching Methods have all sworn to take their members elsewhere during the Jan. 6-10 rendezvous. âItâs a matter of principle,â said the director of legal writing at Villanova Law, Louis Sirico. âWe just donât believe in this kind of discrimination.â
Believe it or not, according to an article in the National Law Journal, Doug Manchester insisted that the boycott was harming the gay community, specifically his own gay staff members. âItâs sad and sick that our wonderful gay and lesbian employees are caught in the middle,â he had the nerve to say. The Noive!
But before we leave the topic of funding the right, and funding the left for that matter, newshound Rex Wockner has sent around a link to an LA Times Web site that lists everyone around the country who has sent a check to either one of the Prop 8 campaigns.
The site is too long to print, but you can find it by googling LA Times âtracking the moneyâ Prop 8 or some such combination. Weâve already discovered some fun tidbitds. Did you know that Orson Bean gave $100 to the fight against same-sex marriage rights? That bastard!
The figures out of the Prop 8 yes campaign have just come out by the way. For the six months ended June 30, they raised about $3.7 million, a little more than our side. Since the end of June, however, our side has banked over $2 million more and now has over $5 million in the bank and another $4 million pledged.
I donât know if that includes the $250,000 just announced by Pacific Gas and Electric to fight the measure. I remember when I lived in San Francisco, I hated those little PG&E envelopes with their hateful demand for seemingly random amounts of my hard earned cash, plus whatever whimsical taxes and fees they might decide to tack on. But now I feel a great affection for them, and almost wish I had a PGE bill to pay, Thank you impersonal utility company. I owe you a hug.
Prop 8 Lingo Battle Ahead
In other Prop 8 news, Attorney General Brown expressed his opinion that the weddings performed prior to a Prop 8 victory (knock on formica) would still be legal marriages, although if the measure passed they would no longer be ârecognized or validâ in the state. Indeed my own marriage will never be âvalid or recognizedâ in Texas where we live, but the California electorate canât diminish our ambiguous status any further. At this point, weâre married but unrecognized. Itâs not as if a Golden State amendment would annul us or something. I do not understand why this obvious conclusion is still reported in the press as a matter of legal debate.
Brownâs opinion was part of court filings for an upcoming challenge to the ballot language. His office has recently revised the title and summary of Prop 8 to reflect the undisputed fact that passage will eliminate marriage rights for same-sex couples. The forces of evil pushing the amendment are making the absurd claim that the new wording is misleading.
No Time for Bashers
What else? I have waited until the end of this column to discuss a rash of horrible hate crimes, beatings and murders, but I havenât the heart to address the subject. Take it from me that there are some ugly violent people out there in the world, and their favorite targets are transwomen, drag queens and effeminate men, in that order. Science tells us as well that their penises are very, very small.
I am also out of time, in part because I just wasted 15 minutes looking at a Web site called âDepressed Pug,â featuring several photos of a sad little pug, dressed in a little coat, tied to a lamppost on a busy urban street. There he sat on his little haunches, head bowed, eyes filled with remorse and desperation. Try googling âdepressed pugâ and click on something called âdepressed pug is hot as sh*t website.â See the little feller for yourself. Our own pug is staying with friends in the Texas heat, crying with a combination of fear and loss at our unexplained absence, so my heart ached at the cyber spectacle.