Over the weekend, New York became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage. Even though it required GOP votes to make that happen, I knew, from out here in the wilds of gay marriage-banned Ohio that it was an inevitability, since lawmakers were being swayed by reason toward the final vote.
Now I do want to be clear here. I’m not an advocate of gay marriage. I think there’s still something to be said for moves that will strengthen the traditional family. And I don’t really see the societal benefit of gay couples fighting to push into territory that has a strong religious component, since all it does is make the religious kooks get their martyrdom on.
But I also can’t see any reason to deny a legal commitment by two individuals who love each other, want to spend the rest of their lives together, and will function in every way like a straight couple. And this is where my inner libertarian kicks in.
When an issue is primarily about the rights of individuals, and there is no compelling interest for the state to exercise power over the individual for some common need, then the state should get the hell out of the way. And that’s precisely what New York did.
I think back over the last 30 years and I see how far the gay equality movement has come. Back in the 80’s, when I was growing up in the conservative heartland, with some serously fucked up Catholic education being poured in, the only really gay people I saw were fruity queer cliches in the movies. They were funny. Come to think of it, they still are.
But I’ve watched a lot of people who you could have characterized as anti-gay become gay-meh on many of the issues. They may be “opposed” to gays in the military, or gay marriage, or whatever gay subject you pick. But it’s more of a personal disagreement, not a virulent desire to stamp out man-ass-sex wherever it may be.
And it’s in that lack of conviction about it that we’re edging closer to saying “whatever.”
We’re no longer driven as a society by discrimination based on skin color, sex, or religious or cultural differences (with exceptions of course). And it’s not because every prejudice has disappeared. It’s because we’ve increasingly realized that focusing on these relatively superficial things, unless there is a rational basis, is really damned stupid. And the law reflects that more and more.
So there’s 44 states left that will be legalizing gay marriage in some form or another in the future. Note to them (including the Great State of Ohio): It’s about damn time.