Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I was wrong on gay marriage; thank heavens

With two common dumb comments we humans often make, one is from the jejune and the other from the lazy. The first is truly stupid and really inexcusable. That is to respond to a concept or fact in the air with, "I wasn't even born yet!" That, of course, is absolutely no excuse for ignorance, History does not start with your birth. When you discover an idea, event or technology you don't know, your job is to learn about that and be ready...and smarter than you were before.

The other even more of us succumb to using — "It's only common sense," or "Let's not reinvent the wheel." This is for when we are too lazy to think or analyze.

Almost invariably, when the words are, "It's only common sense," the real message is, "I have nothing. I'm making wild, unsupported assertions and don't want to be corrected or challenged."

The latest poll on same-sex marriage (NBC/Wall Street Journal) continues the findings of the seemingly inexorable trend toward national support for marriage equality. It also reminds me of the frailty of my judgment and forecasting on the whole matter.

The gist is that 59% of us favor same-sex marriage, 33% oppose and 8% waffle. Only Republicans who identify with the Tea Party are strongly opposed. The WSJ video heads discussing this reckoned that this has been the fastest, most decisive cultural shift ever, much more so than changing attitudes about interracial marriage.

The personal messages here for me are not in any shifting support. Long before MA's Goodridge decision, I was a champion for marriage equality. Instead, I had it dreadfully wrong — in two ways — about how fast we'd get there as a nation.

First, I fell into that common-sense trap. When VT allowed civil unions and then MA full marriage, it was patently obvious to me that the Chicken Little doomsayers would have to reverse themselves quickly. The anti-gay sillies went on about such unions "redefining marriage," a misinformed concept. With great confidence, many of them predicted chaos at city halls, draconian prosecution and persecution of the clergy, and wholesale abandonment of the institution by straight couples.

One would think when absolutely none of those occurred in the first two years, five years, decade of marriage equality here would first admit their errors, perhaps with relief and empathy. Second, we might suppose they would work with the new reality. After all, virtually all religions, including all flavors of Christianity, have a version of the golden rule. As the Talmud so perfectly puts it, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is all the law. The rest is commentary."

I can slap my forehead. I honestly believed that the success of MA and then this state or that with same-sex marriage would convert the haters or at the very least stifle them. Of course, that didn't happen. Even though their numbers dwindle, the anti-gay/anti-same-sex marriage minions snarl and howl. They have been reduced to saying, "Well, it hasn't happened yet, but just you wait." Claudicated reasoning.

On the other hand, after I finally accepted that the march toward marriage equality would be slow and fitful, I fell into a pit limbo. I said and wrote, here, at Left Ahead, and elsewhere that the U.S. was 10 or even 20 years away from equality.

Well, the obvious to me was wrong, very wrong, again. Progress has been extremely fast. I now expect a favorable SCOTUS ruling this spring or summer, wiping the legal restrictions if not cleansing the evil hearts of all Americans.

I don't have to get into how wong I was on both counts. My record is on the tubes. I simply revel in where we have arrived.

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