No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Should Marriage Be Redefined? a repost in response to the Prop 8 ruling in CA

I'm re posting this because I think it deserves to be read again, and because I just found out that California upheld the insane, discriminatory, and unconstitutional Prop. 8 today :

Should Marriage Be Redefined?

The one constant in the definition of marriage is simply the joining of two entities to become a combined unit. In requiring marriage to be contingent upon the parties meeting certain gender specifications, the definition is then changed to suit an agenda.

Should Marriage be Redefined?

Are gays and lesbians asking for marriage to be redefined, or are conservatives calling for a redefinition by adding gender stipulations to its constitutional definition? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of marriage is varied, and includes the following:

  1. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
  2. The state of being married; wedlock.
  3. A union between two persons: same-sex marriage.
  4. A close union: "the most successful marriage of beauty and blood in mainstream comics" (Lloyd Rose).

(American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2000)
Clearly, this dictionary does not stipulate that marriage is only applicable when the two parties are of opposite gender. Dictionaries will vary in their definitions as will personal interpretations. However, the one inference that repeats is "to unite in a close, usually permanent way. " (Webster's Dictionary, 2008, American Heritage Dictionary, 2000, Oxford Online Dictionary, 2008) Therefore, the most logical conclusion to reach is that people who demand a constitutional amendment to define marriage as "one man and one woman," are redefining the word for everyone.

There are many arguments against gay marriage. Here, we will discuss the most prevalent and popular claims against marriage for same sex couples and examine the fallacies behind them. The primary call to action against same sex marriage is the proposition that marriage should be defined as "one man, one woman." Does justice not demand that if the straight community can not show a compelling reason to deny
the institution of marriage to gay people, it should not be denied? (Eskridge, 1996) Such nebulous declarations, without any solid moral argument behind them, are hardly compelling reasons. They seem to be more of an expression of prejudice than any kind of real argument. The concept of not denying people their rights unless there is a proven, compelling reason to deny them is the very basis of the American ideal of human rights.

It is well documented in American history that African American slaves who married were not married "Until death do us part, "rather, "Until death or distance do us part…" (Racha- Penrice, 2007)The American government did not recognize such unions, and allowed slave owners to sell a husband to one man and his wife to another. Families were torn apart at the auction block day after day. Not until after the Civil War, when marriage was redefined, were blacks allowed the right to legally marry in the United States. Thus began the fear based, ideological campaign to protect the white race from marriage to other races. A flurry of states passed laws to outlaw interracial marriages, and some states even banned interracial intercourse. (Racha- Penrice, 2007)

Similar bans, already in existence throughout the United States, did nothing to slow the growing fears of racial mixing. From the late nineteenth century and throughout the early twentieth century, fourteen states, primarily in the West, extended the ban to include marriages between whites and Asians. Twelve states extended these segregationist prohibitions to include marriages between whites and American Indians. By 1913, forty one states or territories had enacted such laws, and had included in them, a prohibition of couples from leaving their home states to travel to other states that did not have such marriage bans. (Zinn, 2005)

In the mid-twentieth century, the tide began to turn against race-based marriage bans. Nazi laws forbidding Jews from marrying non-Jews were discredited along with many other expressions of state racism. The General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, which cited the "right to marry" as one of the fundamental rights of humankind. (U.N. General Assembly, 1948)

Nineteen years later, in 1967, the historic Supreme Court decision was made in the case of Loving v. Virginia. It proclaimed that the ban on interracial marriage was "designed to maintain White Supremacy" and therefore, unconstitutional. In denying the right to marry the person of one's choice, the fundamental civil right to marriage had been denied. Later, the Court even extended the right of marriage to prisoners, citing the civil right as one that could not be denied to any person. (U.S. Supreme Court, 1967)

Still, the argument is often made that same sex marriage would threaten the institution of marriage. This is a contradiction, in and of itself. Allowing people to commit themselves to each other regardless of gender, is not a threat to marriage. When homosexuals are allowed to marry, they are less likely to attempt heterosexual marriage first, just to fit in with society's norm, causing them to be matched with an incompatible partner and possibly raising children in a loveless home, only to end in divorce. Further, studies have shown that children of divorce are more likely to have failed marriages themselves. (Sterkle, 1987) Denying gays the right to marriage contributes to the divorce rate, rather than protecting the institution of marriage.

