Let Them Vote

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts did the right thing, it seems to me, in upholding the duty of the commonwealth's legislature to vote on a possible 2008 marriage amendment. (I await the howls about judicial activism from the theocon right.) Yes, there will be a huge surge of Christianist money into Massachusetts to keep gay couples stigmatized under the law. Yes, there will be another round of bitter and emotional debate. But advocates for marriage equality are far too defensive in fearing such a vote. We should be relishing it. So far, very few can argue that marriage equality in Massachusetts has been a failure. On the contrary, it has united many once divided families, it has strengthened many relationships, it has brought more stability to gay culture, it has given children more security, and it has opened hearts and minds. We have close to two years to use this evidence to persuade the people of Massachusetts that civil equality is something to be proud of. By the end of 2008, civil marriage may well be fully legal in California by legislative action - and de facto marriage in the form of civil unions available in several states. I doubt whether Massachusetts will forgo the honor of being the first state to grant gay couples legal equality with their straight peers. But there's one way to find out. Let's debate and campaign. The national gay groups, whose record on marriage has been spotty at best, need to make this the first priority of the national movement. Winning a democratic vote on marriage is a huge opportunity - and well within our grasp. We have the arguments. We have the evidence. Now let's have the vote.