The Problem With The VAWA

A woman lies battered and bleeding and bruised,
As so often, reports CNN
And as always, a clamor—a group much abused—
Won’t somebody think of the men?

In a CNN opinion piece, Senator Patty Murray writes of yet another example of the failure of the Republican leadership to do the right thing:

This week, just over 250 days since the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan and inclusive bill to extend the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives allowed the clock to run out on protections that bill would have provided to millions of women across our country.

The act had been renewed many times since it was first introduced in 1994; there were a few changes this time:

Specifically, the bill included increased protections for women on college campuses across the nation following the brutal 2010 murder of Yeardley Love at the University of Virginia. It included new law enforcement measures to safeguard women on tribal reservations, one in three of whom will be raped in their lifetimes. It included nondiscrimination language for those in the LGBT community who had been unfairly left out of previous bills. And it provided protections to immigrant women, regardless of their status, who are often scared into silence at the hands of their abusers.

Yeah… no. That’s unacceptable to the right wing of the Republican party, and those extremists are in control.

But that’s not what my verse is about. No, as usual, I took an ill-advised peek into the comments at the article, and found… exactly what I expected to find. The real victims in all this?

Men.

Any sort of legislation aimed at protecting women from rape is clearly anti-equality and anti-american. Any concern over some victims of sexual assault (read: women) ignores the bigger picture, that equal treatment under the law means that privileged groups might have to settle for being treated equally, and that’s just not fair.

Never mind that the Violence Against Women Act’s nonexclusivity clause directly states that protections apply to male victims as well. Never mind that “what about the men?” does not apply to this story at all. The Republican extremists apparently don’t like LGBT, native Americans, or women in college–that is the hold-up. But CNN commenters aren’t always that nuanced.

One comment even suggested that the act is completely unnecessary, that other laws already cover everything that is needed to combat sexual assault. This commenter, of course, was referring to concealed carry laws. The solution to every problem.

Here’s hoping the new House of Representatives does a better job.

Equality Stops At The Border

I’ve been following, as best as an ignorant mollusk can, the analysis of the recent decisions by the Supreme Court to take on a couple of cases on same-sex marriage. Ed has done a great job dissecting the choice, and today the New York Times has a really useful sidebar on it. What I can’t wrap my head around, though, is that there appears to be a very real chance that same-sex marriage will be the law of the land… only in part of the land.

I just can’t see it happening. It’s just too… “a house divided against itself” springs to mind. So an encore, today, just because of the last line. I wrote this when New York passed SSM (which made me happy, cos I was married in NY). [Read more…]

In Support Of Marriage Equality In Maine

So I got another donation very recently (thank you!), from a name which seemed familiar. I have learned never to trust my memory, but I think this was someone with whom I used to argue, years ago. He or she (I know, but hey) was opposed to same-sex marriage (though the host of that site was far more irrationally opposed–but then everything about that person was irrational), but was honest and open in xir arguing, and did listen to opposing views.

Anyway, I think this recent donation was from this person. That being the case, I am hopeful that it signals a change of mind. So, having de-godded the amount of the donation (plus my own contribution), this money is being donated in support of Maine’s ballot question 1, in support of same sex marriage. (edited to add–Rodney Nelson, in a comment below, proudly foils my attempts at de-godding ALL the coins, by noting Mainers United For Marriage‘s website, where you can donate directly. Curses! Foiled again!) Of course, disclosure of support is in the news today, with the opponents of question 1 refusing to disclose their donors, in direct opposition to Maine’s election laws.

Maine’s campaign disclosure law requires groups that raise or spend more than $5,000 to influence elections to register and disclose donors. NOM has argued that releasing the donor list would stymie free speech and subject donors to harassment, but the lower court refused to throw out the law.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear NOM’s appeal, leaving the state law intact. But the ethics commission is still investigating, and NOM is fighting subpoenas in state court.

This gives me the opportunity to repost something from 4 years ago, when a previous set of politicians was traipsing around New England trying to stir up voter outrage. Two years ago, the Republicans promised they would repeal, but having watched the weathervanes, have chosen not to.

I had insufficient warning
When I stumbled out this morning
Past a half a dozen candidates, each stumping for my vote;
When I looked, the morning paper
Had a headline of some caper
Or the record-breaking snowfall—really, nothing there of note.

