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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Utah judge cites 1972 Baker gay marriage case

newspaper headline Utah judge approves gay marriage followed by Family Circus cartoon's Merry Christmas 12/25/13

PHOTO: (click photo to enlarge) UPDATE 12/25/13: An old-fashioned physical newspaper featured a headline about the Utah Judge's approval of gay marriage followed on the next page in same position with the "Merry Christmas" greeting from "The Family Circus" cartoon by Bil Keane. I am sure some gay children, who are still reading the "comic pages," were inspired by this headline on their way to a "Merry Christmas." (Photo of Corvallis Gazette-Times, Dec. 25, 2013, p. B5 and p. B7)

Recent selfie by Jack Baker and Michael McConnell shown by Oprah Winfrey Oct. 27, 2013

PHOTO: A recent selfie photo of Jack Baker and Michael McConnell was shown by Oprah Winfrey as she expressed her amazement over how "brave" they had to be in the 1970's to fight for the right to gay marriage. see previous posts Oprah impressed by Jack Baker's gay marriage activism in 1970s (10/28/13) and Gay marriage discussion in 1953 vs. 1963 and today (12/16/13)

Utah's State Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was struck down by a Federal court ruling that addressed the U.S. Supreme Court's 1972 decision in the Baker v. Nelson case of Jack Baker and Michael McConnell. Here are are two comments on it by legal experts Arthur S. Leonard, a professor at New York Law School since 1982, and Bloomberg's Lyle Denniston:

"Shelby found that Windsor made clear, as cumulative to prior Supreme Court decisions, that the Supreme Court's 1972 ruling in Baker v. Nelson holding that the issue of same-sex marriage did not present a substantial federal question was no longer a binding precedent on lower courts. He pointed out that the Supreme Court has said that a disposition on that ground ceases to be binding on lower courts when subsequent developments in case law render it obsolete. Shelby found that many Supreme Court cases decided since the 1970s, considered cumulatively, have created a substantial federal question." (Quoted from Arthur S. Leonard, a professor at New York Law School since 1982, "Utah May Be the 18th Marriage Equality State," posted Dec. 20, 2013)

"Along the way toward his ultimate conclusion, Judge Shelby ruled that the issue of state authority to outlaw same-sex marriage is no longer controlled by a one-line 1972 Supreme Court decision in a Minnesota case, Baker v. Nelson. Opponents of same-sex marriage have often relied on that ruling, which said simply that such a ban did not raise a "substantial federal question."While some other courts have found that the Baker precedent still determines the issue, Judge Shelby said that all of those rulings had been issued before the Supreme Court ruled in the Windsor case last June. In that decision, the Court found that the Defense of Marriage Act's provision that all federal benefits keyed to marriage were limited to opposite-sex marriages violated already-married gay and lesbian couples' right to equality." (Quoted from Lyle Denniston, "Utah's same-sex marriage ban falls (FURTHER UPDATED)," posted Dec. 21, 2013, accessed 11:49 AM)

The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC last night (Dec. 20, 2013) did a good job explaining the issue of how marriage laws have been traditionally treated as a matter of State law and the issues surrounding legal problems that can occur when State laws conflict with the U.S. Constitution and Federal laws, which is an issue with the Utah State Constitutional Amendment against same-sex marriage. Hopefully, this will not be a call to action from anti-gay theocrats for a U.S. Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriage -- I haven't heard of anybody trying to propose doing such a drastic thing, except during the 2004 Bush Presidential campaign, when anti-gay marriage ballot measures were used as a wedge issue to get conservative voters out to reelect President Bush, including one on the 2004 Oregon ballot that that ended up creating a State of Oregon Constitutional Amendment against gay marriage.

UPDATE 12/25/13: Art Leonard, "What Happened Yesterday in Utah," posted December 25, 2013 details the importance of the expedited ruling and the irony of the Mormon Church's participation in the creation of the issues in this case.

