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Friday, June 15, 2007

Marriage Equality in Massachusetts

posted by on June 15 at 9:52 AM

The decision by the Dem-contolled legislature in Massachusetts not to place an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot didn’t make the front page of the New York Times this morning—but, hey, neither did that comical plot to blow up JFK Airport. There’s a single-column piece on the National News page, but no picture.

The importance of what happened—or what didn’t happen—in Massachusetts yesterday can’t be overstated. The chance that anti-gay activists in Massachusetts will be able to ban gay marriage in that state, and revoke the marriages of thousands of married couples in Massachusetts, are vanishingly slim. They can’t just come back next year and try again. From the NYT

The vote means that opponents would have to start from Square 1 to sponsor a new amendment, which could not get on the ballot before 2012.

And as we’ve seen throughout the same-sex marriage debate, the more time passes, the more familiar Americans become with the issue, the more supportive people are of same-sex marriage. That’s why the religious right has worked so hard and, it must be said, so successfully, to enshrine their bigotry in state constitutions all over the country. It’s going to be difficult to undo the damage that’s already been done, to write bigotry back out of all those state constitutions, but Massachusetts made it a little bit easier.

Because same-sex marriage—not “consolation prize” civil unions or domestic partnerships, but full marriage equality—is going to remain a reality inside the United States. Social conservatives are good at ignoring the progress being made in Holland, Spain, Canada, Mexico, South Africa (!), and all the other countries that have legalized same-sex marriage. The institution of marriage has not crumbled to dust in those countries. Yet social conservatives, aided and abetted by the mainstream media, argue that same-sex marriage is a radical social experiment and God only knows what sort of chaos it will unleash. Better to err on the side of caution and, you know, do nothing about the insecurity and injustice same-sex couples have to endure.

Well, making that argument just got a little—hell, a lot—harder. Same-sex marriage is a reality in America, and will remain a reality in America. The nightmare scenarios spun by social conservatives about same-sex marriage will have to be weighed against the reality of same-sex marriage in one of the most populous states in the union.

Thanks, Massachusetts.

RSS icon Comments


Jerry Farwell would be pissed, if he wasn't maggot food! HAHAHAHAH!!

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 15, 2007 9:57 AM


Posted by Mr. Poe | June 15, 2007 9:57 AM

And didn't you say in THE KID that same-sex marriage wasn't going to be enacted in your life time or your kid's lifetime?

It's amazing how fast things have changed in this arena.

Posted by arduous | June 15, 2007 10:04 AM

As I mentioned before, the baby Jesus is gonna go on a killing spree in Alabama over this.

Posted by Original Andrew | June 15, 2007 10:19 AM

"Social conservatives are good at ignoring the progress being made in Holland, Spain, Canada, Mexico, South Africa (!), and all the other countries that have legalized same-sex marriage."

I was a little confused by this sentence, and now I feel the need to be annoying and clarify: same-sex marriage is not legal in Mexico. Civil unions are legal in Mexico City and the State of Coahuila. Nation-wide same-sex marriage is legal only in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, South Africa, and Canada.

Posted by James | June 15, 2007 10:21 AM

Keyword: Progress.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 15, 2007 10:29 AM

You shouldn't be too surprised by South Africa. In 1994, when the ANC government put together a post-apartheid constitution, they wrote an anti-discrimination clause into it that included sexual orientation, the only country in the world to do so. The gay marriage decision came directly out of this clause.

And the ANC's pro-gay history goes back to the '80s. It was in part driven by the embarrassment the leadership felt when trying to solicit funds from Western liberals who confronted them about homophobia, but also from a dedicated person to person, hearts and minds campaign by Peter Tatchell. Nelson Mandela didn't need much convincing. Cecil Williams, a white gay South African, helped Mandela avoid arrest by disguising him as a chauffer (his bleeding heart ended up doing them both in. He felt so terribly guilty about forcing Mandela to pose as a servant that he gave him a break and started driving him around for a bit. A white man driving a black man was far too conspicuous, and they were pulled over and caught). Gay people had been part of the black liberation movement in South Africa from the beginning, and unlike some politicians I can name, he didn't forget those that helped him. Thabo Mbeki continued this support, and it's considered a settled issue within the ruling ANC.

It makes total sense too. In ever nation colonized by the British, they shot their mouths off about their superior system of government and the philosophies behind it, and just like they absorbed Marx, they aborbed Locke, Jefferson, and the rest. Only they made good on it.

Posted by Gitai | June 15, 2007 11:31 AM

I find it quite funny that a social experiment that involves a small percentage of any populace is something to be scared of.

Cellphones, tv and the internet involves a far greater percentage of people and have made a far greater impact on social life than same sex marriage ever will.

Posted by renier | June 15, 2007 3:26 PM

@8, Amen.

Posted by lawrence clark | June 16, 2007 1:02 AM

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Posted by suhoa vomqkliau | June 25, 2007 3:39 PM

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