Saturday, March 31, 2012

Missouri school district settles case of over-filtering gay-related websites

The media is reporting the settlement of a suit against a Missouri school district for over-filtering out gay-related content on its school computers.  Political (but non-sexually explicit) sites like HRC were filtered out, but ex-gay sites were not.  I don't have any idea as to whether my own sites or blogs were blocked.  It had apparently used a system called "URL Blacklist" designed by a "Dr. Guardian" in Britain. The school district apparently had to pay legal fees.

The Kansas City Star (picture above, from 2006 trip) has a story on "local anger" about the matter in Camdenton, MO here.

When I was substitute teaching in northern Virginia, my "doaskdotell.com" site was not blocked.  In fact, it's being "discovered" contributed to a major controversy in October 2005 at one high school.  I was able to fnd accesses (with certain provocative search arguments) on my server logs with the FCPS IP address.

Friday, March 30, 2012

In Britain, conservatives now push for gay marriage


Anthony Faiola has a front page story in the Friday March 30, 2012 Washington Post, “British conservatives lead charge for gay marriage”, link here

David Cameron made the ironic statement, echoing Andrew Sullivan, “I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.”

Britain has recognized civil unions since 2004.

Back in the 1980s, however, Margaret Thatcher’s (“The Iron Lady”)  government had pushed a measure banning the teaching of homosexuality in public schools after a famous booklet about a family with “two dads” had circulated. 

Today, British conservatives see some of the views of the American religious right as extremist.

It seems as though Cameron would get along with Log Cabin Republicans in this country very well. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Scalia's "Lawrence v. Texas" dissent pops up in front of me on YouTube


On a moderately positive note, let’s start by noticing the Maryland voters are almost split on gay marriage, with only a slight majority opposing, should there occur a referendum this November.

Because of Google’s new policy of consolidating user’s browsing and searching experiences, YouTube showed me a clip of Justice Scalia’s dissent in the 2003 opinion “Lawrence v. Texas” striking down the Texas sodomy law.  I am reading Dale Carpenter’s book “Flagrant Conduct” so some of what follows is a preview of what his book surely takes up.


The seven-minute “speech” is painful listening for me.  I feel I am somewhat the target of the animus referred to as a proper subject of the “political process”.  Scalia, toward the end, makes the link between decriminalization and gay marriage, which Rick Santorum jumps on in his 2005 book.

I could say that Scalia’s reasoning is a sequence of canards.  The most unsettling idea is that the public may criminalize private (essentially unprovable) adult consensual conduct out of “moral disapproval” alone, without explanation of the substance (other than interpretations of religious scriptures) behind the “morality”.  Scalia says that “moral disapproval” overrides ideas of “discrimination” and does mention the previous ban on open gays in the military (I had forgotten that he mentions DADT this way).

It has always perplexed me that, when I was coming of age, people were more concerned about homosexuality than its opposite, unwanted pregnancy (and marital infidelity).  That may be a temporal issue.  When one is in the “early” years, one isn’t a “threat” yet to make unwanted babies. But one might not be catching on to his “share” of societal duties, sometimes related to gender, expected for the overall welfare of the group.  This sort of thinking is more common in poorer communities, or smaller tribal societies or any societies that believe they face common external threats and dangers and therefore needs to demand loyalty, biological and otherwise. 

And I was somewhat the pariah as I grew up because I was physically behind in gender-related matters.  I felt that others believed I could be a burden on the safety of the group, and could not share risk and responsibility for its defense.  That’s partly what the military draft was all about.  But I actually served in the Vietnam era Army without incident.

In his book, Santorum tried to tie the idea of “no fault freedom” to declining birth rates in many countries and a purported inability of a culture to sustain itself.  When one is growing up, one tends to learn about the things expected of him or her to keep his community going, before he or she learns more about making specific choices that can have specific consequences.  “Morality” at first seems to comprise shared obligations and risks.  One could imagine Victorian laws about sexual morality as partly intended to express (or act as a proxy for) the idea that everyone does his part in raising the next generation and caring for the previous.  In the most extreme forms, as with Vatican teachings, “sexuality” is reserved only for someone who makes a commitment an opposite-sexed adult to raise a family together, and, even more important, who is capable of winning such a commitment from an opposite sex person.  (Those unable to do so remain subservient to those who “succeed”; but the prohibitionistic moral system is supposed to give everyone a fair "chance".)  Yes, that guarantees a kind of “fairness” and keeps things at a local level (the way conservatives want). It also supports authoritarianism and patriarchal culture. It makes jealousy (which I have avoided) a necessary part of life.  Is this what Scalia really means by this vague idea of “morality”?

