Friday, November 07, 2008

An Updated No Taxation without Representation

Melissa Etheridge has issued a statement declaring that if California does not grant her the right under the constitution to marry that it extends to its heterosexual citizens she will not pay her taxes. Logistically, I'm not sure how this will work, but I applaud the sentiment. The recent defeat of Prop. 8 reaffirms something I've believed a long time: same-sex marriage cannot be a state issue. It will have to be addressed at the federal level, much the same way Civil Rights had to be addressed at the federal level.


harrogate said...

Hmmm. The idea of getting the feds in on this, while it has its appeal, is not going to come to fruition any time soon. Obama himself is on record opposed to gay marriage, as are most federal Democrats.

At this point the answer seems to be working on the ground-level consciousness of the American people. Everything from signing online petitions to joining marches to going ahead and performing gay marriages anyway. And of course, using lawsuits to fight discrimination.

Unfortunate as Prop 8 was, Gay rights have undeniably come a very long way in a stunningly short period of time, and without nearly the public level of mass violence and outrage that attended the civil rights movement.

We can thank the popular culture for this. And we can count on, Harrogate believes, younger generations to pick up on these advances and carry them all the way to full civil rights.

In other words, Harrogate believes we will see legalized gay marriage in our lifetime. But it is going to take commitment on a grassroots level. As Barack likes to say, we have to do it from the bottom up!

M said...

I'm going to disagree on one point, Harrogate. Although the gay rights movement may not have witnessed the same public violence as the Civil Rights movement (i.e., no dog attacks, no fire hoses, no church bombings) proponents of gay rights have experienced their fair share of violence, although of a much quieter kind. Take a look at the wonderful nonfiction book _And the Band Played On_; there is ample evidence to suggest the AIDS epidemic could have been prevented had people not seen it as a "gay disease" and deemed the gay men who were among the first affected as deserving of the illness. There is also a great deal of evidence to suggest that the Reagan administration withheld federal funding to develop both treatments and a cure for the illness largely because it was a "gay disease." If that isn't violence, I don't know what it.

And let's not forget individuals like Matthew Shepherd and Teena Brandon.

harrogate said...

Oh, absolutely. Harrogate's emphasis weas definitely on the idea of Publicly Sanctioned violence, as in the dogs, the hoses, the National Guard rucuses, etc.

But violence against homosexual citizens is definitely a sad tradition in this country and the response to AIDS in the 80s is emblematic of that ugliness.

Still, we press on. And Harrogate is allowing himself to be optimistic that reat strides will continue to be made on a grassroots level. It is becoming entirely possible that the GOP will make moves to marginalize the hard religious Right; that they are even discussing this is a big, wondrous thing for our Republic.

And, we must acknowledge the public outcry against what happened to Matthew Shepard and the immediate canonization of Boys Don't Cry.

Popular culture and the Declaration of Independence will prevail against the knuckledraggers. Dont you think?

solon said...

Leaving aside Etheridge's non-sequitur about marriage and representation, now would be the time for same-sex rights advocates to engage in persuasion and the democratic process rather than relying on the courts to provide them rights.

The SSRM needs a democratic and legislative victory. Some of the support of Proposition 8 developed because the Court's approved marriage. Though this overlooks the state legislature's attempt to extend the right and the Governator's veto, it is time for the SSRM to argue for a proposition or to work towards elected a Governor that will not veto their rights.

Misanthropic Scott said...

IMNSHO, denying marriage to any group is a clear violation of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I find it horrific that even in a liberal state like California, such a proposition would pass. I hope it is brought to the SCOTUS to be declared unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the current SCOTUS is unlikely to do so.

I've been married for 21 years. Would someone please explain how if a same sex couple gets married that it will affect my own marriage even one iota?

Isn't that the argument? That somehow a same sex couple being married would weaken the institution of marriage? What complete and utter crap!

Marriage is for lovers.

Who's to say what is and is not real marriage. Let each couple (or group for all I care) figure that out on their own.

harrogate said...

misanthropic scott,

Thanks for your comment, and hopefully you know that you are preaching to the choir as far as contributors to this blog.

What we are left with, it seems, is the question: how do we continue to advance gay rights in this country. What are the Rhetorical strategies, etc. Part of this process, Harrogate argues, mandates acknowledging that we have made enormous strieds in this area over a fairly short period of time. Lawrence v Texas wasn't so long ago, you know.

And, for the amusement of Megs particularly, bitter old hard-left Harrogate is going to wax Polyanna at moderate America's prospects.

Because now, today, for the first time ever, the President and Vice President-Elect have included language in the job application stating that Transition hires will not discriminate in the bases of sexual orientation OR gender identity.

The struggle continues, the Cali defeat does not rob us of the victories won.