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November 5th, 2008

09:21 pm: Comments on FL Amendment 2

So one of my friends from work posted this on Facebook:

I am excited about the outcome of the presidential election. It appears that the US is ready to try something different and maybe even progress as a more open society. Unfortunately, yesterday we here in FL helped to define what is becoming our country's biggest civil rights issue going forward- the issue of fairness under the law for homosexuals and others who choose lifestyles that differ from the norms of society. FL approved amendment 2 on the ballot yesterday which defines marriage *in our state constitution* to the exclusion of any relationship other than the traditional view of one man one woman.

Frankly, I don't care what the word marriage means. What I am worried about is that this change to the state constitution will provide a lever arm that fundamentalists will use to go after progressive policies at state institutions which already extend fair benefits to homosexual couples and other partners.

For instance my employer, the
University of Florida, extends employment benefits to domestic partners regardless of marital status. Due to the wording of amendment 2 it's not clear to me that this will not be challenged under the guise of upholding the new constitutional definition of marriage. Here's the part that worries me:

no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized

So does this mean that state institutions will not be able to offer benefits to partners who don't hold a marriage license?

To me the solution is pretty simple- get the government out of the marriage business. To create a fair society that provides equal opportunity and treatment for everyone under the law there is a better approach. The government should only be involved in these sorts of interpersonal relationships insofar as there are contractual issues regarding inheritance and power of attorney. Beyond that marriage or whatever else you may care to call it in your social circle can be defined by you and your family.

Of course fairness is not what the proponents of Amendment 2 had in mind. I'm glad that these wedge social issues didn't seem to play nationally this year, but I'm sad that my state has now enshrined this nonsense in its constitution.

My friend James said it nicely when talking about how people react to issues that are cast as gay issues, "it's amazing how ridiculous people get just because they think it's icky". Maybe that's over simplifying things, but I think it's not far off the mark. Many people are so blinded by their disdain for the gay lifestyle that they are willing to enshrine discrimination into our laws. So although I see the election of a black president to be a beautiful step away from our nation's history of enshrined racism, I'm afraid that ballot measures like amendment 2 in FL indicate that we still have a long way to go.

I attempted a response and decided to post it here ...

I find that people on either of this fence seem unable to acknowledge any legitimacy in the viewpoint of the other side. Equating a religious belief that homosexuality is wrong to “they think it’s icky” is not oversimplification. At best it’s ignorance or an unwillingness to respect the beliefs of someone who believes differently than you. At worst it’s the same kind of ‘hate behavior’ that the politically correct crowd claims to deplore: deliberately disparaging a moral belief as arbitrary and capricious just because you don’t agree with it.

We all have our own moral standards based on our individual beliefs and life experiences. Each person thinks that their own beliefs are true –they may agree that other people have a right to believe differently, but base their life and actions on their own beliefs. We’re encouraged to practice tolerance, but in today’s political climate, that most often means being intolerant of those that have different moral standards. We may say that other people have a right to their own beliefs, but in practice we fail to respect those beliefs; instead, we ridicule and deride them. Rather than respecting someone’s right to believe that homosexuality is wrong, we say that they’re “blinded by their disdain for the gay lifestyle”.

With regard to legislation, we all would like our own beliefs and morals to be legal. For example, consider another hot topic: abortion. Those who are pro-life believe that a fetus is a human being with the same rights as any human, born or unborn. They want to impose the burden of carrying the child to term on the mother. Those who are pro-choice believe that a fetus does not have the rights of a human being until he is born. They want to impose death on the fetus and deprive the father of any say in his child’s existence. It is incorrect to say that only the pro-life person is imposing their morals on the rest of us; in fact both sides seek to impose moral standards via legislation.

The case of gay rights seems simple: anyone who deprives someone of rights based on his sexual preference is wrong. No problem. But how do we define ‘rights’? What happens when giving a certain right to gays forces someone else to behave contrary to their beliefs? For example:

A wedding photographer in New Mexico declined to shoot the wedding ceremony of a lesbian couple because it conflicted with their Christian beliefs. They replied to an email request with “We do not photograph same-sex weddings. But thanks for checking out our site! Have a great day!" The lesbian couple filed a complaint against the photographer saying “There was a shock and anger and fear. ... We were planning a very happy day for us, and we're being met with hatred. That's how it felt."

( http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486340 )

So does the lesbian couple have the right to demand that the photographer shoot their wedding even though that causes the photographer to violate their own belief that homosexuality is wrong? Did the photographer respond with hatred when they said they don’t photograph same-sex weddings? What do you call ‘fairness’ here?

I had varying thoughts and emotions regarding the ‘marriage amendment’. Do I think it’s wrong for companies and organizations to offer benefits to domestic partners, regardless of gender or marital status? No. Do I think ‘marriage’ ought to be defined as being between one man and one woman? Yes. If you want to give an appellation to other types of unions, use another word. It’s certainly not possible to predict how the courts are going to interpret this amendment; such amendments passed in other states have been interpreted in radically different ways depending on the state. We’ll see.

