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March 26, 2013

Marriage Equality

I hope we get it right this time.

History is being made right now in the highest court in the land.  Today and tomorrow, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) hears arguments regarding same sex marriage, including California's ban on same sex marriage under Proposition 8.

In my mind, the issue has eerie similarities to landmark discrimination cases, most notably Brown vs. Board of Education, which struck down "separate but equal," and Loving v. Virginia, which struck down laws against interracial marriages.

Scott Fujita, an NFL linebacker with a hapa Japanese heritage, recently published an eloquent essay in support of same sex marriage in the New York Times about "Acceptance by Example, on the Field and at Home."  He presents the issue from a unique perspective - as a parent, as a professional athlete in an intensely physical and testosterone-dominated sport, and as a person of mixed racial heritage. I love the quiet simplicity of his explanations, and I, too, share the hope that, years from now, we will look at today's "controversy" over same sex marriage in the same way we now look back and shake our heads at the "controversy" of interracial marriages before the 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision.

The same sex marriage issue brings me back to my law school days, so bear with me as I share a few thoughts on the legal aspects involved here.  For the most part, it's a constitutional issue under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.  To me, the marriage prohibitions limit marriages based on gender, and gender is a quasi-suspect classification under the EPC.  For quasi-suspect classifications, the courts use intermediate scrutiny to determine whether a law is substantially related to an important government interest.

Further to the EPC arguments on suspect classification, I also wonder about another constitutional EPC issue - that of fundamental rights and, particularly, the right to privacy.  From my understanding, the right to privacy includes decisions about marriage, and it seems arguable that the decision to marry a certain person - namely, a person of the same sex - would be included within that category of decisions about marriage.  If the same sex marriage prohibitions are considered intrusive on that fundamental right to privacy, then the court would use strict scrutiny, under which the law needs to be narrowly tailored and necessary to a compelling government interest.

In my mind, the question then becomes how to define the government's interest. I hope that the government interest here lies with protecting marriage.  Contrary to conservative voices that equate protecting marriage to denying same sex marriages, I would suggest that protecting marriage actually means protecting the basic right to marry - or not marry - for all citizens.  As the Warren court in Loving v. Virginia held, "marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival....Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."

So will the 2013 Roberts court apply the same reasoning to its decision on the freedom to marry a person of the same sex?

It makes sense to me, and it is my hope that the court takes such a stance.  My dream?  For the Roberts court to issue a unanimous decision in support of same sex marriage.  As background, I should note that the SCOTUS decisions are often split - and, many times, 5-4 splits - because, by the time the issues in question come to the SCOTUS, they are often borderline cases that could go either way. However, the SCOTUS can - and does - issue unanimous opinions at times in order to send a message as to the court's unity on that point.

Previous SCOTUS decisions that were unanimous include Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia.

Equality.  It's a simple enough idea.

Waving her equal rights flag,

March 18, 2013

New WIP!

*sounds the alarm* The Goodreads M/M Romance group recently launched their big Don't Read in the Closet annual writing event! :D

The Don't Read in the Closet event is what got me started as a writer a year ago with Man-to-Man Coverage, and um...let's just say the writing bug bit me. :) I've chosen a new prompt for this year, so be on the lookout this summer for a story about sweet college boys.

Check out more info on the group's webpage (note: must be a member of the Goodreads group to access the site)!  Take a peek around and, if you are so inclined, submit a Dear Author request letter of your own. It's super easy - just find a pic that you like, write a prompt about the picture to inspire an author, and cross your fingers that an author will claim your letter.  In past years, I believe 99% of letters were claimed, so you have a pretty darn good chance of getting a custom story - all you need to do is muster up the courage to ask for it. :)

Separately, if you've ever wanted to try your hand at writing M/M, this is a great opportunity to spread your wings. The environment is super supportive and friendly. If a prompt speaks to you and you can follow the submission guidelines, then go for it!