Citizenship objective set by HP company founders Bill and Dave

cover and table of contents

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) Magazine article by Thomas Kraemer, "Printing Enters the Jet Age, How today's computer printers came to eject microscopic dots with amazing precision," American Heritage Invention & Technology, Spring 2001, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 18-27, cover and table of contents. The inkjet printer was originally developed at Hewlett-Packard in Corvallis, Oregon to provide a battery-powered printer that could also work with the battery-powered portable computers and calculators also designed at HP in Corvallis in the late 1970's and early 1980's. See previous posts: History of HP inkjet printers in American Heritage Invention & Technology (2/19/12), OSU Linus Pauling using HP calculator in PBS documentary (8/2/12), Computer mouse inventor dies after inspiring Xerox PARC, Apple and HP (7/9/13), Google Android Sony SmartWatch apes HP-01 LED watch from 1977 (7/1/12)

The local newspaper story by Bennett Hall, "Hewlett-Packard raises its local profile," Gazette-Times, Dec. 14, 1023, p. A2 prompted me to write the following letter to the editor:

Bennett Hall's Dec. 14 story, "Hewlett-Packard raises its local profile," provided a quintessential example of the HP corporate objective to be a good citizen. Decades ago, I was fortunate to witness company founders Bill and Dave (as they humbly asked to be called) hold managers accountable for citizenship while attending company division reviews with them around the world. I am heartened that Corvallis is continuing to benefit from their timeless leadership.(Quoted from (as submitted without the minor edits contained in printed version) Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Good to see HP continue tradition of involvement," Gazette-Times, Dec. 20, 2013, p. A9)

It is truly encouraging to see good citizenship being valued again at HP, at least in Corvallis, after the series of questionable company CEO Managers selected in recent years by the HP Board of Directors.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gay marriage discussion in 1953 vs. 1963 and today

ONE Magazine Aug. 1953 'Homosexual marriage?' cover headline PHOTO: ONE Magazine was ahead of its time when it mentioned the idea of "homosexual marriage" in 1953 long before "same-sex marriage" or "gay marriage" became a cause of some gay liberationists in the 1960s. The first article was by E. B. Saunders (pseudonym), "Reformer's Choice: Marriage License or Just license?" ONE, Aug. 1953, cover, p. 10-12. It was edited by the former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg and warned that if homosexuals obtained equal rights and acceptance of society, then they would be expected to follow the existing social conventions of marriage, including complying with the then common state laws forbidding cohabitation (living together without being legally married) and laws against adultery and extramarital (having sex outside your own marriage) or premarital sex, including sodomy, which under Oregon law forbid all oral and anal sex even for heterosexual married couples. Ten years later, the same ONE publication, also edited by Legg, featured an essay by Randy Lloyd (pseudonym), "Let's Push Homophile Marriage," Jun. 1963, cover, p. 5-10. It advocated a more proactive agenda to promote the advantages of "homophile marriage" to "gain the acceptance of society" and it described the author's personal experiences and advice on how to meet another "homophile" to marry, other than by using the "Pen Pal" classified advertising section of ONE magazine that was often used by men to solicit sex partners in their hometown (which was also the feature of "The Advocate" magazine's classified section that paid most of their bills to print this early gay rights magazine). Both of these articles are consistent with the conservative philosophy of its editor, W. Dorr Legg, who later founded the present-day Log Cabin Republicans, and therefore I suspect that Legg was very influential in the writing of both articles (if not actually writing them himself) and the articles probably represented Legg's own learning and evolution about the joys of being married during the ten years between the articles. (See James T. Sears, PhD, "1953: When ONE Magazine, Headlined 'Homosexual Marriage,'" posted Aug. 11, 2003 and my previous posts OSU W. Dorr Legg homosexual marriage 1953 vs. CA Prop 8 2010 (8/22/10), Gay free speech victory 50th anniversary (1/18/08), Jack Baker gay marriage theory was right (4/8/09)) and Slippery slope argument against marriage equality is predictable (6/22/12)

On Sept. 3 1971, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell were the first same-sex couple in history to be legally married. They married under the State of Minnesota marriage laws that did not specify gender at the time and despite court challenges to validate their marriage, no court has ever ordered the annulment of their legally performed marriage, including a 1972 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that marriage laws are only a matter of state law with no Federal interest.

A few months ago, in an email communication, Jack Baker mentioned that he and Mike had not been inspired by the 1963 ONE article advocating gay marriage and did not read it until much later. I only recalled reading the 1953 article, which today, in hindsight, was clearly written in a way that would satisfy both the conservative readers of ONE, who believed in marriage, and their readers who mostly used the magazine as a means of finding "pen-pals" nearby their hometown they could hookup with for sex.