So I guess my point is that respecting other people’s beliefs doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to legislate my own personal beliefs or that I have to disregard my beliefs to support theirs. It does mean I shouldn’t disparage their beliefs even if I think they’re wrong.




Current Mood: verbose
Current Music: the sizzle of himself's sausages in the pan

December 6th, 2006

01:25 pm: I saw this quiz on mrz80's lj and had to try myself. I don't think my score is due to high school, however!

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Current Mood: stressedstressed
Current Music: co-workers talking about the merits of living in Montana...

November 30th, 2006

06:40 pm: Had to copy this from himself. Those of you who know us both might be interested to see that some of my answers contradict his ... mine are correct :-).


November 15th, 2006

11:35 pm: Doll Quilts
Finally finished two of my doll quilts for the quilt guild collection! Every fall the guild donates a pile of smallish quilts to the Salvation Army; they give out at Christmas with dolls and stuffed animals to needy kids. I wanted to finish three, but had problems with one and only got two done.

Check out the photos on our quilt group blog:
Chocolate Quilters

November 8th, 2006

10:34 pm: Don't have a heart attack...
But I'm doing my once-a-quarter whether I need it or not LJ post.

Had an interesting day: got a phone call around 11am from Dan'l, an old high school and FBC youth group friend of mine who lives in Tallahassee now. He was in town for UF's annual 'puter security awareness day and wanted to get in touch. Haven't seen him for ... 8 years? Anyways we had lunch and it was way cool. Makes me grin to remember all the crazy stuff we did in the long ago ...

Still working on lots of sewing projects; all my friends can now stop having babies (except a couple of special cases, who can have all they want) so I can catch up! And yes, Christmas denial is in full force in Gainesville, too. Though I am somewhat paradoxically looking forward to the holidays ...

Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Schubert's Great Symphony in C Major

August 2nd, 2006

08:40 pm: Had to borrow this from himself...

Book memeCollapse )

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: still peace and quiet!
08:01 pm: Oh, my aching head!
Day one of 4-H sewing camp: I spent the day in a room of 15 4-H'ers ages 8 - 14 ... oh, the noise, noise, noise, noise! I think my head will never be the same. And why can't I multi-task like I used to? Still, the girls (no intrepid boys this time) all did pretty well, even our beginner sewers, and most have projects well on the way. Laura is making the cutest pair of fleecy 'jama pants - we start the T-shirt to go with them tomorrow - and Amanda is working on a beautiful rayon shirt with long flowing sleeves. Why don't mommies get to go to camp, too???

Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Current Music: blessed silence

May 18th, 2006

05:56 pm: Yet another...
Well, I couldn't resist this one (borrowed from webms) and I liked how it came out :-)

Which SuperHero Are You?Collapse )

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: The gentle hum of the 'fridge

April 26th, 2006

09:15 am: Stuck on the rollercoaster
So we laid down some 'thou shalts' for A yesterday -

Thou shalt not get recreational computer time until thy homework is done.
Thou shalt not get recreational computer time unless thee bringest home a paper signed by thy instructors proving that thee didst turn in thy homework at school.

She'd been not doing her homework or doing it and not turning it in (how dumb is that?!) and some of her grades were spiraling down in to the pit of failure. So I expected several days of hell until she got it together, especially since her first reaction was 'no way!'. She came home yesterday - had finished her homework, turned it all in and had a paper from her teachers saying she did. I was amazed and so happy with her - made sure she knew it too. Should have known we were at the top of the rollercoaster hill...

This morning she hit the bottom - wouldn't get off the computer when asked, verbally abusive, physically destructive (threw a bin I'd collected paperwork to be dealt with all over the family room). I was so furious - had to just go away until her carpool picked her up. I think it was so much worse since we'd had a ray of hope yesterday.


Current Mood: crushedcrushed
Current Music: Not in the mood...

April 25th, 2006

08:31 pm: Fabric clue
Laura and I went to Borders the other day just to goof off and I found a book on setting up your quilting space - "Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space" by Lois L. Hallock . Most of it wasn't too applicable to my teeny modest space, but there was one idea for storing fabric that I've been using non-stop since I read about it. One of my problems has always been folding my fabric just the right size for whatever space I'm putting it in - I'm fairly anal about getting it all the same size and stacked neatly! So the author suggests using your plastic rotary rulers as a folding template; just wrap the fabric around a ruler and slide the ruler out. Your fabric winds up in the same sized little bundles each time! I love it ... easy and consistent. She uses her method on 45" wide fabric - leaves the 45" fabric folded lengthwise, rolls it around her ruler and then folds it in half once more.

I have a set of drawers open in a dresser in the craft room and wanted to put some of my bigger-than-fat-quarters-but-smaller-than-REAL-yardage fabric in there. Used two widths of rulers - one for the width of the fabric, one for the length - and the pieces fit perfectly. Will take a picture later for show.

Current Mood: productive
Current Music: ceiling fans and jeans in the dryer
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