Black Shards Press – Electronic Gumbo is Our Specialty

There’s No Such Thing as Equality

10.10.2009 (7:19 pm) – Filed under: Gay Rights,Society ::

Bill Maher says:  “Everyone deserves equal rights. That’s why they’re called “equal” and “rights”, which, as far as it goes, is certainly the goal of the American culture.  But beyond the sound bite where the real thinking takes place, it’s painfully obvious that there’s no such thing as absolute equality.

Nor should there be.  Society reserves the right to define for itself what is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable behavior, legal and illegal.

Pseudo-thinkers are fond of saying, “You can’t legislate morality” when current or pending law threatens a pet action.  That is a completely false statement – the law is nothing more or less than a codification of the minimally acceptable standard of morality.

Serial killers do not have the right to commit the heinous crimes they perpetrate under our definition of morality.  Neither do drug pushers have the right to pursue their choice of business venture under our law.  All peoples and governments discriminate in every thought, act, and decision they make.  This thing we call life will never be any other way.  The question is, are we making the right choices, rewarding the good and just and punishing or stigmatizing the bad?

Referring to Maher’s embrace of gay marriage, in this country homosexuals are permitted to do virtually anything they wish.  They are a protected group, in fact, in regards to employment, housing, speech and other areas of life, nearly on a par with black Americans in that regard.

In fact the only thing homosexuals are not permitted to do in America is redefine marriage to include their unions.  I’m sure this seems unfair to them.  Unfortunately it is perfectly within society’s rights to keep this restriction in place until homosexual behavior is demonstrably sanctioned by a majority of Americans.

That could happen sooner rather than later.  The Gay Patriot points to a Pew Research poll that indicates a majority of Americans “supports civil unions ‘allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples‘”.

The reverse of this number is that 53% oppose gay marriage itself and 49% believe that homosexual acts are morally wrong.

GP wonders:

Does that mean that at least 6% of Americans think it’s fine for us to enter into relationships, but would rather we didn’t have sex?

No, it means that the vast, vast majority of Americans recognize gays’ right to associate with the people of their choice – period – even as the majority recognizes their behavior both undesirable and tolerable, the latter of which is a good thing.

ht memeorandum

Time for a Gay Supreme Court Justice?

09.05.2009 (12:05 am) – Filed under: Gay Rights,Politics ::

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Satyam Khanna says that Senator Jeff Sessions’ statement, “I think that would be a big concern that the American people might feel — might feel uneasy about that”, qualifies him as anti-gay. 

Typical Think Progress hyperbole.  Citizens might indeed be concerned about a gay member of the Supreme Court and the rulings that might stem from such an appointment.

Why?  Because all but the most disciplined of us are inclined to judge those most like us more favorably than those less similar.  Judges are supposed to put personal feelings – and political ideologies – aside when they put on their robes.  To say that doesn’t always happen would be quite the understatement.  So the concern is legitimate, at least in part, simply because of human nature.

That said, it’s likely that there are qualified homosexual judges out there whose rulings would not be any less bad than, say, those of John Paul Stevens or Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  It’s certainly possible for President Obama to appoint a homosexual equivalent of Clarence Thomas, albeit it unlikely given Obama’s liberal streak and the correlation of leftist politics with homosexuality.

Even less clear are the true demographics of homosexuality.  By being generous, one might peg the percentage of homosexual Americans at 5%.  While a significant minority, there is still no basis to the idea that homosexuals are underrepresented on the court.  A group would have to at least approach 11% to grant that claim legitimacy.

So what was it exactly that Jeff Sessions said?

“I don’t think a person who acknowledges that they have gay tendencies is disqualified per se for the job”

And:

“Republicans do not believe in identity politics.”

Admittedly the last is a lie.  Most politicians not only believe in identity politics, they rely on it.  The real question is whether one is allowed by political correctness to embrace or castigate a particular identity brand at a particular moment in time.

Sessions’ crime, like that of so many Republicans, was telling the literal truth Americans’ feelings on the subject.

Iraqi Gays Murdered By Their Own Tribe

05.04.2009 (8:11 pm) – Filed under: Gay Rights,Iraq ::

The latest news about the repression of homosexuality in the Islamic world comes from Iraq where 6 gay men were murdered by members of their own tribe after members decided in a group meeting to kill them.

