Monday, July 31, 2006

God Loves Children

Seattle-based columnist Dan Savage (on left) has an 8-year old son whom he and his partner adopted at birth. His response to the WA and NY Supreme Courts' decisions to keep gay couples from marrying:

Both courts have found that my son’s parents have no right to marry, but what of my son’s right to have married parents?

...The courts ruled, essentially, that making my child’s life less secure somehow makes the life of a child with straight parents more secure. Both courts found that making heterosexual couples stable requires keeping homosexual couples vulnerable.

But he sees hope for the multitude of children of gay parents:

I can’t help but feel that our side must be winning...discriminating against children with same-sex parents may score the other side a few runs, but these strategies won’t win the game.

So I’m confident that one day my son will live in a country that allows his parents to marry. His parents are already married, as far as he’s concerned, as my boyfriend and I tied the knot in Canada more than a year and a half ago. We recognize, even if the courts do not, that it’s in his best interest for us to be married.

Dan and his partner are married in Canada, but here they are still legally and financially vulnerable.

Here's a note to the Christians who are thrilled with the courts' decisions: You will lose. You appear to be winning now because many of the good citizens of the U.S. don't fully understand the awful impact these decisions have on families. But allow me tell you who it will be that finally kicks your ass. That would be God and the hundreds of thousands of kids with gay parents. The kids won't come looking for you, and they won't have to because in case you haven't bothered to read the KJV Bible you club people with, God has a special place in his heart for the vulnerable among us. When God put these children in safe and secure homes, you sought to make them more vulnerable. When these kids who see and hear everything that is happening around them meet the "Christians" who worked so hard to keep their family from being equal to others, you will be lucky if all they do is pity you for being the 21st century desert-breathed Pharisees that you are.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Passion of the Anti-Semite

Mel Gibson got busted for drunk driving a few days ago. From E! Online:

"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested and said things I do not believe to be true and which are despicable," Gibson said in a statement.

Said what?

According to, Gibson called the arresting deputy a "motherf---ker," whom he was going to "f--k" on account of "he [Gibson] 'owns Malibu' and will spend all of his money to 'get even' with me [the deputy]."

Later, the Website reported, Gibson ranted about the "f--king Jews," who "are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?" (Gibson, who helped build a Catholic church in Malibu, is not.)

Yeah, don't we all start shouting anti-semitic worldview we don't believe when we've had a few too many? Something about Gibson's sobered up post-arrest statement makes me more likely to believe his drunken rant. I don't judge people who struggle with alcohol abuse. It is a disease. But his sober statement seems like a lie designed to save the career of a reluctanly outed bigot.

Update: From the AP's Andrew Glazer

Meanwhile, ABC announced it had canceled a planned miniseries about the Holocaust that it was developing with Gibson's Icon Productions.

Gibson was going to do a mini-series on the Holocaust? Really? Isn't that a little like the Klan producing a Civil War documentary?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Be Encouraged, John and I Can't Get Married In WA

Threats to the future of humanity Hey, see those guy? They're threats to the future of humanity and Washington state's Surpreme Court knows it. They ruled Wednesday that its legislature is entitled to disadvantage gay families. From the ruling (Hat tip to Pam's House Blend):

Under this standard, DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act] is constitutional because the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children's biological parents. Allowing same-sex couples to marry does not, in the legislature's view, further these purposes.

Really? John and I getting married will stop our straight friends from having babies? How could this possibly have been written with a straight face?

And someone PLEASE tell me, how does keeping us from getting married "encourage families where children are reared in homes headed by the children's biological parents"? Straight friends of mine, does not allowing John and I to protect our family really encourage you in some way? If I were part of a straight couple I would be offended at the implication that I need superior status over others in order to stay married. Is that really what keeps families together?

And how on God's green earth does allowing us to protect our families stand in the way of "furthering the purposes" of procreation? Please, if someone who agrees with this ruling is reading this blog, I beg you to enlighten me.

Even if procreation were central to the purpose of marriage, how would allowing us to marry be any different from allowing an aged couple or a downs syndrome couple (legal) or a hetero couple who decides not to have kids to get married?

