Archive for Saturday, June 23, 2007

Same-sex marriage gains public acceptance

June 23, 2007


— Back in 2004, a month before the first wedding bells rang for same-sex couples, then-Gov. Mitt Romney offered his opinion that "Massachusetts should not become the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage."

It wasn't that he wanted to protect Massachusetts' reputation. He wanted to protect the country from what he regarded as Massachusetts' folly. For that purpose Romney unearthed a 1913 law that said couples couldn't be married here unless the unions would be legal in their home states.

Frankly, I rather fancied the idea of Massachusetts as the new Vegas. What happens here stays here. At about the same time, Britney Spears explained her 55-hour marriage to a childhood friend by saying, "I do believe in the sanctity of marriage, I totally do. But I was in Vegas and it took over me."

I can't imagine an Elvis impersonator driving a pink Cadillac of to-be-weds up Beacon Hill, nor do I equate the push for marriage equality with the quickie wedding. But I can envision a Paul Revere character ushering couples into Old North Church or a Minuteman welcoming them on the Lexington Green. Like, totally. I was in Lexington and it took me over.

The 1913 law has a rather murky past. It was ostensibly designed so that couples couldn't escape the marriage laws in their home state. But the law was passed in the aftermath of a front-page scandal involving black heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson's marriage to a 19-year-old white woman. It had the racist whiff of anti-miscegenation.

Fast forward to last week. The Massachusetts Legislature finally and firmly ended the push for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In three years, 10,000 couples have married, the sky hasn't fallen, pro-marriage legislators were not turned out of office, and we now live with gay neighbors, friends and co-workers who are married. Who wants to take back the stemware?

But almost as soon as the vote was counted, a question arose about repealing the 1913 law. There's already a bill in the Legislature to do that. Gov. Deval Patrick - noting the "smelly origins" of the law and calling it "outdated" - has said he'd sign a repeal.

So opponents again are ramping up fear and loathing of Las Vegas. Or, as Kris Mineau of the Massachusetts Family Institute warns, Massachusetts could "become the Mecca for same-sex marriage."

Las Vegas? Mecca? So far, little Rhode Island is the only state that allows gay residents to wed in Massachusetts. We are the Las Vegas of Rhode Island. But some are saying that if we overturn the 1913 law, the marrying hordes will come and go back home with a license and a lawsuit.

Whether you like or loathe the idea, repealing the 1913 law isn't likely to have much effect. There are at least 44 states with no chance of recognition because of statutes or constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage. As Joanna Grossman, a family law professor at Hofstra who has written extensively on this subject, says, "There's nothing much one state can do to change the national landscape."

Gay couples can already get married in Canada and come home unmarried. So, too, couples could get married in Massachusetts but go home and be unmarried in, say, Michigan.

"What makes marriage legally important is recognition by the jurisdiction in which you live," says Grossman. "There's the chance that couples would use this to litigate in a handful of other states like New York. There is the chance that, in a few states, a court might rule that even though we don't permit same-sex marriage, we recognize it if valid elsewhere." But by and large, what would happen is this: "Massachusetts would suffer a brief economic boom and that would be the end of it."

From the get-go, opponents have been raising alarms - and funds - on the notion that same-sex marriage will be "shoved down the throats" of Americans. What's remarkable is that same-sex marriage hasn't been shoved down the throats but placed before our eyes. In barely over a decade, Gallup reports, the number of Americans who believe in same-sex marriage has risen from 27 percent to 46 percent. The radical idea of civil unions is now the moderate idea.

Mine may be the only state with full-fledged marriage for some years. It may be less of a launching pad than a laboratory. We need laws for 2007, not 1913. But all in all, don't confuse us with Vegas or Mecca. What is it the Chamber of Commerce likes to label us? The cradle of liberty. Like, totally.

- Ellen Goodman is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.


SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 5 months ago

Same sex marriage is a concept that will never gain acceptance in mainstream America. Can you imagine, "This is my neighbor John and his husband Roger"?

Unnatural. Unthinkable.

Ragingbear 10 years, 5 months ago

You would change your tune if it were two hot Baywatch babes and it would be like "Hi, I'm Carmen and this is my wife, Lola.".

