‘We do,’ but they don’t

Lost in all the coverage of Occupy Wall Street, is a protest that has been quietly going on over the last two weeks (ending today) in Asheville, North Carolina — the We Do campaign.

There, same-sex couples have gone to the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office every day to request a marriage license. Every day, of course, they’ve been denied.

  • Jim Shapiro

    “Lost in all the coverage of Occupy Wall Street…”

    As it should be.

    Homosexuals are about 5% of the population.

    While everyone should be permitted to love whomever nature or other influences decide and granted equal rights to whatever extent possible,

    it would be irresponsible of the press to give this issue more coverage than it’s already getting.

    Of course coverage of the abuse of homosexuals should improve and continue.

    But coverage of not being granted an abstract and debatable right that has never existed in human history?

  • Bob Collins

    // it would be irresponsible of the press to give this issue more coverage than it’s already getting.

    News isn’t either/or. There’s plenty of room. And I won’t both stepping into the question of whether a denial of civil rights to a minority of people rises to a particular level of news coverage.

    I will opine, however, that the Occupy Wall Street protests with the compliance of the media, has made a critical mistake — it has made the focus of the news stories THE PROTEST rather than the issue.

    Today was a perfect example: Look at the issues and coverage: A park being cleaned in New York, or tents being erected in Minneapolis.

    Those are sideshows to the meaning of the protest.

    Yesterday, a man was sentence for his part in one of the biggest Wall Street heists of the generation and it got no Occupy attention when it very well could have.

    Sure, it’s hard to explain mark to market or the subprime mess, or the SPECIFIC changes in law Congress makes to gratify its sponsors, but that’s what the protests should be doing.

    As it is , they’re not doing that because they know the actual ISSUE won’t get any attention.

    Compare that to THIS protest. The protest focuses exclusively on an issue. They’ve just figured out a great way to keep it front and center via the theater.

    //that has never existed in human history?

    Massachusetts, Maine, Iowa, New York, and Vermont would disagree. Those states — in one fashion or another — granted the rights. Well, before one of them took them away.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Bob – Nice deeper analysis on the protest coverage and shutdowns.

    And touche’ on the gay marriage coverage issue.

    I guess I’m a bit peeved because of California’s recent decision to mandate the teaching of gay contributions in history class.

    While there may be “plenty of room” in the universe of media coverage,

    the school day -and education budget- is quite finite, and in fact shrinking.

    While I disagree with the decision, kudos to this minuscule minority interest group for having the political wherewithal to successfully push their agenda.

    ( And to think that I used to mock the concept of a “homosexual agenda” as right-wing paranoia. :-)

  • Bob Collins

    Ugh. Well, you’re in a better position to explain California than I am. Which is certainly the way i’d like to keep it. (g)

  • Jim Shapiro

    Bob –

    “…you’re in a better position to explain California than I am. Which is certainly the way i’d like to keep it.”

    Can I quote you on that in no-vikings-football-or- hoops-but-plenty-of-dark-and-cold January? :-)

  • Joanna

    Jim, you’re pretty cavalier about my family’s rights. this isn’t an abstract issue for me, or for many, many people I know. The legal rights granted to married heterosexual couples are denied to me and my family. It doesn’t cost any more money to highlight the contributions of gay people to literature, culture and history than it does to highlight the contributions of women or of black people; it does, however, require abandoning official homophobia that tries to suppress that knowledge. As a native Calfiornian, I remember learning for the first time about Japanese internment in WWII. I was angry that I had never been told about it in high school. Suppressing information is a form of lying.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Joanna – I hope you and your family are able to get whatever rights you believe that you deserve.

    Regarding education, women are about 50% of the population, and blacks were enslaved for almost 300 years in this country, and often not treated equitably even now.

    There is no question that homosexuals have made significant contributions in all fields throughout history. And they have suffered prejudice during different periods and in various cultures. But not always.

    Still, homosexuals are arguably 5% of the population.

    Love who you want. Marry who you want. Work where you want. Actively fight bullying with strong laws and education.

    Tell ya what – offer elective classes and extracurricular opportunities.

    But don’t think you have the right to control the agenda with 5% of the population.

    That is the height of arrogance.

  • Joanna

    Jim, I’m afraid you are a little unclear on the concept. This story is about people who are not allowed to have equal protection under the law for their familes, so I”m afraid your advice to “Marry who you want” rings somewhat hollow. As for the percentages, big or small, that’s not how the Constitution works; that’s how bigotry works.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Joanna – what I’m unclear on right now is whether it’s possible to have civil discourse with someone who won’t take “yes” for an answer.

    While marriage might be your major issue, it’s not mine, as I think I pretty clearly stated, not once but twice.

    School curriculum is.

    I sincerely hope that you, and/or your family members and friends are able to marry whomever is desired as soon as possible.

    Perhaps once that painful and unjust obstacle is overcome, there will be more clarity to a broader focus.

  • Jim Shapiro

    To Joanna and anyone else who might have been hurt by my comments:

    I’m sorry. My love of a good intellectual duel (and some heterosexual alpha male tendencies) led me to argue a position for the sake of argument, rather than taking the side of compassion.

    Watching the sun set into the ocean, it dawned on me that If I had a gay child, I would do everything in my power to protect them from the pain of bigotry.

    That would most certainly include early education on the positive contributions made by homosexuals.

    Again, I’m sorry. In the future, I will try harder to not allow my head to override my heart.