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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Solid South

Even Billy Graham came out of retirement to speak against the gays. 
So there was no way in hell that amendment could pass.
Billy is to North Carolina what the Pope is to Italy.

Yesterday, North Carolina voters approved by a 3 to 2 margin a constitutional amendment prohibiting not only same-sex marriage but also all other forms of same-sex unions.  (See map of results by county here.)  This makes the Tarheel State the final brick in the solid wall of Southern states to pass a constitutional amendment against marriage equality (N. C. already prohibited it by statute). 

Nationwide at the moment there are 31 states that prohibit same-sex marriage by statute or by constitutional amendment; six states and the District of Columbia allow equal marriage, and in June, Washington State will also.  The rest of the states have either a strong civil unions law or a weak domestic partnership law, with the exception of New Mexico, which doesn't deny or recognize anything officially, so far.

Meanwhile, after the flap over Vice-President Biden's remarks on Sunday's Meet the Press (you go, Joe!), the President has scheduled an interview with ABC later today to "clarify" his phony position on marriage equality.

What I Say:  Boys, you don't need to be expecting any big change on this issue anytime soon.  Neither the President, nor the Supreme Court, nor the Congress is going to get very far ahead of those 200 million good country people in the heartland who are dead-set against lettin' them damn perverts flaunt their sexshul acts in everbody's faces and ram it down our throats.  That's just the reality of politics.

I don't doubt that Obama's broad intentions are good; but fellas, the Prez is and has been playing us for his own ends, and his one concern right now, to the exclusion of all else, is to get re-elected.  And he will do and say just about anything he thinks he has to for that.  Your rights do not enter into the equation; trust the old man on this one.

If you asked him why, the gist of his answer would most certainly be that his good accomplishments can't continue unless he gets re-elected, and to do that he needs the goodwill even of millions of homophobic voters; and there is a pragmatic truth to that. Even if the truth sucks.

We still have to vote for him come November, of course - make no mistake on that, boys. There is no alternative. And you damn sure don't want leather-bottom-twink Romney in the White House, letting the Bushcheneyites and Tea Partiers in the back door, now do you?

What Obama will do in his second term remains to be seen; he did get DADT repealed, and he has stopped defending DOMA in the courts, among other good accomplishments for our community, so we can't say he's not a friend; but he is a politician first and foremost, and not about to be a martyr for the gays, or anyone else for that matter. 

Your Head Trucker has polished off his crystal ball, and he predicts that if and when Perry v. Brown gets to the Supreme Court, Justice Roberts and crew will not issue a sweeping judgment making same-sex legal across the land.  The best we can hope for is that they will make it legal in California again, or maybe in the Ninth Circuit; but even that is very iffy.

Other cases like Golinski may well open up some more cracks in the wall at the federal level; and I wouldn't be surprised if the federales contrive some sort of registered status at that level in the next few years to cover things like immigration rights, insurance benefits, social security and veterans benefits, joint returns on income taxes, etc.  Not a marriage or civil union - just a status, a form to fill out and get notarized, like when you apply for a passport.

Elsewhere in these United States, yes the tide of history is flowing in our favor - in favor of equality and justice for all - but it's a slow tide, ebbing in and out gradually.  Problem is, we're not ever going to get marriage equality at a single stroke nationwide, as in Canada and other countries, and I'll tell you why.  In Canada, for example, their Constitution specifically gives the federal government the power and authority to regulate marriage.  In other countries that already have same-sex marriage, there's either the same principle at work, or they are unitary governments, not federal ones; therefore it takes only one vote in the national legislature to make it happen.

Our case is just the opposite:  the power to regulate marriage has always resided in the states, not in the federal government.  It's possible for the Supremes to overrule the states, as they did in Loving v. Virginia; but fellas, you have to remember that didn't happen until 1967, when there were only 15 states left that prohibited interracial marriage, and all of them were states of the former Confederacy, which by that time had shocked and outraged all the rest of the nation with their resistance to integration, marked by mass arrests, beatings, bombings, murders, and general reluctance to get out of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. 

The Supreme Court at that time was reflecting the values of the majority of the country - which if you read your history books, you will see that it nearly always has, and probably always will.  The mule can't go any faster than the wagon, and vice versa.  Justice proceeds by fits and starts - look at how long the blacks had to wait for full equality, and women too, and other groups.  Our cause is just as right as theirs, but we must endure as they also endured.

When you hear pundits glibly say, "A majority of Americans now support
same-sex marriage," remember that this is the reality.

Above you see one of several charts that the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has prepared, showing the glacial movement of public opinion yea or nay on marriage equality.  Now your Head Trucker has done some cypherin' on these figures, and he can't see the pro side getting above 60 percent until at least 2020 - and it would take at least that level of support across the board for any nationwide changes to be possible, he believes, if not 65 or 70 percent.  It wasn't until support for repeal of DADT got up to nearbouts 75 percent that we finally got that wicked law changed, and even then there was a shit load of bitch-squawking from the rightwingers, as you remember.

But nationwide marriage equality, recognized everywhere in every state, no questions asked - not until somewhere between 2040 and 2050.  There may be various stopgaps and almost-nearly things before then, but actual seamless marriage equality from sea to shining sea as the straights now have it - not before then.  Remember, fellas, you heard it here first.

So we'll see what the Prez has to say later today, and I'll update you here - but don't be expecting a dramatic, earth-shaking bulletin; ain't gonna happen

Meanwhile, I'm sure you guys have seen this already, but here's a replay of Biden's delicious remarks that caused such consternation back in the West Wing:


Stan said...

No surprise here about North Carolina. It's the South after all.

Russ Manley said...

You're right, unfortunately. In fact, if you put slavery on the ballot, there are some states where it would pass in a referendum even now. Not everybody would go for it, of course, we do have good people down here.

But so many ignorant, hateful, arrogant, self-righteous fucks too. Sad.

Muskox said...

Well, Russ, aren't you glad you were wrong on this? As it has on segregation and mixed marriage and a lot of other issues, the Supreme Court forced the country to do what was right, even if a majority of states were not in favor.

Russ Manley said...

Ouch! Damn, Muskox, why'd you have to resurrect this old turkey? Obviously, my crystal ball could have used some Windex there. Guess I was in a bad mood, pissed off over Obama's and Biden's cock-teasing "yes and no" routine about the marriage issue. Though I believe it was just a couple weeks later that Obama finally came out in support of marriage equality in a major TV interview, and thereafter became the eloquent spokesman for gay rights I always hoped he would be.

Then of course just a year later came the fabulous Windsor ruling, and two years after that, the monumental Obergefell decision - and the whole landscape was changed in the twinkling of an eye. I'm still a bit astonished when I think how quickly all that turned around, and how far we have come in a single lifetime - happily, mine. Though far too late to be of any practical use to me, but a wonderful thing for millions of others now, and in years to come.

But I would still urge caution and vigilance. Both of those rulings were on a mere 5-4 vote of the high court. And history shows only too well that what the Supremes give, they can take away too. It might be that several vacancies could occur by natural causes during the current administration's time in office - who would replace them, and where would we be then?

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