Gays Are Winning the Right to the Word "Marriage," Thanks to the DOMA Ruling

September 30, 2013

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.

Is George Will Homophobic?

September 24, 2013

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.

Book review: ‘What’s Wrong With Homosexuality?’

September 24, 2013

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?”

Men In Uniform

September 24, 2013

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.

Conservatives' Misread of Keynes Reveals Unconscious Bias

September 24, 2013

THE ADVOCATE | MAY 9, 2013 | Growing support for gay rights by conservatives and Republicans has reinforced a dubious political narrative: that there are fiscal conservatives and social conservatives and only the latter are antigay. But Niall Ferguson’s bizarre attack on the personal life of economist John Maynard Keynes has exposed the nasty moralizing aspect of fiscal conservatism. Indeed, it’s revealed a deep philosophical connection between social and fiscal conservatism and suggests the presence of unconscious homophobia at the root of the conservative mind.

The Significance of the Pope's Interview: Christianity Doesn't Compel Homophobia

September 16, 2013

Huffington Post | Sep. 23, 2013 | Reaction was swift to Pope Francis' remarks last week calling the church "obsessed" with culture war issues like homosexuality, abortion and birth control. After the pope said that Catholics should stop judging gay people and focusing incessantly on sexuality, New Ways Ministry, a pro-gay Catholic ministry, proclaimed the interview "a new dawn of hope and promise for LGBT Catholics," while Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, spun the interview as nothing new, complaining that the "problem with the left" is that "they are trying to take what the pope said and then run with it." Religious liberals are right to be buoyed by the pope's words (and nonreligious liberals may be forgiven for continuing not to give a rat's ass what he says). But the real significance of the pope's interview is that it stands to return to the nation a moral vocabulary that the religious right has stolen and twisted for over a generation...

Chris Christie’s Legal Position on Gay marriage is Pure Nonsense

August 6, 2013

SLATE | Posted Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration filed a brief last week defending the state’s 2006 Civil Union Act, which grants gay couples all the benefits of marriage yet bars them from actually getting married. The brief is Christie’s first official legal statement on same-sex marriage. Given his apparent aspiration to be the next Republican nominee for president, it is especially too bad that the brief also may be the most incoherent defense of heterosexual supremacy yet. That’s saying something in an era in which lawyers have tied themselves in logical pretzels to defend indefensible anti-gay laws. Even by that low standard, the brief reads like a student paper written during an all-nighter. You’d think an aspiring president would take the task more seriously.

No Gays Left Behind: The LGBT movement has a much longer road ahead than it seems

August 1, 2013

The New Republic JUNE 28, 2013 For those who don’t follow every twist and turn of the gay rights battle, the Supreme Court's invalidation of two major gay-marriage bans--”the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8--”may seem like the final victory for gay equality. Even some gay people seem to think the end is nigh, in part because the full legal impact of DOMA’s demise is not yet clear. Can those living in a state without gay marriage, for instance, hold a wedding in a friendly state and thus secure newly won federal benefits?

“Most Gay Couples Aren’t Monogamous”? That's Not Dirty, a Secret, or True.

June 14, 2013

SLATE | Posted Thursday, June 27, 2013, at 1:02 PM On the very day the high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, Slate’s Hanna Rosin penned this buzz kill: “The Dirty Little Secret: Most Gay Couples Aren’t Monogamous.” There’s a lot to admire about this instinct to rain on the gay parade: I myself am constitutionally predisposed to look for what we haven’t achieved on days when others are popping champagne to celebrate what we have. (I grappled with this personality flaw in a recent piece on what marriage means to me, where I committed myself to celebrating a potential DOMA victory “fully and without reservation”--”and I proposed to my boyfriend in the same piece, so maybe I’m a little sore at Rosin for crashing the party.)

Scout’s Dishonor: The Boy Scouts’ strange new policy on homosexuality is a spineless half-step that's doomed to fail

June 14, 2013

SLATE | Posted Friday, May 24, 2013 In a clear effort to appease a divided membership, the Boy Scouts of America has voted to change its national policy on homosexuality: It will now allow gay youth to become and remain scouts, but it will still ban adult leaders “who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” A spokesman told me the focus is on youth so as to ensure that the Scouts can “provide kids a place to belong while they learn and grow.” Some will view the policy change as progress, which it certainly is for the estimated tens of thousands of gay boy scouts who will finally feel a sense of belonging that was needlessly denied them before. But this modicum of progress virtually dries up when you consider what those same boys will face as they age out of the Boy Scouts: a giant slap-down for anyone wishing to become a Scout leader, with the attendant message that, while being a gay kid is now

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