Great Baltimore Bachelorette Party

We were in Baltimore recently for a bachelorette party for our friends, Rachel and Sarah. What a great time, and they went all out. We were picked up by the most amazing limousine we have ever seen. If you ever need a limo in Baltimore, you need to give these people a call, Baltimore Limo (http://www.baltimorelimo.org/). It wasn’t just your normal town car. This thing was amazing. All 12 of us fit in comfortably. There was this amazing blue fiber optic lighting that looked like we were in some kind of futuristic movie. They had a bar area and we brought along several bottles to get the party started. Heck, it was so nice, we could have just stayed in the limo and partied all night. (more…)

Caitlyn / Bruce Jenner

Annie Liebowitz is an amazing photographer. Did a great job on the photo of Caitlyn Jenner. This whole “event” has raised awareness of transgender issues more than anything we can think of. Many people have commented how acceptance of gay marriage just snowballed over the last 5-10 years and the opinion of society changed more rapidly than any would have predicted. The question is whether this new awareness of transgender issues will cause a movement in how society views transgenders.

 

Social Conservatives Lash Back

 

The Washington Post has an article about the conservative reaction. It apparently has steam coming out of their ears that a person who won an Olympic gold medal, was on a Wheaties box and celebrated for his masculine prowess is being accepted as a woman and being proclaimed as courageous. They see it as another example of how they are losing the culture wars. And they are nervously awaiting the Supreme Court decision that could make gay marriage legal in all 50 states.

 

Republicans – Where are they?

 

Many top Democrats including President Obama and Hillary Clinton have had positive things to say about Caitlyn Jenner. In contrast, none of the Republicans running for President have had anything to say on the topic. They are in a quandary because part of their base is dead set against gay marriage and transgender issues while many have accepted it. So how do they make a comment without alienating one or the other part of their base?

 

Rick Santorum made an accepting comment and caught heat for it. Mike Huckabee on the other hand made a typically tactless statement about how he wished he could have said he felt like a woman so he could go in the girl’s locker room for showers. He has rightly taken a lot of heat for that statement although a lot of social conservatives probably silently agreed with his underlying sentiment.

 

One Republican strategist said to just avoid the topic, wish him or her well and shut up so you don’t offend a large part of the US population one way or the other.

 

Conservative Talk Shows

 

Naturally, Rush Limbaugh was all over this. He basically said people shouldn’t be talking about this and encouraging this kind of behavior. Steve Deace, another talk show host said Republicans would lose in 2016 if they didn’t come out against this. The way Limbaugh sees it, acceptance of Jenner is making Republicans and conservatives into outcasts and weirdos.

 

There was further vitriol when ESPN announced that it would give Jenner is Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS. The conservative blogosphere felt it should have gone to Noah Galloway who is now a distance runner after losing limbs in Iraq.

 

Many conservative pundits claimed America was going to hell in a handbasket and that our moral compass was out of wack. They feel society has lost its way and needs to revert to proper moral values. They probably claimed the same thing when blacks and whites were allowed to marry.

Gayness: Nature or Nurture

AllPsych has an article on this topic of whether nature or nurture causes someone to be gay. Not clear if the article is by Ryan Johnson or Dr.Christopher Heffner. It is rather lengthy and at times a bit confusing . We will attempt to summarize here.

 

Originally the Amererican Psychological Association (APA) listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. The article makes the valid point that a lot is still not known and is poorly understood. In other words, there is no definitive answer yet.

 

Alfred Kinsey was one of the first to do some research. He found, not surprisingly, that how you worded questionnaires or surveys influenced the answer. After some tweaking, he found that 30% of males had taken part in a homosexual act leading to an orgasm at a minimum.

 

Biological Theories

Karen Hooker selected gays and heterosexuals, matched by age, IQ and education. Then she did 3 different psychological tests on them and found no difference. Because of this the APA removed homosexuality as a disorder.

In 1975 a statement that homosexuality was not a mental disease was released. Finally, in 1994 it said homosexuality was not a mental illness or moral depravity. Instead, it was how some people express love and sexuality.

 

DF Swaab, in 1990, found differences in the hypothalamus between gays and straights. About the same time, Laura Allen found other differences in the hypothalamus between the two groups. In 1991, Simon LeVay also looked at the hypothalamus and found yet another difference and that gay men and women were similar and different from heterosexual men.

 

Another biological experiment was also interesting. The theory was that levels of neuroendocrines affected sexuality, particularly androgens. Female rats given high levels of androgens behaved like males and were attracted to females and tried to mount them. Male rats with restricted androgens were passive and would submit to other male rats.

 

J. Michael Bailey and Richard Pillard studied twins and homosexuality. 52% of monozygotic twins were both gay, 22% of dizygotic twins were both gay and 5 % of adopted brothers. (We wonder whether being twins would decrease the androgen available to each and therefore increase the likelihood of being gay.) Later studies found the same in women.

 

Dean Hamer researched whether gayness might be an X linked gene. He studied 40 gay men and found an amazing concordance in 5 areas of the Xq28 region of the X chromosome. The odds were 1/100,000. He postulated and found that there were many more gay men in the mother’s part of the family tree.

 

Nurture Theories

Sociobehaviorists don’t believe the biological argument. They say it depends on how the person is raised. In Crete and New Guinea all boys went through homosexual experiences as part of the culture. But in this case, you could say it was forced on them.

 

Psychoanalytic theories say it is due to parental and family dynamics. But you would think with the negativity around homosexuality, it would lead people to be heterosexual 100% of the time.

