Pharyngula

Shame on Missouri

Dennis Engelhard was a trooper in the highway patrol who was killed in an accident, when a car lost control in the snow and hit him. That’s tragedy enough, but what makes it worse is that the person he loved faces this sudden loss without any acknowledgment or support, not even a mention in the obituary. You can guess why: it’s because Trooper Engelhard was gay.

If Engelhard had been married, his spouse would be entitled to lifetime survivor’s benefits from the state pension system — more than $28,000 a year.

But neither the state Highway Patrol pension system nor Missouri law recognizes domestic partners.

A fraternal organization that provides benefits to the families of troopers killed in the line of duty is also unsure if it will help Engelhard’s partner.

Engelhard worked in Missouri, which has a constitutional amendment specifying that marriage is only between a man and a woman. I wonder how many other people are living lives of service and putting themselves at risk for people in a state that regards them as inferior and undeserving?

Comments

  1. #1 rogerroger
    January 30, 2010

    This is why there is such sad irony in those who claim that their opposition to gay marriage is motivated by morality.

  2. #2 Celtic_Evolution
    January 30, 2010

    If Engelhard had been married, his spouse would be entitled to lifetime survivor’s benefits from the state pension system — more than $28,000 a year.

    But neither the state Highway Patrol pension system nor Missouri law recognizes domestic partners.

    This part is sad, and wrong, but is state legislated and until that changes there isn’t much anyone can do right now…

    BUT… this:

    A fraternal organization that provides benefits to the families of troopers killed in the line of duty is also unsure if it will help Engelhard’s partner.

    Is just despicable…

  3. #3 tsig0
    January 30, 2010

    Sadly most people here in Mo. will not even feel sorry for the death of the the trooper since they think he shouldn’t be allowed to be a policeman anyway.

  4. #4 Ultimate Delivery Option
    January 30, 2010

    In a history class I took once, the professor asked the class to break up into groups and debate whether the civil war was ‘inevitable’ by the year 1950. I can understand asking the question to stimulate debate among the students, but I don’t think we came to an answer we all agreed on.

    It makes me wonder if there’s any ‘inevitability’ to equal rights in this instance. My generation is certainly more pro-equality than my Dad’s. Are we slowly moving forward? Is this ever going to happen?

    It seems like this is an issue that our children and grandchildren will think we were so stupid to take so long to make right. It feels like those who are anti-equality are just on the wrong side of history, but at the same time it’s taking way to long…

  5. #5 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 30, 2010

    I saw this news item a few days ago. I was immediately disgusted with the whole situation. I’ve gotten a bit over that anger now.

    UDO, I do think we are moving toward less discrimation, and hopefully acceptance of gay rights and marriage. But I also feel we are about a half to full generation away. [/pessimism

  6. #6 Uncephalized
    January 30, 2010

    #4: agreed, but maybe it just feels this way because we’re living through it, and not just looking back on it through the lens of history saying, “ah, yes, that was a key turning point; it was all downhill from there. 2011 was really the last hurrah for opponents of gay equality in the US.” I’m sure abolitionists felt the same way in the mid-19th century.

    At least, I hope history is going to repeat itself, minus one civil war please.

  7. #7 Stellar Ash
    January 30, 2010

    I love this bullshit comment:

    ****
    The law would apply the same to a straight trooper with a boyfriend or girlfriend, said state Rep. Ward Franz, R-West Plains, chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement.

    “I personally feel that a relationship should be between a man and a woman,” Franz said. “They still love each other and care about each other, but I don’t think we can change the law for that.”
    ****

    The difference being, of course, that a hetrosexual couple that doesn’t get married has made that choice. These gentlemen didn’t even have a option to make that choice.

    What a fucking nimrod.

  8. #8 Ultimate Delivery Option
    January 30, 2010

    #6: Good call, we should be able to do this without violence.

  9. #9 JD
    January 30, 2010

    It’s what Brigham Young wants. Parts of Missouri are sacred and only fit for old school polygamy enthusiasts.

  10. #10 lenoxuss
    January 30, 2010

    I really hate to say this, but maybe the partner not being mentioned in the obituary was a good thing for him, at this time in history? Or is it just my backward, bigoted sense of Missouri that he would start getting death threats?