There is no logic here, but perhaps there are some politics. It is interesting to note that this ruling was close, a 5-4 decision. None of the dissenters were up for reelection, however, two of the judges writing for the majority opinion are.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

On Drunk Drivers and Gratitude

Last night about 11:30 I was driving home by myself from a late showing of Strangers with Candy, thinking to myself about how it was not as inspired as the TV series of the same name. I suspected the movie might be lackluster, but I like Amy Sedaris and I couldn’t resist seeing Stephen Colbert (thankfully he was worth the price of the ticket). John opted not to go with me because he had to get up early and hadn’t slept that well the night before.

As I approached the intersection of 10th and College wondering how Sedaris maintained that ridiculously large overbite throughout the entire film I noticed a rusty LTD coming from the opposite direction. It gently swerved into my lane. At first I thought the driver decided to make a last minute left turn onto 10th so I slowed down, but once it got into my lane it just stayed there heading straight toward me. I honked but it kept coming and finally I had just enough time to jerk the wheel to the right, avoiding what was probably a drunk driver but not the very large curb I was forced onto that popped my tire and crushed my rim.

Rattled I got out to look at the damage. The car wasn’t going anywhere. A guy waiting at the bus stop on the corner asked me if I had a spare, which I did. As I opened the trunk a pick-up pulled next to me. A wiry guy got out, probably in his 40s, buzz-cut and wearing a wife-beater. I could hear him repeating in a strong Kentucky accent a series of numbers and letters. I finally figured out he was saying the license plate number of the car that ran me off the road. I grabbed a pen and paper and wrote it down.

“I saw it all and drove back to give it to you. Here’s my name and phone number.” He started telling me about how his car had been totaled recently by someone with no insurance. “You need a phone or anything?” Actually I did. I’d left mine at home, of course. “Yeah, I need to call my…” I tried to think of a word that wouldn’t get me jumped on a dark Midwestern street at midnight. “The guy I live with,” was all my scrambled brain could come up with. I felt guilty that fear had gotten the best of me. He let me borrow his phone, but even as I dialed I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to wake John up. If he has trouble sleeping one night, he’ll usually take an Ambian the next. Sure enough, no answer.

Trying to avoid further conversation I said, “He’s probably asleep. I’ll just fix the flat myself. I think I have what I need. If not, I’ll just walk home and get John. I don’t live too far from here (a lie, we live about a 40 minute walk from that corner).” I thanked him for taking the trouble of coming back and he left.

Turns out I had everything I needed but a tire iron, which comes in handy when changing a flat, so I started walking toward home. Soon a sputtering, beat-up Beretta pulled up and rolled down its window. “Is that your car back there? Do you need any help?” It was a woman in her 20s. I could here a baby crying in the back seat.

“Actually, I’m walking home to get some things to fix it.”

“Do you live near here?”

“I live up in Holy Cross. Would you mind dropping me off at Highland ST,” which would cut about 15 minutes off my walk. In retrospect, I can’t believe I asked a young woman to give me a ride at midnight on 10th Street. If I’d been her, I probably would have said no. But she said, “sure.” She told me she was on her way home from work and had just picked up her baby. I thanked her profusely and got out at Highland.

I started walking along darker streets, praying for safety. A few blocks in I noticed a man walking toward me carrying some sort of stick. I tried to look taller, clutching my keys like a fist full of silver dollars, ready to throw a punch if I needed to. As I got closer I heard the guy say, “Hi Sweetie!” It was John and he was carrying a tire iron.

“What are you doing out here, with a tire iron?” I asked. For a half-second I wondered if he wasn’t some midnight mirage conjured up by fear and a need for sleep.

“The phone kept ringing. I couldn’t get to it in time so I pushed star 69 to find out who it was. A guy asked if I knew someone with a white Grand Am. When I said I did he told me what happened. He asked me, ‘Who is he to you?’ and I told him you were my partner. I’m too Ambianized to drive, so I grabbed a tire iron and started walking.” I don’t know how John knew I needed a tire iron, but it didn’t surprise me. He’s like a walking Swiss army knife.

