Sorry for the lack of posting. It's been my Winter Break from school and I've been uber lazy and a post a day during school is too much. I will start posting on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Saturdays will be the whatever day, the other two will be fighting for minority days.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Today will only be a short post detailing the articles for this next week. Simply stated, I will be arguing that homosexuality is as morally correct as heterosexuality. My videos from last week concerning animal homosexuality and the nature of homosexuality. I will be arguing that there are many of logical and ethical reasons for homosexuality being a moral form of sexuality.
P.S. Guess what, I didn't die. People! Stop being paranoid over end-of-the-world theories without evidence. Calm down and listen to your scientists!
Friday, December 21, 2012
I recently asked a friend what super power he'd choose if he could choose any super power. He chose the power to stop time. I personally view the ability to stop time as the worst super power one could choose due to its superior repercussions; those repercussions being: the inability to move, the inability to turn time back on, and the nuclear annihilation caused once time is turned back on.
The first two points are short and sweet and will be addresses together. Firstly, when time is stopped, nothing can move, not even electrons. Literally everything stops! Therefore, you could not move and could therefore do nothing effective with this ability. Also, assuming stopping time requires some sort of physical process or thought, you could not turn time back in as you cannot think since not even electrons can move.
Now let's assume we can ignore these fallacies. Let's assume that you can move, you can move objects (including the clothing on your body), and the air molecules in front of you so that you can actually move. Now let's say that with this ability, you stop time, take one step forward (the distance transversed being one meter), and start time again. In that action, you moved thousands and thousands of air molecules that moved while you were in contact with them into other air molecules. All these air molecules move one meter in zero seconds. Velocity is measured as meters divided by seconds. One meter divided by zero seconds equals infinite velocity for each air molecule you came in contact with. Energy is equal to .5*mass*velocity^2, so each molecule has kinetic energy in Joules equal to .5*a tiny mass*infinity^2 which is equal to infinite Joules. In other words, each molecule you move has gained infinite energy, which includes the air, whatever you move, and yourself.
When electrons gain energy, they orbit at a greater distance from the atom. With infinite energy, the electrons would hurl away from each atom. In addition, each proton would have enough energy to overcome the force of the quarks holding them together, so the protons also burst apart. In essence, every molecule undergoes nuclear fission. But not just ordinary nuclear fission, where the atom splits as the core seperates, but complete and utter annihilation of the atom as each individual proton, electron, and neutron seperates. The amount of energy released by this process is absolutely enormous, however this doesn't matter because each molecule has infinite energy anyway. Since energy must be conserved (we already broke that law by making infinite energy in a universe where there is only finite energy), each molecule must transfer infinite energy to each molecule it comes in contact with. Within an arbitrarily small period of time (since Joules is Newtons times velocity and Newtons is mass times acceleration, each molecule has infinite velocity and acceleration causing the molecules containing the energy to instantly move to the extent of the known universe and transfer infinite energy to every molecule along the way) every particle in the universe would have infinite energy and become annihilated.
The power to freeze time would result in everything entering a stasis that is impossible to end. Assuming we can bend the rules concerning this stasis, the instant time is restarted, every particle in the universe would acquire infinite energy and violoently fall apart. In short, the ability to freeze time is the worst superpower ever.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
This video, simply put, proves that homosexuality is not confined to humans. As such, it is not this bizzare, recent, or unnatural "condition". Homosexuality is very natural and nothing is wrong with it.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
In Part 1 of this article, I argued that the founding fathers intended for a constitution based on values (implicit) and not on explicits. Society has often reinterpreted the Constitution in order to apply it to ever changing social conditions. I finished my argument with the statement that the Constitution has been amended to include the value of equality, and as such, supports the equality of homosexuals and heterosexuals. In Part 2, I will now support the claim the equality is a value ammended into the Constitution via the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-Fourth Amendments.
When the Constitution was first drafted and signed, slavery was a very real part of American life. Slavery inherently places one race above another; those races are therefore unequal. With the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, slavery was made illegal by the Constitution. The banning of slavery placed enslaved races on a more level playing field with other races, i.e. they gained a degree of equality. Enslaved races lives were no longer in arbitrary control by their owners. They were now free to make choices for themselves, choices that all other races had been free to make for some time.
However, a greater degree of freedom was granted by the Fourteenth Amendment. It forced states to accept blacks as citizens and treat them in a manner equal with rights; the blacks were garunteed equal protection of the laws, due process of law, and inherent privileges and immunities of citizens the United States that could not be abridged. These clauses forced the equal treatment of whites and blacks in nearly all respects, further leveling the playing field. In essence, blacks were granted further degrees of equality with whites.
The Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments had the same general affect of granting more people the right to vote. These amendments gave blacks and women respectively equal political say with white males. One again, these amendments increased equality among the citizens if the United States, this time by granting equal political say by more groups of people. The Twenty-Fourth Amendment also grants more people the ability to vote by banning poll taxes. Southern states, in an attempt to stop blacks from voting, placed taxes on the polls that were roo small to harm white people, but that poor blacks (as most blacks were poor back then) from voting. Congress amended the Constitution to promote equality by allowing poor people, mostly blacks, a greater ability to voice their political opinions.
The Constitution of the United States is a Constitution of values, as society has upheld many times throughout history. The Constitution, through the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-Fourth Amendments, has been amended to incorporate the value of equality. Therefore the Constitution upholds equality and promotes a level playing field among all people. Homosexuals are denied many rights, and as such, are not given a level playing field with heterosexuals. This, simply put, is not equality. In fact, since the Constitution supports equality, inequality is therefore unconstitutional. Since homosexuals suffer from inequality with heterosexuals, action to level this playing field is constitutional and vice versa for actions attempting to upset homosexual equality with heterosexuals. In short, the Constitution abhores anti-homosexual legislation and praises homosexual equality legislation.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
READ THIS INTRODUCTION before watching the video. This video may become my most controversial post, so I must explain before you watch this video. Homosexuality is NOT a disorder. The video below explains a theory, which is increasingly gaining supporting evidences, about the biological differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals. My fear with this theory is that homophobes will begin to call homosexuals "diseased" and seek "treatments" for them.
Every race is genetically different, yet every race is equally protected by the laws and Constitution of the United States. Many disabled people are genetically different from healthy people, yet they benefit from the same rights as everyone else. Why then are homosexuals treated differently? They are people too, and they are genetically different, so why are they compressed? I hope that this theory will be proven and society will begin to treat homosexuals equally.
Note: I also hope this discovery proves to religons that homosexuality is not a "sin". Various races aren't sinning for their genetics, why are homosexual?
During the 1700s, homosexuality was frowned upon even more so than it is in America today. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find any debate or document discussing homosexuality, as it was beyond taboo. As such, I will not claim that the founding fathers supported homosexuality; rather, in today's article, I will discuss how the values the founding fathers wrote into the Constitution support homosexual rights.
Current Supreme Court Justices Breyer and Scalia debated different interpretations of the Constitution on The News Buckit (YouTube Video). In this debate, Scalia supports the originalist interpretation of the Constitution, which is anti-homosexual, while Breyer supports the living Constitution interpretation of the Constitution, which supports homosexual rights.
Justice Scalia argues that, when interpreting the Constitution, one must take into account what the founding fathers meant or intended when writing the Constitution. In the video he states (paraphrased), "There was no doubt in anyone's mind in the 18th century that the death penalty wasn't cruel or unusual. There was no doubt in anyone's mind in the late 1700s that states could make laws banning abortion." There was also no doubt that slavery was legal and racism was acceptable. If the Constitution had not been amended to end racism and slavery (the Thirteenth, Fifteenth, and Twenty-Fourth Amendments), Justice Scalia's logic would conclude that slavery and racism are perfectly acceptable. Yet today, we view racism and slavery as morally wrong and evil; society has realized its wrongs and moved to fix these wrongs, even before Congress passed the aforementioned amendments. Society is increasingly realizing the wrong it commits against gays and lesbians and is now attempting to fix their wrongdoings. It doesn't matter what the founding fathers thought about homosexuality, society has discovered its own wrongdoings and society must atone for itself; the founding fathers can no longer recognize our cruelities, and the founding fathers can no longer make us repent for our injustices.
Justice Breyer, on the other hand, provides a much stronger and more reasonable argument of values. He defends the idea that the founding fathers wrote values into the Constitution for society to follow. Justice Breyer contends that the Constitution is based on implicit valued, not explitives; the United States Constitution is short and vague in order to be flexible. The founding fathers realized technology, society, and procedures would change given time, so they wrote a flexible constitution to accommodate such changes. For comparative purposes, the Indian Constitution is 448 articles in 22 parts, 12 schedules and 97 amendments. It is this long because it is highly specifically and must be constantly ammended to accommodate changes in virtually anything.
The Constitution has been amended to incorporate the value of equality (the subject of Part 2 of this article). Homosexuals are not equal in their rights and treatment; in short, homosexuals are discriminated against. Because the founding fathers wrote a Constitution of values, not explitives, and the Constitution has been amended to incorporate the value of equality (as discussed in Part 2), the Constitution does not support discrimination against homosexuals. And as such, it supports the rights and equality of gays and lesbians.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
This article from Naple News summarizes the majority of my arguments quite well. Though very shallow, and somewhat poorly written (no offense Naples), it covers many issues concerning the oppression of homosexuals involving marriage. I will cover many of these topics and arguments in more depth in what I have written and will write. Enjoy!
