Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Via I fucking love science / FB:

Via Right Turn: Conservatives filing brief in favor of gay marriage

Right Turn has learned that an impressive array of Republicans and Gen. Stanley McChrystal will be filing an amicus brief on Friday in support of gay marriage with the Supreme Court in DeBoer v. Snyder. The case will decide, in the wake of cases striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, if states can restrict marriage to heterosexual couples or if gay marriage falls within the protection afforded by the 14th Amendment.

The brief’s signatories include former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman, conservative pundits S.E. Cupp and Alex Castellanos, former White House chief of staff Ken Duberstein, former Mitt Romney senior advisers Beth Myers and Carl Forti, conservative economists Doug Holtz-Eakin (formerly director of the Congressional Budget Office) and Greg Mankiw (formerly on the Council of Economic Advisers), former senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), former homeland security adviser Fran Townsend and former Massachusetts state Senate minority leader Richard Tisei. The presence of an esteemed general suggests that there is no segment of society in which gay marriage is not gaining acceptance. There are on the list centrist Republicans, more libertarian figures and even social conservatives. In a phone interview Mehlman said, “I think the diversity of the people is a reflection of what we have seen which is increased support in every demographic [for gay marriage].”

In the brief, the signatories argue that they “have concluded that marriage is strengthened, and its value to society and to individual families and couples is promoted, by providing access to civil marriage for all American couples—heterosexual or gay or lesbian alike. In particular, civil marriage provides stability for the children of same-sex couples, the value of which cannot be overestimated. 

In light of these conclusions, amici believe that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits States from denying same-sex couples the legal rights and responsibilities that flow from the institution of civil marriage.” They argue that their belief in judicial restraint nevertheless is informed by their understanding that our “constitutional tradition empowers and requires the judiciary to protect our most cherished liberties against overreaching by the government, including overreach through an act of legislature or electorate. That principle, no less than our commitment to democratic self-government, is necessary to individual freedom and limited government.”

The signatories also argue from precedent that marriage is a fundamental right that enhances liberty. (“For those who choose to marry, the rights and responsibilities conveyed by civil marriage provide a bulwark against unwarranted government intervention into deeply personal concerns such as medical and child-rearing decisions.”) The brief contends, “It is precisely because marriage is so important in producing and protecting strong and stable family structures that the goal of strengthening families favors civil marriage for same-sex couples.” They make the case that even under the lowest level of 14th Amendment scrutiny, banning gay marriage cannot be defended:
Amici do not believe there is a legitimate, fact based justification for excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage. Over the past two decades, the arguments presented by proponents of such initiatives have been discredited by social science, rejected by courts, and contradicted by amici’s personal experience with same-sex couples, including those whose civil marriages have been legally performed and recognized in various States. Amici thus do not believe that any “reasonable support in fact” exists for arguments that allowing same-sex couples to join in civil marriage will damage or distort the institution, jeopardize children, or cause any other social ills. Rather, the facts and evidence show that permitting civil marriage for same sex couples will enhance the institution, protect children, and benefit society generally. Banning marriage for same-sex couples, in contrast, undermines these critical societal goals: Such bans impede family formation, harm children, and discourage fidelity, responsibility, and stability.
Put differently in layman’s terms, marriage confirms benefits and there are insufficient policy reasons to deprive gay couples of those benefits. Mehlman says, “The more people see gay couples getting married, the more they will see that marriage is a good thing.” With marriage, he says, “Freedom advances. Family values advance.” Mehlman thinks a decision in favor of gay marriage will be readily accepted. “I’ve noticed Republicans and conservatives respect the law,” he says of the reaction to previous cases. Indeed, it is remarkable how little discussion of gay marriage there has been in the presidential race. While potential candidates continue to voice their view that they “believe in traditional marriage,” many — including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida governor Jeb Bush — have all affirmed that they abide by court decisions. There is no real movement to defy the courts, and given the shift in opinions, it is nearly inconceivable that enough states could be induced to sign up for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Unlike abortion, which even proponents of abortion rights usually concede is a bad thing, gay marriage — no matter how its opponents might struggle — has not proved to be destructive or harmful in states where it has been adopted. The premise that gay marriage harms heterosexual marriage has never been very compelling. The longer Americans live with gay marriage, the less of an issue it seems to become. Americans remain a tolerant and accepting people. One strongly suspects that the court will agree with the signatories and thereby put the issue to rest as a legal matter. For many Americans, it is already a non-issue, and I agree with Mehlman that the rest will acknowledge once the court speaks that there is no turning the clock back.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

Via JMG: UNITED NATIONS: Russia Tries To Block Marriage Benefits For LGBT Staffers

Foreign Policy reports:
Last June, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a far-reaching administrative ruling that offered marital benefits for the first time to all of the United Nations’ lesbian and gay employees, as well as to other U.N. workers who had entered legally recognized domestic partnerships. On Monday, March 2, Russia gave the plan a resounding nyet.

