Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Law! Huh! What is it good for! | absolutely everything

A little kerfuffle - or lack thereof over the MHA Women's Focus Group Discussion session. The topic was about article 375 (marital immunity) and article 377 (homosexuality).

Sayoni have done a great job of covering the event, so there's not much to say (especially since I wasn't there.)

There's just thing I want to bring up. During the session, Ms Indranee Rajah had this to say:

Indranee: Logic has little to do with whether the law stands or not… It is more about maintaining the status quo. [follows up with point about religious groups being upset]

Indranee: You are right, it does not have a physical impact on them. But it is more of an emotional impact, and what kind of message we are sending by removing the law. We have to look at parents. They might be afraid that their children will turn gay, if they see other people being gay, and they think it is okay to be gay

I actually have a soft spot in my heart for Indranee Rajah - and maybe even a hard spot somewhere else. She has an awesome car, fills out a T-shirt really well, and generally comes across as quite sensible. I don't agree with what she says, but I can appreciate that she's damn good at spinning the party line.

And smart chicks = hot. Chicks that spend their careers with their heads up the patriarchy's backside = so not hot, and yes, I'm looking at you, beyotch.

So anyway - I am willing to believe that Indranee doesn't believe everything she says. That being said, I don't have her personal LJ account (screw the p65 rubbish, indraneerajah.blogspot is where it's at!) , so all I can crit is what she says publically.

No, the law isn't about maintaining the status quo. It's about protecting rights, rights that were laid out in the constitution. In fact, the law should never be used to maintain the status quo, because more often than not, the status quo is stupid.

From Pandogan.net

The more things change, the more they stay the same, huh? Reading those above pullquotes back to back confirms why civil rights for gays and lesbians should never be decided at the ballot box. Bigots of all stripes, indeed the public at large, are never comfortable — and more often than not are hostile — when it comes to granting rights to an oppressed group.

Time eventually reduces the hostility over time, but in the end, it is the courts that end up protecting and establishing rights when people cannot do the right thing because of fear and prejudice.

The sad difference today in the struggle for gay civil equality is that both political parties at the national level have accepted and promoted the proposition that it’s fine and dandy that our rights should be determined by the American public.

That’s shameful

I am not a political activist, or if you chose to call me one, I'd be a pretty poor one. I don't "get" politics in the sense that I don't know how to get things done. So that's my caveat and disclaimer - I may be wrong about what's happening in Singapore.

However the problem I have with some of the arguments put forth by both sides of the gay rights discussion in Singapore is that it sometimes seems to be centred around the idea that people must be made comfortable, that people might complain. Govt says "People will hate it/religiousblahblah", Gay rights activists reply, "No they won't/who cares?"

You can't win with that sort of framework based around the idea that hypothetically someone might be offended. You can't win, because you can't prove that "No one will complain" or "no one will get hurt" or "society will stay intact".

Surely the argument should be based on demanding that the law protect your civil rights, rather than the non-existent rights of potentially non-existent groups to infringe on your rights? Why should the law care if the status quo isn't maintained? That's not what it's there for. For heaven's sake, the status quo also believes (or used to believe) that people shouldn't date interracially/inter-religiously. (remember the scholar who did not get his scholarship revoked despite writing disgusting racist comments in his blog? I swear, Singaporeans should grasp that there are scholars, and there are no-one-applied-to-that-organisation scholars.)

The law is there to protect the rights of the individual, not the prejudices of the majority.

I'm sure Indranee is aware of that. I just wish she could say so.


In a more light-hearted mood, there's the kerfuffle US-side over Mary Cheney (right wing VP Dick Cheney's daughter)and her long-time partner Heather Poe's decision to have a baby. Some of the more hilarious nuggets that it inspired from the apoplectic religious right:

You got blood vessels and membranes in your behind. And if you put something unnatural in there, it breaks them all up. No wonder your behind is bleeding. It’s destroying us. Can’t make no connection with a screw and another screw. The Bible says God made them male and female. The Hebrew word Negade, which means complimentary nature - there is something unique to man and unique to woman and it takes those two things to compliment each other. You can’t make a connection with two screws. It takes a screw and a nut! (shouting)…”
–D.C. pastor Rev. Willie Wilson during a sermon.

And the responses on the internet:

look, God was a carpenter, so he’d understand this a hell of alot more than some pastor. a screw doesn’t go on a nut. it goes into wood. and you need at least two of them to make a connection, otherwise it’s just a pivot point which pries out. so two screws are good to go. two nuts also work fine, provided you have a medium for them to act through (generally a threaded shaft of some sort, but for people, hands, tongue, or gizmos would be fine.) so gays are good, and lesbians are fine, so long as they don’t exist in a vacuum. but I think other problems would introduce themselves there. like explosive decompressi.

and you can’t switch over to bolts and nuts (which do require one another) because they you gotta ask what the hell is the washer is. a condom? foreplay? your patriarchial metaphor would fall apart with either of those.

From Pandagon.

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