My two dads

September 16, 2007


There is an interesting little gay debate going on right in the neighborhood. In Evesham Township, NJ (like 20 mins from Philadelphia), a video about diverse families was pulled from classrooms. In Jersey it is mandated that the curriculum include the different forms families can take. This particular video, “That’s a Family!” includes such cheesy gems as:

“It’s not your fault,” says Montana, a first grader whose parents are divorced.

Emily describes her interracial family — her father is of European descent and her mother’s background is Asian — this way: “It doesn’t mean you have to be a rat to marry a rat. You can be a rat and marry a mouse.”

Daniel introduces his parents: “These are my two dads.”

Another child says, “It’s really cool have to two gay dads, because they brought us into a home, and they adopted us, and they love us.”

Therein lies the problem, parents in the district felt the reference to gay parents was inappropriate for third graders. Parental voting was pretty evenly split on whether to show the video or not. A committee was formed and eventually decided to ban the film. Gay rights activists argue it is being banned solely because of gay prejudice and that a video designed to inform children about the different forms of family must include gay families. Parents against the video are arguing that it is too controversial of a topic to teach children that young and that parents should be able to teach there children about homosexuality.

I have mixed views on schools introducing homosexuality to children. I do think it is important for children to understand that it is out there and what exactly being gay means, not just the negative stereotypes. But I also think parents should be the ones that decided when there children are ready to learn somethings, and what they are exposed to. But I think the video should be shown, because it is not specifically about homosexuality but rather family forms. And in New Jersey specifically gay families are a big reality. The state has union/partnerships and is moving towards marriage. Jersey was also one of the first states to allow gay second parent adoptions.


Edward’s Video

September 15, 2007

John Edwards ran an effective two minute response the president’s speech the other night. Check it out:

Gay Divorce?

September 14, 2007

I just thought this was interesting. University of California at San Francisco will be offering lectures/classes about domestic partnership legal complications. The promotional title was “Expert to Explain Legal Options of Same-Sex Relationships”. Somehow thousands of miles away I got an e-mail about this, I guess I go to too many gay sites. I’ll give you the information, and then of course my opinion. Warning: my view on this topic is somewhat ranty and highly opinionated

Here is the information:
fhertz_060911.jpg Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex (LGBTI) Resources at UCSF will present longtime Bay Area attorney and UCSF legal consultant Frederick Hertz, who will share his insights into the legal rights and limits of domestic partnership. Hertz is the author of Legal Affairs: Essential Advice for Same Sex Couples and co-author of the Nolo Press reference text A Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples

Hertz speaks and writes often on legal issues facing same-sex couples, and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show and NPR’s Talk of the Nation. He is regularly quoted as an expert on same-sex dissolutions. He was recently described in The Advocate as “one of the nation’s leading experts on lesbian and gay divorce.”

Hertz’s three classes will focus on the three phases of a relationship: formation, duration and ending (upon death or dissolution), with a discussion about money, property and children in each class.

While thinking about when a relationship will end before it starts may not feel natural, the fact remains that legal decision making up front can possibly prevent legal troubles in the future, according to Hertz.

Hertz’s presentation addresses both the legal and emotional aspects involved in setting up a living-together agreement, which is analogous to a prenuptial agreement. He looks at how couples can address their financial inequities and aspiration differences.

Here is my opinion:

While I think it is admirable to educate people (or to want to be educated) about the legal complexities that come with domestic partnerships/civil unions/gay marriage, the dissolution portion is a problem for me. To me, it is always good to be proactive and assess risks, except in the case of love. I don’t understand how you can be thinking about divorce before you even get married. I do not believe in divorce, even gay divorce, in most situations. I believe you should take marriage as the most serious contract you can enter into and protect your integrity by honoring your vows. Now I think if the person you marry turns out to be someone else (a criminal, abusive, an addict, an adulter) then divorce is understandable because you entered under false pretenses. But if you think divorce is a totally legit option, my question is why get married? You get married because you are going to be with someone forever, you couldn’t exist without them, and you want the world to know. If divorce seems like an option, you are marrying the wrong person. I think marriage and divorce are mutually exclusive. The person you want to marry (as in be with forever) can’t be a person you could divorce (leave).

