In Maine, Gays Now Can’t Marry

November 4, 2009

It’s time to stop pretending. Read the cards on the table.  A woman’s party, a third force capable of representing the interests of all women by throwing it’s weight behind a common goal, is a pipe dream.  At least for now.  The results of Maine’s Question1, the anti-gay marriage initiative, has nailed the coffin shut on that slender hope.

Behold-the Eagle Forum. Continue to disregard them at your peril. Eagle Forum hate-a-rama is no surprise.  Concerned Maine Families is no surprise.  How about Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition?  The usual suspects. That Linda Bean Folkers, heiress to the L.L. Bean fortune, was a contributor was a (mini) shock since it’s so about mountains and streams and such(the company distances itself from her positions). What other head slappers are there?

Reprise proposition gay H8te in California.

Reprise the demolition of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Obama and Rick Warren

helped overturn marriage equality

heiress to L.L. Bean fortune

Once again, like a clockwork money machine, the Phyllis Schlafly brigade of right wing throwbacks, bigots and belligerents marched in and snatched the ice cream cone right out of the gay baby’s hand,  leaving a shit storm of rage in their wake.  They’re pretty happy right now. And this time the voters were white.  So don’t blame just the Black bigots for hating on gays. Phyllis could whack the handful of black voters with a flyswatter.

The failure of the “fierce” gay advocate currently occupying the White House, to take a stand, was surely part of the mix.  He handed the treasury to those fu&%#@s with his asinine “faith based initiative”.  Somebody wants to move both parties rightward.  So we’re on our own.

This time there is no one to blame but the neo-conservative and fundamentalist religious movement; a stealthy coalition energized by women against women, who represent the interests of anti-feminist men. They are not our friends.  Obama, hate him or loathe him, but the enemy of my enemy is for damn sure not my friend.

Michele Bachmann

Bachmann-right wing nutjob

SO HEY, NEO-FEMINISTS OF THE NO-PARTY PARTY!  YOU WANT WOMEN TO VOTE FOR WHOM?

JUST CLOSE MY EYES AND VOTE FEMALE, you say!  Vote the nutbags.Vote the haters?

Mark the old x next to Bachmann or Palin. Riiight. It will only hurt after the morphine wears off. But wait, do they even believe in morphine?


Phyllis Schlafly v. ERA Redux

July 12, 2009

Within the last few years the Equal Rights Amendment, ERA has been given a breath of new life. It may be that the 3 year extension sought and dismissed as moot by the courts in 1982 may now be the congressional beneficiary of a no time limit extension.  I think that’s good, even great.  What worries me is fighting for the ERA the second time around  the same way it was fought between 1972 and 1982.  I don’t think the ERA’s opponents will use the same tactics, but they will update the old ones.  Paul Weyrich, (here he is delivering a speech on the benefits of low voter turnout)  founder and CEO of the Heritage Foundation and funder of Renew America U.S. has this to say about a possible ERA revival:

They are back, just when you thought it was safe. I mean the Feminazi (doesn’t Rush use this word?) crowd. And guess what they have in store for you? Why, they intend to re-introduce the Equal Rights Amendment in both Houses of Congress.

Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum allowed in 2001 that it was possible ERA may be on the table again.  This was their take on it from ERA Mischief in Illinois, a letter to Illinois legislators:

It comes as a surprise that someone is trying to dig up the dead-and-buried ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) and pretend it’s alive. Please don’t be fooled. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on October 4, 1982 that ERA is officially dead because its time limit has expired. (NOW v. Idaho, 459 U.S. 809, 1982) (Also see St. Louis Post Dispatch, October 4, 1982)

Schlafly and Justice Clarence Thomas

Schlafly and Justice Clarence Thomas

Schlafly reminds the legislators that not only did not one more legislature endorse the ERA, but five actually rescinded their endorsements between 1979 and 1982.  No doubt Ms. Schafley is willing to accept most of the credit for these outcomes.  She claims that the more people were exposed to the ERA the more it was reviled, citing these reasons:

Not only does Schlafly contend that the loathsome federal ERA is dead but the states which adopted an ERA should also face a challenge, i.e.  a complete rollback in the feminist quest for equality.

