Gay Marriage Battle Picking Up Steam?
It's funny, I sometimes forget how quickly the tides can turn. Just when I start to get discouraged and begin to think a goal is unreachable, an unexpected event can shift the momentum, reigniting hope that was beginning to extinguish, and providing the spark much needed to propel me forward. My inability to see the forest for the trees sometimes, is probably why I both love and suck at playing Eurogames. Sorry, tangent. No, what I'm talking about today has nothing to do with lack of ability to excel at eurogames, but rather my inability to stay positive and remain focused on the big picture in the gay marriage rights battle.
After losing Prop 8, the primary national focus for marriage rights during the last election, many of us felt a bit defeated. But we used the loss as an opportunity to come together as group and gather our energy for a real national battle. I can't speak for anyone else, but it seems to me that that intense focused energy had a really short half-life. After spending my efforts to prevent an initiative to amend my state's constitution to define marriage as one man to one women, which didn't pass, I fell into a bit of funk, wondering how we were going to turn things around. But it looks like the momentum has shifted over the past week. And I for one am feeling hopeful again.
On April 3, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that marriage discrimination based on gender was unconstitutional. On April 7, the D.C. Council passed legislation recognizing gay marriages from other states. Also on April 7, the Vermont Legislature got enough votes to over-ride the veto of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. All three of these wins are great victories, and were much needed at this moment, but the Vermont victory is especially sweet. Why? Because same-sex marriage was legalized through the legislature. The opposition can not cry foul to the tune of "activist judges." Not only that, but it was passed not by a simple majority, but by a super majority.
It is my hope that these wins are just the beginning. New Hampshire and Maine are considering legislation similar to Vermont's. I don't think New Jersey and New York will be too far behind. With a few more wins we could be picking up steam. Though it is expected that Prop 8 will be upheld, there is movement to push a ballot initiative to take marriage out of the state constitution, and instead grant civil unions to all. Marriages would be left to the churches, and grant no more rights to couples than civil unions. All couples would be equal under the law. In my opinion, that's how it should be.
For those who are still discouraged and looking for a glimmer of hope, whether it's false or not, Nate Silver came up with a model to predict the years in which each state would vote against a marriage ban. According to his model, by the year 2012, half the states would vote against a marriage ban. This includes states that have already voted to ban same-sex marriage in the past. If I continue to be a resident of the great state of Indiana, I will have to wait until the year 2015. The last state to will be Mississippi, in the year 2024. I don't know how scientifically sound this model is, but it's interesting.
I know that gay rights have been a long battle that started before my time. I don't know how those who came before me, who had few rights and protections under the law did it. I know public sentiment is changing, and I just need to be patient. But sometimes, it hard for me to not get discouraged.
What about you? Do you get discouraged? How do you maintain a positive attitude?
Who else is writing about this?
- BGAI - Marriage equality-IN IOWA!!, at Be Gay About It
- Bridget "Sei"McBride -The Sky Is Falling, at Lez Get Real
- girl2grl- HRC Exposes National Organization of Marriage's Fake Ad for Fake Problems, at Lesbian Dating & Relationships
- Kelsey- Welcome Vermont and Iowa, at kelseyfinn.com
- For a list of where gay marriage is legal, here and around the world, check out Where Is Gay Marriage Legal?
Zoe is a BlogHer Contributing Editor (Life-GLBT). She also blogs her everyday life at gaymo.