Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hazing: Please, Sir, May I Have Another

Why shouldn't we allow same-sex couples to get married? Simple, because we've never allowed them to get married before. Everyone knows that change is scary and wrong and dangerous. That's why people shouldn't try to mess with time-honored and sacred traditions . . . like hazing.

For generations, impressionable young men have been meeting in darkened, candlelit rooms, peeling off layers of clothing, and committing unspeakable acts (sound homoerotic to anyone else?). Today, 44 states find hazing to be "inhumane" and even "torturous." In those jurisdictions, hazing will cost you as little as $10 or as much as serious time behind bars. However, six freedom-loving states --Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming-- have no regulations whatsoever on this time-honored practice.

And why should they? Nothing is more macho, more American, than hazing. These rituals used to occur without the burden of pansy regulations. Some of our nation's oldest and most prestigious universities seasoned many a powerful and influential public figure by the paddle as much as by the book. However, some states just don't appreciate that. Maybe those states don't realize what a critical and irreplaceable part hazing plays in the life of a young co-ed. Maybe they don't understand that engaging in an elephant walk or receiving a golden shower is a right of passage that turns boys into men, and those men into the leaders of tomorrow.

Just because something is violent and demeaning doesn't mean it should be illegal. History is a better judge of right and wrong than the social mores of the time. I mean, the rights, freedoms and liberties of 1776 were good enough for the Founding Fathers, and it's not like we've ever updated or amended those . . .

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Deadbeat Dads: Parenting From Beyond The Grave

One of the most prominent arguments made by opponents of gay marriage is the issue of parenting. They say a baby needs a Mommy and a Daddy, so even if you have two spectacular specimens of one, the child will likely turn out to be a mass-murderer, a Wall Street schemer, or at least a serial bed-wetter. But what about the children of brave single parents? What if a wife leaves her husband and child? Or what if a husband dies, forcing his wife to harvest his dead body for sperm (without his or anyone else's consent) to produce the child she always wanted? What then, America?

Well, legally, that is an option. Around the world, postmortem sperm procurement has raised a number of legal and ethical eyebrows. In Germany, France, Australia and Canada this sort of "retrieval" is banned out-right. In England, specific written permission is required for artificial insemination to occur after the father has "passed on." But here in the U.S. there is no standard protocol for this procedure. No written consent? No will? No problem!

If the American people care so deeply that a child have both a mother and father, then why do we permit the farming of a beloved's cadaver to create the spawn he never wanted? This exact scenario recently happened. A 42-year old woman from England won a court case that allowed her to keep the organic specimen she ordered doctors to extract from her dead hubby. The woman then traveled to the United States, where there were no state or federal laws restricting her insemination choices to the consensual and/or living.

If being the baby-mama to some zombie-halfsie isn't natural, then I don't know what is. So let's raise a glass to all the breeders out there. At least someone's happiness is being recognized and protected...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Death Row Marriages: Consecutive Wife Sentences

Ahh, those somber and profound wedding vows, they tug at the heartstrings every time. Is there really anything more moving than watching two people commit to each other, “till death do us part”? Particularly if one of those people has that very event scheduled in advance as a sentence for hideous crimes like serial murder, rape, child-molestation, and/or terrorism. That’s right, the government may not condone the crimes you’ve been convicted of, but you can still plan that special day and have your marriage recognized at the local and federal level in states such as Florida, Texas, North Carolina and California.

Now, some of these jurisdictions limit contact, with Texas actually forbidding any touching at all-- a proxy is called in during the vows. These two people will never live together, produce children, or even (in some states) be left unsupervised for a moment. Yet despite the restrictions on behavior and personal liberty imposed as part of a stint on Death Row, these citizen-felons still retain the civil right of marriage! Call the caterer, pick out a dress and book the prison chapel; the list of honeymoon destinations might be a little limited, but I hear the lighting in Supervised Visitation can really set the mood.

So even if you’ve got a date with a hypodermic syringe, don’t let that get in the way of planning a white wedding! Despite what you may have been convicted of, despite the life, liberty and happiness you’ve taken away from others, rest easy in your bunk knowing that you still might find that special someone.

Just try not to fall for your cellmate, because even if you are getting married in prison, it still can't be to a person of the same sex.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tanned Hides: Bronze is the New Dead

The Twilight Saga seemed to signal the death of "tan." With Robert Pattinson's paper-white vampire skin making all the tweens swoon, pale and transparent was the new vogue. (For the record, B4GayMarriage does not wish to register an opinion in the Team Edward/Team Jacob debate. We prefer Harry.) All we can say is, thank jeebus for MTV's Jersey Shore. Snooki and the gang have made bronze (and boozey) glamorous again. Tan is back on top! Unless you count the fact that recent studies have shown tanning beds to be as deadly as arsenic or mustard gas.