Scalia admits that social mores change with time, and perhaps appropriately so because of technological change and greater political stability.  He claims he has no problem with overturning the Texas law through a political process.  But he is willing to allow majoritarian emotional prejudices prevail over reason, to protect the old-fashioned and not so logical “social capital” behind family life.  In my case, it may be a little logical: since I was an only child, my parents lost all chance for a lineage, for their 45 years of commitment.
What a sobering seven minutes.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Companies in Britain, Australia promote gay male surrogate parenting


Barrie and Tony Brewitt-Barlow are reported to have opened up Britain’s first center for surrogate fatherhood, according to the site “Bio Edge”, in a story by Jared Yee, link here

The story also repots the bizarre assertion that fertility businesses in Melbourne, Australia are recruiting gay men to supply sperm for infertile women who want families. 

An email to me from   also gives this link on fertility assistance, here

In an email to me from “Lucid Publications” Ebony Simpson writes:

“Only a handful of states with surrogacy-friendly laws also have laws that are LGBT-friendly, creating extra challenges to ensuring both intended parents can become legal parents, and with the legalization of gay marriage, an increasing number of gay couples are seeking surrogates.

“The technology and methodology for assisting single gay males or gay male couples in becoming biological parents has made great strides in the past decade. Based in part on legal and medical parenting arrangements facilitated by Dr. Steinberg and the Fertility Institutes, gay parenthood has become an achievable  and affordable option for most couples interested in beginning or expanding a family through the world’s only fully-integrated gay surrogacy program, providing physicians, surrogates, egg donors and legal services.”

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rainbow Book Fair held in NYC; Black Party is a spectacle even on the street; get your Therapy


The Rainbow Book Fair (link) on Saturday March 24, 2012 took the first and third floors of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York City (see Books blog posts on March 22, 23), link.
 
There were probably about sixty publishers in a very crowded and busy scene.
 
“The Saint at Large” (named after a popular East Village disco from the 80s)  held the annual Black Party this weekend (at the Roseland Ballroom).  There was a line of men in leather about two blocks long even at 2 AM.   I overheard an announcement that cell phones had to be checked and were not allowed at the party. Maybe that’s common at circuit parties, but I had never heard this before. The event is planning to release a DVD film called “The Black Party Symphony” and perhaps it doesn’t want to risk blogger (photo) exposure cutting its market.   The link is here  (there’s a trailer for the “film” there at the bottom of the page, and some provocative stuff happens to people on it). Sunday night, there is another event called “The Benediction”. 

Nearby, in Hell’s Kitchen, less than two blocks away, a place called “The Therapy” (link ) also on W 52nd had its own free party for the preppy crowd (whose "values" are, I think, "pickier").   There is a “staircase” (pun for the name of the 1968 comedy film that I have never been able to find to rent) forms the visual center of the place, and a small, packed, informal dance floor and “stage” upstairs on one side, rather traditional (mostly 80s and 90s) retro disco music. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Greenwich Village dance bars


The “bars in New York” are mostly small first-floors in old brownstones, cramped because of the high real estate prices.  By comparison, Washington DC, almost as expensive, has some large everyday dance venues, and Minneapolis and especially Dallas do better in this regard, simply because real estate costs less there. 
 
The Monster, on Sheridan Square, has a small downstairs dance floor, where people sometimes tend to real “break dancing” (like in the indie film I reviewed seven years ago somewhere). There’s a dancer, and the DJ actually spins vinyl rather than using CD’s or MP3 files.  (I once saw an open reel tape deck at Ty’s.)  The colors on the dance floor are orange and purple, and odd mix. 
 
Upstairs there’s a piano bar with “New York, New York” getting song.  (Sorry, a video of the performance would infringe!  Just play the melody that ends the famous film in your head.)
 
