Fri Fun Facts: Gay Marriage/Same Sex Marriage

Today’s Fri Fun Facts is dedicated to thinking about the continued fight for human rights in the US. Yes, I’m weighing in on Gay Marriage or Same Sex Marriage. I have to share that this issue is such a no brainer here in Victoria, BC Canada. Same Sex Marriage is legal in Canada since the Civil Marriage Act was passed in 2005. Wait, yes, just 7 years ago. Canada joins nine other countries:

Argentina, Belgium, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. There are other countries that allow same-sex marriages to be performed and then another group of countries that recognize same-sex marriages, but do not allow them to be performed. Let’s think about what is so problematic to 30 of the states in the US, which have taken special care to ban same-sex marriages.

1. “50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.” via DivorceRate.org. This does not say much to the whole “sanctity of marriage” line of argument. Looking for divorce statistic is interesting, as the data varies depending on the source that you examine and the government records them according to the number of divorces within the population: Divorce rate: 3.4 per 1,000 population (44 reporting States and D.C.) via http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/divorce.htm 2009 data.

2. Many supporters of the ban refer to the Bible. The most commonly quoted saying that I’ve heard, “The Bible refers to Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve.” Fair enough, but I we don’t have everything in the Bible literally. And, not everyone subscribes to the teachings in the Bible. Using the Bible as the guide to politics might offer a short-sighted means of thought and practice.

3. We need to think about how the 14th Amendment offers equality under the law. The bans do anything but this and actually discriminate against unmarried partnerships (heterosexual) and against the LGBTQ community. Why are we allowing hate legislation? This is a human rights issue or a civil rights issue at the very least.

4. Bans against Same Sex Marriage are draconian at best. What they really demonstrate is that bigotry is alive and well and seeping into the law. We need to re-think the motivation for these sorts of laws and respond.

I support same sex marriage. And, unfortunately the Congressional Representative who does not represent me is in support of banning same sex marriage. Thankfully President Obama noted on May 9th that he is now in support of same sex marriage. With today’s Fri Fun Facts I am sending supportive energy to my sisters and brothers who demand that their families are protected by the states they live in or visit.

This was one of two emails that I received within hours of Obama’s interview.

Women and Politics: Reflections on “Poised to Run”

Why don’t more women run for office? This question has perplexed activists, party elite, academics and others. In “Poised to Run: Women’s Pathways to the State Legislatures” by three scholars affiliated with the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), Kira Sanbonmatsu, Susan Carroll and Debbie Walsh, offer some answers.  Frankly, their Executive Summary is worthy of a poster. I encourage you to read the full report at http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/research/reports/PoisedtoRun.pdf .  But, I am going to review the Executive Summary.

  1. Women need to be recruited
  2. Political Parties Matter
  3. Organizations Help Women Run
  4. More Women Can Run
  5. Resources are Important

The truth is that two major points holding women back are institutional sexism that permeates most of the points noted above, as well as women themselves. Women are less apt to think of themselves as experts in a field (see Informed Opinions for more information). Likewise, party gatekeepers are also less likely to think of women as a successful candidate. Thus, recruiting women is important. Gatekeepers need to take special care to not only recruit and vet women, but to also nurture them through the pipeline.

Related to this is how important both parties and organizations are to women candidates. This is the official parties, but also partisan organization and multi-partisan organizations like the National Women’s Political Caucus, Chamber of Commerce, and other civic groups. We see more women running at the local or municipal levels, so there are women who can run. They just need encouragement. This encouragement needs to include financial support. The authors of the “Poised to Run” study note that it is easier for male candidates to raise money due to their connections and assumptions about the viability of their candidacy. Clearly, our elected officials are more educated and more wealthy than the average populace—especially when we look at federal elected officials in both Canada and the United States.

I am hopeful that during the upcoming election in British Columbia and 2012 election in the United States, that more women candidates will throw their hat into the race. And, I also hope that as you review this blog post that you see the full report and also think about supporting a woman candidate in your riding or district.

While this article was focused on the issue of gender, I surmise that the authors would also offer that race is important issue to examine as well. Looking at the federal levels of representation in Canada and the United States there is not parity based on gender or race among the sitting members of Parliament or Congress. However, the focus of this study was gender. I do encourage you to look at other reports published by CAWP http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/. If you want more Canadian focused research about women in politics, I suggest Equal Voice http://www.equalvoice.ca/.