Thursday, February 01, 2007

SSM Trends Out There

So long as Massachusetts remains the sole same-sex marriage outpost of this country, we can play provincial. But grumblings and advances elsewhere just keep coming. Bless 'em.

In a comment on the latest in Wyoming, Harold drew attention to great news in Colorado. Long the home of right wingers and libertarians, they have fostered one of the nation's nastiest anti-gay/anti-SSM politicians, U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. She not only runs her campaigns on keeping homosexuals down, she has been the leading advocate of a U.S. constitutional amendment forbidding SSM.

She seems, at least this year, to have run out of bile. She and her local buddy U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard announced that they won't reintroduce this amendment this term.

According to the report in the Pueblo Chieftain, it's not so much that they got some humanity and compassion. Rather it's "another sign that Democrats are now in the majority."

This perennial stink bomb has passed the House a few times, but gotten no further. With typical politician's pragmatism, Allard explained their tail tucking. "If we thought there was a decent chance to bring it to the floor for debate, I would, but with the new Congress, I'm not sure we will ever have that opportunity."

Coincidentally, the short-term future for marriage equality seems to be playing out in Hawaii. They have been around and around this bush. Now it appears they are about to enact civil unions.

In 1993, they led the nation with a surprise state Supreme Court requirement that the government explain under what principles and authority it forbade SSM. The voters then approved an amendment defining marriage as one-man/one-woman. However, in 1997, Hawaii a domestic-partner style reciprocal benefits structure for SS couples. Now legislation is in the works for civil unions.

A lead editorial in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin gently upends the tired anti-SSM arguments about this being marriage by another name with the words of New Jersey high-court Justice Barry Albin:
However, it is a distinction with an important difference. As Albin acknowledged in the New Jersey case, marriage has meant the union of a man and a woman through tradition and religious beliefs, and that need not change, at least now.

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Uncle said...

So, what about it? I'm no crazier than anyone about gradualism, but I'm also pragmatic. At least I'm pragmatic enough to read the poll number tea leaves, and see that civil unions enjoy more support than marriage. At this moment, marriage may be an unwinnable semantic battle. When states reach critical mass sanctioning unions of some kind, the Federal sanctions must fall in turn. Once fully equal unions are in place, it becomes possible to revisit the M-word without squicking the masses.

This is just a speculative question, but I'm still heading for the bombproof to await the reaction.

Anonymous said...

Musgrave's opponent, Angie Paccione, ran on a solidly pro-marriage platform.

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