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I know, I know. Gay marriage is so passé now. Eleven states shot it down in 2004, and another seven shot it down in 2006. A bunch of them even said no to civil unions. Obviously, as we already knew from the polls long before these referenda and amendments made it to the ballot, the majority of Americans think gay marriage is a bad idea. And a lot of them are Democrats.

So why bring up this divisive issue again in yet another election year? We had our fling with gay marriage, right? The results were sour, so let's get back to the real business of the Democratic Party. Some day, we're told, in a decade or two or three – as the older generation (my generation) dies off – the nation can reconsider whether gays and lesbians should have the same rights as other human beings, but right now, give it a rest, eh?

Astonishing how fast those decades fly by. Indeed, it was just 33 years ago today that Clela Rorex, the county clerk in Boulder, Colorado, and a friend of mine, issued the nation's first-ever license for a gay marriage.
During the following month Rorex would issue five more licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Not surprisingly, she caught a barrage of brimstone from clergy and editorialists and politicians and the majority of citizens. No surprise since less than a year earlier, Boulder had engaged in an electoral and media civil war because the city council had passed one of the country's first ordinances protecting gays from discrimination. A referendum had reversed the law a few months later and a young city councilman had been recalled and replaced after an election campaign that was just short of tar and feathers.

So what could Rorex have been thinking?

At the time, many of us who had supported the repealed gay rights ordinance – the same kind that hundreds of communities from Corvallis to Cape Cod (as well as Boulder) now enforce – were arguing that any fresh attempt to push something having to do with gay equality would fail and possibly give the right wing another cudgel with which to undermine left and liberal goals in other arenas. We were arguing, basically, that gays should wait and "go slow," just as some liberals had argued that black people should do 20 years earlier.

In Rorex's office, however, was a gay man, Deputy County Clerk N. Patrick Prince, who raised questions with her about the state's marriage law. He and his lover got one of the six licenses Rorex issued after obtaining a memo from the district attorney's office saying that doing so wasn't specifically prohibited by Colorado law.

"There is no statutory law prohibiting the issuance of a license, probably because the situation was simply not contemplated in the past by our legislature. The case law is strongly on the side of the public official that refuses to issue a marriage license in these situations, and a public official could not be prosecuted for violation of any criminal law by such marriage licensing," the assistant D.A. wrote. The law did not permit marriage between close blood relations, nor bigamy, but it didn't say anything about the sex of the partners, he said.

So Rorex started issuing licenses, telling clerks to cross out "man" and "woman" on the documents and insert "person."

It didn't take long for the Colorado Attorney General to step in with a legal opinion calling same-sex licenses misleading because they falsely suggested that recipients had obtained all the rights the state afforded to husband and wife. The Boulder District Attorney deferred and the licenses became void. The matter was never contested in court.

Meanwhile, some license foes who weren't busy writing Rorex hate mail and looking for rope were having themselves a good laugh.

On April 15, Roswell "Ros" Howard arrived with his mare, Dolly, at Rorex's office ...  

... flanked by reporters and demanded, "If a boy can marry a boy and a girl can marry a girl, why can't a lonesome old cowboy get hitched to his favorite saddle mare?" He then asked Rorex to marry him and his horse. Rorex hardly missed a beat. She denied Howard's application, explaining the 8-year-old Dolly was too young to get hitched without her parents' written consent.

Now 64, Clela Rorex today is the treasurer and law office administrator for one of my favorite organizations, the Boulder-based Native American Rights Fund. About her actions 33 years ago, she's changed her mind, she told me three years ago in a phone interview:

"If I had the opportunity to do it over again, I would do it with more conviction this time. Then I knew nothing about gay and lesbian relationships. I only knew one gay man. But I knew it was the right thing to do.

"My only regret in this is that people with long-term loving relationships still can't get married. I now know several gay and lesbian couples who have been together for years. They reaffirm to me that this is an issue of human rights, civil rights. All the fanatical hatemongering about it is frightening and infuriating."

Indeed. My ex-wife and her long-time companion live just a few blocks from Rorex. A physician’s assistant and an acupuncturist, they've been together for 19 years, one year longer than my current wife and I have been married. These two women who deeply love each other and have shown the kind of commitment that the right-wanker hate tribe claims is crucial to being an acceptable human being still can't get married, can't file a joint tax statement, can't even be certain that in the future some miscreant bureaucrat will, in perfect legality, keep one of them from visiting the other in the hospital should they wind up so confined.

One couple who married after getting a license from Rorex remains together today. Their Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case, Adams v. Howerton provides another example of why gay marriage isn't some frivolous tangent in the culture war. In a letter they wrote in 2004 to a Boulder paper:

"One of the problems that many of our own community have had when dealing with the issue of same-sex marriage is that it goes beyond the battle for sex rights.
It is a battle about love and many of our own community as a result of the environment brought about by the insidious accumulative effects of homophobic oppression are cynical and reactionary when it comes to Love. Love is an extraordinarily powerful force. That is why the enemies of Lesbian and Gay Liberation do not want to see our relationships recognized. Once Same-Sex Love is recognized the strength of the opposition will begin to wither away. It is inevitable."

Thirty-three years have passed since those first licenses were issued, then rescinded. Some say it will take another 33, at least, before the majority of Americans see the light. I wish I could believe they're wrong. I wish that in five or 10 more years, most Americans would look back on the reluctance to extend equal rights to gays – including marriage rights – as another unfortunate discrimination consigned to the benighted past, thus proving once again America's wonderful ability to perpetually transform itself by applying its earliest ideals for a limited part of the population to all human beings.

Throughout our history, on one side have been those who say that tradition, scientific studies, common-sense, public order and divine revelation all dictate that this or that second-class group should remain unequal, not quite legally human, and therefore subject to laws that nobody else is, unshielded by laws that everybody else is. Black people,, women, Indians, immigrants have all found themselves legally assigned to these "other" categories. Other than fully American, other than fully a person.
On the opposite side have been two groups: gradualists and maximalists. Every civil rights movement – every social movement in America – has included a tug-of-war between them.

Almost always, the gradualists concede that they agree with the maximalists in principle: They know there's no such thing as half-equal, you either are, or you aren't. But politics is the art of the possible, the gradualists say, and reform takes time.

I'm a maximalist, but who can disagree with the gradualists? They've got the referenda of 2004 and 2006 to prove their case. Success in this matter will be either gradual or not at all.

But to those  – both left, right and center – who think this issue will go away, forget it. It can't go away. Because it's not about gay marriage. It's about civil rights. Equal rights. Everybody's rights. Not a luxury. Not an add-on. Bedrock, bottom-line, fundamental. That was so when Clela Rorex issued those licenses 33 years ago, and it still is today.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 03:46 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What a wonderful story (25+ / 0-)

    MB, you have some really incredible friends.:) Kudos to Clela Rorex for taking a stand for civil rights!

    Let's fix democracy in this country first.

    by Ekaterin on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 03:53:16 PM PDT

    •  I was living in Boulder then (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Odysseus, Ekaterin

      I grew up there.  I remember this.  I remember thinking, "Wow, that's brave."  We all knew that the blowback would follow.

      Those were the days in Boulder.  Ms. Rorex's initial reaction of "Why not?" was a typical attitude in Boulder then.  A lot of us had a naive egalitarianism that was, yeah, naive, but a lot more tolerant than most are even today.  It's still a commendable and moral view, though nearly all of us are not so naive anymore.

      So this is how liberty dies -- with thunderous applause.

      by MJB on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 08:57:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  great history lesson (15+ / 0-)

    it was states in the rocky mtn west that also broke ground for women's voting rights. Nice reminder that big rectangly land locked states can lead the way and need not be painted red.

  •  I'm glad to see.. (20+ / 0-)

    ..a front page story on gay marriage. Too often, especially this year, it's been deemed a 'third-rail' issue.

    I hope that the next 33 years will bring serious change.

  •  one addition to your story please Arizona (29+ / 0-)

    voters became the first in the nation to REJECT an anti-marriage amendment in 2006. It was prop 107 on the ballot in Arizona in 2006 ....
    and it was defeated 51% to 49%.

