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It's going to take a while, but the trends are clear:
A poll conducted this month for Vanderbilt University found that 49 percent of Tennesseans support gay marriage or civil unions while 46 percent are opposed to both, suggesting the state is now evenly divided on whether to extend legal recognition to same-sex couples.

Meanwhile, 62 percent of Tennesseans say health insurance and other employee benefits should be extended to the domestic partners or spouses of gays and lesbians. Thirty-one percent oppose the idea.

When the homophobes have lost even deep-red places like Tennessee, there's not much left for them. It also makes House Republican efforts to prop up the Defense of Marriage Act, which arbitrarily denies benefits to same-sex couples, look even more ridiculous.

Originally posted to Hunter on Wed May 22, 2013 at 10:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks, Kossacks for Marriage Equality, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  An idea whose time has come (19+ / 0-)

    As a 52-year-old gay man, I honestly never imagined we'd come this far this fast.  In 2004, anti-gay initiatives swept to victory in state after state.  Now, it seems that marriage equality is on the march across the country.

    It's all because attitudes are changing.  As more gay people have come out, straight people have been forced to confront the consequences of homophobia up close and personally.  The social change has pushed and enabled the political change.  It's a great thing to see.

    Now let's see if we can't do something about this ENDA thing . . . .

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Wed May 22, 2013 at 10:18:02 AM PDT

  •  No, no, no! Not TN going for marriage equality! (7+ / 0-)

    How will the American Taliban (and their political arm the Republican Party) be able to scare "christian" voters into voting for them if they can't even hold TN?

    /snark - we still have a long way to go for marriage equality, but it is good to see the dominoes falling (not fast enough, but at least progress)

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Wed May 22, 2013 at 10:38:45 AM PDT

  •  Good to Hear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, Avilyn, bythesea

    Gay men everywhere can now freely and without shame blast the Cher version song "Walking in Memphis."

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Wed May 22, 2013 at 10:51:54 AM PDT

  •  Those of us who were OUT did this. (12+ / 0-)

    Of course we owe a great debt to our straight allies, but none of what we see today would have happened if brave lesbians and gay men of each succeeding generation hadn't been willing to face the worst and come out anyway. I don't think we can pat ourselves on the back quite enough here.  

    WE engineered one of the biggest, fastest, most successful social movements ever.

    We.  Are.  Awesome.  And so are our straight friends.

    A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

    by MrJayTee on Wed May 22, 2013 at 11:21:08 AM PDT

    •  And not to forget! (5+ / 0-)

      Goddess help me, I'm running on, but I wanted to add that not only did out lesbians and gay men engineer this massive social change, we did it despite all the organizational and social contentiousness that seemed to drive different parts of the queer community apart.

      Despite the feuds, organizational disagreements, and frequent social segregation, we STILL did it.  

      Important as organizing is, the success of this movement shows the power of personal engagement and one-to-one activism above all, the radical activism of being who you are.

      We were the change we wanted, and that made all the difference.

      OK, I'm done.

      A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

      by MrJayTee on Wed May 22, 2013 at 11:41:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I will add my standard plug: Out as MARRIED (6+ / 0-)

        is the next step.  

        It's easy now, and normal, to say "my significant other ... my sweetie ... my partner ... my spouse".  Nobody even flinches.  But there is a value to asserting "my wife".   People DO flinch, and I find it much harder to say.  And that's exactly how I know it's worth making the effort.  

        Partly, I supposed, hearers become momemtarily disoriented as they work out whether I am claiming legal rights which in our state don't exist.  But our Candadian marriage license would confer those rights no problem if it weren't for injustice.  

        Keep on keeping on.  Keep on Coming Out.  It's working.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Wed May 22, 2013 at 12:11:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed! Good job! n/t (0+ / 0-)

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:44:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let's pat each other on the back. (0+ / 0-)

      Been fighting this fight (in various ways) since the 70's.

      Good on us.

      I don't mind straight people as long as they act gay in public.

      by internationaljock on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:45:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wish I could find the quote (0+ / 0-)

      from former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, but I'll just have to paraphrase.  He said that when religion and love are in conflict, love wins.  

      I am taken aback by how quickly this is happening.  You are right... the engine driving this is for people to come out, for everyone to know someone who's gay, to realize that this is about love and not just about sex.

      We just recorded a short "straight but not narrow" style video for a project of immigrants talking to other immigrants about making this transition.  They made some wonderful points: "In this a new country, accepting others is what we need to do to become Americans...  Maintaining love over a lifetime is hard enough, so why trash someone else for who they love?  I ran a jazz club in Nigeria and half the musicians I knew were gay, but they couldn't talk about it.  That's crazy.  They were my friends; I wish they were here so they could be themselves."

      What happens here still affects the rest of the planet.  We think about American wars and hegemony in a negative light, but people all over the world know what a rainbow flag is, and as our society lives up in some small way to equality it will have a far wider effect.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:04:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Harvey Milk was right (0+ / 0-)

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Thu May 23, 2013 at 06:24:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What? (5+ / 0-)

    Southern Republican politicians on the wrong side of history? That's weird.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Wed May 22, 2013 at 11:23:00 AM PDT

    •  And the funny thing is how many parallels (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hulibow, Tennessee Dave

      there are in arguments I've heard to ones made 50-60 years ago:

      i.e. "Activist judges" overriding "the will of the people".  It was supposedly the reason the Roman Empire fell.  Store owners should have the right to discriminate.  "Slippery slope" arguments. Linking it to socialism.  etc.

