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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...
I Went to Get Married Yesterday!
I must admit my palms were a little sweaty as I stood at the bottom of the granite steps leading up to Portland City Hall. I was there because I was curious about how a couple goes about getting married in our state. After all, my partner of 16 years and I will be able to get hitched just like straight couples do when Question 1---a citizens veto that would overturn the marriage-equality law passed last spring---fails in 34 days. So yesterday I did a dry run.
After straightening my veil and hauling my butt up to the second floor, I entered the City Clerk's office. There, nestled between the gonorrhea-awareness pamphlets and the dog license applications, was a bin containing That Which Is Currently Off Limits To Teh Gays: form VS2A R 8/2006, aka INTENTION OF MARRIAGE. After confirming that lightning wouldn't strike me dead if I read it, I grabbed one and noted the INSTRUCTIONS at the top:
Please type or clearly print with black ink. Complete every item carefully, sign the certification statement, and return the application to the municipality in which at least one applicant resides. The License and Certificate of Marriage will be prepared from the information on this form.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that marriage in Maine is controlled by a corporate entity---Big Black Ink---but hey, what isn't these days? Anyway, what happens is you and your snookums fill out what looks like a credit card application, get it notarized and then BAM!!! you're ready to fork over 30 dollars for your "License." This entitles you to have a ceremony performed by an approved non-religious or religious person, and also lets you run off-leash at any of the lovely dog parks in the Greater Portland Area. If you're in a hurry and on a budget, the fast, friendly, courteous staff at the City Clerk's office will be happy to perform this ceremony for the low, low price of only 120 dollars. Bring your own rice.
And that's it. You're married. Mazel Tov, here's your blender.
This is what the religious right is FREAKING OUT about as election day nears. A Xeroxed piece of paper you fill out out (with black ink only!), that gets notarized, processed, signed and filed in the City Clerk's office. Call out the National Guard!
But to Maine's same-sex couples---many who've been together for decades and/or are raising families---it's much more than that. It's an elevation from second-class status to equal status. It's official recognition by the state that gay spouses and their families deserve the same benefits, services and protections across the board as straight spouses so they can more easily navigate life's little (and not so little) twists and turns. And, dammit, it's about being given the opportunity to summon the courage it takes to join the institution of marriage with all its obligations and responsibilities. This stuff about gay people wanting to "redefine" marriage is horse hockey.
That the people on the other side of this issue consider marriage-equality such a cataclysmic threat to their lives---and civilization!!!---that they have to base their entire campaign on bullshit makes me sick. Especially the state's Catholic hierarchy, which is fully participating in and endorsing the litany of lies that runs the length of my arm (which, due to an accident at a taffy-pulling plant, is six feet long). And they accuse us of setting a poor example for our state's kids? No wonder they're closing churches left and right. When you use Mass as a political fundraising tool week after week; when you ignore the lessons of your own Savior; when you fight tooth and nail to defend some Leave It To Beaver world that exists only between your ears, you're simply going to shrivel up. (But big cheers to Catholics for Marriage Equality---they get it.)
This referendum is the last gasp of the haters and, like trapped rats, they will say anything---absolutely anything, no matter how dishonest or deceitful or disgusting---to maintain their grip on patriarchal supremacy. They're doing it right now by scaring voters about "indoctrination" in schools---total BS. And shame on any print, radio or TV outfit that covers this referendum and doesn’t flag that dishonesty each and every time. (Bill Nemitz at the Portland Press Herald shows how it's done.)
Today is the final day for third-quarter fundraising so it's a perfect time to help No on 1 keep their ads and ground game running. And if you've always wanted to see Maine in the fall (it's spectacular), consider taking a volunteer vacation.
Oh, and one other thing I learned yesterday: the Intention of Marriage form also says: DO NOT WRITE BELOW THIS LINE. Trust me: Do not write below that line!
Stumpy in Portland Maine
Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Note: A late-breaking note to our Jewish readers. Yom Kippur, the "day of atonement" has been extended to sundown tomorrow. Apparently you were extra naughty this year. ---Mgt.
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Capitalism: A Love Story arrives in theatres nationwide: 2
Days `til the Kick Gas Festival in San Diego: 24
Length of Canada's 2008 federal election campaign: 37 days
(Source: The Boston Globe)
Percent, respectively, of Democrats, independents and Republicans who favor sending more troops into Afghanistan: 30/38/63
(Source: USA Today/Gallup poll)
Percent of glass containers that are recycled nationwide: 25%
Percent of steel cans that are recycled: 63%
Percent of annual candy corn production that will be eaten between now and Halloween: 75%
Mid-week Rapture Index: 163 (including 3 "Wild Weathers" and here's a candidate for a fourth one). Soul Protection Factor 24 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.