Gay marriage has been legal in Denmark since 1989. A proposal now exists in the Danish parliament to allow adoption rights and church weddings, which are currently prohibited. Most other Scandinavian countries have followed suit.

Full marriage rights have existed in many Dutch cities for several years, and was recently made legal nationwide, including the word "marriage" to describe such unions. Opposition to the Danish law was led by the clergy, much the same as in the United States. A survey conducted at the time revealed that 72 % of Danish clergy were opposed to the law. (Graff, 1996) It was passed anyway, and the change in the attitude of the clergy there has been dramatic, a survey conducted in 1995 indicated that 89 % of the Danish clergy now admit that the law is a good one and that it had many beneficial effects. Some of which include reductions in suicide, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and in promiscuity and infidelity among gays. (Kendall, 2007) Far from leading to the destruction of western civilization, as some critics have warned, the result of gay marriage in Scandinavia has actually been civilizing and strengthening, not just to the institution of marriage, but to society as a whole.

The argument that marriage is a sacred institution is biased in design and based on the assumption that the state has the responsibility to "sanctify" marriages - a fundamentally religious idea. This is an example of one set of people trying to enforce their religious doctrines upon others. In this instance, it is an attempt to do so through weakening the separation of church and state, by undermining the Bill of Rights. (Sullivan, 2008) Although this is not a new concept in American politics, the attempt itself opposes the foundations, the very fiber of the First Amendment - one does not truly have freedom of religion if one does not have the right to freedom from religion as well. The only marriage affected by two people marrying, is the marriage being entered into by the two people marrying each other.

Historically speaking, the word marriage originally identified a merger between two families. It was a type of trade. Essentially, marriage identified the barter of one man's daughter, in exchange for another man's livestock, crops, or other valuables. It could be argued that marriage was already redefined by churches, to be a sanctimonious event, and again redefined, by corporations to indicate a merger of businesses. It was certainly redefined in the Post Civil War era, in order to grant former slaves their fundamental civil right to marry and be happy. Once again, in the 1960's, the definition was changed to allow persons of differing races the right to marry each other. Without this word's definition periodically being altered throughout our history, our current president elect, Barack Obama's mother and father would not have been allowed to marry. In many states, his mere conception would have been illegal, with a penalty of felony charges stemming in a sentence of one to five years imprisonment.
There are many who argue that allowing same-sex marriage would create an environment in which churches would be required to perform ceremonies for same sex couples against their religious beliefs. This simply is not true. Today churches already have the right to refuse marriage to any couple, for any reason. They can deny marriage to a couple because of a large age disparity, a difference in religious backgrounds, or even for being of different races. There is nothing in any marriage law, existing or proposed, that does or would have the effect of requiring any church to marry any couple they do not wish to marry. Couples would continue to do as they always have: they get married by a Justice of the Peace, in a Mayor's Court, or have a family member or friend who has obtained a license from the state marry them. Same sex couples are simply asking for the same opportunity.

To many people, the word marriage connotes various ideas that are not readily identified in a dictionary. The church sanctions a holy matrimony, while the courts legalize a civil matrimony. Corporations marry each other when entering a merger, to form a larger, more formidable business. The joining of two parties to become one, to be better together, to help each other, and to stay together permanently, is the core meaning of marriage. This basic human right has been sought after in civilization for centuries.

Denying homosexuals the right to marry deprives them of thousands of legal rights that married heterosexual couples freely enjoy. (Kendell, 2007) Among these rights, at the state level are hospital visitation, control of burial and funeral arrangements for a partner, inheritance rights and insurance benefits, just to name a few. At the federal level alone, the General Accounting Office has identified over one thousand provisions that heterosexual married couples enjoy, including social security benefits and federal tax exemptions, that would be granted to same-sex couples if they were allowed marriage.

