How to miss the point: Lesson 1 July 13, 2013
Don’t get me wrong: I love the Guardian newspaper. But I can only hope Tim Lott’s column today is a poor attempt at a spoof:
This week I am going to write about the biggest taboo in relationships I know… I’m going to write about money. Money in marriage is incendiary. It involves issues of power, feminism, patriarchy, trust and much besides. I have tried to write this column once before and had it flatly vetoed by my wife because she felt that the ground I was treading on was too dangerous.
Sensible wife. Tell me, why did she think it was too dangerous?
This column appears only after an emotional and sometimes painful back-and-forth about the subject. She accused me of sexism, while I suggested she was using double standards (I asked her, in her imagination, to switch the gender roles to see how it would look then).
Ah. I expect she found that reassuring. When people suggest that I switch gender roles in my imagination, I feel totally reassured they’re not being sexist.
My wife works as a part-time associate lecturer and, like many part-time workers, who are predominantly women, tends to be discriminated against in terms of financial reward and employment opportunities. I, on the other hand, am reasonably well paid for challenging but not backbreaking work.
Probably not unusual. So tell me, Tim, what are the implications for your family’s home life?
My wife does more of the childcare, cleaning and cooking than me. This is predominantly for practical reasons. She is physically at home for a lot more of the time than I am and, with a part-time career, she has more hours available. She also tackles all the laundry, having rejected my offers of participation in that area after I shrunk a cashmere sweater, pegged it out incorrectly and turned a dazzling white load grey.
Oh! Of course. Those pesky practical reasons why women do more childcare, cleaning and cooking. And of course, all your talent for challenging but not backbreaking work doesn’t mean you could learn to wash a sweater.
The income inequalities also mean that if there’s a big expense, like a foreign holiday or house improvements, I tend to have the last say. She feels that infantilises her, as she needs to “ask me”… My wife says that my having more money than her makes me feel powerful. She’s right – up to a point. It gives me an area of control, although I don’t think I use it in order to control. I just think that some form of imbalance is inevitable.
Unbelievable. I just don’t even know where to start. Go read it for yourself.
DOMA ruled unconstitutional June 26, 2013
DOMA cannot survive under these principles. Its unusual deviation from the tradition of recognizing and accepting state definitions of marriage operates to deprive same-sex couples of the benefits and responsibilities that come with federal recognition of their marriages. This is strong evidence of a law having the purpose and effect of disapproval of a class recognized and protected by state law. DOMA’s avowed purpose and practical effect are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.
DOMA’s history of enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence.
Read the decision, here.
Marriage Equality in the UK: Big Progress February 5, 2013
It’s passed the House of Commons by a huge majority. Now on to the House of Lords. Of course, philosopher Roger Scruton was on the wrong side of this one, with the argument that “gay marriage is homophobic”.
Note: this post has been updated in light of the excellent point made in the first comment!
Game on: Marriage Equality in the South November 18, 2012
The Campaign for Southern Equality will be visiting seven states in the southern US as part of their WE DO campaign, which
involves LGBT couples in the Southern communities where they live requesting – and being denied – marriage licenses in order to call for full equality under federal law and to resist unjust state laws….
These WE DO actions serve to make the impact of discriminatory laws visible to the general public; they illustrate what it looks like when LGBT people are treated as second-class citizens under the law. Sometimes these actions include non-violent acts of civil disobedience in the form of individuals refusing to leave the public office where the denial of a license has occured. The purpose of civil disobedience is to resist unjust state laws and to express a belief that LGBT people are fully human and should be treated as equal citizens under our nation’s laws.
To date, 38 couples in 10 cities across North and South Carolina have sought marriage licenses as part of the WE DO campaign.
They’ve put together a great video:
Vintage Anti-Suffragette Postcards November 8, 2012
Sociological Images has posted some interesting postcards that were campaigning against women’s suffrage.
I find it fascinating that the implicit argument in these images is something like, “We can’t give women the same rights and privileges that we have, because then they might try to do to us what we have been doing to them, and that is just INHUMANE.”
I know the last bit doesn’t follow unless you have an essentialized view of gender where somehow it is natural and proper for women to wash clothes and babysit, but it is improper and dehumanizing for men to do it.
I just find it funny, especially with the postcard of the three women sitting around a table play cards, smoking and complaining about their lazy husbands. There is an admission here of, “Yes, we men sit on our asses while our wives do all the work, but that is our RIGHT as men and husbands. When THEY do it, it’s NOT FAIR and UNNATURAL.”
It’s amusing (in a sad way) to realize that the whole “equality for everyone!” slogan is so easily amended by the exception: “well, not for those people whose natural place is somewhere lower on the hierarchy.” Or nowadays, it’s more “Equality for everyone–except for those who haven’t really earned it.”
It’s about politics, not morality. November 3, 2012
Says the one of the strategists who helped put the marriage amendment on the Minnesota ballot this year; the proposed amendment would amend the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Brodkorb was former Deputy Chairman of the State Republican Party and top Senate staffer, and says GOP Senators knew a driving force behind the gay marriage amendment wasn’t morality. It was political reality.
Top GOP leaders thought they couldn’t beat incumbent Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Republicans would stay home.
“The belief was, the United States senate race was not going to be close, and that Republicans needed and social conservatives needed a reason to get to the polls in November,” he said.
The best hate-filled speech you’ll ever hear October 20, 2012
Check out this pastor’s anti-gay speech, and please please keep listening to the end.
There’s also a description of the speech at the link.
NY Federal Appeals Court rules DOMA unconstitutional October 19, 2012
The court ruled that the Defense [sic] of Marriage Act didn’t survive requisite scrutiny, as the classification of same-sex spouses is not substantially related to an important government interest. You can read the decision here, and HuffPo coverage here.
The Christian gay debate August 19, 2012
Matthew Vines on the role of scriptural interpretation in this debate.
And within the traditional interpretation of Scripture, falling in love is one of the worst things that could happen to a gay person. Because you will necessarily be heartbroken, you will have to run away, and that will happen every single time that you come to care about someone else too much. So while you watch your friends fall in love, get married, and start families, you will always be left out. You will never share in those joys yourself – of a spouse and of children of your own. You will always be alone. . . But the necessary consequence of the traditional teaching on homosexuality is that, even though gay people have suitable partners, they must reject them, and they must live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own. We are now declaring good the very first thing in Scripture that God declared not good: for the man to be forced to be alone. And the fruit that this teaching has borne has been deeply wounding and destructive.
Full transcript here. For those who are interested, I think the view he puts forth on the Sodom and Gomorrah story in Genesis 19 is bolstered by the fact that any other sort of interpretation is made difficult by a very similar passage in Judges 19.