    I will not cast a vote to validate a stolen election.

    by dantrotheplanetman on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 03:55:05 PM PDT

  •  that's some company you keep sir (12+ / 0-)

    can't say i'm surprised to learn that there are some true pioneers in your orbit.

    many thanks for this.

    Time for Miles to soothe me again, because jazz is the antibush. --zic

    by homo neurotic on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 03:55:24 PM PDT

  •  It won't be another 33 years (12+ / 0-)

    The demographics are with us. Same-sex marriage will be allowed in most, if not all the country in the next 10 years, I predict.

    I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    by incertus on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 03:56:49 PM PDT

  •  Talk about convictions (5+ / 0-)

    If only our officials at present, elected and unelected, had that kind of courage.   As my mother might say, there are good things awaiting Clela Rorex in the next life (though it seems we could really use her for many more in this one).

    I'm adding her to my list of unsung heroes of justice, along with MB (duh!) and a professor I had a few semesters ago who is soon retiring, but had the courage to work in Mississippi in 1961 (and be arrested for it), and to teach and profess equality as a bisexual man in a university that teaches he is an abomination.

  •  Someday, I hope (17+ / 0-)

    my partner & I can proudly marry...

    ...but until then, I can only look to Canada and thier leading example that some heavenly power didn't smite them, so it might be OK after all.

    Honk if you love cheeses...

    by Brubs on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 03:57:43 PM PDT

  •  the problem is not necessarily (5+ / 0-)

    people--attitudes are changing faster than ever, you look at polls from 2004 and then 2007 and there's a big difference; every year gay rights causes gain more and more support. The problem is ultimately, as almost always, politicians.

    Most people probably agree that sending someone to jail for having small quantities of marijuana is stupid, yet changes in ridiculous drug policies don't change because politicians move slower than snails on any given issue. They don't like to rock the boat, even if people don't mind. It's been over 15 years since the Democrats' last attempt at health care reform, and through out all this time there's been little movement even among Democrats because they the scars of the fights simply didn't heal in their minds, while the majority of the population started to approve of socialized health care.

    Unfortunately it's the same thing with gay marriage, it's the politicians who simply will not act until many many years from now when they deem safe to do so. At least at the federal level.

    "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

    by michael1104 on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 03:58:00 PM PDT

    •  There is certainly a generational issue ... (14+ / 0-)

      ...regarding gay marriage. That is where hope lies. But you can't just blame the politicians when 18 states in the past four years have had the voters smash gay marriage (and, in several cases, civil unions), while only one state's voters defeated some a proposal.

      The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. - Frederick Douglass

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:00:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades

        but what I'm saying is that we can hope it doesn't take 33 more years, but even in a few decades when the new generations propel support for equal marriage to supermajority status, the same politicians who have refused to do anything on health care while the system was collapsing and more and more people were supporting radical reform, will probably still not do anything. There are many issues that garner popular support but politicians don't act because of their perceived voter backlash that wouldn't be there, certain drug liberalization reforms are an example.

        "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

        by michael1104 on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:04:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Quick question Meteor Blades (0+ / 0-)

        and not to be off topic, but does the name Paul Breines ring a bell at all to you?

    •  I don't know . . . it was certainly not (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Dagoril

      politicians who approved VA's horrendous anti-gay constitutional amendment.  Even in relatively liberal northern VA, the 'marriage amendment' supporters overwhelmed those of us against.  Ignorance and fear are still widespread.  I predict that VA will have to be dragged along by federal statutes, just like with interracial marriage.  It's sad and frustrating.

      "Going to church does not make us Christians any more than stepping into our garage makes us a car." --Rev R. Neville

      by catleigh on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:02:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Ignorance and fear are still widespread." (0+ / 0-)

        That problem, catleigh, is certainly not limited to Virginia.

        It says so much about us that the more wisdom we gain the more we still fight to never surrender the primitive parts of our brain that don't use it.

        George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

        by snafubar on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:38:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Over 40 % (0+ / 0-)

        Actually there were lots of votes in northern Virginia against the anti-marriage amendment. Some 70 % in Arlington County voted no.
        Votes against banning gay marriage were over 40 % statewide in Virginia.

    •  No it's the people (0+ / 0-)

      most of these anti-gay measures have purposely bypassed the politicians totally and been passed by referendum

      The politicians have been more progressive than the voters.

      The problem is that the voters are bigots and they are funded by churches that are afraid their authority is in danger

      We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. - J. Edgar Hoover

      by tiponeill on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 08:42:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If I have my math right 33 Years Ago is 1975 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rincewind, TX Unmuzzled, corvo, snafubar

    Highlights From 1st 6 months.

    January 1 - Watergate scandal: John N. Mitchell, H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are found guilty of the Watergate cover-up.

    January 7 - OPEC agrees to raise crude oil prices by 10%.

    January 8 - Ella Grasso becomes Governor of Connecticut, the first woman U.S. governor who did not succeed her husband.

    January 8 - U.S. President Gerald Ford appoints Vice President Nelson Rockefeller to head a special commission looking into alleged domestic abuses by the CIA.

    March 10 - Vietnam War: North Vietnamese troops attack Ban Me Thuot, South Vietnam, on their way to capturing Saigon.

    March 10 - The Rocky Horror Show opens on Broadway in New York City with 4 performances.

    April 3 - Bobby Fischer refuses to play in a chess match against Anatoly Karpov, giving Karpov the title.

    April 4 - Vietnam War: The first military Operation Babylift flight, C5A 80218, crashes 27 minutes after takeoff, killing 138 on board; 176 survive the crash.

    April 4 Bill Gates founds Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA (April 4, 1975)

    April 17 - Following the Khmer Rouge capture of Phnom Penh, Pol Pot proclaims the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea in Cambodia and becomes its Prime Minister (1975-1979).

    April 24 - Six Red Army Faction terrorists take over West German embassy in Stockholm, take 11 hostages and demand the release of the group's jailed members; shortly after, they are captured by Swedish police. (See West German embassy siege)

    April 25 - Vietnam War: As North Vietnamese Army forces close in on the South Vietnamese capital Saigon, the Australian Embassy is closed and evacuated, almost 10 years to the day since the first Australian troop commitment to South Vietnam.

    April 30 - Vietnam War: The Fall of Saigon: The Vietnam War ends as Communist forces take Saigon, resulting in mass evacuation of Americans and South Vietnamese. As the capital is taken, South Vietnam surrenders unconditionally.

    June 5 - The Suez Canal opens for the first time since the Six-Day War.

    June 5 - The United Kingdom votes yes in a referendum to stay in the European Community.

    June 9 - The Order of Australia is awarded for the first time.

    June 10 - In Washington, DC, the Rockefeller Commission issues its report on CIA abuses, recommending a joint congressional oversight committee on intelligence.

    June 19 - Richard Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan is found guilty in absentia of the murder of nanny Sandra Rivett.

    June 20 - The "Summer Blockbuster" film Jaws is released, a thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg.

    June 25 - Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declares Emergency in India, suspending civil liberties and elections.

    June 25 - Mozambique gains independence from Portugal.

    June 26 - Two FBI agents and 1 AIM member die in a shootout, at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

    Be careful what you shoot at, most things in here don't react well to bullets-Sean Connery .... Captain Marko Ramius -Hunt For Red October

    by JML9999 on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 03:58:47 PM PDT

  •  Thank you again for getting back to the core (8+ / 0-)

    liberal progressive issues. There cannot be any compromise when basic rights such as marriage for a section of society are non-existent. Government should be in the business of recognizing marriages for some and denying the same to others because of their sexual orientation. Equal and same rights for every human being!

  •  We do need to wait (0+ / 0-)

    Some day, we're told, in a decade or two or three – as the older generation (my generation) dies off – the nation can reconsider whether gays and lesbians should have the same rights as other human beings, but right now, give it a rest, eh?

    I support gay marriage and I know this is said in jest, but I personally agree with this argument.  I don't want to create antagonism with this, but it really isn't the time.  Not this cycle.  I certainly don't agree with waiting "a decade or two or three," just a cycle or two or three.

    The point is that this is a fight we are guaranteed to win if we are just patient.

    •  Just don't understand (5+ / 0-)

      This is one of my most enduring difficulties - I just cannot understand how anyone could look someone else in the face - another human being - and say that they can't get married to another person because they're the same sex.  It just doesn't compute for me.  And yet the reactions are so visceral - I don't know if patience is going to work, considering that it's religious people we're up against.  I think it's going to need something more radical - federally mandated protections or something.

      And when evangelicals tell me it's in the Bible, I always ask them if they keep kosher.  That's in the Bible too.

      •  Simple Answer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The simple answer is this: like the "average joes" who supported segregation in the south, they have no actual friends who are the minority in question.  It's very easy to marginalize someone else when your only knowledge of them is a negative outdated stereotype (the "misogynist effeminate gay queen" in the case of homosexuals, from what I can tell from my quite anti-gay boomer parents).  

        •  I guess that makes sense (0+ / 0-)

          If I could meet one of these people I would ask what is so scary about a "misogynist effeminate gay queen".  I can sort of see how this could happen if in their minds there was a possibility of them taking the "average joe's" job, increasing the level of crime in their neighbourhood, or somehow making life more unpleasant and dangerous.  But what are they afraid a married gay couple is going to do?  I really would love to know so I could know how to help defuse their fears.  

          How I miss the good old libertarian right, like my grandfather - he wanted small government that would stay out of everyone's lives, low (or preferably no) taxes, and people doing whatever they wanted as long as it didn't prevent him playing golf and watching birds through binoculars.  

    •  A dream deferred is a dream denied...nt (4+ / 0-)

      "You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows" - BD
      E: -5.62 S: -5.13

      by demotarian on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:37:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sorry, but (6+ / 0-)

      this argument always makes my blood boil.

      Every four years, we're told that this election is the most important one ever -- too important to let principles get in the way of victory.

      This is the argument that split the abolitionists and women's suffrage movements.  Women were told to wait their turn, now isn't the time, let the abolitionist movement prevail first.  And how much longer did it take for women to get the vote?

      And I remember many people blaming Mayor Newsom of San Francisco for costing Kerry the election in 2004.  If only the mayor hadn't pulled his "stunt" of allowing gay marriage in San Francisco.  Because 2004 was too important to let an issue like gay marriage take center stage.

      There is never a good time for revolution.

      •  Right, (0+ / 0-)
        forget trivial little things like the economy crashing, the desperate need to get off of fossil fuels, destroying the world's climate, occupying two  foreign countries and turning them into bloodbaths.

        No, the only important issue is gay marraige.

        Sorry, I'm all for it, but it's way the hell down on my list of priorities this year.

        •  Not what I said at all. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, kimoconnor
          I certainly did not mean to imply that gay marriage is the number one issue.  


          There are always issues of grave concern in every election cycle.  And when it comes to issues of civil rights, I think it's unfair -- and patronizing -- to tell the discriminated against minority (women, blacks, gays, et cetera) to just be patient, now isn't the time, there are more important issues.

          I'm not gay.  I was married in 2005.  No roadblocks for me.

          But exactly how long should my gay cousin have to wait for his rights to be "important" enough?  Or my gay friends?  Or my close family friends, who have been together for thirty years?

          I'm not saying we should put a hold on everything else until we've achieved equality for gays.  But we have to find a better way of dealing with these issues than by simply telling them, "Sorry, but there's more important stuff to deal with now.  Just sit tight."

          •  There are always issues of grave concern (0+ / 0-)
            True, but I really think the issues this cycle overshadow anything in my political lifetime. I only started paying attention in the early Reagan years, so I missed Civil Rights, Vietnam and the worst of Cold War nuclear crises.

            Last cycle was bad, but everything's gotten worse since then. I'm worried about our survival now, in a way I never have been before.

            But, assuming everything holds together, I really doubt it's going to be that long. Even 10 years ago, despite what this article implies, gay marriage wasn't on the political radar. Gays in the military was. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". I bet that'll change first, but marriage will be legal in more states and civil unions in even more within 10  years.

            So, sit tight and wait? No, agitate, push for rights, but sometimes you can get more, faster, by going slow than by trying for everything at once.

            And, personally and honestly, my opinion is probably partly because I really don't get the whole marriage thing. Relationships are important to me. Commitment is important. But I'm not religious, so that aspect isn't there. And the whole ceremonial business just leaves me cold. So I just don't feel the emotional connection to wanting actual marriage.
            I'm far more concerned with the other more tangible rights that go along with it, and with the other rights that gays have won in the last 30+ years.

            And I've rambled on far too long now...

            •  Every year at the Harris County Clerk's office (0+ / 0-)

              Every year in Houston a contingent goes to the County Clerk's office and applies for marriage licenses. I forget what day.
              My dentist and his lover went to Toronto to get married. It was in some GLBT media, but I don't know about the Houston Chronicle.

        •  If you're going to trust (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ArchiPup, kimoconnor

          folks who won't take a stand on a civil rights issue to save the planet, then I submit you have quite an unpleasant surprise or two in your future.

          •  Then we're screwed. (0+ / 0-)
            And no I won't really be surprised.

            Since there's no one in politics on the national scene pushing gay marriage, I'm afraid I'm out of luck anyway.

            It seems like a purity troll issue to me. And I'm usually on the purity side. Shall I impose a "supports gay marriage" litmus test to any politician before backing them? Will I have to move to find one I can support? Or can I just pick the best one I find and nudge them in the right direction when I can?

            Most politicians, I suspect, even the good ones, just don't see it as a civil rights issue, so I'm not sure it shows the lack of moral fiber you imply.

            •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And I'm usually on the purity side. Shall I impose a "supports gay marriage" litmus test to any politician before backing them?

              No, but you should at least distribute your outrage wisely.

              Most politicians, I suspect, even the good ones, just don't see it as a civil rights issue, so I'm not sure it shows the lack of moral fiber you imply.

              Politicians? moral fiber? there you go again . . .

    •  That's precisely the attitude (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, homoaffectional

      that demonstrates to the electorate that no, really, we don't really believe in all that rights stuff we like to talk about it.

      Americans, as stupid and venal as they can often be, have an unerring sense for the weak-tea, and given the chance, they spurn it every time.

      If you have the courage of your convictions, you'll still win over few of the bigots, but at least you'll get their respect.  If you don't have the courage of your convictions, you'll win over none of them, and earn the contempt of all of them.

    •  How many cycles, massa ? (3+ / 0-)

      Because that sounds soo familiar.

      Patience is not a virtue - for some of us it is a death sentence

      We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. - J. Edgar Hoover

      by tiponeill on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 06:21:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, but no (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Just a cycle or two or three" and pretty soon it's a "decade or two or three" and we're still stuck in the middle of the 16th century. Besides the obvious fact that we've already waited far longer than "a cycle or two or three." It's time the Democratic Party stepped up to the plate on this one.

  •  Gay people have the right... (10+ / 0-)

    to be just as unhappy as the heterosexual people.  [rimshot]

    "I believe in compulsory cannibalism. If people were forced to eat what they kill, there would be no more wars." - Abbie Hoffman

    by Jensequitur on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:00:52 PM PDT

    •  And that is why (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kimoconnor of the issues that comes after gay marriage is gay divorce, as two lesbians married in MA learned recently. Gay marriage can become the roach motel of unions if its not truly equal.

      Tony Sullivan was another of the gay men to get a license to be married in Colorado. His case raised the issue of becoming an American citizen through gay marriage. True equality has wide ranging effects.

      "Your life may be monitored or recorded for quality control purposes."

      by PBCliberal on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:15:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  First, I have to say (10+ / 0-)

    that the name, Clela Rorex, is beautiful on so many levels.  Thank you for this marvelous diary as I hadn't known about this courageous event (I was in the convent and can be forgiven).

    As a CT resident, I continue to be ranckled by the failure to move past the civil union stage to marriage.  As an old straight female with numerous gay and lesbian friends, I find the whole argument offensive.  I would choose anyone of the gay/lesbian couples I know to be parents over 98% of the straight couples (I know).  Fine, I am not a mathmetician -- take my friggin word for it.

