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Nouveau Jim Crow

Those who favor another vote on gay marriage are 21st-Century crackers
By EDITORIAL  |  July 7, 2006

SEGREGATION, ANYONE?: By pushing equal marriage rights back into the legislature, leaders like Romney, Reilly, and O’Malley are being soft on the hard bigotry of discrimination.
Would Governor Mitt Romney or Attorney General Thomas Reilly call for a public or legislative vote to end slavery if it still existed in Massachusetts or the United States? Would Cardinal Sean O’Malley? Should the people — or their legislators — be heard? Is slavery still debatable?

If women weren’t allowed to vote, would Romney, Reilly, and O’Malley think that the idea is so dangerous, so radical, that a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that women were, in fact, equal to men needs legislative review?

It’s a safe bet that we all know the answers to those questions.

So why are Romney, Reilly, and O’Malley calling for a public vote on the state Supreme Court’s ruling that couples of the same gender have the same right to marry as those of different genders?

In O’Malley’s case, the answer is clear. The Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage and there is little O’Malley, as a prince of the Church, wouldn’t do to abolish it. If the threat of hell won’t scare gay-marriage advocates into submission, he hopes that respect for constitutional practice and legislative procedure will do the trick. He’s invoking Caesar to render unto God, or at least his God. When God is on your side, civil rights are beside the point.

Reilly appears to have scored political points in the recent debate among Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls. He was, for once, articulate — at least in the eyes of some pundits. These days Reilly says he is foursquare in favor of gay marriage. But he believes there should be a legislative vote on the issue; and if he were in the legislature, he would vote against bringing the issue before voters. Those are weasel words. They appear reasonable, but their import is that he is willing to put same-sex marriage in mortal danger. He may be in favor if it, but he’s willing to entertain the possibility that it could be abolished. With friends like Reilly, who needs enemies?

Onetime insurgent Deval Patrick, now the Democratic front-runner, said he wished the vote would not be held (isn’t that nice!) and that he’s in favor of gay marriage. But he believes the legislature should call its own shots. A waffle is a waffle by any other name.

Wild-card candidate Chris Gabrieli was equally disgraceful. Another “supporter” of equal marriage rights, he dodged the issue. When offered an opportunity to define how he differs from Patrick and Reilly, Gabrieli, to his shame, flubbed it.

There was a time and place for public debate and legislative consideration of gay marriage. It was yesterday.

For years, the legislative leadership killed prospects for any serious consideration of the issue. When civil-rights activists tried to gain legislative momentum for gay civil-unions rather than for full marriage rights — in the belief that a half a loaf was better than none — they were rebuffed.

But all that changed when the Massachusetts Supreme Court, which more than 200 years ago was the first in the nation to outlaw slavery (without any subsequent public vote), ruled that gay couples were equal to straight couples and that, as such, they had the same rights.

That’s why this talk of the people needing a voice, of the legislature needing to act, is vile hypocrisy.

Gay men and lesbians who wanted to enjoy the same legal benefits of marriage as their heterosexual brothers and sisters turned to the courts in frustration. And there is ample and painful precedent for their action: it took scores of federal-court decisions in the mid 1950s and ’60s to bring the promise of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865, to fruition.

Where would the civil-rights movement have been if Tom Reilly had been in the fight? It’s a safe bet that the schools of Little Rock, Arkansas, still would be segregated.

When legislative redress is denied, the courts ensure our civil liberties, our basic rights. And that is what gay marriage is: a basic, fundamental human right.

No thanks to most political leaders, equal marriage rights have finally become law in the Commonwealth, due to the agency of last resort — the judiciary. Legislative adoption of marriage rights would have undoubtedly been preferable. But that is wishful thinking — and now beside the point.

Reilly and O’Malley are latter-day Jim Crows: Reilly because of his political desire to have it both ways, and O’Malley because he is promoting redneck theology as a public practice. Romney, of course, is busy actively courting Jim Crows throughout the land.

It’s time for Patrick and Gabrieli to unequivocally say that the issue of civil rights — marriage rights — for gay and lesbian couples was settled by the Massachusetts Supreme Court. That any effort to interfere with those rights is as repugnant as it is undesirable. And with that, they should urge the legislature not to vote on the issue again.

