Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I've now arrived safely in the states...Minneapolis, MN, to be precise, and am in the departure lounge waiting to get on the last leg of my flight to Chicago, the Windy City.

It was sad to say goodbye to Edinburgh, but now I mostly feel excitement at the commencement of another new chapter in my life!

Married...Back to Minneapolis

Our wedding (that is, the wedding of Hannele and myself) went off without too much of a hitch (just a little rain and a little goose) on the 18th of June, 2006. There will soon be links to pictures available at

And now (rather, in half an hour or so), a taxi will pick me up to take me (and a couple of incredibly heavy suitcases) to Ediburgh International Airport, from whence I will fly to Amsterdam, Minneapolis, Chicago, and (eventually) back to Minneapolis, more or less "for good" (whatever that means, when married to a wanderlust-inflicted kenderkind, as I am). I look forward to moving back to Minneapolis (not to mention my up-coming week in the Chicago area), but will definitely miss Edinburgh...the sights, sounds, food, and most of all people that have made my almost two-year long stay here to wonderful and memorable.

I'll miss you all!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Gay-Marriage Amendment

The US Senate recently voted on a proposed Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

This brings up all kinds of questions in my mind. For example: What is the legal purpose of marriage? Should marriage have any legal repercussions whatsoever? Isn’t all of this anti-homosexuality sentiment within the government a breach of the separation of church and state?

As far as I understand it, the main legal purpose of marriage is the legal merging of two taxable entities to create one…or “kind of” one, that is, since a couple filing a joint tax return isn’t EXACTLY like one person filing a joint tax return with the same income as the total of the two married parties…it’s something special.

Since marriage is such a messy battlefield, and the distinction between the religious aspects and the legal aspects of it overlap in ways that make it unclear what it actually IS, I think it would make much more sense to completely split it…leave the religious version to churches, where it belongs, take away any legal bonds and any legal benefits of marriage…it’s a religious issue, not a legal one. If people still think we need a legal version of marriage (though I, for one, can’t see why), then create a legal-only one…a legally binding contract that is witnessed and signed by a judge and can only be broken through legal venues. Of course, this legal-only version of marriage would have to be discrimination free, so would allow the legal joining of ANY two (or more?!) people, giving them the same duties and benefits, be they a man and a woman, two men, two women, or perhaps even any combination of men and women.

Control of sexuality is something that churches do…the legal rights to privacy and protections against discrimination take all regulation of sexuality out of the hands of the state. When our political leaders throw around statements about “protecting morality” and “sacred institutions”, they are conflating their roles as protectors of our rights with those that rightfully belong outside of the legal and political sphere. We look VOLUNTARILY to churches and religious leaders for guidance in our moral decisions…we should not have the morals of others foisted upon us, except perhaps in extreme circumstances when our behavior threatens the rights of others.

In a recent address to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, President Bush lumped his opposition to same-sex marriage into his “culture of life” stance. He said, “We will continue to build a culture of life in America, and America will be better off for it.”

What does homosexuality have to do with a “culture of life”? It’s not like homosexuals are murderous fiends, across-the-board supporters of abortion, or advocates of capital punishment. It might be argued that homosexual partnerships don’t result in babies, but actually, with technology at the point where it is now, there’s no reason why a homosexual couple couldn’t have children.

Basically, this is just another hallmark of the specter of religious persecution that seems to be looming ever larger over American society, and we as a thinking, caring people need to stand up to put a stop to it before we end up in a hopelessly religiously oppressive nation…that is, if we aren’t there already.