    Sheesh, it seems like every post I make is to be contrarian and hate myself. Am I? am I a concern troll without knowing it? NOOOO

    Actually, my more neutral hypothesis is that by the time I read any given Pharyngula post, the comments will already have said everything I agree with, so only my tiny ugliest thoughts are left (the Library of Babel effect). I swear, I say much nicer things on Daylight Atheism, for example?

  11. #11 cuco3
    January 30, 2010

    Although the financial arrangements are grossly unfair, I think what offends me most is that the partner’s loss was not acknowledged.

    I was a bit disappointed – though not really surprised by some of the comments on that news site. At least there seem to be some reasonable people there.

  12. #12 randallstevens
    January 30, 2010

    ********
    “I’d take 100 Dennis Engelhards. He was an outstanding trooper,” said Capt. Ronald Johnson, head of the Highway Patrol troop that covers St. Louis and surrounding counties. “His lifestyle had no bearing on his career.”
    ********

    The last quote, though I understand what he’s trying to say, shows exactly how bigoted people are even when they’re “tolerant”.

    More appropriately, if his lifestyle had any bearing on his career, we can assume it’s nothing but positive influence, after 15 years in such an obviously supportive relationship.

  13. #13 Mark Tiedemann
    January 30, 2010

    Several years ago I wrote an essay about the fact that Missouri—the state I live in—was the first to pass an anti-gay constitutional amendment. You can find it here:

    http://dangerousintersection.org/2008/11/11/gay-marriage/

    Many of us dislike this intensely. But Missouri is a rather retrograde place, run by farmers (it would seem) who distrust “them city folk” and tend to vote in opposition to anything that smacks of progressive…oh, well.

  14. #14 Caine
    January 30, 2010

    It’s a travesty. Some people are so damn busy trying to justify their so-called morals, they throw compassion and empathy out.

  15. #15 One Fly
    January 30, 2010

    I stopped liking or having much respect for Missouri years ago. That’s been a correct decision reinforced often!

  16. #16 KillJoy
    January 30, 2010

    Ive spent some time in Misery…errr..Missouri and I will admit I spent most of my time in awe of the sheer redneckiness of the place. And this is coming from a guy who grew up in rural New Mexico. So this doesn’t really surprise me at all. Frustrate and enrage, yes, but not surprise.

  17. #17 sandiseattle
    January 30, 2010

    “inferior and undeserving”
    is an interesting comment. I’m not sure how defining marriage as a man-woman union makes all those who are in same sex unions inferior and undeserving.

  18. #18 aeug0083
    January 30, 2010

    The actual article is pretty good. The comments, however, are seriously wall-bang inducing.

  19. #19 Pygmy Loris
    January 30, 2010

    This is so sad. I want equal rights for everyone, but it’s depressing to see how slow (and in many cases backward) progress is.

  20. #20 Anri
    January 30, 2010

    sandiseattle sez:

    “inferior and undeserving”
    is an interesting comment. I’m not sure how defining marriage as a man-woman union makes all those who are in same sex unions inferior and undeserving.

    Um… because it deems them undeserving of marriage and therefore inferior to those people that are allowed to marry?

    Really, is seeing that in any way difficult?

  21. #21 mothwentbad
    January 30, 2010

    At #7 -

    “I don’t think we can change the law from that.”

    I’d like to ask him if this is so, why is it that in grade school here in the States they had us all constantly fawning over how great our country is because we supposedly invented the idea of changing the law whenever it’s wrong?

  22. #22 Claire
    January 30, 2010

    What a freaking shame. That poor officer served his state, died in the line of duty for his state, and now the person he loved gets nothing because were not allowed to be married. So unfair!!

  23. #23 darkmoded.wordpress.com
    January 30, 2010

    I am the son of a (now deceased) former Missouri Highway Patrolman. The troopers I’ve kept in touch with were devastated at the loss of Corporal Engelhard, and showed nothing but class while airing their grief.

    Missouri has its issues with progressiveness, definitely, but don’t tint the whole state with that hue; there are some modern and forward-thinking islands of blue in the sea of red–Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia.

    Unfortunately, as the voting record shows, the red still does outnumbers the blue.

