29 February 2012

Who's "revolutionary" now?

The national government of the United Kingdom officially recognizes same-sex relationships. However, these UK relationships are a "separate-but-equal" arrangement called "civil partnerships." UK CP's ostensibly have all the legal incidents of true marriage, rendering them legally a distinction without a difference.*

The difference arises from certain straight people's compulsion to relegate gay people into a second-class status that marks them as quantifiably different and thus unworthy of sharing a truly equivalent legal status. Thus, this "separate-but-equal" distinction — while perhaps legally negligible — is in reality, profound.

The profundity of that distinction was noted by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954's landmark Brown v. Board of Education, and has likewise not escaped notice by a swath of intelligent people throughout UK. Witness this exchange from a British news program:

The speakers are James Max and Carole Malone. Given the current state of American politics, you'd be forgiven for assuming Max and Malone are a couple of bleeding-heart liberal ivory-tower intellectuals, if not a couple of gay activists.

That is not the case: Max is a pro-banker business journalist and Malone is a right-wing commentator.

Can you imagine an analogous conversation happening in the United States — a nation with actual Constitutional guarantees of legal equality and longstanding doctrinal (if not Constitutionally mandated) separation of church and state?

Me either.

(* This effect is dramatically different from a "civil union" or "domestic partnership" or another of these other "not-marriage" creatures invented by a few states in the United States. A couple CP'd under English law remains CP'd as they travel the length and breadth of their country, while a couple "unioned" under Illinois law revert to legal strangers the moment they cross the state border. A couple CP'd under English law have testimonial privilege, equal rights under immigration law, tax law, probate law, and full access to the other's pensions and survivor's benefits, while individuals bound in a state "not-marriage" get none of this due to a federal law called The Defense of Marriage Act, a law President Obama bizarrely believes to be both unconstitutional and enforceable.)

09 February 2012

Do Mormons ever stop lying?

Naturally, the Mormon church is absolutely crushed by yesterday's holding from the Ninth Circuit that California's Prop 8 was unconstitutional — seeing as they worked so hard on behalf of discrimination.

Here's the statement the Mormon church issued via mormonnewsroom.com ("the official resource for news media, opinion leaders and the public"). The first paragraph is absolutely priceless:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today’s decision. California voters have twice determined in a general election that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We have always had that view. Courts should not alter that definition, especially when the people of California have spoken so clearly on the subject. [emphasis mine]
Mormons have always had the view that marriage is between a man and a woman?

This bogus "religion" was founded by convicted fraud and confabulist Joseph Smith, a man who swore that an angel actually held him at swordpoint and forced him, on pain of damnation, to marry multiple women.
The same God that has thus far dictated me and directed me and strengthened me in this work, gave me this revelation and commandment on celestial and plural marriage, and the same God commanded me to obey it. He said to me that unless I accepted it, and introduced it, and practiced it, I, together with my people would be damned and cut off from this time henceforth. We have got to observe it. It is an eternal principle and was given by way of commandment and not by way of instruction. [emphasis mine]
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Contributor, Vol. 5, p. 259
Eventually Smith would marry at least 33 women and girls; among them 10 teenagers (between 14 and 19) and 5 sets of sisters — one pair that were his foster daughters. Some of the adult women this lecherous scumbag wed were already married to some of his followers.

Not to be outdone, Smith's successor, Brigham Young, married 55 women and girls; among them 10 teenagers (between 14 and 19) and this pig didn't mind marrying some other poor dumbshit's wife either.

Even for the era, this was all very, very bizarre and creepy. Polygamy was already illegal in every state when the Mormons started doing it, and the average age of a woman during her first marriage in 1890 was 22*. Marrying a 14-year-old back then was about as fucked up as it is today.

Mormons finally abandoned the "eternal principle" of multiple marriage when they were force to concede that courts actually do have the power to legally alter their definition of marriage.

And speaking of courts, the dissent in the Prop 8 case came from Judge N. Randy Smith who thought it perfectly rational and Constitutionally valid for Californians to vote gays out the US Constitution.

Judge Smith is a graduate of Brigham Young University.

(*During Shakespeare's time the average age was 27, during the American Revolution 25.1, and currently it's 25.3 — the point being this average is rather more consistent that one might expect, and certainly older that you've probably been led to believe.)