badness, life

It’s past time we had a chat

Marriage equality is an inevitability, regardless of what’s happening in Russia right now (why are they hosting the Olympics again?).  But at least progress is happening in California.

Still, I’ve never had a logical, productive discussion about marriage equality with someone from the opposite camp, and feel as though my experience of this social phenomenon is diminished as a result.  Even if we disagree, I’d like to hear an intelligent dissenting opinion, if one exists.  So I went to the Protect Marriage website and submitted the following:

I have yet to have a productive discussion regarding marriage equality with someone who believes, as your group does, that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman. Instead of having pointless Facebook discussions (that typically consist of someone quoting religious texts as a justification for secular law, or end with someone leaving the conversation in a huff) I figured the best thing to do would be to contact a group of people who have a clear idea of why they believe what they believe, and are capable of having a logical, productive discussion on the topic.

With that in mind, I’ve gone through the “Who We Are” page on your website, and am unclear on a few claims there.

Your website says that “children are most likely to thrive when raised by the father and mother who brought them into this world.”
-How did you come to this conclusion?
-Are adoptive parents (of any gender) therefore inferior?

Your organization claims to want “to protect and preserve traditional marriage…”
-How far back are you extending the word ‘traditional?’ 50 years? 100 years? 1,000 years?

Your website says that our government has “protected marriage to ensure that it exists to conceive and nurture healthy children that will sustain civilization,” and that “procreation is intrinsically connected to marriage.”
-Should the infertile (of any gender) receive the same government protections?
-Are relationships between couples who choose not to procreate inferior in any way?

When you say that children “sustain civilization,” I’m not sure I understand what you mean.
-Do you mean that they maintain the status quo, or that they maintain the same morals and laws that they inherited?

How will same-sex marriage “further [weaken] the societal norm that men should take responsibility for the children they beget”? How did you come to this conclusion?

How will same-sex marriage “corrode marital norms of permanence, monogamy, and fidelity”? How did you come to this conclusion?

Your website quotes Judge Stephen Johnson Field: “marriage is the foundation of family and society, without which there would be neither civilization nor progress.” This statement was made in 1888, eight years before he voted to uphold racial segregation.
-Do you contend that this man’s opinions on social norms (125 years later) are still relevant?
-Please define what you believe he meant by “progress.”

How does an opposite-sex couple’s ability to procreate make their marriage superior to one (made up of any gender combination) that cannot, especially if members of an opposite-sex couple choose not make use of their ability to procreate?

I look forward to hearing back from you.

I’ll post here if they respond.  I’m expecting total radio silence, but remain optimistic.

Meanwhile, here’s how I feel about people who think marriage equality will degrade the current (horrendous) rate of successful marriages between straight couples:

divorce, the silent killer of a full 50% of straight marriages

divorce, the silent killer of a full 50% of straight marriages

 

Advertisements
Standard
badness, work

Grow some ovaries, ladies

I’m in charge of social media in my office, and occasionally get tips from less technologically adept coworkers that I try to implement without letting my eye twitch too much.

For example, today, when I posted an article about how our university is attempting to make gay athletes feel more welcome, Hollywood Coworker told me to “tread very lightly when you post LGBT stuff” because the parents who visit our page are not all as “advanced” as we are on the topic.

my immediate non-verbal response

my immediate non-verbal response

I could tell she assumed this would turn into a disagreement (as her suggestions about what to do with social media often do), so I used my most soothing voice, and said something like, “Well, we can’t cater to every opinion, and even if we could, our job is to inform them about the university. This is happening right now. It’s a fact.”  Her hands came up in a ‘don’t get me started’ fashion, because we both strongly support the LGBT community, so she thought I was preaching to the choir. But I wasn’t, because the topic wasn’t about the LGBT community, it was about deciding whether or not we would do our jobs right, or be cowards.  She honestly believes that I should watch what I post about the LGBT community, especially anything demonstrating support of said community. Why? Because it might offend some parents. As if our job is to:
1) Cater to bigots
2) Lie by omission about university policies
3) Neglect to inform the other parents for fear of offending a few
4) Any of the a-fucking-bove.

This is an amazing university. I’m proud to have gone here, and delighted to be working here. So I’m left wondering: What does Hollywood Coworker think our social media is there for, if not to inform our constituency? If there’s a bombing on campus, we’d post about that too because our job is information distribution, not whatever-makes-you-comfortable distribution.  Remember that newspaper that published an article about the first gay marriage in a small community, and caught all kinds of grief for it?  The owner of that paper wrote a great reply to all the negative feedback: “The job of a community newspaper is not pretending something didn’t take place or ignoring it because it will upset people.”