    My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. Barbara Jordan 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:01:27 PM PDT

    •  one thing that I have noticed in gay people that (0+ / 0-)

      is tragically absent in those "normal" people slinging accusations in all directions but their own is patience, tolerance, understanding, and humility.

      There's a message there.

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:35:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beyond Same-Sex Marriage (14+ / 0-)

    It's time to reframe the "gay marriage" debates in a much more progressive way – without abandoning either those gay folks who want to be married or all of those in other partnerships and households also deserving of legal recognition.  

    I am one of the co-authors of "Beyond Same Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision".  You'll find a full statement here, written by a group of progressive queer activists and scholars, and endorsed by many.  (You'll even find Obama supporter Barbara Ehrenreich along with, sigh, Clinton supporter Gloria Steinem as endorsers.)

    I've included a summary below.  You can also learn more about this approach in the new book, Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage, by Nancy Polikoff.

    This approach offers a way through the "marriage wars" that help cut through the Right's effective tactical use of homophobia to not only oppose same-sex marriage, but to also undercut any other form of non-marital partnership recognition for queers and straights.

    Here's the Beyond Same-Sex Marriage summary.

    The time has come to reframe the narrow terms of the marriage debate in the United States. Conservatives are seeking to enshrine discrimination in the U.S. Constitution through the Federal Marriage Amendment. But their opposition to same-sex marriage is only one part of a broader pro-marriage, "family values" agenda that includes abstinence-only sex education, stringent divorce laws, coercive marriage promotion policies directed toward women on welfare, and attacks on reproductive freedom. Moreover, a thirty-year political assault on the social safety net has left households with more burdens and constraints and fewer resources.

    Meanwhile, the LGBT movement has recently focused on marriage equality as a stand-alone issue. While this strategy may secure rights and benefits for some LGBT families, it has left us isolated and vulnerable to a virulent backlash. We must respond to the full scope of the conservative marriage agenda by building alliances across issues and constituencies. Our strategies must be visionary, creative, and practical to counter the right's powerful and effective use of marriage as a "wedge" issue that pits one group against another. The struggle for marriage rights should be part of a larger effort to strengthen the stability and security of diverse households and families. To that end, we advocate:

    Ø   Legal recognition for a wide range of relationships, households and families – regardless of kinship or conjugal status.

    Ø   Access for all, regardless of marital or citizenship status, to vital government support programs including but not limited to health care, housing, Social Security and pension plans, disaster recovery assistance, unemployment insurance and welfare assistance.

    Ø   Separation of church and state in all matters, including regulation and recognition of relationships, households and families.

    Ø   Freedom from state regulation of our sexual lives and gender choices, identities and expression.

    Marriage is not the only worthy form of family or relationship, and it should not be legally and economically privileged above all others. A majority of people – whatever their sexual and gender identities – do not live in traditional nuclear families. They stand to gain from alternative forms of household recognition beyond one-size-fits-all marriage.

    The current debate over marriage, same-sex and otherwise, ignores the needs and desires of so many in a nation where household diversity is the demographic norm. We seek to reframe this debate. Our call speaks to the widespread hunger for authentic and just community in ways that are both pragmatic and visionary. It follows in the best tradition of the progressive LGBT movement, which invented alternative legal statuses such as domestic partnership and reciprocal beneficiary. We seek to build on these historic accomplishments by continuing to diversify and democratize partnership and household recognition. We advocate the expansion of existing legal statuses, social services and benefits to support the needs of all our households.

    We call on colleagues working in various social justice movements and campaigns to read the full-text of our statement "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision," and to join us in our call for government support of all our households.

    ...just another hooligan from the Dalai clique

    by RadioGirl on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:04:32 PM PDT

    •  This makes me so happy! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      homoaffectional, timbuck

      I will look for this book. Thank you for your thoughtful treatment of this topic.

    •  Well said. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      homoaffectional, ClapClapSnap

      Many rightly comment that extremely short diaries should be in an open thread.  Well, this is a comment that should be a diary.  :-)

    •  This is very interesting... (3+ / 0-)

      When my very conservative (more liberatarian probably) midwestern parents-in-laws have approached this issue, they always referred it as gays are trying to get special rights somehow..but when asked are they against gays getting married or being treated same as heterosexuals in terms of marriage and benefits, they have absolutely no problem with it. They are very clear that they do not support any move to deny or discriminate against gays rights/benefits that is available to others. However the extreme rightwing had been successful to couch the argument in such a manner as if gay marriage would end up giving gays special rights and had been able to confuse a significant number of Americans who actually do not support the ongoing discrimination.

    •  Very well said (0+ / 0-)

      While the struggle for two women in a relationship to get legal recognition from the state needs to be a focus, there are so many other familial relationships that need to be focused on as well.

      Finally, someone is saying something about this.  I read the introduction to the book you mentioned, and it was quality.

      In college, I had three bisexual friends who were a "triple."  No one ever talks about or supports them, it seems.  There are dozens of other relationships that should be recognized.

      Great comment.

  •  Gay marriage should be legal only if people vote f (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    STEVEinMI, FatOldGuy, Paul Newell
    There should be NO gay marriage unless both participants vote for it... only by unanimous decision, nothing less.

    Proud Sponsor of Hope '08
    My Political (and moral) Compass: -9.00, -8.72

    by bmozaffari on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:05:49 PM PDT

  •  Take religion out of the mix (8+ / 0-)

    Once you remove religion from the argument, it completely falls apart.

    This has ALWAYS been about civil rights.

    And the opposition has ALWAYS made it about religion.

    " ... or a baby's arm holding an apple!"

    by Lavocat on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:06:13 PM PDT

  •  Alas, the rotting vestiges of Puritan thought (5+ / 0-)

    rage widely in the American Heartland.  Fear of the unknown.  Us versus them.  "Normal folk" gotta stick together.  Piss poor excuse. Primitive.  Like cave dwellers huddled together peering out into the light.  Terrified of "the others."

    "We do not torture." - George Bush during recent Asian visit

    by Flippant to the Last on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:06:40 PM PDT

  •  Oddly... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I happen to have worked with one of the members of a couple who legally married only to later have her marriage "reversed".

    It's the SUPREME COURT, Stupid!

    by ultrageek on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:06:41 PM PDT

  •  it is not passe . . . (8+ / 0-)

    . . . not when there are jerks like this:

    "The homosexual agenda is destroying this nation, OK, it's just a fact," Rep. Sally Kern said recently to a gathering of fellow Republicans outside the Capitol.

    "Studies show no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted, you know, more than a few decades. So it's the death knell in this country.

    "I honestly think it's the biggest threat that our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam, which I think is a big threat," she said

    democrats should make more of this sorry hatred.

    Bush "is a yokel on the world stage . . . a Gilligan who cannot find his ass." Bill Maher

    by timbuck on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:07:31 PM PDT

    •  I think the Greeks lasted a bit longer that that. (6+ / 0-)

      ... and quite a few nations in Europe seem to be in FINE is she full of it!

      Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

      by mommyof3 on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:18:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Moreover, our entire western civilization (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mommyof3, Cassandra Waites, timbuck

        Is based on the Greeks.

        If any society or culture can claim indestructibility and survivability, it's the one they began.  It survived the middle ages, it will survive republicans.

        This republican hate-monger wouldn't even have the right to say that sort of thing if it weren't for the Greeks; she wouldn't even have her job in a form of government that wouldn't exist if it weren't for them...the list goes on and on.

    •  By stunning coincidence, I think (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      espresso, rincewind, corvo, snafubar, timbuck

         "The republican agenda is destroying this nation, OK, it's just a fact,"

         "Studies show no society that has totally embraced the republican party has lasted, you know, more than a few decades. So it's the death knell in this country.

         "I honestly think it (the republican party) is the biggest threat that our nation has, even more so than terrorism or not sorting recycling, which I think is a big threat."

      Now, go spread some peace, love and understanding. Use force if necessary. - Phil N DeBlanc

      by lineatus on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:21:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is a death knell in this country, caused by (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, timbuck

      those who find it in every sound they hear, convinced that it must be someone but themselves who is causing all this division.


