Sunday, March 27, 2011

Disappearing Anti-SSM Peaks

Word from geologists is that the Appalachians were the Earth's highest mountains (higher than today's Himalayas) during the Ordovician Era. Erosion and settled brought them down considerably in the past 450 million years or so.

We have seen the vastly faster human version of that in opposition to marriage equality. Put simply, the American public is getting its act (and compassion and intellect) together on the issue. Of course, the typical politically expedient politicians always.

The next post will cite poll trends flatting the peaks of SSM opposition.

As a disclaimer, anyone who has checked this blog over the past seven plus years knows that I remain impatient. Getting to nationwide same-sex marriage, dropping overtly discriminatory laws and loopholes in states and the federal government, and stopping the use of outrageous, hyperbolic lies against LGBT citizens can't come soon enough.

The anti-equality, anti-gay, anti-SSM organizations love to pick up on and exaggerate any pause or stumble in the road to reason and fairness. Fortunately for the good guys, these find fewer excuses to pretend and manufacture celebrations.

For the antis, for example, have contorted the lack of a vote to finalize SSM in Maryland as some manner of proof that marriage-equality is doomed everywhere. In reality, there it passed through committee, got Senate approval, had a pledge from the governor to sign it, but did not come to a final in the House. The Senate leadership was not sure it had enough votes and basically pushed it out a year.

In Maryland, the pattern we saw elsewhere is likely to replicate. After much debate and testimony, the legislature will pass SSM into law, as in Maine and New Hampshire. Then the antis will get enough signatures for a citizen referendum. In Maine, they passed an override, as they did several times for simple gay-rights legislation. That means that Mainers will pass the law again and probably as with the gay-rights regulations, they won't override it the next time.

The half of the states that allow versions of such referenda do show the antis at their worst. These are the sorts who have no shame and don't hesitate to depict homosexuality as a lifestyle and a choice, despite overwhelming evidence and reason to the contrary. Many identify as fundamentalists and evangelicals, who also claim to understand and speak the mind of God, despite all strictures of scriptures against such arrogance.

From a public policy, legal and process perspective, the oddity here is how they open door one, then two, then three, until they find what they want. The antis hate American government, except when it bows to them. They'd make good characters in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Cut me a thin slice

Many antis also favor the absurd coinage of activist judges. Nearly all antis know that non-criminal courts exist in large part to interpret laws. That's fine with the antis...only so long as the decision goes their way. That's proving the legality of their positions. Otherwise, the evil judges who disagree are legislating from the bench. As my late mother would say when she was exasperated by sillies, "Cut me a thin slice of that baloney!"

Most obviously because everything above small to medium town government is too big and complex for town meeting, we have used representative government here from Colonial days. We elect governors and legislators to lead us, to stand in for our needs and wants, to understand enough about issues big and small to make reasonable decisions, and to help our city, state and nation constantly improve and advance, in a word, to evolve.

When the antis don't get what they want from the legislature or courts, where it's possible, they get really down and really dirty. Then, much like the lifestyle lie, it's let the people decide by plebiscite.

The pathetic and shameful U.S. history of when the majority votes on any minority's rights should certainly inspire all the half of the states that allow referenda or the like to prohibit such petitions. We should have no doubt that we would still allow slavery, still prohibit interracial marriage, and would still limit voting rights to white, property-owning men.

It was other actors and events — legislatures, Presidents, prolonged lobbying and protests by the oppressed groups, courts, even the Civil War — that overcame the inertia and overwhelmed the narrow-mindedness of the times.

Back to the original trope, unlike the dwindling Appalachians, the rights erosion is not all in one direction. There have been setbacks. There will be more. The antis fight on all fronts, spending many millions, playing with and on their supporters' fears and other negative emotions, and not admitting defeat, even in places such as Massachusetts, where they have been repeatedly crushed. Here, the public has seen the only positive effects of SSM for many years and really can no longer be jerked around by the jerks still around.

Next, let's look at the latest snapshots of the U.S. public's evolution toward marriage equality.

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