Thursday, June 04, 2009

Ramming It Through

New Hampshire is finally on-board as the 6th state allowing same-sex marriages. The law takes effect on January 1, 2010. However, it required a bit of clever maneuvering to reach the desk of Governor John Lynch, who promptly signed it.

Thanks, Gov!
Republicans have called the committee’s work tainted because the Senate president, Sylvia B. Larsen, a Democrat, replaced one of its Republican members when that legislator would not sign off on last week’s compromise. Under legislative rules, the committee’s decision needed to be unanimous.


Kevin Smith, director of the Cornerstone Policy Research, a group opposing the bill, said lawmakers “rammed this legislation through” in a way that “reeks of backroom deals and a subversion of the legislative process.”

If we were talking about some controversial piece of legislation, a questionable tax increase or decrease for example, I might have some issues with how this legislation finally wound up on the governor's desk. But given the fact that we're dealing with a long-overdue civil rights issue, and heinous attempts by Republicans and some conservative Democrats to prevent marriage equality, I can only praise these tactics.

How different is this from the Proposition 8 situation in California last year when Republicans and conservatives mounted a fear-based campaign against same-sex marriage, bombarding church-goers with lies and distortions, with the result being 52% of voters passing the measure to strip gay and lesbians of a fundamental civil right, and the constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Moreover, this was not exactly a "will of the people" given that 1 in 5 registered voters didn't bother to cast a ballot. With only 52% of voters in support of Prop 8, who is to say what the true will of the people might have been. Regardless of whether it might have been 51/49 or 50.1/49.9, civil rights and equality must never be put up for a vote by the people, particularly when the people are so heavily courted by the will of conservatives, who pumped millions of dollars into California from elsewhere to pass the measure by ramming fear and lies down people's throats and preying on religious beliefs. And thus, many people flocked to the polls to support Prop 8 believing society would otherwise collapse.

There's some subversion for you.

If we need to do our own ramming to achieve equality in the remaining states, let's get on with it. If we're expecting to play nice and wait for equality and civil rights to be handed to us without a fight, we might be in for a long wait.

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