This tweet summed up my reaction to the news this morning that North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment banning not only same-sex marriage but any legal recognition of unions that are not marriage, regardless of your sexual orientation. 61% of people voted yes on this thing, even though marriage is already defined as one man-one woman by virtue of the North Carolina legislature. In so doing, domestic partnerships and all the benefits included therein (including health insurance) are now null and void.
Not content to just have a discriminatory law on their books, the people of North Carolina (or at least 61% of the people that voted) decided they needed to put said discrimination into their state Constitution so that those sneaky gays don’t start thinking that they might actually, you know, be people that are worth having the same rights as they do. To me, this is just icing on the discrimination. I knew that this would pass – I mean, seriously, North Carolina is the only state in the Southeastern U.S. without a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage – but it still frustrates me. To me, this is not rocket science. Laws need to be applied equally across the board whether you are short, tall, fat, skinny, black, white, gay, straight or any combination of of the above and anything I might have left out.
But you know what? I’m tired. I’m tired of being outraged. I know it’s my job as a liberal to be outraged but I just can’t do it any more. My wife compares the North Carolina vote to our third cat in 18 months to die from cancer. I’m so tired of fighting and telling people how wrong this is. I can explain it to some people until I am blue in the face and it seems to do no good at all. Even though here in Iowa we’ve managed to be ahead of the curve and struck down marriage inequality in 2009, it’s still far from safe here. As it stands right now, one man is standing firm in his commitment to not allow Iowans to vote on the rights of others, and he’s going to face a nasty re-election campaign come fall. I like to think that Iowans are better than that and can see that what marriage equality is about is treating everyone the same under the law, but I also thought there was no way they’d kick out three of the Supreme Court justices that ruled in the Varnum vs. Brien decision and we see how that turned out. Fortunately, they’re being recognized for doing the right thing even though a slim majority of Iowans kicked them out on their keisters in 2010. As I’ve said before, what this is really going to take is a Supreme Court ruling on a federal level to flush all these discriminatory amendments and laws down the toilet, and I really do believe this will happen some day. It’s either that or we do away with marriage completely to expose those who oppose marriage equality for being what they are – bigots who hide behind their Bible to defend their backward, discriminatory ways.
But for as outraged-out as I am, having spent 8 years of the Bush administration being perpetually outraged and the last few years being intermittently outraged, I still know that I’m doing the right thing by speaking out. My marriage will never ever be voted on. That’s not a luxury my LGBT friends have. So I’ll continue the fight because it’s the right thing to do, even though every anti-gay law or amendment that is passed makes me tired and frustrated. These kinds of thing require seeing a big picture and looking at the long-term picture, especially when events like the North Carolina vote provide setbacks in the short term. The outrage over marriage equality and gay rights in general are the death rattles of a bygone era that can’t seem to go quietly.
This video makes the rounds on Facebook every now and then, and I think it’s appropriate for this morning. I was tempted to post the “It Could Happen To You” video that I did on Facebook yesterday, but I think I’d rather head off to work this morning looking forward to the day when everyone has the right to spend their life with who they love, enjoying the full benefits of marriage under federal and state law. In the meantime, I’ll continue to fight the fight. And besides, who can resist the enlightenment of Blanche Elizabeth Devereaux?