October 19th, 2009

just Chris

Verdict: Forced to die alone. Crime: Gay.

This is why we need a federal gay-marriage law. It's why we need to change our legal system so that people who are in long-term, committed relationships can enjoy all the same benefits that those who marry in a church enjoy.

Read this post by Nicola Griffith and you'll understand what I mean. Because she was a lesbian, Janice Langbehn was denied the right to visit her dying partner; it's why their children were denied the right to visit their dying mother. It gets worse:

"U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan dismissed a lawsuit yesterday, essentially finding that the Jackson Memorial Hospital was within its rights to leave a dying woman alone while denying her present and immediate family to visit her, be updated on her condition, or even to provide the hospital with medically necessary information."

I come back to the question whose answers I simply do not understand: Why do certain religious fundamentalists hate gay people? Why do they feel the need to deny them the right to form legal entanglements with others? It's not as if atheists are denied the right to marry. It's not as if getting a church wedding is any guarantee of long-term success, fidelity, or happiness. And one needn't even go to a church to get married. So why do the fundamentalists scream with foaming mouths about "protection of marriage" and fight with bloody fingernails against the right of human beings - citizens of a nation founded on the very notion of personal freedom - to declare to the world, "We choose each other! We wed our finances and property. We promise to chop everything we own into two equal parts and support the other and our offspring should our union fail." I mean, for those who have endured a divorce - especially one that spawned children - that's no huge honor.

So here we here a marriage (in every way except the legal protection) between two women. They raised four kids together. One of them is stricken with an aneurysm. Now the partner and children must sit terrified in the hospital waiting room. Now the stricken woman must die alone.

This is barbaric, people. Is this not the 21st Century? Is this not The Future as conceived by our SFnal forebears? Is this not the United States of America, land of the free and all that? If so, why must gay partners die alone? Why are those who enjoy rights of citizenship allowed to deny the same rights of others just because they disapprove of certain bedroom activities? Why is love, the most beautiful and perhaps sole redeeming feature of humanity, only valued when it occurs between a man and a woman?

It's time for change, people. Based on campaigns that fired us all up last fall - and whose top-dog speaker used to great effect - I'd say that the climate is right for this necessary change.

Chris
meteor

Astro-Porn of the Day: Orionid Meteor Shower

On Wednesday morning (late Tuesday night), be sure to watch for the Orionid meteor shower. I love this photo of an Orionid meteor because you can also see the Orion Nebula and associated stellar cool-ness to the lower left:


Click the image to see the story. Photo by Rich Swanson. Guided shot with Canon 20dh, 400 ASA, 2-minute exposure.

The Orionids flash across the sky near the constellation Orion this time each year when the Earth passes through an area of space littered with debris from Halley's comet. The shower usually produces 10-20 meteors per hour, but it's been giving us as many as 60 per hour over the past few years. Here's where to look in the sky:

Click the image to see the story.

Best,
Chris