Being gay doesn't mean that a person is un-American, or unpatriotic. Gay people are citizens of this country and should enjoy the same rights under the constitution as their heterosexual brethren. The constitution was written for all our citizens, not just heterosexuals.
Homosexuals should have the right to enjoy life to the fullest under the constitution. They shouldn't be treated as second class citizens. That is not a liberal or conservative belief. The constitution and the Bill of Rights wasn't written just for either liberals or consevatives. It was written for everyone.
Government should be kept out of people's bedrooms. To deny marriage to a certain segment of the population is discrimination. There is nothing in the constitution or the Bill of Rights that says anything about who can be married. It wasn't long ago that two people from a different race were denied marriage. That law was repealed, and now most people don't think anything about two people of different races marrying.
Gay people have been discriminated against and persecuted for centuries just because they have a different way of expressing their love for someone else. It is cruel to deny marriage to two people who are in a loving relationship just because they are of the same gender. Marriage should be about love between two people. Marriage should be a fundamental right for all our citizens and not just for the majority who happen to be heterosexual. Our laws should be for all people, not just for the majority. Under our laws, minorities need protection from the majority.
Denying homosexuals their rights under rule of law, is to do great damage to the individual. Is is humane to treat some people as less than human just because you disagree with their lifestyle? No one is asked to approve of the way your neighbor lives. Being law abiding citizens should be the criteria as to who should be married. Even prisoners are allowed to marry who they want.
People have had to struggle and fight for their rights as human beings for thousands of years. We are still doing the same. Gay people have made a lot of progress in the past half century, and they still have a long way to go before they are recognized as having the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts. It's not easy to do away with the old taboos against gay people. In some countries, gay people can be imprisoned and even put to death for being in a homosexual relationship. Even in this country, it wasn't long ago that gay people were made the objects of cruel jokes and even persecuted. We are gradually overcoming the obstacles of stereotyping people. We are all part of the human race, and we must learn to respect and tolerate other people's differences.
Some of the foes of gay marriage say that marriage should be about procreation. That is not true. Marriage should be about love and caring between two people. Lots of people get married who don't procreate. People get married because they want love and companionship from someone they are attracted to whether it be physically or emotionally or both. People get married because they want someone to leave their estate to when they die and to be there when they get sick or old. People get married for many reasons.
Gay people want for themselves what other people take for granted. When proposition 8 in California was debated on, opponents of gay marriage told all kinds of lies about gay people so that the law giving gays the right to marry should be overturned. They told people that gays are deviants, that they would take over the school system and teach that homosexuality is a superior lifestyle and other things that were not true. The Catholic church and other fundamentalist religions have always been in the forefront of denying gays their constitutional rights.
Religious people who are against homosexuality and who call it a sin, have a right to their opinions, but they don't have a right to deny other people their constitutional rights to marry and live and enjoy the same rights that religious people who are against homosexuality. Religions that are against gay marriage say that children are better off with a mother and father of a differnt gender, but there is no evidence to support that claim. Children need love and caring parents, and their gender doesn't matter.
Marriage is for affectionate and loving people. To deny them their rights under the constitution is to do great harm to the individuals involved. The constitution wasn't written just for Catholics and other fundamentalists. It was written for homosexuals just as much as for heterosexuals.
Under the constitution of this country, all people are supposed to be created equal. If only a certain segment of our society is allowed to marry, then where is the equality? The right of same sex couples to marry is not a new right. It is in the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights says nothing about excluding gay people from what heterosexuals take for granted. The Bill of Rights says nothing about same sex marriage being evil or sinful. The constitution is not a religious document. Our laws are based on the rights of the individual and not fundamental religious beliefs. Our laws are supposed to be non-discriminatory.
Blacks have been fighting for their rights for centuries. At one time the Chinese in this country had no rights, and now they have. Native Americans haven't had many rights since the white man came to this country. People have to continue to fight for their rights. Gay people will continue to fight for their rights until they are accepted as being equal to everyone else and until they are given the same rights that heterosexuals enjoy. The fight for human rights is a never ending struggle against the tyranny of fundamentalists whether they be religious or political.
Quick Note: I've been typing these posts late at night and often not submitting them the day after they should be posted. I will now start writing these posts the night before and posting in the morning before school so that you readers have an article to read right after you wake up. Thanks for your patience. Now to the article.
In my original post against the oppression of homosexuality, Homosexuality and the Supreme Court, I said that there is no logical, constitutional argument against homosexual marriage. In my readings and studies concerning the issue of homosexual oppression, I have finally discovered a reasonable argument against it. After explaining this argument I will refute it using the Constitution, since it is a constitutional issue.
