How Do Americans Really Feel About Gays?

October 14, 2013

SLATE | Oct. 11, 2013 | As gay rights advocates celebrate a seemingly endless barrage of victories in their fight for full equality, a new study offers a reality check on how far we’ve come. A team of researchers from Ohio State and Boston Universities used a survey technique known as the “veiled elicitation method” to correct for social desirability bias—the tendency of survey respondents to give researchers the answers they think are expected. The veiled method involves asking subjects to respond to a group of questions, and in an indirect manner, which has been shown to reduce the chances that an answer will be biased toward social expectations. The theory is that grouping sensitive and non-sensitive questions together can “veil” how subjects answer the sensitive question, thus reducing the influence of social desirability bias. As the study authors put it, “saying ‘three items’ might be easier to say than ‘Yes, I cheat on my spouse.’ ”

There's Room Enough for All in the Marriage Circle

September 30, 2013

Los Angeles Times | Apr. 2, 2001 | Sunday, a groundbreaking law took effect in the Netherlands that gives gay and lesbian couples the same civil marriage rights as the rest of Dutch citizens. What the Netherlands seems to understand that no other nation in the world, including the United States, understands is that access to marriage is just like access to any other public institution. In the U.S., the indignity, expense and alienation of exclusion from full citizenship is no less agonizing for gays today than it was two generations ago for blacks, who were barred from full participation in the most basic institutions of public life. Like racial segregation, marriage exclusion is not about scarce resources but about the majority culture maintaining its sense of superiority.

Why Marriage Matters

September 30, 2013

Los Angeles Times | Jun. 9, 2013 | As Americans await U.S. Supreme Court rulings this month on two same-sex marriage cases, June — the traditional month for weddings and pride parades — gives gay people the chance to reflect: How have their own lives and views changed since a Hawaii court ruling first thrust marriage equality onto the national stage 20 years ago? And what might a fully legal marriage mean to them? For many gay people, including for me, the weight of this prospect has taken a while to sink in.

Gays Are Winning the Right to the Word "Marriage," Thanks to the DOMA Ruling

September 30, 2013

New Republic | Sep. 30, 2013 | Gay rights advocates celebrated another victory Friday when a New Jersey judge ruledthat the state must allow same-sex couples to marry. The decision, which Governor Chris Christie immediately vowed to appeal, is the latest development in a 2011 suit which the plaintiffs revived after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act in June. The gay couples’ attorneys have relied—quite understandably—on the argument that a post-DOMA world changes the circumstances of their case, and should compel the state to grant same-sex marriage immediately. That’s true, so far as it goes. But the significance of Friday’s ruling is much bigger than that argument suggests.

Is George Will Homophobic?

September 24, 2013

SLATE | Mar. 18, 2013 | In a conservative movement seized by extremists, George Will is one of the sane ones. But his recent rejection of social science as having any role to play in the gay marriage debate is wildly off the mark. It’s intellectually dishonest, scientifically ignorant, and—I’ll say it—anti-gay. Will claims that reasonable people disagree about gay marriage “because so little is known about its consequences.” He quotes a legal brief by conservative scholars affiliated with a famously anti-gay think tank that calls research about gay marriage and parenting “radically inconclusive.” He then warns the Supreme Court—which will hear oral arguments on two gay marriage cases next week—to be wary “about social science that purports to prove propositions … for which there cannot yet be decisive evidence.” In other words, he suggests the value of research on gay marriage is currently zero.

Book review: ‘What’s Wrong With Homosexuality?’

September 24, 2013

Washington Post | Mar. 22, 2013 | In an angry dissent in the 2003 Supreme Court decision striking down sodomy bans, Justice Antonin Scalia warned that the ruling would surely lead to same-sex marriage. The opinion, he complained, destroyed any constitutional distinction “between heterosexual and homosexual unions.” What troubled him most was that the court seemed to be depriving the people of the ability to use morality as a basis to make such distinctions. If “moral disapprobation” of homosexual conduct is no longer considered a legitimate reason to ban it, he wrote, “what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples?”

Men In Uniform

September 24, 2013

SLATE | Apr. 29, 2013 | NBA player Jason Collins’ declaration that he’s gay has been followed, thankfully, bysupportive messages from peers like Dwyane Wade, Pau Gasol, and Tony Parker. In the lead up to this highly anticipated moment, though, there have been plenty of negative comments from athletes and pundits about the potential negative consequences of open homosexuality in sports.

Conservatives' Misread of Keynes Reveals Unconscious Bias

September 24, 2013

THE ADVOCATE | MAY 9, 2013 | Growing support for gay rights by conservatives and Republicans has reinforced a dubious political narrative: that there are fiscal conservatives and social conservatives and only the latter are antigay. But Niall Ferguson’s bizarre attack on the personal life of economist John Maynard Keynes has exposed the nasty moralizing aspect of fiscal conservatism. Indeed, it’s revealed a deep philosophical connection between social and fiscal conservatism and suggests the presence of unconscious homophobia at the root of the conservative mind.

The Significance of the Pope's Interview: Christianity Doesn't Compel Homophobia

September 16, 2013

Huffington Post | Sep. 23, 2013 | Reaction was swift to Pope Francis' remarks last week calling the church "obsessed" with culture war issues like homosexuality, abortion and birth control. After the pope said that Catholics should stop judging gay people and focusing incessantly on sexuality, New Ways Ministry, a pro-gay Catholic ministry, proclaimed the interview "a new dawn of hope and promise for LGBT Catholics," while Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, spun the interview as nothing new, complaining that the "problem with the left" is that "they are trying to take what the pope said and then run with it." Religious liberals are right to be buoyed by the pope's words (and nonreligious liberals may be forgiven for continuing not to give a rat's ass what he says). But the real significance of the pope's interview is that it stands to return to the nation a moral vocabulary that the religious right has stolen and twisted for over a generation...

Chris Christie’s Legal Position on Gay marriage is Pure Nonsense

August 6, 2013

SLATE | Posted Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration filed a brief last week defending the state’s 2006 Civil Union Act, which grants gay couples all the benefits of marriage yet bars them from actually getting married. The brief is Christie’s first official legal statement on same-sex marriage. Given his apparent aspiration to be the next Republican nominee for president, it is especially too bad that the brief also may be the most incoherent defense of heterosexual supremacy yet. That’s saying something in an era in which lawyers have tied themselves in logical pretzels to defend indefensible anti-gay laws. Even by that low standard, the brief reads like a student paper written during an all-nighter. You’d think an aspiring president would take the task more seriously.

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