So about a month ago, Bush got re-elected. This was disappointing, but not something I'm inclined to get very anxious about. I think the country will survive, and am not inclined to hyperbole about the issue.
I was truly embarrassed, however, that my state and ten others passed a Jim Crow style law banning gay marriage. A DOMA: A Defense of Marriage Act. Ours is so vaguely worded that it seems to disallow any protections for gay relationships at all, which is a blatant misuse of the state constitution. The Michigan state constitution now says, in so many words, that gay men and women are not created equal: they have no right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as it were. Or more legalization, no right to freedom of expression and association. I will be interested to see if it can hold up under a Supreme Court challenge.
Anybody who voted for this law believes they are denying gay men and women special rights: they see marriage as an artifact of sex. Marriage is a specific right of mixed sex couples, and only a special right granted to same sex couples. It is probably one of the few legal recognitions of sex as a concrete issue. I imagine the same people who voted for this law, or many of them, would be horrified by other legal recognitions of sex, such as laws under which women could not own property.
Ultimately I think that the left should give up on legalizing gay marriage. I think it is one of those issues, like the ERA, that is opposed by a general superstition about sex, that your sex dictates your abilities.
Gays should make an end run around the whole marriage issue. If the public is too ignorant to realize that the marriage the state recognizes is a totally separate thing from what the church recognizes, Gays should do the following:
1. Find and nurture faiths that aren't resistant to the idea of gay marriage. Heck,
freedom of religion is such a powerful idea to Americans they make religions out of whole cloth. I'd start one if I wasn't an atheist.
2. Boycott companies that don't offer some kind of partnership benefits. If McDonalds
doesn't grant partnership rights, I can forgo a Big Mac indefinitely. Are you rich and gay? Or rich and liberal enough to be compassionate about the issue? Don't invest your millions with a company that doesn't have partnership benefits.
3. Watchdog foundations should refocus on protecting individual partnership rights. I should have the right to pass on my property to anyone I wish after I die and have anyone I wish visit me in the hospital. Any fiscal conservative in the country should agree with the former. If, after all, the real issue for a fiscal conservative is individuals having control of their money. And not raw greed. If I can pass my property on to pets, why not to my boyfriend? And why in hell do hospitals have the right to restrict visitors on any grounds besides health?
Such a foundation should challenge anti-gay rights laws right up to the Supreme
Court and break the spine of the DOMA laws over their knee. Eventually, it would be like: I can't get married? So what, I have everything that comes with it. And, indeed, we are heading in that direction anyway.
The DOMA laws are still an embarrassment. The effort to create laws to try and disallow gay marriage is a waste of the money spent on ink for the ballots. DOMAs are dumber than laws that tell you it's illegal to take a lion to the movies, or kiss in public without rubbing your lips with rosewater. I don't care what you're afraid of. If you voted for a DOMA law, you were foolish as well as wrong.