Every one has the right to live Happily Ever After …Posted: April 12, 2009
I’ve never been a big fan of marriage even though I sat in one for about 20 years. Don’t ask and I won’t tell. I’ve found it to be a major constraint. I found compromise is a virtue only to those who lack ambition and leave it at that.
However, I know I’m not the least bit in the main stream about a lot of things; mostly about any kind of religion. It takes a lot of commitment and intellectual compromise to support religions developed back before high level reading, writing, arithmetic, and science were invented. I even think that the term “DARK AGES” and “Age of Enlightenment” are pretty self-explanatory but then if there’s a god gene, it just doesn’t seem to run in my family and hasn’t for a long time.
Still, I’ve noticed a generational thing surrounding the marriage issue as well as old time religion. The older you are, the more you insist it’s one man, one woman, and it’s best for children. I just think it’s unnecessary unless you really want to give away your assets, time, and dreams to some body else who can drag you through court and take even more by the time you’re done. My kids have yet to get married and think it’s something best put off to when you’re nearly dead any way (say somewhere between 30 and 40). The kids and I think any one who wants to be able to do it should be able to get married. My parents were both pretty accepting of gay people, but their generation just can’t see gay marriage. In that way, my family appears to be pretty typical.
This last week, the Vermont legislature voted to recognize same-sex marriage. It is now the the fourth state in the country to do so. The mos important thing about Vermont is that it’s the first state to recognize same-sex marriage through the legislative process. From Progress Report:
On the same day, the Washington DC council voted 12-0 “to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.” These actions come just six days after the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry. As the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Winnie Stachelberg noted, Vermont’s vote “highlights the growing consensus in American public opinion in support of relationship recognition for same-sex couples.” Indeed, legislation granting same-sex coupes the right to marry is also being debated in New Hampshire, Maine, and New Jersey, while section three of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies same-sex couples federal retirement and health care benefits, is being challenged in Massachusetts. “I think we’re going to look back at this week as a moment when our entire country turned a corner,” said Jennifer Pizer, the national marriage project director for the advocacy group Lambda Legal. “Each time there’s an important step forward, it makes it easier for others to follow.”
Vermont, however, was not what you’d call a surprise. In fact, most gay activists feel that they’re about to make a sweep in solidly blue, reliably liberal New England. As much as California’s support of Proposition 8 devastated the gay community, Iowa’s step in the direction of civil rights, delighted every one (including me, who again, thinks every one should be allowed to suffer the indignities of screaming UNTIL DEATH do we PART with the realization of one that’s finally figured out what that means). Even this week’s The Economist got into the discussion.
It is fitting that Iowa should be the first Midwestern state to let gays marry. True, it is far from radical. In 1998 the state passed a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The rural western half, in particular, cherishes conservative values. Still, Iowans pride themselves on being independent thinkers. A new poll from the University of Iowa found that only 37% of Iowans oppose both gay marriage and civil unions. Twenty-eight per cent support civil unions and 26% believe the right to marry should be extended to all.
Iowa’s Supreme Court is also seen as progressive. It ruled against slavery in 1839. Thirty years later it ordered Iowa’s public schools to be desegregated. “Iowa’s court has been, for generations, independent, fair-minded and willing to enforce equality on behalf of vulnerable groups,” says Jennifer Pizer of Lambda Legal, which argued the case before it. The ruling on April 3rd was unanimous and written by a Republican appointee.
We know will see the proverbial mass media, nationwide push-back as 527’s backed by religious organizations (still firmly rooted in the dark ages and not in the age of enlightenment) will probably air their versions of the LBJ atomic bomb ads. Just as gay activists are fighting Proposition 8, religious activists have started an organization called Let Us Vote Iowa to “prevent Iowa from becoming a Mecca for gay couples”. Uh, hello Iowa? I was raised there. My dad’s business manager for 30 years was gay. Psssssttttt. They’re everywhere; including the board of the nonprofit museum my mother established about 40 years ago. I think you may be a little late on that one! It didn’t exactly take a conspiracy of ‘wealthy homosexual activists’ for them to be born, raised, live and die in Iowa so how is gay marriage going to change anything there now?
Besides, catch this!! The Economist says it’s good for the economy! That’s certainly good news in bad economics times, yes?
Perhaps the most unexpected beneficiaries of same-sex marriage will be state economies. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) reports that extending marriage to gay couples brings tourism, spending on weddings and licensing fees. Same-sex marriage in Iowa, UCLA predicted last year, would bring $5.3m to state coffers and $53m to state businesses. These hard times could use a bit more cash and celebration.
Still, some folks just seem to want to stay in the Dark Ages and wants to stop folks from living happily ever after. Remember, they used to hate the happily divorced, like me, for the same kind of reason. If one thing about their little world view is questioned, the rest, well it’s just one big domino effect.