This is a question which pains me to ask it!
On one hand, I heard a report earlier this week about a conservative lawmaker from Colorado, Republican Shawn Mitchell, who is interested in passing legislation in support of limited economic rights for same-sex adults living in the same household. In addition to garnering criticism from marriage equality proponents, he’s enjoyed support from the conservative organization, Focus on the Family.
On the other hand, I heard just today from someone who attended an inspiring marriage equality rally in New Jersey, where, today, the Supreme Court heard a case regarding the complaint of seven same-sex couples who say that the state violates its constitution by denying them the right to marry.
And, then, of course, there was the wonderful report on NPR’s Morning Edition about the unfolding drama regarding same-sex marriage in Richmond, VA. The story also includes a great chart, which I recommend you review in detail on the NPR site!
Accordingn to NPR, the nine states which may amend their constitutations to ban same-sex marriage this year are: South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Alabama, Wisconsin, Arizona, Illinois, Idaho and Colorado.
It’s enough to make your head spin!
If you are following the legal developments and political pronouncements that are taking shape in the U.S., you’ll quickly come to realize the very obvious election-oriented undertone driving this issue!
Conservatives are struggling with a host of issues — the deficit, failing educational policy, the war in Iraq, and credibility, amongst other things — and know that drumming up support around a “culture” issue will be important to help them maintain morale and keep voters motivated.
Progressive-minded incumbents and candidates, however, are trying to bank on the “this country needs change!” theme and personally may be more in-line with supporting partnership rights for same-sex couples but are worried about having to go public with votes in an election year.
To me, all of this hulabaloo around “the gays” has been incredibly distracting! Aren’t there more important things for lawmakers to be doing beyond adding discriminatory language into their Constitutions?
For politicians, I’m sure all of this maneuvering seems innocent enough. Does it really matter if we dump on a community of folks, indicating that their life-long commitments are less than that of an opposite-sex couple? Does it really matter if I equivocate in my answer about whether or not I support partnership rights so as to have a better shot at getting elected in my district this fall?
I think it does matter.
Case in point: Our New Bedford shooter who violently channeled his hate and fear at a bunch of innocent folks in a bar in Massachusetts.
Our lawmakers, leaders, and anti-gay activists aren’t directly responsible for the shooter’s actions. But, indirectly, I believe they are.
When you suggest by implication or assertion that one group of people is somehow less than or not as worthy as others, the nation listens.
And trouble, if not a perpetuation of inequality in a nation that prides itself on “liberty and justice for all,” generally always ensues.
Special credit due to NPR for this small snapshot of the great chart on their site. Be sure to visit NPR for a detailed view!