I had no idea Starbucks sold sodomy—I should drink there more

“It is disappointing but not surprising that Starbucks wish to re-define marriage and believes that support for sodomy and homosexual marriage is a core value.”

That from “Right to Life”, a group that is usually protesting women’s rights but has now turned their attention to Starbucks and those dirty gays.

It may seem a rather strange move for an anti-abortion group to suddenly start caring about gay rights, but they do go hand in hand—they’re all the same right-wing, religious fundamentalists, and they see it as all part of the same liberal agenda.

So, why Starbucks?

In the U.S., the fight for marriage equality is slowly marching across the various states, and many large companies, from McDonald’s to Microsoft*, are declaring their support for the total equality that their constitution promised. Starbucks was one of the companies to join the growing list, and it was this statement that got the fundies’ proverbial knickers in a twist:

“Starbucks is proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington State legislation recognising marriage equality for same–sex couples. From our very earliest days, Starbucks have strived to create a company culture that put our people first and our company has a lengthy history of leading on and supporting policies that promote equality and inclusion.”

I know, shocking stuff. I’ll get the smelling salts.

Why would companies need to openly support LGBT rights? Often companies are accused (by pundits on both the right and the left) of being tokenistic for the sake of sales, that they’re using it as a shallow marketing ploy. But often companies go the other way, and avoid talk of minority rights for fear of upsetting the bigots who organise boycotts, like Right to Life or One Million Moms (who recently spectacularly failed to organise a boycott against JC Penney for hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson).

But as Microsoft pointed out in a statement, marriage equality “would be good for our business and for the state’s economy.” By promoting a world where all their employees are able to life open and freely, they’re able to have workers who are happier, not just at work, but outside it too, and therefore are more productive.

Yes, it’s for the benefit of their bottom line, but that still makes things better for us. They’re not exploiting us, they’re recognising that our rights make things better for everyone.

Back to Right to Life:

“The family is at the centre of a culture of life, it is the foundation of a stable society. It is the family that brings forth children, future citizens who are essential for the continuance of society. The promotion of same sex marriage is an attack on the institution of marriage and on society itself. Right to Life supports the human rights of the homosexual members of our community, however there is no human right to homosexual marriage.

“… Those in the community who believe that marriage is exclusively for one man and one woman will be offended by the attack of Starbucks on the family. They are encouraged to boycott Starbucks Coffee shops and to take their business to coffee shops that support the family and who do not support sodomy and homosexual marriage.”

“The attack of Starbucks on the family.” That says it all.

I had originally written a spiel about “traditional marriage” being a relatively new concept, marriage as an institution failing and that they’ve found a scapegoat in the LGBT community, but that’s irrelevant. We already know that. And they won’t listen anyway.

They feel so entitled to this world that they view anything that isn’t them, as an attack on them. They don’t want to prohibit same-sex marriage or LGBT rights to protect children or society. They want to prohibit it because they think they are entitled to own it all themselves—and they want us to graciously thank them for the privilege of existing in their world in the first place, as if we’d just forget all the hate they spewed when we fought to simply make ourselves legal.

All the problems with the world have their own sources, and none of them come from same-sex marriage.

So, I shan’t be boycotting Starbucks, and I can’t imagine many people doing the same at the ridiculous call of dishonestly named Right to Life. Also, I can’t think of many cases of sodomy leading to abortion at all…

My actual hand holding the coffee I didn't just boycott.

* I find it interesting to note, that both Microsoft and Apple, as well as the likes of Google, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, and many other computer companies, all openly support marriage equality. Right to Life are only calling for a boycott against Starbucks—I wonder if they used a PC or a Mac to write up their press release, or if the servers hosting it use any Oracle technology. If they want their boycott to be honest and consistent (two words you don’t usually find associated with such pro-hate groups) then they’re going to find themselves rather cut off. Even if they did it all on paper, they’d probably run into technology owned by Xerox.


U.S. gay couples value marriage

The Williams Institute in the U.S. has produced some research showing that same-sex couples take up marriage faster than civil unions.

“We see a lot of evidence that same-sex couples strongly prefer marriage over civil unions or domestic partnerships.

“Same-sex couples marry at higher rates in the first year they have the option than we see in civil union states, for example.

“Our findings are consistent with other research showing that couples value marriage more for its social meaning than for its practical benefits.”

I’m often told that we don’t need same-sex marriage in Aotearoa because we already have civil unions. While our civil unions, legally, are practically equivalent to marriage — where in other countries, they’re often a token bone thrown our way to shut us up — the legal considerations usually don’t come into people’s minds when proposing to their significant others.

Yes, there are legal considerations to take in to account, but I’m not going to get married (or CU’d) to adjust my taxes — it’ll be because I really love someone and want to make a public declaration of that love.