The constitutional argument against homosexual marriage is based off the Tenth Amendment, which states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." In essence, this amendment dictates that any power not given to the national government, or denied to the states, is a power of the states. The aforementioned argument then claims that since marriage is not defined anywhere in the Constitution, nor does the Constitution ever give Congress the power to define marriage, nor does the Constitution deny the states the power to define marriage, that the definition of marriage is a power of the states. The power of states to define marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act, is a direct violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The Fourteenth Amendment states, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." States defining marriage as between a man and woman denies gays and lesbians the right to marry and, as such, violates every clause of this amendment. I shall address each clause one at a time:
Immunities and Privileges:
First, and most obviously, homosexuals are citizens of the United States. Therefore, they are garunteed certain immunities and privileges; among these, people have the privilege (anything involving a license or certificate is a privelege, i.e. driver's license, birth certificate, etc.) to marry. Any law against homosexual marriage denies, or abridges, this privilege. Now let's assume homosexual marriage is deemed not to be a privilege by society, heterosexuals still have this privilege, which will be relevent later. It will also be relevent that married couples are granted a tax reduction, also known as an immunity from a tax.
Due Process of Law
If you murder someone, your rights aren't taken away until after a trial. If you lose your license, its not until after a trial. If you steal something, you aren't made to give it back until after a trial. If you drive drunk, you're not jailed until after a trial. In short, if you break the law, your life, liberty, or property are not denied until after a trial. Homosexual marriage is banned in 37 states, 31 by State Constitutions and the other six by law. Homosexuals lose their liberty to marry before due process of law.
This is the clause that truly strikes against state definitions of marriage denying gays and lesbians marriage. The Equal Protection law declares that all people must be equally protected by laws: blacks and whites (during the Civil Rights Movement), men and women (especially wages), etc. Married couples have employment and tax benefits and immunities that non-married individuals do not have. These tax exemptions and employment benefits are to help pay for houses, cars, and many other items that typically start with married life. Homosexual couples are denied the benefits and exemptions (immunities and privileges) of marriage, therefore the law is not equally protecting everyone. The Equal Protection clause is the statement that truly grants gays and lesbians the right of marriage, enforcing the prior two clauses as directly pertaining to homosexuals.
We've now determined that state definitions of marriage are unconstitutional, but the Fourteenth Amendment only applies to states, what about the national government? Why is the Defense Of Marriage Act unconstitutional. These answers lie in the Fifth Amendment which reads, "No person shall...be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..." The Fourteenth Amendment, once again, states that United States citizens have garunteed privileges and immunities. These two clauses holds the national government to the same obligations as the states. Congress cannot make laws that will abridge the privileges and immunities of the citizens of the United States, nor can the national government infringe on their liberties without due process of law.
The Tenth Amendment gives states powers not denied to them or given to the national government, as stated by the Constitution. The Constitution, via the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, gatuntee citizens of the United States certain privileges and immunities that must be equally applied to all people and cannot be violated without due process of law, by either the state or national governments. Married couples are given privileges and immunities denied to homosexual couples, since they cannot marry in 37 states. The Fourteenth Amendment, through the Equal Protection clause, extends the rights of marriage, and its resulting privileges and immunities, to homosexuals via the law. The Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment defends these rights from both the national and state governments, respectively. Due process of law must be taken to deny any homosexual couple the liberty of marriage, but since the Constitution implicitly legalized gay and lesbian marriages, and liberties can only be denied from a crime, the state and national governments can deny the liberty of marriage to any homosexual couple. Since the Constitution denies states the power to abnegate United State citizens privileges and immunities, including those regarding marriage, the Tenth Amendment does not permit states to define marriage.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
As mentioned before, Saturday's will be my day to post an article on anything of my choosing. Basically, Saturday's are my free day. Today, I will discuss gun control.
To preface this discussion, I will detail three incidences of gun violence:
Yesterday, a man entered an elementary school in Connecticut with a Glock and Sig Sauer. This man, Adam Lanza, killed 26 individuals, 20 of whom were children, before presumably killing himself. Children were evacuated from the school in a line; police told them to close their eyes and hold hands so that they could follow the leader without seeing the horrors before them. The children were evacuated to a nearby fire station where parents and children cried. President Barak Obama and several other national leaders across the world gave speeches and cried on behalf of their children. The United States was ordered to fly flags at half-mast.
James Holmes entered a Century 16 theatre in Aurora Mall in a gas mask and body armor. He entered a theatre, set off a smoke bomb, and opened fire. He killed 12 people and injured another 38. He fired with an assault rifle, a shotgun, and a Glock handgun.
On April 29, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, armed with a 9-mm handgun, 12-gauge shotgun, 9-mm carbine rifle, and 12-gauge pumo action sawed-off shotgun, assaulted class mates at Columbine High School. They killed 13 people before committing suicide themselves.
In the first two cases, the guns were obtained legally. In the case of Columbine, the weapons were sold to them by unlicensed sellers at a gunshown; however, the guns themselves are legally for sale otherwise. In other words, these three cases, and most other homicides involving guns in America, is that the guns used are legal weapons.
