Tyler Lopez at Slate on libertarians and gay rights. "Despite myriad political developments in the last 10 years, not to mention three presidential elections during which Democrats and Republicans debated the topic at length, the Libertarian Party website has no section devoted to LGBTQ issues," Lopez begins. "Libertarians like to tout the fact that the party supported marriage equality in 1971, when it was founded," he explains. But the party's stance hasn't changed since the 1990s. "The 'government should stay out of your bedroom' era, which ended with Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, does not empower LGBTQ people outside of the bedroom — and that's exactly where we need to take the fight," Lopez argues. Daily Caller editor Jim Antle tweets, "If nothing else, this piece is a good rejoinder to those who think libertarianism and social liberalism are the same." CNBC's John Carney agrees: "Despite libertarian fantasies, this is the truth about libertarianism and gay rights today."
Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post on unemployment benefits. "To 1.3 million jobless Americans: The Republican Party wishes you a Very Unhappy New Year!" Robinson writes. "It would be one thing if there were a logical reason to cut off unemployment benefits for those who have been out of work the longest. But no such rationale exists. On both economic and moral grounds, extending benefits for the long-term unemployed should have received an automatic, bipartisan vote in both houses of Congress," he argues. But "nothing is automatic and bipartisan anymore, not with today’s radicalized GOP on the scene. In this case, a sensible and humane policy option is hostage to bruised Republican egos and the ideological myth of 'makers' vs. 'takers.'" Former White House photographer Ralph Alswang tweets, "Happy New Year from House Speaker John Boehner!"
Jia Tolentino at The Hairpin on the gender roles of weddings. In 2013, Tolentino was invited to 18 weddings. That's 18 "capable, wonderful, educated, privileged, professional, socially aware female humans enthusiastically plunging into an institution that holds about as much interest for me as a bag of playground rocks," she writes. "I understand easily why a man would want a wife; it's harder to for me to grasp why a woman would want to be one. The language and semiotics of marriage are terrible: we’re still proposed to, our cervical fealty insured by a ring, our fathers give us away ... we erase and replace our own names. The preferred aesthetic for 'bride' is still very close to that of 'princess,' a role so passive and empty that there's not even anything there to subvert," she notes. Amy Odell at Cosmopolitan responds with her own column. "I'm getting married next summer," she writes. "According to Tolentino, this means I am diminishing myself as a woman, and turning myself into someone who can be bought with a diamond ring." NYMag.com producer Jazmine Hughes tweets, "Weddings ≠ marriage. Weddings have creepy/patriarchal/performance-y undertones, for sure. Doesn't cheapen marriage."
Adam Weinstein at Gawker on Israel and abortion. "American conservatives love, love, love Israel. They also hate, hate, hate abortion and socialized medicine. American conservatives face one hell of a moral conundrum in the new year," Weinstein writes. Starting in 2014, Israel will pay for the abortions of its citizens aged 20-33, regardless of circumstance. "This will be a tough cookie for the mostly evangelical philo-Semites of the American Right. Consider Sarah Palin ... . She's a Pentecostal who's sworn to combat 'the atrocity of abortion' and decried Obamacare as 'the biggest advance of the abortion industry in America.' She's also visited the Holy Land, made a cottage industry of 'defending our friends in Israel,' and told Israelis to stop 'apologizing all the time' for doing their thang," Weinstein notes. The Atlantic's Matt Schiavenza tweets, "Tell your local Republican! Israeli government plans to pay for all abortions next year."
Bruce Bartlett at The New York Times on expanding state legislatures. "Businessman John H. Cox has a ballot initiative in the state of California cleared for circulation (1615) that would increase the size of the state legislature about a hundredfold. The idea is to shrink the size of each legislative district so that a smaller number of people will be represented, which will improve democracy in the state, according to Cox," Bartlett explains. The benefits of a larger legislature? One political party will have a harder time dominating, and representatives are more likely to get face time with constituents. "The resolution of this debate in California may have national implications," Bartlett argues.