Equal Rights = Right.

Marriage (or wedlock) has been defined as a social union or legal contract between people creating a kinship. The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but is usually seen as an institution in which interpersonal relationships, (intimate and sexual) are acknowledged. Such a union may also be called matrimony.

Washington state lawmakers voted to approve gay marriage Wednesday 2/8/2012, setting the stage for the state to become the seventh in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed. This action of course coming a day after a federal appeals court declared California’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, saying it was a violation of the civil rights of gay and lesbian couples.

The bill passed on a 55-43 vote in the Washington House. Supporters of the bill’s passing viewing from the public viewing galleries and stood cheering as many on the Democratic side of the House floor hugged after the vote. Gov. Gregoire watched the vote in the wings with the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ed Murray, who is a gay politician and who has sponsored gay rights legislation for years. Murray said the vote marked “a day that will be remembered in the history of this state.”

Gov. Gregoire also issued a statement saying it was: “a major step toward completing a long and important journey to end discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

Democratic Rep. Jamie Pedersen, a gay lawmaker from Seattle who has also sponsored gay rights bills for several years, said that he and his partner have been grateful for the rights that they have under the state’s existing domestic partnership laws but such protections are “a pale and inadequate substitute for marriage.”

During the remarks on the House floor, Pedersen read from the  the San Francisco-based 9thUnited States Courts of Appeals ruling, citing a section that stated “marriage is the name that society gives to the relationship that matters most between two adults.”

As a side-note, those who disagree with same sex marriage because of religious reasons should know that  homosexuality as well as the institution of marriage predates most if not all practiced organized religion and therefore doesn’t necessarily fall under the purview of  religion or religious belief.

Surprisingly enough, there seems to be a schism (the size of which is unsure.) even amongst some in the gay community when it comes to the issue of same sex marriage. I came across this quote earlier today on Facebook and I can say with utmost honesty that it is what prompted me to do this post. Keep in mind the post was written by a gay male and honesty wasn’t coming from a place of hatred or anger. : “When it comes to gay rights and politics i don’t care to get involved with the outcome or drama. The majority of people who vote are straight… Therefore, I just try and set a good example for them to want to vote for the rights we think we deserve. I wish people would see that marriage is for heterosexuals. If we want to feel “normal” by getting married we need to prove to the majority of voters that we can be respectful when it comes to the union of two people.”

Representative Maureen Walsh Remarks on ESSB 6239

Now while setting a “good example” is all good and fine, one should not have to set a “good example” in order to prove to anyone that they deserve something that is considered a basic human right. I shouldn’t have to prove that I deserve the right to marry any more than I should have to prove that I deserve the right to use the same bathroom that a white/caucasian person uses, or the right to vote, or be a land owner….if I have the money to own land.

The best response to the aforementioned post came not too long after I myself responded to the post. The responder had this to say: “Gay people shouldn’t have to perform for heterosexuals to attain equality, nor should bigotry be permitted as a “normal” state of affairs. Most people who oppose gay marriage in the U.S. do so out of hatred and fear. It isn’t our respectfulness that anyone should be worried about–it’s theirs.” All I could say in return was “Well said.”

As a  responses to the above comment on the post I quoted, the poster had this to say: ” I’m not saying we need to conform to heterosexuals. I’m saying that the majority of voters are straight and would more likely vote gay rights if we gave them better reasons to do so. We need to set a good example and be respectful so that we can be treated equally.”

Once again the sound of needing to appease a majority in order to get something deserved by all people can be heard. While I do not agree on any level with that individual’s point of view, I do respect their opinion.

Regardless of the thoughts or opinions of those against same sex union in marriage, it is a right and as such, I feel that one day it will be universally accepted as such. Human rights applies to all humans, regardless of their ethnicity, faith, political affiliation, or sexual preference. If I want to marry a man, I’m going to marry a man.

If Homer J. Simpson (Seen in my featured image for this post.) can understand that marriage is not bound by gender, what’s your excuse?

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Of Piracy and Liberty

For more than a decade,  Wikipedia (the free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.) has spent millions of hours painstakingly building what has to be the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, Congress is considering legislation that could all but kill free and open Internet.

The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in December, and the powers of the Internet—web based companies that innovate and users who populate internet—joined forces to defend the idea of a free and open ’net. Some websites have even joined in blacking out in response to SOPA and PIPA. Because of all the controversy (more than 700,000 tweets and a million emails…give or take), there may no longer be the legislative desire in the House to pass it, according to Rep. Darrell Issa, one of the bill’s most vocal opponents.

Despite that fact, bills often come in pairs, and SOPA’s twin in the Senate is the Protect IP Act, or PIPA as it is commonly referred to. Both bills threaten to rip apart the very fabric of the Internet, compromise the world’s digital security and open the doors for censorship the likes of which have been most recently seen in China. While SOPA may be damaged, PIPA has yet to attract the same levels of negative attention. It’s scheduled for a Senate floor vote on Jan. 24 and could easily weasel its way through, under the radar. It’s quite clear that PIPA is the new SOPA, making it the next logical target.

