Saturday, February 18, 2012

Observations from the Coffee Shop 2.18

What a totally fascinating week it has been.

It started with Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, signing into law a gay marriage bill passed by that state's House and Senate both passed the previous week. The law will take effect 90 days after the legislature's session ends or June 1st. It will in all probability be put on hold till after the November election as opponents have filed to have both it and a question defining marriage as between a woman and a man put on the ballot. They must have 120,000 signatures by June to challenge the law and 240,000 signatures by July to have the marriage question entered. I was surprised to learn that 30 states (map) have constitutional
amendments defining marriage as between a woman and a man, I didn't realize it was that many.

In New Jersey the state Senate passed a gay marriage bill on Monday by a vote of 24-16 and the state House passed the same bill Thursday. The House vote was 42-33 with not one Republican voting in favor of it. Late Friday, just before the start of a holiday weekend, Republican Gov. Chris Christie did as he had promised and vetoed the bill. Christie proved that, just as the playground bully he is, his demeanor is all a show to cover the fact that he is afraid of his own very ample shadow. The New Jersey legislatures have until the current session ends in January 2014 to override the veto and can vote as many times as is necessary. 

Also yesterday the Maryland House of Delegates, after a sometimes mind boggling debate, passed a gay marriage bill by a vote of 72-67 and the state Senate is expected to pass the bill next week. Gov. Martin O'Malley, also a Democrat, introduced the bill himself and will sign it. Here again opponents promise to have  the law on the November ballot. The surprising thing in Maryland is ho vehemently African American churches oppose it. All I can wonder is what their reaction would be if it were their rights that were being put to a vote. I think you know the answer to that one.

Going back for a second, both Gregoire and Christie are practicing Catholics and last month she offered to talk to Christie about the religious aspects of the gay marriage issue. I only mention their faith because of my final, and totally unreal, story of the week.

On Thursday Republican Rep. Darrell Issa held a circus he choose to call a hearing on President Obama's new birth control payment rule. I can honestly say that birth control is an issue, if it is an issue at all, that I pay very little attention to but this was total insanity. Five middle aged men testifying on an issue that predominately concerns women and not one woman witness was allowed to speak. Issa must know that a majority of Americans, including a majority of both Catholics and Republicans, think he is dead wrong. He also must know that a majority of registered voters are women. The GOP's argument against birth control is principally one of religious freedom or pretty much if god wanted a woman to have birth control he would have given her a bottle of aspirin (Google it) which brings this counter argument to mind. If god wanted a man to have a hard-on he would have given them a bottle of Viagra, something I'm sure insurance covers.

Like I said what a week. I just typed hard-on.

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