Dispatches from the Culture Wars: DOMA

Sixteen and a half years ago President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, enshrining inequality into federal law. As Clinton tells it, he had to sign it because it was a veto-proof majority and any veto would have been overruled anyway, though I rather suspect that it had more to do with the fact that he was two months away from the general election and thought it would ensure his reelection. The truth is probably something that historians will have to sort out farther down the road. In any case, sixteen and a half years ago DOMA went into effect and the federal government was barred from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples and from granting them any of the federal benefits granted to male-female married couples. Four days from now, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of DOMA, in the case United States v. Windsor. I was 16 when DOMA was signed into law, and if you had told me back when I was 16 that half a lifetime later I would find myself contributing to an amicus brief in the Supreme Court challenge of DOMA I would not have believed you. Not because back then I was still a member in good standing of the religious right, but because in my idealistic naivete I could not imagine that a law that seemed like such a blatant violation of equal protection would be allowed to stand for any measurable length of time. The idea that sixteen years later we’re all waiting on pins and needles, doing Supreme Court math in an attempt to guess whether or not DOMA will be overturned was something I didn’t even consider a possibility back then. And yet here we are, and most of my law school classmates are too[…]

Read more

Guiding Gay Evangelicals Out of the Campus Closet

Guiding Gay Evangelicals Out of the Campus Closet At a number of evangelical Christian colleges, gay alumni are pressuring their alma maters to be more accepting and offering help to the closeted undergraduates there. ——– This article is relevant to the paper I’m trying to finish. It’s also relevant because I feel like there needs to be some sort of resource like this for Covenant College students, if only so that current students know that they’re not alone. The Covenant bubble is great in many ways, but there’s also a big world out there off of the mountain with so many wonderful things to do and amazing lives to live. Contrary to what you might hear in the bubble, you don’t have to be straight to do  those wonderful things or live that amazing life. If you’re a Covenant student who’s clicking through tumblr tags and you want to talk, drop me a line. I’ll be glad to chat about the olden days at Covenant or about life once you get off the mountain.

Read more

Musings from a parallel universe

Earlier today I posted a link on facebook about how Michael Farris of Patrick Henry College threatened to sue the the people behind the Queer at Patrick Henry College blog for copyright infringement for using the name “Patrick Henry College”. [Here’s where we pause for a moment while I say, COPYRIGHT LAW DOES NOT WORK LIKE THAT!!!!!!!111ONE!!!!!!!eleventy!!!!! phew, deep breath, now that’s out of my system we can go on]. Apparently somebody pointed out to Michael Farris that copyright law does not work like that, because he promptly withdrew the threat. Anyway, Mike Farris landing in the news got me thinking about something I hadn’t thought about in a long time. Before he went and started a college that would let fundy homeschool parents feel safe about sending their kids off to a school that would keep the kids sheltered from the outside world, his claim to fame was starting the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Back in the day when homeschooling was new, it may have been useful since nobody really had heard of homeschooling and school systems didn’t know what to do with homeschoolers, though I’m pretty skeptical that it’s actually still necessary in an era when ESPN is constantly bowing down and kissing Tim Tebow’s feet (Gator Nation, represent). Back when I was in high school, HSLDA started an internship for recent high school graduates, and, since I wanted to be a lawyer and all (and being a good homeschooler), I applied for the internship my senior year of high school. I wasn’t accepted to their intern program, which I was really disappointed about at the time, since that was part of my plan to build connections to get to my eventual career goal of working for a big name right wing organization. The Patrick Henry College story got[…]

Read more

Time for dialogue

In my election post, I talked about how I think people are tired of the culture wars. It’s time to move past the polarization, time to stop flinging flaming arrows at each other and time to stop beating people over the head with the Bible simply because we may disagree on something. In short, it’s time for sanity. As a Christian and someone who is part of the LGBT community, the polarization over LGBT issues in this country and the way it’s framed as Christians on one side and gays on the other is particularly troublesome to me. It sets up a false dichotomy and creates division that doesn’t need to exist. The Gospel is about God’s overwhelming love and grace and that’s something that people are losing sight of amid the culture war skirmishes.  The reality is that no matter how many culture war battles are fought, LGBT people aren’t going to go away. Speaking to straight Christians, please, step back for a minute and try and understand that while this is academic for you, for us this is our lives that you’re talking about and debating. The only question is whether the reaction of the Church is going to bring people closer to God or drive them away altogether. Up to this point, much of evangelical Christendom has done a great job of driving gay people away from the Church, away from the message of the Gospel, and that’s something that not only doesn’t need to be the case, it shouldn’t be the case. Anyway, I’ve got too much work still to do on my copyright paper, so to draw this to a close, I have a book recommendation. The book, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate by Justin Lee is new today, and while I haven’t had time[…]

Read more

Pardon me if I seem to be in a bad mood…

…but I’m rather frustrated at the outcome of the North Carolina Amendment One vote. It’s always lovely to see that 61% of the voters in a state think you’re such a threat to civilization that they have to enshrine your inequality in their state constitution. I just love being reminded that I’m a second class citizen and that my rights are subject to the whims of a bunch of bigots who think that this country is a theocracy that should be governed by their ignorant twisting of scripture and their bad theology. You know what though? No matter how many laws you pass, now matter how much you try to enshrine our second class citizen status in state constitutions, you’re not going to magically make us disappear. 

Read more