  •  The polling re domestic partner benefits (6+ / 0-)

    for employees is, in a way, even more telling than the polling on marriage and civil union.  It gets past the emotionality of the "M" word and into direct, concrete consequences.  

    The hard-core 31% opposed is the same hard core opposed to almost EVERY facet of modern life, including the availability of birth control to married women and letting poor people vote.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed May 22, 2013 at 11:24:32 AM PDT

  •  I've reason to believe (7+ / 0-)

    we all will be received at Graceland.

  •  Awesome (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, Cassandra Waites, sewaneepat

    I always believed a tipping point would come when all the haters would realize that they already knew LGBT people or were related to LGBT people -- and liked them! It's the guy who cuts your hair, it's the girl in your office that is always smiling, it's the cousin who is the only one who always remembers everyone's birthdays and anniversaries.

    And that would start to turn hearts and minds.

    And religion isn't the road block many think it is. I'm here in Tennessee, and I'm in a fairly large church where there are at least 3 gay couples that attend regularly and a handful more of gay singles that attend. They are out and guess what? Even our most conservative members could care less about their orientation. If you do as Jesus taught -- love God with body, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as you love yourself -- nothing else really matters.

    Obviously, it's not that simple everywhere. Our church is Episcopal, so it is inherently more accepting. But it's not the only church that is that open. And in the South, for better or worse, what happens in church is a fairly accurate reflection of the culture.

    And the times they are a changin'!

    •  Another Tipping-Point Dynamic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We're at a point where people who continue to harbor the old prejudices are increasingly reluctant to express them in polite society. This weakens the anti-equality side both in the long run (by inhibiting the transmission of toxic memes) and in the short run (by making its public face less that of the respectable middle-class burgher who just doesn't want to rock the boat and more that of the obnoxious loudmouth who doesn't know when to stop flogging his hobby-horse when the grownups are trying to have a serious conversation).

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:48:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pretty amazing considering ONLY 7 years ago.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea, sewaneepat, ladybug53
    Tennessee Amendment 1 of 2006 (also known as theTennessee Marriage Protection Amendment) is a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions. The referendum was approved by 81% of voters.
    Now, this co-mingles marriage and civil unions, but I remember (as a gay son) being literally dumbstruck when my dad told me of course he voted for Amendment 1.  

    Would he now, as I get closer and closer to marriage to the man I love?  I know 3 years ago when I asked my mom if, were I to marry, they would want an invitation, she burst into tears at the thought that I wouldn't invite them.   I think this goes back to FogCityJohn's post way up at the top.   Visibility makes a difference.  It has turned the "arc of justice" into a hard turn.  

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Wed May 22, 2013 at 12:53:35 PM PDT

  •  Is It Still Against The Law In Tennessee To Say (0+ / 0-)

    the word "gay"?

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:40:32 PM PDT

  •  Actually the poll says (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen

    the support for gay marriage plus the support of civil unions equals 49 per cent.

    Still a big deal, of course.

    I am proud to be an Editor at Courage Campaign Institute's
    @indiemcemopants on Twitter

    by Scottie Thomaston on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:32:55 PM PDT

  •  Betcha much of that support comes from (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the parts that aren't really Tennessee (Nashville and Memphis).

    The NRA's response to calls for responsible gun law reform: noun, verb, Second Amendment

    by Christian Dem in NC on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:40:58 PM PDT

  •  It will be a while (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen

    Before this translates into actual legislation. The Republicans have a stranglehold here that our only hope to stop the insanity lies in their own infighting and a governor who is more corporatist than tea-bag loon. And those are slim reeds indeed.

    Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

    by tcorse on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:02:15 PM PDT

  •  Until they support, we do a... (0+ / 0-)

    Denial of Tourism.


    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

    by unclebucky on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:04:47 PM PDT

  •  Hey, y'all know that the Nashville Parthenon... (0+ / 0-)

    is in Tennessee.

    Beautiful Nashville Parthenon:

    Y'all know what that means, Parthenon? It refers to Athena Parthenos, the patron of Athens, and of Nashville, the "Athens of the South". Athena Parthenos (Virgin Athena) never married and stayed a virgin. But she was the Goddess of Wisdom for the Athenians, and had a bigger temple than Zeus! And HER temple was the treasury of Athens.

    Y'all know how Athena was born?
    After Zeus swallowed her pregnant mother, Metis, Athena is "born" from Zeus' forehead. Hera (his wife) was so annoyed at Zeus for having produced a child that she conceived and bore Hephaestus by herself. Hephaestus attempted to rape Athena, but she eluded him. His semen fell to the earth and impregnated the soil, and Erichthonius was born from the Earth, Gaia. Athena then raised the baby as a foster mother.

    And Tennessee bigots are all worried about Equal Marriage?


    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

    by unclebucky on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:23:53 PM PDT

  •  Liberals always win! (0+ / 0-)

    You would think after enough losses the bigots would at least start seeing a pattern here!

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