      Kern would have been a hero back in Salem, Mass.

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:33:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Extremely interesting history (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eryk, timbuck

    Thanks for this.

    "Are we still, and if so on what grounds, Galilean and Cartesian?" Alain Badiou, Manifesto for Philosophy

    by Niky Ring on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:08:40 PM PDT

  •  One step at a time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Erwin, drchelo

    Some of us are tackling the issue on the homefront.  I just encountered a "rule" that even the definitions of gay and lesbian or transgendered were not introduced into the Human Sexuality curriculum until the 11th grade.  Yeah, you read that correctly.

    I think I've gotten the district to move it to the 8th grade (one step at a time).  These curriculums are designed on a 7 year cycle (!!!?????). It took a fair amount of facts, figures, persuasiveness, to get it moved even that far.

    One step - one step.

  •  Is it inappropriate to mention that the ERA is (5+ / 0-)

    also 'dead in the water?' BTW, good diary!

  •  She was thinking that all Americans are equal. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mommyof3, lineatus

    Or they are not.
    That simple.
    It is hard for me to understand why more people do not understand this as a civil rights issue.

    BTW...wonderful piece. Thanks.

  •  Affirmative Action is the new gay marriage... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...I heard today the new wedge issue to get voters to the polls is going to be anti-affirmative action referenda that are going through the signature-gathering process in several states.

    Maybe enough people will understand the narrative and call the sponsors out on their obvious agenda. But every day I have less faith in the public to see and understand how they are manipulated.

    "Your life may be monitored or recorded for quality control purposes."

    by PBCliberal on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:18:34 PM PDT

  •  Gay marriage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    galore, justalittlebitcrazy

    Is the gaping rent in the big tent.

    Further than that: it's the glaring inadequacy of democracy.  The brazen shamelessness of the majority in denying minorities equal rights makes it difficult if not impossible to continue pretending that democracy has some sort of inherent moral advantage over other forms of government.  

    A democracy is no better than the voters that comprise it.  And you can really see the wolf under the sheep's clothing in our democracy when it comes to gay marriage.

    •  "The majority" is actually on your side (0+ / 0-)

      According to this 2005 poll, 57% of Americans (across all political parties) support some kind of legal recognition for same-sex relationships, either gay marriage or civil unions.

      Heck, 45% of REPUBLICANS support gay marriage or civil unions.

      The trick is, that majority is split because a lot of LGBT activists don't want to "settle for" civil unions, and a lot of people who don't mind civil unions still thing the M word should be reserved for heterosexual couples.

      Personally, I think the solution is to have ALL legal joinings redefined as "civil unions," and let churches and private citizens define "marriage" however they want.

  •  Thanks (5+ / 0-)

    As someone who was on the front lines of the marriage equality battle from the same time period (In our case it was Seattle in 1971) I would like to thank you for this diary.  You are right.  This issue will not go away, as the right to choose whom to love and share life's journey with is one of the most basic of rights.  Some day the idea of gays being denied the right to marry will seem as archaic and wrong as the idea of children being forced into arranged marriages is today.

    Paul Barwick

  •  Thank you, Meteor Blades (8+ / 0-)

    For this wonderful front page story about an issue that still lives today, "3rd rail" status or not.

    Us GLBT Americans and our supporters, family, and friends all thank you.

    "But you do have the power to f*** up your own life. Think twice before you do it." - Sharon Gless as Debbie Novotny, QAF

    by Texas Blue Dot on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:23:13 PM PDT

  •  Marriage, in terms of what the state governs, is (4+ / 0-)

    a contract.  It is a partnership between two people and is rewarded with tax breaks and other bureaucratic incentives.  The purpose of the contract is to ensure social stability: be it through through delineated means of inheritance, power of attorney, parent-child responsibilities or any other things that can lead to disruption.

    It is not sacred for the very simple reason that the state does not deal with the sacred.  It is not religious for the very simple reason that matters of faith and religion and and should forever be outside the purview of the state.

    it is a contract like any other that the state oversees and to deny it to gay and lesbian couples is the height of discrimination.  It is not different, by any real metric, than a bank not granting a loan to someone because he or she is black, or the state not licensing an attorney because that attorney is a woman.  It is as arbitrary as it is disgusting.

    And it infuriates me to no end to know that there are people who I would fight for should they be discriminated against based on their gender or the color of their skin who tell me that in this one thing I am inferior: that my "minority" quality is worthy of discrimination.

    I hope it is resolved in 5 to 10 years.  I think it is the ultimate exposure of the tribal nature of America and I have little faith that any popular referendum will offer a remedy.  The courts, as the only recourse, have been derelict if not downright hostile and are tainted by conservatives for a generation.

    "And we will remember this when we are old and ancient, though the specifics might be vague..."- The Decemberists, "July, July"

    by electricgrendel on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:24:05 PM PDT

  •  Question for Kos or anybody else. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArchiPup, snafubar, Eryk, Leo in NJ

    How/when do I get my TU-privs back?  I haven't been able to rate posts since February 10.  It's March 25 now.  I wasn't troll-rated, I didn't troll-rate anybody (and never have, in the many years I have been here) and I'm rolling around in mojo.

    So what's the deal?  When does the curse lift?

  •  Hooray! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eryk, Angry Mouse

    I loved this.  I spent a day watching the weddings at San Francisco's city hall a few years back, and can tell you there's nothing like seeing love come together against power.

    It's the stupid, stupid.

    by Bindle on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:24:53 PM PDT

  •  Sigh... (10+ / 0-)

    Just when I was letting the Obama campaign get me all psyched up about being a Democrat, you had to go and remind me that our party leaders support a "separate but equal" policy for gay and lesbian Americans.  Hearing Obama say "Personally, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman" gives me the same sinking feeling as when I read Lincoln saying "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races..."  Must the legacy of our leaders always be stained by the bigotry of our times?

     This is exactly the kind of issue that makes it hard to convince my friends on the far left to come into the fold rather than voting for Nader or McKinney or Gravel or whoever.

    Anyway, great diary. Hats off to Ms. Rorex for having the courage to stand up 30+ years ago on an issue so many don’t have the courage to stand up on today.

    •  Lincoln changed his mind. n/t (7+ / 0-)

      The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. - Frederick Douglass

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:38:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But at least with Obama (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      espresso, musing85, R Rhino from CT4

      you've got a shot at having justices that will actually understand the "equal protection" clauses in the Constitution.

      I think that, just as the anti-miscegenation (thanks to the Safari spellchecker -- I always misspell that word) laws were set aside in Loving v. Virginia, it's going to have to take court action to begin the process of true equality for our GLBT brethren and sistren. Perhaps it will take a process of separating "civil marriage" (the legal contract) from "religious marriage" -- and take "civil marriage" out of the hands of the churches similar to what's done in France and other countries, where everyone has a "civil marriage" then those who choose to can have a "religious marriage" with all the trappings.

      It's no longer a matter of "if" but "when" -- and that's what the reactionaries are scared of.

      You're only as popular as the last diary/comment you posted. -- Zachpunk

      by Cali Scribe on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:43:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nah, not really . . . (0+ / 0-)

        But at least with Obama you've got a shot at having justices that will actually understand the "equal protection" clauses in the Constitution.

        Not until there's a filibuster-proof progressive majority in the Senate.  In other words, sixty Democrats excluding the usual DINO traitors (Nelsons, Salazar, Landrieu, etc. etc.)

    •  Obama and Gays (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think Obama's of the incrementalist approach (unsatisfying, I know).  You should be heartened by the fact that he's been unusually willing to discuss the issue in front of black audiences when it is in fact not beneficial to himself personally at all.  I can't think of any reason for him to bring it up other than his thinking it's an important issue that needs to be dealt with.

    •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

      The reason I can vote for Obama is because of that "personally".

      I am okay with him personally believing such.  If I thought he believed it should be illegal, regardless of the pragmatism of legalizing it, he wouldn't have my support.

    •  Small steps. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eryk, homoaffectional

      Somehow when I ponder Obamas speeches, that one comment you cite about "a man and a woman" seems to be the only essential calculated comment I can fathom he had to make.