For all the hand-wringing about alleged repression of homosexuals in the U.S. and other western nations, this news, which is not particularly uncommon, ought to be a reality-check.

Debating Gay Marriage

04.04.2009 (10:28 pm) – Filed under: Gay Rights,Society ::

The Anonymous Liberal has an interesting post up entitled Being a “Public Christian” in which he slams Rod Dreher for his post in which he quotes a lawyer friend as saying “as soon as homosexuality receives constitutionally protected status equivalent to race, then ‘it will be very hard to be a public Christian.'” 

AL’s main thrust is this point:

Dreher is lamenting the fact that as the law progresses toward recognizing the rights of homosexual people, it will become increasingly hard to be publicly intolerant of homosexuality.

What of it?  Individuals and society as a whole have always judged behavior, rewarding the good and punishing the bad.  And they always will.  That’s what people do – we are judgment-making, discriminating creatures and no mere legal construct will change that fundamental fact of our existence.

The question is simply one of who gets the most say in defining what society’s norms are, the people in the society, its elected representatives, or the judiciary who are the final arbiters of right and wrong?

more »

Judges Should Eat More Fortune Cookies

03.04.2009 (10:23 pm) – Filed under: Gay Rights,Law,Society ::

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While stuffing my face at the local Mongolian grill and going back for a second  soft-serve ice cream cone I received a slip of paper with a tiny bit of sagely wisdom inscribed.  My fortune read:  “Common sense is all the sense there is.”

I nodded knowingly, thinking of the Ward Churchill case and how Colorado University will most likely be forced to reinstate the horse’s behind of a professor who infamously compared 9/11 victims to Hitler’s Nazis before being fired for shoddy scholarship.

Common sense surely requires that the university be allowed to dismiss the lout.  The school is, after all, a public institution and Churchill’s salary is necessarily paid by the taxpayers, few if any of whom bear any resemblance to Jew-slaughtering storm troopers.

I popped the remainder of the ice cream cone in my mouth, momentarily contented by the sublime sagacity of the little cookie’s message.  Surely, I thought, even a doubting Thomas must accept as evidence of a higher power the providence of such timely encouragement in our lives.

You see, caught between the pincers of a rapidly-approaching deadline at my paying job and an early spring allergy attack, I’d completely forgotten about the Churchill verdict, vexing as it was when I’d heard about it last evening, and so failed to write about it until now.

Perhaps what is most galling is the knowledge that my honky bottom would be out on the street wondering what happened in about 2 seconds flat if my moniker was ever attached to such an offensive, wrong-headed missive as that penned by Ward Churchill.  Are his free speech rights that much more valuable and deserving of protection? 

As Clint Eastwood says in Unforgiven, “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

Churchill’s tenure give him protection from his enemies that he hasn’t earned and he abused it by comparing innocent victims to hateful killers, apparently to little ill-effect.  But like all such abuses there will be consequences – for others, naturally, if not for the scoundrel himself.

Andrew Cohen:

So what’s the lesson for CU and other schools? Don’t offer tenure. Or at least don’t offer tenure until an extraordinary level of due diligence has been performed upon the candidate. Will good candidates stand for such a review? Will they be willing to be vetted like presidential nominees? Will they be willing to sign a form of “pre-nuptial” that allows the university to do what it tried to do to Churchill? It’s hard to overstate the potential impact the Churchill case may have upon the intersection of law and academia.

A contact of mine within one of the country’s major university systems told me that the tenure system would probably be dismantled within the next 10 years.  Too much chance of exposure for colleges at the hands – and mouths – of rogue professors.

Indeed, guaranteed employment is never a good thing because it removes the fear and accountability motives from the equation.  This places power on the wrong side of the employment arrangement and leads, as with labor unions, to a fundamental dissonance between employee and employer, as well as judge and citizenry, as demonstrated by Judge John Jones’ recent statement:

I think that a lot of federal judges don’t have the bully pulpit given to them that they can talk about judicial independence, and I’ve really had an opportunity to do that.

Unfortunately a large part of the public thinks judges are subject to public will, that the third branch of government is subject to majority will.

In a sense Jones is correct – the law is insulated from the whims of public opinion and for good reason.  But neither judges nor the law are above the will of the people.  The proper relationship is demonstrated by this crude chart:

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As I munched on the last pieces of my fortune cookie I thought that the Churchill case would be the crux of this post.  But fate had other plans, what with the Iowa Supreme Court coming out of left field today and serving up a unanimous ruling against the state’s protection of marriage law.

