Friday, May 29, 2009

All Gay, All the Time

Poor Richard Cohen thinks the world is too much with him because he is finding it impossible to avoid problematic (to him) women -- such as Elizabeth Edwards and Nadya Suleman, the woman obscenely re-christened by the media as "the Octomom" -- whose faces and stories he encounters on every screen.

Cry me a river, Richard, and spare us the public misogyny. Think of me, a frail old dog edging her way toward that great kennel in the sky, trying gently to disengage from the human drama that has absorbed so much of my attention these past few years. Suddenly, the world finding its way onto my typist's screen has become a 24/7 Totally Gay News Channel, and we can't turn it off -- especially when loyal readers implore us in comments to weigh in on such mind-boggling breaking stories as the news that Ted Olson and David Boies, the attorneys who were on opposite sides of the lawsuit that handed the presidency to an idiot lately returned to his village in Texas, have joined forces in a federal suit aimed at overturning California's Prop 8, which made same-sex marriage illegal in the state and was upheld this week by the California Supreme Court. Wow, talk about an odd couple. Strange bedfellows, as it were. Queerest pairing since, like, Chillingworth and Dimmesdale, don't you think?

Julie wants to know what we think, having noticed, careful reader that she is, that we avoided the ginormous story of the Olson/Boies suit in last night's post. The first reaction here in the infirmary was something along the lines of, "I may be dying, but this old dog's nose still works pretty good -- and methinks I smell a rat." Moose agreed and said she thought Boies, who got his lawyerly butt kicked in Bush v. Gore, was being played by Olson. She speculated that Olson had signed on to what seemed like a premature move in an effort to get the Supreme Court of the United States to make a ruling on same-sex marriage before Obama had a chance to alter the balance of the court. Even Goose, the official conspiracy theorist of Roxie's World, was impressed with that bit of tinfoil-hattism.

On further reflection and after taking a look at Olson and Boies' Wednesday appearance on Larry King Live, we are a little less inclined to doubt Olson's sincerity, since, philosophically, the true Republican position (as opposed to the wingnut position currently dominating the GOP) would seem to favor maximizing individual liberty and encouraging stable, familial relationships, which same-sex marriage obviously does (as long as you overlook the monstrous instability and dysfunction of many marital relationships -- wevs). Andrew Sullivan, for one, is encouraged by the language Olson uses to explain his support for the cause and the case, particularly his insistence that marriage is a basic civil right and not a liberal or a conservative issue. Olson says early in the interview that his position on the question of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples is a matter of "human rights, human decency, and equality under the law."

Many organizations advocating marriage equality were quick to question the wisdom of a federal court case on the issue, arguing instead that the state-by-state strategy currently being pursued should be given more time to change state laws and public opinion before SCOTUS steps in, as it did in 1967, to settle the question of interracial marriage. (Pam's got links to the orgs and her take on this matter here.) Yale law professor William Eskridge and attorney Darren Spedale, who have written a book called Gay Marriage: For Better or for Worse? What We've Learned From the Evidence, take a similar position, arguing in Salon that "the state-by-state experiment with gay marriage" should proceed until it is the rule rather than the exception, thus increasing the likelihood of a favorable ruling by the high court.

Our position? We tend to be impatient rather than patient when it comes to matters of justice, but in this case we have to confess the idea of SCOTUS ruling on a case of this nature sooner rather than later makes us nervous. We have long found ourselves, to our considerable surprise, agreeing with Justice Antonin Scalia, who, in his hysterical dissent from the majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, thunders that that ruling paves the judicial way for same-sex marriage in the U. S. by "dismantl[ing] the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned." (He deplores that dismantling. We give it a hearty PAWS UP!) Nonetheless, we aren't confident that a majority of the court would be prepared to follow the logic of Lawrence to its conclusion by judicially imposing marriage equality when so few states have done it and opinion is still so divided.

To assure success on a high-stakes legal bid that we can't afford to lose, we need to pick the legal battles carefully and wage the political battles more effectively than we have done so far. No more debacles along the lines of what we had with Prop 8. Not another dime to advocacy organizations who are afraid to be loud, proud, and clear about what they are supposedly fighting for. Oh, and we need one more thing: Fierce advocacy and brave, visionary leadership from the guy who was elected with the strongest level of LGBT support by any presidential candidate in history. That's right, Mr. President. The buck stops with you. Get on the right side of history -- or don't count on queers to get you through the re-elect.

Thus endeth today's impersonation of a lawyer and a political strategist. Can I get back to my dying now? Here's the vid of Olson and Boies on Larry. Even if we've taken off our tinfoil hats, we say keep a close eye on Olson and trust but verify everything. Let us know what you think.

P.S. Other gay news bits of the day: Wa Po has an interesting story today on how supporters of marriage equality are planning to use the strong involvement of Mormons in funding and organizing on behalf of Prop 8 in order to gain support for the pro-SSM cause in other states. Yeah, kinda creepy to exploit the fact that sizable numbers of Americans hate Mormons more than they hate queers, but, hey, that's politics for ya. Also, the Lambda Literary Awards for 2009 were announced last night in New York. Roxie's World is pleased to single out two of the awardees for a special PAWS UP: Mark Doty, co-winner in the gay poetry category for his book Fire to Fire, and Regina Kunzel, who won the LGBT Studies category for her Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality. We tout Doty because he's one of our favorite poets, and he wrote a beautiful memoir on dog love and loss that we adore but cannot bear to look at right now. We tout Kunzel because the moms read Criminal Intimacy in their queer studies group and found it to be riveting -- a history book that even a literary critic could love. That is high praise, believe me, and a plug -- Go buy the book will ya, while I go back to my dying?


  1. A curious subject of observation and inquiry, to be sure!

  2. (Not so) crypto homo teacher of Hawthorne -- We dropped that in just for you! ;-)

  3. Aw, Roxie, you do my heart proud! (Even though, I must confess, I was emailing with one of said grad students bemoaning a lack of grading action, but your amanuensis should know that she is not alone with the deafening silence that refuses to reduce itself to a letter grade.) Kim believed Olson was sincere (this with no examination, just my report this morning on the situation) as he wouldn't represent them as an attorney without some purity in his heart (or at least it would be too reprehensible for an attorney to try and elicit a negative decision from SCOTUS that might stand for many years.) I don't know. I'm wrapped up in a conspiracy theory involving proposition 8 and the election/appointment of people of color to important positions in the US government. I haven't worked out all of the details, yet, so keep it under your hat. Meanwhile, yes, Roxie go back to your dying. And enjoy it. We're looking forward to a complete narration of the final transition shedding light and insight into these questions for all (even if it isn't going to address end times prophesies.) And paws up (to cadge your term) for Judy Grahn for her win last night!

  4. I can't believe I forgot Judy Grahn! Additional PAWS UP!

    And paws up (and a tinfoil hat) to you, Julie, for creative conspiracy theorizing and for cheering me on to the other side. I don't seem to be in any hurry to die, but I will do my best.

    (Note to ASPCA: No animals were harmed in the writing of this comment.)

  5. perhaps, dearest Roxie, you should leave your paws where they are most comfortable, and not waving in the air - but we're also saluting Sheila Rowbotham's win for her bio of Edward Carpenter...

  6. Yes indeed about Rowbotham on Carpenter. And perhaps Kate can verify this, but is this not on Carpenter's gravestone (at his request): "Do not think too much of the dead husk of your friend, or mourn too much over it, but send your thoughts out towards the real soul or self which has escaped — to reach it. For so, surely you will cast a light of gladness upon his onward journey, and contribute your part towards the building of that kingdom of love which links our earth to heaven." Love IS heaven.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.