      Listen to his 2004 speech -

      We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States.

      There's just enough in there to make me comfortable he didn't forget, he isn't going to forget, but he knows enough not to throw the red meat out to the lions before he knows he can safely get past the part where they would consume him for doing it.

      I'm as hetero as the day is long, but I think it's embarassing to have so many people act so scared of something that has not a thing to do with all they blame for it. I'm not so insecure that I need to find a bogey for my own faults, and it's ticking me off that there are so many people who obviously aren't secure enough in their own identity that they still have to destroy someone else's to feel better at night.

      I think Obama has it in him, but I think he's not going to set the world on fire at the wrong moment to make it obvious.

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:51:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Huzzah (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snafubar, Eryk

    Thank you for actually addressing this like adults should.  This is totally a civil rights issue and should be discussed as such.  Giving any group more rights than others should be condemed no mater how brave a stand it takes. It so pisses me off when someone will go out of there way to explain why they are not a bigot but then in the next breath will go on and on why gay marriage would be the end of civilazation. It is total Animal Farm logic.  "we are all equal but some of us are more equal than others".

    god I hate these people--Mike Malloy

    by bikebum on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:30:52 PM PDT

  •  Gay Marriage is not passe - it goes to the root (9+ / 0-)

    of how so many in this country lulls itself to sleep at night by convincing itself that there is always some bogey out there that screwed it all up...some bogey that isn't ever themselves.

    It really scrambles my brain that the people I know personally and often shake hands with who insist that gay marriage diminishes their hetero marriage don't know anyone who is gay, can't tell me a thing about the damage that somehow has been done, and ultimately the root of all evil - the sex - is surely something that is not only never seen but always implied.

    That's what ticks me off. My neighbor wants to tell me that his 42 year marriage is somehow diminished by people he has never met, and by acts that not only he has never seen, but can't even prove ever happen.

    I know two women in their 50's who want to be married so they can enter into legal contracts and  share their property, and not be told that because they aren't a "spouse" that they can't visit the one person on earth they care about when that person is in the hospital. And there stands this crowd who insists that these two ladies should be quarantined from each other because of their "sexual behavior". I'm sorry, but I don't see how two post-menopausal women are really guilty of offending the moral sensibilities of a country that still thinks Baywatch was a program about a bunch of lifeguards.

    Sorry for the rant - how many of the same people in this country can rationalize the death and destruction going on in Iraq but think that there is unthinkable danger in letting two people care for each other within the legal framework that others who they don't think find threatening abandon at greater than 50% - it's not just laughable, it's shameful.

    Gay marriage swings enough people to Republicans who would otherwise be Democrats that it most certainly is not passe.

    Thanks for keeping it on the front page.

    George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

    by snafubar on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:31:42 PM PDT

    •  Never be sorry about rants for justice. n/t (5+ / 0-)

      The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. - Frederick Douglass

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:37:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks Meteor...I am aware I do have a (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, musing85, corvo

        tendency to go far off script and leave everyone in the woods wondering how to get back home.

        I use the word "staggered" a lot -

        But if you close the door, turn off the lights and contemplate that there is a politician who actually wants "Unity" and "harmony" and "moderate" and "middle ground" to actually be tangible and not just rhetorical ideals, and people are attacking him, it staggers me. It's horribly transparent to me at least just how many people in this country want to stay divided and think that somehow they win an election with 50%+1, cut everyone else loose and take the reins, lead the country where they think it ought to go, and tell everyone else to get out of their yard.

        Obama actually wants us to be in fact, united, and the reality of the intensity to the resistance to that idea really sours my spirit.

        This diary puts a fine point on one of the oldest arguments that keeps finding new fuel for it's pathetic fire year after year, and at the core of it, I'm tired of made to look like my heterosexuality is threatened if someone doesn't share it.

        I'm more secure than that...I wish many of the rest were. Thanks for your encouragement.

        (aside...I took my voter registration card by hand 60 miles round trip to make sure I was squared away; and I have given $100 to a campaign for the first time in my life despite being unemployed. I've found something worth fighting for, and it feels good, despite my ostensibly sour outlook on life)

        George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

        by snafubar on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 05:19:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That kind of courage and conviction is inspiring (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thanks for sharing this great story, Meteor Blades. It's true, this is an issue of fundamental rights, and civil rights.  Two US Supreme Court cases have declared marriage a "fundamental right", albeit heterosexual marriage:

    As other States have also observed, the right to marry "is not a privilege conferred by the State, but a fundamental right that is protected against unwarranted State interference." Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, 440 Mass at 345, 798 NE2d at 970 (Greaney, J. concurring). "[I]t is a fundamental right of free men." Perez v. Sharp, 32 Cal 2d at 714, 198 P2d at 19.

    In looking up cases dealing with this issue, I came across this website that lays out rather nicely the case progression and changing legal attitudes that support gay marriage as a "right": Bella Online.

  •  I was 7 months old from conception (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Holton, JulieUnplugged

    when the first marriage licences were issued.
    So I don't remember. But I was hoping that I was being born into a just world.
    How disappointing. Today I am 33 years old and nothing's changed. Well almost nothing.

    Thanks for this post.

    Ce qui embellit le désert, c'est qu'il cache un puits quelque part...

    by gigglinggirl on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:33:20 PM PDT

    •  Really, a lot has changed. (0+ / 0-)

      A few years before you were born, there weren't any gay people.  Now, there are countries in the world, and even states in the USA, not only recognizing gay people but respecting them as equal citizens.  On the issue of legal marriage, it doesn't surprise me that it's a long and difficult struggle because -- even if Stonewall had not become world news, and all the history of the gay rights movement following -- the institution of marriage, itself, has been on a roller coaster ride these many years.  There's a huge lunge between those two hills, "Till death us do part," and "Till divorce us do part."  I think the USA needs to clarify in its psyche (as mentioned in other comments here), the distinction between religious marriage and civil marriage.

  •  Had a good conversation... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cali Scribe, Eryk a similar vein the other night with a friend who was concerned about the "co-opting" of gay culture into the mainstream but he didn't see peoples' core attitudes toward gay people changing, in relation to marriage, adoption, etc.

    I had to disagree, in the sense that queer folks are part of mainstream culture more and more, and it gets harder and harder to find people who "push the envelope" in the way that early LGBT rights pioneers had to. And attitudes about marriage and adoption are changing dramatically, especially when you look back just ten or twenty years.

    Personally, once I realized that I didn't need the affirmation of a church or a government to make me feel like I was a valid person, all I cared about was the ability to make medical decisions for my partner, to share property, to share health benefits, etc...

    I live in Washington state and my partner and I are "Domestic Partners" here. I would much rather that we had a federally-recognized marriage (like I hope Massachusetts couples' marriages will be once they work their way through the courts) but I happily accept the gradual steps as they're made. I get the feeling that those who support civil unions (but NOT marriage) are well aware that they are paving the way to future marriage equality, and are fine with that.
    I do have to say, though, that in the last 8 years, I've completely turned away from single-issue politics and will not be swayed from a good candidate simply because the other is (or claims to be) more of a friend to gay voters. The Human Rights Campaign (the other HRC) lost my donations when they advertised Coors products in their monthly mailing (while a Republican Coors was running for office) and funded re-election campaigns of moderate Republicans.
    Hillary Clinton lost my support when it was clear to me that her campaign didn't foster grassroots organizing and empowerment, and wouldn't strengthen Democrats' chances for further gains. I was pissed off by the whole Donnie McClurkin thing, but Obama would be a better President for everyone, including LGBT Americans.

  •  What's missing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in this diary is a strong mentioning of the possibility of severe regression.

    What those anti-gay amendments showed is that a majority of voters (which is very different from citizens) don't like us homos.
    I have no doubt that many of them would have also passed had they included felony penalties for same sex. I am actually surprised that the anti-gay crowd didn't include such.

    I don't think we are at a point where we can even take freedom for LGBT for granted not to mention equal rights.

