The Gay Marriage thing. Again. Using the Constitution not as a limit on governmental power, but as a limit on personal freedom. Tomorrow, it all gets going. Even though it has no chance of passing, and even though gay marriage isn't exactly blooming around the country, it really looks good to stand up and get all pious about "family values" and sanctity of marriage (though, of course, "sanctity" is a religious term and civil marriage is not religious).
Over at Americablog, they're doing an interesting project to see just how many Republican senators have either divorced, cheated on their wives, etc., - basically to see just how many of those standing up for "family values" and the "sanctity of marriage" are saying "do as I say, not as I do."
And, of course, Mass. has the lowest divorce rate in the country, while all the red states have the highest. Apparently, the red state divorce rate is 27% higher than in blue states.
So we get for the next few weeks to endure the admiable spectacle of a bunch of old, straight men standing up and beating up on a small minority that has no way to defend itself in the Senate, that has only a few Senators who will stand up and say something other than "I'm against gay marriage but against changing the constitution."
Such a fudge by them: they know they have to pander to social conservatives, but can't lose their left-wing base. The reason why this country is going conservative is because Republicans stand up and state their beliefs. Democrats say they agree with the Republicans (gay marriage is bad), but differ as to the means. Where are the true leaders, the people who look forward rather than backwards, the ones who want to expand freedom and justice, rather than limit it?
For our nongay readers, and we hope you are many, it is worth stating just how much of a pain being gay can sometimes be. Example: I live in easily the most liberal city in the country (West Hollywood), surrounded by Los Angeles (itself liberal), in the most liberal state in the country. I work at a deeply liberal law firm. Yet still, in almost every social situation I'm in, I have to stop and assess the gay thing. Can I be out to this person? Will my career suffer if I'm out? I'm meeting a group of people, do I have to hide? Will I get beaten up as I walk home from the bar? Will I lose respect if I'm out? This, also, from someone who's grown up with supportive family, without hardship, with a good education and a job that pays well enough to ignore vast portions of the world and to live where I want to live. Imagine what being gay is like to someone growing up with ultra-conservative parents or in a conservative town, who doesn't have the education and self-confidence to turn the other cheek, who doesn't have a great network of friends for support? I can't imagine how tough that is.
And when, in our halls of power, the powerful stand up and say no, your love isn't equal to ours, your values are bad, your life isn't worth as much, and your love actually is destroying our own, and you're disordered - well, it makes it that much more difficult.