Archive for July, 2007

The AP Reports:

Gay couples from New Mexico can marry in Massachusetts because their home state has not explicitly banned same-sex marriage, according to Massachusetts records officials.

New Mexico joins Rhode Island as the only states whose gay residents are allowed to marry in Massachusetts, the only state that allows same-sex marriage.

In a July 18 notice, city and town clerks were instructed by Stanley Nyberg, Massachusetts’ Registrar of Vital Records, to give marriage licenses to gay couples from New Mexico.

Massachusetts began marrying same-sex couples in 2004. Gov. Mitt Romney then prohibited out-of-state couples from marrying in the state, citing a 1913 law that bars Massachusetts from marrying couples who would be prevented from marrying in their home states.

This is good news for gays in New Mexico, but they still aren’t totally in the clear:

New Mexico hasn’t outlawed same-sex marriage, but it hasn’t endorsed it either. Nor have lawmakers approved domestic partnership legislation, despite prodding from Gov. Bill Richardson.

But those who decide to marry in Massachusetts or elsewhere must be prepared to live with uncertainty, advocates of gay marriage cautioned Thursday.

Those marriages “will be respected to varying degrees,” warned Equality New Mexico. The group said the state, businesses and others may join the federal government in refusing to recognize the unions.

Will Governor Richardson stay true to his Youtube debate rhetoric and recognize the marriages of his gay constituents performed in Massachusetts? If he can’t even take this small step (which I’d say Massachusetts has rightly foisted upon him), gays surely cannot trust him to ‘achieve’ his promises of civil unions, domestic partnerships, hate crimes legislation, and a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.


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The home of Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), former Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, was raided by FBI and IRS agents yesterday as a part of a corruption probe.

This is the same Senator who placed a secret hold on a bill that was aimed at increasing government accountability by requiring the government to publish and online database of federal spending.

This is the same Senator who, as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, was able to attach a $2 billion project for the ‘Bridge to Nowhere‘. And the same Senator who threated to resign if the funds for this monument to government waste were redirected to rebuild a major thoroughfare bridge destroy by Hurricane Katrina.

It is a relief to see that Senator Stevens seems to be unraveling from his own corruption and arrogance. It is somewhat disheartening that it had to be the FBI to do it. Where were the people of Alaska, who voted Stevens into office for six terms? Enjoying the pork projects he showered upon his state, I suppose (Alaska is number one recipient of federal pork funds, though it is the 48th most populous).

The beauty of democracy is that it is supposed to create institutionalized checks on power. Instead our democracy, through cronyism and special interests, allowed Senator Stevens to be untouchable for nearly 40 years.

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Due in large part to a letter written by Governor John Corzine about two weeks ago, UPS has decided to extend health insurance benefits to civil unionized couples in New Jersey.

Just another small step toward equality—though one would have thought an unnecessary one since New Jersey’s civil unions were supposed to be equal to marriage in all but name.

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The Hill came out with its fourth anniversary issue of the 50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill last week. It’s an amusing distraction. I think I’d have to say the Republicans take the prize for the most beautiful party. At least there’s something for them to hold on to.

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Max Blumenthal attended the Christians United for Israel conference that was held last week. The first link contains video coverage of the event– a must see.

Money quote from Blumenthal:

I have covered the Christian right intensely for over four years. During this time, I attended dozens of Christian right conferences, regularly monitored movement publications and radio shows, and interviewed scores of its key leaders. I have never witnessed any spectacle as politically extreme, outrageous, or bizarre as the one Christians United for Israel produced last week in Washington.

Money quote from Congressman Tom Delay (R-TX):


Obviously, it is what I live for, and I hope it comes tomorrow. And obviously we have to be connected to Israel to enjoy the second coming of Christ.

Kind of scary

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Leslie Morgan Steiner wrote a blog post that appeared in Washingtonpost.com today about how in academic and professional settings when men and women are together, women tend to keep to themselves more, while men tend to speak up. Steiner notes:

What I found is that 1) in a free-speak forum, women speak publicly about 25 percent of the time, vs. 75 percent for men and 2) when the forum is caller-led, women are called upon about one-third as often as men are (even when the caller is a woman). I’ve found that when there is even one man present, we women defer to him and expect him to speak first. (As everyone knows, I’m no scientist and I have no reputable data to back up these percentages; these are just my observations.)

The one exception to this were my years at Seventeen Magazine in the late 1980s. Of the 50 people in the editorial department, 50 were female. Problem solved — at least within those pink walls. Which is why so many women advocate for the value of single sex education. And why those against all girls schools argue, great — but what about the bias you inevitably confront in the “real world?”

Men don’t seem to consciously dominate public discussions; they don’t blatantly cut women off or ridicule their views. And it’s not that women don’t have opinions. We certainly do. Talk to women before and after the male-dominated meetings, and it is easy to solicit opinions. We just don’t share them in public. Why? The problem is stubborn and pernicious. Women hesitate to speak up. Men don’t hesitate. So, by default more men speak, and more women stay silent.

I too have noticed this trend. I think the best anecdote I can offer comes from my experiences as a member of my high school’s academic quiz team. I attended an all girls school and as such our quiz team was the only all girls team in the regional circuit. The typical team from others schools were dominated by boys and usually consisted of one girl.

It became something of a weekly anthropological observation for myself and my team, as we would watch how that one girl from the other teams was treated. The majority of the time she sat out for most of the match, only substituting in for about one of the four rounds. She did not buzz in to answer questions as frequently as the boys, but when she did she was nearly always correct. The boys, who dominated in buzzing in, had a much lower percentage in the accuracy of their answers.

During the round where the whole team was allowed to consult with one another before the captain (a boy) submitted the team answer, the girl frequently would mutter the correct answer, but would be drowned out by the frantic brainstorming by the boys on the team.

My experience on the all girls team was markedly different. There was no hesitation, no deferring to a more forceful boy.

These days the only exposure I have to trivia competition comes from the weekly trivia night hosted by one of the local bars in Charlottesville, VA where I attend college. Trivia night in college is vaguely reminiscent of my high school quiz team days—only now I find that I have become the more reserved girl that my all girls quiz team always observed with regret.

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Another blogger’s take on the inadequacy of civil unions and domestic partnerships.

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