I used John’s phone to report the license of the drunk driver as we walked back to the car. Even Ambianzed, John put on the spare. “I’ve put brakes on this car so many times, it will take us longer to drive home than for me to replace the tire.” I was amazed, but he was right. He chatted the entire time, probably trying to keep himself awake. As he worked, several other drivers stopped and asked if we needed help, all driving cars as beat up as ours. The nicer cars kept moving. I felt like I was living a 21st century version of The Good Samaritan story.

When we got the spare on we realized it had about a frog’s breath worth of air in it. We said a prayer and drove on it anyway. 10 mph all the way. By the time we pulled up in front of the house we were driving on the rim, but we made it.

I know I should be mad about the drunk driver and my own stupidity for not carrying a phone and a decent spare, but honestly, I can’t stop thinking about how kind people were—complete strangers in the middle of the night and in a not so great part of town. And on top of that, God is gracious enough to have me living with my own guardian angel. I’m bizarrely grateful for the experience.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Good Day

Got up this morning feeling really great because it was Saturday and all I had to do was fruit and vegetable shopping, some yardwork, and watch The Guru which Netflix sent yesterday.

John was sleeping in so I went downstairs to make us some coffee. I stood looking out the back door window drinking from the little chipped yellow cup that I always use. I scanned the garden, thanking God that the scheduled high would only be 83 degrees today. My eye stopped at a long black lump lying in the middle of the yard. The lump didn’t move. The only motion I could detect were a few flies buzzing around the lump.

At first I thought it was the neighbor cat from across the street who likes to slink along the ground and make ridiculous attempts at catching the birds in our yard (silly city cats), but something didn’t look right—the lump was too flat, and what might have been fur was wet and wet cats and “still” don’t go together.

I thought about actually going outside to get a closer look at the lump, but that would obligate me to act upon whatever I found. This would not be a problem if the lump turned out to be a piece of plastic or cloth blown into the yard by last night’s storm. But if the lump happened to be a lump of something dead, well, I don’t really do "dead." I feel that "dead" is John’s job. That’s what he gets for never flinching at all of those Discovery Channel medical shows where someone is having their eyeball sewn shut or open, or whatever it is they do with eyeballs on the Discovery Channel. I wouldn’t know because I stumble from the room with my hands over my eyes at the first sight of a sharp object approaching skin. I half-heartedly dissected my frog in high school and held my breath through the dissection of my shark in college. My skin-poking cup runneth over to this day. I know all of the arguments for making TV a more educational media outlet, but I’ll happily sit through a rerun of Andy Griffith I’ve seen 40 times before I watch skin being sliced. Obviously, someone with my delicate sensibilities was never meant to deal with the possibility of a dead something lying in the yard. I took a sip of coffee from my obligation-free perch and waited a little longer to see if the lump would move. It didn’t.

So I fixed a bowl of Grapenuts and headed to the front porch, away from the lump, to wait for John to get up. Eventually John came downstairs. I had a nice cup of coffee and a nonchalant “there seems to be a long black lump in the middle of the back yard” waiting for him. He also got a serving of “No, I thought you’d bet better suited to move something like that” when he came back inside from looking at it.

Turns out the lump was a cat after all. A stray we think, and it was indeed dead. I congratulated myself on my earlier decision not to investigate. “No signs of a fight,” John said. How nice, I thought. The cat went through all the trouble of staggering from wherever it was and up a hill just so he could die in the middle of our back yard. What an over-achiever. John thinks his dying words might have been "Must...pee...on...Spruce..."

Feeling a little guilty-- about my less than helpful attitude, not about my irritation with the cat for dying in our yard--I helped John rig the trash bag coffin—double-bagged grocery sacks surrounded by two double-ply garbage bags. I watched from inside the back door as John struggled to get the now stiff cat into the grocery sacks with a pitchfork, the cat’s paws sticking out at just the right angles to make entry into the bag impossible. “Even when they’re dead cats won’t go anywhere they don’t want to,” I thought as I finished my cup of coffee.

My guilt getting the best of me I hollered out to John, “Need help?”


