Thursday, December 14, 2006

U.S. Staid of the Heart

Click over to for an insightful analysis of why we trail the rest of the industrialized world in marriage equality. Brandeis' heavily credentialed E.J. Graff recaps the trends and makes it plain why we are retarded here.

She states and backs up with specifics, "While you were enjoying November’s tilt away from the far right, there’s some more good news you may have missed: The world is steadily warming toward same-sex couples...But full marriage, with use of the legally powerful but contentious M word, is just the tip of the iceberg. Around the world, almost all the developed countries recognize same-sex couples under some other name." Of course, that other name can be domestic partnership, civil union or variants, and these are becoming broader and more inclusive.

She writes that we are the slowest of the First-World nations in marriage equality, because:
  • we have the largest fundamentalist voting bloc outside the Muslim world
  • unlike much of the developed world—and unlike Europe through most of history—we have “either/or” marriage systems, with no intermediate legal recognition for couples who haven’t taken formal vows
  • most important, because the U.S. isn’t a single nation (rather) 50 tightly yoked nations, with 50 different sets of marriage laws
On the last point, she adds "American states’ legal fates (and media coverage on social issues) are far more closely bound together."

She recaps domestic as well as foreign trends and predicts:
Twenty years from today, most (maybe even all) of the United States—like so many of our neighbors to the north, south, east and west—will be celebrating and recognizing same-sex marriages.

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Anonymous said...

The "insightful analysis" link leads to a Blogger sign-in page. EJ Graff's book "What is Marriage for" is great. It puts the institution into historical perspective. That is, real historical perspective, not the contrived bible-thumper variety, which actually has little to do with the contents of the bible. And an interesting, dynamic history it is. I look forward to reading her article.

The 3rd point you list, that the US is a federation of states, is the one most often lost on my non-American friends. Seems it is easy, when one comes from a small country where so much more is federally regulated, to forget that we may have to do what they did 50 times over. Or at least 38 times over (for a fed constitutional amendment) if a supreme court ruling doesn't do the trick.

massmarrier said...

First, the link...what a bonehead...I pasted wrong. It should work now. Thanks.

For the states rights issue, you are quite right that it drives us, often into corners. I'm well aware that's how we cut the deal that let to the United States in the first place, but it brought us such joys as secession and now the mess we're in.