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Friday, June 15, 2007

Sullivan on Massachusetts

posted by on June 15 at 10:57 AM

Andrew Sullivan is the most passionate, eloquent, and effective voice for marriage equality in the United States. A vocal and prominent proponent of same-sex marriage before any national gay groups would touch the issue, Sullivan has done more—through his blog, his books, and his advocacy—to advance the cause of marriage equality than any other single individual in the country. (Freedom to Marry’s Evan Wolfson comes in a very, very close, photo-finish second.) Sullivan’s willingness to pick anti-marriage equality arguments apart is as invaluable as his ability to skin dishonest anti-gay marriage pundits alive is entertaining.

And here is Sullivan’s moving reaction to the news from Massachusetts

Looking back on two decades of struggle, past the ashes of so many, to the clearing on which we now stand, it’s hard not to weep. Two decades ago, marriage for gays was a pipe-dream. Some of us were ridiculed for even thinking of the idea. And yet here we are. Past the vicious attack from the president, past the cynical manipulation by Rove, past the cowardice of so many Democrats, past the rank hypocrisy of the Clintons, past the inertia of the Human Rights Campaign, past the false dawn in San Francisco, and the countless, countless debates and speeches and books and articles and op-eds.

Yes, we have much more to do. Yes, we still have to win over those who see our loves as somehow destructive of the families we seek merely to affirm. Yes, we don’t have federal recognition of our basic civic equality. Yes, in many, many states, we have been locked out of equality for a generation, because of the politics of fear and backlash. But look how far we’ve come. From a viral holocaust to full equality—somewhere in America, in the commonwealth where American freedom was born. In two decades. This is history. What a privilege to have witnessed it.

It was driven above all by ordinary gay and lesbian couples and their families—not activists, not lobbyists, not intellectuals. Couples and their families. It was driven by a brutal, sudden realization that we were far more vulnerable than we knew. In the plague years, husbands reeled as they were denied access to their own spouses in hospitals, as they were evicted from their shared homes in the immediate aftermath of terrible grief, and refused access even to funerals by estranged and often hostile in-laws. This day is for them, for all those who were abused and maligned and cast aside because they loved another human being.

It’s also for all the lesbian mothers who realized in the last two decades just how much contempt and hatred existed for their care of their own children, who lived in constant insecurity, or who, at best, had to endure erasure from visibility. It’s for gay families in Virginia today, denied dignity and protection multiple times over, enduring popular votes of meretricious contempt, and carrying on regardless, living their lives, building their relationships, cherishing their homes, caring for their kids, honoring their parents. And it’s for the countless, countless gay couples throughout human history—who for so long had to live lives in which their deepest longings and loves were denied, crushed, ignored or threatened.

The media didn’t much notice yesterday. But America changed. The world changed. And an ancient and deep wound began, ever so slightly, to heal.

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That is beautiful.

Posted by Mark Mitchell | June 15, 2007 11:02 AM

*resume crying like an even bigger baby*

Posted by bitch on heels | June 15, 2007 11:03 AM

I want to say congratulations, but I believe it's as big a victory for straight people as it is for gay people. You get some of your rights acknowledged, finally; and we get to live in a more just society. I'm very happy, and very proud.

Just 49 states to go!

Posted by Fnarf | June 15, 2007 11:11 AM

I'd like to point out that Andrew Sullivan didn't actually write that, Darren did. But still, amen.

I wish my parents and sisters weren't part of that generation we're all waiting to die off to gain tolerance.

What's really sad, or more sad, is my 14 year old niece sets off my gaydar like no other has. They don't see it but it's going to slap them in the face. I can't help but wonder if they will react differently to their grandchild coming out than they did to their own child coming out.

And if I here that Mary Cheney and family are now going to move to MA I'm going to scream.

Posted by monkey | June 15, 2007 11:17 AM

Well said, Fnarf. It's a pity that not all straights understand how much a victory it is for every man, every woman, and every child in this country.

Posted by Sachi | June 15, 2007 11:17 AM

I am a single, straight 25 year old woman who believes fully in marriage equality but is in no way any sort of activist, and that just made me cry. At my desk.

Posted by Callie | June 15, 2007 11:26 AM

I agree. I cried first when I saw the photo he used and second when I read the post. Andrew, like you, Dan, and the men and women who fought so hard to keep the ban off the ballot, are my gay heroes!

Posted by Rebecca | June 15, 2007 11:27 AM

Perfect :)

Posted by 2lesbianmoms | June 15, 2007 11:45 AM

I wish Sullivan was as liberal on other issues (he was a big backer of Bush and the Iraq war before both went to hell) as he is on this one. Still, nicely put.

Posted by Prospero | June 15, 2007 11:50 AM

If a piece is truly moving, you can let it be so without talking down to us and telling us that that's how we're supposed to think of it as.

Let the work stand on its own. Don't tell us how to think.

Posted by Gomez | June 15, 2007 12:07 PM

@4, I'm confused. Who is Darren?

Posted by arduous | June 15, 2007 12:12 PM

I agree with Fnarf, Sachi, and Callie. I am straight and this makes me so happy. The pictures, the wonderful words, and this historic moment are all so amazing to me. It truly warms my heart that there are good people out there, who know how wrong it is to deny rights to other human beings.

I can only hope that Washington will wise up and get equality to all the citizens here. I'll do whatever I can to help. =)

Posted by Original Monique | June 15, 2007 12:18 PM

Um. Dan. Bullshit. And you know it. The "the most passionate, eloquent, and effective voice for marriage equality in the United States" is Evan Wolfson, who started the modern movement for marriage equality, who has spent countless hours involved in conceiving, litigating, and effecting marriage equality in the United States.

Here's Evan's wikipedia entry.

You know damned well I'm right. Give credit where credit is due.

Posted by Jonathan | June 15, 2007 12:22 PM

Let me rephase that with a little more nuance. It is impossible to imagine the Massachusetts decision without Evan Wolfson's efforts. It is very easy to imagine it without Andrew Sullivan's.

Posted by Jonathan | June 15, 2007 12:27 PM

Yesterday was a great day. I'm straight but I couldn't understand why it would affect my relationships at all if other people could have theirs treated the same. Hopefully, we'll be celebrating this in Washington one day soon.

Posted by zzyzx | June 15, 2007 12:34 PM

monkey, Darren McCollester of Getty is the photographer of the pic Sullivan used in his post.

Posted by Amy Jo | June 15, 2007 12:39 PM

AHA! The way he posted it it looked like the piece was written by Darren.

Thanks for the clarification, Amy Jo, and just everyone please pretend that the first sentence in post #4 doesn't exist, k, thanks.

Posted by monkey | June 15, 2007 1:17 PM

Dan, you're not too shabby yourself!

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