9/11 Rescue Workers

September 14, 2007

This is a follow up post to my September 11th entry. The entry was about a photojournalist’s chronicle of the illnesses that many “first responders” are suffering from. It seems that through really the blogging circles and news sites, the topic is getting some more of the attention it deserves. Even on my little blog it was my most popular article so far. CNN is running a well articulated article that explains the situation. The last post was to get the topic out there and to share a piece of relevant art.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Doctors treating sickened ground zero workers offered Congress a detailed diagnosis Wednesday of the ailments still affecting thousands after the September 11 attacks, but warned that there’s no way to determine how many more may become afflicted with life-threatening illnesses. Workers at ground zero were hit with an “incredible assault” on their health, a health official told Congress. Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine described three months of recent medical treatment to a House panel examining how many of those who toiled on the toxic debris pile are still sick — or may get sick. Thousands of people “are still suffering,” Landrigan said a day after the sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Their ailments range from runny noses to laryngitis to lung disease, he said.

“Respiratory illness, psychological distress and financial devastation have become a new way of life for many,” he told the House Education and Labor Committee. He advocated leaving September 11-related medical programs in place to try to determine how many workers might develop long-term diseases. Patricia Clark, a regional official with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said workers who were exposed to ground zero toxins in the first 48 hours after the attacks were hit with an “incredible assault” on their health. Still, she defended her agency’s air sampling, which found little evidence of dangerously high levels of asbestos and other contaminants. The figures offered Wednesday further define the medical problems found by a 2006 Mount Sinai study, which said 70 percent of ground zero workers suffered new or worsened respiratory problems after their exposure to the debris of the World Trade Center.

Landrigan offered new specifics of the most prevalent symptoms among the police officers, firefighters, construction workers and volunteers examined. Between April and June of this year, doctors in the 9/11 workers health program overseen by Mount Sinai saw 2,323 patients.

They found:

  • Lower respiratory problems in 40 percent of patients. Asthma and asthma-like reactive airways disease were found in 30 percent. Smaller portions of patients had chronic cough — 7 percent — or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — 5 percent.
  • Upper respiratory conditions in 59 percent. The most common condition was runny nose, in 51 percent of the workers, and chronic sinusitis, in about a fifth of them.
  • Mental health problems, the most common being post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, in 36 percent of patients.

Landrigan said it is still unclear how many of those patients will continue to experience such symptoms, or how many may develop new diseases like cancer many years after their exposure. Lingering 9/11-related illnesses — and deaths of some first responders years after the attacks — have led to calls in Congress for a federal program to fund long-term health programs for those workers. So far, the government has paid for piecemeal screening and treatment of emergency personnel, construction workers and volunteers, but advocates want such programs expanded to include lower Manhattan residents, students and tourists

Source: 9/11 Rescue Workers

Girl flagged for breaking dress code.

September 14, 2007


SAMPSON COUNTY, N.C. – On the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, students at one high school were not allowed to wear clothes with an American flag.  Under a new school rule, students at Hobbton High School are not allowed to wear items with flags, from any country, including the United States.  The new rule stems from a controversy over students wearing shirts bearing flags of other countries.

A girl wore an American flag shirt on 9/11, but was asked to remove it.  The ban on flag shirt is a result of gang identification and racial violence in the area.  In order to not discriminate against any particular ethnicity the school banned all flag shirts.  It is an understandable ban.  While I do not support dress codes in general, the portion of dress codes that protect students and their education I do believe in.  So if flag shirts were causing gang problems and they needed to be banned, I agree you have to ban all flags.  But at the same time it was 9/11 and a girl wanted to wear an American flag, how do you say no.  After the public scrutiny and the obvious backlash from people who don’t understand they have to ban all flags to ban any, the school has rescinded its policy.