Friday, November 6, 2009

if you want gay marriage

History suggests you have to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" first. Truman issued an Executive Order ending segregation in the military in 1948. Loving v. Virginia didn't legalize interracial marriage until 1967.


  1. Yeah…though I wouldn't recommend anyone hold their breath waiting for this President to do it, I'd really like to see more people asking him why he hasn't.

    I get why gay rights activists felt the need to pursue this via ballot initiatives, but it was never likely to turn out well. Has there ever been a time when any group in this country received their due civil rights because of a popular vote? It happens by executive order, in legislation, or in the courts; not in a voting booth. But what else would one expect? The whole *point* of civil rights is to protect the minority from the majority.

  2. Go back to the Chicago Sun Times interview with Obama and you'll read he claimed three spiritual mentors including Louis Farrahkan and Illinois State Sen. Rev. James Meeks....both violently homophobic men. That should tell you something.

  3. RAB, I think it could've worked if some high-profile politicians had been willing to stand up. But that's not realpolitiks.

    Bill, I hadn't known about Meeks, but you're very right. The LGBT folks should've gotten behind Edwards:

  4. I was under the impression that the state legislators are trying to make executive decisions, but it's been the people's veto power that's thwarting their efforts:

    ME House rejected proposal to let voters decide the issue:

    ME 2nd state to legalize through legislation and not judicial means, but people have veto referendum power:

    WA's Referendum 71 was also a protest to WA's changing legislation:

    And of course Prop 8 was an opposition to changed legislation.

    Sadly, it's been the people's veto power (and the diligent work of anti gay marriage groups, though scarily significantly less in ME) keeping change from happening.

    At least this day is improved by WA's voters approving partnership rights!

  5. filmnikita, you're right, but it's complicated. I think if folks win the gays in the military battle first, the public perception of LGBTers will automatically go up. Second, I wish I knew what the people's preference really was. What elections tell us is the preference of people who vote, a group that's disproportionately older and richer, which means they're doubly conservative. It's especially bad when the elections aren't for president, when working class people are more likely to stay home or at work.

  6. Why do you think winning the military battle would shift the public perception? Is it because on a personal level if those in the military (who I assume are more conservative) serve side by side with LGBT, they will bring that informed opinion home with them and have a trickle down effect? Or is it more general, that because we as a culture value military service that highly, it would skew public opinion?

    I know that ME had a 50% and above turnout of their registered voters which is really good for an off year, though you're right it's still 1/2 the amount that came out in the 2008 GE. Not sure on the racial/class turnout...I'll keep my eye out for some stats.

  7. Both. I think it makes a difference if people hear that a gay soldier was killed in service, or did something heroic, or just did what everyone else does. "Don't ask, don't tell" makes gay folks invisible, and to marry, they have to be prominent in the same way everyone else is. For all that I'm a pacifist, if we have a military, LGBT folks should clearly be in it, too, serving as proudly as anyone can.