Making Sense of the Relationship Between Government, (Gay) Marriage, and Law

Family, I want to share with you a brief history of my evolution on a hot-button topic, gay marriage.

Flashback some years ago and I, as a Christian man, believed that while we shouldn’t allow homosexuals to get married; we should allow the same benefits accorded a married couple, albeit under a different title such as a civil union. Today, I realize given the role marriage has played in our tradition, case-law, and our own deeply held personal views, this view simply doesn’t go far enough. Everyone deserves equal rights; we can’t call some folks married and say other folks have a civil union because just the difference in name alone suggests discrepant treatment of gays. It’s eerily similar to Jim Crow “separate but equal,” and as the Supreme Court noted in Brown v. Board of Education, “separate but equal is inherently unequal.” So what’s the best solution, the best compromise that will be respecting of everyone’s rights? Reform the tax code, verbiage, and subsequent statutory law to get the government to recognize all partnerships, respect the gay community’s right to love, and respect traditional marriage. A heavy lift, but certainly within the realm possibility for our great nation.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room: the gay agenda. I have said and will continue to say that the gay community has pursued the wrong goal. Instead of fighting for the right to get married, the gay community should’ve focused their efforts on rights instead of a title; by fighting for marriage, gays subverted the real issue of rights. As a result of demanding the right to marry, and nothing else, they have taken the biblical concept of marriage and offended folks who typically hold a traditional concept of marriage. This has resulted in pushback against the gay community from not just the conservative wing of the country, but a fair amount of moderates as well. Let me be clear: Marriage is a biblical concept, steeped in centuries of our country’s tradition and jurisprudence, it was strategic error to pursue the right to marry; emphasis should instead be placed on rights. By granting gays the right to marry we are infringing on those who prioritize traditional values and in some respects we’re back to square one because we’ve compromised one group’s set of beliefs for another’s. However, by no fault of their own, the gay community has been pigeonholed into this fight for marriage because the law recognizes and privileges nothing else short of marriage. Here’s where it gets complicated: because marriage has religious connotations and is protected within religious organizations by the 1st Amendment, and because states provide licenses that recognize marriage (which trigger  rights/responsibilities/etc.) we have gotten into this predicament by using each of these elements to mean the same thing, when in fact they are different. From my limited knowledge, most gay couples do not want official church sanctioned recognition of marriage, they simply want the rights associate with the granting of the marriage license. This is why government involvement is crucial to securing rights for gay men and women.

So how do we respect traditional marriage while acknowledging the right of gays to have their relationships recognized? Reform the law. Instead of asking who’s married, the government should be asking who is in committed partnerships, and basing rights, responsibilities, burdens, and privileges on this basis, as opposed to using marriage, and the traditional religious notions it infers, as the determinative factor. This way gays get the rights the seek, and we respect those who value  marriage in its traditional and historical sense. Give marriage back to the church and respect that tradition, while still maintaining an interest in the partnerships that adults consent to. The difficulty lies in changing attitudes about gay relationships and disentangling the role of traditional marriage from our culture and custom from our jurisprudence. However, difficult as the task may be, it’s within our capabilities and it is our responsibility to seek justice for those on whom this burden bears the heaviest, and the constitution declares no less than equality for all.

I want my gay brothers and sisters to enjoy the same rights, privileges, responsibilities, and burdens of citizenship that I, as a heterosexual man, enjoy. Federalism concerns aside, its important that this mandate of equality come from the judicial branch, as states have consistently shown their inability to recognize partnerships between gays and lesbians. Why? Because when it comes to this sensitive topic, a fundamental issue like the ability to engage in a consensual relationship with another adult should be respected as such. Securing it as a federal right would set the baseline for all states to follow and our principles and values as a nation demand no less. What I’m suggesting allows us to be respecting of all rights, while granting our gay brethren a measure of basic respect. While our history is littered with examples of where we’ve fallen short of the ideal of equality, we nonetheless should continue to strive for fairness.

Big thanks to Arizona State Law Professor Charles Calleros for his guidance and wisdom to help me compose this post. (Although he helped me formulate my ideas for this article, this in no way is to be taken as an endorsement of his thoughts).

I love you all, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Blessings.

JW

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Desegregating Arizona’s Public Schools

Every once in a while I come across a piece of writing that touches me to the core. Brown v. Board of Education gave birth to my law school dreams, and it continues to be a highlight not only for me, but for all of American jurisprudence. This particular writing is a brief history of the process of desegregating Arizona’s schools. I wouldn’t waste your time with banal thoughts, so if I’m posting it, there must be some value to it. Take 15 minutes and learn about how the Arizona courts led the US Supreme Court in deciding that “separate but equal is inherently unequal.”

Blessings. JW

A Brief History of Desegregating Arizona’s Public Schools

 

I love you all, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

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An Update: Why ‘Arizona is the Best State’

The following post was written by my best friend turned guest blogger, Katie. 

Like many of you out there trolling the Internet in an effort to avoid actually working, BuzzFeed has become my go-to source for all things awesome. It entertains, it informs and has the sometimes almost creepy ability to peer into your soul through this Technicolor screen (a la ‘Things Millennial Girls Love,’ hello, it’s so me. Too.). So when your home state gets a shout on the digital Bible, the celebration by way of obsessive sharing, liking and re-tweeting is simply inevitable. When I saw ’36 Reasons Arizona is the Best State’ come across my feed, I too did a high kick in my heart as we, as a highly criticized public, stood on the precipice of sweet vindication. Then I clicked the link.

Sunsets, nature, Meteor Crater, and more nature. Really BuzzFeed, that’s all you’ve got? Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big a fan of cloud porn and efficient freeways as the rest of you, but c’mon. We are better than this. If nothing else, we are at least wittier than this. So alas, in the same vein of being just a little bit vain, I give you the REAL Reasons Arizona is the Best State:
(*caveat I’m not necessarily convinced it’s actually the best state, but as Joe White would say, that’s for another blog.)

1. We are classy.
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[photo: lubbockonline.com]
In such that we turn perfectly dignified events into a party with the ample amount of grace and appropriately themed attire. If you’ve ventured to the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, a Spring Training game or the mother of all hot messes, the Waste(d) Management Open, you know what I’m talking about. You’re also suddenly very anxious for springtime.

2. It’s T-shirt time, all the time.
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You may have Tom Brady, but we have flip flops, cold beer and the ability to work an updo instead of earmuffs virtually all year-round. Take that, AFC East. You too, SEC.

3. We understand the value of value.
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[photo: gizmodo.com]
Your dollar goes pretty far when it comes to real estate in Arizona and it’s pretty awesome. So enjoy your $1,500/month studio, California, or your $3,000/month shoebox, NYC. I’ll be right here hanging out with all my space for $500 something. With my air at 70 degrees, because I can. That ish is included.

4. Two Words: Chino Bandido
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[photo: meetup.com]
If you have had this deliciousness, you’re agreeing through the sound of your mouthwatering. If you haven’t, do the right thing and get in the car right now. Chinese BBQ pork quesadilla…and they say we aren’t cultured. Psh.

5. And on that note: Sonoran Hot Dogs, Oregano’s, Navajo tacos, Postinos.
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[photo: quickmeme.com]
Must I go on?

6. Mountain Standard Time FTW.
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[photo: someecards.com]
Had to change your clock lately? Me neither.

7. Arizona is for bosses.
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[photo: justforlols.com]
Muhammed Ali, Barry Goldwater, Sandra Day O’Connor, freaking Grumpy Cat?! We’re in good company, people. Oh, author Stephanie Meyer grew up here too. You’re welcome you crazy Twihards.

8. New York is jealous of how delicious we are.
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[photo: teenspot.com]
I feel you, little buddy. Okay, maybe not in every regard, but you know that delicious can of $1 iced tea that gas station and convenience store goers can’t get enough of? Produced in the ‘great’ state of New York, and named after the great state of Arizona! Not enough? Well it was for Rihanna and Oprah, bro.

9. It’s a dry heat.
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[photo: memecenter.com]
Roll your eyes at the cliche all you want, you haven’t seen this weave in humidity.

10.   The Grand Canyon.
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[photo: troll.me]
Wonder of the WORLD. Nobody can argue with that majesty.  

4 Reasons its Refreshing to date a grown-ass Woman

Good afternoon family.

A friend passed along an article about a 37-year-old perpetually single woman who after years of failed romances, flings, and paramours, has decided to start dating, in her words, “a grown-ass man.” You can read it HERE.

Let me give you the four reasons she lists: 1) He’s thoughtful; 2) He’s “alpha-dude” sexy 3) He knows himself; 4) He’s protective & chivalrous.

After a discussion with said friend who passed this article to me, she suggested I write the male version of this article. So in the short time I have today, and before my wrists succumb to fatigue, here is my list, limited to four reasons of course (I could come up with dozens), of why its refreshing to (potentially date) a grown-ass woman.

 

1) She is HERSELF, and no one else.

There is nothing sexier than a woman who is a first rate version of herself. She knows what she wants, she knows how to get it, and she knows HERSELF. Confidence is huge, and believe it or not, girls need game/swag too. There is nothing more boring than having a discussion with a woman who brings nothing of interest to the table. That being said, if that’s who she is, great! At least she is being herself, and not someone else. A woman who is goal-oriented, stable, and focused on herself (how cliché), is a sexy woman in high demand. She isn’t actively looking for a man, but men are naturally attracted, and they’ll go above and beyond to prove it to her. 

2) She is extra supportive.

A woman who is supportive of me and my goals is such a valuable asset to have in my corner. The fact of the matter is that the person we date/marry is the person that sees the best and worst in us. They’ll see us at our lowest of lows and they’ll serve a purpose in our lives that no one else can. When a woman is strongly supportive of a man, she empowers him to take risks, overcome obstacles, and motivates him to figuratively move mountains on her behalf. As a result this makes him feel even more masculine, strokes his male ego, and deepens his love and appreciation for her. In other words, listen carefully: by supporting him, she is investing in herself and her relationship. Let that sink in for a minute. Repeat it until you get it. This is the classic example from my favorite dating book The 5 Love Languages: you speak and act with each other in such a way that you “fill up” the other’s love bucket until it overflows into other areas of their life, professional and personal.

