Partnership by Any Other Name

Since this is topical once again, I moved it forward from its original April 30th publication and added an addendum to the end discussing current events. If I had perfect knowledge of future events before they happened, like a god, I would have held off posting this and Homophobia in Denial until now.

On The Other Hand, If god is really what people say he is, he could have fixed this problem as well as the slavery problem in advance by giving detailed instructions to the people who wrote his books; rather than letting them write down their own customs and fears as if they were instructions from him.  But then I was going to leave that specific discussion to Jim over at Stonekettle Station. I’m trying to stick to the legality of the issue at hand here.


It slipped my mind that I was actually being topical with my piece Homophobia in Denial, that the SCOTUS was going to be debating the legality of marriage being broadened to include two people of the same sex.  Given the contents of that piece, it should be pretty obvious that I have no problem with two people of the same sex getting married.

I actually go a bit farther than just not having a problem with that. I really don’t see the point in marriage in the first place, as far as being separated from other business contracts.

I know, I know, I’m a soulless bastard that has no emotions. Trust me, I’ve heard that a few times. Still, I have to wonder why marriage is different than any other joint partnership? Why are there special rules for this business arrangement that are completely different from all the others?

The Wife and I have a prenuptial agreement that involves a rather grisly death if either of us strays, sexually.  I know that I wouldn’t have to make that deal with a business partner.  But I also know that we are complete weirdos and discuss every point of an agreement before we enter into them.  This is true with everything we purchase, not just with the agreement that started our relationship.

Most people don’t even know what their partner wants in the case of medical incapacity. We’ve discussed so many different scenarios that I’d be hard pressed to name an event we haven’t discussed and what her wishes would be.  Without that level of discussion, marriage is just a business arrangement, with no more emotional investment than the subject of which TV to buy.  Fully half of the people who get married will stay married less than 5 years.   The first TV they buy as a couple will still be working when the divorce is settled.

That is not a sacrament, that is an agreement made on an emotional whim. A moment of sexual lust, lost as soon as the dopamine receptors become habituated to the reward.

Given that marriage is expected before sexual gratification is achieved because of religious teachings, who is to blame for its being entered into so lightly? Not the government, which is tasked with simply keeping track of the business agreements made in its jurisdiction.  That blame rests solely on the shoulders of religious leaders who push the agenda of sexual abstinence (which is in reality a perversion) onto our unsuspecting children. The selfsame leaders who are now leading the charge against so-called gay marriage.

I’d like to offer the counter-argument that gay marriage is actually better than heterosexual marriage. How is that possible, you ask? Because homosexuals who want to get married have at least thought about what marriage means. Have at least talked to their partner about future plans. Want to tie each other together in a binding relationship that means more than a few months of hot sex. They at least understand that marriage should be a lifetime commitment, not something entered into because they have to do it before sexual gratification occurs.

The real sacrament, if there is one at all, is the gay marriage; because they’re making a pledge with the full knowledge of what that pledge means, not blinded by the passion of unfulfilled lust.

As for how to address those naysayers out there who think that marriage is some holy union too good for homosexuals to share in, I’ll leave that to Stonekettle.  He does a much better job of taking them apart than I ever could.

You are the very absolutists, the very religious fanatics, this country was designed to protect its citizens from. 

Stonekettle Station

The NYT article that debunks the 50% divorce rate myth (yes, it is a myth) has a lot of good information in it on the subject of marriage and divorce.

About 70 percent of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary (excluding those in which a spouse died), up from about 65 percent of those that began in the 1970s and 1980s. Those who married in the 2000s are so far divorcing at even lower rates. If current trends continue, nearly two-thirds of marriages will never involve a divorce, according to data from Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economist

 Among the many facts in the article is the notation that the less educated, more traditionalist male-lead households still suffer from divorce rates at the previous high levels. So it is a myth for every group outside of traditional christian households lead by a male breadwinner.

It is also worth noting that the progressive changes of the 70’s persist today. The feminist revolution, the achievement of reproductive rights for women, and the more relaxed attitudes towards living together before marriage have lead to reduced rates of divorce, with women holding an equal place in modern society alongside men. This comes as no surprise to me, that women being formally allowed to now pick their mates instead of being prizes handed out by their fathers has lead to fewer bad marriages.

Fewer people marry these days.  That statistic has also lead to a reduction in divorce.  Can’t get divorced if you never marry.