  24. #24 steve
    January 30, 2010

    This bit of the article is telling:

    Glossip could be eligible for much more from a federal Department of Justice program that provides money to the survivors ? including domestic partners ? of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

    Is it possible that this could be grounds to sue to overturn the state law regarding the definition of marriage? It would be a case of federal law trumping state law in my view.

  25. #25 aratina cage of the OM
    January 30, 2010

    I wonder how many other people are living lives of service and putting themselves at risk for people in a state that regards them as inferior and undeserving?

    A whole hell of a lot are considering the number of states with marriage inequality that leaves out same-sex couples (I know quite a few myself). It’s so depressing how so many people hypocritically stopped regarding marriage as an act of love and started lying about it being about procreation when the Christofacists began their crusade of terror against gays.

  26. #26 Jason A.
    January 30, 2010

    sandiseattle #17:

    “inferior and undeserving”
    is an interesting comment. I’m not sure how defining marriage as a man-woman union makes all those who are in same sex unions inferior and undeserving.

    See, it’s not the gays that are inferior and undeserving, it’s just their relationships that are inferior and undeserving. Totally different, right?

    More ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ bullshit.

  27. #27 tdc.udel
    January 30, 2010

    “We have never paid benefits to a girlfriend or boyfriend,” Mills said. “It’s always been spouse and/or children.”

    That kind of sentiment came up over and over and made my blood boil. They didn’t just meet. They would have been married if it wasn’t for your backwards laws, you stupid fucks.

  28. #28 James F
    January 30, 2010

    #4 Ultimate Delivery Option wrote:

    It makes me wonder if there’s any ‘inevitability’ to equal rights in this instance. My generation is certainly more pro-equality than my Dad’s. Are we slowly moving forward? Is this ever going to happen?

    We are, and it’s not just a matter of the young being more open-minded than the old, which could be explained away by people becoming more “conservative” with age; it’s a shift across all age groups, as shown here. As you’ll see, Missouri is moving forward like virtually every other state, but is markedly slow in the big picture.

  29. #29 rwhouchin
    January 30, 2010

    Unfortunately, as the voting record shows, the red still does outnumbers the blue.

    I don’t understand why it is believed that ‘red’ voters are anti-gay and ‘blue’ voters are pro-gay.

    Hawaii just declined to give gays equal rights, and Hawaii’s legislature is over 90% blue. They have literally 6 ‘red’ representatives out of 51 total.

    It was CA that passed Prop 8 — CA is almost entirely blue.

    It’s inaccurate to paint this issue as one of red vs. blue, or liberal vs. conservative. Everyone deserves equal rights, and that view is not exclusive to either side of the aisle here in US — nor is the opposition to that view.

  30. #30 PeteJohn
    January 30, 2010

    Well… I am from Missouri, and while I can assure everyone that there are both blue areas of the state and completely reasonable Missourians, the state as a whole is a little bit behind it. The sad thing isn’t that my homestate (which I love irrationally almost no matter what, like that racist grandpa everyone seems to have) is an outpost of 19th century values, it’s that there are many other states that have similar arrangements. I mean, California is about as liberal as it gets and they passed Prop. 8 last year. This is one issue that, to me, makes no sense… Why should anyone care what two people in love decide to do with their lives? What right does anyone have to say that, because you happen to be in love with another man/woman that you can’t have the same benefits as heterosexuals in the same situation?

    The state of Missouri is basically bound by its own law not to do much of anything here, but what is the fraternal organization thinking? One of their own died and the person he loved the most gets nothing? Come on now…

  31. #31 Kyle
    January 30, 2010

    Terrible and unjust. I’m afraid this would happen in most places, but I must say as a St. Louis resident I do get the sense that things here are really beginning to shift to the right. It is rather alarming.

  32. #32 KATHYxx
    January 30, 2010

    I don’t understand why it is believed that ‘red’ voters are anti-gay and ‘blue’ voters are pro-gay.

    Hawaii just declined to give gays equal rights, and Hawaii’s legislature is over 90% blue. They have literally 6 ‘red’ representatives out of 51 total.

    It was CA that passed Prop 8 — CA is almost entirely blue.

    It’s inaccurate to paint this issue as one of red vs. blue, or liberal vs. conservative. Everyone deserves equal rights, and that view is not exclusive to either side of the aisle here in US — nor is the opposition to that view.