This bothered me quite a bit, so I mentioned to Little Mole Boss that I had published this article, and she winced.  I asked why she had that reaction, and she said that some parents are prejudiced.  So I asked, “So should we not inform parents because some people might be offended?”
Little Mole Boss: “No, let’s just see what the reaction is.”
me: “Ok… I just want to make sure we’re not avoiding posting stuff because some people don’t like it.  We’re not posting opinions, these are facts.  Our page doesn’t have an LGBT agenda…”
“I know, of course of course…”
“So what’s our policy on this?”
“We don’t have one.”
“Ok.”
“I guess if it’s already up, it’s up.  Let’s just see what the reaction is.”
“Ok, sounds good.”

really?  REALLY?

frustrated kitty is frustrated

So there’s some work to be done in the “do the right thing without being a big fucking baby about it” department.

So I’ll keep working on it.

Standard
goodness

Neutral journalism: I found some

A local paper in Jones County, Mississippi, published a front-page story entitled “Historic Wedding” about a lesbian couple in the local community who were recently married.  Naturally, the paper got a ton of feedback (mostly negative) from its local readership, which both saddened and infuriated me.  The owner of the paper, Jim Cegielski, wrote a response entitled “Doing Our Job” that contains a few gems of journalistic wisdom:

weddingThe job of a community newspaper is not pretending something didn’t take place or ignoring it because it will upset people.

Most of the complaints seem to revolve around our headline, “Historic Wedding” and the fact that we chose to put the story on the first page. My answer…is pretty simple. You don’t have to like something for it to be historic. The holocaust, bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Black Sox scandal are all historic…whether you liked the story or not, the first known gay wedding to take place in Jones County is still historic.

Many of the calls received had the caller stating something to the effect, “I don’t need my children to read this.” Ugh. We have stories about child molesters, murders and all kinds of vicious, barbaric acts of evil committed by heinous criminals on our front page and yet we never receive a call from anyone saying “I don’t need my child reading this.” Never. Ever. However, a story about two women exchanging marriage vows and we get swamped with people worried about their children.

You have every right to cancel your subscription…But you have no right to berate and belittle anyone on our staff.

Color me amazed.  I didn’t want the people working at this paper getting only negative feedback, so I wrote an encouraging email to the editor, and the following exchange did not disappoint.  Warning: Beware of feels.

Hi there,
I recently read a story about the headline you ran regarding a “Historic Marriage” and the following backlash your paper and its staff received from the local community.  I also read about Mr. Cegielski’s response to said complaints.
I was very impressed by Mr. Cegielski’s statement in defense of this story’s publication.  The points he made about the lack of negative response regarding stories about murder, rape, molestation, etc., and the fact that “historical” are not always pleasant were both right on the money.  I am so pleased with this public statement in defense of journalistic integrity and the staff who work at the paper.  Well done.
I live in Los Angeles, but I’ve bookmarked your newspaper’s website and will visit it often to increase traffic to your site.  I hope your paper continues to uphold the same high standards of journalistic integrity in the future.

Thank you, [tigerlilytoph] … I can’t wait to pass on your kind words to our staff. It will mean a lot after so much hate-filled criticism.
I appreciate you for taking the time to write!
Mark  
_____
Then I heard from Jim, the owner of the paper who wrote the op ed in defense of running the story.
_____
Hi [tigerlilytoph]:

Mark forwarded your email onto me and I just wanted to add my gratitude and thanks for your kind message.
Warmest Regards,
Jim Cegielski
Laurel Leader-Call
_____
So I wrote a probably-too-long email back:
_____
Hi Jim,
It was my pleasure, and well deserved.  An impartial news source is not easy to find, so I was delighted that your response to all the negative feedback you got was to point out that the job of a news organization is to report just that: the news.  Not what people want to hear, or a political opinion on current events, just facts.

Although I’m a strong supporter of equal rights for all, I’m glad you didn’t cite any personal bias (no matter what it might be) on that topic as your reasoning for reporting that story.  The fact is, if I wanted to read individuals’ opinions of current events, I’d look to blogs instead of news outlets.
Please give my warmest wishes to your staff.  I know how it is dealing with wrankled customers: it sucks out loud.  They have all my support (and the support of all the friends and family whom I’ve told about your experience).  I hope they keep a good sense of humor while dealing with this and any future backlash for doing their jobs right.
In friendship,
[tigerlilytoph]
Standard