Abortion Funding: Without an ERA, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no right to have abortions paid for by public funds. (Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297, 1980) That’s why Congress has been able to pass the Hyde Amendment each year since 1977, forbidding the use of federal tax funds for most abortions. The same policy is followed by 34 states, which prohibit the use of state tax funds used to perform most abortions.But the law is different in states that have a “State ERA.” In New Mexico, the state supreme court ruled on Nov. 25, 1998 that ERA requires the state to pay for abortions in exactly the same way as any other medical procedure. The court reasoned that, since only women become pregnant or undergo abortions, the denial of taxpayer funding for them can be construed as sex discrimination. That logic dictates the conclusion that ERA makes taxpayer funding of abortion a constitutional right. (N.M. Right to Choose/NARAL v. Johnson , 975 P.2d 841, 1998)Likewise, the Connecticut Superior Court ruled that “the regulation that restricts the funding for abortions . . . violates Connecticut’s Equal Rights Amendment.” (Doe v. Maher, April 9, 1986) And, on December 7, 2000, the same result was reached by a state court in Texas, which also has a State ERA: “[W]e hold that the State’s implicit adoption of the Hyde Amendment violates the Texas Equal Rights Amendment.” (The Low-Income Women of Texas v. Bost , Texas 3rd Court of Appeals, No. 03-98-00209-CV, 2000)Same-Sex Marriages: Without an ERA, Congress in 1996 was able to pass the Defense of Marriage Act (P.L. 104-199, codified at 1 U.S.C. 7), which states that, for purposes of federal law, “the word `marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word `spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” That federal law, and some 33 similar state laws, would be swept away if ERA would make same-sex marriages a constitutional right.  In the article Will the ERA Rise Again by Paul Weydrich, founder of the ultra conservative Heritage Foundation, Mr. Weydrich (2007) covers much of the same ground as Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, disputing the strength of the movement for ERA on the second go-round: ERA proponents made no progress during their time extension. When that time expired Phyllis Schlafly held her second victory dinner with her friends in the Conservative movement, who hailed her as a heroine. She was certain, as was I, that this fight was over once and for all.

Reagan and Schlafly

Reagan and Schlafly

When ERA was first proposed many opponents said that proponents wanted unisex bathrooms and gay marriage. They claimed that this was the most vicious propaganda that the right had ever adduced. I don’t know about unisex bathrooms but many of today’s proponents do want homosexual marriage.In the House I doubt the ability of the proponents to achieve a two-thirds majority.

In the Senate the question is where Senators Elizabeth Hanford Dole (R-NC) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) will be.

Current female senators

Current female senators

Other Republican female Senators likely will be in the pro-ERA corner. So it is conceivable that the Senate might come close to two thirds. Meanwhile, Phyllis Schlafly, now in her 80s, still is going strong. And she has a strong organization to pick up the fight.Republicans control more state legislatures than during the first go-around. It may be that, rather than this being a serious legislative effort, ERA proponents simply want to draw a bulls-eye on conservatives at the state and local levels. If that is the case two can play the game. Just ask the good lady from Alton, Illinois.

Clearly, what the far right warned us about regarding the ERA has come to pass.  Some states DO have marriage equality and the trend seems to be spreading. Will the far right be able to muster the arguments and the forces to fight it? Women ARE taking more places in the military, although still in non-combat, though dangerous,  positions.  Abortions DO exist although their numbers are fewer.  There are even a few unisex toilets.  And guess what?  The world hasn’t ended.  Perhaps public sentiment will continue to move in these directions.  Perhaps the radical conservatives won’t forever be able to hold back the tide of change that will culminate in a new ERA.  Let’s hope not.


Why Farrah Fawcett Is A Feminist Issue

June 26, 2009
Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett

Farah Fawcett is dead.  The 1970’s blond bimbo Charlie’s Angels teevee star who transformed herself at mid career into a talented actress has died of a disease so horrible I’m almost glad I had never heard of it:  Anal cancer that spread to other vital organs.  This type of cancer has a high correlation with the human pappilloma virus, HPV.  To the Phyllis Schlafly’s of the world Farah Fawcett’s life and death must look scandalous.

That is why Ms. Fawcett’s death is a feminist issue.

For the right wing there are just two possibilities for women: Conventional man-on-top marriage or disease, disgrace and death.  Take your pick.

A couple of years ago there was talk of immunizing girls against the risks of HPV caused cervical cancer with Guardasil, a Merck product.  “Defenders” of the “family” such as Phyllis Schlafly contend that HPV can only be contracted from an unchaste, and presumably unmarried, partner.  Therefore, as expected, the religious right concealed its true anti sex education agenda with claims that Guardasil was bad for women’s health.  It put forward its usual antidote for all issues sexual.  Here’s what Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum had to add to the conversation on HPV:

A 100% effective means of protection against … diseases is freely available, and it is abstinence (emphasis mine).

This abstinence only proscription dealing with disease has also produced painful results in Africa, where religious zealots Rick Warren and Pat Robinson deliver the Gospel, dramatically increasing the HIV/AIDS rate among women, obliged to have sexual relations with their infected men.

The religious right fought convenient contraception and the post-coital drug RU 486 on health grounds as well. But their real aim is obvious.  Read the language describing the action of the drug:

That initial action causes the lining of the uterus to release the embryonic child. A second drug, known as misoprostol, is taken two days after mifepristone and causes the uterus to contract, expelling the baby, (emphasis mine).

Much of the “abortion” debate is cloaked in concern for health issues such as this alarm over FDA inspections in  China:

We do know that Shanghai is the sole supplier to the United States of the abortion pill, Mifepristone, known as RU-486. The FDA had previously concealed the source of RU-486…

Or this:

Free trade is not only bringing us contaminated drugs and foods, but soon could bring us the products of embryonic stem cell transfers (aka cloning).

Does Phyllis oppose free trade and globalization or just stem cell research?  Hard to figure.

The religious right’s argument in favor of abstinence also permeates their position against sex discrimination and animates much prejudice against public school  curricula, the teaching of evolutionary and biological science, as well as other “socialistic” subjects.

For the far right-

Marriage=sex=children=happiness=private enterprise=the controlling formula in the “choice” debate.  Here is Phyllis making the case for marriage+capitalism at all costs.  That’s why female conservatives fought and beat the ERA:

Another theory could be the increase in easy divorce and illegitimacy (now 40 percent of American births are to single moms), which means that millions of women are raising kids without a husband and therefore expect Big Brother government to substitute as provider. The 2008 election returns showed that 70 percent of unmarried women voted for Barack Obama, perhaps hoping to be beneficiaries of his “spread the wealth” policies…..

In the pre-1970 era, when surveys showed women with higher levels of happiness, most men held jobs that enabled their wives to be fulltime homemakers. The private enterprise system constantly produces goods that make household work and kiddie care easier (such as dryers, dishwashers and paper diapers).

Here’s a FOX channel video of Phyllis speaking about the defeat of the ERA:

STOP ERA rally

Wow.

I don’t know whose universe she’s living in (yes, I do) but there is no boundary here between sex and capitalism, with comfortable, stay-at-home women the consumers, and you know who running the world.

There is plenty of talk about women putting aside differences over abortion to form a neutral voting block that can simply advocate for women’s rights.  That sounds good.  But among other non-starter stumbling blocks on the road to non-partisan kumbaya (such as just about everything) is the barricade that must never be surrendered, choice.

Choice isn’t just Rove v. Wade.  Reproductive choice for women is the sine qua non of other choices: to be married or not; to have sex or not; to go to work or not; to have a career or not; to accept bad treatment within a relationship or not.  The prevalence of unmarried women in the workplace has removed much of the stigma associated with divorce, Lesbianism  and the terrible shame once known as “spinsterhood”.

What the religious right opposes is not just “choice”, it’s choices. That’s clear.

I wonder what Phyllis Schlafly would have to say about Farrah Fawcett.