Our government was set up as an institution whose goal is the preservation of the rights of its citizens. By upholding the ideological or philosophical prejudices of one group, our government is failing to protect another group's basic human rights. Rights which are defined by the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It proclaims, "…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Is marriage being redefined? Yes, and it matters more today than ever before. There exists a precedent of redefining marriage throughout human history, without which many of today's marriages would be null and void in earlier contexts.

As humans inhabiting an ever changing world, we too must adapt. An engineer will say that the bridge that does not bend with the wind is destined to crumble and fall. So too, it goes with ideologies. Our founding fathers defined our country as a place where all men were created equal, and endowed with an unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. It is an infringement upon this very pursuit, if two consenting adults are denied the right to marry. The arguments supporting gay marriage outweigh the negatives. Strong family units strengthen society. Tolerance for differences diffuses strife and fosters a closer knit community. Church and state separation do not preclude working relationships between the two. The realization that we are all human, all one race and one world brings us to the conclusion that we can all live together in empathy, peace, and with our chosen partner in marriage.


Columbia Law Review, April 1999. [Social Norms and Judicial Decision-making: Examining the Role of Narratives in Same-Sex Adoption Cases. Lexis-Nexis 3/27/01]

Eskridge, William Jr, The Case for Same-Sex Marriage, ( 1996). p. 96 The Free Press, New York

Graff , E.J. What is Marriage For?, 1996. [The Challenge of Same-Sex Marriage, Praeger Publishers, Connecticut 1999 p175]

Kendell, Kate. "The Right to Marry, the San Francisco Experience, and Lessons

Learned." In Defending Same-Sex Marriage, volume 1, "Separate Bu Equal" No

More, edited by Mark Strasser. West Port, CT: British Library Cataloguing, 2007.

"Marriage." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Retrieved from downloaded 10/02/2008

Meyer, Cheryl L.; "Legal, Psychological, and Medical Considerations in Lesbian Parenting," 2 Law & Sexuality: A Review of Lesbian & Gay Legal Issues 237 (1992)

Penrice, Ronda Racha (2007), African American History for Dummies, pp. 207-218. For Dummies, 2007

Sterkel, Alisa; "Psychosocial Develpment of Children of Lesbian Mothers," Gay & Lesbian Parents 75, 81 (Frederick W. Bozett, ed., 1987)

Sullivan, Andrew. The New Republic, 5/8/00. ["Why 'civil union' isn't marriage." downloaded 10/02/08]

U.S. Supreme Court, LOVING v. VIRGINIA, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), retrieved from , downloaded 11/10/2008

United Nations General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, internet source, retrieved from , downloaded 11/02/2008

Zinn, Howard.(2005) A People's History of the United States 1492-Present pp 171-190. New

York: Perennial, 2005.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pardon me, do you have any inspiration?

him: "So, Fortune Cookies, I've been reading your blog..."
me: "Oh, yeah? Whatcha think? And you don't have to be nice just because I'm married to your cousin."
him: "No, really, I like it. I do"

And that was the prelude to the beginning of the questions about my history with addiction and recovery.

It seems like it was just the other day sometimes, and yet it seems a lifetime ago.
I look back now and think," Wow, that was me?"

"You'd never know it to see her today, huh? Looks all innocent and stuff..."
I laughed at Wifester, but had to agree, I most certainly in no way resemble that girl from 12 years ago that inhabited this skin.

I'm glad to be me today, and to not be me of 12 years ago. Even if I was thinner back then. I'll take fat, but healthy me over the much smaller, but terribly unhealthy me of those days.


