Thursday, 6 November 2008

In Other News...

Although this only affects TS and IS people indirectly, it still doesn't augur well.

Arizona Proposition 102:
Ban on Gay Marriage
This measure would amend the state constitution so that only a union between one man and one woman would be valid or recognized as a marriage in the state. A similar measure was on the ballot in 2006 but failed.

PASS 56:44

Note that "man" and "woman" are terms not defined, so may or may not apply to TS and IS people, depending on whatever the legislature may decide this week.

Arkansas Initiative 1:
Ban on Gay Couples Adopting Children
This measure would prohibit unmarried "sexual partner[s]" from adopting children or from serving as foster parents. The measure specifies that the prohibition applies to both opposite-sex as well as same-sex couples.

PASS 57:43

There are 3000 orphans up for adoption in Arkansas, and only 1000 couples who qualify now. Discrimination is more important than Children's welfare.

California Proposition 8:
Ban on Gay Marriage
This measure would amend the state constitution to specify that only marriages between one man and one woman would be recognized as valid in the state. If passed, the measure would trump a May 2008 ruling by the California Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage.

(Provisional) PASS 52:48

This is the first time that a state constitution has been explicitly amended to remove existing human rights.

Florida Amendment 2:
Ban on Gay Marriage
This measure would amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. In order to amend the Florida constitution, 60 percent of voters must vote in favor of the amendment.

PASS 62:38

This measure also precludes giving any of the rights associated with marriage, such as hospital visitation or pension benefits, to unmarried couples whether same- or mixed-sex.

And in Hamtramck, from the Citizen :
Hamtramck voters join nation in coming out in record numbers
“I’m voting no,” said Jonathon Richards. When asked why he replied, “I just do. It goes against my personal world view. … I don’t agree that (gays) should have equal rights. They shouldn’t be allowed to share benefits.”

When asked if the civil rights movement of the 1960s was in any way related to gays fighting for rights Richards said no.

“That was race, gays have a choice,” Richards said. “Many of the homosexuals I know have had some situation, or I’ve heard some horror story where they had a major change in their life that made them gay.”

He said that he doesn’t feel that they should be allowed to share benefits if they live together. Richards has lived in Hamtramck for five years.
Ahmed also said he’d vote against the “Human Rights” ordinance, saying there are already state and federal laws protecting people. “Why do another one?” he said.

(Editor’s note: the most controversial part of the ordinance grants anti-discrimination protection for gays and lesbians. There are no Michigan or federal laws giving them protection.)
Consequently, from the Detroit News:
Residents on Tuesday repealed a controversial human rights ordinance that's less than a year old.
The ordinance, approved by the City Council in January, bans discrimination in areas such as housing, employment and city contracts. It includes protection for sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
Hamtramck was the 17th Michigan municipality to provide some sort of nondiscrimination protections, including Royal Oak, Ferndale, Birmingham, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Detroit, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Saginaw and Grand Rapids.

"We don't want any group to get special freedom and discriminate ourselves," said Akm Rahman, co-chairman of Hamtramck Citizens Voting No to "Special Rights."

"This is unnecessary. We have a lot of other things that need to be done (such as) taxes, crime and economic development. Those are more important issues."
And yet it's important enough to get a ballot specifically to remove existing Human Rights. We understand. Michigan, by the way, voted 57:41 for Obama. Some issues transcend Blue and Red.


Battybattybats said...

"This measure also precludes giving any of the rights associated with marriage, such as hospital visitation or pension benefits, to unmarried couples whether same- or mixed-sex."

(unkind expletive)!

Boy did they sure get hoodwinked there! I bet there must be a lot of defacto couples who are going to regret that vote when they realise what they've done to themselves!

And minority groups everywhere should be quaking in their shoes now as everyone has been put at risk now that equal rights can be rolled back.

There should have been one heck of a fear-campain about that.

A lot of people shot themselves in the foot.

Anonymous said...

Did you catch the nice op-ed piece in my hometown paper this morning, Zoe?

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the presidential vote figures were for Hamtramck.

I was just looking at some of the 2000 census data for Hamtramck ...





... very interesting and suggesting to me possible reasons for the voting result on the anti-discrimination ordinance.

David J said...

The transcending of Red and Blue applies in California as well: provisional figures from Wikipedia:

Obama 6.1 million votes
McCain 3.7 million votes

Prop 8 YES 5.3 million votes
Prop 8 NO 4.8 million votes

Unless huge numbers of people cast a ballot for President but did not vote on Prop 8 (or vice versa), that indicates that up to 800 000 Obama supporters (over 10% of his voters) voted to ban gay marriage in California.