    •  The question then becomes, how best (0+ / 0-)

      do we respond to that possibility? Do we, as you seem to be suggesting, cower in our closets and not rock the boat, lest we might get a bad outcome? Or do we rather say "Full speed ahead and fuck the homophobes!" because, after all, it's a simple question of rights, we're on the right side, and the number of haters is getting smaller every year?

      Personally, I lean toward the latter option. YMMV.

  •  Just one more of those.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...'excesses of the 1960s and 1970s' that some leading lights knock even today.

    Gay rights, civil rights, women's liberation (hey, that's what it was called), the struggle against coporatism and the most fervent anti-war movement in history. If only more Americans had the radical spirit that gave us such excesses, the world would be a far different place now.

    The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

    by two roads on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:38:56 PM PDT

  •  I'm a maximalist myself (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, CanyonWren, Hyperborean

    Have been since '74. It's simple, human rights. All the rest is just diversion.

    Edwards Democrat voting for Obama, will not trash Hillary. Here's a novel idea! Let's trash McCain. Are you with me?

    by high uintas on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:39:02 PM PDT

  •  Why ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "So why bring up this divisive issue again in yet another election year?"
    Because basic human rights are basic human rights , 24/7 365 .
    I was so happy when S.F. was doing good that I thought I should move back to the mainland/S.F. just to be a wedding photographer .

    "The fussy armchair jackboots who live here 24/7, tossing around their cool "donut" slang are the rather pathetic souls at the root of the problem."

    by indycam on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:44:36 PM PDT

  •  Awesome story and message, MB. (5+ / 0-)

    I'm a gay 22 year old and I hope to see gay marriage in more than Mass. in my life time.

    In fact, I expect it.

    The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of clichés the first prize. Saul Bellow

    by AUBoy2007 on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:46:09 PM PDT

  •  I can't believe how fast attitudes changed. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tnichlsn, Eryk, ZombieRoboNinja

    I never thought this country would accept gay and lesbian relationships in a hundred years.  Now I think it's a generation away to nationwide full acceptance of gay marriage.

    And I'll tell you what did it: the visibility of honest to god, gay monogamous couples who just want what Mom and Dad had, or should have had.  Demanding marriage for gays may be radical, but marriage isn't; so that lesbian couple that keeps their yard neat and without any clear evidence of God's wrath is 99% of the way to tolerance.

    She voted for the war.

    by Inland on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:46:33 PM PDT

    •  MTV/Pedro (Zamora?) taught a generation tolerance (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Support democracy at home and abroad, join the ACLU & Amnesty International and Your voice is needed!

      by tnichlsn on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 05:46:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, it's changing fast (0+ / 0-)
      I'd be surprised if it's ten years now.

      That's what I don't like about this story. It so focused on gay marriage it makes it seem like nothing has changed in those 33 years.

      1975 was 6 years after Stonewall.
      Discrimination against homosexuals would be legal for years after.

      Now civil unions are fairly commonly accepted and we're fighting over marriage itself.

      Don't just look back at what hasn't changed, look back at what has. In only 30 years.

      •  You oversimplify. (0+ / 0-)

        Civil unions are "fairly commonly accepted" in a couple of very sharply defined deep blue areas: the West Coast, the Northeast.

        They're not accepted at all in the flyover states, many of which have gone out of their way to ban civil unions in the past couple of electoral cycles.

        I know plenty of folks in Wisconsin--yes, the Hallowed Liberal Bastion of Feingoldland--who lost their DP benefits when the voters of that state illegalized all marriage-like relationships between same-sex couples.

        Only reason that Colorado didn't illegalize them in 2006 (when it illegalized gay marriage) is because a certain preacher dissuaded Dobson and his ilk from pushing for a constitutional amendment that banned civil unions as well, saying that it would be unnecessary and even unchristian overkill.  That certain preacher?  Ted Freakin' Haggard.  

        •  My point being (0+ / 0-)

          that a huge backlash against even fundamental gay rights could occur more or less instantaenously if, say, someone took up Ann Coulter on her call to rat-poison Justice Stevens and the Chimpster appointed (with beaucoup support from Senate "Democrats" like Ken Salazar) a SCOTUS justice who'd agree to overturn Lawrence v. Texas.

          You'd see the reinstatement of sodomy laws in two dozen states within weeks.

          •  Maybe so (0+ / 0-)
            I am an East Coast liberal (And one who generally finds my east coast liberal neighbors shockingly conservative), so my viewpoint is probably skewed.

            You're probably right about the sodomy laws. I also suspect the legislators who reinstated them would find themselves on the street in the next cycle. Look at the creationist junk, they have to sneak them onto the school boards and once the publicity kicks in, they get voted right out again. Sometimes before the judge even has a chance to rule on the nonsense.

            Opinions have changed a lot in the last 30 years. Maybe it's gone from: "Don't admit you know those people" to "Marriage is fine" on the coasts and only from "String them up" to "Don't admit you know those people"  in the flyover states, but that's still a huge change.

            •  There's still plenty of "string them up" attitude (0+ / 0-)

              in the flyover states.

              They just don't talk that way any more.

              Same thing with race relations.  Plenty of bigots out there who are savvy enough not to use the "n-word" in public.

  •  Right Wing Frames (3+ / 0-)

    We want the right to marry. But conservatives don't say, "Gays want to get married." They say, "Gays want to destroy marriage." They change the subject, and this accomplishes a couple things. They dehumanize us by ignoring the fact that there are gays and lesbians who love each other. And by using scary language, groups get donations and politicians get votes.

    The stability and emotional depth of gay relationships is offensive to some people.  It demolishes stereotypes and they can't villainize us any more.

    -9.5/-8.0 I open up my wallet/And it's full of blood - Dead Flag Blues

    by Eryk on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:46:33 PM PDT

  •  I was married in Russia (7+ / 0-)

    Russian marriages are performed at a government office, because marriage is a civil contract performed and regulated by the government.
    Many Russians choose to marry again in a church, but that ceremony has no legal standing: they need to marry in the ZAGZ office for it to be legal.
    It is the same here in the USA, except that the government "vests" the power to perform weddings in religious figures, ship's captains, and Elvis impersonators.

    Every religious argument I hear against "allowing" gays & lesbians to marry refers to marriage as a religious "institution."
    I say bullsh*t: marriage is a civil ceremony that defines civil rights and legal obligations. Everyone deserves the same access to these rights and obligations, regardless of sexual orientation.

    Churches should not be required to host marraige ceremonies that go against their beliefs (indeed, they are not required to do so now)... but no one church, or all the churches en masse, can be permitted to interfere with the civil rights of all Americans.

    I'm not a Democrat, I'm a liberal. Democrats go to meetings.

    by willie horton on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 04:50:42 PM PDT

  •  I didn't know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tnichlsn, homoaffectional

    That you are a str8 spouse too...

    Too often folks (especially in the LGBT community strangely enough) assume that loving and losing a spouse due to differing orientations coming out necessarily leads to bitterness & bile. Fortunately (at least among the hundred or so str8 spouses that I know)that is rarely the case.

    Keep up the great work!

    "Action displaces anxiety"

    by darthnul on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 05:25:28 PM PDT

  •  Beautiful. Just beautiful. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tnichlsn, JulieUnplugged

    Thanks so much for this wonderful post-it made my heart smile.  It's nice to know that me and my partner, both of us in our twenties, can look back at the people who paved the way for us for strength and inspiration.

    The horse was too young...God I love it!

    God chose to put me in a red state because this is where the fight is.

    by ARDem on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 05:27:43 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this reminder of the past... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Also, I noticed your concern for your ex-wife and her same-sex partner. Your positive attitude towards her is extraordinary and reflects well on your character.

  •  There should be a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    gratuitous "Recommend" button for FP stories.

  •  it's a shame that this is on the front page (6+ / 0-)

    because now I can't recommend it.

  •  As a young gay man... (0+ / 0-)

    I honestly think we have more pressing issues to deal with in the LGBT community, like school violence and bullying, creating a stronger mentorship/support program for LGBT youth, getting psychotherapists who are properly trained in dealing with LGBT issues, stopping the rise of HIV/AIDS among young Black and Hispanic men, getting trans-inclusive ENDA passed, finding better leadership for the gay community, dealing with the diversification of populations in non-urban areas (like the Midwest or smaller communities), etc.