“Damn,” I thought. “Okay, I’ll get my shoes,” I yelled. But by the time I got outside the cat was in all of the bags and tied up. We started thinking about dumpsters we could drop it in. In an effort to recover my valor I volunteered to put the bag in a box and find a dumpster. I drove to our church, which has a very nice one. I ran into my friends Mark and Mike who were doing yard work on the church grounds.

“Come to help?” Mark asked.

“No, a cat died in our yard and I thought I’d put it in the church dumpster.”

“Oh, well drop this pile of grass and leaves on it when you do and you can say you buried it,” and that is just what I did with my friends watching. All things considered, the cat made a pretty good end of life decision. He died in a decent yard, got a high-quality bag casket and a same-day church burial. Even though his funeral director didn’t have the best attitude, I like to believe that this cat, as all cats do, got his way in the end.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Prayer for Two Dads

If you're the praying kind, would you mind sending one up for two friends of ours and their daughter? They are in court today working to stay together as a family. I'm not sharing names for privacy reasons.

Earlier this year they adopted a little girl from a young mother who asked them to. They were thrilled to do so and have loved and taken great care of this child from day one. The biological mom is a good woman who just wasn't able to care for her. She knew these guys would. The biological father (the mom's boyfriend) kicked her out of his apartment when he found out she was pregnant. His mother decided he needed to raise the little girl, but neither he nor she has EVER made an effort to see her in the nearly six months the little girl has been alive. Neither the grandmother nor the bio-dad have stable lives.

The two dads have a loving and long-committed home life, have made good financial decisions, have a strong connection to their church, and a loving extended family and network of friends.

In Indiana, a biological parent has 30 days to interupt an adoption, and the dad reappeared during that first month at his mother's urging. Indiana laws also tend to favor blood relationships. Let's hope what is in the best interest of the child enters the picture. I don't pretend not to be biased. I know the two dads and the little girl. They are about as happy and healthy a family as I've ever seen. I'm praying that they are able to stay together.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fry Day Memories

Every two years or so we thumb our nose at the American Heart Association and invite folks to Tulip Hill for the grease poppin' blowout known as Fry Day. This year I talked some of my dearest Batesville friends, the McClain sisters, Lori, Julie (Gunstream Girl), and Jennie (Trimandfashionable)and their significant others, J. and Tommy, into making a trek up here for the occassion. Not only did they drive 9 hours to visit (5 for Julie and Tommy) they came ready to help--loaded with fresh okra, dinnerware, drinks, music and a homemade cake that said, "Like it? Fry it!" on the top (the mangled remains are on the table in the picture). McClain mom, Ms. Pat, raised these girls right. We spent the day Saturday chopping, prepping, shopping and reliving memories of childhood summer fish fries.
I found a roll of bacon tape I'd bought which made nice nametags. Julie models her bacon strip here.

When things really got going we had a fryer outside for the catfish, hushpuppies, fried pickles (pickle-o's), french fries, and okra (Jennie's recipe, and maybe the best fried okra I've ever had!). Inside, John's mom figured out how to fry black-eyed pea fritters (another sleeper hit).

After that things got a little crazy, and eventually people were frying Oreos and Raspberry Newtons (a favorite of mine), and the desserts people brought. Lori found a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie in her purse so we fried that too. You can tell by the look on her face that she has a healthy respect for hot grease.

The pictures don't do the event justice, but this one sort of says it all. Gayle (2nd from the right) had her birthday that night so we sang Happy Fryday to her. You could tell she was really touched.

There aren't too many friends who will indulge this level of red neckedness (even I was a little overwhelmed), but everybody got into the spirit of things. We sat on the front porch talking and laughing until about 2:00 a.m. stacking up plenty of memories to last us until Fry Day 2008.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Karen Black and Jeannie Kendall-When Google Searches Collide

Growing up as teenagers in Arkansas my friends and I didn't think of ourselves as hicks, which is, of course, the sign of a true hick. We weren't completely naive either. Maturing during the hyper self-conscious late 70s and early 80s, reading Rolling Stone and watching daily doses of All My Children made it clear to us that we were by no means worldly. But all we needed was thirty minutes with our friends from TRUE Ozark provinces like Desha, Cushman, and Oil Trough to reassure us that our world was, at least, respectably larger than theirs.

