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February 17, 2004

"I Know Nuzzing!"

In defiance of California law, hundreds of gay couples have been issued marriage licenses by the city of San Francisco in the last few days. Though some conservative groups are up in arms, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the rest of the political establishment aren't commenting.

Is it possible to read that silence as anything other than support for and acquiescence to the idea of same-sex marriage? It's hard to imagine the same staid reaction if the papers being handed out were, say....gun or driver's licenses. Essentially, the San Francisco action is a civil rights protest, but one supported instead of opposed by the powers that be.

It is frankly astonishing, as if Governor Barnett and the rest of that state's politicians had supported the entry of James Meredith into University of Mississippi in 1962.

Not that Arnold really equates with Ross Robert Barnett. Schwarzenegger has supported gay rights, whereas Barnett came to office vowing to go to jail before he would allow integration in the Mississippi public schools.

But imagine, if you will, how truncated and less painful the civil rights struggle would have been if even one or two deep south administrations had ignored/supported it in the manner that the California governor is ignoring/supporting same sex marriage.

At this point, it's hard to imagine at least a plurality of states in 2010 either getting out of the marriage business entirely, or willingly handing out licenses to any two people who wish to marry.

Update: Just for grins, my predictions as to which states they'll be.

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

Also the District of Columbia.

Posted by Bigwig at February 17, 2004 12:06 PM | TrackBack
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I wouldn't expect Arnold to have a whole lot to say about this since he's quoted during his campaign as saying "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman." Obvious misspeak, but my feeling is it reveals he really doesn't give a damn.

Posted by: Adrianne at February 17, 2004 03:18 PM

Speaking as a lifelong New Hampshirite, you are absolutely stone cold wrong about NH either certifying gay marriage or getting out of the marriage business.
Yes, New Hampshire gave the Episcopal Church it's first openly gay bishop, sparking a worldwide controversy within that church, but we have what could possibly be THE most conservative legislature in the world. I think it was just a couple years ago they endorsed fire, and there's a special committee debating the wheel.
Seriously, the state Senate is currently debating a bill that declares marriage to be strictly between one man and one woman. It'll likely pass. And our governor is a conservative technocrat who has already declared his opposition to not only gay marriage, but civil unions as well.


Posted by: Jay Tea at February 17, 2004 08:25 PM

Not sure I buy the "gay is the new Black" argument. For one, I think it utterly dismisses the judeo-christian moral backbone of the desegregation movement, and the enormity and horror of slavery and its lingering after effects.

For another thing, the same basic argument - "I should be allowed to marry whoever I want" is equally applicable to plural marriage. Now I know we got a couple a Utah boys over on the other side of the Warren, but still. Nobody has answered this question - the best I've heard is "oh don't be stupid, that would never happen" but then that was exactly the same response I heard last spring when I said that Lawrence v. Texas would lead ineluctibly and quickly to gay marriage.

The strongest argument, IMHO, is we shouldn't go trifling with worthy and pretty much universally accepted social institutions that have accreted over thousands of years. Gay marriage has never been, as far as I can tell; and traditional marriage is the way it is because it works as an institution, for stabilizing relationships and families.

I know what formed the underpinning of the last great social movement we had, Johnson's 'Great Society', which created the modern welfare state. A young bureaucrat, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, pointed out that the unintended consequence of the well meaning support payments would be to incentivize illegitimacy, to reward bad behavior, and in the end to destroy the black family several generations at a time.

He was run out of town for saying that - "how could such a good thing destroy families?" - and ultimately proved correct.

I wish I could chalk up my opposition to gay marriage as a product of my own knuckle fuck pig headed dumbass bigotry. Sadly, I can't. I have a lot of gay friends that I have no problems with, one sister is gay, and think laws restraining consensual sexual behavior between adults are the height of stupidity if we intend them to be taken seriously. I'm a pretty poor example of a bigot. Yet I still think this breathless rush to redefine the central social institution around which our society is organized to be misguided and dangerous in the extreme. No, not dangerous in the sense of running with scissors, but dangerous in that I think it will ultimately lead to the (intended or unintended) destruction of marriage as a widespread moderating institution in society - and if you read some of the queer theorists behind this current movement, that's exactly their goal. Whether the destruction of marriage as a social institution is the real goal of the "movement" types, or whether it's purely benevolent, I firmly believe it will degrade one of the few really important social institutions we have.

Oh well, charge on boys and girls. I suppose if we are going to all be Gramscians and do everything in our power to chuck out the old social institutions, we might as well do it in a big hurry. I think it's inevitable that we come to live in a thoroughly nihilistic radical egalitarian dystopia - might as well get there quickly, it will be less painful to watch.

Posted by: Blackavar at February 17, 2004 10:19 PM

Now I get to ignore any laws I find distasteful ot personally inconveinent!
I will never be late for work again beacuse of silly traffic laws.

Let's give a big hand to chaos,it always works so well.

Posted by: M at February 18, 2004 09:22 AM

Actually, the Lawrence decision has spurred at least one Utah polygamist to challenge his bigamy conviction on the grounds that if the Gov't has no authority to outlaw buggery, then it has no authority to outlaw polygamy.

Posted by: Captain Holly at February 18, 2004 09:53 AM