Revisiting Same Sex Marriage

With the recent legal activities in Iowa and Vermont, the Same Sex Marriage issue isn’t going away, as some proponents of Prop. 8 hoped it would after the proposition passed.  I stated then that people don’t stop fighting for basic rights regardless of how many times those rights are denied them. 

Now, this issue will be taken up and debated at the Federal level by the Congress.  Not because there is any politician brave enough to address the issue, but they’ll be forced to by the District of Columbia City Council who have proposed to recognize the same sex marriages performed elsewhere.  I’ve been thinking about the arguments against Same Sex Marriage as well and I agree with Peter Sagal, who lumped them into 3 groups:  It is against God’s law, it is against tradition, and it’ll destroy heterosexual monogamous marriages. 

I’ve covered these arguments in the past but thought that I’d do so again, if perhaps you missed it or didn’t understand.  The first one isn’t an argument at all, and is irrelevant.  What if my God told me it was okay?  What if he told me to kill kittens, and build giant obelisks to his glory?  It doesn’t matter. My and your personal religious beliefs aren’t an argument for denying people their rights in a secular nation that doesn’t recognize any religious belief as valid.  That whole ‘wall’ Jefferson talked about. 

Arguing marriages traditional place is also a poor argument, the whole liberal enlightenment movement of which the United States is probably the best product of is based on overcoming narrow-minded traditional beliefs, laws, processes, etc.  Slavery has a long tradition in the world, Misogyny does too, as well as genocide, torture, pedophilia, polygamy, etc.  The list could go on and on, these are all traditions that we’ve overcome and are better off for it!  I won’t mention the fact that what is presented to Americans as traditional marriage is younger than our country, but that can be for another time. 

The final argument that same sex marriage will destroy heterosexual ones is ridiculous on its face.  What is the divorce race in our Nation?  50%  How many more heterosexual marriages are loveless or festering wells of spousal and children abuse?  According to the Center for Health and Gender Equality 22% of women interviewed admit to domestic violence abuse.  This actual incidence of domestic violence is almost always under reported.  In some surveys the number has been as high as 50-70%!    It appears that heterosexual marriage doesn’t need any help being destroyed, heterosexuals are doing a bang up job all on their own.  All of this and I haven’t even begun to question how what two people do in the privacy of their own home effects what you do in the privacy of yours?  You might not like it, but besides not being comfortable with the idea of two men or two women raising children and having sexual intercourse it can’t do anything to your marriage.  What is much more likely to destroy it is money issues or infidelity.  Besides there’s no evidence to support this, the divorce rate in Massachusetts hasn’t spiked since the same sex marriage became legal, for the few weeks that it was legal in California the only statistics to see a spike was the rate of marriage…   They used this argument too when it came to giving Woman the vote, passing Civil Rights legislation, and abolition…  Nothing was destroyed then either…

Finally, those opposing same sex marriage will fail for one reason, the young don’t care.  It might take more years than it should, but it is inevitable.  Look at some exit polling from last year’s election concerning Proposition 8 in California:

           Yes   No

18-29 (20%)  39   61
30-44 (28%)  55   45
45-64 (36%)  54   46
65+   (15%)  61   39

As older voters die off and younger voters replace them and the LGBT movement continues to press for equal rights, laws protecting “marriage” will fall and the LGBT community will be able to enjoy the same rights heterosexuals take for granted.  As Andrew Sullivan stated, the essential civil right is not the right to be different — because difference, in this context, is the prerequisite assumption of bigotry — but the right to be the same.

Enjoying the Stuff I Have

Beach in Mendocino County

Beach in Mendocino County

I paid for my college degree with loans and credit cards.  If I had paid more attention in high school and put some work into it I could have had some scholarships that would have helped defray those costs.  I didn’t though and so I depended on other people’s money.

Now I’m paying all of that money back.  I’m using the debt snowball method which if you google you’ll find all sorts of good advice on how to implement this system yourself.  The gst though is this:  Identify your most expensive debt (highest interest  rate), and start paying extra on it every payday, as much as you can, all other debts pay the minimum.  When the first debt is paid off take whatever amount you were paying on the first debt and apply that to the next every month. Wash, rinse, repeat until you’re debt free. 

