February 3, 2005

anonymous call, a poison pen


I never forward emails - well, I forward all the ones that make fun of Duke University - but Tessa's best friend Jason just wrote a missive that I felt I needed to put on here. Jason happens to be a gay man who married his long-time partner Tim during that brief stretch of civility known as February 2004. In December, they adopted a baby they named Noah, and since then, the two of them have been juggling their jobs and the hair-losing craziness of raising an infant.

A few days ago, Jason sent out this email, and I wanted to share bits of it with you. Because of the fucked-up way the world works, a letter like this has intrinsic value coming from my blog, because, well, I'm not gay, I'm in a monogamous marriage with my wife, and I have absolutely nothing to gain from the defeat of any anti-gay legislation, other than the feeling this country may have a few good people left in it.

Here's his email:

I have spent a lot of time trying to express the situation we find ourselves in. Since Noah was born, this subject has become incredibly urgent for me.

I am writing to ask you to speak out against the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment," which is again being considered in Congress. The "pro-family" people behind the amendment are doing all they can to ban recognition of my family, despite the fact that it can only serve to hurt my son. They know this is true; the sad fact is, they don't care. Tim and I are tax-paying patriots just like you. In addition, I give a great deal of time to my city and state in not one, but two, volunteer public service positions. Yet, these people are seeking to permanently make Tim and me second-class citizens by denying us the basic civil right of marriage.

Please understand that this amendment would ban recognition not only of same-sex marriages, but of domestic partnerships, civil unions, or any other relationship that included the "incidents of marriage." The Amendment would force California, Vermont and Massachusetts to strip their citizens of any rights and protections afforded to same-sex and other "unmarried" couples.

Are you aware that it is dangerous for Tim and me to travel to visit family in Kentucky or North Carolina together because, were either of us injured or in need of hospitalization, the other could not only not visit but could not make vital medical decisions — despite the fact that we have been in a committed, monogamous relationship for nearly six years, share property, and have a son together. There is even some question of whether we would both be allowed to make decisions for Noah, should one of us be injured. (Now you know why we are hesitant to visit.)

This sad fact is true in most states. Same sex couples can not receive Social Security death benefits for a deceased loved one. Often, the surviving partner is subject to reassessment and higher taxes on a home they have shared for years — and that's only when both names were on the title; otherwise, partners often lose their homes because the state doesn't recognize partners as next of kin. I could go on and on. There are over 1,000 federal and state benefits to being married which you receive and I help pay for, but which I am denied. And this group wants to see that I am permanently unable to receive them.

This idea of marriage "protection" is crazy — and dishonest. We are not attacking the institution of marriage by seeking to be included in it. How could your marriage be harmed by mine? Will you get divorced if Tim and I get married? Please know that this is not a question of religious freedom, either. No law in any state would in any way force an unwilling church to perform a same-sex marriage. This is only about the civil institution of marriage, a basic service provided by states for their citizens. If same-sex marriage were legalized in your state, willing churches, like mine (All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena), which perform marriages or commitment ceremonies, would continue to do so; those that do not would not be required to start.

And yet, the President and others on his side know that they can get a lot of support by making you think you and your values are under attack. The truth is, Tim and I, and millions of couples like us, share your values. Why else would we work so hard to get married? So we can protect our family and teach our son about the meaning of commitment.

I am reminded of a famous quote by the Nazi propagandist Hermann Goering, who said, "it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked."

This is exactly what we're seeing in our government today — the systematic vilification of a group of citizens by playing on stereotypes and unfounded fears, just as the Nazis vilified the Jews and others. Please speak out before this nonsense gets worse. How far are we, really, from some right-wing nut in Congress asking to have same-sex couples detained before we "attack" more marriages? Is this so crazy? I imagine it sounded crazy in Germany in the ‘30s, too.

This amendment is wrong. Please let your representatives know how appalling and un-American this is. Please stand up for basic human decency. Stand up for democracy. Stand up for "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Click here to find your representatives and your senators and call their offices to ask them to vote against the "Marriage Protection Amendment."

(You'll need to know your Zip-Plus 4. If you don't know it, check any business envelope to you, click here to find it first.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and consider. It's a very serious matter for me and my family. Please think about it. And feel free to forward this letter.


Posted by Ian Williams at February 3, 2005 11:56 PM
Posted by: oliver at February 4, 2005 2:47 PM

Just for the record: The Nazi propaganda minister was Josef Goebbels (sp?) and that commonly misattributed quote wasn't him.

