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Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

Emboldened in Hawaii

January 19th, 2010 No comments

Are civil unions the compromise they’re touted as? Not according to this story from Hawaii, where religious anti-equality opponents repeatedly discussed the sanctity of marriage in opposing — a Hawaii civil unions bill! The rhetoric was almost entirely religious, even though the bill has nothing to do with religion, even nominally. Counter-protesters also invoked religion in arguing for the bill. What’s left to say at this point. Maybe these three points:

  • For some, religion is too powerful to allow even civil equality for same-sex couples. They don’t want to look at the lives of their gay neighbors.
  • These counter-demonstrations show the peril in relying on religious arguments in civil discourse. The question becomes: Whose religion?
  • I can’t help thinking that recent legislative victories from the anti-equality forces in New Jersey and New York have emboldened the other side.

Expect this fight to go on for awhile. And don’t expect the Supreme Court to put a quick end to it.

Reaction: New York Senate Votes Against Marriage Equality, 24-38

December 2nd, 2009 2 comments

I had no idea whether the Senate would pass this measure, but I’ll bet everyone was surprised by the lop-sided margin by which it went down to defeat.  So all of these months of wrangling and wondering whether the bill would even come to a vote end with…a thud. Very disappointing, especially since eighteen of the twenty-four supporters spoke during the debate, as compared with only one opponent.

To me, the opponents’ silence says: “We know we don’t have arguments that are compelling, and we don’t want to stand against these many real-life stories of how the denial of equality affects our fellow New Yorkers. But we’re afraid of the political ramifications of a “yes” vote.”

It looks like NOM’s threat to campaign against any Republican who supported the measure had some effect, but it’s too simple to blame it all on that. There’s still the matter of the Democrats who voted against it, some of whom appeared to have been supporters. What happened? How much of this is attributable to the voters’ reaction to legislatively conferred marriage equality in Maine? And how will it affect the vote in neighboring New Jersey? (Prediction: Now, I’d be surprised if the matter even came to a vote. And if it does, expect another defeat.)

Is the glass filling, or emptying? 2009 has been an up-and-down year for marriage equality (and in that order, too — first “up” with results in Iowa, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont; and then “down,” with the California decision upholding Prop 8, the voter repeal of marriage equality in Maine, and now this).  The year’s not over, of course, as D.C. looks poised to enact marriage equality before year’s end, so things may yet end on a positive note. But overall 2009 is ending on a down note.

More broadly, though, nothing will stop this movement. I know and believe this.

To end on a practical note: All the N.Y. Senate has done is to make getting married more of a challenge for New Yorkers: The state recognizes same-sex marriages from other states, and today’s action didn’t change that. Yet the legislature was unwilling to make life easier for gay couples: They still have to go to Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Canada (to name the three adjoining jurisdictions that recognize gay marriages) in order to marry.