Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Going for Broke and Back

Showing the resourcefulness of the minority, gay-rights and same-sex-marriage supporters in South Carolina have been hitting the audiences attending Brokeback Mountain. In a state that slams every open door it can to keep gays down and SSM out, there aren't many theaters with the guts to run that feature.

An article in the Charleston Post and Courier even calls the Terrace on James Island, just below Charleston Harbor, "one of the Lowcountry's edgier, artier cinemas." It was one of the cinemas that showed the film.

On a recent night, Melissa Moore and Becky Shannon were handing out brochures opposing November's DoMA amendment to the state constitution. Their literature was from the S.C. Equality Coalition.

The article notes:
Defeating the ballot measure is an uphill fight. There's a nationwide push by pro-family groups to pass laws preventing what they see as immoral coddling of homosexual groups and their issues. In South Carolina, the ballot measure passed both houses of the General Assembly in 2005 by combined votes of 131-4.
In the unscientific sampling of the reporter that night.
  1. A local man "stuns Moore by saying ambiguously 'that sounds reasonable' to either the measure or her argument against it, then turning down a brochure and heading into the theater...He would not oppose civil unions, 'but maybe we ought to hold short of calling it marriage.'"
  2. Another man claimed outrage at an attempt to legislate morality.
  3. A third said he would read the literature.
  4. Three women in the company of men would not comment.
  5. One woman took the brochure and said, "If it had been a man and a woman, everybody in the theater would have been in tears." She said she was straight and very discomforted by the movie, and that she'd probably "trash" the brochure.
It looks like slim hope come the election. As the Coalition's chair, Linda Ketner, put it, "We are conservative in South Carolina but we are fair. And this is not fair."

She figures that the good guys would need 500,000 votes to defeat the amendment. She assumes that at the minimum, 6% of the state is gay. So, "if each one of those voters gets one family member, friend or co-worker to vote against, then we win. I think we have a chance."

Note: The state League of Women Voters reports as of the last presidential election that there were nearly 3 million of voting age, almost 2.2 million registered, and just short of 1.4 million who voted. With more than two-thirds of both houses in favor, the voters need only approve this by a majority and send it to the legislature for ratification and inclusion.

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