Posted by: Killian at February 4, 2005 2:50 PM

God, how I love this blog--I practically swoon with incoherence--today is a dreaded "writing" day for me, and I take inspiration from you, Ian, Tessa, and Jason and Tim, and everyone on this blog, for PROVING over and over again that words are what we have to protect and express our tender and tenuous lives; THANK YOU for sharing your stories.
I will make those phone calls to my reps in NC. TODAY.

Posted by: scruggs at February 4, 2005 4:00 PM

Oliver, yes Goebbels was minister of propaganda, but I think Goering (head of German airforce) is still the owner of the quote. It was said during the Nuremberg trials. Goering didn't make it to the trials, as he poisoned his kids then had he and his wife shot before they could be captured. Of course, I was a math major and could be remembering it wrong.

I would expect so many of the supporters of the ban don't even know one gay person. I wonder how their opinions would change if they saw the hurt and fear in the eyes of a loved one or pal. Its easy to get on a soapbox until it becomes personal. We've got great neighbors in our relatively gay-friendly city who are ready to move depending on what our state decides. This should be a no-brainer...there is a laundry list of things that would make my life nice and smooth: decent paying and reliable job, good schools for our kids, affordable housing, keeping big business from stomping on the little guy, healthcare for all, retirement plan, etc. Somehow speding an insame amount of time and resources to deny basic rights to loving, commited people who ultimately want the same things as I do seems less of a priority to me.

Posted by: oliver at February 4, 2005 4:34 PM

scruggs, yes, I agree. I meant I believe it is a common mistake to attribute it to the propaganda minister, which I think leads people to regard it as frankness rather than self-serving spin I'm inclined to read it being ("Draconian? Us? No, no, no. We just did a little message spinning is all.." )

Posted by: Laurie from Manly Dorm at February 4, 2005 4:55 PM

What I find truly heartbreaking is that at a time when so many Americans consider marriage to be utterly disposable (starter marriage, anyone?)and so many children are devastated by our American Culture of Divorce, folks like Tim and Jason are struggling for the right to honor their commitment and provide a strong foundation of love for their adorable baby . . . . only to get a big F-U from the government and our hypocritical society. Isn't it ironic that Tim and Jason honor the right to marry so much, while American society treats marriage like a piece of chewing gum -- to be enjoyed until the flavor runs out and then thrown on the sidewalk?

My husband is a court administrator for the Family Law Division in my county's circuit court, and you would be amazed at the amount of divorces that get finalized each week. No one works at marriage anymore, no one cares what affect it has on the children, and no one wants to be inconvenienced when marriage gets tough. The whole cycle is devastating, and the American family is broken as a result. I really believe that if same-sex couples were given the right to marry, Americans as a whole might start valuing the institution of marriage a little more. . .

Posted by: Martha at February 4, 2005 5:07 PM

Bravo Jason and Tim!! My partner and I have a two year old son (with another due any day) and while previously concerned about our lack of rights as a couple, these issues have become more urgent as we forge ahead into "family life". We frequently run up against some benefit or safeguard that we are not eligible for. We must travel with birth certificates, living wills, powers of attorney, etc to be sure we have a chance at the legal rights heterosexuals couples are granted unconditionally. I know I'm preaching to the choir but, brothers and sisters, talk this issue up with your "flock" and maybe, just maybe, the human decency we all know exists will prevail.

Ian, I love your blog. I feel as if I have a charming new friend.

Posted by: Bud at February 4, 2005 6:34 PM

Yes--bravo Jason and Tim!

And bravo Ian, for putting this up.

This is THE civil rights struggle of our generation, and how we handle it will define a lot about who we are.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some phone calls to make....

Posted by: KJF at February 4, 2005 6:51 PM

beautifully said. thank you for reminding me why this issue is so important to all of us.

Posted by: Greg at February 4, 2005 7:00 PM

The quote is correctly attributed...


Posted by: Greg at February 4, 2005 7:03 PM

Oops, I posted too quickly, Oliver is correct that Goering was not the Propoganda Minister...

Now, back to the subject of the post...

Posted by: Chris at February 4, 2005 8:17 PM

(New York, February 4, 2005) — A New York State court ruled today that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry, in a decision that Lambda Legal called “a historic ruling that delivers the state Constitution’s promise of equality to all New Yorkers.” Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit last year, representing five same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses in New York City.

In a 62-page decision issued this morning in New York City, State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan said that the New York State Constitution guarantees basic freedoms to lesbian and gay people – and that those rights are violated when same-sex couples are not allowed to marry. The ruling said the state Constitution requires same-sex couples to have equal access to marriage, and that the couples represented by Lambda Legal must be given marriage licenses.

