Friday, May 8, 2009

The Outbreak and the Paranoia Treatment

Sure, many people have been warning us about it from the outset, and yet there was only a single case for the longest time.  And then, suddenly, bam, 2009 and its running rampant, spreading from state to state with incredible speed and much fear and outrage in its wake.  It has yet to be seen whether it will become a pandemic, or if it will be fought off.  But, nonetheless, it has happened:  Maine has legalized gay marriage.

Here's a brief summary of events:

1996:  Defense of Marriage Act is passed in anticipation of states soon legalizing gay marriage.
2003:  Massachusetts court ruling finds gay marriage bans unconstitutional.
October 10, 2008:  Connecticut court rules that banning same sex marriage is unconstitutional.
November 4, 2008:  Proposition 8 passes.  In addition, legislation to ban adoption by gay couples was passed in Arkansas and Florida and Arizona passed laws banning same sex marriage.
April 3, 2009:  Gay marriage is made legal in Iowa with a court ruling that they cannot ban same sex couples from getting marriage certificates.
April 7, 2009:  Vermont passes legislation that will allow for gay marriage to replace civil unions come September 1st, 2009.
May 6, 2009:  Maine passes legislation that will allow for gay marriages to occur after September 14th, 2009.

 New York recognize gay marriages, and New Hampshire and New Jersey 
allow for civil unions (Connecticut and Vermont have in the past as well).   Legislation for allowing gay marriage is pending in Rhode Island.  Flip side: Proposition 8 is likely to remain upheld by the Supreme Court in California.  And the decision in Maine is already meeting opposition, with a petition being signed in an attempt to get a referendum.  Luckily, the story makes it sound as if the activists have learned their lesson of Proposition 8, and are just as willing to fight for the decision as its opponents are to fight against it.  Which, brings me to my actual observation (which I believe is a point also made in the former of those two articles):  the injustice that was the passage of Proposition 8 may have invigorated gay marriage proponents, as well as sympathy for the cause, more than if it had actually passed.  This recent avalanche of legislation may actually owe its entire existence to Proposition 8, which illegalized gay marriage after it had already been legalized and invalidated marriages in the process.  It has intensified the voice of those who had already supported them, and may have broadened support as well.  

It is unclear whether we are seeing a trend that will continue, especially since most of the states that have turned within the past year or so were already rather gay-friendly, and it is unclear whether greater acceptance of homosexuality and the idea of same-sex marriage has been exclusive to locations that were already rather accepting of both, rather than being a full-nation phenomenon.  But, as a word of caution, we should not only expect that this will be the last state legalizing gay marriage in the near future, but we should also expect that those who oppose gay marriage will be trying everything in their power to shift things back to the status quo.  It's overly pessimistic, but we need to concentrate on keeping the ground that we have now made, and not allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by a sense of accomplishment for something that could be taken away so easily when in such a state of self-satisfied arrogance.  The advances that we have made are only tentative if there are enough people out there with the means and the passion to undo it.  Stay vigilant, and guard the reset buttons with all your might!

(For those of you who initially thought that this post would be about the spreading swine flu meance and some of the over-the-top reactions that people have about it....I am too ambivalent about the matter to really do such a thing.  And, anyway, xkcd has done it for me.)


Jared said...

still many more to go...

Stacy S. said...

Yes - you got me. lol

At least you didn't pull me in too far before you spilled the beans about the real topic.

(that would have been unforgivable). ;-)

Asylum Seeker said...

It also would have been exhausting...even going the full first paragraph was pushing it a bit. (And suddenly I am wishing that I used the title for this post for something's evocative somehow...).

And, yes, our fight is not complete. Far from it. We've made incredible strides though. We are still far from our goal, but, considering that I would have never imagined, this time last year, that gay marriage would be legalized in even one new state, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised at the progress we've made thus far.

pboyfloyd said...

I think that, over time, we do lose objectivity. The 'fight' is not all about 'the right to marry whom you choose', it's about 'put up or shut up' FREEDOM.

"You" don't 'get to say', "We live in a FREE country!", and imagine that you have the right to oppress everyone who disagrees with you.

When people are saying, "We can't have THIS!", and they're 'protecting' some imaginary kids from a fate worse than gay, as if we'll EVER run out of guys 'stuck on stupid' about their masculinity, people who want 'freedom' to mean something ought to stop their minds from 'boggling' long enough to point out that that is NOT freedom.

Stacy S. said...

""You" don't 'get to say', "We live in a FREE country!", and imagine that you have the right to oppress everyone who disagrees with you. "You hit the nail on the head pboy.

Mandar Malum said...

some of the states that have legalized Gay Marriage have surprise me... i guess i have always assumed that they were too rural to be open minded.

Oh and yes, I did think this was going to be about Swine Flu... pleasant surprise!

GearHedEd said...

Meself being an atheist, I have no vested interest in protecting the notion of marriage from intrusion by those "evil gay people".

If you ask me, it's all just semantics anyway.


Let all the gay couples that want to, be joined in civil unions that provide all the benefits of traditional marriages; just don't CALL it a marriage. Call it a "civil union". Same result, but keeps the religious community happier by not calling it a marriage.

And if by chance some gay couples want to get "civil unionized" in a church by their favorite clergyperson (who obviously would approve of their monogamous gay relationship in the first place, else why ask that clergyperson?), then let the fundies rant and complain, but protect the rights of the couple, if they want to be joined thus.

I wonder when we're going to start hearing about gay divorces...?

People are still people, after all.

mac said...

"I wonder when we're going to start hearing about gay divorces...?" - Ed


Wasn't Fred Astaire in that movie?

GearHedEd said...

Fred Astaire...

Didn't he host "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" in season 4?

Anonymous said...

Ize tinks Jeezus sums ups all yooze needs to know about feegs.

He walked up to this feeg tree. Dats where all feegs came from. And he said, "Yo, may you never bear fruit again."

But one feeg got away, and he multiplicated himself, you know like feegs do. So's now we got a buncha feegs again.

But de key is dat Jesus didn't hate feegs, he just knew dat from dem would come paisley, ballroom dancing and fung shway.

Now if you want to putt from the rough dats one thing, but youze can't just go around and invent ballroom dancing and stuff. Dats why being feegs is sinful.

Brooklyn in da house!


On a more serious note, how ludicrous is it that a battle over gay marriage is still being waged? That's rhetorical.

Stacy said...

OK - This is a little late. I hope you will see it.
It's a little over-the-top but I think you'll enjoy it!