    Break CA into counties, and then you’ll see it isn’t as blue as it looks when the electoral college colors the whole state. The blueness collects around the big cities, but most other places are red, and that’s where the anti-gay people are.
    The political election systems aren’t designed to reflect popular opinion or the beliefs of everyone in that area.

  33. #33 Midnight Rambler
    January 30, 2010

    rwhouchin @29: Hawaii is an unusual situation. It’s Democratic but far from progressive. Most of the people are the opposite of how Democratic politicians like to portray themselves – they’re fiscally liberal and socially conservative. The Democratic party dominates because a politician can’t get anything done from within the rump Republicans in the state legislature, so there are several major branches: the business types (who would be Republicans anywhere else), progressives (very few), crooks and bums (the vast majority), and whackos.

    The last includes State Senator Mike Gabbard, a member of a rabidly homophobic Hare Krishna offshoot cult who has played a big part in trying to push down civil unions in Hawaii, probably unbeknownst to most of the conservative Christians who go along with it. The thing that’s really stupid about the whole thing is that the Senate passed the bill by over 2/3 and the House had at least a majority, but they caved and didn’t even bring it up for a vote.

  34. #34 Armand K.
    January 30, 2010

    “We have never paid benefits to a girlfriend or boyfriend,” Mills said.
    “It’s always been spouse and/or children.”

    How convenient! First, not to allow two guys or girls marry each other, then say the surviving partner can’t get any benefits because they weren’t married. Not to mention, the law could recognize marriage-like benefits to couples that live together for a certain period of time, including inheritance and other benefits for the surviving partner.

    (Or is there a law to that effect? Sorry, I’m not familiar with this part of US legislation. Here in Europe, most — if not all — countries have similar laws.)

  35. #35 dustycrickets
    January 30, 2010

    James F @ 28

    As you accurately observed , It really is a one two punch…on the generational side there is this..also from 538…

    “At the end of the day, Prop 8′s passage was more a generational matter than a racial one. If nobody over the age of 65 had voted, Prop 8 would have failed by a point or two. It appears that the generational splits may be larger within minority communities than among whites, although the data on this is sketchy.”

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/11/prop-8-myths.html

  36. #36 arrakis
    January 30, 2010

    Missouri has many good things going for it, but it shames me how bigoted and backward my fellow residents are.

    Whenever I hear people rally against so-called “activist” judges, I cannot help but think of incidents like this.

  37. #37 Kausik Datta
    January 30, 2010

    #23:

    I am the son of a (now deceased) former Missouri Highway Patrolman. The troopers I’ve kept in touch with were devastated at the loss of Corporal Engelhard, and showed nothing but class while airing their grief.
    Missouri has its issues with progressiveness, definitely, but don’t tint the whole state with that hue; there are some modern and forward-thinking islands of blue in the sea of red–Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia.

    Why is it that every time evidence of such an outrage, bigotry, lack of fairness etc. is unearthed at some place, someone always runs out saying – “Oh, we are not all like that”, “Don’t lump us all together”, “This is not the true picture” and variations thereof? If you are that progressive – and as a son of a former Patrolmen you must have some influence with some people – is your energy not better spent in trying to do something for the individuals upon which this gross injustice has been inflicted? As a local, can you not bring a voice to the disadvantaged partner whose contribution of 15 years to Trooper Engelhard’s life has been flicked away with the stroke of a pen? If you can, do it. If you can’t, STFU.

  38. #38 hsbio
    January 30, 2010

    As a high school teacher/administrator in the state of Missouri, this type of incident sends me into a rage. I cannot believe that people cannot acknowledge the diversity of people in our state and in our country. It is very sad that WE, and I use that term very loosely, were the first state to pass a constitutional ammendment prohibiting gay marriage. We are a state that tends to be very conservative, very much against change, and despite what conservatives in this state want to believe….the government is constantly being forced into our PRIVATE lives. What a freaking joke….worst of all..the newspaper could not mention the person he loved and loved him….since when is it prohibited to mention these individuals in the newspaper?

    I am so disappointed, but not surprised…especially when I hear the things that come out of the mouths of the students I teach…they dislike this group of people because of the color of their skin; they dislike this group of people because of their sexual orientation; and they learn all of this from their “conservative” parents….I just have to keep hoping that my teaching of tolerance and acceptance gets through to a few students every year…slow, steady difference.