“I was even more moved than I thought I’d be when I heard about this ruling. All of us cried – me, Mary Jo and our 15-year-old daughter. For the first time, our family is being treated with the respect and dignity that our friends, coworkers and neighbors automatically have,” said Jo-Ann Shain, a 51-year-old New York City resident who is a plaintiff in the case with her partner, Mary Jo Kennedy, 49. “Last week, Mary Jo and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary together, but we’ve never had all the protections and rights that come with marriage. We need these protections to take responsibility for each other and for our daughter, and we are enormously grateful that the court saw that and said our family should be treated equally.”

“This is a historic ruling that delivers the state Constitution’s promise of equality to all New Yorkers,” said Susan Sommer, Supervising Attorney at Lambda Legal and the lead attorney on the case. “The court recognized that unless gay people can marry, they are not being treated equally under the law. Same-sex couples need the protections and security marriage provides, and this ruling says they’re entitled to get them the same way straight couples do.”

In today’s ruling, Justice Ling-Cohan said, “Simply put, marriage is viewed by society as the utmost expression of a couple’s commitment and love. Plaintiffs may now seek this ultimate expression through a civil marriage.” The ruling (which is stayed for 30 days in case the city chooses to appeal) says the New York City clerk may no longer deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. If the city chooses to appeal the case, it has about a month to file a notice in state appeals court. Justice Ling-Cohan’s ruling also said, “Similar to opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples are entitled to the same fundamental right to follow their hearts and publicly commit to a lifetime partnership with the person of their choosing. The recognition that this fundamental right applies equally to same-sex couples cannot legitimately be said to harm anyone.”


Posted by: Terra at February 4, 2005 9:36 PM

Ian, I have the 62-page decision from today if you want it. Just let me know. It's great news.

Posted by: Sean M. at February 4, 2005 10:05 PM


Posted by: Nick at February 4, 2005 10:45 PM

It seems as if you are mistaken as to the purpose of this amendment. Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution, states are required to enforce the judgments of the courts of every state. The problem will occur when a married gay couple from Massachussets comes to my beloved North Carolina. The North Carolina courts will be forced to recognize this "marriage", which its citizens do not condone.

By sanctioning these marriages, one state can effect the constitution and laws of every other state in the Union. Such broad measures can only be the product of the United States Government. Whether the states are forced to conduct these marriages is not the issue. People will be able to circumvent the process by going to another state. The deomcratic process mandates that the elected representatives of the people enact legislation for their constituents.

If the people of a certain state believe marriage is between a man and a woman, then that should be the law of that state. If the people weren't worried about this issue, then the weaker of the two candidates would be in the White House right now.

Take a look at the problems you listed in your email. The hospital's refusal to allow a partner into the patient's room is based on their own policies. I feel that this is a legitimate complaint, but this issue is not one that requires the desecration of mankind's oldest institution. These problems can be addressed by initiatives of the hospitals and other areas of the law.

I believe that people should be able to do whatever they want within the privacy of their own homes. You are correct that all Americans are afforded the fundamental rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To this point, the United States Supreme court has failed to recognize any sexual conduct, heterosexual or homosexual, as a fundamental right. Until that happens, the government can do whatever they choose in limiting or sanctioning such conduct.

Posted by: oliver at February 5, 2005 4:32 AM

"To this point, the United States Supreme court has failed to recognize any sexual conduct, heterosexual or homosexual, as a fundamental right. "

Actually, I believe sexuality falls under the constitutional clause regarding "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." That's the thing being "desecrated" by the implicit legal smear that's painted on gay couples by these unconstitutional laws of exclusion. There's a word for "institutions of mankind" and it's called culture. What business is it of the state to define culture? Shall we pass a constitutional ammendment banning the application of the word "music" to John Cage or the Sex Pistols or whatever offends some people's sense of tradition?

Great news about that New York ruling. If legally it really comes to rest on the "freedom to ultimately express your love," though, I suspect we'll eventually have people agitating to marry cats and dogs, which I think might bring more conflict with conservatives.

Posted by: Piglet at February 5, 2005 6:23 AM

Yeah, right, Nick. As if a gay couple would ever go to North Carolina and get shot. What, do you think they're stupid?

This is why we have American Coastopia. So we can keep to ourselves, and the crazies can have their own corner to shit in.

Posted by: block at February 5, 2005 7:07 AM

Could I possibly be more on your side? I don’t think so.
It is amazing to me that “us het” folk, who by the way only succeed in the marriage thing 48% of the time, are attempting to pass this bullshit amendment! As far as I can see we have a lot to learn from you, and yours, and him…
I am embarrassed for my country right about now. Now doubt about it!!!!