3) She is wise & observant of her shortcomings.

Can we be honest? Of course we can, this is MY blog. Women are sometimes irrational, unstable, and insecure; I (as well as you) should love them anyway, despite their flaws. (Men are the second greatest contributor to women’s insecurities; other women are the first, but that’s for another blog). When I say that she is wise and observant of her shortcomings, I’m speaking of those times where she knows she is being irrational, she is keenly aware of it, and can communicate that to me. It makes things so much easier for both of us because, at that point, we can discuss why she feels like acting irrationally is the best way to display her feelings. These difficult discussions lead to a greater depth of communication which further enhances the value of the relationship we’ve built. Furthermore, a side benefit of this kind of woman is that she doesn’t let baggage from previous relationships affect her current one. Ladies please note: DO NOT punish the current man in your life for mistakes that past ones have made. We all lose in that situation.

4) She doesn’t nag, she simply acts.

A woman who nags, is a woman who is on her way out the door. There is nothing worse than hearing the constant refrain of complaints a nagging woman. Don’t nag a man into submission, that is a breakdown in communication. While you may ultimately receive the object of your complaints, its a pyrrhic victory. Nagging to get what you want is a breakdown in communication and is counterproductive to the health of the relationship. Instead of nagging, just act. Example: Let’s say you need your guy to clean the gutters, or take out the trash. Ask once, remind them once, and then after that, simply do it yourself. Nothing makes me more accountable or makes me reflect more on my action or inaction than watching a woman do something she repeatedly asked me to do. Its a wake up call to a man, a win for a woman, and you skip out on the frustration that stems from nagging a man about his failure to complete a task. Next time, instead of nagging, just act; it’ll be to the benefit of the relationship’s bottom line.

 

As always comments, complaints, etc. are welcome.

 

I love you all, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

 

~JW

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Riley Cooper, The N-word, & The hypocrisy of it all

Family, this Riley Cooper story is typical and unsurprising in so many ways. Let’s review: a white athlete says a racially charged comment while drunk at a country music concert, all of Black America responds by condemning the man, the media run away with the racial elements of the story, and said white athlete makes a public apology.

For those who don’t know who Riley Cooper is a wide-receiver for the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles. During the summer, at a Kenny Chesney concert, someone recorded a confrontation a drunken Cooper had with a security guard. During the confrontation, Cooper said that he would “jump that fence and fight every nigger here.” You can see the twenty-second video yourself here.

In the latest development of this non-story, Cooper and the team have agreed to let him take some time away from football to seek counseling (i.e. come back when the heat and media pressure have died down a bit).

So you may be asking, what’s wrong with this picture? I certainly don’t agree with Cooper’s word choice, but what’s most infuriating is the righteous indignation with which members of the black community have responded. The Black Pimps (Sharpton, Jackson, et. al.) and Sharks are circling, looking for any way they can inject themselves into yet another race controversy. (Let’s be clear, Sharpton, Jackson, and crew ARE race-baiters, there’s no way around it, but that’s a story for another post). The bigger question is why do we have this double-standard when it comes to the N-word? Pookie, Uncle Ron, and I can use it, but we get upset when Peter says it? I don’t understand? We have members of our community who profit off of the use of the word, I couldn’t turn on the radio last year without hearing Kanye and Jay-Z talk about niggas in Paris. Where is the outrage when Kanye and Jay-Z say it? Why aren’t we responding with the same righteous indignation? The next time a member of the Black community who uses the N-word gets upset when a white person uses it in the same or similar context, ask them, why is it ok for you to use it and not me? This idea that Black folks have exclusive use over a word that is used to perpetuate hate is preposterous, and frankly the word should be removed from our lexicon. Since that isn’t likely to happen, let me redefine what a nigger is: a nigger is a lazy, low-life, good for nothing, good to no one, useless individual of ANY race. So under this definition how many niggers/as do you actually know?

The point of this blog is to stimulate discussion amongst my Black brothers and sisters about how we cling to a word that has a negative connotation attached to it. I have friends of different ethnic backgrounds that think its OK to use this word because they hear us saying it, they hear musicians profiting from it, and that leads many of them to believe that the word has become mainstream enough that its OK for everyone to use it. That’s wrong. Before we can criticize others for their word choice, we must clean ours first. I hope that one day we’ll see the end of the silly ass cycle of Riley Coopers and the resulting Black/Media outrage that accompanies it. Until then, pay close attention and observe the erosion of common sense, and the hypocrisy of it all.

I love you all, & there’s nothing you can do about it.

~JW

Blackness over Truth

Excellent article by a Black pastor to the Black community, it details how we as a community put our “Blackness” over truth, God, etc.

Take a read

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