Friday, May 08, 2009
It’s been a big year for equality in New England. Vermont passed a bill granting marriage equality to its gay and lesbian residents. Republican Governor Jim Douglas vetoed the bill, but legislators overrode the veto. On Wednesday, Maine Governor John Baldacci signed Maine’s marriage equality bill into law. On signing the bill into law, Baldacci said, “In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage." Also on Wednesday, the NH House voted to pass the Senate amended version of HB 436, the NH marriage equality bill. It now goes to Governor Lynch, who can sign, not sign and let it become law, or veto.
I listened to the audio stream from the NH House chamber, which meant I was able to hear the last ditch efforts of the anti-equality folks. They all said basically the same thing – and everything they said was a lie, especially when they said they needed “more time” to craft a better bill, something they had absolutely no intention of. Out of state hate groups spend a ton of money on ads and robo-calls. The Cornerstone Policy Group, an in-state hate group, also launched robo-calls that were pretty darned close to push polling. The anti-equality members of the House are already sending around emails decrying the “out of state groups” that want to engage in social engineering. Sounds like a massive case of projection to me.
One of the most interesting aspects of the anti-equality folks is that they love to shout about government interference in their personal freedoms. Local GOP prattler Maynard Thomson dedicated hundreds of words to express his outrage at the very possibility of a seatbelt law, in his most recent epistle. The Republicans view of gummint interference adds up to:
1. Don’t make me wear a seatbelt.
2. Don’t take my guns away.
3. Don’t make me pay taxes.
Interfering in women’s health decisions, or discriminating against homosexuals – why that’s different. God told them to do that. There is, of course, a word to describe this - hypocrisy. Otherwise, how could Thomson write these words:
“Otherwise, what DOES justify the passion to control others? What, beyond shattering arrogance and a messianic zeal to meddle in other people’s lives, wherever it appears politically possible? Enquiring minds want to know!”
What the poor, old, mired-in-the-past Republicans don’t understand (or don’t wish to acknowledge) is that things change. Prior to the 1950’s, people lived with their extended family. Mom, Pop, and the kids lived with their grandparents and often aunts and uncles. In the 50’s came the idea of the nuclear family; just Mom, Pop, and the kids. Mom lost her support system, and had to do all the childcare and housework all by herself. It’s no coincidence that this coincided with the introduction of Valium.
Families change, as do societal mores. We don’t have slaves any more. We frown on lynching, although both were perfectly acceptable at one time. We burned witches at one time – witches who always seemed to be women who refused to comply with male leadership, and refused to shut up about it. Marital rape and wife beating were once quite acceptable. These days - not so much. Women were completely left out of the original Constitution, but we finally fought our way into being included, and getting the right to vote. We no longer believe the world is flat, or that leeches are a medical cure. That’s human history for you – always changing and evolving.
Unfortunately, the GOP has put itself on the wrong side of that equation. They’ve chosen to become the party of bigotry and discrimination. It is interesting to watch GOP form The National Council for a New America, dedicated to reviving the Republican Party. The group includes Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, John McCain, and Haley Barbour. From what I’ve seen, it’s the same old white guys with the same old message. They’re stuck with the very narrow views of the radical Christian right, and that isn’t going to help them attract younger folks and move forward. They’re stuck in the past – and a few of them getting Twitter accounts won’t change that.
NH House GOP leader Sherman Packard has already said that if Governor Lynch signs HB 436 into law, the GOP will hold him responsible. He also said that same sex marriage would figure prominently in the 2010 elections. Not a one of the haters can tell you how gay people getting married will affect their own marriages – because it won’t. It will create new families, something the haters say they want. If we dare to venture into reality, gay people getting married will be good for the economy of our state. There will be marriage licenses, hall rentals, flowers, cakes, tuxedos, gowns, and of course, tourist dollars. Hanging on to the bigotry in this economy is cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The continued embrace of the far right means further self-marginalization by the GOP. Poppy Sununu and Mitt Romney aren’t interested in moving into the future. They want desperately to remain in the past.
“The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision.” Lynn Lavner
This was published as an editorial in the Conway Daily Sun on May 8, 2009.
© s.bruce 2009
Posted by susanthe at 11:10 AM