The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, October 10
October 10th, 2012
Other Events This Weekend: Iris Prize Film Festival Cardiff, UK; Gay Day at Disneyland, Hong Kong, China; Chéries-Chéris Film Festival, Paris, France; Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Seattle, WA.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
Newsweek’s “Queer People”: 1949. In the mid-twentieth century, reactions to homosexuality fell into two camps. On one side were those who held that such “sexual perversion” was a criminal act which should be treated harshly by the courts. The other side, which saw themselves as more enlightened, saw homosexuality as a mental illness which merited pity rather than punishment. On October 10, 1949, Newsweek published an editorial titled “Queer People,” which came down squarely in the first camp:
The sex pervert, whether a homosexual, an exhibitionist, or even a dangerous sadist, is too often regarded merely as a ‘queer’ person who never hurts anyone but himself. Then the mangled form of one of his victims focuses public attention to the degenerate’s work. And newspaper headlines flare for days over accounts and feature articles packed with sensational details of the most dastardly and horrifying crimes.
The editorial reviewed The Sexual Criminal, a book by J. Paul DeRiver who headed the Los Angeles Police Department’s Sex Offenses Bureau. Newsweek lauded the “factual scientific book” with 43 case histories, including “lots of very queer people” including “the sadistic pedophile,” “zoophiles, psychopaths who who performed sadistic acts on animals, and the necrophiles, who …commit acts of moral degeneracy upon or in the presence of dead bodies.” Eugene D. Williams, a California “special assistant attorney general,” wrote the introduction to the book, in which he warned that “the semihysterical, foolishly sympathetic, and wholly unscientific attitude of any individual engaged in social work and criminology to regard sex perverts as poor unfortunates who are suffering from disease and cannot help themselves, has a tendency to feed their ego.” To which Newsweek added:
A sterner attitude is required, if the degenerate is to be properly treated and cured. Williams suggests that the sex pervert be treated, not as a coddled patient, but as a particularly virulent type of criminal. “To punish him,” he concludes, “he should be placed in an institution where the proper kind of rehabilitory work can be done so that, of capable of being brought to the realization of the error of his ways, he may be brought back to society prepared to live as a normal, law-abiding individual, rather than turned out as he now is from the penitentiary, confirmed in his perversion.
CT Supreme Court Declares Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional: 2008. In Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 vote that the state’s constitution , 289 Conn. 135, 957 A.2d 407, is a 2008 decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court protects the right to same-sex marriage. The decision made Connecticut the third state, after Massachusetts and California, to have its state supreme court declare a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. California’s decision would be repealed by Proposition 8. In accordance with the Connecticut Supreme Court’s order, the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on November 12, 2008.
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And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?