Studies have shown that increased gun ownership correlates to a greater number of deaths due to gun violence. America owns the greatest number of guns per capita in the world. In addition, America, having many gun owners and very loose fun laws, has a very large number of gun related deaths, fourth in the world, actually. The only countries that beat us are in periods of civil unrest. America has the highest number of guns and gun-related deaths of any stable country.
The logical solution seems simple, reduce gun ownership. However, some Americans have an enormous issue with limiting our use of guns. In fact, some Americans want guns laws to be eased, making guns easier to obtain. They claim that the second amendment-"...the right Right of the people to keep and bare Arms, shall not be infringed."-protects unlimited ownership of weapons and any law saying otherwise is unconstitutional. Others reciprocate the fears of some founding fathers of governmental tyranny. Some founding fathers insisted upon this admendment as a way for the people to have a way to overthrow a corrupt government, if needed.
I advocate the opposing point of view, the idea of restricting weapons. However, I will always support the right that we may have weapons; I'm not saying eliminate gun useage, just limit it. I take this stance with several arguments: the purpose of the gun, the need for ammunition, and the difference in power between us and the military.
The foremost concern with owning a guns is: why do you need the gun? The three legal reasons are: hunting, defense, and target practice at a gun range or on private property. In the case of hunting, a hunter will need a gun that can kill an animal with minimal damage, so as to maximize profit. Minimized damage is not obtained with a class three (fully automatic) gun, a shotgun (other than bird hunting), or a .5 caliber Barrett. It would not hurt hunters, or anyone, to limit hunting weapons to certain pre-approved guns appropriate to the animal being hunted. Also, no hunter needs a few hundred rounds for a hunt; limiting a hunter to under a hundred or fewer rounds would not inconvenience hunters.
Guns are often used for self-defense, a legitimate use for such weapons. A single handgun with a single clip will suffice in nearly all day-to-day self-defense situations. Consider it this way, if you need more than one semi-automatic handgun with a single clip, you're probably dead anyways; if you need that much firepower you've run into a situation where you have multiple attackers and one or all of your attackers have heavy firepower and an extreme desire to commit whatever misdeed they originally sought out. In other words, you're dead. Your average criminal, and even most adamant criminals, are not going to risk their lives over most crimes. In addition, in the near-Twilight shooting, the near-shooter's mom called the cops when she found 400 rounds of legally purchased ammunition in her basement. No one needs 400 rounds of ammunition to defend themselves. Citizens will be just as well defended, practically speaking, with a single handgun and 15 rounds of ammunition in the house as they would with an AK-47 and 400 rounds of ammunition. Actually, most citizens would be safer since psychotic killers won't have easy access to automatics. Target practice is a popular pasttime for many individuals. But one doesn't need a nice gun with hundreds of round of ammo to enjoy the hobby. And ammo purchased there does not need to leave the range.
Now to refute the tyranny argument. At the time the Constitution was written, soldiers and civilians wielded the same weapons. The cannon was probably the only major weapon that the military had that citizens did not, and a bunch of men with rifles could easily overtake a cannon. Times have changed, though, and the gap between civilian and military power is enormous. No civilian-legal weapon can penetrate a tank, body armor, or a plane. No civilian-legal gun can even reach low-altitude flight to hit planes. Tanks, planes, and riot police can easily overthrow any uprising with any civilian-legal guns. So limiting civilians to handguns and hunting weapons will not be a significantly greater disadvantage to a civilian defense than owning AR-15s.
Civilians do not need automatic weapons. Citizens should only be allowed one handgun and fifteen rounds of ammunition per adult, as this will optimize protection to threat (lunatics with automatics) ratio. Those with hunting licenses should be permitted ownership of one gun appropriate to the animal being hunted and a reasonable amount of ammunition for the season. Finally, citizens wanting to shoot at ranges should be permitted to purchase additional ammo at the range that cannot leave the range. By limiting what guns citizens can own, we limit the risk invlolved with widespread ownership of dangerous weapons while still providing a way to defend oneself, hunt, and enjoy firing the weapon.
Below is the link to a song by Serj Tankian discussing gun control: Goddamn Trigger
I worked until 2 AM this morning, so I never posted my Friday post. To day I will start with my Friday post, and later today I will post my Friday post. Recall from the schedule post that on Fridays I will post others opinions and such defending the rights of an oppressed minority, in this case, gay rights.
This article is by Brandy Black on
Huffington Post concerning gay marriage. This article exemplifies the fear society imposes on gays and the joys of gay marriage that society denies to the gays.
I’m reading “Lesbian and Gay Parents and their Children” by Abbie Goldberg and it got me thinking about my passion for gay marriage. I will occasionally get into this debate with gay friends who don’t understand why it was so important for me to marry Susan.