  39. #39 MAJeff, OM
    January 30, 2010

    It is very sad that WE, and I use that term very loosely, were the first state to pass a constitutional ammendment prohibiting gay marriage

    Actually, you weren’t. Alaska was first (in 1998). It followed a judge’s decision mandating that marriage be made available. Same year that Hawaii passed an amendment allowing the legislature to exclude same-sex couples (because of the Baehhr case making its way through that state’s courts at the time.)

    Utah was the first to enact a statutory ban (in 1995).

  40. #40 Carlie
    January 30, 2010

    I’m from practically Missouri, and spent many years in Missouri proper. It has gotten a little better – in some parts of the state people can be openly gay without fear of getting beaten to a pulp on a daily basis, unlike 20 years ago. It still has a long way to go, though.

  41. #41 Carlie
    January 30, 2010

    Clarification – I’m not saying it’s good, and I’m not trying to minimize the situation. I’m just trying to say that the movement in Missouri is at least minimally towards becoming decent people, rather than the other way.

  42. #42 hsbio
    January 30, 2010

    #MAJeff
    I stand corrected, thank you for the info.
    However, still pisses me off…

    #37 – I understand your frustration, however there is only so much a person can do in an ocean of bigots. I try, as a teacher, every day to spread a message of tolerance and understanding…I do it everyday with my students…I cannot do it with the parents as overtly as I would like….or I would be out of a job and then someone without my conviction might be pushing that same backwards thinking shared by the parents of those misguided students….sometimes the best thing to do to get change to happen is be a whispering voice in the ears of those around…and help them stand up to make a change.

  43. #43 rgneuman1
    January 30, 2010

    This has happened before with a lesbian couple who were both on the police force in Tampa a couple of decades ago. One was killed in a hostage crisis both participated in, and her widow was denied benefits also. She has sued and continued to fight for her rights to her partner’s benefits…the money was especially necessary because she was in danger of losing the house they bought together. Read more at a tribute site here: http://www.tampabaycoalition.com/Lois.html

  44. #44 darkmoded.wordpress.com
    January 30, 2010

    #37:

    Why is it that every time evidence of such an outrage, bigotry, lack of fairness etc. is unearthed at some place, someone always runs out saying – “Oh, we are not all like that”, “Don’t lump us all together”, “This is not the true picture” and variations thereof?

    Maybe because people are rightfully embarrassed by the callous attitudes of their fellow residents?

    When PZ, or anyone, makes these kinds of posts chastising a state or country for the actions of its politicians or a portion of its population, it seems to me to be an understandable reaction for those citizens that may be in the minority to step up and voice their disagreement with such bigoted or backward views.

    And in direct response to PZ’s posit, “I wonder how many other people are living lives of service and putting themselves at risk for people in a state that regards them as inferior and undeserving?” let me again imply that there are people in this state that are appalled and disgusted that there would be those that regard others–uniformed or otherwise–as inferior and undeserving.

    I’m proud of my state. I think it’s ugly when something like this brings attention to Missourians. Maybe it’s superfluous, but I feel the need to say that not everybody here agrees with the hate floating to the surface in the vitriolic comments at PZ’s link. Apparently that chaps your ass for some strange reason.

    So please pardon me if I wasted too much energy for your tastes on assuring Pharyngula’s readers that not everyone in the Show Me State is a hateful basic right-infringing homophobe.

  45. #45 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    January 30, 2010

    So please pardon me if I wasted too much energy for your tastes on assuring Pharyngula’s readers that not everyone in the Show Me State is a hateful basic right-infringing homophobe.

    As Kausik Datta said, you are wasting your energy. Your voice could help much more if you directed it to an audience that needs to hear it – the bigots around you.

    Maybe you do that, and if you do, hats off. But honestly, why does it chap your ass so much more that people here might think everyone in MO is a bigot, than it chaps your ass to live in a state known for bigotry? Well, maybe it doesn’t, but can you understand why people are scratching their heads saying “Um, dude, no one ever said everyone in MO is a bigot. . . but there are bigger fish to fry here”?

    I don’t get this petty, state version of nationalism either. When people deride the corruption of New York State politicians (my home state), I don’t caterwaul about how I have friends who are local politicians, and they’re not like that, so you’re so meeeaannnn to Paint Us All With a Broad Brush (TM).

