I am a christian, a bona fide independent, and a happily married man (15 years this fall). My wife and I are willing to cross to either side of the aisle for legislation that we feel makes our country better. We voted for Obama last year, and have in the past supported Reagan, Clinton, and Dean, Gingrich, Webb, and Feingold.
I've never voiced support for same sex marriage, and had in the past criticized the GLBT for being mostly reactive. The primary focus of the GLBT seemed to be to get several lawsuits in place that would set precedent law and essentially - legislate from the bench. The last wave of this approach will find itself dashed against the rocks of the California Supreme Court this week, when they will decide not to overrulle proposition eight.
So that approach wasn't epic fail. But it was not successful either. And I was a critic of it. Still am.
And now I say, in all seriousness - that my view of Same Sex Marriage is that its time to get legislation in place to legalize it. Why?
Well, first off - for personal reasons. My uncle was a priest in the episcopal church that helped get the issues surrounding this topic out into the world. We supported him, and still do. His son is gay. That means I have a very happily married gay cousin (they went to Spain to get hitched and now spend their days in a sun bleached Casa de Playa).
And because, I honestly believe that if two people want to have the legal right to have a marital squabble, for the sake of the Good lord, just let them! The types of recognition that are provided by society here - really aren't so valuable that they'll be really missed - these two lovebirds can file a joint tax return, get someone out of the hospital, adopt kids, etc. - Let them have it. The IRS can handle the workload and I am sure the hospitals are happy to see family and friends and spouse around their cold white walls. Don't get me started about kids. I swear, they're like donuts. One is great... two.. three... you get the picture.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly to my many friends in the GLBT community - its because now, if you seek this process through legislation. You will win. And thats what I'm here for. I helped my deep red state to get carried for Obama by 68% of the primary vote. And I am more than willing to help these guys finish their agenda. As long as I can play golf every now and then on the weekends, I'm game for it.
I supported Dean in 2004 - I did so because the guy could balance a budget - not because he was some kind of champion for civil unions. But trust me, the masterminds behind his campaign were the GLBT - they were the first 100k of his campaign. The fact that Dean ran a somewhat badly managed campaign (a fact that Joe Trippi will try to deny) more or less killed support amongst my crowd for him - we saw the most money ever raised online - disappear all too rapidly offline. Again, the leadership of the GLBT at the time was largely to blame. And of course, Joe. But he will deny that.
But as to the issue of civil unions - Dean, as governor of Vermont - wanted Vermont legislature decide the issue. Not the courts. Hello, was anyone listening? Today, it looks like Civil Unions will go one step farther in Vermont - and we'll see same sex marriage legalized. Good for them. And through the right channel - the legislative channel. No expensive lawsuits. No legislation from the bench.
And if the majority support it, then it should be so. Remember,
the religious fundamentalists were the ones who got our economy out of balance in the first place with their pie-in-the-sky foreign and economic policies championed under the Bush administration.
Independents don't care about whether government is smaller, or bigger, we care about whether or not its doing its job right. Is it the role of government to tell them they can't be there at that morning coffee as husband and wife?
Those states that adopt - through legislation - same sex marriage will likely get a boost to their economy. Seriously, this is a bottom line kind of decision. Gays are, almost to a fault, a bit more wealthy and educated than your standard man off the street. Living in San Francisco for many years taught me this.
As Dean said - the legislative branch is the right branch of the government to decide the issue. And thats who's deciding the issue these days.
I met someone last week who was arrested on an anti-sodomy charge. I thought to myself. For God's sake, why would anyone want to pay attorneys, cops, judges, prison officials, and the whole retinue of probation officers and clerks - to keep people from a good orgasm? To be sure, sodomy is not exactly my cup of tea. But so what. The concept of having laws to keep people from doing it , is to my mind bizarre. Even if it wasn't safe sex. Its still their choice.
Further, I spoke with this person (I was giving them a ride) and found that the courts pressured a guilty plea. If this person (I am referring to this person carefully because they're in the process turning from he, into a she..) didn't plead guilty - they would register them as a felony sex offender in the sex offender database. It would ruin their career - the sex offender database is online. They were the valedictorian of their class, but for a night of harmless activity - they're now a felon?!
So. I decided. Hey. The GLBT are barking up the right tree this time. AND there are people out there that this kind of legislation will really help.
My question is. Ok. So yeah, Same sex marriage isn't a big deal and it might be a good idea to get it done. What do I do, to help out? Is there anything I can do to help this person (who is now camping out in one of my friends office building - a person with a perfect 3.9 GPA on their way to college!) ?
Would there be any way that any of us indies out there, who quite honestly - have cared less - about this issue - lend support to the effort?
Which states are good candidates to go next in the legislative process to legalize same sex marriage?