February warmth

I’ve been trying to remember just how it felt last February, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that it was a violation of the state’s constitution not to allow same-sex marriages, when San Francisco started granting marriage licenses, when someone posted online that he wanted to send flowers to the couples waiting to be married and raised over $14,000 in a few weeks. I’m trying to remember just how giddy it felt, and how I cried and smiled at the same time every morning as I read the stories of happy couples in the newspaper on my way to work. (Don’t worry — I take the metro, not drive.)

We’re going to need some of that warmth this week, with measures on the ballot in 11 states that would explicitly ban gay marriage, and with 8 of those going much further, to prohibit essentially any recognition of same-sex couples. The best overview I’ve found of these — with links to the full text of all the amendments — is from the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) resource kit. As they say:

"On Nov. 2, voters in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah will consider state constitutional amendments that would ban civil unions, marriage equality and, in some cases, any and all legal protections for gay and lesbian families (and, potentially, other families as well). Three other states — Mississippi, Montana and Oregon — will vote on proposed amendments which explicitly mention only marriage, but which could still jeopardize other basic protections for gay families."

My understanding is that the only state of these where there’s a serious chance of defeating these amendments is Oregon. (The campaign to stop it is discussed at length and with flair at Alas, A Blog.) I think everyone knew that there was likely to be a backlash against those joyous February days, and it’s here now. And there’s a real possibility that it could affect the results of the Presidential election, by motivating the right wing to vote. So I’m hanging onto the memories of that February warmth.

I got an interesting email last week from the Human Rights Campaign, quoting an op-ed by Vic Basile in which he argues that we should consider it a violation of "our bonds of love, trust and friendship" to vote for candidates who support a constitutional amendment against same sex-marriage. I can’t tell from the essay whether he expects people to break off relationships with their family and friends who disagree on this issue, or simply to let them know how much their positions hurt. I can’t agree with the former, but the message was certainly more thought-provoking than the zillions of political emails with pleas for money that have been filling my inbox laterly.

I’d also like to call attention to an interesting argument in opposition to anti-gay marriage legislation by FrumDad, an orthodox Jew who believes that homosexuality is an abomination. But he doesn’t think the government should be making these decisions:

"Every one of us should be incredibly leery of granting broad powers of this sort to the government just because we happen to agree with the particular exercise of that power. Every one of us should understand that the next time that power will be exercised it will most likely be in a manner with which we do not agree, in a manner which will, in fact be directed against us."

One Response to “February warmth”

  1. clive Says:

    A tragic, tragic business that any democratic country should act in such a bigoted manner. I watch from overseas incredulously, though things are only a little better here in Oz.
    Fact–same sex unions happen, whatever ones individual beliefs. Therefore committed homosexual relationships should have legal recognition.
    Fact–whether or not people believe homosexuality is ‘natural’ is their own choice. They should not have the right to force that choice on others one way or the other. Even a homophobe should be committed to freedom of speech and democracy.
    It never ceases to amaze me that fundamentalist Christianity, so patently idiotic and provably false, can so completely dominate so many aspects of American life. It undermines the education system, dominates politics, and affects international relations.
    How do the educated intelligent people in the US put up with this, for crying out loud? I went to theological college, and I know perfectly well that an educated reading of the bible does not condemn homosexuality. And even if it did, so what? Whatever happened to the separation of Church and State enshrined in the constitution?

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