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"Do you, Adam, take this man, Steve...": one year later

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the court decision that legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts (my blighted neighbor to the south), and this seems like a good time to take a look back on just how that came to be, and offer my own opinions (for what they're worth) about the whole mess.

I have to admit I felt a little bit of a vicious thrill when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (their highest court) ruled that gay marriage was constitutional. For the last few years, they had had regular constitutional conventions at which the topic had come up. And each and every time, the thuggish Democratic leaders of the legislature (who run the conventions) had aggressively ignored and avoided the subject, not wanting to split their more mainstream supporters from the liberals. They were repeatedly warned that if they didn't act one way or the other, it would end up in court. And when that happened, they found that they simply didn't have time to find any compromise and wiggle room, and the newly-empowered gay rights factions were in no mood to compromise after winning it all.

(It might be worth mentioning here that the decision in favor of gay marriage passed the court on a 4-3 vote, and the Chief Justice, Margaret Marshall, just happens to be married to Anthony Lewis, one of the New York TImes' leading liberal columnists.)

I heard on the news yesterday that in the year since the court decision, 8700 same-sex couples have been wed in Massachusetts -- one-third of them lesbians. (We will now pause while a significant percentage of the male readership takes a moment to appreciate that image. [wistful sigh] OK, back to work.) And somehow, the world has managed to continue to exist.

A little while ago, over in another blog's comments section, I briefly outlined my position on gay marriage. I always intended to expand on what I wrote there, and this seems like as good a time as any to actually do that.

As I've said before, I grew up in extremely rural New Hampshire, and was pretty much contemptuous and concerned about gay people for a good chunk of my life. Then I went to college and actually met a few of them, and found out they weren't so bad after all. I ended up with several good friends who were gay, and eventually used my position in Student Government to help their group gain official school sanction (along with quite a few other groups -- that was part of my duties). One particularly good friend, Marc, even called me "an honorary fag" as a compliment (I think).

That led to a rather odd change in perception that has lingered to this day. I no longer fear and resent gay men, because every single gay man in this world represented one less man I had to compete with for the attention of women. And every gay woman simply shared an orientation with me, so I couldn't resent them, either. The only group I really had any reason to be concerned about were my fellow straight men. In my dream world, every single other man would be gay, and most of the women would be lesbians (because there's only so much of me to go around). I'd have my pick of the straight women (and curious and adventurous lesbians).

With that in mind, I'm in favor of legalizing gay marriage in some way or another. I quite frankly don't see how that (if done in a secular fashion, and no attempt is made to force churches to accept it) threatens the institution of marriage. Personally, I think marriage is under enough of an assault now (by the likes of such as Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Michael Jackson, just to name a few) that it would be strengthened by broadening its base a bit.

However, as much as I support the idea of gay marriage, I believe in the rule of law even more. Such a huge change in in institution that predates not just the United States, but most of Western civilization, should not be forced down the throats of people by four judges in one extremely liberal state -- let alone a couple of mayors in New York and California, in open defiance of standing laws. (I so much wanted one of those couples whose marriages were annulled to sue the mayors for fraud, but it never happened.)

One of the biggest arguments conservatives put forth is the idea that liberals have used "activist courts" as a back door to changing laws, instead of working through the democratic process. And when incidents like this happen, it gives that argument a lot of credibility. I happen to agree with this -- the courts' job, according to the Constitution, is to INTERPRET the law, not re-write it, and that's just what they did in Massachusetts. It also leads to overreactions to counter it, such as the proposed Constitutional amendment. Some may argue that such an amendment is the equivalent of using a shotgun to kill a fly, but in this case the conservatives say the fly has grown to the size of a small elephant, and a shotgun is needed.

Ideally, I'd like to see "civil unions" legislation introduced and passed in all 50 states. I don't see that happening any time soon, but I think the ball has started rolling. There might be some setbacks, as the "too much too soon" effect provokes some backlash, but I think that's the way it's generally heading. We'll get there, but we're not there yet.

And to any gays who might be reading this: relax, be patient. It might seem dark right now, but over the decades America is growing more and more liberal, more tolerant, more accepting of your lifestyle. As one person put it: "'the love that dare not speak its name' now won't shut up." The people who used to use the terms "fag" and "fairy" and "homo" as insults while growing up are now corporate HR managers overseeing same-sex-partner benefits programs. The fruity interior decorators are now major TV stars with their own series. Lesbians basically took over daytime TV a while ago.

