Shame on you, PGCPS!

This is not the way to teach kids that bullying is wrong. This is, in fact, part of the problem.

Starting last fall, some seventh grade health classes in the Prince George’s County Public Schools system were shown an anti-bullying video that promoted gay-to-straight therapy as an option for LGBTQ youth. When City Desk started asking question about the video this week, the school system pulled it from classrooms. Despite the best efforts of a prominent therapist in the homophobic ex-gay movement who is also a member of the school system’s Health Council, students learning about bullying will no longer learn about the widely discredited form of counseling.

I live in Prince George’s County. I attended its public schools for twelve years. We voted over 50% in favor of Question 6, which means we made a major contribution to legalizing same-sex marriage in our state. Our teachers gave us factual, evidence-based sex ed when I was a student. The school system really ought to know better than to buy into this shit.

Telling bullied children that they need to change themselves—particularly when the changes are to aspects of their identities that aren’t within their control and really don’t hurt anyone—to stop other children from tormenting them is the very opposite of bullying prevention. It tells the bullies that they are in the right. It tells the kids on the receiving end of peer abuse that they deserve it. One might even call this strategy a form of bullying in itself.

ETA: Zinnia Jones brings us a little reminder of just how well ex-gay therapy actually works.

The Little Free Library is a thing, and it is fabulous.

There is now a Little Free Library box in Greenbelt, Maryland courtesy of my mother, who is also a librarian in Montgomery County. You will find a variety of books to check out, including a pristine copy of Charlinder’s Walk. Unlike the public library, this one is open for business at all hours of every day. Visit the LFL’s Google Maps to find a library box in your area.

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In other news, I have decided to run a separate blog just for my fiction. I am also sharing iPad wallpapers there because I have a fractal-generating app on my Mac and it’s fun. Go take a look at I’m Also a Novelist, will you?

Get your ass to the polls, Maryland!

To all my fellow Marylanders who have not yet voted (I’m going after work tonight)—

This is an election that counts.

Not just because of Obama vs. Romney; our state reliably breaks blue, but it breaks blue because of the number of liberal Marylanders who go to the polls and vote for Democrats.

However, the state ballot initiatives do not depend on the electoral college.

This is the year when we vote on marriage equality in our state. Every vote counts.

If Question 6 wins, some people will benefit and no one will be harmed.

If Question 6 is defeated, no one will benefit and some people will be harmed.

“But, but, but, my religious freedom—!”

—will not be affected.

The bill explicitly protects religious groups from providing any service that goes against their beliefs. When same-sex couples want to get married, there are plenty of supportive celebrants who are willing to officiate. The ones who would have to hold their noses through gay weddings will be left the hell alone.

Now, think of how it would feel if your fellow citizens were voting on YOUR right to marry the person you love. (The reaction that comes to mind is: “WTF?!”)

Let’s do this, folks. Let’s answer this question so it doesn’t need to be asked again.

 

I’d be worried if I were you.

Actually, I have some good news. Isn’t it fun to find out stuff is changing for the better?

“I think the president’s statement today is probably the most significant advancing of our cause since the bill-signing,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley told me during a meeting in Baltimore, two hours after President Obama announced his public support for same-sex marriage. A poll out just this morning quantifies how significant. If the vote to uphold Maryland’s marriage-equality law were held today, it would pass with 57 percent of the vote. Even more compelling, 55 percent of African Americans said same-sex marriages should have the same rights as other marriages.

That sound you hear is millions of “traditional marriage” enforcers tearing their hair out.

 

This post is unrelated.

Since Gov. O’Malley signed the marriage equality bill into law last night, I joined a bunch of my friends for a little celebratory get-together at our local cafe, and while we were there, Greenbelt 2012 came to get our thoughts on the matter. What happened was, I got off the bus, went straight to the cafe, and sat down with my fellow queer Greenbelters over a beer and some baba ghanoush. After I’d pounded the beer and enjoyed some laughs with my peeps, Eric, armed with his suped-up camera and digital recorder, found me and asked if I’d answer some questions. And I was all like, “Yeah! I will totally answer your questions!” So he held up the recorder and I gave him my thoughts on civil unions, religious freedom, voter referenda and joining the 21st century. He doesn’t quote my answer about religious organizations that offer adoption services, but my thoughts were basically: you get public funding for your charitable organization, you follow the public’s rules. You do without the public funding, then you can follow your own rules.

He also took some surprisingly good-looking pictures. That first one is of your blogger.

 

The times, they are a-changin’.

Cokie and Steven Roberts have an opinion piece about how support for marriage equality is growing:

Last year, for the first time, national polls showed a majority of Americans favoring same-sex marriage. Statistician Nate Silver, writing in The New York Times, estimates that support for the concept is growing by 4 percentage points every year. By the November election, he forecasts, 56 percent will favor legalizing gay unions and only 40 percent will oppose them. Three years ago, the numbers were reversed.