UPDATE Dec. 21, 2013: quoted below is from an email Jack baker sent me with corrections or clarifications:

"(Jack quoted my post, added corrections and a comment:) "In Sept. 1971, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell were the first same-sex couple in history to be legally married. They married under the State of Minnesota marriage laws that did not specify gender at the time and despite [two] challenges to [invalidate] their marriage, no court has ever ordered the annulment of their legally performed marriage . . ." Comment - That marriage ignited a contentious political debate and defined the gay agenda worldwide for 40+ years. Proof is in the pudding. " (Quoted from Jack Baker, "Related articles: What others say," Now is the time blog posted Mar. 19, 2012 and as edited Dec. 18, 2013)

I hadn't read both articles in many years and so I was pleased to be emailed a scanned PDF copy of the original articles, but I was quickly disappointed when I realized the PDF copies did not have the OCR text included that I require for reading with my low vision blindness. So it took me awhile to find a friendly grad student to read me the text. Included below are some of the thoughts that occurred to me upon reading both the 1953 and 1963 articles:

First, I think it is too simple to ask, "Who Owns the bragging rights?" to being the first to inspire gay marriage as we know it today. In fact, in W. Dorr Legg's 1963 article, on p. 6, he takes a long view of history and credits the "modern concept" of "homophile marriage" as "a product of our current homophile movement that commenced in Germany in the 1800's." Gay marriage was discussed in the German books of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, until he died in the 1930's after the Nazis burned much of his work. Also, Legg's magazine cites the possible example of the "homosexually married" Englishman Edward Carpenter. (Note: between 1953 and 1963, Legg had adopted the editorial convention of using the term "homophile" instead of "homosexual" for two reasons. First was for the legal and political reason of trying to separate the discussion of being "gay" (a slang term he uses in the Jun. 1963 article on p. 8 while referring to a "gay park" used for those seeking illegal "promiscuous" gay sex) from the person's sexual orientation. Second, Legg was an intellectual purist and hated the etymological mash-up of Greek and Latin in the word "homosexual."

The 1953 article made the assumption that for homosexuals to gain acceptance by society that they would have to follow the same restrictive sex laws and gender roles of men being the dominant bread-winners and women being the submissive stay at home mother concerned only with procreation, reproduction and raising a family. The article did not anticipate the sexual revolution of the 1960's and the contemporaneous women's liberation movement that helped the gay liberation movement. When I talk to college-aged students today, I can tell it seems like a fantasy tale to them that at one time in America a male college student could be put in jail for shacking up with his girlfriend, and that laws on adultery, sodomy and monogamy were strictly enforced by society, even if only rarely did anybody end up in jail or other legal trouble. (See ONE, Aug. 1953, p. 10)

Of course, unknown to the gay liberationists of the 1960's and 1970's was that the 1960's "free love" freedom to have sex with a large number of partners would cause the AIDS virus to surface, which led to the discovery of the HIV and the politics of AIDS. The politics of AIDS is sometimes credited with causing a shift toward gay marriage rights instead of the agenda of some gay activists for sexual freedom. However, be warned that the politics of this subject are still too heated for many, today, and I can only briefly mention them in this post.

On page 11 of the Aug. 1953 article, Legg uses the idea of "special rights" that later became popular for Republican groups in America to use when arguing against homosexual marriage. He says the tension between promiscuity and marriage is an old one and explains how societal pressures against the sexual promiscuity of homosexuals works against homosexual marriages being publically visible and known. He also raises the idea that "heterosexual marriage must be protected" and could be threatened by the "acceptance of homosexuality without homosexual marriage ties . . ."

On page 12 of the Aug. 1953 article is an interesting legal declaimer at the end of the article, clearly it was written by an attorney, asserting that nothing in ONE should be construed as encouraging anybody to do criminal sex acts -- clearly this was probably part of their legal fight for their First Amendment freedom of speech rights, which was at the center of attempts by society to censor any discussion of even changing the laws against homosexual acts. This is why I started the timeline for my history of OSU gay groups with the 1964 free speech movement of the University of Berkeley students, which a Corvallis resident participated in before he became an early leader of gay rights activity in Corvallis, Oregon. He was arrested for just showing a public display of affection for another man, something heterosexuals were doing with impunity. (See "Featured links sidebar to my blog and Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1964-2002," printed to PDF from in 2010 is permanently stored by the OSU Scholars Archives@OSU.)