This should be troubling for liberals and progressives who imagine that opposition to gay marriage only comes from white rednecks. It's easy to hate and demonise people on the other side of an election campaign, but it's confusing when people on your side turn out to have greatly different views to you on social issues.

(FWIW, if I were a voter in the USA I would have voted for None Of The Above)

Zoe, as a relatively conservative person yourself do you have any thoughts on how to reach some of the more reasonable people who oppose gay marriage?

SarasNavel said...

Two things to note:
First, Prop 8 did not AMEND the CA Constitution, it MODIFIED it, which is not legal unless the Legislature has approved it first. The difference being that an ammendment adds something; a restriction, a right, whatever, to current law. A modification on the other hand actually ignores whatever has been previously passed into law by the Legistlative branch. A technicality to be sure, but I'll take it.

Second, the seemingly odd vote distribution is not so odd once you realize that while campaigning, Obama explicitly stated that "I believe marriage is between a Man and a Woman". He later quietly and vaguely said that he was against Prop 8-type modifications but the damage was done; his statement was even used on election day in robocalls to remind Democrats to vote. Finally, no effort had been made to reach out to black voters and they voted 70% for Prop-8, the largest demographic group to do so.

David J said...

sara, according to the Wikipedia article on Proposition 8 (see second paragraph), the California Supreme Court has already refused a petition to strike Proposition 8 from the ballot on the grounds that it is a revision rather than an amendment. It's difficult to see a court choosing to take up an issue once it's already ruled.

I personally don't think the vote distribution is odd, but I do think that many people who think that Obama is Great Liberal Hope will be surprised. I didn't know that Obama had said that about marriage, but it doesn't surprise me either - I understand that many African-American voters are socially conservative.

What I think will be interesting is how people who support gay marriage will deal with the fact that their opponents are far nearer to them than they thought. It's very easy to write of opponents of gay marriage as bigoted rednecks, but when those opponents of gay marriage ALSO voted for the candidate who was overwhelmingly supported by social liberals, those social liberals have a lot of thinking to do.

This is one problem that can't just be solved by blaming Bush, Rove and Palin.

Unknown said...

stephanie, good point(s). I lived in the Detroit area in the '70s and early '80s and Hamtramck had a reputation of being populated mostly with blue-collar, arch-conservative Eastern European (Polish and Czech) cold-war refugees and their families. Those statistics are consistent with that still being the case. My memory is that they voted overwhelmingly for Reagan both times, with most of the rest of Detroit and its suburbs leaning the other way. The surprise for me in their vote to repeal a nondiscrimination ordinance was that they had one to repeal in the first place. That doesn't mean it's not bad news, but to me it's sort of "dog bites man" news.

Anonymous said...

The difficulty is that "marriage" refers to a legal agreement and also to a religious sacrament.
On the legal side, I have no problem with with gays or anyone else having access to all the legal benefits. I don't even see why there has to be a marriage commitment--why couldn't I add my sister, or my friend, to my insurance as long as I can pay the premium? If Alice is helping raise Bob's children, shouldn't she get some benefit even though she and Bob are not marrried?
On the religious side, though, I can't condone people being forced to accept something which they believe is sinful. Moslems think drinking wine is sinful. They shouldn't burn down my local wine shop but I also shouldn't force them to hire a bartender.

Zoe Brain said...

The Moslem/wine thing is a good analogy. Would it be reasonable to have a constitutional amendment to stop everyone from drinking wine or eating pork?

Muslims don't have to accept the drinking of alcohol in their own lives. They do have to accept that others don't hold the same beliefs, or at least, they have to accept it in parts of the USA. Even those counties which are "dry" only forbid the sale of liquor, not its consumption, right?

Laserlight, it may not have occurred to you, but my marriage is now invalid in California.

And should we ever travel to Florida, same-sex partnerships have been deemed so contrary to public policy that there is now a specific constitutional provision preventing the implementation (though not the existence) of things like powers of attorney between my partner and I. Those legal instruments still exist, and are valid, but putting them into effect, acting on them, is not just illegal but unconstitutional. A specific exemption.

We *dare* not go there, in case one of us has an accident, *because* we are married. Had we not been, then yes, a power of attorney could have protected us.

Anonymous said...

I was really annoyed about this as I saw it unfold. It's great that Obama has been elected, but his victory is tainted by the travesties of justice that are these same sex marriage bans. Shame on you, America. The mormon church has really done a number on you guys.

Laserlight said...

Zoe, go back and read my second paragraph before you get too worked about the third.

Laserlight said...

And, no, I'm not suggesting that our laws make sense Frequently they don't. But the "good" news is, it's getting worse, so I'm sure in twenty years this will have been "The Good Old Days".