Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Now I Just Need a Domestic Partner

Oregon House OKs Domestic Partnerships

The House voted 34-26 in favor of a bill that will give expanded legal protections to same-sex couples in Oregon. Now it heads to the Senate (like the House, dominated by Democrats), then presumably afterward to Governor Kulongoski, who has promised to sign it.

Best quote: "I have met former homosexuals; I have not met former Blacks or Hispanics," said Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford. "I don't believe what you chose to do makes you a minority."

Uh-huh. What a lame quote, as if "minority" is a term that relates exclusively to ethnicity. No, you silly twit, what makes gay people a minority is that there are fewer of them. Hello. Duh.

And you know what? Straight people get "special rights" for choosing to get married.


N. English said...

Technically you're right. Anything less than 50% is a minority. Since the population is split 49% male, 51% female, does that mean men are a minority? I think your definition is missing something. "Minority" in the context of civil rights etc., includes not just a small segment of the population, but one which a plurality of the population views pejoritively.

And actually, before you belittle his comment too much, my mother who was a lesbian for as long as I can remember (but clearly not before I was conceived), is now married (a fourth time) to a man living in Utah, and suing the state of Oregon to get her former domestic partner removed as a beneficiary from her retirement account. Perhaps this is what the state senator was referring to. While I think his point is a red herring, and clearly for some it isn't a "choice", for others this lack of clearly defined boundaries or identifiable characteristics is one reason Americans have such a hard time getting their heads straight. (All puns are intended).

Welcome back to Oregon! When and if you get a chance to meet Sister Paula, say "Hi!", you'll love her.

Andy said...

Actually, I think what Rep. Esquivel was trying to refer to was not minority status, but protected class status. And true, the SCOTUS has not yet defined gay folk as a protected class, because the classical definition requires an immutable characteristic, such as race. The jury is still out on whether sexual orientation is immutable. In fact, a recent NY Times article quoted a geneticist as saying he believes women have a sexual preference, but not an orientation, whereas the brain structures and functions of gay men are identifiably genetically different than straight men. There's a controversial theory!

Matthew said...

I would be curious to read that Times article... I wonder if it is in their paid archives yet? I'll go check.

The Law Fairy said...

Um, if you start out as one thing and change into another, THAT'S the choice. The choice isn't what you start out as.

And also, he forgets that Michael Jackson is a former black man (bwahahahaha! Jokes fresh from 1994!).

I've known a lot of former virgins. None of them ever chose to be virgins, although they did (mostly) choose to turn into non-virgins.

And that's all the snark I have for now.

Gino said...

i would like to be a virgin again.
life was so less complicated then.

kr said...

Blogger just did something weird, so this comment might be a repeat--but it is a corrected repeat. If this is time#2, please reread the last paragraph for the corrected thesis (I somehow missed "not"--???!?).--k


huh. The NYT theory would match with that study a few years ago where the I'm-attracted phermones put off by straight men, straight women, and gay women didn't tweak each others' noses but the I'm-attracted phermones put off by gay men made the others (but not other gay men, of course) uncomfortable.

NE: Your mom did WHAT? Now I'm all muddled again. Sigh. And UTAH?? From long-term lesbian relationship in Oregon to married to a man in Utah??? Hoo! That's something.
And what strange timing. Just when it was about to become legally sanctioned.

Rep. Esquivel's comment makes sense if you take either part alone. His potential error is in linking the "choice" assumption with the "homosexual" category. This is, of course, an extremely broadly held or suspected conceptual connection in America today, and would not strike the many who hold it as a logical error.

I love that we can call race an immutable characteristic. Under which rule? The historical Louisiana 1/64th rule (which I've forgotten the official name of)? Or the "I am equal parts four races but I _affiliate_ black culturally, so I am "black"" rule? (I have a friend who did that ... I would never have guessed she was "black"--nor, upon accidental survey in a psychology class once, did nore than two others out of 20--her Cherokee ancestry was WAY more obvious.) Race is becoming a choice issue in its own way; I suspect cultural baggage is largely more handicapping than the genetics issue.

And straight people should not get special rights for choosing to get married, when choosing to get married is preposterously easy. Special rights should be earned, not assumed. (Basic rights, assumed. Special rights, earned. Now, there is the argument we (America) should perhaps be having, eh?)

DJRainDog said...

I swear, every time people type "SCOTUS", my immediate word-associations are "scouts" (as in Eagle, like me -- yup, it's true, and I'm trying to visualise some of you either squirming or rolling on the floor with laughter at that) or "scrotum". I have nothing really interesting to contribute to this thread; I'm just catching up on all the Andy I haven't had a chance to read this week.