I began to write this a week ago and am still having trouble finding the words that want so desperately to come out.
I wish they could flow, like they once did. Where do these blocks come from? Why do they affect me so personally?
I know that I always see an end to the blocks, but at the same time, I always fear that they have taken up permanent residence.
I've never really been able to pinpoint any specific activity that enables the flow of creativity to ebb it's way back into my life. It simply seems to rise and fall on a cycle all it's own, unpredictable and unstoppable.
I hope to find my voice again soon. I hope to find my art again soon. And once I do, I will no doubt share it with you.
Until then...
I'm searching for the end to yet another period of creative constipation.
I'm sorry to be less than entertaining today.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How'd She Learn THAT?

My dog is amazing. I know, I know, every mom thinks that about their kid, but in this case, it's absolutely the truth.
The Sunny Dog is a one of a kind and is undoubtedly the smartest, most sensitive and intuitive creature to ever walk the earth.
Case in point:
She has learned to accurately and consistently predict and alert us to my seizures, often several minutes before I ever experience any sort of aura. She will get in my face and bark, loud and stare me in the eyes with a firmness that is in stark contrast to her normal, laid back, laissez-faire attitude toward... everything (except her Sunny Dog Snacks, that is). We first noticed it over a year or two ago, but it was hit and miss. She may alert, she may not. Or perhaps we simply didn't notice the alerts. Many times we thought she was acting weird because she REALLY had to go potty, or maybe there was some hidden kitty cat in the bushes outside or possibly a squirle or bird... And then we smartened up to her level and realized that within minutes, sometimes seconds of her running in circles, barking, laying across my feet, pawing at me, and staring at my face in a dance that only Sunny Dog could choreograph, I would have some sort of seizure or another. It's not that she only alerts to the grand mals. She also alerts to the absence and the partial seizures, too. The ones Wifester calls "the picking seizures" where I look like one of those old ladies at the nursing home moving my mouth like I want to talk and picking at my clothes or blanket as though I'm plucking lint or some other invisible errant object away.
I know that they have service dogs for people with seizures, and I've read about dogs that can alert to seizures, but I always thought that the dogs were trained to do this. Not my Sunny Dog. She has taught herself to do it. After realizing that Sunny has appointed herself as my own personal service dog, I started doing some research on it, and as it turns out, most seizure alert dogs are dogs just like her who start out as pets who show an innate ability to alert. They are then subsequently trained to assist during and after the seizure. Other assistance dogs are unable to alert to an impending seizure, but are trained to help during and after one occurs.
I want to know who I need to contact to get Sunny one of those cool Assistance Dog vests so she can go on the plane with me and not ride in cargo. Does it work that way?
In all seriousness, though, Sunny was Wifester's dog when I met the Wifester. She'd had the Sunny Dog for several years already. They were bonded. They were tight. They were a pack. In our three plus years together, the Sunny Dog has taught herself this amazing talent, and from what I've read, the closer the dog is to the person, the more apt they are to be able to predict seizures. I think she's officially accepted me as one of her pack. I'm awfully gald.
Now do you see why I go out of my way to cook her food and bake her treats myself?
She's such a good girl, she deserves it!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

WWC Bokeh and Heart

Last weekend Wifester and I helped work a booth at the National Lung Association's Asthma Walk. It was at Grassmere Zoo, here in Nashville, and if you are local, you know how wet, soggy, and rainy last Saturday was.
I postulated that since wet, dank, humid weather is the worst possible condition for asthmatics, the zoo would also host an epilepsy disco with tons of strobe lights, or maybe a bee sting alergy honey gathering expedition...

I am always amazed at Wifester at these type things. This is not our first time to work a booth at a something or other...Remember there was my Green La Vergne booth, at the Old Timer's Day that she helped me and Cricket to make a success...
I don't know if it's the politician in her Dad that comes through in her, or if it's the sales woman in her Mom that she channels, maybe it's a little bit of both. Whatever it is, she can work it. She brings people in and captures their attention while smiling and engaging them...Something I'm way to shy for most of the time. I admire that in Wifester. No, I envy that in Wifester.

I remembered to take my camera and was so hopeful that the sun would come out so I could wander around a bit to get some nice photos of the animals. It rained most of the morning, but eventually did dry up a bit. The sun never really came out though, but at least we weren't getting any wetter.