The point that is made statistically in the article is synonymous with the point I made in this blog post; that marriage has already changed and will continue to change. That escaping from the confines of christian dogma has been a positive change in US society. That testing a relationship with co-habitation before actually getting married is a very good idea.

The Wife hates that I compare marriage to a business arrangement.  She has always hated that comparison when I have made it. I’m sure most romantics of both sexes hate the very notion that marriage is anything like a business deal.  Their rejection of this observation doesn’t actually change the reality of the situation. That there are financial concerns that have to be addressed when contemplating any union. That marriage is desirable to homosexuals because it fixes problems with custody of children, inheritance and survivor’s benefits. These are largely financial calculations, and marriage exists to address them.  Not because of love. The notion of romantic marriage was an unrealized ideal before the 1970’s.  That is the hard-nosed fact about marriage that romantics ignore.

When seen in that light as opposed to the notion of fee for sex being the business arrangement (you dirty-minded people. I wasn’t even thinking of it that way) it becomes understandable that the largest concerns in any marriage are financial.  If you fail to discuss these issues before tying the knot, you will regret it later.


The SCOTUS did render the correct decision and not force the people at large to add marriage equality to the long list of changes we’re going to have to make when the Constitutional Convention is called to reverse Citizens United.  It would have been nice if the court had made its decision based on the unconstitutional sexual discrimination which all the objections to same-sex marriage exhibit, as discussed in this article on Salon;

The Supreme Court has long held that laws that discriminate based on sex must be presumed unconstitutional and invalidated unless the government can prove that they can pass rigorous, heightened judicial scrutiny. Relying on that doctrine would answer the crucial question why the Court was deciding the same-sex marriage question at all. The sex discrimination shifts the burden of proof to the state, and the state hasn’t met that burden. The argument is clear and based on decades-old precedent. An amicus brief I coauthored developed this claim, and Chief Justice Roberts raised it when the case was argued.

But any vehicle that gets you where you want to go is better than no vehicle at all.

No need to repeal DOMA now. That act has been rendered invalid with the decision handed down last week.  We still need to repeal RFRA and apologize to religious minorities and the non-religious for ever passing it in the first place.  Still hoping for a congress that is more useful and less obstructionist than it has been for as long as I can remember now.

One way to get that might be to hold certain attorneys feet to the fire.  Attorneys like Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz who have violated the ethical rules for their profession;

The American Bar Association designed the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to define ethical duties of attorneys. State Supreme Courts have adopted versions of the Model Rules as binding upon attorneys who practice law in their jurisdictions. Attorneys are not free to ignore them–compliance is conditioned upon being licensed to practice law–and failure to obey could result in disbarment.

Disbarring them for ethical violations (Cruz’s behavior on several subject warrants this, not just this one) would be a supreme irony, considering the arguments that they are making.

HB2 Unconstitutional

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is appealing this decision, but I think it bears mentioning that he and the anti-abortionists can’t win. They can’t win because they can’t prove what they believe.

Even the 20 week ban will fail, because they can’t prove an overriding interest of the state in setting the ban at 20 weeks, and they can’t prove that the unborn represent human life (separate and unique) thereby worthy of protection by the state over the life or welfare of the mother.

The 20 week line was put in the bill specifically to challenge Roe, but there isn’t a single shred of scientific or medical evidence that has been revealed in the intervening years of research that shows that the unborn actually are alive as in human life and not simply alive as in living tissue which isn’t human life and therefore can’t be murdered. (If tissue is alive and killing it is murder, then having a wart removed is committing murder. This isn’t a strawman argument. You have to prove that the fetus is a person for it to be legally considered human life. You can’t just believe it, you have to prove it. -ed.)

Consequently if the law makes it to the SCOTUS, the 5 Catholic men will try to wiggle their way into reversing Roe somehow, but will be unable to find their way there, because there isn’t a place to go to that makes more sense than Roe did. That is the crying shame of it all. Not that I want Roe reversed (I don’t) but that there isn’t a clearer picture to be had of the issue itself than what we already have.

They can’t even prove that the mystical “ambulatory care centers” (a group run by a relative of the governors) represents an improvement in care for the women seeking service; since the goal is to end abortion, not improve service.
So Abbot may appeal, he won’t be around to see the case to its end. If Democrats win in Texas this year or in the next few years, the case will be dropped, because they don’t like the law in the first place.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of Austin ruled that the regulation, requiring all abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, posed an impermissible burden on “on women throughout Texas.”