But it’s the old Stonewall Inn, across the Square, site of the 1969 riots, that carries the day.  I had never been in it, and for a number of years (when I lived in NYC in the 1970s),  Downstairs there is a variety of small rooms and spaces, and upstairs there is this secret  packed dance hall and drag show ($5).  It seemed to be a women’s space:  women and straights seemed to be about 60%.  The "singing" performers actually seem to be female (with actual operatic soprano voices) rather than impersonators.  Eventually, the patrons get to take over the stage (and a few of them were "perfect"  -- athletic, muscular and fatless -- enough for "Men's Health" without the unnecessary pre-pruning).  The music, a little more 80s and 90s. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Benefit tonight in Washington DC for hate-crime victims


Television station WJLA announced a march for three victims of assaults in Washington DC suspected of being anti-gay hate crimes.  The “Benefit for Daniel” and remembrance march (two-part event) starts at an iHOP in the Columbia Heights area of NW Washington DC, at 7 PM on Tuesday March 20, 2012.  The event finishes with a benefit gathering at the Cobalt DC on 17th Street in Washington DC.

Columbia Heights is on the Green Line, one stop south of the popular U-Street area.  It appears to be about a mile east of the Dupont Circle area. 
   
The Facebook page for the event is here.  Read the explanation of the event at the Cobalt there by Jason Royce (a few posts down).  

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has a story about the event in the Washington Blade March 19 here

WJLA's video report of the demonstrations Tuesday night by Autria Godfrey follows:


Marches were reported to be silent and some wore tape on their mouths.  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lambda Legal releases 20-minute film "Overruled" on Lawrence v. Texas



Lambda Defense and Education Fund has released a 19-minute short film, directed by Johnny Bergmann, titled “Overruled: The Case that Brought Down Sodomy Laws”. This accompanies a new book by Dale Carpenter, “Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas: How a Bedroom Arrest Decriminalized Gay Americans”,   (W.W. Norton) as described by Linda Hirshman in Salon here.

 Note that I have a review of a similar book by William Eskridge in my Books blog (“Dishonorable Passions”, reviewed May 17, 2008).

The link for the Lambda story is here.

The YouTube embed for the video follows:


The film says that in September 1998 police came to an apartment in Pasadena, TX (near Houston) on a 911 call related to weapons, but did not search for guns but instead arrested them for violation of the Texas 21.06 law, based on rumor.

Richard Sincere reports in the Examiner of a March 16 speaking engagement at Cato in Washington DC for both Dale Carpenter on his book and by Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane, link here.  I missed this event.  It’s getting hard to keep up with everything (particularly when George Clooney is out protesting). 

One interesting fact is that the defendants were never tried, but pleaded “no contest” (even though the police did not see and could not have actually seen a violation of 21.06),  putting all the “eggs” into th basket of the appeal process. They got nowhere with the Texas appeals courts, and went to the Supreme Court.
  
Another background is that Texas had seen an earlier case, Baker v. Wade, in 1982, which Don Baker won in federal court, but lost in the 5th Circuit.  In Bowers v. Hardwick, in 1986, the Supreme Court, 5-4, upheld sodomy laws across the board when not specifically aimed at homosexuals, but the majority opinion definitely focused on gays.

In 1983, a religious right group in Texas called “Dallas Doctors Against AIDS” tried to strengthen the Texas 21.06 law with bill 21.38, introduced by Bill Ceverha, introducing  a military-style ban in many occupations (such as food preparation and medicine).  That died in committee quickly (by a 7-2 vote).  The Bowers opinion never mentioned STD’s.  I was living in Dallas during the battle over the 1983 bill, which history seems to have forgotten.

The majority opinion in Lawrence (except for O’Connor) was largely a due process rationale.  The state could  not enter the privacy of the home or space of a person (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness) without a rational basis in a compelling state interest.  (There are various levels of “rational basis review” which have been relevant in other litigation, such as the military.)   The Due Process rationale was necessary to prevent states from being able to use Bowers to restore these laws, and indeed the Court majority admitted that some of the reasoning in Bowers had been wrong.

Philip Chandler has a 2009 essay explaining all of this on his blog “Gay Equality and the Law”, here

Recently, GOP candidate Rick Santorum has captured a lot of attention for his views on “sexual morality”.  In his 2005 book ("It Takes a Family:Conservatism and the Common Good"), reviewed on my Books blog March 5, 2012,  Santorum picks up on Scalia’s dissent and says that it opens the door to gay marriage. (Even the Lambda video says that the debate on gay marriage, or overturning of DADT for the military, could not happen with sodomy laws allowed to stay.)  Santorum opposes gay marriage because, in part, it “confuses” vulnerable young men into believing that having and supporting families is not important.  By his logic, sodomy laws would be on the books because of a possibly compelling state interest.  Should the private behavior of some people be regulated because of a larger majority that can’t exercise personal responsibility?  But Santorum talks about this in the context of the “common good”.