I have seen the future, and it is fabulous.

J.



Comments (21)

...(We will now pause wh... (Below threshold)

...(We will now pause while a significant percentage of the male readership takes a moment to appreciate that image. [wistful sigh] OK, back to work.)

Back to work? I just poured my first cup of coffee! That image is gonna be flittering about inside my skull for most of the morning, I'd reckin'.

I know a few lesbians. Some... (Below threshold)
Jim:

I know a few lesbians. Some of them are drop-dead gorgeous. Definitely not your Rosie O'Donnell ugly, tubby Lesbians. Interesting tidbit, Jay. I never knew the Chief Justice in MA is the wife of NY Slimes columnist Anthony Lewis.

Jay, thanks for sharing thi... (Below threshold)

Jay, thanks for sharing this... more people need to hear this and realize that there is no "homosexual agenda" beyond the desire to be treated as equal citizens.

Every liberal who thinks th... (Below threshold)
Omni:

Every liberal who thinks that all conservatives hate gays needs to read this... as do all the gays who vote Democratic because they believe the same thing.

As we all know, "separate but equal" isn't, so, if we can't get gay marriage, my idea on this is to go back to the idea of marriage being a religious ceremony, such that straight couples who were NOT married by a religious leader (and that would include my own marriage, by the way) would have civil unions, as well as gays having them; then, a CU wouldn't be just a gay thing, and it would be awfully hard to make it less than a marriage, benefits-wise.

Aside from straight people who, like my husband and I, just don't want religion in the middle of their marriage ceremony (for the record, we were married by a lesbian justice of the peace), who'd want a CU rather than a marriage? Pro-gay people would be choosing CU's just to show solidarity with the gay community, and their gay friends and relatives. Hollywood types would do it to seem hip and cool and modern; star-obsessed regular people would do it to be like the stars. Rebellious and anti-establishment young people would do it to tick off their elders. And some would do it just for the novelty.

Progressive churches could offer the option of a CU ceremony, and then gay people could get married in a church, and so could their friends and such who wanted the CU and the religious stuff too.

All this could only happen if the American people would accept it... do you think they would?

"I never knew the Chief Jus... (Below threshold)
Jane:

"I never knew the Chief Justice in MA is the wife of NY Slimes columnist Anthony Lewis."

more can be found at these sites - interesting stuff and definate judicial misconduct the Globe / NYT refuses to print or acknowledge

ww.massnews.com

and

www.article8.org

I'm glad you think we're gr... (Below threshold)

I'm glad you think we're growing more liberal and more tolerant. Someone needs to hold that candle. I for one fear the worst. I think this nation has become more intolerant than ever, particularly with this week's uproar over a woman's exposed back on tv that somehow gets more attention than beer and erection advertisements.

Jay - get outa my dream wor... (Below threshold)
Lysander:

Jay - get outa my dream world! LOL. >:)

Tracy, thank you for splitting up "liberal" and "tolerant" - they are two completely different things; most don't seem to get that concept :).

Lysander

I'm all for civil unions (a... (Below threshold)

I'm all for civil unions (as long as it's between two people), and what people do in their own bedrooms is their business.

But I oppose gay marriage for what I think are two perfrectly rational reasons. One is that heterosexual marriage is necessary to create 99% of the human race and raise them in a stable environment. Yes, gays adopt, but gay couples cannot directly procreate, and won't be able to in the foreseeable future. The second is that gay couples have a huge advantage that goes virtually unmentioned - they don't have to worry about birth control, which is a huge headache for heteros. Every straight guy knows that rush of fear I had this morning when I got a message from my girlfriend saying "I have important news, and I don't want to tell you on voice mail." (Fortunately, as it turned out it involved her car.)

So for the above reasons, please, let us poor beleagured heteros keep our purely nominal and essentially meaningless distinction of "marriage" for ourselves.


good post, I totally agree ... (Below threshold)
patrick:

good post, I totally agree and like the civil unions for heterosexuals as well. "separate but equal" nice I am just starting to teach amendment rights in my government class and will borrow that quote if you don't mind. But this Adam and Steve thing.... I always tell my students when they use the Adam and Steve arguement that why do they immediately think two men in the garden would turn gay? Maybe they would have become fishing buddies and still living in Eden and blissfully unmarried to this day.

I think TallDave has it rig... (Below threshold)

I think TallDave has it right. I attended one of the first cvil unions in Vermont, but I oppose gay marriage. I have gay friends and I'm completely tolerant in that regard (although I don't want anybody's suxuality to be broadcast outward...keep it at home). However, some people view homosexuality as a sin, or as immoral. What is absolutely critical is that those people be permitted to maintain those views, free of persecution. Already in Massachusetts we are seeing kids who say they believe marriage means traditional marriage called bigots and sent home from school for their "hate crime". I think traditional marriage confers benefits on society around stable families and child rearing that gay marriage does not. As such, the state has the right to confer special consideration to that relationship. It can also recognize a civil union, although such a relationship is not necessarily equal to a marriage. That point is key to the current debate in Massachusetts (where I live).

I'll also note that I find the comparisons of the push for homosexual marriage to the civil rights struggle of blacks to be downright offensive. This is not a civil rights issue. All homosexuals are free to marry a member of the oppsite sex. Marriage is not denied, it merely is what it is. What you seek is something different, and that's fine, but don't try to change marriage into something it is not.

Like every other Conservati... (Below threshold)
JordanS:

Like every other Conservative, or Republican, or Moderate, or whatever tag one would chose to hang on me, I have gay friends, even a gay boss and two gay roommates, and I support them, their lifestyle and their choices. However, I don’t feel that being against “gay marriage” means that I do not care about them or their beliefs, but rather that I feel a threat from “gay marriage”.

Stanley Kurtz wrote an insightful article in “The Weekly Standard” that points to the social consequences the Scandinavian countries faced after legalizing “gay marriages” and civil unions nearly a decade ago. It is a long read, but full of information and statistical based points concerning the way the legalization and acceptance of these relationships directly shaped the society around them.

The Nordic Track

My fear, and I think of many people, religious or otherwise, is the threat to families and those values. As one who hopes to bring a family into this world one day, I hope to have a society that shares those values of family with me.

Correction: I posted... (Below threshold)
JordanS:

Correction: I posted the wrong link. The link above goes to another article that is a synopsis of the more complete article by Stanley Kurtz.
Try this one:
The End of Marriage in Scandinavia

Sorry about that...copied the wrong link.

Very good post. The only th... (Below threshold)
Jake:

Very good post. The only thing I object to is this quote:

"And to any gays who might be reading this: relax, be patient."

Why should they? If you traveled back in time to the 50s and heard a white man telling a black man to "be patient and relax...you'll get rights eventually", wouldn't it turn your stomach?

JordanS, the very nature of social-system based changes is that we don't know what's going to happen. An argument could be made (quite well, IMHO) that the family is "under attack" or "in jeopardy" because of woman leaving the home and heading into the workplace. And this is 51% of our population...shouldn't we do something?? Should we send woman back home?

Of course not. In the 20s-70s, if we had all sat back and said "Let's not move on this 'equal rights for woman' thing until we've fully planned it out", would it have ever happened?

The question is not what the effects will be. The question is whether what's happening is right or wrong. It was wrong for blacks or woman to be second class citizens. We changed that. Has it had some negative effects? Certainly, all social change does. But that doesn't matter, we'll deal with that over time. But the reality is that the right thing is first and foremost the important part.

"Marriage" is under assault, but it's not by trying to include everyone. It's from things like this:

www.starandal.com
and Married by America
and Who wants to marry a millionaire
and MASSIVE divorce rates
and.....

Yes, gays adopt, but ga... (Below threshold)

Yes, gays adopt, but gay couples cannot directly procreate, and won't be able to in the foreseeable future.

Obviously you've never heard of artificial insemination or surrogate mothers.

And do you oppose 90-year-old heterosexuals getting married?

We need to do something abo... (Below threshold)

We need to do something about the Massachusetts heathens.

Jake,Your comment <... (Below threshold)
JordanS:

Jake,
Your comment "It was wrong for blacks or woman to be second class citizens. We changed that." is really speaking to God given & Constitutional rights. Show me how God or the Contsitution guarantees two people of the same sex to marry, and I will conceed the point. This is not a union that is protected by biblical teachings or the constitution, but rather an attempt to redefine an already existing institution.

And I would venture to guess that saying we should try something without at least attempting to analyze how it affects society is irresponsible. You did not address the points or the questions discussed in the article. Instead you tried to cloud the issue by insinuating that persons who oppose gay marriage are somehow related to those who would seek to keep women in the home. Unfair and irresponsible.
Address the findings in the study. We have a test case to learn from. That test case is Scandinavian society in its reality today. That test case failed. Why should we now seek to extend that failed experiment to our country and culture? Now that would be irresponsible.

Thank goodness the bible is... (Below threshold)
drzurf:

Thank goodness the bible is just a mythylogical history book......
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Ok, lemme break this down.<... (Below threshold)
Darby:

Ok, lemme break this down.

1. I'm a Christan, I think homosexuality is an abberation.
2. I'm an American Citizen, I think that Gay marriage, or Legal Gay unions if you will, should be allowed.

Also, Pornography doesn't count as homosexuality, that's a fantasy, and the actors and actress's are paid to preform said acts. Trust me not all lesbians look like that, I know, I work with 3 of them and I've had to pick up fares at the local gay bars/clubs(I'm a cab driver). Anyways, let me continue about my beliefs...

As a Christian it is a fundemental loathing that I have about homosexuality. I'm not a bigot, I just think it's a disgusting, deviant, and replsive choice people have made about themselves. Now some people argue that it's genetics that made them gay, which I suppose is possible, considering some of my other beliefs regarding the creation of man and woman. But that is an entirely seperate issue. That is more or less my feelings on it as a Christian.

Now then, as an American citizen who would want his rights protected if he had made choices that were outside "The norm", I have to disagree on making said gay unions unsanctioned by the United States.

Is Black marriage sanctioned? Yes.
Is White Marriage sanctioned? Yes.
Is Latino Marriage sanctioned? Yes.
Is Chinese Marriage sanctioned? Yes.
Need I go further? No.

Simple fact is this: Blacks were slaves, then they were repressed, now they are free to have all the oppurtunites and the responsibilities that everyone else has.

To deny anyone those same rights based on their sexual orientation is the same exact thinking as repressing Blacks, Latino's, Indians, or Orientals.

Perhaps someday something you believe in will be called into question. But because it is not "The norm" you will lack the freedoms of the people that are in "The norm" group.

To break it down simply:

Homosexuality is wrong, but intolerance of peoples differences is a greater evil.

The problem is the Gay acti... (Below threshold)
Ernie:

The problem is the Gay activest are trying to make Gay a norm. Do you want your child to think it's ok to have sex with the same sex when they are in middle school? Let me tell you they think it is ok now. We are bringing our children up not to believe in Right and Wrong. This is not intolerance, it is supporting what is right.

I think to equate the gay m... (Below threshold)
JordanS:

I think to equate the gay marriage struggle with the civil rights struggle is wrong thinking. Seeking to legitimize gay marriage is seeking to REDEFINE a word and institution that has stood for hundreds if not thousands of years. Ancient Greek and Roman society, rife with homosexuality according to many, had no such same sex marriages.

The civil rights struggle was about forcing a country to follow the rules already set forth, not in our constitution, but in the Declaration of Independence "We hold these truthes self-evident, that all men are created equal...". We even added several amendments (1st, 13th, 15th, 19th) to make it that much clearer for everyone. But show me in our constitution where gay marriage is sanctioned, and again, I will concede the point. Our constitution actually make no concessions to sexual preference. It speaks to race, it speaks to religion, it speaks to gender, but not to sexual orientation.

And you did not speak at all to the article on the Great Gay Marriage Experiment in the Scandinavian countries. By their example, we can see the detrimental affect on society of legitimizing those marriages.

Our laws protects anyone who would like to get married to do just that, but to be married, they have to follow the deffinition of marriage, which, by definition includes 1 man and 1 woman.

I'd just like to point out ... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

I'd just like to point out that the really whacked-out moonbat wing of the Dem party is more accurately described as "progressive", not "liberal".

The former is more likely to want to chisel it into stone, and make it a hate crime to say anything bad about it.

I think it's none of the government's business.




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