All in all it was a good day and fun was had by all.
I used it as a great opportunity to work on my WWC photos for this week.
Tink, from Pickled Beef, put a twist on on us this week and asked us to provide our photo interpretations of Bokeh and Heart. Bokeh is when the background is out of focus and the object in the foreground is clear.
Here's my attempt

Click on the slideshow to see larger photos

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Star Wars Day!

May the Fourth be with you!

If you've been around here a while, you know I love me some Wikipedia, and here's what they have to say about Star Wars Day:

May 4 is called Star Wars Day because of a pun or play on words based on the similarity between "May the 4th be with you" and "May the force be with you", a phrase often spoken in the Star Wars movies. In common usage the joke might be presented:

John Doe: Happy Star Wars Day!
Jane Doe: What?
John Doe: May the 4th be with you!
Jane Doe: You're sleeping alone tonight

Nikki Doe: You're in!

As an example of the cultural impact of Star Wars, the joke is recorded in the UK parliament's Hansard.

Despite efforts to start a Jedi Church with 4 May as its Star Wars Day, as of 4 May 2009 there is no religion-supporting organization that promotes 4 May as Star Wars Day.

Loyal fans of Star Wars, on this day, participate in a variety of activities. Movie Marathons are common whether or not this is a weekend and the Chicagoan Convention is known to occur on this day two years ago.

So go ahead, and spread some Star Wars Cheer and remember...may the Fourth Be With You!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rainy Day

Water pools on the window sill
as a yellow dog snores by my side
Ting, ting, ting...
Incessant spatters of rain
beat against the chimney
in a rhythm only nature can produce
And I wonder
How long 'till this storm finally passes by?

Friday, May 1, 2009

No Health Care For You!!

I hate to beat a dead horse. I even hate to use that saying. Another thing I hate to do is use my bloggy blog to bitchy bitch, but eh, it's my blog, I'll bitch if I want to.
I've moaned and complained about this so much for the past couple of years, even gone to rallies to protest the inequality of it, written grade A papers on the topic...and still, here it is.
We're back to my frustration over my marriage not really being a marriage in our country. America, the land of the free, represses my rights.
All I really, REALLY want is for our country's policies to be consistent. Here's my bitch on this fine Friday. As most of you know, I recently lost my job which also means I lost my health care insurance. Oh, sure, I was offered the option of keeping it, at a rate of close to $400.00 a month. Who can afford that? I mean, really? What normal average person without a job can afford FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS a month for insurance? I declined and went about my way trying to find private insurance. With my diagnosis of epilepsy, getting insured for any less than that $400 is for all I can tell, impossible.
I abandoned that quest and Wifester attempted to get me insured via her plan at work. It seems that Blue Cross Blue Shield of TN will not allow her to add me to her plan because our state does not legally recognize our marriage. Even though we have a legal marriage license from Canada that any heterosexual couple would be able to use to obtain coverage on their spouse's plan...for us, it's a no go.
OK... fine. That's what we have TennCare for...uninsured Tennesseans, right? So I contacted our local Department of Health and Human Services to try to get TennCare. I mean, I have a serious medical condition that requires medications, physician monitoring, and occasional hospital visits. I NEED insurance. Tennessee says that they have to count Wifester's income as my income because we share a checking account. That said, I do not qualify to receive TennCare because Wifester makes too much money.
Do you follow me here in the inconsistancy?? How is it that we are totally separate entities when it comes to filing taxes or buying insurance but when it comes to state funded health care...all of a sudden, they want to recognize this person in my life as a part of my life!
It's not right. If they want to count Wifester's income against me, then they should consider me as a dependant on Wifester and allow her to insure me on her policy! I'm no lawyer, but to me that's discrimination, blatent and outright.

I have hope that Souther's replacement will be a gay friendly justice who will help lean the Supreme Court toward a more tolerant and accepting policy on my marital status. What do you think will happen? How do you think equality will be gained? Do you think it will be gained at all? Tell me what you think.