As with Judge Jones’ misguided notion that judges are not accountable to the citizenry, Iowans have had their legal sovereignty stripped by an activist court that seems to know no bounds to its power to re-interpret the Constitution to fit its agenda.

As Michael says:

…never before have judges interpreted the Iowa nor the U.S. constitution in a way that gays can marry to each other [sic]. Marriage has always legally been explained as a contract between a man and a woman. If you believe same sex marriages should be legalized, you amend the constitution  and / or pass (other) laws that legalize it.

Judicial ruling should be in keeping with the intent of the Constitution.  That is why that particular document is the law of the land.  Overall, the aggregate of judges’ rulings should have the effect of smoothing out the radical edges of public opinion as well as the less volatile republican bodies that answer directly to the citizenry. 

The one thing the judiciary should never do is radically redraw the legal line beyond the point of public support.  Yet time and again in the last few decades an unaccountable judiciary has defied the public and taken radical positions that disenfranchise us by negating our will.

Personally I’d suggest that judges take some more long lunches and crack open a few fortune cookies instead of spending their time and our money and energy on their personal sociological experiments.

Barney Frank: Antonin Scalia is a Homophobe

23.03.2009 (10:23 pm) – Filed under: Gay Rights,Politics ::

Modern politicians are often cagey speakers, carefully measuring their assertions so as to allow for maximum wiggle room later if needed.  Not so much with Barney Frank who is apparently feeling his oats these days:

The Democratic lawmaker, who is gay, was discussing gay marriage and his expectation that the high court would some day be called upon to decide whether the Constitution allows the federal government to deny recognition to same-sex marriages.

“I wouldn’t want it to go to the United States Supreme Court now because that homophobe Antonin Scalia has too many votes on this current court,” said Frank.

Charming.  And almost enough to make one wonder what Scalia would say in return – if he were as classless as the feckless Mr. Frank.

Kind of puts that whole Grassley/harakiri tempest-in-a-teapot in better perspective, doesn’t it?

Gay Marriage Poison Pill: Equality or Abolition

17.03.2009 (11:42 pm) – Filed under: Gay Rights ::

Michael Lindenberger of Time says that civil unions are the way to break out of the quagmire that gay marriage activists find themselves in, giving voice to the lies that the word marriage means nothing and that a church wedding after the fact would have all the same meaning for couples.

give gay and straight couples alike the same license, a certificate confirming them as a family, and call it a civil union — anything, really, other than marriage. For people who feel the word marriage is important, the next stop after the courthouse could be the church, where they could bless their union with all the religious ceremony they wanted. Religions would lose nothing of their role in sanctioning the kinds of unions that they find in keeping with their tenets.

Lindenberger jokes that the biggest problem with such a reorganization of legal coupling would be knowing how to decide on the proper Hallmark card for the occasion.  That’s hardly the case. 

The real matter at hand is the poison pill that is the last resort of the gay marriage activists and the hidden threat at the center of their equal protection argument:  If homosexual couples can’t have traditional marriage then no one can.

If implemented, Lindenberger’s legalistic compromise would satisfy no one, least of all gay rights activists who want nothing more than to force society to change its definition of marriage to include homosexual couples.  “I didn’t come to the courthouse to be civil unioned,” one such activist cried on NPR last year, which demonstrates part of the problem with California’s search for the middle ground.

The other part is, of course, the entire span of of recorded human history in which marriage has been a covenant entered into by men and women.  Heterosexual marriage is the building block on which America is based.  Tampering with that definition is not only akin to swimming upstream, culturally speaking, but biologically as well, the facts of life being what they are. 

Lindenberger doesn’t address this key issue.  Instead, he quotes a pair of Pepperdine law professors, one of whom is Ken Starr of Clinton-gate infamy, as saying the issue is one of the afore-mentioned equal protection under the law.

Certainly that is what gay rights activists would like it to be – a textbook case of homosexuals being denied a fundamental human right.  If this were the case, they reason, courts would be forced to rule for them despite the negative repercussions of such activisim.

One problem with this argument is that law is by definition the affirmation of the rights of some and the denial of the rights of others.  Thieves, speeders, forgers, rapists, murderers, embezzlers, inside traders, child molesters, jay walkers, and drug addicts, to name just a few of the classes of people modern society discriminates against, are all denied the right to do things that they deem appropriate.  Why?  Society does not find these activities to be desirable and it has always claimed the right to reject arguments to the contrary.