As Bohanan discovered, this shift is driven mainly by young people. According to a recent Pew study, three out of five voters under 30 back same-sex marriage, while only one out of three over 65 share that view. As the conservative columnist George Will likes to say, young people think being gay is about as significant as being left-handed. And that makes them far more tolerant and open-minded than their elders.

Since we have a new bill for marriage equality in Maryland ready for Gov. O’Malley to sign into law, we are probably going to see a voter referendum on the matter in November. Opponents were already threatening to put the issue on the ballot before the House debate was even finished. They’re so eager to get a voter referendum because they’re convinced they know what the outcome will be. And I could divert this entry into talking about how voter referenda are so fucked up, an insult to representative democracy, the tyranny of the majority, and so on, but right now, whenever I hear some other “defender of traditional marriage” tell us they’re gonna put the issue on the ballot like it’ll teach us a lesson, all I can think is: “What makes you so confident?”

Admittedly, the track record for ballot initiatives has been very bad for marriage equality. So far, whenever voters have been given a chance to decide the fate of same-sex marriage in a state, they’ve always voted against it. And of course the Enforcers of Tradition are only too happy to remind us that voters have struck down marriage equality every chance they’ve had, like that’s supposed to show us that state representatives and courts don’t have the right to allow marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples. In relying on ballot initiatives, they are assuming that a majority of voters will always agree with them.

Why should they assume that?

The track record for direct democracy on civil marriage rights looks the way it does because, up until very recently, a majority of voters has been opposed to marriage equality. Recent polls on the matter have discovered that is no longer the case. To put it bluntly, the people who are most opposed to marriage equality are dying of old age, and the people coming to replace them at the ballot booths are increasingly supportive of gay rights, especially civil marriage. If the issue of marriage equality continues to be put in front of the voters, it will eventually win the election. Direct democracy isn’t going to “uphold the traditional definition of marriage” forever. There will come a time when no amount of lying and scaremongering through TV ads funded by tax-exempt entities (such as churches who supposedly don’t have the money to deal with lawsuits) is going to convince a majority of voters in a jurisdiction that gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry.

Who says that time won’t come this year?  And whenever that time comes, and voters turn out in favor of equality, how fast are the Enforcers of Tradition going to change their tune on the superiority of direct democracy?

(Off-topic, but be sure to see Del. Kach’s perspective on marriage as quoted in the Robertses’ opinion piece. We need more pro-life politicians like him.)

 

DELICIOUS anti-gay nonsense!

While I had a very good time behaving like an asshole on Twitter yesterday while the Maryland Senate debated a marriage equality bill (and they passed it!), I heard some amusing new variations on the usual ridiculousness, but not really any new arguments against.

I find that much of the case against legal same-sex marriage rests on daring us proponents to criticize religion and the privileges it has long enjoyed in our society. I realize it may be a fairly recent development for progressives to come right out and tell you that they have no problem with religious groups losing public funding for public accommodations if they do not follow the public’s rules, but they really should have figured out by now that showing us Bible verses is a hilariously stupid idea.

It’s like this: if you tell us that same-sex marriage is wrong because of a couple of verses in Leviticus, we will point and laugh at you. It’s not even about punishment, it’s just a simple matter of cause and effect. If you expect us to believe that God hates Teh Gheyz because it says so in the Bible, you will have a gaggle of smartassed liberals throwing popcorn at you. Go out into the rain without an umbrella, you will get wet.

 

James Joyner hasn’t given this much thought.

Via Sullivan, we get James Joyner’s EZ-Bake solution for DC representation in Congress:

As I’ve noted several times in the past, my personal preference would be retrocession, whether real or virtual. Essentially, giving DC — minus the Bernstein carveout — back to Maryland.  That solves the problem of giving the District’s residents representation in Congress — which I absolutely believe they deserve — and yet not giving them the ridiculously outsized power that would come from statehood.

Joyner’s fear of “ridiculously outsized power” refers to DC being a “city smaller than San Antonio.” However, as Sullivan points out, the capital is also comparable in population to states such as Alaska and North Dakota.

Continue reading

Today, DC, tomorrow, the world!

The capital city of the United States, the District of Columbia, begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples TODAY.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General of Maryland, Doug Gansler, has decided that ALL marriage licenses issued in other jurisdictions are now valid in Maryland.

That means that, starting this week, a couple of ANY gender combination can get married in DC, and the marriage will be legally binding in Maryland.

Quake in your boots, Bishop Harry Jackson of Beltsville.

Methinks Virginia will not be far behind.