On my mind

It’s been a while, a long while, since I’ve posted here. Not because I don’t have opinions, mind you. There were holidays and busy times and rehearsals for the show I’m in (Secrets of a Soccer Mom at the Boulevard Theatre through March 29), but let me try to catch you’n’s up on some big gay issues.

Proposition 8 in CA—Oral arguments before the CA Supreme Court were held today, and the court will issue an opinion within 90 days. Don’t go thinking this is just about whether gays can marry. The same court ruled last year that they could—that it was a constitutional right in California. The argument is really over whether a simple vote can overturn what the court has ruled is a constitutional right. Amending a constitution shouldn’t be that easy, because it allows for all sorts of absurd scenarios, such as simple votes deciding where non-English speakers should live, or declaring that only people taller than 5’10” may teach in public schools, or only redheads can get jobs as waiters and waitresses. Tyrrany of the majority, anyone?

Domestic partnership in WI—Gov. Doyle has proposed in his budget to create a statewide domestic partnership registry as a way to raise a little revenue in exchange for some protections for same-sex couples such as inheritance rights, freedom to make medical or end-of-life decisions, and a few other provisions for which the wife and I had to spend a couple thousand to have a lawyer draw up for us. The so-called pro-marriage forces are up in arms, saying the proposed perks—less than 50 out of the 200 or so in our state for married couples—are “substantially similar” to marriage. Uh huh. Never mind that the nebulous phrase was never defined; they just KNOW that this is too close. Also never mind that the same folks practically swore on their mothers’ souls that the amendment wouldn’t invalidate the state being able to throw a few bones to the gays. And, never mind that polls in 2006 (the year the amendment passed) and more recently have found that although WI likes marriage defined as man + woman, WI also thinks it’s o.k. for same-sex couples to have legal protections. The pro-amendment types, besides being on the wrong side of history, are really on the wrong side of this proposal.

What to do with books about gay teens?—Why, remove, restrict, or negate them, of course! That’s what a West Bend woman is trying to do at her local library. Now, to be serious, the public has a right to challenge that any item in a library be removed or have its usage restricted for any number of reasons, but this woman wants a bucket list: Remove a couple of titles for what she terms pornographic passages and/or promoting homosexuality; include some books from so-called ex-gays on dealing with “unwanted same-sex attraction”; and remove or password-protect a booklist of gay/lesbian-themed material that is posted on the library website. (Yes, Mom and Dad, synopsis blurbs can turn your kids gay!) Point of fact—some prominent people in the “ex-gay” camp didn’t stay “ex” for very long, and they went back to being just plain gay. Point of opinion—anyone so concerned with “unwanted same-sex attraction” probably has felt or is feeling it personally, as several disgraced lawmakers and preachers have shown.

Open carry law—Carrying a concealed weapon isn’t legal in Wisconsin, but carrying openly is. Still, a West Allis man had to sue after being arrested for disorderly conduct because he was carrying a securely holstered handgun as he worked on his own property. We might be seeing more such cases if the officers of the law don’t become more aware of the law they’re supposed to be enforcing. What does this have to do with gays? Well, I hope to write another post soon on “what the gun nuts could learn from the queers.” Hint: coming out is the first step.