Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Can we vote on your marriage now?

Me in DC at the Marriage Equality Rally with my sign

I have mixed feelings about gay marriage.I don't like that it has taken the focus off of issues like employment and housing discrimination that I think are a lot more pressing for our community than the right to marry. I don't like the thought of a "gay movement" that seems to be a movement of middle-aged, wealthy, white men and women, where it seems that men are directing many of the efforts, and transgender people are completely left out of the dialogue. I don't think that the government should be in the business of recognizing relationships at all, and so find it difficult to argue my way into an institution that I think should be wholly left to individual families and religious institutions. I don't want my ability to be the legal parent of my child, or the health insurance status of my family, to depend on what I chose to call my relationship with my partner.

And yet, while I busily list the things I don't like or support about the idea of gay marriage, I am quickly brought back to reality. The reality is that right now, gay marriage has taken on the symbolism of equality of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. Someday, when I can call the shots, the government will get out of the business of recognizing marriages and can simply recognize the legal documents I create to define my civil contracts. Until that point, however, having the right to marry is the only way to really ensure that my kids will have two parents, that my partner can inherit my (even minimal) stuff in the event that I die, and that she will receive Social Security benefits after my death. There are also a million other benefits that I think should probably come with citizenship, but actually only come with marriage. Unfortunately, that makes marriage important.

Finally, and for me this was particularly frustrating, it just seems wrong to give people rights and then take them away. The California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages were required by the constitution so that everyone would be equally protected under the law. This was really exciting, and lots of people got married. Now their marriages are being taken away? Few things illustrate the tragedy of this as poignantly as Judith Warner's blog entry.

So I conclude with this: I have mixed feelings about marriage but I support it anyway, and I hope you'll join me. People should be free to have their families legally recognized and supported.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Amid weather predictions calling for lots of "wintery mix" and other unsightly weather conditions, I hoped for the best. I did have to brave a little bit of freezing rain the other day, but it's all worth it for the early fall snow. There are still some bright red and yellow leaves left on the trees and the ground, and the snow just makes everything look sparkly. Granted, it would be more sparkly if the sun would shine, but we can't expect miracles, can we?

Monday, November 03, 2008


It's hard to believe that the election is almost here. Discounting the sleeping I'm about to do, it is here! I'm voting in person for the first time - having voted absentee during the start of my democratic participatory career - and I'm really excited. I'm excited to push the buttons or pull the levers or whatever it is you do inside a voting booth. What I'm moderately less excited for are the lines (though still somewhat excited because they mean that people are voting - take that apathy)...

I don't have much to say about this (particularly that I would feel comfortable publishing on a blog for a publicly funded medical school), so I will simply say this:

Vote! Vote like your life depends on it!

Remember that you are allowed to bring whatever you want with you to the polls, as long as there is no campaign material visible. This means it's perfectly legal to print out a ballot, mark all of your preferences and notes, and carry it in your pocket to the polls. If you have a button, t-shirt, etc with a candidate's name on it, you can still vote, you just have to cover the item when you get within 100 ft of the polling place.

And if you aren't sure where to go, what to do, or who to vote for, check out:

Mlive.com: Get your whole ballot and use their nifty side-by-side comparison to see what the candidates said and what their background is: http://thevoterguide11.mlive.com/?sfr

League of Women Voters: They also collect information about the candidates and line it up so you can compare their views on different questions: http://www.vote411.org/onyourballot/state.php

Still have questions? Visit www.publius.gov to print out a ballot, find your polling place, and find contact information for local officials.