Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.
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Thursday, June 30, 2005
The polarity of gay marriage
Today Spain legalized gay marriage, and earlier in the week the Canadian House of Commons passed legalizing legislation which is expected to be signed by the Senate and law by the end of July. Those two countries join Belgium and the Netherlands as allowing gay marriage nationwide.
What's interesting to me about this issue is the difference between what's happening in the U.S. and what's happening elsewhere. In 2004, all 11 U.S. states where the issue was on the ballot passed Constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Yet the course of progress abroad, even in our closest neighbor, is towards tolerance and progress. Why is there such a fundamental difference between Americans' and others' capacity for embracing social change? The tempting answer is that Americans are more religious, especially those who vehemently oppose homosexuality, but Spain is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.
Rather than compel conservatives to think again, I believe these actions will fuel the America vs. Everyone Else fire. They will hunker down even harder to prevent that from happening here.
The question for progressives in thinking about how to tackle this issue is the classic chicken/egg dilemma: do you try to use the courts and/or legislature to fix the law first and then hope society gradually comes to accept it, or do you try to influence conservative hearts and minds so that the country eventually demands the law? In today's polar environment, option 2 doesn't seem like something that could happen in America.