Being a citizen of that larger world meant staying current on techno, new wave bands, and keeping any love of country music on the DL. Dolly Parton and for whatever reason, bluegrass, were exluded from this moratorium (probably because we were hicks). Most of the time ignoring country music was not a problem. But every three years or so, my friend Felley and I would end up going on this closet country kick where we would start listening to KWOZ (the only local country station around for a long while). One of my weaknesses was The Kendalls, the father and daughter duo. Their hits Heaven's Just a Sin Away and If You're Waitin' on Me kept me watching Hee-Haw out of the corner of my eye on Saturday evenings for a few years looking for appearances (no CMT then). I don't think Felley ever let things get that far out of hand, watching Hee-Haw I mean.

I went on a Kendalls Googling binge not too long ago, just to see what became of them and especially Jeannie Kendall's voice, which was like a cross between sweet tea and liquid mercury. Turns out father Royce passed on in 1998, but Jeannie has moved to Yellville, Arkansas about three counties away from Batesville. Don't think I'm not tempted to stalk. It wouldn't be hard. Yellville isn't that big. After being out of the limelight for about 10 years, Jeannie put out a couple of really nice albums. I'd settle for seeing her perform, but can't figure out where she and her band play now.

Along with my little country roots quest, I've been revisiting quirky movies of the 1970s, too. After seeing Bob Altman's Prairie Home Companion I decided to combine the country/quirky movie searches by re-watching Altman's 1975 snapshot of American values, Nashville.

I'm no film studies major, and I don't pretend to understand all the nuances of Altman's movies, but Nashville is so darn interesting and entertaining to me, even with its slow, melancholy pace. The soundtrack makes me laugh (the actors wrote their own songs). One of my favorite characters is Connie White, the churlish, blonde and big-haired stand-in for every 70s Nashville starlet with a sense of self that was simultaneously over-inflated with pride and waterlogged with insecurity. It was a smallish role for Karen Black, who was big back then, but she nailed it. In fact I was so impressed with her performance that I went on a Google marathon for her, too! She also has been keeping a pretty low profile for the last 15 years or so, (fun fact: Karen is a scientologist). But guess what project she did last year. A music video for one of Jeannie Kendall's new songs, You Just Don't Get Me, Do Ya!

Now I ask you, what are the chances?! The video sucks and Karen's bit is pretty uninspired, but still, I would love to shake the hand of the production assistant whose off-beat taste in films made him or her think to get Karen back for a campy Nashville music video of a song by a blond artist from the 70s. Art happens everywhere.

Our Podcast Interviews--John's Turn

Tom from South Bend, Indiana has a podcast show called The Ramble Redhead Show. He interviewed John and I about our relationship and the We Do Too exhibition. The interview with my boy is up now.

If you want to hear John's interview, click HERE. Tom has a full time job, but manages to interview people constantly. I wish I'd had access to his show when I was younger. If you think of it, leave him a comment thanking him for what he is doing for the world by capturing all kinds of stories. He's created a 21st century campfire for us to talk around.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Adam Carolla Helps Ann Coulter Jump the Shark

I thought it might have happened when the right-wing racial profiling advocate was INVITED (!?) to speak at Philander Smith College, a historically African-American school in Little Rock. Her quote of the evening was:

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in [Supreme Court] Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media."


Then I wondered if it would be when the cleft of her cloven hoof lifted the cigarette out of her mouth long enough for her to start spewing insults at the 9/11 widows.


No, it took perpetual frat boy and radio talk show host Adam Carolla, to show just how irrelevant Ann Coulter is. She dialed in an hour and a half late for her interview with him and then made some comment about being short on time. He hung up on her.

Crooks and Liars has the audio HERE.

Here is a transcript:

ADAM CAROLLA: Ann Coulter, who was suppose to be on the show about an hour and a half ago, is now on the phone, as well. Ann?


CAROLLA: Hi Ann. You’re late, babydoll.

COULTER: Uh, somebody gave me the wrong number.

CAROLLA: Mmm… how did you get the right number? Just dialed randomly — eventually got to our show? (Laughter in background)

COULTER: Um, no. My publicist e-mailed it to me, I guess, after checking with you.