A second problem is that the things that homosexual couples are being denied – and they are being denied something, make no mistake – are the very things that society is unlikely ever to bestow on them, regardless of legal rulings: respectability and acceptance.  No judge’s decision can ever bring about that outcome because it is not a legal matter.

A third issue is one of precedent.  Giving legal recognition to homosexual unions would also give added legal standing to other gay rights issues that society at large wants to discourage, gay adoption and procreation through artificial insemination and/or surrogates, to name two.

Legally it is possible to argue that the last two of these are irrelevant to the issue at hand.  However, the purpose of the law is judge between the behaviors desired by the citizens of a nation and those that are not, affirming the former and discouraging the latter using punishment as a deterrent.

Homosexuality falls into a gray area here in that it does not make sense to treat sexual preference as a criminal matter.  While society does in fact want to reduce or eliminate homosexuality, using the law to do so would be beyond the pale, a throwback to darker, more hateful days and a gross rejection of people who have done nothing wrong.  By the same token, the use of the law to force the acceptance of homosexuality on an unwilling populace is equally beyond the purpose – and capability – of the justice system.

Gay rights activists frequently compare homosexual and interracial marriage as if they were equivalent in order to demonstrate legal precedent for their argument.  Yet there is a critical difference: interracial marriage has demonstrable benefits for society in terms of racial integration and increased population.  Legalized gay marriage would grant legal succor to a small segment of society and injure the rest by dealing a crushing blow to the institution of traditional marriage, battered and unappreciated as it already is by liberal America.

American society exists because of the people’s right, through the government, to define right from wrong – on its own terms.  That’s how this country came into being and that is how it’s supposed to govern itself.  The people have spoken time and again on this subject, perhaps most clearly in California when Prop 8 passed.  To reject the people’s right to determine societal mores is to reject the very concept of justice itself.

Indeed, this right of self-determination – perhaps the most definitive aspect of this nation’s founding principles –  itself provides the true remedy to the issue of gay marriage.  As of late it is now legal for homosexual couples to marry in Connecticut.  While I am pleased to live in another state where that’s not the case, it’s Connecticut’s right to define its own set of standards, whether Texas agrees or not.  So be it, for citizens of both states.

The Virtue of Minding One’s Own Business

08.03.2009 (12:24 am) – Filed under: Abortion,Gay Rights,Privacy,Religion ::

Catholic Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho’s excommunication of the mother of a 9-year-old girl who had an abortion after being raped by her step-father has infuriated many people in Brazil and elsewhere.  This is a case when being right in principle results in being wrong in fact.

Sobrinho:

Abortion is much more serious than killing an adult. An adult may or may not be an innocent, but an unborn child is most definitely innocent. Taking that life cannot be ignored.

The Catholic Church may not want her or her mother in their membership, but there are plenty of other Christian denominations that would be far less judgmental.

I dare say that the little girl was innocent as well.  The Archbishop should know that two wrongs do not make a right.  Forcing the girl to carry to term would have been a hideous crime in its own right.  This was a no-win situation, in other words, that Sobrinho would have done well to have looked away from.

Courts in this country would be wise to do the same in regard to acts of conscience by people whose professions can put them in situations in which they would have to violate their own personal, religious, or ethical beliefs in order to render service.

The Obama administration has already announced that it will restrict the rights of health care workers to be governed by their consciences by overturning the Bush administration’s “Conscience Rule” that protected  health workers who refuse to take part in abortions or provide other procedures or medicine that goes against their personal beliefs.

Now Catholic florists in Connecticut are worried that the state’s new law allowing gay marriage will force them to provide services for homosexual couples in violation of their personal religious beliefs.

Yes, the Bush Conscience Rule may have been too broad and Connecticut florists might be overly paranoid about future customers’ sexual foibles.  But the bottom line is that the right of people to make their own decisions about what is right and what is wrong is at the heart of what it means to be free.  The government has no business forcing people to undertake actions that they find objectionable.  Rather, the state should simply stay out of matters of conscience and stop attempting to bully everyone into toeing the politically correct line.

I’m sure that gay-friendly florists support that principle for reasons of their own, one of which is their economic prosperity.  Virtue is its own reward, after all.