That there are people who want marriage equality when we already have civil unions speaks volumes to the social value that we place on marriage as an institution. It may have similar legality to civil unions, but it carries far more dignity.

The government might want to be swayed with legal and economic arguments, but this is one that is squarely grounded in an issue of dignity. If we are to truly move towards an inclusive society, where I am free to walk down the street holding my partner’s hand without being constantly harassed (has happened — “Poo-Warrior” was one of the more creative alternatives to the usual “fags!”) or be spat at (has happened), then we need to show that queer people are entitled to the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Marriage is a good, simple place to start — it’s a long-standing tradition that is well respected by society. It’s not the be all and end all, however — there’s a shitload of other stuff we have to work on.

Trans* people need to be explicitly protected in the Human Rights Act, school bullying needs to be seriously tackled, the Adoption Act needs to be modernised, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done socially to increase people’s acceptance of queer people. That doesn’t preclude marriage equality, however, and the government declaring us of being worthy of the same dignity in our relationships as everyone else would be a significant step in queer rights.

The research from The Williams Institute backs this up — that it’s about dignity, not legality. And we all deserve the same dignity as everyone else.

In favour of traditional values

As I mentioned in an earlier post, David Cameron supports same-sex marriage; not in spite of being a conservative, but because he is a conservative.

Every time the topic of homosexuality is discussed, there’s always the portrayal of liberalism versus traditional values. Non-heterosexuality is always discussed as if it’s something radical and new. When immoral stops working as a charge, they will start saying things like “well, I’m not opposed to gay people living their own lives privately, I just believe in traditional marriage.”

The recent push for same-sex marriage and adoption is one I watch with great interest and am actively involved in. As a radical lefty, I enjoy nothing more than invading long-standing institutions and tearing them down by knocking out the cornerstones. But that’s not what the modern same-sex marriage/adoption lobby is about.

The gay rights movement radicalised in 1969 after Stonewall with the formation of the Gay Liberation Front and other activist movements. It started on the liberal fringes of society then gradually became more mainstream. In New Zealand, mainstream support was achieved politically in 1986, with the passing of Homosexual Law Reform.

Over the ensuing years, homosexuality has become less and less of a left-wing thing. The left-wing radicals blazed the way, lobbying, campaigning, marching. But as new generations grew up in a more and more open world, the gay communities shifted away from being hard-left liberals — not because the people themselves were shifting to the right, rather the communities were being diluted by an influx of people who weren’t necessarily left.

Though they do have a certain bias towards those political parties that promise us equal rights, queer communities nowadays cannot be said to be left or right wing — I’ve found as many conservative gays as I have liberal ones.

And this, finally, brings me to my point: The push for same-sex marriage and adoption reform are not about liberals redicalising an ancient tradition or engaging in social engineering. It’s not about activists tearing down institutions. The push for same-sex marriage and adoption reform is due to queer communities becoming more conservative.

The new generations of queer people, now in the grip of adulthood, are looking at traditional marriage and thinking ‘that’s what I want for me.‘ They look to traditional families and think ‘I too want to settle down and raise a child.‘ They look to the traditional values of their parents and grandparents and think ‘I want that for my family.

There’s plenty of room in traditional marriage for same-sex couples, and there’s plenty of room in traditional values for same-sex adoption. We know this, because years of both social change and scientific research have shown us that there’s nothing at all perverted about non-heterosexuality. What is perverted, however, is defending the institution of marriage against people who want to get married.*

* Hat-tip to Roy Zimmerman for that last sentence.

Bob McCroskie rides again

Once again, Bob McCroskie’s boner (hat tip QoT) has popped up to tell us why same-sex marriage is all kinds of wrong.

If it weren’t for the fact that sexual intercourse between a man and a woman leads to children and brings with it a further obligation to care for those children, the notion of marriage would probably never have existed.

Silly gays! A diddle and a diddle don’t make a babby! Therefore the love, romance, intimacy and experience of two gay men cannot be shared with their friends and family and their bonds cannot be recognised by the state. That diddle needs to find a fanny to make babby — a fanny attached to a woman, he’d hasten to add — and it certainly can’t adopt, because apparently penguins don’t exist.

Penguins: Gay

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What are we fighting for?

With the current push for marriage equality in Aotearoa, have we lost track of what we should really be fighting for? And is marriage really something we need to push for?

A friend of mine, Stephen Jackson, posted the following on tumblr, and has given me permission to reproduce it here. It pretty much sums up the problems with the current push for same-sex marriage in NZ:
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Conservatives should favour same-sex marriage

From the UK’s PM David Cameron, comes a gem of wisdom showing that, in spite of what they say, same-sex marriage is in line with conservative ideals.

“I stood before a Conservative conference once and I said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a man and another man or a woman and a woman.

“You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage.

“And to anyone who has reservations, I say this: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other.

“So I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.”

Emphasis mine.