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    Ann Rostow: Going Big, Finally!

    1-Ann-RostowBy Ann Rostow:

    Going Big, Finally!

    It is with great pleasure that I can finally report our community leaders have tossed in the towel on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. At last, the ill-fated, quarter-century-old, loophole-ridden, counter-productive piece of legisla-sh-t has been abandoned in favor of a rock solid bill known as the Equality Act. The Equality Act will add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and other federal statutes. It will also fill in gaps with extra protections for women.

    The Equality Act was introduced in both houses of Congress on July 22, and sure, it has zero chance of advancing in a GOP-led legislature. But neither does anything else. So, as long as we’re fighting the uphill battle for anti-discrimination laws, we might as well be fighting for something that will work, rather than something that would set us back a couple of decades.

    Don’t worry, dear readers. I’m not going to drag you through the weeds of the Equality Act, even though I did read the bill. We’ve had enough technical news lately what with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the various Religious Freedom Restoration Acts and the implications of Justice Kennedy’s reliance on Due Process versus Equal Protection in Obergefell.

    I will, however, mention that far right Republicans in Congress have proposed a bill of their own, the First Amendment Defense Act, introduced in mid-June. FADA, which now has over 120 House sponsors and at least 34 co-sponsors in the Senate, would put a Congressional stamp of approval on antigay discrimination as well as discrimination based on marital status. A key paragraph reads:

    “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

    Much like the Equality Act, FADA has little to no chance of passage even with a Republican majority. Still, as long as antigay bigotry is mindlessly accepted as a legitimate tenet of Christianity, our communal headaches continue apace.

    Fourth Time’s the Charm

    I have given the New York Times until noon today to deliver my damn paper. As one of the few remaining hard copy subscribers, I pay an exorbitant amount of money to feed my addiction to crossword puzzles, as well as my lifelong habit of reading a physical newspaper early in the morning. And yet, am I appreciated? Is my paper delivered without fail each day? Answer: no. So this is it, as I explained to one of their nice, but ineffective, agents on the phone an hour ago. Bring me the f—ing paper or I am out.

    Just thought I’d mention this irrelevant piece of information because it is at the forefront of my mind as I write. I will let you know what happens. Three hours and 11 minutes left, Grey Lady.

    Now, I’ve been ignoring the small pockets of marriage resistance from this or that clerk in this or that conservative county, but Kim Davis of Kentucky has earned herself a few lines. The woman, who recently had to go to court to defend her refusal to issue a marriage license to two gay men, has reportedly been married four times. Even fact-finders thinks this information is most likely true. And Davis has had plenty of time to refute the evidence of rank hypocrisy, but she has not done so.

    No, of course there’s nothing particularly wrong with serial matrimony. But this is a woman who self-righteously blathers on about her Christian faith. I can’t quote you chapter and verse, but the Bible instructs its literal minded readers to marry for life. Oh, what the hell. Let’s go for chapter and verse:

    Mark 10:10-12: “When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.’”

    Luke 16:16: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

    Corinthians 7:39: “A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.”(Did all of Kim’s husbands die?)

    Well, you get the picture. But while we’re surfing the Bible, how about this little gem from Deuteronomy 25:11-12: “If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.”

    What the…? This is hardly a generic scenario, so you have to imagine that some poor scribe in 650 B.C. Jerusalem had a particularly painful experience after a loyal wife intervened in one of his macho scraps. And what does she get for her pains? Hand amputation? Honestly, even a random glance at the Old Testament invariably provides a barbaric vignette.

    Was Cecil Gay?

    No, he wasn’t gay, poor thing. I was just trying to link the late lion to our main topic. I have cable news running in the background as I write and there he is, in all his erstwhile glory, lounging and yawning in an adorable fashion. As I wrote elsewhere, I think a large part of my empathy stemmed from the fact that Cecil had a name. Plus, he was repeatedly described by the media as “beloved” when news of his horrible death first broke. So, instead of “male lion killed by hunter,” we all read, “beloved lion Cecil killed by American dentist.” Far worse.

    I would still have scorned the hunter, because I have an instinctive affection for furry animals. And, frankly, it bothers me that I can skim over the ferry accident that kills a hundred people in the Indian Ocean, and get stopped cold by the headline: “Neighbor accused of poisoning rabbit.” What’s wrong with me?

    As for Dr. Palmer, there’s something inherently unnerving about dentists, don’t you think? I love my own dentist. (Appointment tomorrow at one!) But I’m speaking in general. What was that movie with dental torture? Oh yes. “Marathon Man.”