 

David Halperin and Jean Foucault are two main social theorists on the topic of homosexuality. He  believes the reason is unresolved Oedipal issues. Discounted by the main psychological community he has believers in groups such as conservative Christians. Foucault says homosexuality was a rarity 100 years ago when it morphed from sodomy to a sort of interior androgyny.

 

Although these arguments don’t make much sense to us, there is still a lot to learn and it is possible there are impacts of both nature and nurture or environment.

 

 

Conservative / Republican Conflicts

Linda Greenhouse wrote an editorial in the New York Times which we will summarize here with our own editorial comments. It assumes that the Supreme Court will decide the case in favor of gay marriage and hypothesizes about what next.

 

Conservative Christians will probably claim that they are being victimized and discriminated against. As if they have never done the discriminating. When Indiana passed a law recently that allowed discrimination based on religious beliefs, the state backpedaled fairly quickly when businesses pressured them. She says this was a minor defeat because the federal government has no statutory protection for gay people against discrimination. This is where we were puzzled because sex is a protected class. If you go here on the EEOC website, it claims there are protections.

 

Apostle Mike

Mike Huckabee  is running for President but based on his statements, he can’t seriously think he is going to win. He told a group of ministers that the US is moving quickly towards “the criminalization of Christianity”. Wow! He is praying for the Supreme Court justices as a “biblical duty” because “Christian convictions are under attack.”

 

Apparently Republicans don’t always love big business because after Indiana, he said that corporate bullies should stay away from his state of Louisiana. He supposedly wants to run for President too, but you have to wonder.

 

There were 100 friend of the court briefs in the Supreme Court case. In just one of them, 379 companies put their name to the document. There were a lot of Silicon Valley companies but a lot of old blue chip companies like Pepsi, P&G, Alcoa, Dupont, Dow and on and on. They want their employees to be treated consistently across states and not discriminated against in some states. They said it makes hiring the best people difficult.

 

So, how is the Republican Party going to handle this? The majority of Americans support gay marriage and for young Republicans it is 61%. How do they deal with this and not alienate a core of their base who oppose gay marriage?

 

Twisting like a Pretzel

They will probably do the same thing as Ted Cruz, another Presidential hopeful who is making contradictory statements to different audiences. He went to a fund raiser for him in NY hosted by 2 gay businessmen and supposedly said that if one of his girls said she was gay, he would love her just the same. Then he proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow states to still ban gay marriage no matter what the Supreme Court says.

 

Lyndsey Graham,who has been around longer took a slightly more subtle approach and on several occasions has asked why polygamy shouldn’t be allowed if gay marriage is allowed. But he also said he would go with what the Supreme Court decided.

 

George F. Will seemed concerned by Huckabee’s statements and referred to him as Apostle Mike. If the Supreme Court decides for gay marriage, the Republicans should thank them. It lets them off the hook with their base and allows them to focus on other topics that have general appeal to the population. Gay marriage is a no win proposition for the Republicans.

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional Marriage?

How traditional is traditional marriage? There was an article in the Baltimore Sun recently that pointed out how Justice Kennedy had said it wasn’t clear that the Supreme Court should be changing the definition of traditional marriage. The article pointed out that the definition of marriage has always been changing.

 

What is traditional?

It pointed out that at one point, as soon as a woman was married, she lost all her rights. Does he want to go back to that definition of traditional marriage? It was also quite common for  one man to have multiple wives and still is in many parts of the world. In some places women had multiple husbands.

 

Or does he want to go back to a time when it was illegal for a black and a white to marry? It would be nice if the Supreme Court asked for input and insight from anthropologists and social scientists who actually know what has happened instead of viewing the world from their own narrow perspective.

 

In a CNN article, it mentioned several tribes in Africa who were far enough apart that they came up with the practice independently. If a woman had amassed enough wealth, she sometimes married another woman. When that woman had a child, the father was considered to be the woman with the wealth. The biological father was irrelevant.

 

There was also the Navajo. They had a class of person called nadleehi. Nadleehi were men who dressed and acted like women. In one of their myths, their equivalent of Adam and Eve had an argument which caused a split or rift between men and women. The world was restored to order by the nadleehi because they could be the go between for men and women. Nadleehi were a regular part of the society and not marginalized in any way. They could marry men and were supposed to be great wives. Wonder how Thomas and Scalia would like that.

 

Bible?

Or do the justices want to go back to the Bible as a guide. Great! In the Old Testament men have multiple wives. There is also other forms of being married like the levirate. If a man dies without an heir, it is the duty of his brother or cousin to take the widow in and get her pregnant so there will be an heir.

 

I don’t think there would be a consensus to go back to these practices, just like many others in the Bible have been discarded such as an eye for an eye. (Unless you are talking about ISIS and other twisted groups.) Although Justice Kennedy stated that marriage has stated that marriage has remained unchanged for thousands of years, he is wrong. It has been much more fluid over time and place and has been more of a consensus of people at the time. It seems to be a consensus now. Hint. Hint.

Hello and Welcome to Protect Marriage

Protect Marriage is a website to keep track of what is going on politically around the concept of marriage. The world is rapidly changing and more and more are seeing the ability for two people to marry, no matter who they are is a matter of civil rights and equality much the same way as laws used to keep blacks from marrying whites (among many other injustices). It is an exciting time which we couldn’t have imagined even 5 years ago. So stay tuned for things to come!