After The Sweep

The election already seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?  All that worrying over whether voters would deny same-sex marriage rights in the states of Maine and Maryland and Washington?  When I was writing last week’s blog, I told myself, but didn’t dare say out loud, that I’d be satisfied if pro-marriage equality won in Maine, thrilled if Washington followed suit.  As for Maryland, where the polls seemed evenly divided, and Minnesota, where voters faced the question of enshrining discrimination in their constitution, as voters in thirty-one other states had done before it, I had assumed that the other side’s coded homophobia would ultimately win out.  A clean sweep seemed so fanciful, so unlikely — I couldn’t allow myself to hope for it.  And so let me extend my most heartfelt apologies to the good people of Maryland and Minnesota:  I underestimated their commitment to equality, their desire to be on the right side of history.

How could I have been so wrong?  Most likely, I had gotten discouraged from reading about Frank Schubert, the über-bigot who spearheaded the passage of Prop 8 in California in 2008 and was helping orchestrate the anti-marriage campaign in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington this year.  Last month, he told the New York Times that “no doubt we have a challenge.  That said, at 32-0” — referring to the number of wins his cause had racked up so far — “I still like my chances.”

Well, how do you like your chances now, Frank?  Will you still be able to raise untold gobs of money for your despicable cause when people from different corners of the country voted decisively last week for marriage equality?  And then there’s Brian S. Brown, the president of the anti-equality National Organization of Marriage, who lamented in a statement issued immediately after the election that despite raising a record $5.5 million, they’d been heavily outspent by wide margins in all the states — deep blue states, as Brown pointed out.  Now what, Brian?   “Even though we fought valiantly,” the NOM wrote on its blog, “none of us accept losing. I promise you we will be chewing through the data, re-evaluating what worked and what didn’t, and figuring out and sharing with you how to forge new pathways to new victories.” Good luck with that, assholes.  Just remember: you can’t brag about your unblemished winning streak anymore.

But for me, less than a week after the election, I still feel restless, unsatisfied.  That’s the thing about success for me — once I get a taste of it, I want more and then still more.  Marriage is available to Americans in only nine states, when it should be available in all 50.  As much as I’d love to take part in the drive to bring marriage equality back to California, I’d much rather see Prop 8 get overturned in the U.S. Supreme Court, since, after all, as same-sex advocate Adam Umhoefer told the Times’s Adam Liptak, “Fundamental constitutional rights like marriage should never be subjected to a popular vote.” On the other hand, the NOM’s Brian Brown told Liptak that he thought the election results showed that the court wouldn’t take up gay marriage this year.  “It bolsters our case,” he told Liptak. “It’s very difficult to say you need a federal resolution of this question if states are resolving it for themselves.”

Poor Brian Brown.  If the Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage constitutional next year, how will he earn his bread, raising millions to defend the indefensible in a grueling, state-by-state battle of attrition in which he and his fellow homophobes will ultimately turn up losers?  Well, in the meantime, let’s all raise a glass to the four states who voted for equality on Nov. 6, 2012 — a date that I hope will go down in history as the beginning of the end of the anti-gay marriage movement.

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