v. o·ver·reached, o·ver·reach·ing, o·ver·reach·es
1. To reach or extend over or beyond.
2. To miss by reaching too far or attempting too much: overreach a goal.
3. To defeat (oneself) by going too far or by doing or trying to gain too much.
4. To get the better of, especially by deceitful cleverness; outwit.
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Much has been written on Daily Kos about Amendment 1 to be voted on in North Carolina on May 8th. To bring you up to speed if you remain unaware of the issue here's what is at stake:
The North Carolina Same-Sex Marriage Amendment will appear on the May 8, 2012 ballot in the state of North Carolina as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment.Thanks to an extraordinary effort by a lot of people what originally appeared to be a slam dunk towards passage is seriously in question now. If it does pass it will almost certainly do so by a significantly smaller margin than the proponents expected or needed to claim a resounding victory in the wider court of public opinion. While I obviously hope that this goes down in flames, I contend that even a loss will ultimately provide us gains and move our antagonizers a step closer towards their guaranteed fate of marginalization. That it would cause real injury to real people is unbearable but nothing new. Little do these people care about the games they are playing with real lives.
The measure would define marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman, and would ban any other type of "domestic legal union" such as civil unions and domestic partnerships.
Same-sex marriage is already illegal in the state of North Carolina. The proposed measure, however, would add the ban to the state constitution.
Debated in the state legislature during the Spring 2011 legislative session, the amendment failed to receive sufficient votes to qualify for the ballot. However, the measure was debated during the Fall session which began September 12, 2011. That very day, the House voted 75-42 in favor of referring the proposed amendment to the statewide ballot. The State Senate echoed the House with a 30-16 approval vote a day later on September 13, 2011.
There was much navel gazing and buyers remorse in California after Proposition 8 was passed in 2008. While the legal battles over the constitutionality of this bill rage on to this day, current polling in California shows a dramatic shift of 59% of this state's voters now approving same-sex marriage (or as I like to call it, marriage). Almost immediately after the passage of this egregious bill a palpable shift in the wind began. When the constitutionality of Prop 8 finally went to trial the great unraveling began in earnest. Arguments before a court of law highlighted the truth that the proponents defending the bill had little to stand on other than their personal opinions. The trial exposed their campaign of distortions and lies that was unleashed by a well-organized and well-funded coalition of Catholics, Mormons and Fundamentalists. People began to wake up to the fact that they had been duped and they didn't like it. The backlash has been severe for the exposed players and they have been left in defense mode, nursing their self inflicted wounds and crying about the unfairness of it all.
Make no mistake that organizations like NOM, The Catholic League and the American Family Association see the handwriting on the wall. They know that public opinion is steadily moving towards equality and there are few "gets" left for them. They've known it for a long while now. In April of 2009 in a rare moment of unguarded honesty renowned bigot James Dobson speaking of the culture wars admitted:
We are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict," said Dobson, 72, in a recent speech to Focus on the Family staff. "Humanly speaking, we can say that we have lost all those battles.People like Bill Donohue, Brian Brown, and Maggie Gallagher still talk a good game like their very paychecks depend on it. Oops, they do. But their increasingly shrill rhetoric and ludicrous denials only prove to point out the cracks in their façade. The Catholic Bishops who have backed these organizations have equally overstepped and drawn sharp criticism across a wide spectrum including from within their own ranks.
The passage of the New York same-sex marriage bill, over the objections from the Catholic hierarchy, led to a storm of criticism of the state’s bishops. The most extreme condemnation came from an editorial in the National Catholic Reporter (NCR).You have to wonder how well that will ultimately go down with the laity. Catholics Come Home! We've got a big ol' plate of piping hot bigotry waiting for you. I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I suggest not a lot of wayward Catholics are going to find that appetizing.
The Catholic hierarchy, said NCR, “has lost most of its credibility with the wider culture on matters of sexuality and personal morality, just as it has lost its authority within the Catholic community on the same issues.” It also said that the bishops are engaged in everything from “wholesale excommunications” to “open warfare” with dissidents.
I am not naive enough to think that we don't have a lot of work ahead of us at both the State and Federal levels. We do. But in the court of public opinion we can claim some amazing progress. The speed with which the notion of equality has spread has surprised me greatly. In my lifetime I have seen the LGBT community go from being forced completely in the shadows to standing up in the full light of day demanding the rights this country ostensibly guarantees to every American. Every day we see more powerful allies join our call for equality. To say this heartens me is the understatement of the day. I don't think we would have come this far this quickly if we hadn't been give an unintentional assist by the ugly raw hatred so publicly directed at us by our frothing critics.
If a loss for our side on May 8th in North Carolina doesn't prove to be the pyrrhic victory we need to finally tip the scale, it certainly will have the effect of adding more weight favoring our side. And that's the worst case scenario. If we actually prevail in North Carolina I'll be cracking open the good bubbly.
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