The surgical center regulation would have left no abortion clinics operating south or west of San Antonio. Seven abortion clinics are licensed as ambulatory surgical centers — with an eighth under construction — in the state’s four largest metropolitan areas — Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Yeakel also struck down another regulation, requiring abortion doctors to gain admitting privileges in a nearby hospital, ruling that it also placed an undue burden on women. Many hospitals have declined to grant privileges, and about half of the state’s abortion clinics have had to close as a result, abortion providers have testified.

statesman.com via the Wayback Machine

Don’t want to waste money on these lawsuits? Vote Democratic.

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Editor’s note. The SCOTUS also ruled the law unconstitutional, and in 2020 the SCOTUS ruled an identical law from Louisiana unconstitutional as well. Face it people. You can’t just believe something is real without proof. Not in court.

Wendy Davis

Sometime after 11 this morning, state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, will launch a filibuster to stop passage of SB5, which would have the effect of dramatically curtailing access to an abortion in Texas.

archive.org/statesman.com
13 Hours to Midnight: The Wendy Davis abortion filibuster, 5 years later June 25, 2018

This entry is a placeholder. A place for me to collect my random thoughts over the course of the months that followed our introduction to Wendy Davis. And when I say our I mean Texas and me, because I’m reasonably certain that most Texans had never met a woman like her before. I will be adding things that I wrote on Facebook at the time About Wendy Davis. Hopefully there will be enough to make this entry look less miniscule. From the time that she first emerged on the scene as a woman willing to stand up to Texas Christianists, to the failed campaign for governor, this article will weigh in. I hope. I know I had thoughts at the time. I talked about her incessantly to the children and the wife, they can vouch for that. I will collect those thoughts here as I stumble across them wherever I left them.

She would have been a better governor than Abbott has proven to be, without a doubt. The publication date marked the beginning. The day she took to the floor and brought progress on this misogynistic bill to a stop.

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“An unruly mob, using Occupy Wall Street tactics, disrupted the Senate from protecting unborn babies,” he said.

archive.org/statesman.com

How, pray tell, do you intend to protect the unwanted born children from parental abuse, abuse that your actions will make inevitable? Republicans have no answer for that question.


Texas Tribune

I find it mildly amusing that Republican leaders can’t get enough government interference when the activity is something they don’t like; activity like women choosing to not have children, or democratic candidates who have too much money. In those cases, there just can’t be enough government interference.

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Texas Tribune

News of Abbott’s appearance with Nugent, a Republican, generated a flurry of news stories and thousands of tweets — many of them referring to the entertainer’s smash talk and controversial past. State Democratic Party leaders criticized Abbott for campaigning with Nugent. Several of them are hosted a teleconference Tuesday prior to the campaign event to condemn Abbott and call on him to cancel the appearances, and Sen. Wendy Davis, the likely Democratic nominee for governor, said in a statement that “Greg Abbott’s embrace of Ted Nugent is an insult to every Texan — every man, woman, husband and father.”

SBOE Approves Bible Course Guidelines

Gotta love this. The Texas Legislature, not satisfied with simply raping the Texas State pledge and making the students say god during newly mandatory daily pledge recitations (god twice, if you count the mandatory federal pledge recitations. Could be even three times if you choose to pray during your mandatory moment of silence. I don’t like pledging, in case you hadn’t heard) has also decided that Texas students need more indoctrination into the already pervasive christian religion; so they have passed a law that all but mandates bible school classes be offered in Texas public high schools.

…And the SBOE, run by ID supporter Don McLeroy has dutifully passed guidelines, clearing the way for these courses to be taught.

Board members approved the new class, which will be in some high schools this fall, even though officials are awaiting an opinion from the attorney general on whether the state law authorizing the course requires all school districts to offer it.

The board adopted general guidelines for the course on a 10-5 vote, disregarding the advice of several members of the House Public Education Committee who urged approval of more specific requirements to head off the possibility of constitutional violations and lawsuits.

“It’s better for us to go ahead and do something now,” said board member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond. “We have met the requirements of the legislation. We don’t want to stifle what they [school districts] are doing in classrooms.”

Attorney General Greg Abbott has told the board that although the state standards for the Bible class appear to be in compliance with the First Amendment, his office can’t guarantee that the courses taught in high schools will be constitutional because they haven’t been reviewed.

Critics contend that the standards – based on old guidelines for independent studies in English and social studies – are so vague and general that many schools might unknowingly create unconstitutional Bible classes that either promote the religious views of teachers or disparage the religious beliefs of some students.

