Far be it for me to critize someone else’s spelling or grammar. Over the years I’ve let slip my fair share of typos. Of course, none of them were in permanent foot-high lettering, so let the the criticism commence!
Metro Weekly reports that one-time Houstonian John Geddes Lawrence, the “Lawrence” in Lawrence v. Texas, passed away last month at the age of 68:
“In the facts underlying the Supreme Court case, Lawrence v. Texas, Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested under Texas’s Homosexual Conduct Law after police entered Lawrence’s home on Sept. 17, 1998, and saw them “engaging in a sexual act.” The couple challenged the law as unconstitutional”
I was 22 and living in Dallas in 2003 when the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Lawrence declaring Texas’ law against “homosexual conduct” unconstitutional. A group of over 100 people gathered in the parking lot of the Resource Center of Dallas as Dennis Coleman, then with Lambda Legal, read excerpts of the decision. I remember the exuberant electricity in the air, the crowd bubbling with joy and the relief of centuries of official oppression finally coming to an end. Similar get-togethers took place across the state, as an entire community breathing a collective sigh of relief.
That relief has turn to frustration over the years. Although the Supreme Court decision rendered Penal Code Section 21.06 unconstitutional, the law remains on the books, and efforts to remove it have met with significant resistance. During a hearing this spring on finally removing the unconstitutional law, Rep. Jose Aliseda, R – Pleasanton, lamented that repeal of the law would entail removing portions of the Health Code requiring that HIV education efforts include information that “homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under Section 21.06, Penal Code.”
Before Lawrence several attempts were made to remove the law against “homosexual conduct.” The Texas legislature voted to remove it from the penal code as part of a complete rewrite of the code in 1971, but the measure was vetoed by Gov. Preston Smith. In 1973 the Legislature again undertook a rewrite of the code, keeping “homosexual conduct” a crime but making it a class C misdemeanor. In 1981 a U.S. District Court ruled in Baker v. Wade that the law was unconstitutional, but as that case was winding its way through an unusually torturous appeals process the Supreme Court ruled in Bowers v. Hardwick that a similar law in Georgia was constitutional, making the questions in Baker moot. Similarly, in the 90′s there was hope that Texas v. Morales might finally prevail in defeating the “homosexual conduct” prohibition, but the Texas Supreme Court decided that since, in their opinion, the law was rarely enforced, there was no reason for them to rule in the matter.
Lawrence’s legacy lives on in a scholarship named after him and Garner administered by the Houston GLBT Community Center. The scholarship “recognizes outstanding leadership shown by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Texas high school seniors and college
students by contributing to the cost of their continuing education. Selection is based upon character and need.” Tim Brookover, president of the community center, expressed sorrow at Lawrence’s passing “John was a hero, the community owes a great debt of gratitude to John and Tyrone for taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court,” said Brookover. “They could have easily allowed it to slip away, but they decided to stay and fight and that makes them heroes and role models.”
Budweiser has released a new military-themed ad that some folks are saying is also a “pro-gays-in-the-military” ad.
The ad starts off with a soldier calling another guy and saying, “Hey man. I’m coming home.” Then in a split-screen, continues with scenes of the soldier making his way home while the other guy goes about planning and organizing a welcome home party, and then being the first one to step forward and hug the soldier when he gets home.
If it is a “gay” ad, it isn’t, well, flamboyantly gay. And that’s perfectly fine, since there are many, many, many LGBT people out there — including many of our men and women in uniform — who are definitely not flamboyantly gay themselves. We deserve to have our diverse community portrayed (and honored and celebrated) realistically in all our diversity.
Is this a gay ad? Did Budweiser mean for it to be a gay ad? Huffington Post has a poll up, and readers there are pretty evenly split, with 33 percent saying it is totally gay, 25 percent saying no way it’s gay, and 41 percent saying probably not but I can see why some folks think it is.
And AfterElton.com points out that “if you substituted a woman for [the guy the soldier calls first], it would read pretty much exactly like a heterosexual relationship.”
Only Budweiser knows for sure, of course. But — again, as AfterElton notes — this is a mega-big company with some pretty experienced advertising folks working for them, and do you really think they would let something so very obviously possibly gay slip through inadvertently?
Watch the ad yourself (below) and see what you think. All I know for sure is that I don’t drink beer of any kind, but if I did drink beer, I think I’d probably drink Bud.
Brian Brown knows that the National Organization for Marriage and Iowa For Freedom’s campaign to remove three Iowa Supreme Court justices will accomplish absolutely nothing tangible for his side’s “traditional marriage” war. But as we’ve said a million times: NOMmers like Brian don’t care about the practical results, because this campaign is really all about sending a public relations message pertaining to the anti-LGBT side’s power in American politics. Because while NOM’s most apparent campaign is against marriage equality in the literal sense, the group’s ancillary campaign is a rhetorical effort to change the way the public looks and thinks and talks about the equality fight (e.g. they don’t want anyone calling it an “equality fight”). This Iowa judges matter is firmly within that PR playbook, constituting nothing more than a vindictive effort to take away qualified people’s jobs in order to make an example out of them. The NOM/IFF anti-fairness coalition is taking advantage of marriage equality having been unanimously decided in a state that has a retention voting process, knowing that they can rally the “stop gay marriage at any cost” set to believe whatever they sell. Plus NOM and IFF (and associates) know these judges can’t and won’t (and shouldn’t) go out and campaign against this costly effort, which means that they are basically sitting ducks. NOM/IFF are trying to fire these vulnerable judges in effigy, if you will.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s Brian bearing out our claim:
Brian Brown, executive director of National Organization for Marriage, said pro-family groups realize that removing these judges will not resolve the same-sex marriage crisis; however it sends a very powerful message.
“If justices go outside the bounds of their oaths, if the justices go outside the bounds of the U.S. and state constitutions,” Brown said, “They’re going to be held accountable.”
You know, because that’s what we do here in America: We use our personal, faith-based objections to do nothing more than threaten a co-equal branch of government. That is what freedom’s all about. Right?
More than just about any other effort to come before it, anti-marriage ballot initiatives included, this Iowa effort really fleshes out how careless and self-absorbed NOM truly is. But while they might win this short term, one-sided battle, it’s undeniable that it’s this NOM/IFF coalition that will ultimately have to pay a fat karma bill to the gods of accountability.