Speaking Monday morning at a meeting of the U.N.’s main budget committee, a Russian diplomat demanded that Ban reverse his decision on the matter, saying the U.N. chief’s action violated a U.N. General Assembly resolution that left it to U.N. employees’ governments to determine whether are eligible for spousal benefits. Moscow has been weighing whether to force a vote in the budget committee, known as the Fifth Committee, to halt funding such benefits, a vote that it likely could win. Unlike the U.N. Security Council, the United States and other big powers don’t have the power to veto votes in the Fifth Committee. While its decisions are generally made by consensus, states can call for a vote.

“We will insist that the secretary-general urgently revoke the administrative bulletin” expanding benefits to same-sex couples, the Russian diplomat told the committee. Russia’s critics characterized the gambit as a cynical political maneuver aimed at checking the authority of a U.N. leader who has clashed with Moscow over its policies from Syria to Ukraine. Russia has transformed what is by all accounts a low-priority administrative dispute into a high-profile power struggle with the U.N. leader.
Russia's move is being opposed by the United States and the European Union. (Tipped by JMG reader Zhera)

Reposted from Joe Jervis

JMG HomoQuotable - Noah Michelson

"From Grindr profiles that demand 'masc only' to men like [Russell] Tovey who think their masculinity -- however manufactured, however antithetical to who they truly were when they landed on this planet -- is what makes them marketable or desirable, our obsession with what it means to be a man and what it means to fall short of that is keeping us from becoming truly liberated.

"If it weren't for my father, I wouldn't be who I am today. I could have been forced to play football in hopes that it would somehow unleash the man dozing inside of me. I could have been sent to therapy in hopes that I could be reprogrammed, repaired, made whole. I could have ended up with a belt around my neck and swinging from the light fixture in our formal dining room. But I wasn't. But I didn't. I am one of the lucky ones.

"My father died eight years ago. He never got to see the man that I've become and we never specifically talked about everything he did for me -- what he made me -- simply by loving me. Without a son of my own, it's a gift that I can only attempt to pay forward to the thousands of boys and men who come after me -- who brush past me in crowded subway cars or surround me on Facebook or might be reading this now -- by speaking up and saying I am a faggot and it didn't happen by mistake. And if you're a faggot too, I hope you know you don't need to toughen up. You never have to stop prancing. You are not a mistake." - Noah Michelson, writing for the Huffington Post.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via JMG: HRC Claims Record With "People's Brief"

According to the Human Rights Campaign, their People's Brief to the US Supreme Court has garnered over 207,000 signatures, a record of an amicus brie. HRC head Chad Griffin: "Each and every signature on this brief – more than 200,000 of them – is a piece of evidence that this country is ready for marriage equality. Through this historic document, the American people, LGBT and allies alike, are standing shoulder to shoulder to insist on fairness for all. Ultimately, this brief tells a simple truth – the Constitution cannot tolerate discrimination, and it's time for all couples to be treated equally under the law." The brief will be delivered to SCOTUS on Friday.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via Sri Prem Baba: Flor do dia- Flor del día- Flower of the day 03/03/2015

“Durante o estágio do processo de expansão da consciência que tenho chamado de “ABC da Espiritualidade” ou “purificação do eu inferior”, nos dedicamos a transformar aspectos destrutivos da personalidade. Ao desenvolver-se nesse processo, você começa a tomar consciência de partes suas que até então não conhecia. Conforme vai retirando as lentes que distorcem a percepção, você começa a ter uma visão objetiva da realidade, e a perceber sutilezas da atuação da natureza inferior que antes não via. Com isso, muitas vezes você tem a impressão de estar regredindo no processo, mas isso não é verdade. Eu diria que essa sensação é, na realidade, uma medida de sucesso no caminho espiritual, porque significa que sua percepção está ampliando e sua visão está se expandindo.”

“Durante la etapa del proceso de expansión de la conciencia que vengo llamando "ABC de la Espiritualidad" o "purificación del yo inferior", nos dedicamos a transformar aspectos destructivos de la personalidad. Al desarrollarte en este proceso, comienzas a tomar conciencia de partes tuyas que hasta entonces no conocías. Conforme vas quitando los lentes que distorsionan la percepción, comienzas a tener una visión objetiva de la realidad, y a percibir sutilezas de la actuación de la naturaleza inferior que antes no veías. Con esto, muchas veces tienes la impresión de estar retrocediendo en el proceso, pero esto no es verdad. Yo diría que esta sensación es, en realidad, una medida de éxito en el camino espiritual, porque significa que tu percepción se está ampliando y tu visión se está expandiendo.”

“During the stage within the process of expanding our consciousness called the ‘ABC of Spirituality’ or the ‘purification of the lower self’, we dedicate ourselves to transforming the destructive aspects of our personality. As this process evolves, we begin to become aware of the parts in us that we didn’t even know existed. As we remove the lenses that distort our perception, we start to have an objective take on reality. We begin to perceive the subtle ways our lower nature acts that we hadn’t seen before. As this occurs, we often believe that we are regressing in our process, but that’s not true. This sensation is, in fact, an indication of success on the spiritual path because it means that our perception is increasing and our vision is expanding.”

Via Daily Dharma

Mind Control | March 3, 2015

My life is uncomfortable only when I am not capable of controlling my mind. If I am in charge of my mind, then I can live comfortably even in hell.

- Kim Iryop, "Mind Control"