Who would have guessed? Lying eye-balls down in a public coffin of ultra-violet light is not just unsanitary, it makes you 75% more likely to get cancer. Twenty different tests have all demonstrated conclusively that the radiation used in tanning beds is carcinogenic, and therefore lethal. You might be wondering, why didn't we do these tests before providing tanning bed technology to the market? Are our government's health regulations so relaxed that they can release potentially dangerous materials to consumers without taking the proper precautions? Absolutely.

It's not like they could have known about the long-term effects of direct ultra-violet radiation for the millions of people that use tanning beds every year. If only there was some way of knowing. Like, comparing the impact of other radiations on the human body and seeing if they had any negative outcomes. Hmm, maybe the sun's radiation seemed too obvious. . . Anyway, that didn't stop the Food and Drug Administration from giving the thumbs up to tanning companies across the nation. After all, they aren't responsible for regulating the research that-- oh, crap. Yes they are.

This is America after all, and if you're not free to tan, you're not free to do anything. Well, there are some things you aren't free to do. . . like marry your same-sex partner. That seems to be out of the question.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bear Wrestling: Claws, Paws, and Jaws

Gays are always up on the latest trends. Whether it is fashion, music, food, architecture, art, humor, politics, or health, we set the standard, and American culture usually follows (Gaga, anyone?). So, when the newest fad in physical fitness hit the airwaves, we were pretty surprised we hadn't thought of it first. Oh, wait, it's Bear Wrestling? No, we don't want to do that-- we'll leave that to the drunken fraternity brothers.

A pre-historic venture, humans have been engaging in bear wrestling for generations, although at that time it may have been more for survival than for entertainment. The first evidence of bear fighting as spectacle dates from the late 19th century, when traveling circuses began to exhibit man versus animal shows. Visitors were often invited into the ring with the promise of cash prizes for anyone who could take down the bear. Apparently, that sort of activity is still happening today. Imagine entering your favorite local bar, or strip club, or high school. Now factor in a 900-pound black bear named Caesar. For $10 you can go toe to toe against Caesar, with two possible outcomes: one, you could win $1,000, or two, Caesar will pierce and spill your organs. Also, there's usually lots of alcohol. This very scenario took place recently in Columbus, Ohio.

Today, the legal aspects of bear wrestling are decided on a local level. Several states have outright bans on fighting with grizzlies, like Louisiana and Alabama. Elsewhere, Ohio and Pennsylvania for example, bear wrestling extravaganzas still take place annually. So, if you find, as we have, that your favorite Results Gym is closing, just cross the boarder to a bear wrestling-friendly location and get ready to work out those glamour muscles. You might not be able to get engaged to the love of your life, but you can engage a bear in a neck-lock anytime.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ripped From the Headlines: Closeted Chemicals!!

You thought you knew the Environmental Protection Agency pretty well. You'd been friends for years; shared some good memories together, laughed, cried.... But the EPA has a secret it's been too afraid to tell you - until now. It's what you've always suspected, but could never prove, the EPA is coming out of its chemical closet.

In this B4GayMarriage "ripped from the headlines" special, we are highlighting an issue that has recently come to our attention. Apparently, the EPA has knowingly permitted the poisoning of Americans for decades. In 1976, the government struck a deal with manufacturers: all the chemicals used in commercial products, from household cleaning solvents to popular cosmetics, must be disclosed to the EPA - with the caveat that those chemicals and their scientific formulas remain hidden from the public.

Thankfully, what people don't know can't hurt them. Oh, nevermind. Numerous deaths a year have been attributed to poisoning, caused by unknown chemicals with secret, government-protected recipes. But what about Coca-Cola's special ingredient?! Or the Colonel's secret chicken recipe of 500 herbs and spices?! If the Toxic Substances Control Act is overturned then these companies (and others) would have to go public with their highly confidential chemicals. What an inconvenience. It's only our health.

For the last 34 years the government has closeted this important information, often at the cost of our health and security. The EPA needs to stop living a lie, protecting large companies, and shielding them from the consumer to ensure their financial success. To the EPA - be out, be proud, and tell us what is in our friggin' shampoo. And finally, if you're going to legally poison us, at least allow us to get gay married.