After the depressing election-day backlash against marriage equality in several states, as seen in the Quote of the Day below, there are many encouraging signs from the first year of legally recognized same-sex marriages. Newsweek ran some encouraging statistics: in Massachusetts, support for same-sex marriage has increased from 35% to 56% in the past year; a resounding 84% of Massachusetts voters believe same-sex marriage "has had a positive or no impact on the quality of life in Massachusetts." (More polling data is available at MassEquality.)
Andrew Sullivan, in "Time to Celebrate: A Full Year of Civil Marriage," explodes the fear-mongering so typical of anti-marriage agitators:
"Since gay couples have been able to marry in Massachusetts, we have yet to see a collapse in heterosexual marriage, an upsurge in bestiality, a headlong rush toward polygamy or any of the other horrors that opponents predicted."
If anything, it is the proposed Federal [Anti-] Marriage Amendment that has real potential for negative repercussions. Jonathan Rauch examines these in depth the in "Family's Value: Gay Marriage Is Good for Kids:"
If, say, the Constitution were amended to forbid same-sex marriage, three things would happen--none of them good for marriage.
First: Both law and custom would busy themselves setting up new nonmarital structures to accommodate same-sex couples. […] Many existing domestic partner programs, corporate and governmental, are already open to heterosexual couples. Insofar as that pattern continues, we will have set up a whole new structure of non-marriage for heterosexuals. […]
Second: By definition, banning same-sex marriage would ensure that all same-sex couples with children raise their kids out of wedlock. Obviously, that is no way to reconnect marriage with child-rearing. Just the opposite: Every parenting gay couple will be an advertisement for the expendability of marriage. After all, how important can marriage be for children if some children's parents are forbidden to marry?
Third, and not least: To most Americans over age 65 or so, same-sex marriage is a contradiction or an abomination; but among Americans under 30, many or most (depending on which poll you consult) see the ban on same-sex marriage as discrimination. For members of this younger generation, nondiscrimination is the polestar in the firmament of values. They do not want to be associated with what they perceive as anti-gay discrimination any more than their parents do with sexism or racism. To brand marriage as the discriminatory lifestyle choice risks condemning it to cultural obsolescence.
Except for those anti-marriage dead-enders who are completely impervious to learning, their ranks will continue to dwindle as their fears are proven baseless. (As Gandhi once said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.")
Quote of the Day:
Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination. I know something about hate and fear and discrimination. When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about "protecting the institution of marriage" as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree. That's what the white folks did back then to "protect marriage." Fifty years ago, white folks thought inter-racial marriages were a "threat to the institution of marriage."
Senfronia Thompson's speech on HJR6 (This so-called "Texas Marriage Amendment" is actually about denying family healthcare, inheritance and survivor rights, and the ability to make medical decisions. Details are at SaveOurConstitution.)