Posted by: block at February 5, 2005 7:11 AM

And by the way… isn’t it interesting how SILENT the Democrats are being on this issue!!!

Posted by: Killian at February 5, 2005 3:13 PM

Haven't looked at the map recently, but isn't Chapel Hill an island resort in Coastopia? Or at least a safe haven?

Real reason for post: my dad (Lord love him)
called out of the blue last week and started talking about gay marriage--he's ALL for it, but suggests that if the hets--my term not his--want to keep the damn word ("marriage"),
let 'em--what he wants to see is all legal rights afforded to gay couples, and he's afraid the language might evoke too much resistance (See Nick's post). Hence his support of the term "union"--but, he insists, it's GOT to MEAN the same thing in the eyes of the law. Oh, if language could only DO that. . .

He also said that children DESERVE to be raised by loving parents, which he believes gay parents ARE, [and that they are most likely doing a better job than the hets, anyway] and that these not-yet legal-couplings DESERVE to be protected by the law.

This from a man who, with my mom, raised 5 kids (semi-succesfully or not, depending on who's shrink you talk to!)

He'd be thrilled by Jason and Tim's story and the beautiful picture; I'm forwarding him the post, and I'm sure he'll call his reps, too. But, Lord love him, HE lives in Alabama. See why I ran away from home? Maybe I should run back and help him spread the word??

Posted by: Nick at February 5, 2005 5:38 PM

I am certain none of you have studied the law, since the classic calling card of the demcratic party is shining through in some of your posts. Instead of knowing the law, you make it up. That is why people like oliver believe homosexual (and heterosexual for that matter) conduct is a fundamental right, which couldn't be farther from the truth. The Supreme Court has said so in plain English.

Keep your coastopia. I'll continue to stay around Chapel Hill to remind you how stupid you are on a daily basis. The only thing worth a shit in your coastopia is the New York Giants. NY and all those other states are second rate, compared to states like NC. I've lived in both of those, and I will never move up north again. That is why people come to NC and love it, whereas people go to the Northeast and can't wait to go home.

My question is this. If gays get the right to marry, what will the liberals have left to complain about? Ha, what am I thinking, of course you have plenty of ammo left, ready to ruin society that much more.

Posted by: KJF at February 5, 2005 6:33 PM

nick - trust me - we'll have plenty to complain about until January 2009. and as for your "certainty" that we coastopians have never studied the law.....wrong again. perhaps you need to check out the cases where the supremes cite marriage as a fundamental right.....loving v. virginia, zablocki v. redhall, turner v. saffley. now why don't you get back to writing love letters to the bush twins.

Posted by: Nick at February 5, 2005 7:24 PM

I never said anything about marriage not being a fundamental right. Yet again, give a liberal an inch, he'll ruin the whole world. If you read what I wrote, you would notice I was talking about homosexual conduct.

Of the cases you cited, the only ones I could find was Loving, a case involving a ban on interracial marriages.

Marriage is a fundamental right. All homosexuals have the option of getting married. Nobody has ever stopped them. It just has to be with a member of the opposite sex. That has been the law since the beginning of time.

Instead of engaging in a battle of intellect, perhaps you should go worship a shrine of the biggest loser of 2004, John F. Kerry.

Posted by: Jason at February 6, 2005 1:35 AM

Well. I'm glad Tessa mentioned that I should check the blog. I hadn't logged on for a while. Ian, I love you for posting my email.

I am almost inclined to stay out of the fray, but for the benefit of those people who are sitting on the fence on this issue and might be swayed because Nick’s argument has the ring of truth to it. I don't want to engage in an us-vs.-them debate, but it is a classic convention of right-wing rhetoric to reduces discussions of gay civil rights to talk about sexual behavior. Why are conservatives so obsessed with sex? The question of marriage equality in no way hinges on the protection of sexual conduct. If the fundamental legal question were about sexual conduct, presumably there would no legal impediment to, say, two gay men marrying if they both happened to be impotent.

Nick is entirely mistaken on all counts.

He first errs in describing the nature of the proposed Constitutional Amendment. It does not merely protect the right of one state to refuse to recognize the legal acts of another; in fact, it doesn’t do that at all. That is the nature of the Federal “Defense of Marriage Act,” passed in the 90s. Many legal scholars have held that the “DOMA” will not hold up to legal scrutiny when challenged, as it is at odds with the Full Faith & Credit clause of the Constitution. So in an effort to head off that Constitutional challenge, Allard & Musgrave, et al. have introduced the following proposed amendment: “`Marriage in the United States shall consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”

The amendment would remove the right of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, for example, to interpret the Massachusetts Constitution. It would usurp their authority, even going so far as to deny the Court's jurisdiction to recognize a right to alternative remedies and entitlements for same-sex couples. Effectively, it forces states like Massachusetts and California to remove protections previously afforded to their citizens.