CAROLLA: Ahh, I see.

COULTER: But I am really tight on time right now because I already had a —

CAROLLA: Alright, well, get lost. [Click]

Gee Fonzie, that wasn't so hard.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Our Podcast Interviews

Tom from South Bend, Indiana has a podcast show called The Ramble Redhead Show. He interviewed John and I about our relationship and the We Do Too exhibition. The interview with me is up now. John's is supposed to be up soon.

If you want to hear the current interview, click HERE. It was nice of Tom to talk about the show. Tom is a super person who is impacting lots of lives literally over world, especially those of young gay people who often have limited ways to get information about their community.

Tom's future podcasts will include our friends Todd and Duane (who told him about the exhibition --thanks Duane!) and our friend Alice who is an amazing woman from our church who creates family for people with AIDS.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Eric and Chris in Tajikistan

Eric Eating Kabobs
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.
Our friends Eric and Chris are visiting Tajikistan. Click here to visit their travel journal. While you are there, drop them a note and tell them Troy sent you.

Chris will be there for six months working. Eric got to go over for a month, but will come back to start teaching at his new high school this fall. They are in for a long five months once Eric has to return.

But for now it sounds like they are having a great time. Eric is especially happy because he's had great luck finding pants that fit him over there (his journal entry on his smaller pant size travails in the U.S. is very funny). Eric may be kind of small in this country, but in Tajikistan he is average size and they hem pants right on the street while you wait!

I love this picture of Chris putting himself into an exhibit at a museum. Chris and Eric are both funny people, but Chris tends to look pretty serious no matter what the situation is, which made me think at first that he was just underdressed for a party he was attending.

Broadway Church is missing you guys!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Michigan Should've Known Better

From PageoneQ:

A conservative group on Wednesday sued to stop Michigan State University from offering health insurance to the partners of gay workers and said the school is violating a 2004 amendment to the state constitution.

The American Family Association of Michigan filed the lawsuit in Ingham County Circuit Court and hopes to get a ruling setting a precedent that would block domestic partner benefits at other state universities...

Sad thing is there are already similar cases making their way through the courts in Michigan. More reasons why state constitutional amendments restricting gay marriage are bad. Families like mine had very few protections to begin with. Now "Christian" organizations like the American Family Association are working to take those away. Isn't that just like Jesus? No wonder so many gay people run screaming from the church.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hiking at Shades State Park

Karen, Marc, and John
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.

John and I went hiking with our friends Karen and Marc at Shades State Park here in Indiana last Saturday. Before we left we had to stop at Starbucks. They started fixing Marc's drink as soon as they saw him coming through the door. Marc is sort of the unofficial mayor of their neighborhood.

When we finally parked at Shades, Marc and then Karen stopped in at the little toilet hut to the side of the lot. I tried to go, but when I opened the door I decided I could wait. I draw the line at flies hovering over the toilet. Fortunately for me, 20 yards away was a sign that pointed to a "Modern Toilet." I think the only thing that made it modern was that the toilet flushed, but after what I'd just smelled a time machine wouldn't have struck me as any more impressive.
This is John in the bottom of the "Devils' Punchbowl." Why is it that all geographical features named in the 19th or early 20th centuries have the name "devil" attached them? Is it some man vs. nature thing? In Arkansas there is "Devil's Den", in Indiana, there is "Devil's Icebox" and "Devil's Backbone.' I liked the name "Devil's Punchbowl." I can just see satan futzing around looking for all of the little crystal cups that go with it. Made me wonder where the "Devil's Serving Tray" might be. John thought we should look for the "Devil's Chafing Dish."

Moss on the Devil's Punchbowl
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.

This is moss on the side of the Devil's Punchbowl. Looks like the Devil's Dishwasher needs to be fired up.

As we passed people on their way to the trails Marc and Karen made a point of remarking to each other about the incredibly large snake we'd run into. We didn't see a snake (I don't even think they have snakes in Indiana). But striking fear into the hearts of innocent strangers is a nice way to end a hike.

