Writer and photographer Christopher Moraff is a news features correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune and a contributing writer for the Chicago-based magazines Design Bureau and In These Times, where he serves on the board of editors.
In light of the vociferous and ongoing debate surrounding gay marriage, it's easy to imagine that self-described "marriage traditionalists" rose up organically in opposition to expanding the definition of marriage to include spouses of the same sex. However, you'd be wrong to think that. The marriage movement—which now claims, erroneously, that the incursion of gays and lesbians into its hallowed halls will weaken the institution—actually began as a response to a real threat to the contract of matrimony: the no-fault divorce.
Yesterday, in an article published in The New Republic, an unnamed former Obama adviser mentioned offhandedly that the President reads just one newspaper: The New York Times. That might seem like a lot to the average American—less than a quarter of whom even glanced at a newspaper yesterday—but when you're the top decision maker of a country as multifaceted and influential as ours, there's an expectation that you're considering a range of independent (as in non-administration) sources on topics of import. The story was picked up by a handful of media outlets and created a minor stir on Twitter before it was drowned out by the sound of explosions at the Boston Marathon.
Next year, states will begin implementing major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the most controversial of these being the “individual mandate”—which requires all Americans to have health insurance, and the establishment of private exchanges where the uninsured can purchase coverage.
In the early 1970s, famed newsman Chet Huntley appeared in a series of television ads introducing American Airlines' new “Luxury Liner” fleet. The modified aircraft featured extra leg space, wider aisles and a cocktail lounge “the size of a living room” with a piano bar where passengers could while away their flights downing sidecars and flirting with pretty stewardesses. The airline sacrificed 60 seats on its 747s to make the lounge possible. And here's the best part: It was in coach.
Today, women around the world are being encouraged to bare their breasts in solidarity with a young Tunisian activist whose decision to publicly profess her desire for self-determination unleashed a fury of condemnation across North Africa and revealed the extent to which the Arab Spring has abandoned its female participants.
In the months (and years) before a U.S. presidential election it's not uncommon for voters from both parties to flirt with a variety of unorthodox candidates before settling on the sane choice—usually the person who is most likely to win and least likely to do any serious damage. Last year, the GOP ran slipshod through a rogues' gallery of these fringe candidates-of-the-moment, much to the delight of late night hosts and political writers, myself included. By the time the dust cleared, they'd tarnished the party's image so deeply that all the polish in the world couldn't clean it up before November. And we all know how that story ended.
Last weekend's 60 Minutes featured the story of Brian Banks, a former high-school football star who was on his way to almost certain glory in the NFL when his career was cut short in 2002 by a false rape accusation. Banks spent more than five years in jail before an enterprising private investigator managed to capture his accuser—Wanetta Gibson—on video recanting her story. Banks never raped her, she said. She had made it all up.
Today, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in back-to-back cases challenging California's Prop 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. I support legalizing gay marriage, and believe that allowing same-sex couples to wed is the best way to save a valuable, but threatened, institution.
But as a dedicated heterosexual with a spouse of the opposite sex, I never in a million years imagined that the fight to deny marriage rights to gays and lesbians would find me and my wife in its crosshairs. Yet that's exactly what happened earlier this month, when a determined fringe of mostly young conservatives decided that the best way to stop the march of history is to build a roadblock so steep that no gay or lesbian couple could possibly surmount it.
Class is a funny thing. To most people it speaks to economics: There's the haves and the have-nots. But while income and wealth are important class indicators, they rarely tell the whole story. I was raised on the Main Line by Ivy League-educated parents and spent my summers in the Hamptons where my father's family owned a vacation home that was attended by a full-time, uniformed maid.