Dept. of Unpalatable Truths

Let us be frank about something. It is no longer politically tenable to oppose full equality for black people. Or women. Or Jews. Or Catholics.

Illegal immigrants? Yeah, you can still get some mileage out of publicly hating them. Various members of the right-wing shrieking class have decided Muslims are fair game. So, while groups it is still publicly acceptable to discriminate against are thin on the ground, gays and lesbians at least have a little bit of company.

However, no matter what company we have, this is pretty miserable:
The New York State Senate decisively rejected a bill on Wednesday that would have allowed gay couples to wed, providing a major victory for those who oppose same-sex marriage and underscoring the deep and passionate divisions surrounding the issue.

The 38-to-24 vote startled proponents of the bill and signaled that political momentum, at least right now, had shifted against same-sex marriage, even in heavily Democratic New York. It followed more than a year of lobbying by gay rights organizations, who steered close to $1 million into New York legislative races to boost support for the measure.
With the rapid-fire demise of marriage equality in New Jersey and now New York, it's pretty clear that it is an idea whose time hasn't yet come. Or, at least, seeking equality through the political process is DOA. While I will commend the courage of lawmakers here in Maine as often as I have an excuse to do so, I think it's pretty plain that such courage is going to be mighty hard to come by.

Where do we go from here? Do we consider civil unions as an acceptable compromise or temporizing measure? Do we pursue a judicial approach? I think right now we need to regroup and reconsider.

I have received a cease and desist order from the horse's next of kin demanding that I stop beating it, so I will refer you to the full article to see how the Republican Party and the Catholic Church come off. The only other thing I think is worth noting is this:
[G]ay rights groups... have become major financial players in state politics, [and] wanted to know which senators they should back in the future and which ones to target for defeat.

Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York’s largest gay rights group, hinted that senators who voted against the bill on Wednesday could face repercussions. And Christine C. Quinn, the New York City Council speaker, echoed that sentiment, saying, “Anybody who thinks that by casting a no vote they’re putting this issue to bed, they’re making a massive miscalculation.”

If Democratic lawmakers thought they could vote against marriage equality while still counting on the support of gay and lesbian backers, I can only hope that they come in for a very rude awakening. It is long past time for our issues to be taken seriously, and the assumption that we will forgive, forget and fork over the dough should be taken behind the barn and shot.


  1. It is pretty clear that the Democratic Party has decided to cater to the antigay sentiment held by substantial numbers of Democrat-voting groups (Catholics and Blacks for starters). If the choice comes down to offending gays or offending these other groups, well, we've run that little experiment.

    I still say go for civil unions. They poll well, give you the legal recognition, and really, it is where the future is going. Marriage may not even exist in 100 years. But hey, this isn't my fight, so don't let me tell you what to do.

  2. I wonder if this result would have been different if Maine turned out different.

  3. gj, believe it or not many State legislators and senators are Catholics and blacks themselves (though not sure why you consider being black with being against gay marriage, Catholic yeah).
    They are not "catering" to anyone but their own beliefs (many of them anyway). I disagree with this notion that Democrat=gay marriage and Republican=anti-gay marriage. Ostensibly there are libertarian Republican and state rights Republicans, but they seem to be the ones who have bailed the most.
    In Pa. many Democrats are economic ones foremost and are socially more Conservative, which is why Pa. can have a pro-life Casey.
    I am not suprised by NY at all. But all in all, though it might seem like forever I am convinced that we are at most a generation away. Does anyone anywhere doubt by 2030 there will be full marriage equality?


  4. charo, are you serious? Blacks as a group are not antiSSM? What news sources do you use, and please, replace them with something useful.

    As far as the notion that Dem == gay marriage, yes, that's wrong. Dems are voting down gay marriage left and right. The Dem President is an opponent of gay marriage, and he proves it each day with his actions and the actions of his administration.

    And yeah, I'll take your bet. There will not be marriage equality by 2030. The Dems are too spineless and cowardly to actually vote for it, but hey, they'll be happy to tell you all about how much they support you while you are making your check out. Just don't ask them to actually *do* anything about it.