Thursday, February 19, 2004

Down Go the Wingnuts
The spectacle of hundreds of gay couples getting married in San Francisco this past week has speeded the GOP's rush to toss more red meat to the wingnuts in the form of an anti-gay-marriage Constitutional amendment, just in time to beat John Kerry over the head with it. Kerry says he's for civil unions, but against marriage--which will be a distinction without a difference once the homophobes get fired up.

But there's a simple question to ask when the inevitable yammering begins about the "grave threat" of gay marriage: As Mark Morford puts it, "What is the horrible threat about two adults who love each other so intensely, so purely, that they're willing to commit to a lifetime of being together and sleeping together and arguing over who controls the remote? And what government body dares to claim a right to legislate against it?"

Maybe we're at the same point now with gay marriage that we were in the early days of the abolitionist movement, the women's suffrage movement, and the civil rights movement of the 1960s--the reactionaries on the wrong side of history are lining up their dubious scare-mongering arguments (often buttressing them with Biblical citations) in an attempt to forestall the inevitable. Not that the reactionaries won't succeed in causing plenty of misery before going down in flames--not that they won't take a few innocents with them as they go--but you can book it. They will go down someday.

Recommended reading: Holy smoke. Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri proposed a security bill this week that would, among other things, make it illegal to "speak, utter, or print" statements in support of anarchy, to speak in favor of overthrowing the government, or to display "any flag or emblem other than the flag of the United States" as symbolic of the U.S. government. If the word "anarchy" strikes you as anachronistic, well, me too. It sounds like World War I-era red-scare language, and it is--the bill actually expands provisions long on the books in Rhode Island to prohibit speech offensive to the government. As of this afternoon, Carcieri has withdrawn the bill--but that he proposed it with a straight face in the first place is appalling. (For more, click here and scroll down to "Homeland Security--Overthrowing 213 Years of Freedom.")

And finally, maybe this is what Columbia Journalism Review is talking about when they criticize the journalistic integrity of blogs. (If you're reading this at work, don't click the link until you get home.)

A correction: Yesterday I said that the Super Tuesday primaries were all closed--not open to independents and Republicans, like Wisconsin's is. In fact, Georgia, Ohio, Vermont, and Minnesota all permit such crossover voting. Good news for John Edwards, then.

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