Friday, February 3, 2012

Something to cheer, something to jeer

While the most entertaining political issue in America remains the GOP version of the Insane Klown Posse, this is not about that.

There is actually some uplifting news in our politics and that is the Washington State Senate's approval of same sex marriage.  I very rarely contact my elected representatives about any issue, but when I heard Ed Murray's announcement he would announce a same sex marriage bill in the Senate and the votes were close I couldn't help myself.  I know my Senator, Jim Kastama, to be a very careful, very moderate Senator that was viewed as a swing vote.  I immediately sent him an e-mail urging him to support the measure.  That he did so is something I will not forget.  More forthright than Kastama's vote were those four Republicans that insured themselves the opposition of their own party, and a likely primary fight to vote in favor of equal rights for all Washingtonians, gay or straight.  In a time when there is so little to admire in politics, I offer them my thanks.

I am not gay, but I have friends and family who are.  I believe it is wrong to deny equal rights to gay men and women and the approval of this bill simply completes the hard work this state has already done to extend full citizenship rights to all our residents.  There will be a ballot measure to challenge same sex marriage when it becomes law after passing the House next week.  They will claim that marriage should be between a man and a woman, that traditional marriage will lose its status or meaning if this measure becomes law.  I say bullshit on that.  I'm married to the woman I love and will always love.  This law strengthens my marriage by recognizing the right of all families equally as a fundamental right enshrined in the law of the State of Washington.  Those who don't share this view are free to practice their beliefs and sanctify their marriages in the fashion they choose, but they may not deny the same rights to others.

Kudos to the Washington's  Senate, and my thanks to the House in advance.

I wish I could say the same for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Their decision to discontinue providing grants to Planned Parenthood for breast examinations and other matters related to women's health is appalling.  Citing the desire to avoid granting to organizations under investigation, the Komen Foundation makes a blatantly political choice.  Planned Parenthood, because it receives federal dollars, will always be under scrutiny.  And not just because it receives federal support.  Planned Parenthood is an abortion provider, and as long as there is the most remote possibility that PP is mingling its federal dollars with forbidden abortion services the pro-lifers in Congress will be out to trip them up.

Komen's national director, Nancy C. Brinker has scuffled to cover her vulnerable ass, going so far as to retreat and recant today.  It does not disguise the fact that there is an organized effort afoot in this country to deny women reproductive freedoms that were won in the courtroom 40 years ago.  While there is room to sensibly regulate abortion consistent with Roe v. Wade, that does not give movements, typically led by men, the right to deny abortion rights, limit contraception, or deny health services to poor women.  My hope is that this will be a wake up call to women who believed the women's rights movement was consigned to the history books in the '70's and demand the rights that belong to them. 

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