December 21, 2003
One Way Ticket to Canada
Full Disclosure: Yes, I am. And yes, I purposefully call opponents of gay marriage “anti-marriage,” instead of making the distinction, because I think it’s distasteful and Orwellian that a remarkable little bit of doubletalk like the “Defense of Marriage Act” is still just humbly acquiesced to in 2003. I’m kind of a radical on this point, I understand that.
I won’t say I didn’t see it coming, but it’s bad news, nevertheless.
By and large, Americans pretty much don’t like the prospect of same-sex marriages, and a larger number than had been thought (a significant majority, in fact) favor a Constitutional amendment banning it.
I’m still rather cavalier about the prospect of an anti-marriage amendment making it through the long process of ratification, but it’s not impossible. Once such an amendment made its way through Congress (which it easily might), it would go out to all 50 states. If the amendment fails in one house of Congress in at least 13 states, it fails, period.
Those seem like pretty good odds. But we can’t forget that 37 states have passed Defense of Marriage Acts prohibiting same-sex marriage.
And even though we knew this was coming, the article itself is interesting, frightening, and sort of weird.
This, for example, is weird: “An overwhelming majority, 87 percent, said they thought most people would not accept having same-sex couples married within their church, synagogue or place of worship.”
That’s just a really strange question to ask. First off, it’s a roundabout way of getting at the question of what people think public opinion is. Second, it really confuses the issue, at a time when everyone supporting gay marriage is trying to point out that legalizing civil marriage would not force churches to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Also, all of the respondents quoted in the article are over 41. The survey found that 18-29-year-olds were much more in favor of gay marriage than their parents, and especially their grandparents. It would have been nice to hear one of these voices in the article.
Instead, this guy passes for the pro-marriage voice of America:
One of the few people interviewed who was not opposed to legally recognized same-sex marriages was Cliff Martin, 47, an unemployed Democrat in Gainesville, Fla. “I think gays should be allowed to marry because it’s not something that threatens other people,” he said.
Color me non-plussed. Out of 1,037 people surveyed, 359 favored allowing gays to marry. Yet the Times calls them “the few people who [were] not opposed.” And to represent this humble few, they get Cliff Martin, “an unemployed Democrat,” to stand against the anti-marriage views of a “financial analyst” and “a retired elementary school teacher,” among others. Mightn’t they have skipped the euphemism and just called Cliff “a fairy-lovin’ Michael Jackson fetishist on welfare”? Transparency, people. We want transparency in journalism.
And Cliff’s response amounts to, “Well, it won’t hurt nobody.” Which is a good point, I’ll grant. But it’s hardly the most significant argument for gay marriage, or the one about which most proponents are excited.
The Good News: The two most prominent demographics supporting gay marriage a) were born after the Civil Rights Revolution, and b) know a gay person. Both of these populations are naturally growing, and will form a majority before too long. Time still strongly favors the queer folk. Any federal policy detrimenting the rights of gays will be repealed within a generation. So the worst-case scenario is that we have to wait out these remnants of intolerance.
But still, while we’re waiting, Vancouver sure is looking nice.