    You know what I do instead? I join the chorus of condemnation against the rampant corruption that brings disrepute on everyone’s head. I join people who want to see it stopped.

    Why? Because I identify more strongly with ethically upstanding people than I identify with the place I was born, by accident, geographically. Seriously, what is it with people and their “hometown pride”? It’s really parochial, and completely irrelevant to the project of cleaning up gov’t or ensuring equal rights for all.

  46. #46 bulletproofcourier
    January 31, 2010

    “As Kausik Datta said, you are wasting your energy. Your voice could help much more if you directed it to an audience that needs to hear it – the bigots around you.”

    Yes! Yes! 110%

  47. #47 CRS
    January 31, 2010

    As a resident of St. Louis, Misery this story really hit home. (Let’s just say I can pass for straight as long as I don’t speak or gesture.) It was tragic when the trooper was killed doing his job. It became heartbreaking once I saw his partner being interviewed in a very compassionate manor.

    I only made it through a few of the comments in the article on the Stltoday site. As has been pointed out above, comparing his situation to a heterosexual, unmarried couple is an analogy fail. We do not have the choice and the states in this country are finally wrestling with the issue that this circumstance highlights. Hey Missouri, they were together 10 years. Ten years!

    I hope I do not get flamed for this, but Christ Church Cathedral seems to be more of a social organization than church when it comes to the people who walk through their doors in need. I was not surprised to see them pull together to help Glossip. I attended with someone I was dating many years ago. The head minister (however they are referred to) was a liberal “Yankee” from MA and his wife was the associate pastor. As I walked into the sanctuary I was pleasantry shocked to see a large banner stating “Our Church Has AIDS”.

    I’m not endorsing religion (my fundie daughter can back me up on that), but there are some decent people here who are appalled at the backward ways of “Misery”. Raving atheists like me and faith-heads alike.

    Thank you for posting this, PZ.

  48. #48 Roameo
    January 31, 2010

    When PZ, or anyone, makes these kinds of posts chastising a state or country for the actions of its politicians or a portion of its population, it seems to me to be an understandable reaction for those citizens that may be in the minority to step up and voice their disagreement with such bigoted or backward views.

    Well, it is the state that is responsible for restricting marriage, and for the pension system that doesn’t acknowledge domestic partnerships. So PZ’s criticism is perfectly appropriate. As has already been said: if you want to voice your disagreement, do so to the government that you are responsible for, or the bigots that they seem to be listening to. Dont tell us that we are wrong, prove us wrong.

  49. #49 Walton
    January 31, 2010

    This case shows the essential dishonesty of the hardcore anti-gay-marriage crowd. Many of them like to claim that they have nothing “against” gays, but that they just want to “keep marriage between a man and a woman” and “protect traditional marriage”. But this isn’t true – because not only do they refuse to allow gay couples to use the word “marriage”, they also deny them the legal rights and entitlements that married couples get. If the anti-gay-marriage crowd were sincere about just “wanting to protect marriage”, then they’d be willing to accept a legal partnership arrangement (such as we have here in the UK) which would give gay couples in a committed relationship access to the same legal rights as married couples. But they’re not even willing to do that; they insist on denying any kind of protection to gay couples, therefore illustrating that their stance is not really about “protecting marriage”, but about punishing people for being gay.

    The anti-gay-marriage crowd need to realise that they do not have the right to force their beliefs on everyone through the medium of the law. What they personally believe about the word “marriage” is up to them, and no one is trying to force their churches to perform weddings for gay couples. But by denying gay couples the chance to get any kind of legal recognition of their relationship, they are denying “the equal protection of the laws” to a group of citizens – which seems, to me, to be a direct violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Unless they can identify some compelling social justification for this discrimination – which they can’t – then it ought to be found unconstitutional.

    In my view, when Perry et al. v Schwarzenegger reaches the Supreme Court, the outcome should be that all states are required to grant legal recognition to gay couples in committed relationships, and to give them the same legal rights as married couples. The impetus on this has to come from the Supreme Court, not from democratic politics – as we’ve seen in many states, anti-gay organisations (bankrolled by the LDS Church and other wealthy religious groups) are very good at manipulating public opinion and taking advantage of irrational prejudice and fear. The only way that gay couples are going to get legal rights is through the judicial process.