Is it constitutionally permissible to regulate personal behavior for just the “common good”?  Well, income taxes (the biggest focal point for libertarians to attack) do that.  The male-only draft has been upheld before.   Filial responsibility laws, obscure to most people but on the books in almost 30 states, would make a good constitutional fight.  Furthermore, in “Bowers v. Hardwick” fundamental liberty interests actually had to serve a common good (like procreation or family) before they could be recognized as "fundamental rights".  (Santorum has jumped on the "liberal" udea if individual sovereignty [really libertarian] as "no fault freedom". Bork has made similar comments in the 80s.)   Even in Griswold, on contraception, the protection of “married couples”, not just individuals, had been a prime objective.  But in modern ("due process") thinking, since Lawrence (and really developing during the 1990s in other cases),  intrusion into the life of an individual requires a compelling interest based on demonstrable facts, not just a chain or rationalizations such as suggested by Santorum.  As Dr. Phil has often argued, you can rationalize anything, when you aren’t completely ready to take responsibility for your own actions.


The LLDEF film does a good job of showing how the sodomy law became a proxy for other discrimination. In a "Christian" ideology so determined to provide for everyone in a family-centered social structure, you could get out of having to take care of anyone viewed as an unapprehended criminal. 

One more thing, on a lighter note. Yes, yesterday was St. Patrick’s day.  The Town DC had the Green in its “Star Wars”  ceiling decorations upstairs, but you needed flash to see the Green.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Virginia writer introduces interesting terminology in studying gay anthropology; LGBT and women's issues merge; Ravi convicted in NJ


The Washington DC Metro Weekly has been carrying Falls Church Va. writer Nicholas F. Benton’s “Gay Science” column (as an “advertisement”), and Part 75, here introduces an interesting concept, “species love”.  He says “same-sex erotic attraction is not a variant of the heterosexual reproductive impulse or ‘template’ at all. Instead, it is a manifestation of ‘species love’.” Or maybe call it “species worship”.  (I don't think there's any relation to Nietzche's famous book, from what a graduate student friend back in Minnesota had said about it.)

Conservative writer George Gilder had invented a distant synonym back in the 1980s, “upward affiliation”.
Benton here describes homophobia as a manifestation of fear that male domination of the nuclear family and social capital will be eroded.  Perhaps, it might be seen as a desire, when a male is dominant, to feel “superior” to potential competitors and demonstrate such. (A gay prosecuting district attorney in the Midwest wrote that once.)

“Species love” could extend to broad altruism, as Benton suggests, or perhaps it could be interpreted as a way of excluding those who are far less than perfect – the whole “rejection” problem we all known.  Social conservatives, especially Santorum, preach about a supposed unwillingness in modern culture to love the less able.  Yet these same conservatives force their own contradictions.  If “I” need to maintain dominance to justify my own sexual discipline (maintaining interest in a long-standing marriage with the duty or initiative), then “I” need to have those who can’t do so to bow down to me and do what “I” say, and then I’ll protect them like a man.  That seems to me the logical endpoint of Santorum-Vatican type of thinking.

Follow through with the comparison to animal models (like lions and social carnivores).  Alpha males keep dominance by preventing any other male from competing for females. But they also try to eliminate “non rivals’ who could still compete for food. It’s always struck me as ironic that men who aren’t competition to be romantic or reproductive rivals wind up being a “bigger threat”, competing for jobs and resources when having fewer responsibilities.  The “disposable income” argument was common in the 90s.
Benton doesn’t mention the Polarity Theory, which could well tie same-sex love back to more conventional motives.

Then try the article on p. 32 by Richard Rosendall, “Ballot-box Solidarity: You may not be a woman but you should vote as if you are.”   She mentions a frivolous “Every Sperm Is Sacred” amendment (to “personhood” bills) being tossed around in Virginia and Oklahoma, as if any non-procreative sex were an attack against a future person who doesn’t get to be conceived (that doesn’t wash with biology or physics at all).  Maybe Monty Python had it right, link.