Earlier this year, the Ector County school board agreed to quit using a Bible course curriculum at two high schools in Odessa that the American Civil Liberties Union said promoted Protestant religious beliefs not shared by Jews, Catholics, Orthodox Christians and many Protestants.

However, state board members supporting the Bible course rule adopted Friday said such lawsuits are rare and should not be a problem for most school districts.

Board member Pat Hardy, R-Weatherford, who voted against the proposal, said teachers of the course would be given far less direction from the state than they receive in most other subjects.

“We need to do more work on this instead of jumping off into the abyss,” she said.

The course is supposed to be geared to academic, nondevotional study of the Bible, and cover such things as the influence of the New Testament on law, literature, history and culture.

Dallas News

So, we in Texas can look forward to turning out students who erroneously think that murder is illegal because the Ten Commandments say you shouldn’t do it. How long before they start teaching a nondevotional course on the Qur’an or the Talmud? Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? I wouldn’t hold my breath.

For me, the solution is simple. Take the Bible Class Challenge.

American AtheistsThe Texas Bible Class Challenge

If the schools know that they are going to face hostile students in these classes, very few of them will want to offer them in the first place. If the schools offer the classes, and don’t respect the contrary opinions, they can be shut down through lawsuits. It’s an expense we the taxpayers should not have to face, but then we elected these idiots to do this to us, apparently.

Jane Fonda & The Seven Deadly Words; Texas ban struck down

I’ve had this post in the draft queue since the day (Feb. 14th) Jane said cunt on network television. Maybe I just wanted to be able to type the word cunt (more than once) and not have the wife throw bricks at me. Or maybe I just have my suspicions about why her slip of the tongue (rimshot here, please) still goes unpunished.

True, the word cunt is only the horrendous insult that English speaking American women think it is, in America. Everywhere else, it doesn’t even strictly apply to women. In Britain it could just be the stupid guy next to you.

Strictly speaking, it’s just a low brow word for the female genitalia. But it does rate the list of deadly words on the FCC list. The seven deadly words that will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and maybe even bring us, God help us, peace without honor; um, and a bourbon. George Carlin at his best.

The reason Jane’s language malfunction is going unpunished, the only reason that makes sense, is that the FCC knows that they will not win this battle; no matter what they say, they will be made to look like the paternalistic jerks that they are. Jane was on with the author of The Vagina Monologues, and I wouldn’t put it past the two of them to have cooked this up (much like Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction was completely staged) as a publicity stunt to do exactly what Jane Fonda’s apology says she wants to do; change the way that the word is perceived by the average American.

Good luck with that.

An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex.

Aldous Huxley

Speaking of paternalistic jerks getting what’s coming to them (rimshot again, please) the Texas legislature and the court system have been told that they need to stay out of bedrooms and stop trying to count or control who purchases and uses sexual aids in the state.

On Feb. 13, sex-toy retailers in Texas rejoiced when a federal appeals court ruled—just in time for Valentine’s Day—that a Texas prohibition against the sale of dildos and pocket pussies violated the 14th Amendment.

According to the Texas (ahem) penal code, it is forbidden to sell or to advertise an artificial penis or vagina “primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.” The statute makes an exception for instances in which the purchase meets a “medical, psychiatric, judicial, legislative, or law enforcement” need. Even so, in Reliable Consultants v. Ronnie Earle, the normally conservative5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ban on the grounds that it violated the right of ordinary citizens “to engage in private intimate conduct in the home without government intrusion.”

One of only four states banning sexual doodads (the other three are Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama), Texas is not about to take this insult lying down. Last week, state Attorney General Greg Abbott petitioned the appellate court to reconsider the matter

Slate

Sexual aids. Really, it’s a dildo law, I might as well say dildo just as blatantly as I said cunt a few minutes ago (third time, I better start looking over my shoulder) Texas’ dildo law has been overturned. Women can finally ask for and purchase a dildo by name without running the risk of being punished for it. Salesmen can now market a device for it’s real use, rather than having to resort to euphemisms about glow and vitality, without having to face fines and/or jail time.

After all, it was only 1952 when Hysteria was taken off the list of medically treatable diseases. Don’t know what Hysteria is? Then you probably need to read The Technology of Orgasm by Rachel Maines. Doctors treated their patients with “pelvic massages” to produce “hysterical paroxysm” as a cure for the disease. Vibrators were invented in the 1880’s to assist them with this treatment. I guess, like all medicine, it’s only bad when you start treating the problem yourself.