Okay, gotta rev up those engines on this WIP. What with my Turkey trip next month and moving cross-country in May, it's gonna be a busy next couple of months! :)


March 12, 2013

For Love of the Animals

So I'm pretty much kitty-obsessed or, at the very least, Nico (the feline) obsessed. He's my little cutie boy, and I had sooooo much fun hanging out with him when I was back in SF.  *cues up the song "Reunited" by Peaches & Herb*

What prompted this post, however, is this really awesome article I found showing unusual animal pairings.  You know, have you ever seen those adorable pictures that show, e.g., a monkey has made friends with a squirrel? Yup. I found a whole plethora of them, but BONUS. These include cute little "animal version" and "human version" descriptions of their friendships.

Here's the link to the picture (squee!) slideshow: A Guide to Love in Any Species (Animal Odd Couples)

So adorable, right?

I also found it especially humorous that the "human version" explanations of the odd couple pairings often sounded verrrrrrrrrrry familiar.  As in, yes, I think I've read that trope in romance before. *grins* In fact, I'm kind of curious to read some more of those stories, so if you need a prompt on which to base your next WIP, definitely check 'em out. Especially #1 (the Cheetah and the Anatolian Shepherd), #5 (the Bobcat Kitten and the Fawn), and #6 (the Donkey and the Mutt), hint hint. ;)

Feeling warm and fuzzy about the beasties,

March 10, 2013

Here's the Dilly, Yo

How's everyone doing? Just a quick update on what's going on around my neck o' the woods.

After weeks (over a month!) of studying, the bar exam is finally over and done with. Whew. I survived, but um...whether or not I passed is a whole other story. Afterwards, in the last week that I had back at home in SF, I was a total lazy bum. And honestly? It felt fan-damn-tastic.

Back in SF, I watched a few different movies, but two really stood out as um...outstanding. Wow, yeah, my vocab is a little shot this evening. *shameless grin* Anyway, I super duper recommend "Pitch Perfect" and "Argo." Both were awesome in totally different ways.

"Pitch Perfect" was super feel good and had lots of fun karaoke-worthy songs with unique acapella arrangements. The humor is lighthearted and silly, and there's even a meta-love story for you romance junkies. Yes, I'm pointing at myself. :)

"Argo" was also surprisingly feel good with a thrilling, suspenseful rush of a story.  I love that it's based on actual true life stuff.  Both movies were awesome and totally worth checking out. They're out on DVD already, so no excuses! :)

Ever since I got back to NYC, though, I've had a serious rush of productivity hit me. Gonna finish up a slashy fic thingee I'm working on right now (shh!) and then send out a couple of other things for consideration.  In the more immediate "productivity" column, though, I did my taxes, booked my intra-Turkey flight to Cappadocia, and booked my hotel in Istanbul last night.  Yep, just one night. Because I was feeling like Super-Productive Girl in my flowing cape of stapled together 1099 forms and my mask of TripAdvisor owl goggles. *grins*

Now I need to scour teh internetz and figure out what y'all have been up to while I was living under my bar exam rock. :) Hrmmm....what kind of mischief have y'all been making in my absence?


P.S. Also, in case I don't get a chance to mention it later, my friend's debut from Dreamspinner Press, A Simple Romance, releases on Wednesday, March 13th, so go check it out!

March 1, 2013

"Going for Gold" Giveaway!

Just a quick type-by posting for you lovelies. There's a huge jock m/m book giveaway going on right now at review site Joyfully Jay.  You can enter to win one of sixty-four - that's right, SIXTY-FOUR! - jock/sports-related m/m books.  Check it out here, and enter to win a copy of Going for Gold today!

Going for Gold includes my story about a diver...and a bartender...and some wonderfully wet Speedos. ;)  Also found in this substantial anthology are seven other stories from some great authors. The stories are long (most of them over 10,000 words!), and the whole set is over 100K words. You'll definitely have plenty of Olympics goodness to keep you company.

Just leave a comment on the giveaway post with your top picks, and you'll be entered to win. Note that comments on this blog are not entries; you have to enter at Joyfully Jay's contest page. The contest closes at the end of the day on Saturday (tomorrow!), so go get your entries in!