So I grabbed my trusty shovel
To plow out my “home sweet hovel”
When I noticed something different—something didn’t quite feel right.
There was snow, and politicians,
But some change in the conditions
Made me wonder if my marriage had the sanctity it might.

So I checked the sanctitometer
And struggled not to vomit—her
“Conventional morality in danger” light was on!
Now a grim new dawn was breaking
And I couldn’t stop my shaking
‘Cos the morally upstanding world I trusted now was gone!

I considered seeking shelter
As I watched the helter-skelter
Of the politicians canvassing the noble Granite State;
I heard one of them disparage
Civil Unions, or Gay Marriage
As the reason for the panic—then I thought, more clearly, “wait!”

All this rattling of sabers
Is about my friends and neighbors;
These are people whom I know, and who have lived here all along
If these folks are who they’re blaming
It’s just pre-election gaming
And between the politicians and my friends, I know who’s wrong.

If our morals are declining
As the candidates keep whining
I propose a different theory to explain why this is so:
An invasive mass of liars
With their speeches, signs, and flyers,
Slinging mud and kissing babies in a dog-and-pony show.

Soon the voting will be over
And the state, from Keene to Dover,
And from Lancaster to Nashua, will heave a weary sigh;
With the moral issue buried
Now my neighbors can get married
And the Granite State will mean it when it says “Live Free or Die!”

Now it’s Maine’s turn.

Gee, Good Thing God Tells Us What To Think…

My pastor tells me “God says this!
We dare not disagree!
His word, as seen in scripture, is
Enough for you and me.”

God’s views on marriage, taxes, war—
It’s quite a lengthy list—
We’d have to work it out ourselves
If God did not exist.

My pastor says he learned these things
Through study, prayer, and search;
He’s right, though his conclusions seem
Confined to just his church:

The other churches in our town
Say God says different stuff—
They disagree—are works required?
Or is belief enough?

One church says God wants “man and wife”;
One woman and one man
Another welcomes everyone
(God tells them that they can)

Each says they speak for God, of course,
In fact, they quite insist.
We’d have to work it out ourselves
If God did not exist.

The church downtown says one thing, but
The East Side church says no
The West Side church and South Side church
Say they’re the place to go

There’s this church, and there’s that church
And there’s seven more in town
And they disagree on what God thinks—
His will can’t be nailed down

My pastor tells me “God says this
My neighbors say he’s wrong
My relatives have different views
But mostly get along

For every view their God supports
A thousand are dismissed…
We’d have to work it our ourselves
If God did not exist.

Context, over at Good As You.

You Know, Deviants–Like Rapists, Murderers… Gays…

Franciscan University
Says homosexuality
Is much like rape and robbery—
That is, they say it’s wrong.
It’s different from the norm, you see;
Disordered, yes, intrinsically
(Though clinical psychology
Now sings a different song)

In Social Work, class three-fourteen
What “deviance” is meant to mean,
(So says the statement from the dean)
Is “different from the norm”.
Franciscan’s academic scene
Is filtered through a Catholic screen—
What makes it through is squeaky clean,
Selected to conform

And those who live a different way—
The thief, or rapist; whore, or gay
The people who’ve been led astray
In this course, they’re addressed.
And those who cluck with loud dismay
Whose first response is just to pray
Whose numbers shrink each passing day
Will they be on the test? [Read more…]

Virginia Is For… Bigots

He’s a former Navy Pilot
So you know he’s got the stuff
He has prosecuted homicides
That ought to be enough
He’s a commonwealth attorney
Who has shown he’s really tough—
What’s the reason he was voted down today?

Though the governor supported his
Appointment to the job
There’s a group of House Republicans
(Well, “group” pronounced as “mob”)
Who were following their leader
(That’s Prince William’s “Sideshow Bob”)
Who decided he’s unfit because he’s gay. [Read more…]

The Evils Of Gay Marriage

Larry and Robert are married.
They live in a house on our street.
They’re wonderfully helpful as neighbors,
And as nice as you’re likely to meet.

Their son is a friend of our daughter’s
Their daughter, a friend of our son’s;
If you’re looking for light conversation,
Or for helpful advice, they’re the ones. (continues, after the jump:) [Read more…]