When I look at the amendment battle this year, I am angered not just by the cold-hearted attempt to use a public forum to legislate what is a private matter. I’m also angered by the cynicism it takes to put these amendments on the ballot now.
Yes, these amendments are on the ballot, in part, to get conservatives to the polling booth.
You’d think that the better play would be to put up candidates worth voting for but neither major party seems interested in doing that.
Still, you can only use that particular ploy once, right? If the amendment passes and gay marriage is, as my friend Nick dubbed it, double fuck you illegal in Minnesota, what happens next? We can’t vote on it again in four years.
So why now?
Simply put, they are losing. Day by day, week by week, the people in support of marriage discrimination are losing ground but right now the odds are in their favor. Even if they pass individual amendments in every state, they will eventually lose this fight.
I’m pretty sure they know that.
And that is why they are working as fast as they can to get these amendments passed. Stripping a discriminatory law from the books is comparatively easy. Getting rid of a discriminatory amendment is much harder.
But make no mistake, someday all of these laws and amendments will be gone. This is a fight that will eventually be won.
So if you (or someone you know) is voting “yes,” you are not preventing homosexual marriage forever. You are preventing it for a while.
If the courts don’t overturn these amendments, the public will eventually vote to repeal them.
That, to me, makes this entire fight even more reprehensible. Let’s assume that Proposition 8 gets struck down in the next year (which is likely). That means that gay people in California have been prevented from getting married for four more years. That’s it. Four years.
Doesn’t that seem kind of vindictive to you? Doesn’t it look like the goal is to screw over homosexuals as long as possible?
It feels like the goal is to limit the happiness of others as long as you possibly can. Oh sure, they’ll be able to get legally married eventually but when I’m celebrating my tenth anniversary, they’ll only be celebrating their fifth. Ha ha!
Doesn’t that sound childish? Why is it so important to get those extra few years of fuck you in on the gays?
Maybe the folks in support of this stuff are really that dumb. Maybe they think that if they get these amendments passed now, gay marriage will never become legal. Homosexuals and those who support them will just give it up and go back to watching “Project Runway” and “MythBusters.”
If they were dumb, though, they wouldn’t be in such a hurry. They wouldn’t be so adept at playing on the fears of the ignorant.
“Think of the children.”
“Protect your marriage.”
“Next thing you know, it’ll be legal to marry a horse.”
These arguments have no basis in fact but they are persuasive because they are scary (except the one about the horse). Stupid people don’t use these arguments (except the one about the horse). Smart people use these arguments to convince the ignorant that their lives will be affected in negative ways if homosexuals are allowed to visit their spouse in the hospital without family approval.
So if they are smart, I have to assume that the goal of getting all of this done now is simply vindictiveness and bigotry. If they are smart enough to realize that homosexuals will be allowed to legally marry someday, what other reason would they have to spend so much time and money putting it off for a few years?
If the amendment passes, it isn’t as if the lives of straight people are going to get better.
If the Fundamentalists are right, gay people will still end up in hell when they die.
Gay bars won’t suddenly shut down.
Straight parents won’t stop having children who are gay.
Nothing changes for straight people in this equation. Knowing that, why vote yes?
Unless you really want to hurt homosexuals. Unless you really want homosexuals to know that you personally believe they should not be permitted to have the same rights as you. Unless you really want them to know you wish they would all get back in the closet.
I want to believe that this amendment won’t pass but I’m pessimistic. Polls are close but the “vote yes” side is still ahead and recent studies on the subject suggest about 5% – 7% of those who say they will vote to support marriage equality are lying because they don’t want to admit their true opinion to a pollster.
If that math holds true in Minnesota, the amendment is going to pass. I want to believe the math won’t hold true but history is not on our side.
Maybe we can switch that math if we ask people a few simple questions:
“You know gay marriage will become legal one day, right? So why is it so important to hurt so many people by voting ‘yes’ now?”
We have a month. If 10% of us who support marriage equality can convince one person to vote “no,” Minnesota will hand Focus on the Family, the Mormon and Catholic Churches, and Minnesotans for (straight) Marriage their first major electoral defeat.
If we can convince just one person that their vote isn’t about morality, it is about defining someone else as a less valuable human being. It is about making sure they are denied a basic right for just a little bit longer. It is about hurting people just because you can. It is about allowing homosexuals the inalienable right to life and liberty but not the pursuit of happiness.
There is nothing patriotic about voting yes. There is nothing compassionate about voting yes. There is nothing that should make someone proud they voted yes.
My hope for myself is that I can convince one person to vote no.
Because if I can do that, we may win this fight a little bit sooner.
Unfortunately, even the soundest of logic and the truest of facts will never persuade someone driven purely by ideology.
Reminds me of the Carl Sagan quote: “In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.”