In the June 1963 article on p. 6, Legg talks about why there is a "lack of history regarding homophile marriage through history." He asserts there are no references to gay marriage in ancient literature, but much of it might have been intentionally censored or destroyed. The only thing surviving he says is the notion of the homosexual love between adolescent Greek Warriors that is only transient, and the Greek concept of ephebophiles (older man loving the post-puberty adolescent boy, not pedophiles as often mistakenly claimed) instead of two adult men who are married.

Also on page 7 he discusses the problems of gay men meeting somebody for marriage that he says is proven by the popularity of the "Pen Pal" section of ONE where gay men seek somebody to write to and meet in their area of interest. I note that the need to meet another gay person also helped to pay the bills in the 1970's for "The Advocate" magazine with the paid classified advertisements from men seeking men and this same need similarly helped to start up emerging internet technologies, including the dial-up modem precursors to the internet, such as AOL (America Online) chat rooms and bulletin boards that were often used by gay men to meet each other a few decades ago.

On p. 8, in the list of the author's advice for how to meet other gay men for marriage, the article mentions the now archaic "Wassermann" test for "VD" (venereal disease) and how to get one from a private doctor by telling him you want one because you met a woman and had too much to drink. Tragically, he could not have foreseen how then common sexually transmitted diseases would later morph into AIDS in the future. However, the author's advice to "keep clean" remains good today.

The writing in these two articles provides a glimpse into how things were for gay people over a half-century ago, but it may be hard for younger people who were not alive then to understand the social meaning of the laws and restrictions on sexual behavior, even though few people were arrested or put in jail. These laws were used as an excuse to deny gay people all of the normal rights in society, such as to be employed, much less married.

I am too blind and too weak to write anymore, but I hope to say more on this subject in the future.

See my previous posts

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Year 2013 in review - 8 years of blogging

PHOTO: perhaps only as a parody, Thomas Kraemer takes a fuzzy selfie at the end of 2013 in order to keep up with the latest internet fad. Now if only the focus and lighting were better -- but hey, it simulates my current legally blind vision condition, which I forgive you, if you don't understand, because I couldn't understand it either just from just hearing other peoples' descriptions until after I had suffered from it myself. I may be blinder and weaker than last year, but I am still grateful to still be alive! Merry Christmas and Hallelujah to all! (See my previous post My low vision blindness is like seeing a captcha all the time (1/1/12))

After writing this blog for 8 years, I hope to be able to keep blogging through at least next year, even though my ability to post has declined from posting an average of once a day to only a few times per month during this last year. The reason I have continued to blog is it works very good as a Google searchable memory aid to help me form new memories, which has become harder for me to do with the type of stroke I had (Fortunately, I haven't lost any memories). I am also writing this blog as a gift to the few friends and family members who might read my blog in the future and enjoy our shared memories. I am clearly not blogging for any money or ego satisfaction, which I suspect is what drives many people to blog and to participate in online forum boards or other social networking sites, such as Facebook. (See previous posts Year 2012 in review - 7 years of blogging (12/23/12), Oregon POLST for Thomas Kraemer (12/4/13) for my physician's orders for life sustaining treatment (I hope to die naturally with minimum drama) and for my friends and family I wrote my previous post Obituary for Thomas Kraemer (1/4/12) for them on the event of my death.)

For my previous year in reviews and lists of favorite posts, see previous posts Year 2012 in review - 7 years of blogging (12/23/12) along with the 1,554 blog posts I wrote for my former blog: Year 2006-2011 in review - 6 years of blogging (12/1/11). The reason I moved to a new blog address is described in my previous post This may be my last post - customer feedback to Google (12/1/11)


Here are some key posts I wrote during the last year:

Here is a list of my selected previous blog posts and year end summaries:

In my previous post Year 2006-2011 in review - 6 years of blogging (12/1/11) I listed the following favorite links to posts and other things that I had written:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Oregon POLST for Thomas Kraemer

a bright pink Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form or POLST for Thomas Kraemer Oregon POLST registry number OR19943 is shown next to a refrigerator magnet

PHOTO: a bright pink Oregon Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form or POLST for Thomas Kraemer POLST registry number OR19943 is shown next to a refrigerator magnet that is supposed to be followed by emergency workers who enter my house and by any hospital or other health care facility that may be treating me. It specifies "do not attempt resuscitation (DNR) and allow natural death (AND), No antibiotics, no artificial nutrition by tube. See previous posts POLST for Thomas Kraemer OR19943 (7/3/10) and Obituary for Thomas Kraemer (1/4/12).

