Tag Archives: gay marriage

Population boom: teen and unmarried mothers

Population: n. : the whole number of people or inhabitants in a country or region

More babies were born (4.3 million) in the US in 2007 than any other year in our history. Two particular statistics fly in the face of rhetoric from the religious right:

1. The teen birth rate is up again, for a second year in a row. So much for “abstinence only”.

Even at the low point in 2005, the United States had the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, birth and abortion of any industrialized country. Because teenage births carry higher risks of medical problems and poverty for mother and child, state health agencies, schools and private groups have mounted educational campaigns to deter teenage pregnancy.

2. Forty percent (40%!) of last year’s births – to mothers of all ages – were to single women.  Which leads me to believe that heterosexuals don’t much care about the institution of marriage …  and it has nothing to do with gays marrying (or not).

Along with the boom in birth (less contraceptive use?), we’re seeing a decrease in abortions.

What I want to know is how many of these new babies were really wanted by their mothers? And if many were not wanted, what problems with troubled children are we going to see in a few years?

Another worrisome trend is the continuing increase in C-section use:

In yet another record high, the share of deliveries by Caesarean section reached 32 percent in 2007, up 2 percent from 2006. Experts have repeatedly said some C-sections are not medically necessary and impose excess costs, but the rate has steadily climbed, from 21 percent in 1996.

Not only are C-sections expensive and invasive, but the baby’s long-term health may be jeopardized:

Swiss researchers are reporting in the journal Thorax this month that a Caesarean delivery is linked to a much higher risk for asthma compared with babies born vaginally.

In a study of nearly 3,000 children, the researchers found that 12 percent had been given a diagnosis of asthma by age 8. In that group, those born by C-section were nearly 80 percent more likely than the others to develop asthma. The explanation may be that a vaginal birth “primes” a baby’s immune system by exposing it to various bacteria as it moves through the birth canal.

Prop. 8 court challenge

Paul Hogarth, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle writes today that he is now optimistic that Prop 8 (denying gays right to marry) will not stand, based on reading the lawsuit by SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera:

… after having read Herrera’s well-written brief and done some legal research, I am now more optimistic that justice will prevail. Prop 8 was not your typical “amendment” that merely tinkers with the California Constitution. It was a drastic revision that deprives a “suspect class” (gays and lesbians) of a fundamental right under equal protection. And a simple majority vote of the people is not enough to take that right away – especially when the purpose of equal protection is to shield minorities. While other courts have upheld marriage amendments in other states, they have different Constitutions – and court rulings have changed considerably in a short period of time. And unlike many states, California has explicitly found sexual orientation to be a “suspect class.” If the Court overrules Prop 8, it will be a powerful affirmation for justice – capping what has been a powerful year of “change.”

… Dennis Herrera’s lawsuit on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco – which Santa Clara and Los Angeles Counties have now joined – highlights a critical distinction in California’s Constitution that gives me hope. Even if voters pass a Constitutional Amendment, the courts can still decide if it was merely an “amendment” – or a substantive “revision.” And if it was a “revision,” voter approval by a simple majority is not enough – it also requires an okay by the state legislature (which probably wouldn’t happen), or a constitutional convention. Why the distinction? Because mere “amendments” tinker around the edges; “revisions” are far more fundamental changes.

And the Courts have thrown out such changes to the Constitution as “revisions” under the right circumstances.

For all those who deserve to marry (and divorce) just like the rest of us I hope the challenge will prevail.

Pro-family??? Arkansas’s new anti-gay law is anti-children

Pro-family: adj. Favoring or supporting values held to promote “traditional” (whatever that is…) family life, typically values identified with social conservatismsuch as opposition to abortion (and often contraception), homosexuality, gay marriage, and anyone that doesn’t seem “Biblically correct.”

So those of us who are more flexible in our definition of what constitutes a family must be anti-family.

I don’t know how wretched people like me ever managed to raise happy healthy well-educated responsible kids! I’m not gay, but in every other regard I am the embodiment of evil.

I wrote about the sad passage of Prop 8 in California which (thanks to the Mormons and Catholics) now forbids gays from marrying. But today I read something even sadder – Proposition 1 that just passed in Arkansas forbidding people who are “cohabitating outside a valid marriage” from serving as foster parents or adopting children.

As Dan Savage wrote in a column today:

While the measure bans both gay and straight members of cohabitating couples as foster or adoptive parents, the Arkansas Family Council wrote it expressly to thwart “the gay agenda.”

Right now, there are 3,700 other children across Arkansas in state custody; 1,000 of them are available for adoption. The overwhelming majority of these children have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their heterosexual parents.

Even before the law passed, the state estimated that it had only about a quarter of the foster parents it needed. Beginning on Jan. 1, a grandmother in Arkansas cohabitating with her opposite-sex partner because marrying might reduce their pension benefits is barred from taking in her own grandchild; a gay man living with his male partner cannot adopt his deceased sister’s children.

Social conservatives are threatening to roll out Arkansas-style adoption bans in other states. And the timing couldn’t be worse: in tough economic times, the numbers of abused and neglected children in need of foster care rises. But good times or bad, no movement that would turn away qualified parents and condemn children to a broken foster care system should be considered “pro-family.”

Have these people no heart? These people care about children? These are good Christians?
This “pro-family movement” is a movement that must be stopped.

Proposition 8: Permission for gays to marry denied

Proposition: n. something offered for consideration or acceptance.

Permission: n. formal consent, authorization.

Among the few unhappy outcomes of last week’s election was the success of Proposition 8 in California. This ballot initiative (unless somehow overturned again) will amend the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. It would overturn a recent California Supreme Court decision that had recognized same-sex marriage in California as a fundamental right.

The campaigns for and against Proposition 8 raised $35.8 million and $37.6 million, respectively, becoming the highest-funded campaign on any state ballot that day and surpassing every campaign in the country in spending except the presidential contest.

Getting this passed has been in the minds of the Mormon (LDS) higher-ups for at least ten years and much of the “for” money came from Utah in an unlikely alliance with the Catholic church in California.

Some 18,000 same-sex couples happily got married in the brief window afforded by a California Supreme Court decision that said banning it was unconstitutional. (With a new amendment IN the constitution, the case is back at square one.)  Will their marriages suddenly be nul and void? It’s a mess.

I have never understood how gay marriage “undermines the institution of marriage,” and why it is that “traditional” marriage needs to be “protected”.  As it is, 50% of “traditional” marriages in the US fail, without any help whatsoever from the gay couple down the street.  (Some of them may even fail because one of the partners would rather be with a person of the same sex…)

“Traditional” marriage has changed a number of times over the years anyway.  Although the Mormons like to say that marriage has been “one man and one woman” for 4000 years, they allowed “one man, many women” until 1890 (and in some rural sects they still do!).

Black people who were slaves couldn’t marry. Until 1960 a white and black couple couldn’t marry. Although I wouldn’t want to marry another woman, I can only say hooray for someone else who has found their perfect mate.

The MSNBC commentator, Keith Olbermann, gave one of his special comments on Prop 8 last night. He can sometimes go on a rant, but this was very special. Tender. He stands on the side of love:

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you.

They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world. Only now you are saying to them—no.  …

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don’t you, as human beings, have to embrace… that love?

The world is barren enough. It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling.  With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do? …

Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Watch the whole comment: