Jonathan Wolfman's Blog
NOVEMBER 2, 2012 6:34AM

Equality, Four States, Four Days Out

Rate: 13 Flag



     Where do we stand four days from the election as to marriage rights?
     Six states and the District permit same-sex marriage.
     Same-sex marriage has never survived a state popular vote, even in states where legislatures first allowed it.
     Tuesday could be a watershed.
     I've argued here that voting on the fundamental rights of adult citizens is a subversion of, not an expression of, democracy. I've likened people in Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, Washington State, Minnesota, others, voting on whether or not two adult gay citizens may marry one another, to whether or not voters in each state should decide if Black and White straight couples may marry under law.

     It's not as if that question is ancient.

     Only forty-two years back, in Loving v. Virginia, the Court threw out all anti-miscegenation laws in every state whose legislatures or voters had sanctioned them. I have argued here that anyone in favor of voting on gay and lesbian marriage rights must tell us why that's at the same time more necessary and less ethically offensive than returning to a pre-Loving interracial marriage law paradigm.
     Here's where we stand for Tuesday:
          . Voters in Maine (who defeated a similar bill in 2009) may pass a same-sex marriage bill. Polls suggest the measure will enjoy a narrow win unless, yet again, Church activism sways the day.
          . Washington State's legislature passed a marriage equality bill last spring; opponents then secured the signatures to put the measure to ballot. Church and other anti- groups are running into strong headwinds from Seattle-based corporations Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft, among others.
          . Here, in Maryland, a bill passed at Annapolis also last spring modeled on the successful New York law that made it eighteen months ago. Numbers of religious organizations have garnered the signatures to get it to a vote. Interestingly, while the NAACP had been unconvinced, if not hostile to, marriage equality, when the president announced his support for it, the NAACP national board with only two objections followed suit. In Maryland, where African-Americans are thirty-percent of the electorate, polls turned on a dime and justice may well win here.
          . Minnesota already has a law banning same-sex marriage; voters there will decide, as North Carolina voters did in the spring, whether or not the ban should be embedded in their state's constitution.
     As revolting as I find it is to vote on other adult citizens' fundamental rights, I also know what, right now, is available to me at this imperfect yet critical moment in our legal and moral development. I will vote Tuesday for same-sex marriage here in Maryland, vote to support the activists and legislators who brought this about, vote to encourage the NAACP ministers who risked a great deal with their congregants to support Equality's extension, vote to support my gay colleagues, neighbors, relatives, friends, and, really, wherever you live, yours as well.
     I'm also casting this vote for my parents who taught me what a Jew's and an American's understanding of Justice must be, and I'm voting for my son. I want his world to be more just than ours is and I want him to recall his parents as I recall mine.

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Even a single state-wide win in a vote will, in years to come, be seen as an inflection-moment.
Jon,you are an honourable man.

The last paragraph is as important to me as it might be for you.
Heidi What we teach outlives us. :)
I never fail to leave your site smarter than when I came. I can't say the same about that damn Tink's site. Every time I go to his site, I start scratching my head for fleas. Good luck in "all" the elections Jon~
"What we teach outlives us" is a great comment. Did you read it or come up with it? It's quotable.

I agree that the idea that we should have to vote is sort of strange for the reasons you bring up. I was involved in the NC effort; we lost. However, though it's kind of late in the game, I can tell you one reason I think we lost:

People who vote in favor of gender discrimination seem to be under the impression that anti-discrimination law would force their clergy to perform same-sex marriages. It doesn't. Not happening. Having the State tell clergy who they have to marry would be roughly the equivalent of their rabbis on whom to perform B'nai Mitzvot (plural of Bar and Bat Mitzvah, for Jon's readers).
Well said: at "this imperfect yet critical moment in our legal and moral development. .."
We will eventually get there.
How do i know this? Cuz, well, I think i know what most people,
at least around here, think: "none of my business",
any one else's love life.

As we become even more integrated in the coming years,
with Joe Six Pack (i hate that apellation)
working his shift at the factory with
Gary, husband of Harold,
it'll work its way down
into the culture.
And be yet another thing the Church has to accept.
Like a heliocentric solar system, and evolution, etc.
Good for you JW. Now go forth and multiply.
Abra we're going to start winning these, however slowly. :)
I like "inflection moment." Gotta remember that. I'm thinking positively at this point.

BTW, I'm teaching English classes today (subbing) and we're watching "The Most Dangerous Game." I keep waiting to hear the same comment that cracked you up. Some laughter, but no memorable quote -- yet.
Matt if the context's right, feel free to tell 'em abt my experience w it!
Every vote we cast, we cast for our children... we want their world to be more just than the one we were born into... that's simply human nature. R&R ;-)
Jon, I love how your mind works. It's an insult to the democracy we live in to ever feel we have any right to choose what comprises couplehood. I know same sex couples whose morals include family values of a higher order, wherein everyone's rights are cared for. May of them are growing old together, have children they're raising together, and so on.
Life as we know it did change. It's time for people to keep from fearing this will spoil their children's chances at getting into heaven.
Change comes hard to the hidebound......
PW yes and at the same time, Dr King was right . History's Arc is Long but it Bends toward Justice.
What a heartening thought! I had forgotten those words...Thank you.
What a heartening thought! I had forgotten those words...Thank you.
Tuesday is indeed an important day. I'm glad you are voting how you are voting. Your proactive campaign for gay rights and same -sex marriage is quite commendable.
Yes, it is probably the wrong thing to have the majority determine the rights of the minority (seems to me that all those red state fervent Madisonians should recognize that argument!). But it's probably a necessary thing to give legitimacy to that right, atleast until there's a critical mass of states. So vote for equality and justice, JW! Vote often!
Pilgrim Thanks & maybe, just maybem Mr. Justice Kennedy votes w us as to the 14th Amend claims in the California case. ;)
Jon: Please check your Inbox here. I've just finally been able to leave you an important PM there.
Jonathan, thank you, thank you, thank you. And merci.