Gotta love the double standards.

mom_of_three 10 years, 5 months ago

Back in the day, different races were not allowed to marry either, for the same reasons you just listed (unnatural and unthinkable) Soon enough, mainstream American will realize it is wrong to deny same sex marriage (or civil unions) I believe it says "all men are created equal," not "all men (unless you are gay) are created equal."

beatrice 10 years, 5 months ago

Another story giving non-gays a chance to write terrible things about gays filled with all forms of stereotypes, and for people to act like they have the god given right to tell others how they should live their lives. Ugh.

Simple -- if you don't like gay marriage, then don't have one. It isn't mandatory. Arguing against it is like arguing against left handed and right handed people marrying.

"Unnatural. Unthinkable." Gay people have always been, thus it is perfectly natural. Who are you to question god's design? Unthinkable? I'm sure you will be thinking about it all day. Thinking about hot, sweaty, man on man love. Yes, you. Thinking about it ... probably a little too much, as Freud would say.

erod0723 10 years, 5 months ago

"Arguing against it is like arguing against left handed and right handed people marrying." Hey there beatrice. We must stop this vile attempt by the lefties to take over the world. If you have read any studies, the number of left-handed people has slowly increased in the past 50 years. But that may just be more to do with ambidextrous, thus safer, equipment and stuff. On a serious note, every person in this country is guaranteed equal protection and rights as promised in the Constitution. It does not matter if you are a supporter or opponent of same-sex marriage; the constitution is blind to morality. Morality needs to be kept individualized, not forced down the throat of all americans. I do not see how two people in a loving, committed relationship hurts the rest of the population. With the divorce rate skyrocketing in this country, why are we so opposed to two people who genuinely love each other getting married? Heck, two people that just met each other 10 minutes prior can get hitched in Vegas. If anything is a threat to marriage in this country, this is it. Maybe we should start a campaign to end Vegas weddings.

50YearResident 10 years, 5 months ago

<<"Unnatural. Unthinkable." Gay people have always been, thus it is perfectly natural. Who are you to question god's design? Unthinkable? I'm sure you will be thinking about it all day. Thinking about hot, sweaty, man on man love. Yes, you. Thinking about it : probably a little too much, as Freud would say.>>

God's Design? Maybe you are right, mabe it is "God's Will" for gays to marry to cull out the weak ones by letting them marry and thus be unable to reproduce. That is really something to think about. The best form of birth control that I know of.

lunacydetector 10 years, 5 months ago

barrack osamabama is in favor of same sex marriages and so is his church. perhaps he and others shouldn't be pushing their religious views on the majority. separation of church and state should apply.

....hey, i just used a liberal argument to debunk a liberal agenda.

mick 10 years, 5 months ago

Those of you who practice homosexuality: Political Correctness is your ally right now. Just wait a few years and we will all see the fruits of this amoral religion. The Thought Police may come knocking at your door.

erod0723 10 years, 5 months ago

"Those of you who practice homosexuality: Political Correctness is your ally right now. Just wait a few years and we will all see the fruits of this amoral religion. The Thought Police may come knocking at your door." By stating that people "practice homosexuality", you are inferring that homosexuality is a choice. Upwards of 10 studies would prove otherwise. Also, demanding equal rights for homosexuality isn't being PC. It is enforcing the constitution as it should. Every person in this country deserves equal rights and protection as promised in the constitution. I bet you would just love having the thought police, and moving towards an Orwellian world, wouldn't you? Your pompous arrogance and self-righteousness makes me sick.

erod0723 10 years, 5 months ago

So because you find it personally repugnant, it should just be done away with? The constitution does not care about morals. Personal rights trump your bigotry.

Ragingbear 10 years, 5 months ago

Well, if we are outlawing lifestyles because we see them as repugnant, can we start with the politicians and priest?

Tychoman 10 years, 5 months ago

STRS: Unnatural and unthinkable?

Not as disgusting as you are.