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  Topics: The Editorial Page , Relationships , Culture and Lifestyle , Gay and Lesbian Relationships ,  More more >
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Nouveau Jim Crow
The idea of the 'many' deciding on the rights of the 'few' is what's wrong in this little democratic experiment. The thought of the general public getting to vote as to whom shall be equal is, as the article says so beautifully, hypocrisy. If ALL are not equal, then NONE is equal. QUESTION: When can we stop calling same-sex nuptials in Massachusetts "Gay Marriage," stop qualifying them and just call them "marriage?" THEN equality will set in, and not before. It's a long road before us... next stop, New York. --Andreas Lights
By Andreas-Lights on 07/05/2006 at 4:37:59
Nouveau Jim Crow
There are interesting angles on this marriage issue that I'd like help with; 1. Since there is no sexual behavior test for persons marrying, is it ok for two hetero men to marry? It's just two men marrying after all, and they could have the best intentions. They could have a family sans sex between themselves, what is wrong with that? Lots of ordinary married do not have sex. 2. Same for two straight women, who would know what happens or does not happen in their bedrooms? With the preponderance of crappy sex in hetero marriage a new way of thinking, where sex is outside marriage, may be in order. 3. Of course two gays could always marry anyway, as long as they are not the same gender, a gay man can marry a gay woman (happens more than you'd think.) 4. So gay marriage is legal, it is same-gender marriage that is not. 5. Bisexual folks fit in there somewhere obviously. Joking aside, if you see the logic; there should be no such thing as defining people as a person-type by their sexual activity preferences. That is a red herring. It is gender, not sexual style that defines a person-type. Personally I think gays need to be marginalized as largely a mental illness become accepted, like insane levels of greed, but that's my scurrilous opinion that I would not put on anyone else. Thanks!
By 21st Cetury Cracker on 07/06/2006 at 12:32:56
Nouveau Jim Crow
I am old enough to remember the real civil rights movement. As you point out (albeit indirectly) it was about racial equality. Using the courts to push validation of one's lifestyle on the majority isn't the same thing. Why are you afraid of a popular vote?
By Bill Johnson on 07/09/2006 at 5:28:15
Nouveau Jim Crow
To Bill Johnson, Not sure how you read fear of a popular vote, but I do fear that you're missing the point. It doesn't matter if 100% of voters agree that a certain group of people should be denied equality in a society that is supposed to be founded on equality. The majority of people used to believe that the world is flat, and it took generations to reach critical mass. The same is true of slavery, of women's rights and it wasn't until 1992 that the Vatican acknowledged that the Earth is not in fact at the center of the solar system. If you've ever heard the expression, "some people are more equal than others," you'd be smart to realize that we ARE in the midst of a REAL civil rights movement, and your mentality is on the way out, thank goodness. Just as mixed-race couples had to struggle for the right to marry the consenting adult of their choice, so it is now for the next minority to be discriminated against. How would YOU feel if the majority of citizens had the authority to make YOU a second-class citizen??? We're not seeking validation of one's lifestyle. My lifestyle is probably just like yours. I get up, shower, dress, go to work, come home, walk my dog and plotz on the couch with my loved one and the remote. If you're talking about my accetance of my sexual orientation, it doesn't matter to me one way or the other. God/and/or/Nature has made me this way, and who are YOU to argue with God/and/or/Nature? In terms of legal recognition, I just want what you have, the right to marry the consenting adult of my choice. If you can do this, or anything, and I can't, then we are not equal citizens, plain and simple, any way you slice it. So stop saying that all (sic) people are created equal if we're not going to treat all equally under the law. Peace.
By Andreas-Lights on 07/10/2006 at 10:44:10
Nouveau Jim Crow
"In terms of legal recognition, I just want what you have, the right to marry the consenting adult of my choice. If you can do this, or anything, and I can't, then we are not equal citizens, plain and simple" ?? You already have the same rights as everyone else. All men have the right to marry a consenting woman. All women have the right to marry a consenting man. What you're seeking is a redefinition of what marriage is. That is what this vote is about.
By Veector on 07/27/2006 at 11:29:02

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