Gay Marriage: Don’t Despair!

A well-known feminist philosopher has a more hopeful take than many on the setbacks for gay rights that have added so much sorrow to the joy we feel about Obama’s election:

Apart from the fact that I have considerable political reservations about the movement for gay marriage [the usual things: marriage is not an institution worthy of feminist respect (I think) though socially respected fairly stable and erotically involved unions of two or more people forming something like households may be a good thing in a society and worthy of state support; civil rights, entitlements, and access to health care should have nothing to do with whatever couple-ish things people form up, nor with employment; lobbying to be included in marriage feels to me like just lobbying to get privileges that no one should have….oh, and on and on.] Anyway…

When my state passed an anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment, I had this thought: Hmm. So 40-45% of my fellow citizens voted FOR something they thought of as a benefit to and approval of gays and lesbians coupleing to form domestic something-or-others. That is amazing! Had they had the chance to vote for something that had that meaning for them, say 30 years ago, I’ll bet about 10-12% would have voted for it, if that many. We’ve really made progress.

So…for those who want the institution of the status of marriage for gay or lesbian pairs, and the rest of us who at least can see “gay marriage” as some sort of indicator of admission of lesbians/gays to civil and social okay-ness, I think we just have to keep at it. We’ll see-saw on, and move by inches to a world that is not systematically hostile to same-sex lovers.

Don’t despair!

Please note: Some of you may know who this philosopher is, but please don’t refer to her by name on this blog because– for very good reasons, and like so many of us here– she prefers to remain anonymous on the web.

What Obama Plans to Do For Women

Read it and breathe, for the first time in 8 years. I’m sure we’ll still have plenty of work to do pushing him even further in the right direction. But we now have a President who cares about poverty, pay equity, reproductive rights, health care and AIDS– and who notices how these affect women. And who posts a whole damn slate of plans to DO SOMETHING, within 3 days of being elected. As Jon Stewart said, it’s just so amazing to have a President who sees (even roughly!) the same world that I see. (OMG! He wants to teach kids about contraception! I must be dreaming.)

And if there’s something missing that you think should be there, click on the “Submit Your Ideas” button. Really. (Thanks, Mr Jender!)

Haslanger Interview

Exciting news for those seeking feminist philosophy podcasts and the like: Sally Haslanger’s done a nearly 1 hour long interview with, discussing such things as her views on gender, women in philosophy, and what the effects might be of having an African American president (the interview was recorded before the election). So far, I’ve been too glued to the election news to watch more than a bit of it, but what I’ve seen is great. I know what I’ll be doing when I get tired of re-playing over and over the phrase “Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States”!! (Thanks to David and Esa for sending this one to us.)

Summers for secretary of the Treasury?

Precisely what Larry Summers said is unclear; I think the transcript suggested he was conjecturing that women are in some innate  way less capable than men in science and maths.  Does that  raise any obstacles to his serving as secretary of the treasury, a position for which he is said to be being considered?

Had he been conjecturing about the innate inferiority of African Americans in maths, would that make him more unacceptable?

He is supposed to be a brilliant economist, and goodness knows the world economy needs some brilliant problem solvers.  So I’d be willing to go for his appointment were it not for the fact that we are already a couple of steps into the  compromise.  Or maybe more, Hillary supporters would surely want to insist.

What do you think?