Thursday, September 15, 2005

What a Difference a Coast Makes

In direct contrast to the turmoil in California over gay marriage, it appears that in Massachusetts the majority has already come to accept them after only a couple of years. The Massachusetts legisature voted down a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage in that state. The vote was 157-39 -- a remarkable turnaround since the March 2004 vote in favor of a ban. In Massachusetts, the legislature must pass such proposals in two consecutive sessions. The first vote was shortly after the state Supreme Court ruled that denial of gay marriage violated the state constitution's guarantee of equal protection.

Yet public opinion moved even faster than the bigots' fear campaign. After more than 6000 gay marriages in the state, the public has begun to realize that gays are just ordinary folks after all. Well over half of those polled in the state now believe gay marriage should be legal.

Gov. Mitt Romney, another Republican with ambitions bigger than his heart, opposes gay marriage and apparently even civil unions. He denies that his Morman beliefs are bigoted, claiming that he is just worried about the children. I guess that's why none of his sons voluteered to serve their country in Iraq.

The contrast with California's recent activities is interesting. I think it proves the point that the bigots lose when they can't stampede voters with a fear campaign. In Massachusetts, gay marriage moved forward while the constitutional process slowed the anti-gay campaign sufficiently that citizens had time to learn more and realize that gay marriage (to them, if not to gay couples) was no big deal.

The bigots know this and that is why they have rushed to amend state constitutions with anti-equality amendments. The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada and now England have all legalized at least civil unions. It is only a matter of time before a majority of Americans come to accept gay equality. And history will not be kind to the bigots.