Eee, gay marriage.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Iowa just legalized it, Friday, becoming the third state to do so. And there’s a tiny chance that Vermont might soon follow (though the state’s House vote fell just four votes short of the majority approval needed to squelch the governor’s intended “veto” – but we’ll just have to wait and see on that one..). As expected, the social conservatives are outraged – perhaps with even more fervor than usual given that Iowa is far from a hotbed of liberal thought.
You can almost write your own thought bubbles for these non-fans of not-straight-people marriage: Suddenly, it seems, perhaps it’s not so trendy to be outwardly anti-gay. It feels, at the risk of sounding naively optimistic, that positive momentum might finally be with As more and more state governments begin to take seriously their duty of protecting the rights of minorities (i.e. not putting issues related to minority rights up to majority vote), their greatest fears might just come true: Among them, the defeat of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (which President Obama has promised to repeal) and further spreading of state-approved queer unions. A right-wing nightmare, no?
But, as much as I want to throw my hands up in the air and dance wildly to RuPaul remixes, I still can’t help but feel that the Iowan decision – in the grand scheme of things, even if it does encourage similar action in other states – smells of too little, too late. For this is exactly the case for some people. Take, for example, Shirley Tan, a woman who has been in a committed lesbian relationship, mothering twin 12-year-old sons, for the past 23 years, who is on the verge of deportation from California’s Bay Area to the Philippines. If she and partner Jay Mercado were allowed to marry, it would be a non-issue. Instead, Tan (and her family) must argue her right to remain stateside, receiving a two-week emergency stay last week with the help of politicos. Learn more about the story below (and from this San Jose Mercury News article):
In light of the continued inequity in the other 47 U.S. states, activists are rightfully continuing to organize, rally and raise a general stink… But I have to question some of the tactics: Here in Chicago, the homosexual drinking establishment Cocktail has come under some fire for banning bachelorette parties from taking place on its premises. Hung outside of Cocktail is a sign that explains the ban, in addition to offering a statement:
Until same-sex marriage is legal everywhere and same-sex couples are allowed the rights as every heterosexual couple worldwide, we simply do not think it’s fair or just for a female bride-to-be to celebrate her upcoming nuptials here at Cocktail. We are entitled to an opinion, this is ours.
And other bars have followed suit. I have to wonder: Is alienating a (likely) already queer-friendly audience beneficial to the cause? Allies are crucial to any civil rights battle, and though I understand Cocktail’s point-of-view (and the fact that they are acting completely within their right as independent business owners).. I’m simply not sure how this sits with me.
On a more personal level, I recently received a wedding invitation to the ceremony of one of my dearest friends, coming up this summer. And I couldn’t help but smile when I thought ahead to the day, and the incredible impact that it will have for my friend. Flaunting a privilege? Rubbing it in? Hardly. I could not be more excited for Sarah and the life that she is building with her fiance. Ya know, happiness and eternal love. That’s all that all of us really want anyway, right?