The movement against gay marriage is starting to seem kind of silly and outdated, no?
The Grammys mass wedding moment Sunday — where 33 couples, including a sprinkling of gay ones, were joined in matrimony by Queen Latifah — might have been a stunt, but it was an effective one. There’s no better way to normalize gay marriage than to simply show it.
Who would have thought we live in a world where the prim and traditional Rose Parade would break this ground before the Grammys got around to it?
On Sunday, the traditional wedding processional was replaced by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis singing “Same Love,” a plea for equal rights that has become an anthem in the gay community. It begins with Macklemore recounting himself as a third-grader, questioning his sexuality because he’s just like his gay uncle — artsy and neat. He muses about whether the hip-hop world would hate him if he were gay, deplores the casual use of anti-gay slurs and concludes:
... a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all
But it’s a damn good place to start.
Yes it is.
Same-sex marriage is still legal in only 17 states and the District of Columbia. But signs abound that opposition is crumbling.
In Virginia last week, Democratic Atty. Gen. Mark Herring announced that he would not defend his state’s gay marriage ban because it was unconstitutional.
Federal courts have struck down gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah (where 1,000 gay couples married before the Supreme Court granted a stay on Jan. 6 while it considers an appeal.)
And several states are considering ballot initiatives to legalize gay marriage — including possibly Ohio, where the state’s voters banned it in 2004. That ballot measure helped bring conservative voters to the polls and gave an edge to President George W. Bush, who won the state by some 120,000 votes, cementing his reelection.
But if gay marriage is going to be a wedge issue in the future, it’s one that’s going to benefit Democrats, according to the Washington Post.
As Matt Canter, the spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee told the Post’s Julia Eilperin:
“There isn’t a single Republican big-money group that spends significant resources in Senate races that has even been willing to say on the record, ‘Yes, we will campaign on discrimination and bigotry and attack Democrats who support equality,’ ” Canter said. “I can only assume that these groups recognize that they risk sounding hateful and out of touch on issues that matter in this election if they were to pursue such a strategy.”
With only two exceptions, gay marriage has losts its power to be a battering ram for Republicans.
First, the party is hoping to use it to attract religious black voters, who consistently oppose gay marriage. And second, it has power in Republican primaries, where candidates are still fighting about who is more committed to being on the wrong side of history.
We saw that last year in Wyoming, where gay marriage became an issue in the Republican U.S. Senate primary between the incumbent Mike Enzi and his challenger, Liz Cheney.
Cheney, who had favored federal benefits for same-sex couples when she worked at the State Department, was accused of being soft on gay marriage. Her insistence that she opposed it opened an ugly family rift, as her married gay sister, Mary, publicly berated her.
After Dick and Liz Cheney took Liz’s side, it soon became apparent that even conservative Wyoming Republicans didn’t want to see a high-profile family ripped apart by the issue. Cheney, badly trailing in polls, dropped out of the race. In a strangely convoluted way, that was a kind of a PR victory for gay marriage.
Another occurred on Sunday, at the Grammys. When even the notoriously gay phobic hip-hop world has come around, it’s fair to conclude the sea has changed.