SLATE | Dec. 23, 2013 | Last week, Phil Robertson, the patriarch from Duck Dynasty, a popular reality show on A&E, was suspended from the network for offensive comments he made in a GQinterview. In addition to ignorant, racially insensitive remarks, the interview included a rant that called homosexuality sinful and morally wrong. The controversial suspension gave conservative and religious groups a new cause célèbre in their effort to cast gay equality as anti-Christian, a claim that is preposterous but gained steam from the fact that Robertson’s remarks were close paraphrases of what the Bible says.
Romeo was a rescue dog from a city shelter in East New York. He was all Brooklyn from the get-go. So it wasn’t hard to figure out where to scatter his ashes when he finally left us. Every morning for years, we had started the day trotting through Fort Greene Park, which Walt Whitman helped create and Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison used as a writing perch. That seemed the obvious choice. Still, I had to spend some real time deciding. After all, Romeo was one of the most widely traveled dogs I know
SLATE | Oct. 22, 2013 | The political calculation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s surrender on gay marriage—he announced yesterday he woulddrop his appeal of a court’s ruling that finally allowed gay couples to wed—is not hard to decipher. As a likely GOP presidential candidate for 2016, Christie must woo the party’s anti-gay right wing to win the primary, and avoid, for the general election, seeming out of step with the dramatic national movement toward marriage equality. So he has consistently opposed gay marriage personally while stating that he would support it if the state’s populace did so in a vote.
SLATE | Oct. 11, 2013 | As gay rights advocates celebrate a seemingly endless barrage of victories in their fight for full equality, a new study offers a reality check on how far we’ve come. A team of researchers from Ohio State and Boston Universities used a survey technique known as the “veiled elicitation method” to correct for social desirability bias—the tendency of survey respondents to give researchers the answers they think are expected. The veiled method involves asking subjects to respond to a group of questions, and in an indirect manner, which has been shown to reduce the chances that an answer will be biased toward social expectations. The theory is that grouping sensitive and non-sensitive questions together can “veil” how subjects answer the sensitive question, thus reducing the influence of social desirability bias. As the study authors put it, “saying ‘three items’ might be easier to say than ‘Yes, I cheat on my spouse.’ ”
Los Angeles Times | Apr. 2, 2001 | Sunday, a groundbreaking law took effect in the Netherlands that gives gay and lesbian couples the same civil marriage rights as the rest of Dutch citizens. What the Netherlands seems to understand that no other nation in the world, including the United States, understands is that access to marriage is just like access to any other public institution. In the U.S., the indignity, expense and alienation of exclusion from full citizenship is no less agonizing for gays today than it was two generations ago for blacks, who were barred from full participation in the most basic institutions of public life. Like racial segregation, marriage exclusion is not about scarce resources but about the majority culture maintaining its sense of superiority.
Los Angeles Times | Jun. 9, 2013 | As Americans await U.S. Supreme Court rulings this month on two same-sex marriage cases, June — the traditional month for weddings and pride parades — gives gay people the chance to reflect: How have their own lives and views changed since a Hawaii court ruling first thrust marriage equality onto the national stage 20 years ago? And what might a fully legal marriage mean to them? For many gay people, including for me, the weight of this prospect has taken a while to sink in.
New Republic | Sep. 30, 2013 | Gay rights advocates celebrated another victory Friday when a New Jersey judge ruledthat the state must allow same-sex couples to marry. The decision, which Governor Chris Christie immediately vowed to appeal, is the latest development in a 2011 suit which the plaintiffs revived after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act in June. The gay couples’ attorneys have relied—quite understandably—on the argument that a post-DOMA world changes the circumstances of their case, and should compel the state to grant same-sex marriage immediately. That’s true, so far as it goes. But the significance of Friday’s ruling is much bigger than that argument suggests.
SLATE | Mar. 18, 2013 | In a conservative movement seized by extremists, George Will is one of the sane ones. But his recent rejection of social science as having any role to play in the gay marriage debate is wildly off the mark. It’s intellectually dishonest, scientifically ignorant, and—I’ll say it—anti-gay. Will claims that reasonable people disagree about gay marriage “because so little is known about its consequences.” He quotes a legal brief by conservative scholars affiliated with a famously anti-gay think tank that calls research about gay marriage and parenting “radically inconclusive.” He then warns the Supreme Court—which will hear oral arguments on two gay marriage cases next week—to be wary “about social science that purports to prove propositions … for which there cannot yet be decisive evidence.” In other words, he suggests the value of research on gay marriage is currently zero.
Washington Post | Mar. 22, 2013 | In an angry dissent in the 2003 Supreme Court decision striking down sodomy bans, Justice Antonin Scalia warned that the ruling would surely lead to same-sex marriage. The opinion, he complained, destroyed any constitutional distinction “between heterosexual and homosexual unions.” What troubled him most was that the court seemed to be depriving the people of the ability to use morality as a basis to make such distinctions. If “moral disapprobation” of homosexual conduct is no longer considered a legitimate reason to ban it, he wrote, “what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples?”
SLATE | Apr. 29, 2013 | NBA player Jason Collins’ declaration that he’s gay has been followed, thankfully, bysupportive messages from peers like Dwyane Wade, Pau Gasol, and Tony Parker. In the lead up to this highly anticipated moment, though, there have been plenty of negative comments from athletes and pundits about the potential negative consequences of open homosexuality in sports.