Monday, November 02, 2009

Well, it’s November…

Yeah, it’s November, so now what?

Given the way the Giants are playing maybe I don’t want season tickets next year. Nah, I’m only kidding. Suffering with the Giants is just too much a part of what I am. It would be nice if they could play a little better though, looks like it’s going to be a frustrating year.

My daughters are preparing to once again participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Last year my wife dragged me down to see it. Maybe this year I can convince her to watch from home. Convince her? Who am I kidding? All I can do is hope she decides, all on her own, to forego the “pleasure” this year.

Tomorrow is Election Day and the biggies are Prop 1 in Maine, which attempts to rescind the gay marriage law, R-71 in Washington, which tries to make domestic partnerships there legally equivalent to marriage, and the governor’s race in New Jersey. The best outcome would be a “No” in Maine, a “Yes” in Washington and a Jon Corzine victory in New Jersey.

R-71 appears headed for a win for the good guys while Prop 1 and the governor’s race appear to be running about even between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. If I had to pick one, I’d take the “No on Prop 1” in Maine. New Jersey would survive a Republican Governor for four years and something like R-71 is still short of where things should be anyway.

I was watching the movie “Milk” the other day about Harvey Milk and the struggles of gays in the late 1970’s. It’s sort of strange how it followed a similar pattern as today except back then the struggle was over civil rights and employment discrimination. Anyone proposing gay marriage back then would probably have been laughed out of the room.

Basically a city council would pass an ordinance outlawing discrimination based upon sexual orientation and the Right Wing Evangelical Christian types, in those days with Anita Bryant as the visible figure head, would get an initiative on the ballot to repeal it.

They were successful until Prop 6 in California where the tide finally turned.

That war isn’t completely over either. Only 21 states have laws outlawing employment discrimination based upon sexual orientation. Another four have laws protecting public employees.

At the Federal Level, the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA) has been banging around since 1994. The bill prohibits discrimination against employees based upon sexual identity, gender identity and disability for civilian, nonreligious employers with greater than 15 employees.

Notice that religion would still be allowed to discriminate.

The bill actually has had two versions, one that includes transgender discrimination and one that doesn’t. Its current incantation, HR 3017, was introduced by Barney Frank and includes outlawing transgender discrimination. The bill has 189 co-sponsors in the House and at the moment is sitting in committee. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 1584, has been introduced by Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

The bill may have enough votes this time around. Obama supports the bill and will most likely sign it if it passes Congress.

Opponents cite what they call a potential conflict between sexual orientation discrimination and the need to accommodate religious bias against homosexuality as a part of religious freedom. Some opponents also insist that homosexuality is a choice and that the bill would create a protected subclass that promotes homosexuality.

One attempt to address the first issue is to widen the exemption to include anything even vaguely religious in nature such as Christian Book stores. Practically speaking, this is such a small fish in the large pond so it strikes me as a reasonable compromise. Let them wear their bigotry openly and see how much it helps their business as time goes on.

As for the second issue, I don’t know what to say. I’d like to ask the folks who think that why anyone in his right mind would choose a lifestyle that leads to public ostracism and the potential rupturing of family ties?

You would have to be out of your mind to choose a path that leads to the kind of family confrontation that homosexuality can lead to. If it’s a choice, how come reparative therapy has about a 0% success rate?

Here I am looking for logic from bigots. Will I never learn?

Tomorrow in Maine could turn the tide for gay marriage and provide momentum to ENDA and a dozen other equal rights initiatives around the country.

It would also royally piss off the Christian Right and I’m always in favor of that.

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