    Marriage is nice, but it doesn't seem to solve many problems, at least not in my eyes.

    •  To qualify everything, (0+ / 0-)

      we need to think locally and I think we really need to evaluate the push for gay marriage and the development/change of the LGBT community over the last 40 or so years.

    •  And yet it's so often the case (0+ / 0-)

      that politicians who are wimpy on one LGBT issue are wimpy on all of them.

    •  Obviously, I wasn't saying by remembering ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, corvo

      ...this 33-year-old story that giving the LGBT community marriage rights would solve all the problems associated with gender and transgender oppression. Forcing the issue on the right of black people to vote didn't solve all the problems associated with their oppression either.

      The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. - Frederick Douglass

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 06:17:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You'll get over that (0+ / 0-)

      One answer to stopping the bullying in schools, and having to worry about discrimination in jobs, housing, and other arenas is to erase the stigma that goes along with being gay or lesbian. What's the tighty-righties' favorite dig at us? That we're all about the sex, right? That argument gets a lot harder to make when we're getting hitched just like our heterosexual brothers and sisters, buying our houses like they are, and raising our families.

    •  I agree that these problems are pressing... (0+ / 0-)

      ... but it really depends on state-by-state...  usually anywhere that has marriage or is close to getting it, all of these things have been addressed, at least in the letter of the law.  On the federal level, TPTB have fallen just barely shy of doing absolutely nothing pro-gay ever, and everything to do with LGBT issues has been about restricting the rights of the LGBT community rather than expanding them, whether or not those measures have passed.  So on the federal level, of course marriage must be on the extreme back burner, but that isn't case for a dozen or so of the states.

  •  Okay, I'm a little late to this party, (0+ / 0-)

    but here's my $.02.


    The only marriage, gay or straight, that has any affect on  my marriage is...wait for own marriage.

    That is all.

    Got a revolution behind my eyes - Battleflag

    by TigerMom on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 05:50:11 PM PDT

    •  Well, maybe your parents' marriage too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You know, "parent tapes" and all.

      •  You have a point. (0+ / 0-)

        My parents were married for almost 32 years when my father died.  I always said that when I married, I was in it until death due us part.  They weren't the most lovey-dovey husband and wife, but they were clearly partners in life.  They stuck it out through good times and bad.  I could not have asked for better role models.

        It will be 11 years for me and my husband this September.

        Having "shacked up" with someone in my younger years and having married someone (not the same guy, I might add) later, I think I have a certain perspective on this whole marriage thing.

        I like, nay, love it.

        I think two people who clearly love each other and are willing to go it the long haul, good times and bad, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, TIL DEATH DUE US PART, should be given the LEGAL opportunity to do so.  I was just saying to a friend of mine that there is someting deeply sacred (no religious connotations intended) and profound about getting up before the public (civil service) and/or family, friends and God (if you are so inclined) and making a very public vow about your commitment to each other  - it's just an amazing thing.

        The biggest threat to marriage these days is not wether it's gay or straight - it's about wether it's truly a commitment.  Everyone, EVERYONE, who is willing to put themselves on the line for such a commitment should be legally free to do so.

        Wow, this response was much longer than I intended.

        Got a revolution behind my eyes - Battleflag

        by TigerMom on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 08:20:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It is always a crapshoot (0+ / 0-)

    Abortion is the perfect example. Most states were on their way to legalization, nice and quiet. One Roe v Wade later, and we have decades of culture wars and the slow loss of ground. Gay marriage is sort of the same thing. Best to focus on small battles, win them thoroughly and build a base. Start with civil unions Get just one state to approve it. Then get marriage once it is well established and a generation grows up without the threatened disaster that the right-wing always brings up. Then force other states to recognize them at the risk of violating comity and not having their marriages recognized.

    Given that gays tend to be very strongly positioned economically, it just takes a libertarian or liberal idealogy, a need for tax revenues for residents, and a state could see the economic argument to allow the marriages.

    I think a maximilist approach is pretty much a guarantee of an anti-gay marriage amendment making it into the constitution. That would be the worst sort of nightmare for the cause anywhere.

    •  Well, a minimalist approach (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades

      is actually the only possible way right now, since the Rethugs have most of the courts locked up for at least a generation.

      This is, perhaps, the silver lining: We have no choice but to win each tiny battle in such a way that it will never be fought again.

      •  Minimalism always leads to death (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades

        If it weren't for us maximalists, you minimalists would all be Republicans. If people don't stand up and demand that civil rights be guaranteed for all NOW, then we'd always be left with the handwringers who worry if this is the right time. It is ALWAYS the right time to fight for civil rights.

        Maybe you dislike our stridency, but I am entitled to be married now, after 15 wonderful years with my partner, just as I was 15 years ago. Bigots like my father will NEVER concede that I am entitled to marry, no matter how slowly you go. And why should I wait for my rights? Perhaps if we took away EVERYONE'S right to marry, then you'd understand why queers should not have to continue to wait, hat in hand, hoping some bigoted straights don't kill us before we gets our rights.

        Like matter and anti-matter, Republicans and the truth seem unable to occupy the same space.

        by dykester on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 07:52:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What do you mean by (0+ / 0-)

      "Given that gays tend to be very strongly positioned economically" ? Maybe that's true for gay men (though I've never seen or heard of statistics or research that supports your statement), but for dykes, we happen to be discriminated against because of gender AND orientation, which leaves most of us in the lower economic realms.

      Like matter and anti-matter, Republicans and the truth seem unable to occupy the same space.

      by dykester on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 07:45:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, that bothered me too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        R Rhino from CT4

        Out, urban, professional, politically active gay men probably do tend to be strongly positioned economically. Many gays who don't fit those categories (and some who do) are far from it.

        Emphasis on the "out"...many who grow up gay in less affluent communities, around those who have had less exposure to higher education or diverse groups of people, are neither rich nor open about their sexuality.

        The stereotype of the rich gay is one of the memes continually used against gay rights.

  •  Thank you - now if only we had a candidate nt (0+ / 0-)

    We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. - J. Edgar Hoover

    by tiponeill on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 06:23:42 PM PDT

  •  Correction, 9 states in 2006 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    Arizona, South Dakota, Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, Idaho, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama.  Alabama's ballot measure was during their June election.

    "Baby, if I told you I was a race with 1% of precincts reporting, would you call me?"

    by Daxton16 on Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 06:34:16 PM PDT

  •  Too, too true (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, tiponeill

    I know, I know. Gay marriage is so passé now.

    Indeed it is.  No one cares about it anymore, pretty much universally.  I mean, no politician has even raised the issue about going back and prohibiting it and...

    Eleven states shot it down in 2004, and another seven shot it down in 2006.

    Oh.  Oops, wrong country.  Thought you were talking about the largest part of North America there for a second.  Sorry for the interruption, carry on.

  •  Well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    For one thing, you'll never get anything enacted on a federal level until 1/20/09. And on that date a certain Hawai'ian-born chap is going to be a bit busy.  And we should leave 1/21/09 'cause of the celebrations, the beer head, and the 'Daddy, why is her room cooler than mine?' thing.

    1/22/09 it is, then.  Because there will be a Federal Marriage Amendment eventually.  It just won't be the one the bigots were expecting.  Heh heh heh heh.

    And indeed, heh.

  •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

    for writing this.

  •  So Strange is the USA (0+ / 0-)

    I have lived in Ireland for the past two years.  

    Earlier this year was an election -- one that didn't drag on for years.... Gay marriage and civil partnerships were covered on the platform of all the political parties. Guess how many of the major parties were against gay marriage? None. Granted, some were in favour of civil partnership instead of "marriage" but none were against.

    My partner and I lived in Texas prior to moving here and she was shocked by some of the anti-gay rhetoric that was made by mainstream politicians in the US. She said that sort of talk would never be tolerated by a public figure in Ireland.

    It's expected that some time this year, we'll have some form of civil partnerships/gay marriage here. Yes, in Holy Catholic Ireland.

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