Sued, eHarmony Must Couple Gays

20.11.2008 (5:58 pm) – Filed under: Business,Gay Rights,Technology ::

In 2005, eHarmony, a leading on-line matchmaking service, began to fight a discrimination lawsuit filed by a gay man in New Jersey.  In 2007, the state’s attorney general found probable cause that eHarmony had violated N.J.’s Law Against Discrimination.  Today the company gave in to legal pressure and agreed to pair homosexual couples. 

By strong-arming eHarmony into complying with the state’s view of morality, New Jersey eliminated one more small opponent of homosexuality and opened the door to an untold variety of similar nuisance suits in coming years.

Incidentally, this is the exact pattern that social conservatives want to avoid in the gay marriage fight – big government bullying its way into the matter and imposing a solution that’s not what people want.

This is a setback for free markets and image-conscious companies like eHarmony that would prefer to cater to clients of their own choosing. 

Melissa Clouthier says:

These kind of suits make my blood boil. Ditto for women who want access to certain sorts of men’s clubs. People should be able to form groups based on any diverse characteristic they want. It’s called FREEDOM. It may not be politically correct. It may be a stupid group. But that’s what freedom is all about–you’re as free to be an idiot as you are to be smart. It’s up to you. Well, it should be.

Contrary to what’s popular opinion in some circles, there is no Constitutional or moral guarantee that any of us are going to be happy with our lives, live them out in an offense-free bubble, and have our way on every little issue that comes up.

What about the rights of eHarmony’s owners?  What about the rights of heterosexual eHarmony users, many of whom will find the new look and feel of the site distasteful?

What about the government’s ability to discipline itself not to act when it’s not needed? 

Gays’ Entitlement and Incivility

14.11.2008 (11:57 pm) – Filed under: Free Speech,Gay Rights,Society ::

The aftermath of Proposition 8’s passage in California has put the spotlight on the glaring incivility of homosexual activists in the state.  Understandably disappointed, they’ve gone too far by staging high-profile personal attacks on individuals who sided against their cause. 

It seems that everyone in America mistakenly believes that they are entitled to have their every whim emblazoned into law.  What ever happened to the idea of bringing society’s questions to a vote and accepting the result afterward?  It’s certainly gone out of vogue, if it was ever in, and we’re the worse for it.

The irony of California’s unrest is that proximate cause of the current high was the state supreme court’s controversial decision to legalize gay marriage at the expense of an existing voter-approved ballot measure to the contrary.  Had the activists on the court simply accepted voters’ wishes the current situation would not have come to pass. 

In that respect the court’s ruling is similar to the one that initiated years of forced integration in the nation’s public school system.  Although busing was a largely failed effort that left cities half-empty and half-broke and helped create suburban sprawl without achieving significant social integration, desegregation at least dealt with a fundamental question of equality – the distribution of the tax-funded education system’s resources. 

Gay marriage does not and cannot meet the same standard for two reasons.  First, homosexuals in America are perfectly free to live the lifestyle they’ve chosen.  It’s even hip in certain circles to be gay.  Second, the issue as it’s framed is little more than an attempt to redefine the all-important institution of marriage so as to grant homosexuality a legitimacy it does not have on its merits.

If the discussion, if what’s going on in California can be termed such, were about rights of survivorship, inheritance, access to insurance benefits, or other such legal construct, I suspect that gays would have encountered much less resistance.  Certainly I would not be writing this article, if that’s any indication of the country at-large.

Instead, and suddenly, gay activists are publicly demonizing blacks, straights, Mormons, and the elderly as bad people who deserve to be ambushed in person and in print for daring to exercise their constitutional right to vote their conscience.  If that doesn’t epitomize the chilling of free speech I don’t know what does.

It’s one thing to disagree with a law, to work to have it overturned, and to march on City Hall.  But it’s quite another to accost and attack the opposition simply because your position – no matter how closely held – is rejected.

Writing about the crude behavior Chicago students toward a lone, daring McCain supporter, Katie Allison Granju says:

…most people  who express political disagreement via trashtalk somehow find a way to justify their own ugliness, blaming it on the opposition rather than owning their personal decision to resort to insults and nastiness as they try (and usually fail) to make their points.

Gays and lesbians are failing to make their point in California for exactly these reasons.  Their cause lost in the court of public opinion and they now think they can shout down and bully their opponents into compliance using sheer shrillness.  Not so.