Thursday, June 04, 2009

victory for equality in new hampshire

Great news out of New Hampshire today! A true victory for equality!

The state legislature there voted to allow same-sex marriages, as long as religious groups were not forced to perform the ceremonies.

After rallies outside the Statehouse by both sides in the morning, the last of three bills in the package went to the Senate, which approved it 14-10 Wednesday afternoon.

Cheers from the gallery greeted the key vote in the House, which passed it 198-176. Surrounded by gay marriage supporters, Lynch signed the bill about an hour later.

''Today, we are standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities -- and respect -- under New Hampshire law,'' Lynch said.
New Hampshire became the sixth state to recognize marriage equality, joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and Maine. California allowed same-sex marriage for part of last year, though voters amended the constitution there to prohibit such unions. Couples married before Prop 8 was enacted will still be technically married.

Rhode Island is currently the only state in New England where same-sex marriage is not legal. The New York Times expects a marriage equality bill to fail there this year.

Let's celebrate this victory in New Hampshire, but the fight is nowhere near over! Write your legislators and tell them to support marriage equality in your state. We've made it happen in six states- we can make it happen everywhere. Marriage is a civil right!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

diversity is a good thing: why sonia sotomayor is a good pick for supreme court

Ever since President Obama made his first Supreme Court pick last week, both sides of the political aisle have been discussing whether or not she is a good choice.

Here's a little info on Sonia Sotomayor, provided by Wikipedia:
Sonia Sotomayor is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On May 26, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Judge Sotomayor for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice David Souter. If confirmed, she would be the court's first Hispanic justice and third female justice.
That last sentence has caused quite a bit of controversy. Before she was even nominated, The New Republic published a hit piece on Sotomayor which was quickly distributed through the conservative community and became the meme when the issue was raised in debate. She was called the "affirmative action" nominee by Pat Buchanan. Bill O'Reilly and his panelists called Sotomayor's record "disturbing." But the worst condemnation of Sotomayor has come from something she said in 2001 when discussing gender and national origin:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."

The White House is trying to play it off as "poor word choice," but she meant what she said. And it doesn't make her a racist in the slightest, as Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh would have you believe.

It isn't that hard to figure out. Diversity is a good thing. How could a group of nine white men always come to a decision for us all? The Supreme Court should be just as diverse and colorful as the United States- the people that represent us should look like us. It's not affirmative action and it's not choosing someone less qualified because of race or gender.

An American from Puerto Rican descent and humble beginnings may bring a world of different experience to the table when discussing an issue before the Court. She may not always have a better decision than a white male, but she could have a different take on it that could make someone look at it differently. And in a country with so many Hispanics, doesn't it only make sense that on a court of nine justices, at least one would be there representing the Hispanic community and their collective interests? The same goes for her being a woman: we've had women on the Court for years now, but it's because it only makes sense.

By all means, choose the most qualified candidate. But yes, I want a woman on the Court. And yes, I want blacks, Hispanics, Asians, gays, and Muslims to serve as well. There are plenty of highly-qualified minorities out there willing to serve in that capacity, and kudos to President Obama for choosing one of them. We need as many American voices in the mix as possible to find the truly American answer to any given question.

So yes, Limbaugh. et al. In some cases, your experiences that amass from not being a white male sometimes do make you uniquely more qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.