Nick was dead wrong again, in asserting that “the United States Supreme Court has failed to recognize any sexual conduct, heterosexual or homosexual, as a fundamental right. “ Indeed, in Lawrence v. Texas, decided in June of 2003, the Court held, “the Texas statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct violates the Due Process Clause” (syllabus, Lawrence v. Texas). Therefore, private, consensual, noncommercial sex is indeed protected. Quoting from the decision itself:

“Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom
of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct.
The instant case involves liberty of the person both in its
spatial and more transcendent dimensions.

…It suffices for us to acknowledge that adults may choose to
enter upon this relationship in the confines of their homes
and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as
free persons. When sexuality finds overt expression in
intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be
but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring.
The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual
persons the right to make this choice.

…Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives
them the full right to engage in their conduct without
intervention of the government.”

But all this talk about sex is not really germane to the marriage question. That revolves around the issue of equal protection. Nick acknowledges a fundamental right to marry, and would have you believe that this right is fully protected for me because I can ask any woman to be my wife, notwithstanding the fact that I have no (romantic) affectional orientation toward women. This is absurd. As the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts noted, "the right to marry means little if it does not include the right to marry the person of one's choice.” The US Supreme Court – and society – will no doubt come to the same decision soon enough.

Finally, Nick uses that most tired of defenses for maintaining the status quo: “tradition.” Alas, there are so many traditions we have had to set aside because they were unjust, even when a majority supported them: slavery, anti-miscegenation laws, etc. Fortunately, the courts are charged with defending the rights of the few even in the face of the tyranny of the majority.

I’ll end with this final excerpt of the Lawrence decision, which addresses the need for the interpretation of law to evolve with the humanity it seeks to serve.

“Had those who drew and ratified the Due Process Clauses of
the Fifth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment known
the components of liberty in its manifold possibilities, they
might have been more specific. They did not presume to have
this insight. They knew times can blind us to certain truths
and later generations can see that laws once thought
necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the
Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke
its principles in their own search for greater freedom.”

Posted by: oliver at February 6, 2005 2:00 AM

Oh, so Nick wasn't just abusive and obtuse? He was lying too? Interesting. I'll have to tell his owners.

Posted by: Nick at February 6, 2005 2:55 AM

Jason, your Lawrence analysis is devoid of any applicability to the issue. The basic premise of Lawrence was that it is unconstitutional to selectively enforce a criminal statute on one group of people (homosexuals) when it goes unenforced to another (heterosexuals). The majority in that decision focused their analysis on the privacy issues it raised.

Thus, many states such as NC have (unenforced) anti-sodomy laws, which are perfectly constitutional because they apply to both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

Clearly your analysis is what my law professors would call "conclusory." You state an answer but don't give any support to it. Nowhere in Lawrence does the court explicitly state that sexual conduct is a fundamental right. They also declined to state that homosexuals are a class of individuals protected by the Constitution. What they did do is further the notion of privacy within the home, which all Americans should be thankful for.

It is also time for you to stop reading the Due Process Clause out of context. I will let you crack the books to read it for the first time; it is short. But the government can take away the rights of its citizens, as long as the method in doing so does not violate the Due Process Clause. Even so, the biggest problem here is that NO FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS are being violated.

Maybe its time to stop trying to put a square peg into a round hole. Marriage is for a man and a woman. The pecuniary reasons for promoting this fight are leading you in the wrong direction. Your efforts would be better spent fighting for individual rights which are afforded to married couples, a category to which homosexuals do not belong. A successful battle would be one where analogous privileges (that's really what it is all about) are granted to homosexual couples.

You should learn that you do not need a label to love someone. I will not love my girlfriend any more on the day I marry her than I do today, because Uncle Sam says she is my wife.

Better luck next time Jason.

Posted by: Jason at February 6, 2005 3:28 AM

Nick, your condescending attempt to close down the discussion once again misses the point. No one is seeking authorization to love; this is a fact over which the state has no control. Couples like Tim and me are seeking simple justice, for ourselves and for our son. As of yet, I've not heard an argument that justifies denying us a basic civil right.

And it looks as if you would do well to re-read Lawrence: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/02pdf/02-102.pdf The justices specifically determined that the State does not have the authority to dictate private, consensual behavior -- gay or straight -- so your assertion that NC's sexuality-neutral laws remain valid is, once again, all wrong.