Before we got married (or had a “commitment ceremony” as some prefer to call it) I didn’t even realize what it would mean to me. Frankly, my mother talked me into it right after I “came out” to her.
The days leading up to my coming out were torturous. I was prepared for the absolute worst-case scenario. I expected my parents to be angry and hurt and quite possibly disown me. I made myself sick night after night worrying about telling them the truth. In my case it was the dishonesty that was the worst of it all, because once I actually told my parents that I was in love with a woman, all of the baggage and pain I had been carrying around suddenly dissipated.
In that conversation with my mom -- me weeping and my mother accusing me of being homophobic as she couldn’t understand why I was the one so upset -- she asked me if Susan and I were going to get married and have kids. It had never occurred to me that this might be an option; this was 10 years ago when conversations about gay marriage were barely stirring in the media. She then went on to explain the importance of committing to each other in front of friends and family. “It’s not just for you but for the people around you who don’t understand the blurry lines of gay relationships. It’s a way to tell everyone that you are pledging to one another for the long haul.”
I had thought about it a lot, what it would mean to “marry” Susan. In my eyes we’d be renegades, naughty girls doing what we shouldn’t (even though it felt so right). But my talk with my mother disarmed me, made me realize we weren’t rebels; we were following our hearts and allowing ourselves the life that we deserved. Now that I had “permission” from two of the people closest to me to feel proud of my relationship, I wanted a wedding more than ever.
After we had the ceremony in front of 80 of our closest friends and family -- when it wasn’t legal -- life was different. Something changed after we made those vows to each other. We opened up and let the other in, partners with a flood of trust and love for one another. I can’t explain the meaning of it all but she shifted from my girlfriend to my life, I mean wife.
Now having gone through all that a wedding encompasses -- a shower, ceremony, registering, and a honeymoon -- it was more than worth it. The constant validation from all of the people in our lives meant everything. Support came gushing our way in the form of eloquent speeches, notes in the guest book, tears from our friends’ eyes as Susan and I walked towards each other through the sea of people. Susan stood beautifully before me in all her glory, my best friend becoming my wife. It changed my life, which was the point.
In her book, Goldberg writes:
"Qualitative research by Alderson (2004) provides evidence of some of the perceived effects of civil marriage among lesbians and gay men. Alderson interviewed married lesbians and gay men in Canada and found that, for many participants, getting married created an added sense of security that was deeply felt and greatly appreciated. Consistent with the findings of Solomon et al. (2005), Alderson also found that many participants felt that marriage brought greater depth and completion to their relationships, cementing them in both financial and emotional ways. They also understood their marriage as symbolizing monogamy and as providing recognition for them as a family."
This was true for me.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
The Supreme Court granted writ of certiorari to United States v. Windsor, a case regarding homosexuality, last Friday. Before discussing this case I will discuss two past Supreme Court decisions regarding homosexuality, since the Supreme Court takes into account last decisions when making current ones, a fact known as stare decisis. These two cases will be the the 1986 case of Bowers v. Hardwick and the 2003 decision of Lawrence and Garner v Texas as well as the Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress in 1996. Following these past legal actions, I will state Windsor's argument and the argument against her and conclude with the likely decision of the Supreme Court and my own opinions.
Bowers v. Hardwick started when police went to arrest Michael Hardwick in 1982 on the charges of not paying a fine for drinking in public. Upon entering the home, the police found him engaged in sex with another man and arrested him with the crime of sodomy (which was illegal at the time).
The Supreme Court ruled against Hardwick 5-4 when he sued based on the constitutionality of the law against sodomy. The Supreme Court stated that the Constitution did not protect homosexual relations and that only heterosexuals are given the personal autonomy to decide who to marry and have sex with (the words "segregation" and "oppression" come to mind here).
The second case, Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, aroused the question: may the majority use the power of justice and law to force its beliefs on society? The answer, according to six of the judges, was no, there's a reason the United States is a pluralist democracy and not a majortsrian democracy. In other words, the founding fathers intentionally wrote a constitution that would protect minorities from the majorities view. This decision overturned Bowers v. Hardwick and declared that government had no right to interfere with a persons private sex life.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed by the United States Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996. DOMA dictates that states need not recognize any legal marriages or unions of same-sex members from other states. It also.defines "marriage" as a legal union between a man and a woman and "spouse" as a legal partner in marriage of the opposite sex for all federal actions.
Mrs. Spyer is a lesbian woman living in New York whose spouse died in 2007. Upon her spouses death, she received all of her property, but the IRS taxed her upwards of $363,000 on the transfered property. The IRS typically does not tax belongs passed on to a spouse upon death. However the IRS, following DOMA, denied this tax exemption to Mrs. Spyer on the basis that her female spouse is not a legitimate spouse. Mrs. Spyer then sued the United States claiming that Section 3 of DOMA (definition of marriage and spouse) is unconstitutional as it conflicts with the Fifth Admendment statement: "no person...shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.". She is hereby claiming that DOMA restricts her freedom to be married to a same sex partner and that her property (money) was taken from her without due process of law.
