Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Asking for SSM, Again

We tell our kids, "Ask. The worst you can hear is no." In that spirit, perhaps 1,000 couples nationwide (except in Massachusetts), may have asked their local officials for marriage licenses. Just as many of these same-sex couples got a rejection. For some it was the third year they made his statement.

The gentle protest has been part of Marriage Equality Week. This year it was on Valentine's Day eve day. Smack.

Connecticut's couple made perhaps the strongest statement. Many gays there feel the figurative warmth of same-sex marriage from neighboring Massachusetts. Few have registered for the newly legal civil unions.

"We're asking not for special rights," said George Chien at a news conference. "Separate is not equal. Our relationship is not second class." He stood in Hartford with his partner, Julio Flores.

No one expects a town clerk to suddenly become a radical enabler by issuing a license. Yet, asking is important.

Couples also asked in South Carolina, according to Michael Drennan of the South Carolina Equality Coalition. This is the third year that the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement organized the event.

The result is rejection — and media coverage. The largest TV station in the capital, Columbia, plus newspapers were there. On the other hand, The State, the big newspaper in Columbia, does its best to downplay this. They had a short schedule, written by the religion editor, and no follow-up. That'll show them rascally varmints!

Others are not blind. News is news.

Drennan noted to us:
I have also been told that CNN ran a story on it in their local segment & that they used an interview with me.

There is a lot of work to be done in South Carolina but there are also great stories like the student body of USC Columbia elected an openly gay male student as president of the student body last year. This year another gay male student is running and his chances look good.
This process of changing minds was slow in Massachusetts and now reinforced by the naturalness of the results. Clearly it can be tougher in a Red State. Yet, the preponderance of the small can help affect changes.

As Drennan wrote, "I would also say that all of the great things happening in MA helps us here to open people’s minds to the fact that the sky will not fall if you extend rights to GLBT people. So keep up the great work!"

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