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.