The United States is the defendent, they are to attempt and defend DOMA's constitutionality. BLAG (the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group) has been attempting to defend DOMA as well by stating that Mrs. Spyer's marriage was never recognized by New York and therefore has no basis on which to sue as she never had a spouse in the first place, let alone a same-sex spouse. The United States actually petitioned for the writ of certiorari, which the Solictor General himself wrote on behalf of the President Barak Obama. President Barak Obama and his Solicitor General both desire Windsor (Mrs. Spyer's attorney, that's why the case isn't United States v. Spyer) to reign victorious.
Since the most recent Supreme Court case favors homosexuality, and with the mindset that the majority cannot force its will on the minority, the Supreme Court is likely to favor Windsor. In addition, since the President and the Solicitor General desire Windsor to win, her chances are increases (the President has next to no influence over any Supreme Court Justice, but the Solicitor General only backs claims with a very high chance of victory in favor with the President's views. Therefore, since the Solicitor General backed the case, it is very likely to succeed on behalf of the President). Finally, the defendant is trying to win based in a technicality and has no legitimate consitutional backing. In fact, there's no legitimate consiturional argument against Windsor I could find in all my research. I restate that the Supreme Court is very likely to vote in favor of Windsor, declaring DOMA unconsitutional and forcing all federal rulings, dealings, and policies to recognize same-sex marriages. In addition, it may force states to recognize same-sex marriage certificates from other states (as Article II of the Constitution declares the states must do anyway, why DOMA hasn't been challenged on this blatant violiation of the Constitution before will forever perplex me). However, it will most likely not force states to allow same-sex marriages in their own jurisdiction. This case will not fix the issue of oppression against gay and lesbian marriages, but it is a major step forward.
Now for my views concerning the Constitution and same-sex marriages and rights (beyond the arguments of Windsor, with whom I fully agree): The Ninth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects against the fear of several founding fathers; the fear that by specifically listing certain rights in the Bill of Rights, that various people and powers will claim that you have only those rights and none other, because if you did have any other rights they would have also been listed. The Ninth Amendment states that the Bill of Rights can't be used for that purpose. One of these rights is the Right to Privacy; If your private decisions and actions do not harm others, than the government has no right to intervene. Your private life is your private life. In this specific case, the government has no right to say who you can or can't have sex with. It's your decision, and so long as the partner consents, there is no harm done. As the 2003 overruling majority opinion stated (this is the gist of the quite, not the actual quote), "Is it right to enforce the majority's OPINION through criminal law?" Just because the majority wants something does not make it right. Whether you agree with a decision or not, that person's decision is their decision and not yours. In addition, the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right to equal protection under law. Homosexual couples (before the 2003 decision) could not perform sexual practices legally, even the ones that heterosexual couples were allowed to engage in (yes, some states prohibited certain sexual practices to heterosexual couples as well). This discrimination against homosexuals is a clear violation of the Fourteenth Amendment as equal protection under law is not guaranteed to homosexuals. Also, the Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress in 1996, which has not yet been declared unconstitutional, claims that a marriage is between a man and a woman and that states need not recognize same-sex marriage licences from other states (the Constitution explicitly states that states must recognize licenses of other states as valid). The DOMA discriminates against homosexuals and denies them the Constitutional rights of Privacy and Equal Protection under Law. In conclusion, there is no basis for depriving homosexuals of marriage or rights, and legislation against homosexuality is blatant, unconstitutional discrimination.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
This video introduces the first minority for which I will fight for: homosexuals. For those who don't know, the Supreme Court has picked up there cases concerning homosexuality last Friday, which I will detail tomorrow. As the oppression against homosexuals is so close to taking a major leap forward, I will focus on them first.
This video cries out against the oppression against gays and lesbians. In addition, it speaks of the horrible last resort many bullied homosexuals elect, suicide. The names listed in the song are homosexuals that have committed suicide due to oppression for their homosexuality (there has been some people saying that not all the named people are gay. If so, sorry guys for the mislabeling, but it is irrelevant to the message of the song).
I encourage all to take this Rise Against's Make It Stop message to heart and realize the horrors people cause when they oppress minorities.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
As a blog designed to enact change, regular messages need to be published in order to show my consistent belief in this cause. In order to accomplish this I am setting forth a Schedule of Publications for this blog as follows:
-Original articles and statements concerning issues of oppression shall be issued each Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday
-Videos, short statements, and other people's arguments concerned with oppression will be posted each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
-My own personal beliefs are various random subjects as appeals to me at the moment will be published each Saturday
Seeing as I am barely posting this schedule today and my introduction yesterday, I will not be posting any additional articles or statements today. Thank you everyone for standing what you believe in and keep posted daily.