(Note: Were it not for Karen you would not be seeing pictures from our trip. I took our camera and was snapping away, but about an hour in I realized that I'd left the memory card at home and our camera has no internal memory. Thanks Karen. You're the devil's meow).

Saturday, July 01, 2006

How I Know Arkansas Legislators Don't Read

Perhaps you saw that the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings that found it illegal to disallow qualified gay people to serve as foster parents. It was a sweeping and unanimous decision certain to fan the impeaching flames of the anti-independent judiciary crowd. Based on the overwhelming scientific evidence, which opponents of gay parents choose to ignore, the Arkansas Supreme Court had the following to say (From Pageoneq):

Children of lesbian and gay parents are just as well-adjusted as children of heterosexual parents; Being raised by gay parents doesn’t increase the risk of psychological, behavioral, academic, gender identity, or any other sort of adjustment problems; Being raised by gay parents doesn’t prevent children from forming healthy relationships with their peers and others; There is no factual basis for saying that gay parents might be less able to guide their children through adolescence than heterosexual parents; There is no evidence that gay people, as a group, are more likely to engage in domestic violence or sexual abuse than heterosexual people; The exclusion of gay people and people with gay family members may be harmful to children because it excludes a pool of effective foster parents...

The Court went on to say that the state’s argument to the contrary “flies in the face” of the scientific evidence about the suitability of lesbian and gay people as foster parents. The Court added that “the driving force behind adoption of the regulation was not to promote the health, safety, and welfare of foster children, but rather based upon the Board’s view of morality and its bias against homosexuals."

The unanimous supreme court ruling included the decision of:

A special justice appointed to the case by Gov. Mike Huckabee, Frank Poff of Texarkana...[Poff] also questioned the state’s legal arguments. He was substituting for Justice Tom Glaze, who recused from the case. [He remarked that]

“You have no evidence to support that gay foster parents are bad for children,” Poff told Hall. “You’re standing here saying we can’t take a chance.”

It also was noted that a ban on gay foster parents was imposed even though there is NO history of problems with gay foster parents in the past.

Even with a Huckabee-appointed judge deciding that evidence reveals gay people are as qualified as straight folks to be foster parents, the "activist judges" chorus still tuned up for a concert. And who's that leading the choir? Bill-Frist -wannabe, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

"I'm very disappointed that the court seems more interested in what's good for gay couples than what's good for children needing foster care," Huckabee said through his spokeswoman Alice Stewart.
Dude, stop obssessing over your figure, your ignored covenant marriage initiative, and your certain to fail presidential bid long enough to read the ruling that some of your own people spent time and state tax dollars to write.

And perhaps the most painful response comes from a Democrat and fellow citizen of Batesville:

Sen. Jack Critcher, D-Batesville, the Senate pro temporedesignate for the 2007 legislative session, and Rep. Benny Petrus, D-Stuttgart, the speaker of the House-designate for the session, said they were willing to consider a legislative response to the ruling.

Critcher said lawmakers support the policy of limiting foster care to married couples.

“Understanding that, I would think that there’s probably substantial support in the Legislature for a law that would authorize [the Department of Health and Human Services ] to enact the policy they had in place,” Critcher said.

Way to do your research Critcher. Why bother reading the court ruling? Who needs to know what even a Huckabee-appointed judge found in peer-reviewed, scientific studies about gay parents? And who cares that there are not enough married heterosexual foster homes to care for these kids whose ideal upbringing you pretend to care so much about? And by the way, if there is anything that irritates me more than an "anything to win a race" Republican, it is an "I'm too afraid of losing my seat to have a backbone" Democrat.

A brighter side to this? There is one. The large number of studies that shaped the Supreme Court's decision are solid and convincing. Even if a self-serving or willingly ignorant legislator ignores them, every time this subject is debated, the data is broadcast to a broader audience. You can read it for yourself by ordering a copy (free) of Too High a Price: The Case Against Restricting Gay Parenting. Just Google the book title. I tried to link to the book order page, but blogger wouldn't let me. Not sure why.

In any case, don't assume that your legislator will read the studies for you. These days they don't have to be intelligent or fair to be reelected, merely willing to pander to ignorance and fear.