It’s understandable that the entertainment industry is sick of sitting by while its films, records and software are being stolen by large-scale online file-sharing operations based overseas, known as “rogue sites.” But, in the name of “intellectual-property rights”, media companies have enlisted a bipartisan chunk of Congress to pass anti-piracy legislation weighted irrationally and unfairly in their favor. Copyright holders want to give themselves and the U.S. Department of Justice the power to block any and all websites accused of “infringement”. They seem to want to force Internet service providers to create a wall between their customers and these websites. To force banks and payment services like PayPal to cut off these websites’ money. They want the websites removed from search results and to ban people from linking to them. And all of that, without any kind of formal hearing.

That won’t stop people from infringing on copyrights. So long as there are people out there, information’ll find a way around the walls the entertainment industry wants built. That’s just the nature of information.

An alternative bill for possible consideration is  the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act, or OPEN, which like SOPA, also has a twin in the Senate, introduced by Senators Ron Wyden, Jerry Moran and Maria Cantwell. OPEN would place rogue sites under the purview of the International Trade Commission, which already oversees patent infringement. The ITC would be given the authority to block the flow of all money and advertising to these sites, but nothing more.

I’m not sure about you, but to me that seems ridiculous. If anything, PIPA might just cause a surge in pirating information. Tell someone they can’t do something and that’s as good a reason as any for them to do just that. And get enough people who aren’t allowed to do something and you’ve got the same thing that happened during the prohibition. Sure, I realize there’s a difference between pirating information and bootlegging information… it’s a small difference, but the comparison stands valid.

This blog post has been spawned from an amalgamation of online information. If a bill such as PIPA were to pass, who’s to say I would have been able to gather the information I’ve posted.?. Who’s to say I would have been able to post it.?.

Santorum: Just Another Dirty Word.

If you were to go on to Google and type in “santorum”(Minus the quotes of course.), what you’d find wouldn’t be the nicest thing in the world. Now..I won’t type out what pops up at that search, but despite it’s not being all that nice, I find it more than deserving and fitting.

Before I begin digging into him, here’s a bit of information about the guy.  Richard John “Rick” Santorum is a lawyer and politician, and a  member of the Republican Party. He represented the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives (1991-1995) and the U.S. Senate (1995-2007). As a Senator, Santorum was the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, making him the third-ranking Senate Republican from 2001 to 2007.

Santorum is considered both a social and fiscal conservative. He is especially well-known for his strong social conservative positions,his role in enacting welfare reform in 1996, and his views on U.S. foreign policy towards Iran.

Since leaving public office, Santorum has worked as an attorney, served as a Senior Fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and been a contributor to Fox News Channel.

Santorum is a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2012 election. He formed a presidential exploratory committee on April 13, 2011, and formally announced his candidacy on June 6, 2011. After running in the bottom tier of candidates for months, Santorum gained significant momentum in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses, and scored a significant second-place finish in the caucuses with just eight votes fewer than the first-place finisher Mitt Romney.

Beneath that politicians smile lies a man filled with ignorance; and not the blissful kind. In a Fox interview, Rick Santorum had some… interesting things to say on the topic of gays in the military. During the interview, a clip was played  in which he was heard to say (when asked by a gay soldier “Do you intend to circumvent the progress that has been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?”) “Any type of sexual activity has no place in the military and the fact that they’re making a point to include it to a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privileged to…in removing “don’t ask, don’t tell” I think tries to inject social policy into the military.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a yes if ever I’ve heard one.

If that’s not enough, in an interview with Associated Press reporter Lara Jakes Jordan, when asked for his position on the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, Santorum said that the scandal involved priests and post-pubescent men in “a basic homosexual relationship” (not child sexual abuse), which led the interviewer to ask if homosexuality should be outlawed.

Santorum then brought up the then-pending U.S. Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, which challenged a Texas sodomy law, and went on to say that:

  • he did not have a problem with homosexuals, but “a problem with homosexual acts”
  • the right to privacy “doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution”
  • sodomy laws properly exist to prevent acts which “undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family”

How does one not have a problem with homosexuals yet have a problem with homosexual acts? It’s like saying “I like black people, but I don’t like them doing things that black people do.” It’s ridiculous.. to say the very least.

When Jordan asked “Okay, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?” Santorum’s response concluded:

“In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —” (At this point, Jordan commented, “I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was going to talk about ‘man on dog’ with a United States senator, it’s sort of freaking me out,” coining a phrase widely used in connection with this incident.)

In the original version of the Associated Press story, Santorum was quoted as saying:

“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.”

It also included additional remarks criticizing “homosexual acts”:

“Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, whether it’s sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.”

Jordan produced a recording of the interview, after allegations of bias were leveled against her because she is married to a Democratic strategist.

This is a man who wants to be the President of the United States. A man who’s shown more ignorance than intelligence through his running for the most powerful office in the country. I don’t claim to be any sort of prophet, soothsayer, doomsayer or the like, but I’m pretty sure that if a man such as Rick Santorum was to win the office of President, this country, if not the world might as well be as doomed as those who believe in the Mayan calenders think it to be. As much as I value free speech.. and I do, it’s always sad when someone takes a gift like that and wastes it spouting such garbage. This is why “santorum” is just another dirty word.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with this gem of a video I found.: