There’s an interesting hot-button case going on in my home state of Indiana. The state government’s legislative and executive branches are both controlled by the Republican Party, and this has enabled them to attempt to pass an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage. Indiana already doesn’t allow gay marriage, but by putting it in the constitution, the republicans aim to make it more difficult for a court to reverse that position. The amendment also prevents the state government from recognizing civil unions, partnerships, or other “substantially similar” institutions. Indiana has two big, well-known universities, Indiana University (IU) and Purdue University. IU has chosen to formally announce its opposition to the amendment while Purdue has chosen to remain silent. What are the implications of public institutions taking stands on political issues? Which university acted rightly? These are the questions I’m pursuing today.
Pope Francis recently made some comments about homosexuality that were not entirely negative, and now we have lots of people running all over the internet praising the papacy’s supposed shift on the issue. Even George Takei is buying in, calling it “An important step forward for the Catholic Church and its leadership”. Unfortunately, what we have here is not a change of position on homosexuality, it’s papal film-flam.
There’s a new film coming out soon by the name of Ender’s Game. It’s based on the book by the same name written by Orson Scott Card. I haven’t seen the movie yet, and I can’t tell you whether or not it’s a good adaptation, but when I was in 8th grade (I believe I was 14), we read the book in my English class. Out of all of the books I read in all of the various English classes I took when I was growing up, Ender’s Game was my favorite. I had the long-standing male complaint that too many of the books we read in class were too full of symbolism and metaphor. The characters in them were too often defined not by decisions or deeds, but by what I considered unnecessary narrative description. I still find today that the books I most enjoy are books in which characters show who they are with actions. But I digress–the reason I bring it up today is that Orson Scott Card is extremely opposed to homosexuality, and as a result many are planning to choose to boycott the new film.
I ran across an interesting piece today, in which the author, Joshua Spivak, notes that by declaring that the supporters of Prop 8 (the proposition in California which forbid same-sex marriage) did not have legal standing to sue in its defense, the Supreme Court has made direct democracy through propositions and referendums much more difficult to defend. Implicitly assumed in the piece is that direct democracy is an ideal worth defending, and that the Prop 8 decisions amounts to a dangerous precedent. Today I intend to dispute that assumption.
Rob Portman is a republican senator from Ohio, and, despite the fact that he has just announced that he now supports gay marriage, a position with which I agree, the manner in which he has come to this position demonstrates that he is by his very nature unfit to guide state policy. Here’s why.