It's really quite admirable that, like your president, you don't feel fettered by reality when making grand, forceful statements. Carry on, my brother!

Posted by: Nick at February 6, 2005 11:41 PM

Jason, your attempt to replace the law as written with your own flawed opinions is laugable. NC does have an anti-sodomy statute which is constitutional because a) it is not enforced, because enforcement would require policing private behavior in people's homes (the focus of the Lawrence opinion); and b) because it is written to include citizens, regardless of sexual orientation.

Of course, I doubt you will believe these facts, even though they come directly from the mouth of one of the best criminal attorneys in America. You would have to pay several hundred dollars an hour to listen to him, but luckily he speaks to my class three times a week.

Refusal to recognize the issues is what spells the ultimate failure of your quest. The law is simply not going to change because a FEW people feel it is wrong. This is evidenced by the massive support of the marriage amendment, which seeks to strengthen existing law.

You should allow attorneys to continue your fight, as they, not you, understand the law and how to create a cogent argument pertaining to the underlying issues.

Posted by: Salem at February 7, 2005 5:11 AM

Beautiful baby Noah, congratulations guys! Our 2 1/2 year old Lillie- Anne was looking over my shoulder as I read todays Blog entry. When she saw the picture of Tim and Noah, she quit screaming "barbi.com !, barbi.com!" and insisted I let her see the baby picture. The first thing out of her mouth was "where's the Mommy?". It was so easy to explain that Noah had two Daddies. At 2 1/2 it was very easy for her to understand the love that one or two Daddies have for their baby and each other. At 2 1/2 love makes sense to her. She probably would not understand why both Daddies couldn't hold Noah's hand if he ever had to be in the hospital. It will be much harder to explain when she asks me about a homeless person when we vist DC or if she accidently sees our local news with murders and abductions. Of course I need a picture of Jason, so she may see both Daddies. I hope we get to see baby Noah in NY this summer.

Posted by: KJF at February 7, 2005 6:29 AM

aah so nick reveals himself as a law student....how quaint! perhaps you should start studying early for the bar exam. and perhaps take a class in jurisprudence so you can have a greater understanding of the law and realize that it is not as black and white as you appear to believe. and while you are at it why not volunteer to work for legal aid so you can learn compassion and not be so righteous. now get back to your studies. you have a lot to learn.

Posted by: Salem at February 7, 2005 4:14 PM

Nick, I wonder if you are talking about the "FEW" people I keep reading about in history books. You know, like the "FEW" trouble makers in Birmingham, or the "FEW" white robed ones following Jesus? As a heterosexual/married man, I know that my marriage is more threatened by my
ability to manage and communiate my emotions than the existence of same sex marriages. I wish our government realized that they to are more of a threat to our citizens than Gay marriage.

Posted by: suzanne at February 7, 2005 5:10 PM

Nick-I was wondering what University of Phoenix's online law school was like.

Posted by: lee at February 7, 2005 9:02 PM

i'd like to stand up for NC for a moment, lest anyone think Nick has been appointed dictator. first of all, most people from nc, don't sound quite as uppity and asinine as nick, so I'm guessing, really, he's from somewhere else and has come to NC where he thinks he's found his "people" and can start laying his bigoted eggs. i'm from NC, lived here my whole life, eductated here and i pay a buttload of taxes to better my state. in fact, my tax dollars are supplementing your education, nick, you fuck wad, so why don't you open your pea brain and learn something.

Posted by: Jason at February 7, 2005 10:15 PM

I promised myself I wasn't going to weigh in again, but damn it, i just thought Lee's post was so funny I had to. How is it you could sum up in 4 short setnences what it took me two incredibly long posts to say??

And for old Nick...wrong again, Champy. Looks like you might be getting a bum deal on that pricy education there.

Doing that old GWB "if I say it, it'll be so" thing again, huh? Didn't work for the WMDs and it ain't working now.

I'll ignore the amusing argument that the NC law is Constitutional by virtue of the fact that it is unenforceable and jump right to the big potatoes:

There is simply not massive support for a Constitutional amendment. There is, in fact, considerable opposition. (Again, not that majority opinion always rules; as a young law student, you should know that one of the most noble roles of the judiciary is protecting the rights of minorities in spite of the contempt of the masses. See Brown v. Board of Ed., Loving vs. Va., etc.)

But here are the numbers on public support for a Constitutional amendment, you democracy-loving, power-to-the-people freedom fighter, you...

