Thursday, July 2, 2009

Excellent News from India

The Delhi High Court has decriminalized homosexual activity between consenting adults in India's National Capital Territory. The Indian Parliament is currently looking to modify the country's anti-sodomy law, Section 377, in a similar manner.

Rex Wockner notes that part of the Delhi decision is based on Jerry Brown's argument against Proposition 8:
In the present case, the two constitutional rights relied upon i.e. 'right to personal liberty' and 'right to equality' are fundamental human rights which belong to individuals simply by virtue of their humanity, independent of any utilitarian consideration. A Bill of Rights does not 'confer' fundamental human rights. It confirms their existence and accords them protection.

The opinion also holds that "sexual orientation is a ground analogous to sex and that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not permitted[.]"

"But Maureen," you say, "that's great news for India, but what does that have to do with the US?" Simple. India and the United States are both common law countries - our court systems are based upon English courts. We were both British colonies; consequently much of our pre-Independence laws are based on the British law of the time. Furthermore, common law courts often look to decisions in common law courts in other countries when there's no applicable domestic precedent - not as binding precedent, of course, but rather as persuasive precedent. In fact, the High Court's opinion notes that previous decisions on Section 377 cited the Corpus Juris Secundum, one of the definitive restatements of American case law.

In short: The most influential appellate court in a) the world's largest democracy and b) the world's largest common law court system has declared that discrimination based on sexual orientation is impermissible.

Law dorks may read the entire opinion here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Because Graphs Are Fun

Patrick Farley has created a graph of arguments for and against same-sex marriage:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Failure Pudding

Because today has been a day of epic failure on the part of the Administration, I felt it necessary to post a recipe that would make us all feel a little better. I call it "failure pudding". It has the chief virtues of being alcoholic, chocolatey, and dead simple.

Four chocolate and vanilla swirl pudding cups
Two shots kahlua
Cool Whip or Reddi-Whip
Chocolate syrup
Six Oreo cookies

--Dump the pudding into a bowl. Add two shots of Kahlua, several big-ass spoonfuls of Cool Whip or the equivalent of Reddi-Whip, and some extra chocolate syrup. Mix until well-blended. Crush three Oreos and put them on the bottom of another bowl, dump the pudding mix into that bowl, and top with three more crushed Oreos, some more whipped cream or Cool Whip, and chocolate syrup to garnish. Serves two moderately depressed people or one severely depressed person.

Action time!

First: Equality California's got a nice form letter to send to the President here.

Second: use to send a message to the President. Here's what I sent; you can totally riff off of this:

Dear Mr. President,

I was dismayed when I found out that the Department of Justice had filed a motion to dismiss Smelt and Hammer’s suit contesting the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. During your campaign, you pledged to work to overturn this Act. However, this dismay is overshadowed by the shocking and appalling content of the motion.

The motion in question compares same-sex marriage to incest and polygamy. It also claims that persons who are deeply in love with a person of their own sex should marry persons they do not love of the opposite sex merely to obtain the benefits of marriage.

Your presidency has been compared to that of John F. Kennedy. Like Kennedy, you have promised much to a historically disadvantaged group of American citizens. However, I hope that unlike Kennedy, you actually manage to effect real change during your administration.

I ask you to instruct the Justice Department to withdraw this insulting motion. Until then, Mr. President, you have lost my support.

I remain,

Your fellow citizen,

[name here]

If this isn't retracted soon, I'm writing in Al Gore in the 2012 primaries

Obama administration defends DOMa in a brief comparing marriage equality to incest.

Seriously, does Obama want to lose all of his queer-and-allied supporters? Because we can find someone else to run in the primaries. (I'm thinking Al Gore, because I don't think he'd censor himself in 2012. Why should he? He already has a Nobel Prize. Winning the White House (again) would be gravy.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Index: 50 States, 50 Cakes

New Hampshire: Pumpkin Cake with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting

New Hampshire: Pumpkin Cake with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting

I had been hoping to do this in order. I had been hoping to put in my entries for Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and Maine, and then wait for the next state to come along.

But instead, New Hampshire hath delivered. Even though the exemption for church-related institutions to not have to give insurance benefits to same-sex spouses is bullshit. (However, it's bullshit that can probably be overturned on sex discrimination grounds or by a well-worded federal statute.)

Now to the cake.

To most of us, New Hampshire isn't really known for any food product in particular, except for maybe maple syrup (courtesy of that episode of The West Wing where Bartlet insists on New Hampshire maple syrup for the prayer breakfast). However, Vermont already had maple syrup. So I couldn't do a cake whose flavor was primarily maple, but I still wanted to do something with maple.

So I begin looking around for other foods associated with New Hampshire - and discovered the Keene Pumpkin Festival. Pumpkin and maple syrup? Excellent. Especially with this recipe:

Pumpkin Cake With Maple–Cream Cheese Frosting [Leite's Culinaria]

According to commenters, the recipe can easily be adapted for cupcakes. Go bake some for a marriage equality bake sale!