    It’s Not My Party

    Moving on, the Republican National Committee is about to deliberate on various non-binding resolutions during their summer meeting. Among the proposals is a statement urging schools to teach students about the harmful effects of being gay, including the two decades that homosexuality subtracts from your lifespan. Hope that one’s not true or else this could be one of my farewell columns. Another seeks to strip courts of jurisdiction over marriage and allow states to revert to marriage discrimination. Ridiculous, yes. But the Republicans have put some fairly ridiculous resolutions in writing before.

    Speaking of Republicans, here’s a Congressional race you can put on your watch list even at this early stage. New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett is refusing to pay his GOP party dues because he believe the Republican National Congressional Committee is too gay friendly. According to Bloomberg news, Garrett’s antigay bombast has now turned off some big financial sector donors and opened the door for Bill Clinton’s former speechwriter, Josh Gottheimer, who is considering a run and who has already raised over half a million from people who don’t like Garrett’s fringe views.

    Garrett has represented the Garden State’s fifth district since 2002. The district is not a slam-dunk for Republicans, however. In 2012, the fifth voted 51-29 for Romney.

    Cat Got Your Bacon?

    I read that John Travolta is about to be deposed in a lawsuit brought by his ex-pilot and alleged lover. As a result, we are told, Travolta might finally be forced to admit that he is not exactly straight as an arrow. I think it’s too late for us to care about this, don’t you? I almost didn’t even include the news. Plus, he’s either straight, in which case he’ll say so. Or else he’s lied about his sexuality so often that he might as well stick to the story.

    I don’t know for sure that he’s a closet case, although there’s quite a lot of smoke. But I do know that he’s a cult member, which means by definition that he has a few screws loose.

    Speaking of loose screws, Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert recently came up with an analogy to illustrate why gays and lesbians should not be allowed to marry. Speaking to a student audience, Gohmert suggested that we take four heterosexual couples, four gay male couples and four lesbian couples, put them all on separate islands and come back in a hundred years to see how many babies were born in the interim. The results would reveal nature’s intent.

    I was just about to make a joke at Gohmert’s expense when I noticed some click bait on the side of the article, headlined: “Man Calls Police Because His Girlfriend Let Cat Eat His Bacon.”

    The incident took place in West Yorkshire, and I’ve noticed that the story has been widely disseminated, so maybe you’ve already seen it. Sorry. The 90-second 999 call recording was released as part of an effort to remind the public not to call the police unless you have a real emergency. Oh, and the guy was absolutely plastered, so that partially explains his inappropriate reaction.

    I’ve actually gotten in trouble from Mel for feeding bacon to the pugs, but she’s resisted alerting law enforcement. Meanwhile, I’m still thinking about the eight lesbians on the desert island. They’d find a way, don’t you think?

    The island thing reminds me of the warring videos: first the gay men who threaten to marry straight men’s girlfriends if they don’t get marriage equality; then the straight men who say, “Go for it, we don’t want to marry them anyway;” then the lesbians who say they’ll marry straight women’s boyfriends; then the straight women who say, “Leave us alone, for God’s sake.” Google “gay men will marry your girlfriends” to watch the amusing series. It’s well worth it.

    Special Delivery

    Hey. The New York Times arrived before noon. I had already made Mel go to the gas station to get me a copy, but I’ll maintain my subscription for now on principle.

    I’m not excited about the remaining stories on my list: The tragic death of a 16-year-old girl, stabbed by a religious fanatic at Jerusalem Pride. A lawsuit by reactionary sportscaster Craig James against Fox Sports, which hired him briefly, but dropped him due to his “polarizing” attitudes. An antigay Iowa couple who plan to pay for 1,000 nasty billboards. The news that one of Bill Cosby’s victims was a lesbian. (So much for his self-proclaimed ability to sense when women found him attractive.) A study that shows people’s subconscious attitudes towards gays have improved over the years, but not as much as their conscious attitudes. Oh, and Houston voters will most likely weigh in on the city’s gay civil rights bill under a court order that I don’t understand and don’t feel like exploring.

    I don’t know. They sound okay news-wise, but I only have a little space left and I’d rather float home on the current than swim to shore. I’d rather complain about the Liberty insurance ads that criticize the “other” insurance companies that won’t give you the full value of your new car even though it hasn’t had its first oil change. Hey, bro. The minute you drive the car off the lot it starts to depreciate. If you smashed it so badly that the repair job is more than the almost-new value, then you’ve pummeled the thing. Presumably it was your fault too, since if not, the other guy’s insurance would pay for it. So stop whining about car insurance and pay attention to your driving.

    This commercial has been bothering me.