I performed a Google search of my own blog to find my previous post POLST for Thomas Kraemer OR19943 (7/3/10) on this topic, but I decided not to read it before writing this post -- perhaps after writing this post I will read it and add any observations about the words I wrote nearly four years ago.

My first thought, after the passage of nearly four years since I had a POLST signed, is that I still have no intention (or courage, as another person thought I might lack) to commit suicide and my motives are only still the desire to die naturally without having futile heroic medical procedures performed on me that do not result in me being able to live independently and to enjoy life. Clearly, if somebody invented a way to repair the ischemic stroke damage that has made me legally blind and weak, then this blog post would instead be a summary of my learning about the treatment and also my decision to risk seeking the treatment or how I figured out how to pay for it.

My sensitivity on this issue is that most people, in my experience, assume you are "just depressed and want to die," if you are not heroically trying out every possible cure, even though the "cures" are making you sicker and weaker and are only causing healthcare costs to rise significantly for everyone. I have also been guilty of dismissing others' near-death feelings as only being "they are just depressed." Of course, with truly depressed persons, ignoring their cries for help can leave you with a guilty feeling that you were the one who pushed them over the edge and so I can forgive people for asking.

My second thought concerns my gratefulness to God, or my intelligent designer as the case may be, and to all of the people in my life who have made it worth living and who have allowed me leave behind a small contribution toward making Earth a better place for future generations, or more humbly I hope at least not a worse place.

My third thought recalls my experience witnessing the death of other people, including deaths of strangers I met dying of AIDS in San Francisco and the adjacent Silicon Valley when I was living and working there in the 1980's during the peak of the AIDS crisis just before HIV, the virus believed to cause AIDS, was discovered and also during the time when gay people were being blamed for being responsible, due to their "homosexual lifestyle," by both religious preachers and mainstream national politicians, including our U.S. President Ronald Regan whose movie actor friend Rock Hudson died of AIDS. Until the anti-retroviral HIV drug treatments were discovered in the 1980's, acquiring HIV often quickly led to visibly dramatic symptoms and death. I clearly recall walking along Castro Street in the gayest neighborhood in San Francisco in the 1980's and seeing one after another victim of AIDS being heroically rolled around in wheel chairs by their friends and families who had not abandoned or disowned them to die alone.

All of my life experiences, both good and tragic, have taught me that no matter how bad things might actually be, complaining about it is futile and in some cases it can hurt people who have greater needs than you do. I also learned that going into denial about bad things, just to be polite and put a happy face on things, could be just as futile and also harmful to people who are searching for a more positive solution.

Finally, after rereading my current post and previous posts on this matter, I will confess that my words sound similar to other people I've known just before their own death, when everybody close to them commented on how "philosophical and religious" the person had became shortly before their death. Hopefully, this post is not a bad omen and confirms this theory. I certainly do not mean to offend or harm anybody.

As a token gesture, to counter the assumption of others that I've given up, I would like to layout some short-term goals I hope to achieve, both before and after I become unable to continue writing this blog. My first goal is to write my traditional year-in-review post in December and also at least one post in the year 2014 so that I can say I was able to blog from 2006 to 2014. Then, when I can't use this blog as a tool to compensate for my blindness and infirmity anymore, I hope to develop or acquire some new methods to continue on with my life as long as possible. Of course, I will reach my limits based on how much pain I am willing to endure and how much I am willing to let go of my independence by letting other people do things for me -- it is hard not to feel guilty that you are receiving such help when other people exist who are more deserving of help than you are from the standpoint that these other people could go and lead more productive lives.

Also, during 2014 I would like to make sure that my Oregon State University Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement continues to be legally set up properly for funding at the maximum level possible. For example, I am investigating the Schwab Charitable service as one of several things that I could use to lower current taxes and maximize my future charitable donations to the Oregon State University Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, which I legally set up a number of years ago and that is planned to activate fully upon the death of me and my spouse. As part of my estate planning, I want to make sure that my IRA is amortized in equal monthly payments as soon as possible to reduce the taxes due from it by avoiding the required distributions that become greater and greater over tine and taxed at the full income rate.

. See previous posts Obituary for Thomas Kraemer (1/4/12) and OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement (1/4/12).

With that all said, I will end this post on a happy note, even though, of course, I would feel free to do otherwise!