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The gay decade

In the struggle for gay equality (especially marriage equality), the aughts have been the equivalent of the anti-segregation ’50s. Matt Sigl starts with Lawrence v. Texas and rolls from there:

In 2001 The Netherlands (of course) were the first nation in the world to recognize same-sex marriage. In 2003 Ontario followed suit, with Canada granting universal marriage rights to all citizens in 2005. By the end of the decade seven different countries (including South Africa!) have full legal marriage for same-sex couples. Many others have newly enacted civil union laws. And in America, after the shackles of legal and institutionalized homophobia were loosened with Lawrence, same-sex marriage became, just as Scalia predicted, not a lofty dream but a logical necessity and social inevitability. Within six months of the Lawrence decision the ice had thawed enough to allow for the Supreme Court of Massachusetts to demand the that Bay State offer the same marriage license to all its inhabitants, gay or straight.

I’d much rather the aughts be remembered as the Gay Decade than the Hipster Decade.

Both links via Sullivan.

December 5, 2009 / Uncategorized


Dan says…

Instead of looking to the 50’s and civil rights for a comparison, I think we’d do better to think about the decade following WWI and woman suffrage. All around the world, women gained the vote thanks to local, national, and transnational political advocacy.

Let’s just hope that history doesn’t repeat itself (luckily—it never does), because we don’t want to wait 30 years between the time the first state okays gay marriage and the time when the nation as a whole decides to grant basic civil rights to all individuals. (Wyoming entered as a state with full woman suffrage in 1890; the US passed the nineteenth amendment in 1920)

Tim Carmody says…

It’s a good analogy, too, because in the teens, women’s suffrage didn’t appear to everyone to be a central problem — unlike the 50s/60s, when struggles over civil rights were much more dramatically front-and-center. Like universal suffrage, people can act as if the struggle for universal marriage isn’t even happening. But it is happening.

In this way, my comparison with the 50s is more aspirational — we ought to act as if this were among the most urgent moral and political issues of the present, that the victories are major milestones, that we will not waver until the inevitable has become actual.

Dan says…

Cool. I’m game to aspire as well. Though I reserve the right to hope for less violence against those asserting their rights than one would have seen in the 50s.

Tim Carmody says…

Word. That’s a part of the civil rights struggle I hope we never have to relive.

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