Today SCOTUS takes up arguments on the merits of the Defense of Marriage Act, but the circus outside yesterday lived up to expectations when it comes to the fringe bigotry brigade.
Some reporting from Lila Shapiro on the “defenders of marriage” that did show up:
“They’ll pass the law to get married, and then force their way into our temples,” said the first woman, Lenae Warr, from Fort Belvoir, Va. “We want our freedom protected.”
A Mormon stay-at-home mom with nine children ranging from 7 to 24 years old, Warr said she had traveled to D.C. because she felt same-sex marriage was “mocking God.” Asked how two gay people getting married affected her personally, Warr paused for a long time. She turned to a man marching beside her and asked, “Should I tell her everything?”
Warr then grabbed this reporter’s arm and whispered fiercely, “I’m a lesbian who chose this lifestyle,” gesturing to her three children who had come with her. “That other road never brought me happiness.”
And no surprise here — they lie about the numbers turning out for their festivities (or the more charitable take — they cannot count very well). Take a look at this (via @TalkEquality, thx, Alvin):
And how about this promise of a backlash, via Mother Jones…
“NOM is attempting to convince its political allies, the media, the public, and perhaps itself that, despite appearances, it has been a good year for the anti-equality movement—that its argument is still a winning one. On the National Mall, this happened in several stages. The first was grief.
Diane Hess of Maryland was standing stage left with a sign that left little room for ambiguity. “Same sex marriage + the liberal media + Obama = the new Axis of Evil.” From her perspective, the nation is totally screwed. “I do see us in a worse place, in a more godless place in 20 years,” she said. Same-sex marriage is here, and it’s only the beginning. “There is going to be a persecution of the Christian church.”
Sarah Stites, a student at Grove City College and one of the few actual young people at a rally was only a bit more bullish. “It seems to be heading that way,” she said, when I ask about marriage equality. “I feel like people my age aren’t getting all the information. They’re being swayed by the media. Eventually there is gonna be a backlash,” she remarked, “but I do think think we’re going in the direction of same-sex marriage.”
About that backlash (and the talking head hand-wringing about SCOTUS moving “too fast”/comparisons to Roe v. Wade), I have no doubt that if marriage equality is declared a constitutional right in the nation that the backwards states (re: ones with marriage amendments) will see a surge of hate crimes. And it will be the small-town LGBTs that bear the brunt of the backlash for the advances. It’s not like law enforcement will exactly rush to help. It’s the natural side effect of effecting change in a cultural patchwork of a nation. I can imagine that if same-sex couples in, say, Missississippi, go to get marriage licenses, some of these bible-beaters yahoos might decide to get liquored up and go “fag hunting.” Too many of these fools are “locked and loaded” already over gun legislation.
That said, this is what comes with change — SCOTUS needs to be done with this and rule for equality across the land rather than keep us sitting here in a legal patchwork mess for several more years because we have to be concerned about the “sensitivities” of the bigots among us. Half-measures will guarantee countless, painful legal challenges around the country, that will only delay the inevitable ruling a la Loving v. Virginia that will end the madness.
The fundies and bigots will just need to get over themselves — and go pray on it.
Speaking of behind the curve — and those with power — this was HuffPo’s cover page last night (story here). It featured holdout Dems -in the U.S. Senate – I guess they will be the last to “evolve” on the issue. One is a Senator from my state, Kay Hagan. She’s been behind the issue as long as I can remember, not even agreeing to take questions from LGBT media during her first run:
Incidentally, when Richard Burr ran for re-election (the other NC Senator), all of the Dem candidates were willing to speak with blogs and the media about their prospective positions on LGBT issues and place position statements on their web site. The bar has been set. Hagan can’t run again without it being an issue to confront. [Burr only won re-election because of the teabagger avalanche in 2010 when too many progressive and moderate voters sat home and let the wingers take office.]
Here is a complete list of the peeps above: 1. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), 2. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), 3. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), 4. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), 5. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), 6. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), 7. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), 8. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), 9. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), 10. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).
UPDATE: Kay Hagan has decided today that she’s “coming out” for equality. Better late than never…thank you, Senator.
“I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions,” Hagan told the News & Observer. “But after much thought and prayer on my part this is where I am today. After conversations I’ve had with family members, with people I go to church with and with North Carolinians from all walks of life, I’ve come to my own personal conclusion that we should not tell people who they can love, or who they can marry,” she added. “It’s time to move forward with this issue.”