For the love of God, make it stop.
It’s been a funny to be alive and gay, and care about civil rights. We’ve done awfully well of late. To an amazing degree, that many of us never thought we’d see in our lifetime. Sure, we figured we “might” be able to repeal the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy (some day), but most of my friends never imagined we’d see marriage.
And now, there’s so much marriage, it’s actually getting a little boring.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s boring in a good way. The same way eating brownies for breakfast, lunch and dinner gets boring after a while (though, all you have to do is time it right, and the brownies can continue to serve as a fabulous green vegetable stand-in).
But my God. In the last year, since the Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), we’ve seen 20 or so victories in court in a row. As I’ve written before, I think the Windsor decision is a death knell for the anti-gay forces, and a rather brilliant one at that. Rather than simply saying “go for it,” and making the-gay legal across the land, the court limited its decision to DOMA’s benefit, but wrote the decision in a way that pretty much guaranteed no court in the land could stand against it.
Why is that a good thing? Because legalizing gay nuptials nationwide simultaneously might still risk provoking too strong a backlash. But this way? We’re seeing a steady dribble of civil rights in state after state after state, day by day, week by week, to the point that it’s just getting downright boring, if not annoying. “Just get it over, already,” you can hear Americans, and even many Republican Americans, saying, and that’s a great thing.
So back to yesterday’s high-velocity news day on what has already become a high-velocity news decade for gay rights. We saw major victories in Utah, Indiana, Colorado, and Mexico. And we even got another Republican senator, Maine’s Susan Collins, on board as well.
Indiana wants me…
Let’s start with Indiana, where a federal judge struck down the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, which immediately led to weddings breaking out across the state, including these two adorable boys, courtesy of a great video from the Indy Star (they’re Craig Bowen and Jake Miller, the first gay couple to marry in Indiana).
The judge didn’t issue a stay, so the marriages began, which even if the state is successful in temporarily stopping, pending appeal, the cat’s out of the bag now. How can an appeals court permit some Indiana gays to be married, and others not?
Sorry, the Indianapolis Star apparently thinks the year is 1999, and that Web videos should automatically turn on when you arrive on a Web page. As a result, I’ve removed their rather adorable video. Not going to subject you guys to that.
And on to Utah!
Next up on the never-ending smorgasbord of love is the state of Utah, where marriages of gay couples became legal for a scant few weeks last December, only to see the Republican state government, in cahoots with the Mormons, shut it down.
But, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in yesterday, and said “nuh uh.” From the Denver Channel:
A federal appeals court, for the first time, rules a state cannot prevent gay people from getting married.
A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver found that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. The judges upheld a lower court ruling that struck down the ban in December.
However, they immediately put their ruling on hold so it could be appealed.
Next stop… Colorado!
Since 10th circuit decisions apply in Colorado, a Colorado county clerk in Boulder started marrying gay couples yesterday, and the gays showed up in droves. Well, okay, maybe it was just a single drove — just two couples were able to get married before they closed for the night — but the weddings will recommence at 8am Thursday, Colorado time.
The 10th circuit covers Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming, New Mexico and Kansas. They’d be some fun states to have some weddings in.
What I’m not understanding fully is how marriages are starting in Colorado if the 10th circuit stayed their decision pending appeal.
Y finalmente, México!
The ins and outs of gay marriage victories in Mexico are sometimes a bit vexing for mere legal mortals. Not surprisingly, Mexico ain’t America, and their court system works differently than ours. Which makes it awfully hard to fully comprehend how important these recent string of court victories really are, and what their final impact will be.
While I speak Spanish, I don’t speak Spanish courts. So I’m not even going to pretend to fully comprehend the implications of this decision concluding it was unconstitutional to deny a gay couple from Baja California a marriage license. But we know enough to say that it’s a good thing.
Susan, Susan, Susan
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, who was against gay marriage when it really counted — such as when far-right bigots in her state successfully repealed the right to marry in Maine, and when left-wing freedom fighters subsequently won their battle to relegalize gay nuptials in Maine.
Yes, Senator Collins was MIA the entire time.
But as Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade notes now that Collins is past her primary, and it’s “safe,” suddenly she loves the-gay:
Look. I’m not one to look a gay gift horse in the mouth. I embraced GOP Senator Portman when he came out in support of his gay son, and supported gay marriage, and I embraced Ken Mehlman when he came out in support of his gay self and did the same. And from the beginning, I was excited that GOP super-lawyer Ted Olson was going to be co-counsel of the Prop 8 case.
So I, more than many, get the importance of embracing people when they come around on issues. After all, you can’t urge (usually Republicans) to do the right thing if, after they do the right thing, you then criticize them for it.
It sure would be nice if so-called moderate Republicans grew a pair. From my early days in Washington, in the mid 1980s, GOP lefties were always the biggest wusses on almost every issue. And while that’s not entirely surprising, and moderation doesn’t always lend itself to tenacity, it’s still frustrating to watch the Republican party’s 20-year takeover by lunatics, and the refusal of so many in the GOP stand up against the crazy in its midst.
Still, it’s not exactly a popular view among Senate Republicans, supporting gay marriage and all, so let’s give Susan Collins a qualified one snap for daring to do what’s right when it carried the least personal risk.