Sara Whitman

As Good As it Gets

Filed By Sara Whitman | January 22, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics

It really is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I can't shake the feeling of being cornered right now. My little safe state is no longer what I thought it was. Where to go?

Ok, I really was thinking about Costa Rica. Alas, they have crummy LGBT rights, too. Then I think, damn, might as well move to Florida and be near Jeanine's family. Maybe I'll go sell insurance after all. (Her sister owns an insurance business where the whole family works.)

Not such a bad thing. The weather is warmer, and if I'm going to be represented by idiots, might as well have the sun. Charlie Crist is a gay man, after all. Sure, a big ol' closeted one but we all know he's queer. My marriage license won't travel but I spent almost 14 years without one.

There is no where to go. Iowa has its own issues. Vermont is colder with more snow. New Hampshire is too scary with all those guns around. Connecticut? I don't like white wine spritzers.

Maybe I'll just go out and get a new cat. Distract myself from feeling so miserable about the future. I can see it all now - 2010 elections will be a blood bath. People will beg for donations to political candidates and the same damn thing will happen - we'll lose. Then the Presidential campaign will heat up, more demands, more panic, more running around trying to get people to understand basic economics. No, Obama did not create this. Bush did.

No one will remember anything more than their last VISA card payment.

The Republicans will anoint Scott Brown savior of the Grand Old Party and elect him to run against Obama. I'm not sure a new kitten can quite wash away the future image of Brown as President, Massachusetts' native son - another wad of spit on the Kennedy legacy.

I know, I know. We're all suppose to be revved up and ready to go. Brown only has two years in this seat. It's not any better anywhere else. No where else do I have my wonderful friends all around me.

Blah blah blah.

My instinct is to run. Find somewhere safe.

What I realize is... this is as good as it gets.

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My comment applies to the Prop 8 fight only in a future setting, and only if the defendants in the current federal trial lose: The United States Supreme Court.

Since the current president took residency in the Oval Office, Justice Kennedy - frequently the "swing vote" in previous cases - has come down squarely on the conservative side of the court. Yesterday, he joined the majority in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, paving the way for future elections to simply be purchased by big oil, big insurance and big (fill-in-the-blank) by affording First Amendment rights to corporations - effectively moving corporations from one status (legal entity) to another (legal person).

Where Prop 8 is concerned, Kennedy has already sided with the conservatives in blocking television transmission of the case to other federal courtrooms. In other "gay rights rollback" ballot initiatives that, during the passage (and post passage) process, have been argued in court, Kennedy has sided with the majority in killing public records requests from the gay side, most especially in squelching revelation of the names of those who've provided financial support for the "gay-rights rollback" initiatives.

When and if Prop 8 gets to the Supreme Court (if 8 is struck down as unconstitutional at the federal level, I predict the Justices will hear the case next year), there's no reason to expect Kennedy will suddenly switch sides; the conservatives will win, much like Dred Scott and Bowers v. Hardwick, the current Justices will, by a majority of one, find some reason to "constitutionally" exclude the homosexually oriented from, essentially, full citizenship.

Meh, I'm more pessimistic about that one. Maybe the gay side will get two justices. Most decisions, the less controversial ones that get little attention, haven't been splitting 5-4.

Also, about citizen's united, it didn't establish corporate personhood. That was established in the late 19th century. The court only upheld it, but took a more expansive view of the first amendment (and didn't apply a narrower decision that they could have) than previous courts. But corporations were always people.

The nation will end up doing whatever our leaders, the corporations, tell us to.

With the latest Supreme Court decision, allowing unlimited corporate spending for candidates, we will end up electing whoever we are TOLD to elect by our "betters".

If it becomes good business to tolerate any number of queers -- the nation will do that. If all us queers are seen as a suitable scapegoat -- the nation will do that.

Right now, I believe our Republic is at stake, along with any possibility for us gaining full citizenship. In the future, I'm afraid that will be decided by the whim of some corporate overlord.

Steve Ribisi | January 22, 2010 1:14 PM

This morning, prior to reading this post I searched the net to see if anyone is talking about rolling back marriage equality in Massachusetts. I'm sure that very goal is on some minds right now, but I hope that such an effort would fail here. I think Senator Brown will be happy to make problems for LGBT folks if the opportunity presents itself in the senate, but I don't think that the majority of those who voted for him would be ready to turn on their LGBT neighbors here at home. I hope I am correct in my assessment that the climate here in Massachusetts is, on the whole, friendly to us, our relationships and our families. We'll see.

My husband and I were together for twelve years before we married in 2005 in Massachusetts. We only got married to provide protection for our children and to gain access to benefits through my husband's employer. The chance to be legally married wasn't supposed to mean a lot to me. My relationship with my husband means a lot to me and we never had, nor required, any legal recognition. Yet, somewhere along the way being married just started to feel right.

