The Pursuit of Happiness

I have often referred to this phrase from the Declaration of Independence in my discussions on marriage equality. In response to comments I made in another journal, someone recently questioned whether or not the Declaration could be used in legal arguments.

From Wikipedia (that world-renowned source of reliability :D):

The phrase “pursuit of happiness” appeared in the 1967 Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), which focused on an anti-miscegenation statute. Chief Justice Warren wrote:

The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

The phrase is used in the depression-era case Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), which is seen as the seminal case interpreting the “liberty” interest of the Due Process clause of the 14th amendment as guaranteeing, among other things, a right to the pursuit of happiness, and, consequently, a right to privacy.

If Loving v Virginia cannot be considered relevant in any question of marriage equality, then I do not know what can be. As a member of the pagan clergy, I fully support the right of any committed, adult persons to engage in the rites of marriage (regardless of gender sexual orientation or, for that matter, number.)

 


I’m reposting this because the same  questions have arisen in the Second Amendment arguments, bout the applicability of the Declaration of Independence in terms of applying the “well-regulated” standard for firearms.

Some random thoughts

about tech companies boycotting North Carolina (or anywhere else) over the recently passed Discrimination Act (in this case, North Carolina House Bill #2).

If they wanted their threat to have any immediate effect, every windows computer & phone (don’t laugh, I’m sure there are at least a few in the state!), every Google device, Android OS, Apple product, etc., would have an overnight update to no longer operate within the geographic boundaries of the state.

Every motion picture currently showing in the state would immediately be pulled from every streaming service still accessible and from every theater.

That, friends and neighbors, is how to conduct a boycott in a technological society.

Lesko, who says she’s not Catholic and has “no moral objection against contraceptives,” doesn’t think many employers will take advantage of bill’s provisions. Perhaps not. But one is too many.

And yes, this is exactly what it will come to because the people who think up things like “religious exemptions” generally only think in terms of their own belief structure.

religious exemptions

This advisory brought to you due to the following article:

Noxious Arizona birth control bill pulled for a rewrite under pressure

Can they really do that?

So, in the social media news of the day, we find the following story:

Employers ask job seekers for Facebook passwords

(The remainder of the article is at the link, above.) My subject question is largely rhetorical, obviously, they *can* ask you that. However, is it legal that they do so? That will be a matter for someone willing to file a court challenge to it and the lawyers, judges and possibly juries who hear the case, when it does eventually get filed, which I am fairly certain that it will.

For the record, Facebook, and pretty much every single social media site out there includes in their Terms of Service (those pesky things most people don’t bother reading before clicking the “I accept” link, that indicates that you should not, under any circumstances, comply with such a request:

 Facebook’s Terms of Service, Section 4, paragraph 8: “You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.” 

 That’s pretty clear to me, and as for allowing any prospective employer to see who my friends are on a social media site (or anywhere else, for that matter), I have a loud, resounding “Fuck, no.” I don’t consider it anyone else’s business who I have granted access to my posts (even if 99% of my Facebook posts are public to begin with – largely because they mostly are links to other things posted publicly on the internet.) I don’t even like allowing the very few apps I’ve authorized for Facebook to have the access they want – I see no reason why any app should need to see my information “even when not using the site”, and again, they should not need any information about my friends/associates. But that’s a slightly different rant.

Having had my personal life thoroughly investigated in the past (I formerly held a security clearance of high degree, and that’s about as specific as I’ll get on the matter publicly), I understand the desire of employers to access that type of information, but again, what I post on line is none of their business, unless I happen to be talking about them specifically, in which case it is likely going to be one of those public posts, such as this, which will eventually make its way towards my Facebook. You may have noticed at no point have I mentioned the name of any such company engaging in said activity – that’s deliberate. It’s also pretty much the way I like to conduct my life.

Say what?

Noted Elsewhere as a response to someone’s rebuttal argument about something that I’m quite certain was positively earth-shattering in its importance, was this gem:

“Wait, what’s that? None of these claims can be supported by actual facts and evidence, or even make sense? WELL FUQ YOU, THIS IS MY OPINION, AND OPINIONS DON’T NEED FACTS TO VALIDATE THEM. IT IS IN THE FIRST AMENDMENT THAT I GET TO SAY WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT AND NO ONE CAN EVER DISAGREE WITH ME OR ELSE THEY’RE UNAMERICAN, SLUTTY TERRORISTS.”

Sad to say that this opinion is held by more than a few people, and only the part about opinions not needing facts to validate them is accurate.

The first amendment doesn’t have a damned thing to do with opinions – yours, mine or otherwise – and if our educational system wasn’t so fucked by a lack of funding, the factual amendment might actually still be taught in school.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

That’s what it actually says.

There have been many discussions over the centuries (we are working on the third one for this country) about exactly what ‘freedom of speech’ means, and while more than a few restrictions have been placed on aspects of speech, but you know, the ability to disagree with someone, even on the internet, still exists.