  50. #50 DLC
    January 31, 2010

    A sorry state of affairs that prevents same-sex couples from being as miserable as the rest of married humanity.

  51. #51 Cerberus
    January 31, 2010

    To those earlier in the thread who commented about progress being so slow:

    It was always thus. Ironically, the gay rights movement is moving at a good clip these days thanks to having both close-knit communities in the real world and the potentials available with the internet. Compare a lot of gay rights battles to say the battles for women’s rights (how many years had equal pay for equal work been slowly trying to go through until Lily Ledbetter and people had just assumed it was already law), rights of blacks to vote took forever to be actionable and it is still a battle thanks to sneaky purges like stripping felons of the right to vote and then arresting blacks on any felony charge they can find.

    Progress tends to move slow, but it bends towards progress and after a few iconic victories you’ll look back in decades rather than years and comment on what a blur it seems to be. The agonizing months of marches and feeling ignored will suddenly be replaced with a long view of things just happening and suddenly we’re here.

    We imagine it was different. That in eras like the 70s they just demanded it and poof there it was, but it was just as frustrating and seemingly hopeless as today. It has always felt like that for people doing the work of right.

    For an example look at the Iraq War thing. We all knew it was a bad idea, felt ignored, ridiculed, etc… Now, everyone knows it isn’t a good idea though they despair that no one knew that back in the old days and we should listen to the wise words of those who are only recently right.

    This occurs for every progressive movement ever.

    It will be the same for lgbt people. Slowly and inevitably.

    But we should still fight because that inevitability and the rate of inevitability is wholly dependent on how loudly we make ourselves heard and how hard we fight for what is right.

  52. #52 ConcernedJoe
    January 31, 2010

    Many comments above had said my piece.

    I just want to register my sadness and shame that we still have these situations in 2010.

    I guess I will also say that it always interesting to me that when “gayness strikes” their families many of these holy-rollers see through it to the person (e.g., son, daughter, cousin, niece, etc.) they’ve loved all their lives. I am southern experienced and I speak from experience. It is the switches they can turn on and off that frustrates me most. They cannot seem to bridge the global to their specific experiences that are positive.

  53. #53 vatm
    January 31, 2010

    #17: When you are a tax paying citizen with the same obligations and responsabilities as anyone else but who doesn’t have the same rights (state protection, marriege benefits etc.) as their straight counterparts do thats whats called inferior and undeserving and basically you are no more than a third class citizen in the eyes of your country

  54. #54 randallstevens
    January 31, 2010

    @ Kausik Datta #37 and others getting on darkmoded #23…

    I really don’t think it’s “wasted energy” to come forward to this community and say that not everyone in Missouri is a bigot. In fact, it it really is wasted energy, then every comment on this blog is wasted energy. We’re all basically preaching to the choir, minus the few moronic apologists that come here just to pick fights.

    The point is, it reinforces some sense of community. I am happy to read a statement from a Missouri forward thinker. Of course I knew they existed… it’s not news to anyone, but it’s a somewhat personal affirmation. That’s largely what reading all these comments is about, and what commenting on this stuff is about. Rarely is there any NEW information.

    Yes, darkmoded, there’s a bigger need to voice the opinion to the bigots around you in Missouri… and yes, your state is largely bigoted. But no, you’re not wasting your energy here.

    Although being born somewhere is kind of irrelevant, growing up somewhere can really foster a love for that place. If darkmoded didn’t give a shit about Missouri, his placement there WOULD be wasted.

  55. #55 Aquaria
    January 31, 2010

    Well, as a person who lives in a bass-ackwards state of backasswards states, I can say that it’s easy for people in big ole liberal states to say why aren’t you doing anything?

    How the fuck do you know we’re not?

    Tell you what–I’ll break my personal rule about never setting foot in East Texas ever again, if one of you brave blue state liberals will go door-to-door with me in, oh–Crockett, TX, to talk to the locals about repealing the marriage = 1 man + 1 woman amendment. So it’s not the door-to-door I used to do trying to convince small town East Texans to vote for any Democrat running for president–but it’s close enough. You might get out of there a lot more easily than I did stumping for Teddy Kennedy in 1980.