First, some background on myself. I was born in California, however my family moved to Idaho when I was only six months old. I lived in Idaho until I was twelve, when my family moved to Utah, and I have been there to this day. I am the oldest of seven children and am currently eighteen. I was born and raised a Mormon, however I am a self-professed atheist and will withdraw my name from Mormon records once I move out of my parent's house. My looks take after my mother, but my beliefs and opinions are nearly 180 degrees from both my parents, who are very religious and conservative.
As a diverse individual, I enjoy a large variety of tasks and hobbies. I am an avid student; I am taking four AP and three IB courses, in addition to one "regular" class and several online courses. As a result, some may say I have no life, but I am a Red Cross Certified Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor and work 20+ hours a week at the Clearfield Aquatic Center. In addition, I have an amazing girlfriend and a group of very close friends that I hang out with on a regular basis. My hobbies include: computer programming; reading books, random Wikipedia articles, and XKCD; playing and studying Magic: The Gathering; hanging out with friends; gaming (specifically Portal 2 and Starcraft 2); etc. etc. etc.
As mentioned above, I'm eighteen and taking AP and IB courses. This implies, as is true, that I am a senior in high school. My favorite courses are the maths and sciences. I have been accepted to both Utah State University and the University of Utah and will be attending the latter. I desire a PhD in Biochemistry with an emphasis in Genetic Modification from MIT. I wish to use my training to work in drug development and further the field of biochemistry as a whole.
I am also heavily involved in the Boy Scouts of America program and am an Eagle Scout. I am currently registering to teach the Swimming, Lifesaving, and Canoeing Merit Badges and assist in teaching them at my work now. As part if this program, I have preformed endless hours of service for my community.
Yet despite my intelligence, diversity, and ambition (oh, and humility), I am still oppressed.
As a member of a minority, I feel that my rights and voice are overlooked and silenced, both legally and socially. As a liberal atheist, my rights are often harmed by legislation: laws dictating that teachers can't discuss politics with me unless its part of the class curiculum (most teachers are liberal, so this is a step by a conservative Utah legislative body to inhibit Democrats) and I cannot discuss politics with my coworkers without their consent (I work for a city government, since most city employees in Utah are conservative, I'm limited to debating politics with other liberal employees (which isn't a very large number)). Socially, the list of oppression is quite a bit longer:
As my high school years progressed, I began to more intimately study the "Standard Works" of the Mormon Church, as well as being exposed to a world larger than my parents sphere of influence. Throughout my studies and living of life, I came to my own conclusion that there is no God and derived my own set of moral principles. There was no direct outside influence, minimal consulting with my peers and family, and no adults molding me during this decision making process. However, I continued living as a Mormon for another year because social pressures instilled a fear of being different within me. My 2013 New Year's Resolution was to break the news to my parents, which I did on the very first Sunday of the new year.
My parents were heartbroken and told my Bishop, who took me off various religious councils (thank goodness), which led other memebers of my Ward to question what was "really going on with me". Everyone's suspicions were put to rest when my little brother got up on the pulpit one Sunday session and told the entire congregation: "and I know that Alex still has a testimony and believes in the Gospel". Ever since that day, I've been looked down on, talked awkwardly to, and interviewed constantly by literally dozens of church members. I was once even slugged hard in the gut by my Quorum Leader for not showing up to mutual. Soon, I was rejected from activities, left uninvitied to parties by neighbors, and constantly harrassed by high-end church officials. Some of my friends, namely those in my ward, disagree with my beliefs, both religiously and politically, and often choose to ignore our differences as if they didn't exist or help compose who I am. They often call my behavior a part of a "rebellious" segment of my life that will soon fade.
The worst source of oppression, however, is my family. My parents force me to participate in religious activities despite the fact that I feel uncomfortable at them and that they're a waste of my time. They've threatened to kick me out of the house if I quit attending church (I'm eighteen, so they can do that). I've been told explicitally that I'm not entitled to share my political or religious opinions in the house. I've been lied to and had privelages taken away, and the list continues.
Both my religious and political views have been declared unnatural, radical, insane, unreasonable, and wrong by people all around me.
Yet despite this long story of the discrimination against me, I know there are others far worse off than myself. People who are actively attacked, bullied, and rejected for their beliefs. These people include, but are not limited to: gays, lesbians, transsexuals, bisexuals, atheists, agnostics, Muslims, and many more. I was a silent voice for over a year, and I suffered dearly for it. But now I choose to stand up for myself and my beliefs and encourage all to do the same. Don not be lulled into believing that because you're part of a minority, you are powerless Wrongs can't be righted until a voice recognizes the wrong as wrong. That voice is yours, the time to let it be heard is now. Let the Voice of the Minority be heard!