Friday, February 07, 2014

145.1 - Good news 1: Even right-wingers coming around on marriage equality

Good news 1: Even right-wingers coming around on marriage equality

We'll start off, as we do whenever we can, with some good news. Our first bit of good news comes from an area where there has been a fair amount of good news over the last year: marriage equality. We have the surest sign yet that, as I have repeatedly predicted, this is an area where justice will come. And maybe even sooner than I thought.

An article at the online news site TalkingPointsMemo notes that less than two years ago, Witless Romney was saying he was against same-sex marriage and even civil unions and the chair of the Republican National Committee said that was in line with "most Americans."

But now, with polls showing a clear majority of Americans approving of same-sex marriage and even a majority of Republicans under the age of 50 doing so, the GOPpers are starting to realize that being on the wrong side of history is, let's just say, not in the party's best interests.

The result is that while some national GOPpers have voiced support for same-sex marriage, even more important is the conservative legislators at the state level who are, even if reluctantly, coming around to face reality. Some, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, are just getting out of the way and letting marriage equality come to their states. Even more significantly, there are other legislators who are openly bucking the official party line.

One example the article cites is in Oregon. In 2004, an amendment to the state constitution define marriage as one man and one woman. Just three years later, the legislature passed a bill recognizing same-sex domestic partnerships. Now, there is what looks now like a successful move to have a referendum on the ballot this fall to overturn that constitutional amendment. What's relevant here is that Republicans in the state, including at least one sitting member of the legislature, are endorsing the effort and even recording videos in support.

Jim Moore, a political science professor at Pacific University, described the shift as "a sea change in the past 10 years" and predicts "a very good chance" for the initiative to pass.

Then there's Indiana, described by a top GOPper operative as "the last stand" of those trying to write bans on same-sex marriage into their state constitutions. And yes, there is a bill moving through the legislature for just such a constitutional ban. But even in Indiana, there is resistance among conservatives, including from a number of GOPper mayors in the state. Unhappily, that hasn't been enough so far to stop the bill, which has passed the state House and is moving to the state Senate. Still, 11 conservatives voted against it in the House, a figure that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

And opponents did succeed in striking out the part of the bill that also would constitutionally ban civil unions and any other status "identical or substantially similar to that of marriage."

It all comes down to the same conclusion: Change is not only coming, it has come. Famous right-winger William F. Buckley, Jr., once described a conservative as someone "who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'" But the fact is, there is only so long you can do that before history runs you over - and some of our right-wingers today are starting to realize that. And that is good news.


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