The Good Guys Keep Winning

Well, before I get onto the main points of today’s blog, I wanted to mention a couple of things. First of all, Paula Deen has learned that having plantation themed weddings that make light of the suffering of slaves is not the best way to indicate that you are sorry for using the n word. Second of all, Dan Cathy has blown any benefit of the doubt he might have gotten from anyone by making an offensive Twitter comment against the Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage. Of course, Cathy took a leaf from the Twitter page of Rick Warren and deleted his tweet to try and salvage his reputation. Anyway, I want to discuss the two Supreme Court rulings that Cathy and many other social conservatives have been whining about. Wednesday was probably the single biggest day of progress for gays and lesbians, with the possible exception of June 26, 2003 and November 6, 2012. In the short run, the court rulings mean two things. In the first place, after five years of obstruction at the hands of bigots, marriage equality is finally settled law in California. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld lower court decisions against Prop 8, and the California state government will never defend Prop 8 in court. Secondly, as far as federal marriage benefits go, the government will no longer discriminate against gay couples from states where marriage equality is the law. Sadly, marriage equality is still absent from thirty-seven states. Part of DOMA is still intact. Let’s consider the following scenario, which I believe was first described by Davina Kotulski: Bill and Todd are a couple who are both born, raised, and living in Vermont. Bill’s father is not homophobic, but he moved down to Florida after retirement to be in a place with warmer weather. Now, Bill’s father is ninety and needs a great deal of looking after. If Bill and Todd move to Florida to take care of him, their marriage will be considered null and void in that state. Still, in the past year, the momentum has shifted decisively toward gay rights activists. The question is not whether or not gay people in America are going to eventually get equal rights. The question is WHEN they will get equal rights. Those Americans who are homophobic, who have for most of our history been the majority of the country but now constitute a minority, are in denial if they still think they can win. All of their money, all of their radio and T.V. shows, all of their PACS, all of their fear mongering, are only delaying the inevitable. The Founding Fathers built this country like a pyramid, with heterosexual, white men on top and everyone else crushed underneath. But as time went on, the people trying to maintain that system kept losing. The abolitionists and fugitive slaves beat the slave masters, the women’s suffragists beat the patriarchs, the civil rights activists beat the segregationists, and the gay rights activists are beating the homophobes in spectacular fashion. Like Jefferson Davis and James Eastland, the Tony Perkinses and Mike Huckabees of the world are being shown up at every turn. The Boy Scouts of America is now conspicuous by its attempts to live in the past. The leadership thinks that if they keep saying, “homosexuals are bad role models” over and over again, they can get most people to start believing it again. Instead, they are just causing people to look at them shake their heads with disgust. Don’t get me wrong. We have to keep fighting. Against homophobia, against racism, against sexism, against anti-Semitism, against ableism. But we will win, because the bigots always live in the past, and the more time goes by, the more people stop, think, and realize that those bigoted ideas are firmly irrational. Wendell Phillips once said, “liberty knows nothing but victories.” I used to hope he was right. Now I know he was.

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July 1, 2013 · 3:35 pm

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