Why I am For Marriage Equality

marriage-equality

The Supreme Court’s historic ruling, which overturned the law blocking federal recognition of same-sex marriages and all but struck down California’s Prop 8, has had me really thinking about why I am adamantly in favor of allowing same sex marriage. 

First of all, when it gets down to it, nowadays, marriage is more of a legal agreement and commitment between two people.  It essentially means things such as their finances are now one, their property is communal, etc.  They also have certain other rights, such as the ability to be on one another’s health insurance, visit in the hospital, and so on.  All of these things are extremely important, and, when you get down to it, they all have to do with the law and various legal rights. 

Many people want to believe that religion has a major role in marriage, but that is ONLY if people choose to have religion, and subsequently the church, enter into things.  However, this does not need to be the case.  I know of two different couples who got married by the Justice of the Peace in a courtroom. They never had a rabbi, priest, or any other person of the cloth marry them, and they never had a ceremony in a church, temple, or any other place of worship.  They did, however, have pretty awesome parties after the fact.  I would also like to point out that a church ceremony, in and of its self, does not officially marry you.  You must have obtained a marriage license from the courts first.  Therefore, religious beliefs simply cannot dictate something like marriage that is more closely tied in with laws than religion.

Since I mentioned religion, I would also like to point out here that this country has a very deliberate separation of Church and State that the Founding Fathers specifically put into place so that religion would not dictate the laws of our country.  Therefore, the religious beliefs that some people hold, and have a right to hold, do not get to influence our laws, no matter how much they would like them to.  Since there is no state sanction religion, no particular religion should have the right to determine what the laws of our nation will be.  As it is, within the same religion, many Christians do not agree on the issue of same sex marriage.  I know of some who are vehemently opposed and some who are strongly in favor.

Second of all, in this day in age, no one should be treated like a second class citizen, and that’s what we have been doing to gay people for far too long.  Why should two consenting adults be denied the rights I previously mentioned?  When you start denying one group of people rights that a majority of others have that is when you walk into the murky waters of discrimination, which is something our country has a sordid history of. 

Think about this:  there was a point in very recent history where we, as a country, told African-Americans and other people of color that they could not use the same bathrooms, water fountains, schools, etc as the rest of us could.  They were unfairly segregated and treated as an inferior minority.  That’s why we had the Civil Rights Movement.  Low and behold:  here we are again, wanting to tell one group of people that they are somehow inferior and not worthy of the same basic rights the rest of us enjoy.

Finally, I also do not believe that allowing same sex marriage is going to lead to things like state sanction polygamy, incestual marriages, man-animal marriages, or any like that.  To suggest such a thing is what they would call in a college level Logic class either 1) a logical fallacy, or 2) a leap of logic.  Allowing 2 people of the same sex is not like allowing the other things I mentioned.  No one who has argued for gay marriage has tried to suggest that marriage be opened to anyone and anything desired.  They have only argued that TWO CONSENT ADULTS be allowed to be married.  That.  Is.  All.

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Our Celebrity Obsessed Culture

Fans of singer Justin Bieber scream as he performs on NBC's Today Show in New York

Today, the film The Bling Ring, which stars Emma Watson and Leslie Mann and is based on the Vanity Fair article by Nancy Jo Sales, hits theaters nationwide.  It is based on the now infamous string of crimes dubbed The Bling Ring.  A group of teenagers staged several home invasions that targeted celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, and Orlando Bloom.  The robberies occurred back in 2010 and were a result of the teens, which included Nick Prugo, Rachel Lee, and Alexis Neiers seemingly being obsessed with all things celebrity.  They used information from the celebs own social networking accounts to determine when homes would be unoccupied, and then proceeded to steal the celebs personal possessions.  One of the many questions that Sales original article, which has since been expanded into a non-fiction book, and Sophia Copulla’s movie asks is what in our society has caused some people to become so fixated on the lives of celebrities and their own potential to possibly become a celebrity?

Social Media

Social Media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, have given fans unprecedented access to the lives of their favorite celebrities.  Celebs use these medias to connect with their fans, promote projects, and so on.  However, a downside may be that it can create a feeling of there being a relationship between fan and celeb that simply doesn’t exist.  The fact of the matter is, just because a celebrity like What Not to Wear’s Clinton Kelley or True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten replies or favorites my tweets does not make them my friend.  My, how I wish it did, but it does not.  Some fans may develop a tendency to read something into this that just isn’t there.  They may start to feel a connection with the celebrity that is, more or less, entirely one sided. 

