Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Now, Who Has an Agenda?

While the drive from San Francisco to Olympia is 747 miles, columnist Jon Carroll may be audible where the Washington legislators are about to debate same-sex marriage. His thundering petulance was similar to that felt in Maine last year and in Massachusetts now.

The short of it is, who are these schmucks to defame the moms and dads, the devoted, even married, couples? These are our friends and relatives, in Carroll's case, his daughter. Talk of a gay agenda is impossible to swallow, coming as it does from those with real agenda, to strip some of us of existing rights, to make others of us suffer, to keep some Americans from legal protections. Now, there's an agenda worth yelling about!

Washington is about to come at SSM from the other side, legislature. Down in Carroll's neighborhood, sissy Schwarzenegger wants the court to decide who can marry. On this coast, the anti-SSM folk often want legislatures to do the deed. Have no doubt that no matter where it comes from, the bigots who hide behind facades protecting marriage and organizations with Family in it will be unhappy and suddenly want another branch of government or a ballot initiative to give them yet another chance at their agenda.

Well, in Maine, the tipping point after several times overturning gay-rights legislation seems to have been what Carroll rants in his column:

My older daughter is a lesbian. She is also the single mother of an adopted child, working to make and sustain a family with jaw-dropping tenacity. I am a member of that family, but she is the head of it. The idea that any part of her social agenda involves the destruction of the family is insulting and stupid. She adopted a child, which means that a child who would not have had a home now has one. It means that a child who would not have rested safely in a mother's arms now does so. These are real family values, not the poison spouted by these thoughtless, gossip-mongering abominations.

Sure, I feel strongly because it's my daughter who's being smeared, but it ain't just my daughter. All over this nation there are gay and lesbian families working hard to make a life for themselves and their children. I know a few of them. They could have done it the easy way, stayed in the closet and decided not to endure the hassles of having children, but they didn't. They wanted a family. They wanted a lover and companion to share their lives with, and they wanted children to love. And for this they get insulted by cretins.

And so, in Augusta and Bangor and Jackman...people know homosexuals. They have no horns and they don't hide in park bushes grabbing passing innocents. Neighbors and coworkers again and again see them as loving parents, productive citizens, faithful partners.

The only way the American Family Association or the Christian Civil League of Maine or some archbishop can work so hard to harm and degrade their fellow citizens is if they demonize and make them the other.

Up the coast a bit from San Francisco, Washington's Supreme Court is finally getting nerve up to announce its long-overdue ruling on whether homosexuals have the right to marry there. It's going to come some Thursday, maybe this week. When the decision arrives, there is an excellent chance that the legislature will suddenly and quickly have to debate, decide and legislate.

One persistent legislator, Rep. Ed Murray, has been fighting for gay-rights and SSM for decades. He introduced the gay-rights bill 11 times until the legislature acted favorably on that. He's positive that the marriage resolution will be much faster.

His state has the rancid, unwashed wrinkle of a professional ballot-initiative guy pushing a couple of petitions. He claims that all he wants is to let the public decide, but he is famous for profiting on the confusion of the rightwingers.

As we are wont to write here, "Anytime civil rights are put up to a public vote it's not a good thing, anytime the majority makes a decision for a minority it's just not good," according to the executive director of Equal Rights Washington, Fran Dunaway. "I think the vast majority of people in Washington state don't want to see their neighbors and friends discriminated against just because of who they are."

Carroll screams the same message:
I mean, render unto me a break. If your family feels so threatened by my family that you think you have to organize a boycott of a car company, then your family has problems my family can do nothing to solve. If you think a woman kissing a woman is going to get your daughter hooked on drugs and drive your son into a life of crime -- get home. Have a pizza. Talk about stuff. Go to a ballgame. That's what gay and lesbian families do, and it seems to work out fine. Take a lesson. And, please, shut the hell up.

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