Puppy Pic of the Day: Cannonball fail
CHEERS to the beating heart of the public option. Pardon my French, but fuck yesterday's votes in the Finance Committee. That panel is fast becoming a public joke---an outlier producing something completely at odds with all the other Senate and House bills---five of 'em!---that've been passed with a public option, and backed by overwhelming public demand and medical professionals stamping their feet for real reform from sea to shining sea. It's maddening as hell watching the conservative clowns on both sides dance for thugs. You can almost see the earpieces they wear for receiving talking points from the insurance lobbyists. But...I think it's slowly dawning on more and more Democrats that failure to pass reform with a strong government component will invite an internal civil war in which the only winners are the Republicans. So I see cloture in our future followed 51 votes. And, in this household, 51 Jello shots.
CHEERS to tattered auction paddles. Wow---you guys really went into a bidding frenzy at the Netroots Nation fall auction. The total raised at the closing buzzer last night: nearly 17 thousand bucks! And this year only six people were sent to the hospital during the bidding war over lunch with Nate Silver. I guess his star is fading.
JEERS to economic whiplash. Hooray---the recession is over and we're out of the woods! Correction---the recession is over and we're still deep in the woods:
The recession has hit middle-income and poor families hardest, widening the economic gap between the richest and poorest Americans as rippling job layoffs ravaged household budgets. ... Household income declined across all groups, but at sharper percentage levels for middle-income and poor Americans. Median income fell last year from $52,163 to $50,303, wiping out a decade's worth of gains to hit the lowest level since 1997.
Two things: 1) I wonder which Sunday morning news show John McCain will appear on this week to calm a weary nation with his mavericky resolve. 2) The teabaggers are too dumb to know that this is the kind of thing they should out protesting---and not on the mall, but in front of corporate headquarters everywhere. Oh, and I'm gonna guess Face the Nation.
Gong! Gong!! BuddaBuddaBudda... GONG!!!
This is another edition of The One Word Answer Man. CNN's Candy Crowley asks: Can Obama fit any more on his plate?
Now back to Cheers and Jeers.
Gong! Gong!! BuddaBuddaBudda... GONG!!!
CHEERS to learning your letters. B...B...B...B...What begins with B? How 'bout Big? And British? And Boat? Put 'em all together and you get Holy shit!!! (Now you know why I'd make a really lousy Kindergarten teacher.)
CHEERS to great inventions. On September 30, 1846, William Morton---a Boston dentist---used ether as an anesthetic for the first time. It worked really well. But he had better luck the next day when he used it on the patient.
CHEERS to getting back on your feet. Remember that whole Franken/Coleman recount kerfuffle in Minnesota that ended most satisfactorily for our side? There were two media stars we depended on during that live-action drama: Kossack WineRev and The Minneapolis Star Tribune. We're pleased to read that the latter just emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Good---because we want it to be around so we can read all about it when Michele Bachmann meets her Waterloo.
Five years ago in C&J: September 30, 2004
JEERS to Foxwatchers. Like we didn't know this already: kids who watch Jon Stewart are ten times more likely to have a clue than grown-ups who watch Brit Hume. And O'Reilly viewers typically wear special helmets to keep them from hurting themselves.
JEERS to Health Care in America. Premiums are rising faster than pay, and plans cover fewer services. On the upside, most plans still only charge 5-dollar co-pay to have the doctor explain your prognosis with a sock puppet.
And just one more...
JEERS to weird obsessions. Ever since Dick Cheney allegedly told Chris Matthews---and apparently no one else on Earth---that he preferred people to pronounce his last name "Cheeney," the Hardball host has launched an obsessive-compulsive crusade to get Americans to follow suit. As in: "Tonight we'll talk about the latest accusations about enhanced interrogation involving Dick Cheeney---and that's how he likes to have his name pronounced, 'Cheeney' not 'Chaynee.' That's Chee as in Ch' Ch' Ch' Chia, not Chay as in Che Guevara. Got it?"
Well, guess what? It turns out that Liz Cheney, the psychotic daughter who is mulling a run for political office, pronounces her name "Chaynee." So this is what we have to look forward to some day in the probably-not-too-distant future:
Hi, I'm Chris Matthews. Tonight we'll be talking about the speech at the Heritage Foundation today by former Vice President Dick Cheney---remember to pronounce it "Cheeney," not "Chaynee." And then we'll talk with Liz Cheney---pronounced "Chaynee," not "Cheeney"---about her political aspirations. Then we'll talk more politics with Mary Cheney---who pronounces her last name "Chesterfield"---about what it's like to be gay...which she pronounces "Gah-yee." And finally, wife Lynn Cheney---who now goes by a series of clicking sounds followed by an armpit fart---will be along to do her impression of Zell Miller, who now pronounces his name Tab Hunter. Cheeney, Cheney, Chesterfield, and [Click Click Click Frrrrrppp!]...tonight on Hardball!
Watch yer back, Stewart.
Oh, Spedwybabs will be posting a C&J performace review in the diaries this morning. Feel free to pile on---I'm wearing my titanium Underoos. See ya next month! Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?
Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:
I have it under good authority that the Cheers and Jeers interior smells like, and this is a direct quote, "foot and ass".
---Kossack Buckeye BattleCry