There is Breaking News.  In New Jersey, Dharun Ravi has been convicted in the Tyler Clementi case, MSNBC link here. Really, what were Ravi’s motives?  To feel superior? That’s what my own prosecutor friend would say. 



Thursday, March 15, 2012

HRC sends estate planning guide; more on JR's military ball


Recently, I received from the Human Rights Campaign an 11-page booklet, yellow with blue lettering, “Life and Estate Planning for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans: A Basic Guide for Your Protection and Answers to Commonly Asked Questions”, link here.  There is an Introduction and twelve brief chapters.  Here is the online version link. (Note, hrc.com is a company, no connection to HRC here; it is common for different tld’s to point to different entities.)

Today, I did visit the military party at JR’s (mentioned Sunday).  (Remember the  extra "military ball" scene in "When Boys Fly" reviewed on movies blog, Sept. 26, 2011).   There was to be a continuation at 10:30 PM tonight.   I hoped they watched “Missing” on ABC. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

HHS considers lifting the blood donation ban for MSM


The Washington Blade, in an article by Chris Johnson, reports that the Department of Health and Human Services is considering lifting, at least partially, the ban on MSM (most gay men) from giving blood. Current rules mean that a male who has had sexual relations with another man since 1977 cannot give blood, even given HIV- negative (antibody and antigen) status. 

The article is here

Rules might allow MSM to give if they took two separate blood tests a certain time apart. That might not be practical. But HHS has the authority to change the rule; no intervention by Congress or the courts is necessary. This is not the same as DADT.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Town DC still crowded early on Fridays; JR's plans "Do Ask Do Tell" party for active military


I tried Friday night at the Town DC, for the first time since – when?  It’s true, it’s 18+, but most people have the “Landshark” wrist bands. (They're very hard to cut off when you get home.)

The parking lot gets full much earlier than on Saturday nights (in my experience), and the crowd is much bigger even before the drag show starts.  (Maybe there is leftover crowd from “Bear happy hour”, which  I have never gotten around to visiting).  The show is short, about an hour. The crowd, at least judging from last night, dwindles a bit around 12:45 PM (maybe people go to the Cobalt), but then it builds back big by about 1:30 AM.  And things look pretty amorous – rather like Will and Neil in Salem’s gay bar in a recent episode of “Days of our Lives”.

I strikes me that working as a professional drag queen in clubs must be very hard work, week after week.  “Are you having a good time?” 

Oh, Fridays, they have the dancers.   In DC (given local laws), no touching, just tips.  (Remember “The Wet” and “The Edge”?)  And here, every dancer looks laser-waxed 100% smooth, at least last night.  It’s so artificial. Not so in other cities, at least Minneapolis (the Gay 90s Club), when I lived there.  

Since Daylight Savings Time starts tonight, maybe more people were out last night. But how many people think of that ahead of time?

I notice, from an ad in Metro Weekly, that JR’s in Washington DC will have a “Do Ask Do Tell” party for military men (free drinks) next Thursday March 15 from 4-8 PM (Happy Hour).  I hope they air Ashley Judd’s “Missing” at 8 PM, which pilots that day.  I don’t know if JR’s in Dallas on Cedar Springs plans to have the same party (I was there in November).

Do Ask Do Tell” is the title of two of my books (see Amazon) and my domain “doaskdotell.com”. I guess I read need to get hopping on my movie of that title.  Yes, it has a “sci-fi” overlay, but so did “Judas Kiss”.


Monday, March 05, 2012

Opinion: why LGBT people should care about the contraception "debate"


Leslie J. Calman has an op-ed in the Washington Blade that I wanted to pass along, “Women should make birth control decisions”.   This is in reference to the flap of making sure that employer health insurance policies cover contraception for women (at least indirectly, as with Obama’s solution.) The writer encourages the reader to think about other applications of this kind of logic.  Employers could refuse to cover vaccines for STD’s in the future (including one for HIV if every available). Religiously affiliated hospitals could deny LGBT partners visitation rights on their own “moral” grounds, at least in states without gay marriage.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

SLDN holds annual dinner for 20th year, first dinner after full repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"


Well, this year I made it to the SLDN Annual Dinner, in its 20th year, still at the National Building Museum.  In 2011, I was ill that night, unusual for me.

