romance & inequality: migraine listening

I was going to write a joint book review this weekend of The American Way of Poverty and The New Deal: A Modern History, both of which I've read in the past month. But then I got socked with a two-day migraine, the kind that comes around about once a season and has me making friends with the toilet bowl, the ice pack, dark, dark rooms, and narcotics.

So writing didn't happen. But to distract myself from the pain, listening did.

I started with this most enjoyable hour of On Point discussing the romance novel industry. It had surprisingly little condescension, and although I would have liked some acknowledgement of non-hetero markets and amateur writers (*kof*kof*fanfiction*kof*kof*), overall it was a thoughtful reflection on the enduring popularity of narratives that center around relationship formation.

Then I moved on to Boston and socioeconomic inequality, which has been in the news a lot recently due to the nationwide media attention and due to the fact we have a new mayor (Marty Walsh) assuming office who was elected in part because of his working-class background and pledge to make Boston more affordable for those of us not in the 1%.

And finally, an hour of the Diane Rehm show devoted to gay rights in "law and sports" (an opportunistic conglomeration if I ever saw one!). I can't say I learned anything new during this hour, but did appreciate the articulate presence of the Department of Justice's Stephen Delery (emphasis mine):


And you have the National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, the group's president, saying, "The changes being proposed here to a process as universally relevant as the criminal justice system serve as a potent reminder of why it's simply a lie to say that redefining marriage does not affect everyone in society."


Well, I do think, Diane, that, as the Supreme Court recognized in Windsor, the Defense of Marriage Act had real consequences for real people by denying a whole range of benefits to people in the course of many federal programs. Some of these programs are critical to people who need them for health insurance, for example.


And so, if you look at what the agencies have done over the last few months, the same-sex marriages are now recognized for all federal tax purposes, including filing joint returns. Spousal benefits are now available to military service members who are serving overseas. Health insurance is available for same-sex spouses of federal employees.


And citizens who are in same-sex marriages can now sponsor their spouses for immigration benefits. And the list goes on. All of these things are federal benefits, provided under federal law, and the agencies, like the Department of Justice, have concluded, following the Supreme Court, that the marriages that are lawful where they're performed should be recognized for these purposes.
I hope y'all have a good week ahead, and -- health willing! -- I'll be back next Monday with the promised book reviews.

No comments:

Post a Comment