Quinnipiac University Poll. Dec. 7-12, 2004. MoE ± 2.5.
53% oppose amendment, 43% support

CBS News/New York Times Poll. Nov. 18-21, 2004. MoE ± 3
40% say same-sex marriage is important enough to amend the Constitution, a whopping 56% say it's "not that kind of issue"

University of Pennsylvania National Annenberg Election Survey. June 16-30, 2004. MoE ± 2.
48% oppose amendment, 43% support.

Shall I go on?

(Let me help you out here: what you meant to say is that there is broad, if not massive, public opposition to recognizing marriages between same-sex couples. That is true. Polls are running at about 60/40.)

Posted by: Paul Glaser at February 7, 2005 11:10 PM

I can't help but feeling a little responsible for all this...

Although I guess Jason did write the email. And I guess Ian did post it, so there were two wheels spinning in motion before I got mine going. And in the least, I'm definitely in good wheel spinning company :-)

So, after reading your email Jason, I decided to become pro-active the only way I know how.(by putting a note in my AIM profile) I think it went something like...”FUCK THE MARRIAGE PROTECTION AMENDMENT”. I thought it was direct, clear, concise, to the point, all that good stuff :-) Attached to each word were different links with articles about the marriage amendment. The very last word was linked to getting in contact with your local representatives and the link for the word “MARRIAGE” was to your letter on XTCIAN.(You can check out the AIM profile if you wish, dontIMpauly)

After that I went on with my day. Some people wrote to me about it. For it. Against it. Nuetral, what have you. But then. Then, I got an IM from one of my best friends in the world, Nick. Now, Nick and I have been friends for going on about 6 years now. We have staggeringly different views of the world and religion and the President, and in many a parallel universe I imagine we are not even acquaintances, let alone friends, but somehow we ran into each other partying in the greatest place in the world, Chapel Hill and we were bound together by the things that really matter in life: girls, playing, drinking, and a little something called UNC Basketball. On any given day, Nick and I can joke about how silly we are making our opponents look this year in basketball and then suddenly b/c of one ill-timed comment, can vaunt into a serious discussion about the rights of Gays in our society or any number of other Liberal/Conservative arguments that exist. Anyways, on this day he messaged me to check the XTCIAN Comments. And the rest of this story is how you say, history.

As I write this I am not sure if I should be asking for forgiveness or thanking myself. I did not mean to unleash a conservative onto the kind shores of Coastopia, but as I read the ‘back and forth’ very intelligent posts(from both sides) I am proud of all the knowledge and opinions I am being showered with. Just from these comments alone, I feel I am now one of the most informed Americans on the Marriage Protection Amendment and the many legal marriage issues through the history of our country.

This is one of those arguments that will simmer, reheat, rage, be served chilled, be served hot, and then simmer again for years to come. No matter what though, no one forget who the real enemy is. We play them Wednesday night and everybody better get on the right side of the lines by then. We all can say, Screw DU, right?

Posted by: Jason at February 7, 2005 11:59 PM

Pauly! How great to see your name. I hope you're doing well. All's fine in sunny LA. Nothing pleases me more than to hear that you feel well-educated on the dreaded MPA. Right on.

Thank you for the reminder that there are some things that transcend morality, ideology, and all manner of deeply-held convictions: Carolina basketball being chief among them. I'm sure Nick and I would be hard-pressed to get through a meal together, but we can kneel side by side at the Shrine of the Blue Heel and bow our heads in reverence to St. Dean and Father Roy. Go Heels...

Posted by: lee at February 8, 2005 12:02 AM

Thanks for your kind words, Paul. I do think, however, that it's easier to step back and look at the situation more philosophically when your life is not on the line. My partner could be in an accident tomorrow and be in a coma and I wouldn't be able to see her. Jason couldn't see his own child in the hospital. This is urgent for us. You can put your differences with Nick aside and be friends because you CAN. Regardless of what happens with DOMA, your life won't be affected one way or another. I don't mean this as any kind of harsh judgment of you... it's not that at all. It's just the way it is. I can't afford to say, "yeah, maybe things will be different in 30 years". That's the rest of my life. I want my partner to get my social security benefits I'm racking up if I die. And decisions are being made daily on my behalf that completely suck.
So thanks for keeping up the good fight and kick Nick in the shin for me next time you see him. Hard. I bet you sleep better than he does. Thanks!

Posted by: suzanne at February 8, 2005 12:32 AM

now lee, you know full well that if i am in an accident and in a coma, that you can come see me in the hospital... REMEMBER! last year we paid $1500 to an attorney to make us each a little "Health Care Power of Attorney" card that we have to carry in our wallets. everything will be just fine--unless of course, as I'm walking to the car to drive home, my wallet accidentally slips out of my jacket pocket and someone picks up my wallet, takes the cash and tosses the "useless" stuff that won't help them get a crack fix into a bush--and then, while driving home I accidentally have that accident and end up in the hospital in a coma. but hey, at least WE had the extra $1500 to make those cute little cards.