At the reception before the program, D.C. Swing performed jazz music, maybe some of it from "The Artist".  The Weinstein Company (and the Oscars committee) would be pleased.  Sorry, no Uggie and no Ellen!

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Barry Winchell Courage Award, for the plaintiffs of McLaughlin vs. U.S.


There was a lot of emphasis on “Full Military Equality”, with mention of the fact that military spouses of same-sex couples have no rights at all; for example, cannot come on to the base to use the Px or commissary (where I did detail in my own Basic training), cannot get medical care from the military.

There was also a fund raising contest by branch of service. All services made 100%, with the Coast Guard, the smallest, finishing last.  The "Allies" (other countries) were treated as a service.  

There was no negativity, no mention of a possible cloud hanging over the repeal should the "wrong" GOP candidate get nominated and actually win in Nov. 2012 (specifically, Rick Santorum).  However, more private comments around the dinner table suggested that almost any president has to move to the center to govern, no matter what his ideology.  But a "socially conservative" president would have the legal authority to reimplment the ban on his own (even with asking) if he "wanted to", even if for religious or ideological (or in Santorum's case, existential) reasons. 

Thomas Roberts was the M.C.  Valerie Jarrtt gave the keynote speech and talked about how the president never gave up on repeal.


Aubrey Sarvis, soon to leave SLDN, was honored, and was credited with pushing the standalone repeal bill that was introduced by Sen. Liebermann on Dec. 10, 2010, four days before my own mother died. I got the cell phone call (leading to her final episode in Hospice) while I was at the rally. She lived long enough to see the Repeal formally introduced. 


There was a short film video, about 5 minutes, "SLDN at 20: History in the Making", and a supplementary video (about 3 minutes) about Aubrey Sarvis.

I did make videos of the highlights of the speeches (as shown here, above).  

I am listed as an individual sponsor on the program (shown on the screen from Power Point). Technically, that comes from the Margaret Boushka Trust, my mother’s name, although it will probably be moved to my name “legally” very soon.  


The food was low-fat and tasty: an entree of smoked chicken, served in the same style as at the Westover Market in Arlington.  This time, I didn't get "the last chicken" (as the waiter once said when he served me -- that bar really does smoke all its meat -- every individual serving -- by hand outside the store.  I wonder if the menu idea came from that popular new jazz hangout in Arlington.) 
At least, it's better than the "Cornish game hen" served around 2004.  Yes, they really served that over at the Omni Sheraton. 


Cross your fingers that the country remains sane during this years elections.  Bill Maher told Piers Morgan tonight that he gave a lot of money today to Obama's campaign, because he's afraid of the zealots who have taken over the GOP.  

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Maryland governor signs same-sex marriage bill in well-attended event at State House in Annapolis


Today, at about 5:05 PM EST, Maryland’s governor Martin O’Malley walked down a staircase at the Maryland State House into a broad lobby filled with several hundred people, including heavy press, and gave a brief address, here:


And continued here.

He said that American notions of equality must be carried out with respect to freedom of conscience. 

He then, after a few seconds, announced, “The bill is signed”.

No protests or demonstrations (on either side) were evident outside the State House, and security stopped at least one person from bringing a placard into the building.

I had a conversation with an NBC4 Washington reporter outside before going inside.  I actually could hear cheers from inside the building before I entered at around 4:45 PM.  (I used to work for NBC in NYC in the 1970s.) 

Same-sex marriage can go into effect in Maryland after the 2012 election (On Jan. 1, 2013), unless opponents stage a referendum (they need 55736 signatures) and the referendum to oppose gay marriage passes.

O’Malley’s carefully chosen words seemed to strike a balance with his own apparently Catholic background, and seemed to sound like an answer to arguments against same-sex marriage and equal rights recently advanced by GOP candidate Rick Santorum.  In 2004, Santorum tried to advance a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage for all states (as one man and one woman).  In his book (which I have just started) he argues that modern political theories on liberty and equality send a message to younger adults that they don’t need to take the risk of marrying and having children.  It seems that he believes you have to restrain liberty from some people so everyone would feel “incentivized”.   

The Maryland state capital is Annapolis, the same city that hosts the US Naval Academy, where Midshipman Joseph Steffan was removed just before graduating near the top of his class in 1987 for admitting he was gay. It's been a long haul.