2010: The Fight for Marriage… Part 1: Who does it mean more to?
My roommate likes to point out that the gay community should be focused on more important issues than marriage: hate crime and bullying legislation, housing and workplace discrimination, the deplorable ideas being professed in Uganda, etc. When teenagers get bullied over sexuality to a point that drives them to suicide, marriage just doesn’t seem as important. But whether we like it or not, the fight in 2010 between the gay community and its opponents will be driven by the debate over marriage.
There have been numerous developments since my last posts on marriage at the beginning of December, and there are several major, future events that need to be mentioned. With organization and knowing my habit for being long-winded in mind, I will split what I have to say into two parts. The first will be a general update about the marriage debate: who does marriage really mean more to? The second will focus on the ripples from Prop 8, specifically the soon to be argued California court case.
Throughout both posts, I’m going to include some amazing NOH8 photographs that my friend, Chris Weiss, recently shot. The entire compilation of photos can be found at his website.
Let’s begin by comparing events from the last week of 2009 to highlight what marriage means to each side.
In one corner, we have Karl Rove, an ardent vigilante for the sanctity of marriage, filing for divorce on December 29 from his wife of 24 years; this will be his second divorce, by the way. If you have forgotten, he worked under President Bush and was a major spur in a pathetic 2004 campaign to add a gay marriage ban to the Constitution.
Part of a Bush speech on the matter: “For ages, in every culture, human beings have understood that traditional marriage is critical to the well-being of families. And because families pass along values and shape character, traditional marriage is also critical to the health of society. Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them. And changing the definition of traditional marriage will undermine the family structure.” It’s remarkable that these words can be uttered while it is irrefutable that marriage IS an evolving social idea and that divorce tears up families as much, or more, than anything.
In the other corner, we have the remarkable story of Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre, who became Latin America’s first legally married same-sex couple (this happened within a week of Rove’s divorce, just so we stay on track with the comparison). The political spectrum on the issue in Argentina is quite similar to the U.S.: there is no policy throughout the entire country on the issue; it is left to individual provinces to decide at this time while the national government is silent. And after the couple finally married, you have a local bigot bishop state that the marriage is “an attack against the survival of the human species.” *yawn*
Anyway, the couple was first scheduled to marry in Buenos Aires, and through a legal victory earlier in the year, looked to have the proper clearance to do so. But on the eve of their wedding, another court filed an injunction and the wedding was blocked. I can only imagine how disheartening that must have been
Yet, they carried on and found Tierra del Fuego, a state that would allow them to marry. And there, in Ushuaia, capital of the state and the southernmost tip of the continent, they wed. It is quite a remarkable story of love: you can read more about it here and here.
So what does 2010 have in store? There really is no time to even take a breath.
Tomorrow, the New Jersey state Senate will vote to legalize gay marriage. If it passes, it will need also approval from the Assembly prior to reaching the governor’s desk. Governor Corzine supports the measure, but Chris Christie, who replaces him in two weeks, does not. I’m not politically savvy enough to make a legitimate prediction on if that time frame is possible, but from an amateur’s perspective, it sure looks grim. And that sucks; it really, truly sucks that we have to go through this.
Next up: although Washington D.C. recently authorized gay marriages, the American Center for Law & Justice has filed a brief on behalf of 39 members of Congress and citizens of D.C. seeking to put the issue to public vote. As if a majority vote is a good way to determine a minority’s rights.
Lastly, Iowa. It’s been a relatively calm 6 months of gay marriages in Iowa, but this article posted in the Des Moines Register notes that, “Opponents of Iowa’s gay marriage law are promising to push hard during the 2010 legislative session for a vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex unions.”
So strap on your boots, ladies and gents, we’re in for a wild ride in 2010. Will leave you with one last NOH8 photo by Chris Weiss. Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this 2010 marriage post and for more NOH8 photos.