Here we go, yet another classic gay marriage debate on this website that will invariably lead nowhere, change no one's minds, and do nothing to change the course of history. Congratulations, LJWorld, you've done it again. As is your habit, you leave an anonymous forum open to hate-filled, personal attacks that do nothing but promote narrowmindedness and armchair quarterbacking of the news.

mick 10 years, 5 months ago

If your conscience is bothering you, pay attention. God can turn your curse into a blessing.

Tychoman 10 years, 5 months ago

Parkay I can't wait until the day when you and RT are forced to eat your own bull****. I hope you save room in your stomach, because that's a LOT you have to look forward to.

white_mountain 10 years, 5 months ago

What exactly is heterosexual marriage being defended against?

Can anyone name a SINGLE heterosexual marriage that has been threatened by the law in Massachusetts?

And by the way, percentage in the population has absolutely ZERO to do with rights, whether it's 0.001% or 100%.

white_mountain 10 years, 5 months ago

STRS.. nature is filled with examples of homosexual behavior.

Yet Man is the only species that misappropriates religion to justify intolerance.

promitida 10 years, 5 months ago

I'm so moving to Mass...let yall know if it turns me

person184 10 years, 5 months ago

right_thinker (Anonymous) says:

I see lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit when hetero couple, John and Mary have to continually explain to little Bobby why two men are kissing and fondling each other at the food court at the mall and John and Mary have had enough and are fed up. You wait-it'll happen.

A lawsuit? Are you kidding? On what grounds? They have to explain something that they disagree with to their kid? Happens to me all the time...,"You see Li'l Bobby, some people hate other people because of the way they're born. They don't want them to live their lives with the same rights as other people. They think it's okay to hurt other people based on personal characteristics. I'm not sure what happened to Rightie but it's sad. I think I'll contact a lawyer." Stupid, RT.

Mike Blur 10 years, 5 months ago

While we're pondering this issue, let's envision this scenario:

Married male, employed with a job than can be described as one of "America's Heroes"--a police officer--strays and impregnates a woman he's not married to; has one child. Three years later, he impregnates same woman a second time, and then, for some reason, the American-hero-married-police-officer goes "buck wild" and kills his girlfriend and child-to be.

Victimized, impregnated victim garner massive media focus. "American hero" "police officer" who happens to be "married" in a "heterosexual" relationship is arrested for the crime.

Am I making this up? Eh? Bueller?

My opinion of the gay community is the same as the straights. Ninety-eight percent of them are worthless. It is the 2 percent, who are dear friends, that enhance my daily existence. Yes, I am gay friendly, although I am not friendly to all gays. My friends--both gay and straight--tend to be of the same "thread of thought" as I am. Yep, it may sound like a cliche, but "tolerance" is how I can deal with people in general--gay, straight, or asexual.

lunacydetector 10 years, 5 months ago

"if it feels good, do it," said the very self centered person.

the definition of a liberal:
has a grandiose sense of self-importance is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by other special people requires excessive admiration strong sense of entitlement takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends lacks empathy is often envious or believes others are envious of him or her * arrogant affect

oh, i'm sorry, that was the definition of a narcissist.

gr 10 years, 5 months ago

"You can in Sudan!!! "

You mean like you can marry your sister or brother of the same sex in other countries?

Like, if you don't like the laws here, leave?

Tychoman 10 years, 5 months ago

GR we'll be saying the same to you about leaving once the equality laws are finally passed, i.e. when your bigoted generation finally dies off.

gr 10 years, 5 months ago

"once the equality laws are finally passed"

Ahhhh. Once you have YOUR rights, forget everyone else. A one sided viewpoint. Hence the criticism of selfishness.

But, you use a false premise. You already have equal laws. You can marry one non-closely related individual at a time of the opposite sex. In fact, someone even said that Gays DO marry of the opposite sex in their feeble attempt to say that they won't die out in one generation being not evolutionary fit.

Tychoman 10 years, 5 months ago

"Once you have YOUR rights, forget everyone else. A one sided viewpoint. Hence the criticism of selfishness."

Classy. Your own viewpoint is even more one-sided: how would two consenting adult men or women wanting to marry each other infringe on YOUR rights?

Tychoman 10 years, 5 months ago

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