Because Autostraddle is awesome like that, many of its articles from the past week have dealt with legal issues, or legal figures, surrounding sex and sexuality. Some of them were too good to let pass without discussing in an Ethics of Lust post, so this week’s topic is a smorgasbord of the law and sexuality inspired by Autostraddle. Enjoy.
Let’s start at the top of our court systems with Autostraddle’s article on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Along with what was already mentioned in the Autostraddle article on her, this woman has done a lot for the laws surrounding the sexes and even sexuality. She founded the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, the first law journal to focus exclusively on women’s rights, helped women get into military academies in United States vs. Virginia and her inspiring dissent in the abortion case of Gonzales v. Carhart that spoke of women’s liberation from government oppression was the reason I went to law school. It’s not surprising then that, as the Autostraddle article states, she probably wouldn’t be confirmed today, as she is much, much too liberal for the current political climate.
During my first year of law school, I got to hear Justice Ginsburg speak and as frail and tiny as she looks, she’s got quite a powerful mind. She once stated, “Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that changed their abortion laws before Roe are not going to change back. So we have a policy that only affects poor women, and it can never be otherwise.” The way in which she discusses abortion not as a women’s rights issue but as an issue of class shows how liberal – and radical for this court – of a judge she is. She’s one of the only members of the court willing to recognize and loudly protest that the laws surrounding sexuality, and all laws for that matter, disproportionately affect lower class citizens and for that I love her.
I just hope Ginsburg will be around to hear the Prop 8 trial if it ever reaches the Supreme Court. Her liberal views on the right to privacy surrounding sexuality would be beneficial considering the legitimization of sex, and the children that may or may not come from that sex, is what the proponents of Prop 8 based their whole argument on during the Prop 8 trials. I know, I was there.
Attending the Prop 8 closing arguments was one of the highlights of interning at NCLR during law school (don’t know NCLR? You should. They’re awesome and they have a legal hotline that can help you if you ever face discrimination of any kind). I sat and watched the anti-gay marriage attorney ramble in circles about how gay marriage can’t produce children so gays can’t get married because gays can’t have kids and kids are all marriage is and it’s fine if they do that in our own homes but don’t make me have to watch it or my kids might want to get gay married gawd I’m so scared my daughter might marry that bull-dyke named Bertha she’s been hanging around instead of the senator’s son.
His closing argument was seriously like one long run on sentence that even proponents of Prop 8 that I’ve talked to thought came across as unprepared and unprofessional. Half-way through his bit about how important it is for children to have a strong married mother and father, my friend turned to me and said, “this asshole just left his wife and kids for a younger woman.”
This is the same asshole that now doesn’t want the tapes of his closing arguments let out into the public or else people might know how big of a hypocritical, bigoted dick he is. Autostraddle’s article on this topic calls him a whiny crybaby, which is about right.
Speaking of whiny crybabies, those who called for Joe Solmonese to leave the Human Rights Campaign should be happy. (Ok, they’re not really whiny crybabies, they had legitimate reasons for wanting him gone, but I had to segue somehow). As Autostraddle reported, Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend – one of the people who called for Solmonese resignation – broke the news of his resignation on Friday and on Saturday the HRC made their official statement. While I see the HRC as a place too often influenced by rich, hetero-normative, East Coast gays, it’s hard to deny the work it, and Solmonese as its President, has done for the rights of sexual minorities. Yes, it needs to do a lot more and yes I think it has thrown trans people under the bus so many times that I quit donating to them, but even with all of that, I’m sad to see Solmonese’s resignation celebrated by the same people that have benefitted from his years of hard work.
I once interviewed an HRC attorney Lara Schwartz about her work with the organization and found that the HRC is doing a lot more for us gays than I thought. Yes, it lobbies Congress and works on Capitol Hill, but the HRC also has smaller more local projects that work with local businesses, has a whole department that helps encourage and support people in coming out and it’s currently supporting the arts by partnering with artist iO Tillet Wright to do a photo project featuring LGBTQ community members, as seen in a recent Autostraddle article. You can even go to its shop and get a shirt with Tegan, or is it Sara, on it to help support this project.
I don’t love the HRC enough to marry it, but I do know it would fight for my right if I wanted to. I hope that the organization is able to find a highly qualified person to take Solmonese’s place, preferably someone with experience working on issue of race and class. Oooh, I hope it’s Justice Ginsburg!