Posted by: Paul Glaser at February 8, 2005 1:30 AM

Nice hearing all of your thoughts on this. And by the way Jason, I am out here in LA as well. Living with 3 other guys in a nice little house in Burbank. Unemployed at the moment, but I am a potential juror in waiting for this whole week(and if I get picked, I think I get like 25 dollars a day!) and I just know things will be picking up soon :-)

Lee, really quick. I know where you are coming from. I never meant to belittle how urgent and important this is for you and Suzanne. I just kind of wanted to put some human perspective on it. Gay and Lesbian rights and issues hit very close to me, my twin sister is a lesbian and we are really just starting to delve into all the issues surrounding it. IMMEDIATE EXAMPLE: My profile with the link to this site is available for a few of my Aunts to see and some nieces and nephews. But b/c of how things are in America, they do not know about my sister's sexuality. I have to evaluate if they will check my profile and if they would ever read XTCIAN, click on comments and read this far down b/c if they did and saw this, it would erupt into a family-changing ordeal. I hate that so much.

I am at the point where I feel if my grandparents can't accept how culture has evolved and would truly disown my only sister for being gay, then they can go fuck themselves. It sounds funny to say and even disrespectful probably, but that's just how it goes. My sister is everything and I want her to have everything she wants in this world and in this life.

So please believe me, though I am able to stand back and breathe about this and still loving being around my friend Nick, I do hold my beliefs and convictions close to my heart. And I will fight with all my heart and soul to defend the beliefs I believe in.

And one other point about it. It has been hard for me ever since John Kerry lost in November. I don't know what it really means for the world. I hate accepting how differently my thoughts are from the majority of the country. And thinking about the idea that the good guys don't always win. It's really quite disturbing. I see christianity taking over the U.S. government due to fear tactics about what Muslims want to do to us and all our freedoms. It's bullshit. America turning into a theocracy is such a scary thought, it makes me not want to leave my house sometimes.

After I thought about all this for a very long time though, I just kinda decided that it all was going to be okay. It has to be. I think it is a feeling similar to ones slaves must have had, and women after that, and blacks after that. Although, I have been ready since I was born to accept all people, regardless of gender, color, sexual orientation some people aren't there yet in their human journey. Everyone has a chance for enlightenment and I do believe everyone will be enlightened. To a slave in the 1800's, things must have always looked bleak and sad and terrible, but at the same time that same slave must have seen a glimmer of hope that things would one day change for her and her family and sometimes it is just better to think about that one glimmer of hope and let that keep you going for a while.

Away from this, I am taking the glimmers of how cool all the people posting comments to this site are. And that comforts me and energizes me to fight another day.

P.S. Get duplicate "Health Care Power of Attorney" cards!

Posted by: lee at February 8, 2005 3:18 AM

Thanks, Paul. And good luck to you and your sister!

Posted by: Scott at February 9, 2005 3:59 AM

Not true about the inability to visit a loved one in the hospital (or even a friend, for that matter). If he's in ICU you must be married or blood relatives in some hospitals in N.C., but that is not enforced if you have a health care power of attorney prepared. As an attorney, I can tell you we prepare these all the time and charge $25.00. This is a statutory form giving an individual health care decision-making authority over you if you're unable to communicate your own wishes or are incompetent.

Other than that, very moving story.

Posted by: suzanne at February 9, 2005 4:45 PM

sounds like Lee and I got ripped off. Too bad you completely missed the point.

Posted by: Deni at February 23, 2005 10:31 PM

I found this bog completely by mistake in a google search. I am so happy that I did. Jason, I hope that you and Tim and Noah have a long and happy family life together. Having a gay sister and gay sister-in-law, I am of course in favor of gay marrages. My sister raised two children with her partner of 20 years and they turned out great! As a matter of fact, her relatonship has outlived the marriages of all but 2 of our siblings (there are 6 of us), mine included! As with Salem's child, my daughters and son are very open minded. When my daughter had only Barbies she had a wedding with two of them. Once she got a Ken doll, she married him off to a different girl. When asked why Ken didn't marry one of the other, already married girls she said that the two girls were happy that way and that was okay with her. That was 10 years ago, and she still feels the same way. Glad I stumbled onto this blog, and I hope Nick can open his mind just a bit. The fresh thoughts might do him some good.

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