I am really worried about the prop 8 trial. I don't really know how I'll feel if SCOTUS rules against us. What will I say to my children? Will my marriage suddenly be invalidated? I don't know why that prospect should bother me so much, but it does.


The current trial will determine only one thing: whether Proposition 8, enacted by the voters of California for the citizens of California, is legal within the confines of the United States Constitution.

However, if the federal trial determines Proposition 8 violates the United States Constitution, it would carry the implication the federal Defense of Marriage Act is also unconstitutional.

Unless, and until, SCOTUS would accept a case challenging DOMA, the outcome of the Prop 8 (if the outcome is in favor of the Plaintiff, and Prop 8 is deemed unconstitutional, federally) could be used in other jurisdictions - both state and federal - in an attempt to invalidate those other jurisdictions' own "defense of marriage" laws and state constitutional amendments.

If the Plaintiff is successful, and if another jurisdiction would render a decision in another case upholding a "Defense of Marriage Act" law or state constitutional amendment, then SCOTUS would be, almost, forced to hear a challenge to the constitutionality (federal) of DOMA (and, consequently, every DOMA law or amendment in every state that has such a law or amendment).

As far as Massachusetts, in particular, yes, there is currently an attempt to repeal civil marriage equality.

It's Gallagher and NOM, of course. They're petitioning lawmakers to introduce a "Protect Marriage" constitutional amendment during the upcoming session, and citing their victory in Maine as "proof" all of "New England" is against same-sex marriage, despite their losses in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Now, if and when SCOTUS does hear a case concerning DOMA, and if SCOTUS would determine DOMA to be constitutional, it would not automatically repeal your state's laws. It would mean that, as far as the federal government is concerned, you are not married, so therefore, not entitled to any of the benefits the federal government grants married persons: inheritance, Social Security, filing joint tax returns, etc.

But I'd bet money, now, that if SCOTUS determined DOMA to be constitutional, it wouldn't take two election cycles for those states who have granted marriage equality to have that equality repealed.

What do you tell your kids if that should happen, and assuming your children are still either pre-teen or "tween"?

If it were me, I'd simply say: "You know, I've heard Toronto is a beautiful city, and there's lots of great things to do!"

I no longer live in MA, but I lived their for 14 years or so. Really, the new Sen. isn't going to overturn rights gays & lebians have that were passed locally.

There have been many Republicans who won statewide elections in MA. A procession of recent Governors, really. Perhaps I'm more sanguine as I never felt it was my safe little state. Nor would I if I returned, being a trans person. Though, there's little chance of my returning for the same reason.

The Supreme Court decision expanding corporate personhood scares the hell out of me - and I wouldn't mind if people in MA focused more on what some still don't have over what others have that really isn't at risk.

Brown doesn't have a vote in the MA Assembly. You're all quite safe. He may be part of screwing the rest of us around the country who don't enjoy statewide protections & were hoping for federal legislation. But gays & lesbians in MA can sleep well.

Of course, if I'm wrong - my dream of trans people in MA finally enjoying equity with lgbt folks will be realised.

Eh, Coackley deserved to lose.

That's what Democrats deserve when they don't even get their campaigns started because they think the D beside their name will carry them into the seat easily in some states.

Especially when you have one debate conductor say "Kennedy's seat" only to give Brown the opportunity to retort that it's "the people's seat".

Because it is the people's seat, not Kennedy. The Democrats do not deserve seats, they earn them. And the plain fact is that the party has been wholly ineffective in engaging the constituents. They may talk a lot about the little man, but Democrat approaches to campaigning, legislation, and outreach have been elitist and obscure.

They also kinda lost credibility. You know that when you vote for a Republican, he will vote a certain way on some issues, and even with a filibuster-vulnerable majority will get legislation passed how they want.

Not so with Democrats. They've been flip-flopping on about every campaign promise and platform position, and that loses you the people that would be voting for you.

First Obama was roaring about a public option needing to be in the bill. Then they gutted the public option out.

DADT? Obama's guy just suggested it be put off beyonf 2010. Charming.

ENDA, a garbage legislation which doesn't include housing and services, hasn't even gotten passed. I almost hope it doesn't pass because it will be just like the watered down healthcare reform; they'll pass a merely symbolic but insignificant measure and call it a day for the next decade.

DOMA? Really? Forget about repeals.

UAFA? Backburner.

Our "progressive" Democrat allies in immigration reform didn't include same sex partner provisions since "there was no community consensus; we need to talk about it more".

Translation: These [email protected] crossing the borders illegally don't like you faggots to well to be associated with you in legislation.