In order to pay these debts off as quickly as possible I’ve put a hold on most entertainment purchases, video games and books especially.  So while everyone else is enjoying GTA: China Town and Resident Evil 5, or whatever is going to be the ‘must-have’ game next week I am playing Chrono Triggeron my DS.  When I’m done with that I have stacks of games I’ve bought but never played, let alone completed.  These have just been sitting there, some for years, as I moved from one “next thing” to another.  Now that I’ve taken myself out of that rat race I have time to play them and enjoy them on my own time without worrying about what everyone else is doing. 

The same applies to books.  I’ve been buying multiple books a month for years at a time, most of which still remain unread.  Now though with the stacks growth suspended I can begin to read through these.  I also am going back to the numerous models I have and assembling, painting them up, and using them.  Before I move on to a new army, new models, etc…

I’m also looking at the hobbies I have and looking to get better at them rather than moving on to another one.  Photography is interesting me again, I’m writing more, and I’ve started developing some really good project ideas that won’t cost me any money but will be very rewarding.  I’m especially excited about the letter project I’m starting and the oral history idea I have (more on these in the future)

So not spending has sort of been a mixed-blessing. It is allowing me to enjoy the things that I have rather than worry about getting the things that I don’t while alienating me, in a way, from the culture as I’ve opted out of pursuing the next purchase whether it be game, book, movie, restaurant, etc…

Random Thoughts: World of Goo

World of Goo

World of Goo

I started playing World of Goo last weekend.  I’ve been playing it obsessivley since and beat it just a few days after purchasing it.  I’ve spent a large chunk of my free time moving the slimy building “blocks” around the screen. 

Sitting here now I’m trying to isolate just what about this game made it so engaging.  I suspect that like many things that people find entertaining over sustained periods of time it is that the rules are easy to learn but difficult to master.  World of Goo is easy to pick up and play, even if you’re unfamiliar with video games, in minutes you’ll be manipulating the goos into simple structures like bridges and towers and unconsciously dealing with such complex issues as weight load and structural balance.  The game slowly demands that you construct better and better structures  in order to solves the puzzles while providing a sand box mode where you’re free just to build with the the goos.

This is something that all games (video or otherwise) do well.  They introduce simple concepts that are easy to understand and then slowly require the player to master these rules to progress.  Using our brains natural tendancy to reward itself when it solves a problem to keep us playing their game! 

If you haven’t tried the game yet I hope you’ll at least pick up the demo, and give it a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

Davis’ Historical Resources Management Commission meets Tonight

Tonight is the monthly meeting of the Davis Historical Resources Management Commission (HRMC), of which I am a commissioner. The HRMC isn’t the most important commission the city of Davis has, I’d say that’s those are the Planning Commission and the Finance and Budget Commission. But, the city of Davis has restricted growth since the 1970′s and because of this there are a relatively large number of historical resources in the community and issues involving relocation, preservation, destruction, etc., all come before the committee.

In the current economic climate though, the city is cutting its budget by leaps and bounds just to stay solvent, nothing about development or movement/destruction is going to come before the board. So, we’re taking the opportunity to reassess the Commissions purpose and goals as well as get in some training for Commissioners and members of the community.

The Commissions largest project right now is working on insuring many of the city’s historical resources are documented and put on the State’s Registry of Historical Places as well as the National Register. This doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be preserved but it insures that they are at least fully documented so that their memory is, at least, preserved. Tonight’s meeting will be a discussion of resources that could be nominated to these registries, as well as putting up signage in the city to bring attention to them.

The city of Davis is at a crossroads. The city has been hit hard by the recession and this has only been compounded by it’s growth policy. The local school district is also being hit harder than most. If the city fails to weather the storm a new public policy might be instituted, one that is more pro-growth, and that possibly could effect the city’s historical resources and those arguments will come before the committee…