Sunday, December 9, 2012

Marriage Equality Is Inevitable

When even George Will admits that opposition to gay marriage is dying (literally), you know there's been a major cultural shift in America. This morning on This Week, the owlish Mr. Will, who always reminds my of a stiff-necked high-school math teacher chiding the country as if we were his inattentive students, stated the consensus was moving towards marriage equality. Not one of the politically diverse panel incl. James Carville and his lovely wife Mary Matalin, Paul Krugman and that right-wing-like bald guy from ABC disagreed or supported the idea that traditional marriage should be preserved for straights only. They were responding to the announcement on Friday that the Supreme Court will take up two cases concerning gay marriage: Prop 8 and DOMA with regard to the federal government recognizing state gay unions.

Will also stated the Supreme Court had inserted itself in the abortion issue with Roe V. Wade and unbalanced the democratic process and that the debate was civil and everything was going along just fine on that issue. (Yeah, right!) He put forth the idea that the Supremes may want to step back and not insert themselves in the debate and allow the states to decide (that worked out so well for women who needed abortions in states like Mississippi and for slaves who wanted to be free.) Or the high court may realize the tide is turning given the recent pro-gay votes in Maine, Maryland, and Washington. What Will does not want to say is that leaving the issue up to voters is akin to Stephen Douglas' argument that slavery should be a matter of popular sovereignty. The question should not be a matter of popular vote--although I am happy about the recent outcome in those states. Sidenote: Interesting that Clarence Thomas will probably vote against marriage equality, even though he, with his white wife, benefits from the SCOTUS decision that declares anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

Other signs that the country is more gay friendly include a shift in policy from the Mormon church. In a statement, the church officially concedes homosexuality is not a choice and all Mormons should be more understanding of their gay brothers and sisters. Acting on your sexual impulses is still a sin, though, so they're fine with gays conducting the local choir and doing the wife's hair, but marriage is still a no-no. Gee, thanks, Mormons.

One Million Moms is still in the homophobic club (I'm still using that word, take that, AP!) These nasty mothers are upset because JC Penny has DARED to air another commercial with Ellen DeGeneris. In this holiday ad, Ellen is sitting in a dinner with three CGIed elves and they're discussing holiday bargains. I guess the Moms are pissed off at the idea that gay people shop at cheap stores, too. What is their problem?

There has also been progress from John Irving. I'm reading his latest novel In One Person on my Kindle Fire. The plot follows a writer and his sexual history (of course). Only this time, instead of the usual Irving stand-in, we have a bisexual whose tastes run the gamut from transsexuals to older men to women. As in almost every other Irving novel, there is wrestling, an automobile accident, cross-dressing, more than a hint of incest, and a sojourn to Vienna where the hero spends some formative years (sometimes it's Amsterdam, but here it's Vienna). From his earliest works, Irving has espoused tolerance of sexual minorities. But I can still remember the gay brother in The Hotel New Hampshire as a shadowy figure with no real connections. The narrator even says he was thankful the gay character (his sibling) didn't bring around any boyfriends home--and none ever appear in the book. I think this new work is Irving's attempt to portray gays as fully-dimensional, but it still comes across as a straight man's desire to show what a tolerant guy he is. It's entertaining as all of Irving's books are, but it feels somewhat forced.

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