Saturday, November 08, 2008

Glass of Milk

I know I said that we could take a break until Monday but I found an opportunity that I wanted to pass along and I couldn't do that without going into the whole hullabaloo. I'm not going to start with Prop 8. I know that it's been getting all the attention and that it's important. I'll get to it.

Prop 8 was not the only anti-gay legislation being proposed. Maybe you knew that. You probably did. For me the most stultifyingly stupid one is Act 1 in Arkansas. This act bans same sex couples from adopting or fostering children. (Language in some reports says that it bans unmarried couples from doing those things which, while perhaps slightly different, is still impractical and butt ass stupid.) Per Feministing Arkansas currently has 3700 children in the foster care system and 1000 foster families. I ask you, who hates children that much? WHO? Apparently a majority of Arkansas voters on Tuesday. Seriously, they'd rather a kid have no family than one that doesn't look exactly like theirs. What kind of all fired assitude is this?

There's a quote in the trailer for the upcoming film about Harvey Milk where a woman is being interviewed about his campaign and she says, "If homosexuals are allowed their civil rights then so would prostitutes, thieves and anyone else." I cannot come up with a reasoning behind this anti-child legislation that doesn't directly relate to that quote. There's so much wrong with the sentence it's hard for me to focus. Through the red film of rage, though, I can see this one lucid thing: Doesn't Arkansas have a screening process for foster and adoptive parents? Presumably the almighty state has already figured out how to eliminate thieves and prostitutes from the roster of eligible parental figures. And if it hasn't, shouldn't some other state be fostering Arkansas's needy children? Yes, I know, people like this ass monkey of a woman are likening ALL homosexuals to thieves and prostitutes, she thinks that by screening out the same sex couples that she is screening out the thieves and prostitutes but Harvey Milk, Melissa Etheridge, Ellen Degeneres, Liberacci, Rock Hudson, Auntie Chili, Kevin Spacey, Dion. My list of witnesses for the defense is long. Here, I'll even give you a list of heteros that shouldn't be allowed to have children: Britney Spears, Kevin Federline, Mel Gibson, Gary Busey. OK that last one is mostly because he's brain damaged but still, drug use, bad driving plus brain injury definitely makes him the last choice for the foster parenting intramural softball team. How does this escape the knowledge of people who have lived out from under a rock?

A little while ago I laid out some of the reasons I'm pro-choice. Here's another one: I love kids. Think that's nuts? It's not. It's the same reason that I am rather determinedly biological child-free. Think that's nuts? Still not. There are a lot of kids here on this earth right this minute. A goodly percentage of those kids don't have enough food or water or warm clothes or health care or, especially in Arkansas, families. Therefore, I think it would be a good goddamned idea if we concentrated our resources on taking care of the ones that are already here. Yes it might have sucked if Einstein were aborted but you know what would have sucked more? If he hadn't been aborted and he'd been undernourished, homeless and so sick that he was unable to attain and absorb a proper education. Do you have any clue how many Einsteins are lost in the system right now? Neither do I. You know why? Because they are lost in the "system." Now, I haven't done the research so I can't prove this but I'm willing to bet a couple of things about Arkansas. I'll bet that it has stringent rules about abortions (few qualified providers, high costs, waiting periods, parental notification, pre-procedure "counselling," etc.) and a preponderence of abstinence only sex education combined with limited access to birth control. Perfect storm for the welfare of America's next generation, eh? Now, like I said, I could be wrong. If you have research to prove me wrong I welcome it. Of course if you have research to prove me right I welcome that even more warmly. Research. Not opinions, those don't prove anything.

I find this legislation especially hateful because it discriminates obviously against adult same sex couples but it also discriminates against all flavors of children. Children who, by and large, have already been shafted since they have, by whatever quirk of fate, ended up in the foster system to begin with.

Which is not to say that I don't think that anti-same sex marriage legislation is hateful. 'Cause it is. Lest we forget, Prop (h)8 wasn't the only travesty of justice this election cycle. In Florida we've got Amendment 2 banning same sex marriage and Proposition 102 in Arizona which was defeated previously but passed on Tuesday because "it has been stripped of language that also denied domestic partnership benefits to hetero couples." Any country with the record of domestic violence and divorce that the US has should be deemed legally whacked for having the audacity to pretend to be protecting the "sanctity of marriage" by legislating discrimination.

If you're anything but a rich, white dude you must have checked your brain at the door if you think legislating discrimination is anything but an invitation to have someone else legalize the yanking of your rights. Dear California, Florida & Arizona, you guys want to outlaw a certain type of marriage? Great, go right ahead. I suggest that the NAACP's lawyers get right on outlawing marriage of any kind. Legally dissolve every marriage in all those states ASAP. Churches can still do whatever they like marriage-wise but if people want the governmental benefits of stapling themselves to another human being for the rest of their lives they'll just have to pay a lawyer to draw up a bunch of contracts and carry those contracts around at all times in the event of accident, purchase of property or death.

