My name is Philip Chandler, and I work as a computer systems analyst and software developer, primarily with large mainframe computers. Positions in this field are making something of a comeback as large firms within the US and the UK discover that the "outsourcing" of code and systems design to Indian consulting firms frequently results in massive back-end expenses due to inferior code, inexperience, and unfamiliarity with the design of systems utilized by firms within the private sector (as well as by various state agencies in both countries). However, designing and writing computer systems is merely something that I do to pay the bills and to keep the roof over my head; I am much more interested in US constitutional law and the impact that decisions handed down by the US Supreme Court and other federal and state courts have made upon the lives of gay men and lesbians throughout the US. I have lived in the US since 1986, and although I spend much time in the UK, I am a US citizen by naturalization.
I immigrated to the US in 1986 due to the fact that the political situation in South Africa, where I was born and raised, had become completely untenable for any young white person with a conscience who had both the means and the desire to leave the country. Apartheid was in full flower at the time that I left the country; then-President P. W. Botha had declared a "state of emergency" that enabled the police to detain people indefinitely without bringing charges against them, without providing them with legal counsel, and without providing such prisoners with any recourse to the courts. As was subsequently acknowledged during hearings before the Truth and Reconciliation Committee following the collapse of apartheid, police torture and brutality were condoned by officials at the highest levels of government. I was able to graduate from what was then a very good university (the University of the Witwatersrand) with a B.S. degree in Psychology and Computer Science (a double major degree), and left the country about eight months after graduating.
I consider myself to be an activist for full legal and societal equality for gay Americans, and this blog will follow both political and legal developments impacting gay Americans. Profound changes have occurred with respect to the standing of gay people in US society over the course of the past 20 years, and this blog will analyze recent trends in both the legal and political arenas. In the short space of two decades, gay Americans have made tremendous advances, and although much work remains to be done relative to the promotion of full equality for gay Americans in a variety of contexts, this blog will carry essays discussing significant advances that have already been made, as well as the current struggle that the gay community is fighting for the legal recognition of gay relationships.
Although this blog will focus on trends in the US and the UK, it will also take into consideration developments in other nations. Sadly, the US remains morally backwards relative to a large number of western nations, particularly as pertains to the recognition of the rights of gay couples under the law. This essay will, therefore, take note of legal and political developments in other nations, since such developments are crucial to an understanding of whee the US and the UK fall, relative both to each other and to the broader context of the mores of Western nations.
It is hoped that readers will be able to glean useful information from this blog. Please note that other sites may not reproduce essays found here in their entirety without permission from the author. Please abide by the "fair use" doctrine; complete reproduction is not "fair use," whereas brief quotes with critical comments are examples of "fair use." Should the reader wish to contact the author for permission to publish any essay in its entirety, please feel free to write to me at philipchandler domain earthlink.net (removal of the "@" and replacement with the word "domain" has been done to prevent spam parsing programs from using this email address for the purpose of "denial of service" attacks, which have occurred in the past).
I would appreciate comments and criticism, and hope that both will be forthcoming.