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Todd Hartley: I’m with Stupid

Todd HartleyThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

I realize I could be drawing the ire of a large segment of the population by expressing the following opinion, but, what the heck, Im going to express it anyway: If there has ever been a more inane, mean-spirited, pointless debate in American history than the question of whether gay marriage should be legal, I have no idea what it is.There seems to be a pretty simple answer. Should gays be allowed to marry one another? Go ahead. Why on Earth should I care, and what business is it of mine in the first place? Apparently, though, there are plenty of concerned citizens out there who see things differently, hence this whole insipid argument.The debate over gay marriage recently achieved a new level of absurdity in Virginia where the practice is illegal in a case that is so ridiculous on so many levels that Im almost not sure where to begin.It all started back in March, when Antonio E. Blount, 31, and an 18-year-old calling herself Justine walked into the Newport News Circuit Court to obtain a marriage license. Due to the fact that the M or F indicating a persons gender on a Virginia drivers license is on a dark background and a little hard to read at first glance and the fact that Justine looked for all the world like a woman the unsuspecting court clerk issued the license.Blount and Justine, who is actually a man named Justin McCain, then drove to Norfolk, where they were married by local marriage commissioner Al Coward in a private ceremony.They pawned themselves off as a man and a woman, said Coward, and they did a very good job.For the next month and a half, the two men lived in wedded bliss, without ushering in the apocalypse or being struck down by God or bringing about the fall of Western civilization, and if anyone knew or cared about their married status, nobody bothered to say anything.All that changed in early May, however, when it came to the attention of Virginia state officials that they might have been hornswoggled. McCain applied to have his name legally changed to something more feminine, and when officials did a little cross-checking, they realized their error. Apparently, the new name McCain asked for, Penelopsky Aaryonna Goldberry (seriously), raised a red flag.So the officials in Virginia called up officials in McCains home state of North Carolina and learned that, sure enough, McCain was born a man. Well, clearly the state of Virginia couldnt let someone get away with such an egregious crime, so the officials immediately declared the marriage illegal and got together to decide whether to file misdemeanor charges against McCain and Blount. (As of this writing, the decision was still pending.)Opponents of gay marriage might see this as an open-and-shut case. McCain and Blount broke the law and knowingly deceived officials; of course the state of Virginia should file charges against them. Apparently, however, things arent quite that simple.McCain, it seems, could be considered transgender, which in some instances means that one can identify oneself by ones gender identity. He has been living his life as a woman; therefore, he could be considered a woman.This case, according to advocates for transgender rights, emphasizes the need to redefine the legal definition of what is considered male or female. You and I might think that the presence or absence of a penis makes ones gender pretty obvious, but apparently were wrong. Gender, the advocates say, is much more fluid than that. Thus, its not deceptive for a transgender person who lives their life as a gender different from the gender they were assigned, according to Cole Thaler, an attorney with gay-rights legal group Lambda Legal.What this means is that if McCain truly considers himself a woman, he may not have, in fact, knowingly deceived the court clerk in Newport News or Commissioner Coward in Norfolk, meaning no crime was committed. And, after all, the application for a marriage license that McCain and Blount filled out only mentioned groom and bride and said nothing about whether one of those two had to be an actual woman.Such is not the case anymore, however. In the wake of this episode, the quick-witted officials in Virginia decided they wont get fooled again and promptly changed the application to read male applicant and female applicant, forever closing that particular loophole. Touch. Take that, you treacherous transgender she-males.

Todd Hartley has been living his life as a newt for the past 17 years. E-mail him your comments at toddmhartley@gmail.com.


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