  56. #56 hsbio
    January 31, 2010

    Aquaria – WELL SAID.
    We here in Missouri, who are of a more libearl cloth, do our part to bring about change….NOT ALL of us are SCREAMING at the top of our lungs for the masses to change…some of us take our fight to the masses in different ways…some of us do it by going door-to-door trying to get people here to vote “progressively” (which I did for Pres. Obama); some of us teach our students (from homes of deep RED, CONSERVATIVE beliefs) what it means to be tolerant and accepting of differences, and some of us do SCREAM at the top of our lungs to anyone who will listen….It takes all types to get change to happen, it takes all types of communication to get to the widest group of people…we all make a difference everytime we talk about the injustices in the world…for without first talking about it NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE.

  57. #57 Carlie
    January 31, 2010

    I was just gearing up to say what it turned out the last three commenters said.
    Yes, coming here and saying “we’re not all like that” is NOT wasted energy. For one, it takes very little energy to make a blog comment in the first place. For two, you have no idea how much of an activist that person is in their hometown. For three, it helps any other people commenting to not dive right back into the cesspool of bigotry that allows for broad-brush characteristics of whole swaths of the country. (Oh those southerners, of course that happened in Texas, what else do you expect from Missouri, etc.) For four, perhaps coming to a blog and commiserating about not being one of the bigoted people is what gives them the energy recharge they need to go be activists in a hostile area.

  58. #58 shatfat
    February 1, 2010

    The farmers in MO, at least the ones along the river (and by THE river, I mean the mighty Miss.), are being eaten alive by Monsanto and ADM, but especially Monsanto, as “round-up” and other herbicides get washed over once-fertile land every time it floods. Great–except that it’s a mixture of anti-monocots and anti-dicots, meaning that neither maize nor soya will grow for a couple of years. Brilliant!

    People under attack tend to go RWA and wingnuttery starts to appeal to them. Reality (I’m screwed and powerless) sucks so they go for fantasy.

    If all the farmers got together and stood up to Monsanto, DuPont, and ADM, then they might have a chance–after all, city folk are pre-inclined to be suspicious of these playaz anyway, even if ADM bought out NPR. But some farmers are more equal than others, so they all knife each other and they all lose.

    Well, you know, except for those clowns getting a billion of subsidy dollars to suck the aquifers dry in Cali growing … wait for it … wait for it … fucking cotton. Yeah, that’s a beautiful allocation of resources right there.

    PS–MO may be next to KS and close to IO, but it’s also dangerously close to the Ozarks, IYKWIM(AITYD).

  59. #59 shatfat
    February 1, 2010

    (Sorry, Ozarks, I know you’re probably pretty’n’all, but y’all hill people do have an, er, reputation, you know, and by hill people, I don’t mean Cherokees, who have a completely different reputation (I mean, hell, the Cherokees invented their own alphabet ferfuckssake, even if some of them were stupid enough to think Andrew Jackson was their good buddy), I do mean those dusty pale people of vaguely Celtic extraction, yes I mean you.)

  60. #60 shatfat
    February 1, 2010

    I see your tipping point and raise you a divorce rates increased in states that banned gay marriage in their constitution while it decreased in states where it was legal.

    Cue discussion of correlation/causation, and so on, and so forth.

  61. #61 Mr T
    February 1, 2010

    shatfat:

    PS–MO may be next to KS and close to IO, but it’s also dangerously close to the Ozarks, IYKWIM(AITYD). [and a related parenthetical run-on sentence in the next comment]

    I know what you mean, but I don’t think you do. If by “dangerously close to the Ozarks”, you mean that roughly half of MO is part of The OzarksTM and that most of the Ozarks is in MO, then I guess I’m not sure how much closer MO could get (you know, before it was, like, extremely dangerously close).

    There are many beautiful sights in MO, and very stupid people. Then again, that’s basically how I would describe most of the planet.

  62. #62 gr8hands
    February 1, 2010

    I am so tired of my gay taxes going to support hetero marriage benefits.

    I am so tired of my gay taxes going to handle hetero crimes (wife abuse, rape, teen pregnancy).

    I am so tired of my gay taxes going to support institutions where they won’t accept me as a member (military).

    I am so tired of all this being done in the name of “protecting marriage.”

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!