Played Out

Written by Terry Canaan. Posted in Culture, Opinion, Politics

Published on July 03, 2008 with No Comments

By Terry Canaan

July 3, 2008

Good news for marriage equality in California. At least one national Democrat isn’t joining in on the irrational panic over same sex marriage there.

Associated Press:

Presidential candidate Barack Obama has come out against a ballot measure that seeks to outlaw same-sex marriage.

A club for gay Democrats in San Francisco says it solicited a statement from the Illinois senator’s campaign in which he called the proposed constitutional amendment “divisive and discriminatory.”

Obama also extended congratulations to gay and lesbian newlyweds who have gotten married in California over the last two weeks.

Wisconsin could’ve used a Barack Obama in 2006, when we foolishly amended our state constitution to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. I say “foolishly” for more than one reason, but the primary reason is because it’s an amendment that’s certain to be repealed in the future. American history doesn’t march in the direction of intolerance, but away from it. Repealing these state amendments and laws isn’t a matter of if, but when — will it happen before or after we’re all ashamed of them?

Another reason why Wisconsin’s ban was foolish was because it was a rush-job, put out to stave off electoral disaster for Republicans. It didn’t work. The idea that anyone who would vote to limit marriage was automatically a Republican turned out to be a mistake. Their big plan to get right wingers to the polls by fighting the homosexual menace turned out to be a bad one. As a rush-job, it really wasn’t very well thought out.

The Capital Times, “Same-sex Wisconsin couples willing to risk criminal penalties to marry in California”:

David Waugh and Bob KlebbaEvery summer, Bob Klebba and David Waugh take a family beach vacation to San Diego. Besides fun and sun, this year’s trip will have a little something extra: a wedding.


“What we might be looking for is outside recognition of our relationship — recognition from society,” Klebba said. “This is a way to ask for that recognition. Happily, California is willing to give us that.”

Wisconsin, however, is not. Not only will Klebba’s and Waugh’s marriage not be recognized here, they could be taking a legal risk by entering into it. Wisconsin is a state that imposes criminal penalties on residents if they enter a marriage outside the state that would be prohibited in the state. The law was created to prohibit underage couples from crossing state lines to marry, but it could be interpreted to apply to same-sex marriages, according to Glenn Carlson of Fair Wisconsin, an advocacy group for gays and lesbians. In Wisconsin, the penalty is a fine of up to $10,000, nine months in prison, or both.

“It would be interesting to be prosecuted,” Klebba said. “It would really bring up a reaction in the public sentiment.”

Agreed. It would be interesting. As I said, this amendment was poorly thought out. While I have absolutely no problem believing that the religious right morons who jammed this thing down our throat wouldn’t have any problem sending gays to prison for just being gay, let alone getting married out of state, I really doubt the voters who passed the amendment would. That’s another mistake the marriage-gamers made; they assumed everyone who opposes same sex marriage hates gays as much as they do.

But homophobia is fear, not hatred. I’d bet good money that the average person didn’t vote for the amendment because they thought same sex marriage was evil, they did it because they thought same sex marriage was icky. That’s not really the most solid reason for a ban. Had the Republican dominated legislature not rushed this thing through, things very well might have turned out differently. Putting someone on trial — or even prison — for getting married in California might not prove as popular as the religious extremist had hoped.

I’m not saying it would result in a repeal, but the law regarding marriages out-state would be changed. That’s a step in the right direction.

For their part, California’s marriage ban looks like it faces trouble. People in states like Wisconsin may be able to be wed there for a good, long time. Polls show that a majority approve of marriage equality there. For John McCain, however, the issue seems like a Godsend. Down in the polls on every issue but fighting terrorism (an issue, by the way, that polls show we’re no longer freaked out about), McCain desperately needs something to stand for, some justification for his electoral existence. Unless he can turn things around, McCain’s headed toward becoming this cycle’s Bob Dole.

Crazy people are his only hope.


At a meeting Tuesday in Denver, about 100 conservative Christian leaders from around the country agreed to unite behind the candidacy of John McCain, a politician they have long distrusted, marking the latest in a string of movements that bode well for McCain’s general election prospects among the Republican base.

“Collectively we feel that he will support and advance those moral values that we hold much greater than Obama, who in our view will decimate moral values,” said Mat Staver, the chairman of Liberty Counsel, a legal advocacy group, who previously supported Mike Huckabee’s candidacy.


In recent weeks, the McCain campaign has been trying to spell out clear policy differences on social issues with the Obama campaign. Last week, McCain came out in favor of a constitutional amendment in California to outlaw gay marriage, which was legalized this spring by the state Supreme Court. Though McCain opposes an amendment to the federal constitution to ban gay marriage, he has previously supported similar state constitutional amendments.

“None of these people want to meet their maker knowing that they didn’t do everything they could to keep Barack Obama from being president,” said an unnamed attendee. “You’ve got these two people running for president. One of them is going to become president. That’s the perspective. That that’s the whole discussion”

Whether this is going to pan out for John McCain isn’t really much of an open question. It won’t. At least, not unless the Evangelical movement gets their act together in a matter of months. These leaders of the religious right have begun leading where no one is following. Tired of being freaked out over gays and abortion and evolution, Evangelicals have been moving toward issues that actually matter, like environmentalism, social justice, and poverty. The movement has lurched left, away from former leaders like Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell, and toward — there’s no other way to put it — Jesus. It seems some have decided to read the Sermon on the Mount and decided that Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time telling people who to hate. These so-called “Christian leaders” are losing their flock as all their followers convert to bona fide Christianity. Fetus worship is giving way to Jesus worship.

The religious right’s version of Christianity never made any damned sense anyway. According to Christian tenets, it’s faith, not actions, that lead to redemption — making perceived “sins” illegal wouldn’t save a single soul. It just doesn’t work that way. Forcing people to adhere to your religious beliefs isn’t the same thing as converting them to your religion. A right-living heathen is still a heathen and off to Hell they go — and even that’s not a consensus position among the faithful. The reasoning of the religious right is in conflict with their own stated religion.

However, former presidential candidate and current right wing nut job Gary Bauer believes the marriage issue can “save the GOP again.”

“The marriage amendments had a buoying effect for President Bush and other conservative candidates, pushing to the polls many voters who otherwise might not have voted,” Bauer wrote Monday. “In Ohio, for instance, a huge marriage amendment campaign registered 54,500 new voters, and thousands more Ohioans who were registered but rarely voted cast their votes for the marriage amendment. On the strength of the marriage initiative, Bush won in the battleground state, as did 13 of the 17 Republican candidates running for Congress there.”

See, Gary, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, that’s the problem. You guys used this to show voters exactly what a government made up of the Evangelical right would look like. And it was ugly. What they didn’t get was anything the right promised. You guys promised “Christian values,” but your idea of “values” included mass death, division, lies, torture, and runaway corruption. People have seen who you guys really are and have come to the conclusion that you’re a bunch of phonies.

If this is John McCain’s new “base,” he’s welcome to it. Fat lot of good it’ll do him.

No Comments

Comments for Played Out are now closed.