My idea is, perhaps, not quite as direct or practical a one as we should be drafting at this juncture. Fortunately the folks at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center have a better approach. Much like an earlier campaign by Planned Parenthood asking supporters of choice to donate in the name of Governor Palin the Center is asking us to donate in the name of the President of the Mormon Church, which poured financial support into passing Prop (h)8. In return those fine folks will send the President a postcard alerting him to your donation. Go on over to Scalzi's place to read the text of that postcard. They are polite and scathing all in one tiny postcard. I love them.

Finally on this subject I think we should all make every effort to see Milk when it comes out later this month. If you live in a smaller movie market you may have to ask your local theatres to make the effort to bring it in or drive a little further afield. On the other hand it's a Gus Van Sant movie starring Sean Penn and Josh Brolin with James Franco and Diego Luna so perhaps you won't have to go to that much effort. I'm not an expert on Harvey Milk by any stretch of the imagination but I know that he was one of the first successful large scale activists for the gay community. We should probably be learning all we can about people who have won scary uphill political battles through humor, love and sheer determination.

In closing if anyone knows whose ass I should be kicking in Arkansas please leave me a comment. Someone needs to stand up for these kids and apparently the voters of Arkansas aren't interested.


  1. Anonymous7:01 AM

    THANK YOU!!! I am so upset with this and I was going to write a POST on it myself. Why are there not more people pissed about this?!!

    I would forever give up my right to marry if it came down to making a choice between my marriage or the welfare of children. The kids should always come first. Always.

    I have been wondering who's ass to kick too. All NPR has been talking about is prop 8. I am writing to them to talk more about Arkansas. This (Act 1) has got to be the most idiotic thing ever voted on. The fact that the folks of Arkansas voted against the children is beyond comprehension.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this!

  2. I'm seconding Auntie. This is a post I wish I had written.

    Now I'm going over to donate and read me a scathing postcard...

  3. Thanks for the back up, ladies. I was thinking after this was posted that maybe writing to Bill Clinton would be a half decent start. Though he isn't directly politically related to his old state right now he won't be ignorant of who we should approach. Also perhaps the folks at Feministing will know so I'll have to write an e-mail over there to find out what they think.

    I was disappointed to realize that I can think of the right organization to contact and support if I have an anti-gay issue, anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-environment, anti-animal but for anti-child I have a whole lot of nuthin'.

  4. Much like an earlier campaign by Planned Parenthood asking supporters of choice to donate in the name of Governor Palin the Center is asking us to donate in the name of the President of the Mormon Church, which poured financial support into passing Prop (h)8.
    That is unfair.

    You are leaving out the role of the Roman Catholic Church, Protestant churches, , Jewish synagogues, Muslim mosques, and other religious and secular groups.

    Face it, the battle to stand up for what is right crossed racial, religious, state, class, and party lines.

  5. Arkansas: This one was pernicious. It pretends that it's not anti-gay by including non-married heteros. This is solely so that they can claim it's non-discriminatory and will pass constitutional muster. It doesn't take an Einstein, aborted or otherwise, to see through it.

    California: I'm always disgusted when people enshrine discrimination into their constitutions. The circle of freedom is supposed to widen over time, not contract. But what makes this one more awful is that, unlike the initiatives in other states, this one takes away a right that has already been confirmed by the courts.

    All of these initiatives are setbacks (and of poor legal reasoning) but California's is the one most likely to cause a constitutional crisis.

  6. How will the initiative in California cause a constitutional crisis?

  7. Kizz, I too hate to see that these children will have to wait even longer to be cared for in a home environment. My dad was gay and as far as I can tell I have not turned into a mutant, I contribute to society, I pass on the love. (I hope).

    All this reminds me of Dan Quayle's craptacular statements that talked about how horribly children of broken homes turn out. (I was one.) What on earth does an 8 year old feel about themself when they hear this stuff drummed over and over?

  8. Michael,

    To clarify, as if the italics weren't enough, this is the first time that a referendum has been held on a right that has already been affirmed by a court. It's as if we had a referendum to take away women's right to vote and it passed.

    It's not hard to see more lawsuits coming forward claiming that the constitution is now unconstitutional. And the legislature making laws that would contradict the referendum.

  9. Also, there are thousands of couples that are now legally married. Or are they? Do they get grandfathered? If something is unconstitutional but it's already been legally affirmed, what do you do if someone's spouse dies? What if they died between the time the court affirmed the right and the referendum passed? Can they take the house away? A constitutional crisis occurs when there are conflicting understandings of the law and who is in charge of it.


  10. It's not hard to see more lawsuits coming forward claiming that the constitution is now unconstitutional

    It is not hard to see such lawsuits rejected.

  11. Michael, it's a bad road to go down no matter what happens.

    Seester, you don't see the glowing neon that follows you, "MY DAD IS GAY, Stay back 500 feet."? :) It's a whole bunch of foolishness and nobody of voting age is being harmed. Unconscionable, I still say.

  12. Kizz, I see the sign every day.

    I usually whip it out when someone starts ranting about how gay parents ruin kids or some such. I've been accused of making it up (because, hey if he was REALLY gay, how could he have fathered a child?)

    If people spent this much time and effort worrying about the kids who are really in abuseful and neglectful situations, instead of worrying over "propriety," so many more kids would be saved.

  13. Very well said, Kizz.

    I'm so disappointed that 2 passed here in FL.