Another downside of social media may also be that fans begin to feel that they have the right to know all about the private lives of our favorite celebrities.  While it can be argued that certain celebs, like Kim Kardashian, court this attention, many do prefer to keep their private lives private.  Unfortunately, fans have developed the idea that they deserve this information and have a right to it.  This can potentially lead to other issues, such as paparazzi’s stalking certain celebrities for that “money shot.”  It all goes back to that feeling of connection that develops when fans have such immediate virtual access to celebs.

Reality Television

Let’s face it:  reality television has made “celebrities” (and I use that term loosely) of people who arguably never deserved that kind of attention.  Like social media, it has served to make some people feel as though they have a front row seat to the lives of these reality television stars.  Again, the desire to know everything about these new breed of celebs can turn into an obsessive need to know everything about the celebs’ personal lives.  It turns in to a type of vicarious thrill. Sure, most fans do not take the extra step of breaking into their homes and stealing personal property.  However, it is also not particularly healthy that viewers are tuning in and giving the Kardashians, Real Housewives, etc an audience for their inanity.

It is also not healthy because it causes viewers to believe, perhaps rightfully, that they can become famous for essentially nothing, or, worse yet, seriously negative behavior!  Take the afore mentioned Bling Ring thieves.  Their names are now well known.  Neiers was the star of the E! reality show “Pretty Wild.” Was it because she had something to offer up to the world? Nope. Was she particularly talented? Not that I could tell (and I cannot believe I just admitted to having watched it). It was because she and her family were “characters.” I believe the only real claim to fame there was that Neier’s mother and friend had both posed for Playboy. Being on television undoubtedly fed into their negative behaviors and desire to be seen as “celebrities” in their own right. Once someone has that, it seems that it would be a very hard thing to give up.

Why New Kids on the Block Still Rock My World and Make Me Smile

new kids young

My name is Caitlin.  I am 32.  I still love New Kids on the Block.  The confessional part of this blog is now done.

My love of New Kids on the Block goes back to elementary school.  They were the first band I ever truly fell in love with on my own.  I remember trying to decide if I was more of a Joey Joe or Jordan girl.  At some point, I guess I must have decided on Jordan, because I remember that he was the one whose doll I owned.  I gave that doll a haircut, by the way, because I never could back Jordan’s hair tail.  I remember falling asleep upon my official New Kids on the Block sheets in the 4th grade.  Oh, and one of the best Christmas presents I ever received were the Step by Step and Hangin’ Tough VHS tapes! 

jordan sheets<

In January of 1994, when I was 12 years old, my family bought our very first CD player, and I remember that the first CD I ever owned was New Kids on the Block’s Face the Music.  Admittedly, by this point, many of my peers had abandoned our beloved New Kids, which I thought was tragic. Nevertheless, I remained true to the Kids, and convinced by parents to allow me to attend my first concert ever:  It was the New Kids on the Block Face the Music tour at the Palace Theater in Los Angeles.   I. Was. In. Heaven.  I was surrounded by my people.  After the show, I drafted many a letter to Seventeen Magazine to try to convince them to stop making fun of my boys!  I argued that the crowd at the show PROVED they were still relevant.

Flash forward to 2010. The Kids were Men now, but they were back and rocking once more. Sadly, I had missed the previous tour for The Block for some reason that I cannot recall, and I’m sure I’d be ashamed of if I could. However, a friend of mine from High School won 10th row tickets to the NKOTBSB show at the Staples Center, and I begged to be her +1.  We had the most amazing time I think I have ever had at a concert before or since (sorry to all my musician friends….I’m just keeping it real here).  We danced as though we were back in the 5th grade again.  We shrieked and screamed our heads off during the show, and blasted the NKOTBSB CD in her car afterwards.  Ever since, we still recall that as one of the best nights either of us could ever remember having.

All this has gotten me wondering:  What is it about the music that still speaks to those of us who loved them decades ago?  Perhaps it reminds us of a time when we were younger, and things were simpler.  It could also be the infectious melodies and harmonies that we can’t help but sing along with—for me, it’s usually very loud, in my car, ignoring the looks I’m getting from others.  Also, I’m going to be honest:  they still make my heart melt.  I will say though, now that I’m older, I’m finding myself a Donnie girl, which is interesting.  I’m not sure what that says about me and a possible tendency towards bad boys.

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At any rate, I shall be with that very same friend who rocked out with me 3 years ago when NKOTB comes to the Staples Center July 5 for the Package Tourth.  My only regret is that I’m a broke public school teacher, so the Meet and Greet packages were a bit out of my reach.  However, I am choosing to believe that the dream I had last night, where I met all the boys—er, men—will one day come true!