Almost anyone is capable of cheating, given the right circumstances. The trick is to avoid compromising situations in the first place.
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Single young women in their sexual prime—that is, their 20s and early 30s—are for the first time in history more successful, on average, than the single young men around them. They are more likely to have a college degree and, in aggregate, they make more money. What makes this remarkable development possible is not just the pill or legal abortion but the whole new landscape of sexual freedom—the ability to delay marriage and have temporary relationships that don’t derail education or career. To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture. And to a surprising degree, it is women—not men—who are perpetuating the culture, especially in school, cannily manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind. For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.
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If New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s figures that same-sex marriages brought in some $259 million in economic benefits to the city are correct—that means gay marriages earned the city around $30,000 per hour since they were legalized one year ago. Or put another way, that’s an extra $31 for each 8,245,000 New Yorkers.
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Mazel tov! If you are married to your same-sex partner, and share these types of things on Facebook, no more second-class iconography for you. Facebook has rolled out little icons — in, of course, that distinct Facebook-blue — that will appear in timelines to mark the weddings of same-sex couples.
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Twenty-two years ago, Reverend Oliver White founded Grace Community United Church of Christ in a low-income black neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota. It was a strong congregation with 320 members — until 2005, when White stood up at a synod of the United Church of Christ and voiced his support of gay marriage. Then he came home and told his congregation what he had done.
“I thought they were with me,” he says, “but much to my chagrin, I immediately started losing members.” Over the next few weeks, two thirds of his members left the congregation. […]
How did you become such a strong supporter of gay marriage?
You know, I’ve always felt this way. This is not something I’ve evolved into. I’ve always just felt that people are people. There are all kinds of different people — some are left handed, and others are right handed. Should we discriminate against people because they’re left handed?
That’s how I see it. Many of my friends happen to be gay, and some of my enemies, too. They all deserve the same rights I have in terms of being married, and the joys and benefits come along with that. I would not be inclined to be in relationship with another man, but it’s not for me to judge two men or women in a relationship. It’s about the freedom to love.
The people who left your congregation obviously believe that gay marriage is against the Christian religion. Which parts of scripture do they cite, and how do you read those same passages?
Most people who oppose homosexuality use biblical references found in Leviticus, which state that homosexuality is an abomination to God. Now, that’s a misinterpretation of that text. They really need to read further into it. In the same book of Leviticus, it states that if an unmarried woman is not a virgin, she can be put to death. We don’t put women to death for that reason nowadays.
The one law I quote frequently and try to conduct my ministry by is the one that Jesus gave: Love God first and then love your neighbor as yourself. And yet, we have laws in Minnesota in 2012 that say oral sex is a sin. You can go to jail for it. Come on people, wake up! Let’s get on with it!
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The first chart shows the rate of gay-marriage tweets per minute yesterday, which peaked at more than 7,000, just four minutes after the president’s own tweet.
The second shows the quantity of tweets referencing gay marriage since Obama’s inauguration. As you can see, yesterday the volume spiked, topping out around 1.6 million tweets, breaking the previous record from the night New York legalized gay marriage (which was, it should be noted, late at night on a Friday).
President Obama can order the assassination of an American citizen but he cannot order the performance of a same-sex marriage. The problem isn’t his lack of power in the second case but his appropriation of power in the first. Yet his equivocation about marriage may matter in November at least a little; stating a position for or against it could matter a lot; his assassination authority will likely matter not at all.
Make war, not love. The targeted assassination of citizens merely suspected of terrorism enjoys popular support (a 79 percent approval rating), while same sex marriage passionately divides us, generating heated controversies that the president hesitates to touch. It’s an ugly portrait of post-9/11 America: More people are concerned with restricting their neighbor’s right to marry than the president’s power to kill.
It’s no wonder his position on marriage is “evolving;” so is the position of the public. Besides, if Obama declared for or against gay marriage, his declaration would have symbolic, not legal value. His administration has already exercised the primary legal power it possesses in this debate by declining to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition and federal benefits to same sex couples married under state law. DOMA is now subject to a strong 14th Amendment challenge involving a defense of states’ rights, not an invocation of federal, much less presidential, power.
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Once upon a time, diamond rings weren’t just gifts. They were, frankly, virginity insurance.
A now-obsolete law called the “Breach of Promise to Marry” once allowed women to sue men for breaking off an engagement. Back then, there was a high premium on women being virgins when they married — or at least when they got engaged. Surveys from the 1940s show that roughly half of engaged couples reported being intimate before the big day. If the groom-to-be walked out after he and the bride-to-be had sex, that left her in a precarious position. From a social angle, she had been permanently “damaged.” From an economic angle, she had lost her market value. So Breach of Promise to Marry was born.
But in the 1930s, states began striking down the “Breach of Promise to Marry” law. By 1945, 16 states representing nearly half of the nation’s population had made Breach of Promise a historical relic. At the same time, the diamond engagement ring began its transformation from decorative to de rigueur. Legal scholar Margaret Brinig doesn’t think that’s a coincidence, and she has the math to prove it. Regressing the percent of people living in states without Breach of Promise against a handful of other variables — including advertising, per capita income and the price of diamonds — Brinig found that this legal change was actually the most significant factor in the rise of the diamond engagement ring. It’s historically plausible. The initial mini-surge in diamond imports came in 1935, four years before DeBeers launched its celebrated advertising campaign. So, what’s going on here?
Recent years have seen an explosion of male joblessness and a steep decline in men’s life prospects that have disrupted the “romantic market” in ways that narrow a marriage-minded woman’s options: increasingly, her choice is between deadbeats (whose numbers are rising) and playboys (whose power is growing). But this strange state of affairs also presents an opportunity: as the economy evolves, it’s time to embrace new ideas about romance and family—and to acknowledge the end of “traditional” marriage as society’s highest ideal.
Above: The author, photographed in Los Angeles on September 9, 2011.