Sunday, May 18, 2008

Anti-Gay Dogs Worrying Socks

The anti-liberty, anti-American forces who would gleefully strip fellow citizens of rights won't quit. If they can hamper and harm, they're relentless.

That has been the underlying theme of GLBT rights and politics this spring. Consider the reaction to the California Supreme Court mandate enabling same-sex marriage. Also, on this other coast, the doubly misnamed Christian Civic League of Maine wants to remove the meager equal-rights working homosexuals won at the ballot.

On the left coast, the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund is trying to get a stay beyond the California ruling's 30-day effective date. They likely have no standing in the case and would have to scramble to find a surrogate or convince the state to fight it. It's not likely.

The anti-homosexual forces there fear the obvious, including:
  • In the eight years since voters by ballot initiative put man-and-woman only wording in the marriage code by 61%, attitudes have mellowed. Massachusetts and Vermont didn't fester and pop with gay marriage or unions. A lot more GLBT folk have made themselves known as neighbors, pew buddies and co-workers. Much of the nation, particularly on their coast and the northeast have become much more accepting of gay rights.
  • The governor said the courts should decide this, which the high court did. He also said he would oppose the November state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
  • Fewer and fewer people polled see any threat in expanding marriage, while more and more see DOMA-style laws for the vindictiveness they they really are.
  • At the federal level, both Presidential candidates and increasing numbers in Congress want to modify or even scrap DOMA.
  • By the time the amendment hits the ballot box, hundreds or thousands of same-sex couples should be wed. That means voters would unquestionably be asked to take away existing rights, which most voters are loath to do.
In short, their window could well have closed. In California, if the amendment gets on the ballot, there's at least an even chance it would simply lose. As in Massachusetts, the more couples marry and the greater the proof that only good results from which is truly the pro-marriage position, the harder it would be to make any change much less overturn a decision.

The downside is that the anti-gay, anti-same-sex marriage and anti-freedom for others forces constantly regroup after losses, even as their numbers and contributions dwindle.

Up in Maine, the anti-gay tide has ebbed. Despite the generally tolerate nature of Mainers, the anti forces had repealed mild regulatory ruling providing minimal anti-discrimination rights in housing and employment...four times. Governors and legislators were for these minimal gay rights.

The short of is that three years ago, the small mob drumming up the effort to do it again was still led by the CCL's Michael (not a minister but I sometimes play one on the internet) Heath. They proclaimed the usual lies about the fall of civilization, rape of innocents and so forth. This time though GLBT Mainers were up and out for honesty and fairness. They held themselves up as examples of homosexual, single and coupled. At the ballot box, not only did voter note that neither Vermont nor Massachusetts had any problems, but those gay men and lesbians were just like them, all humans too.

Last month, the wheezing old haters announced another go, seeming to overlook that their promise of a flood of trivial prosecutions from those terrible homosexuals never happened nor even started. They also forget that the state has passed and implemented a strong domestic partnership arrangement, protecting straight and gay families alike. The time for hate and jive alarmist rhetoric is gone.

This month, Heath, who claims the announcement is just coincidental with the California court ruling, said he wanted ballot decisions this November:
  • Overturning anti-discrimination protections
  • Reinforcing the existing state ban on same-sex marriage
  • Preventing homosexuals from adopting
The state expects to give them permission to gather the necessary 55,000 signatures to advance the petitions. However, as EqualityMaine notes, this time the anti folk have to list all the laws and regulations their effort would effect. So "...if Mr. Heath forces another anti-gay referendum on Maine, everyone will know what is at stake."

Even in such a low-population state, that's a small number of voters to get. Given the changed tenor of the time, it will be harder for them to collect them and they are almost certain to lose badly in a ballot.

However, as we have seen in Massachusetts, these folk truly want to punish homosexuals for wanting the same liberties and privileges they enjoy. It took several different efforts to beat back court challenges and ballot initiatives to the now well-established SSM norm.

That some in Maine would want to return to legal discrimination is outrageous, yet predictable. Likewise, California can expect such efforts there...for years and from multiple angles.

Immediately, there's an effort to stay the implementation of SSM through the state Supreme Court. When that fails, appeals to federal courts are certain to follow immediately. There's the November amendment effort, which could also end up in federal courts. Then, as Massachusetts and Maine show, merely being defeated also by voters won't squelch repeating these assaults.

There is a contemporary irony in that the Democratic Presidential candidates are calling states rights. Neither supports full marriage equality. They each likely figure that anything beyond their tepid civil-unions ploy would lose votes. Yet both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton say that it is a states rights issue; leave setting marriage rules to the states. That's a traditional conservative position, which John McCain does not share. He's willing to grind up homosexual rights everywhere in the DOMA machine.

Perhaps the anti-SSM/anti-gay rights forces' position should be called Full Lawyers Employment Act. They decry people seeking and winning equal rights through courts and then after losing in legislatures and courts as in California, they turn like pampered children whining to the judges for special treatment.

They eventually stop, but it take a long time, a lot of distraction, a pile of money, tedious legal struggles, and anxiety for those who wonder how long their liberties might last.

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