Equality In New York Reax

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 27 2011 @ 10:32am


I have a confession. The night after it passed, I slept for twelve hours; the following night for fourteen. Last night, a mere ten. And I still feel tired this morning. I guess my unconscious has decided that this fight has passed a critical landmark and I can relax now. Mercifully, others weren't in a victory coma. Matt Yglesias:

It’s inspiring to see these victories for justice and equality, but I also do think it’s worth pausing to acknowledge that the specific form the victory has taken is an interesting affirmation of the conservative streak running through American life. LGBT rights advocates and their allies really haven’t wanted to tear down traditional family structures, they’ve patiently, insistently, and effectively demanded access to them.

And that is why it is so doubly tragic that so many alleged conservatives have fought this. It was and is such a conservative movement for stronger families and a less balkanized nation. Margaret Talbot:

[T]he vote and the lead-up to it showed us something … we ought to see often, but don’t: the spectacle of politicians changing their minds. That, in fact, has been one of the singular benefits of the same-sex marriage debate overall. On most issues, partisanship and the fear of being labelled a waffler effectively discourage politicians from publicly wrestling with conscience and contradiction. But same-sex marriage has been different. Public opinion on this issue has shifted fast in the direction of approval and party affiliation has turned out to matter somewhat less than other factors: generation, whether somebody has gay friends or relatives, gut feelings. President Obama can say that his views on whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry are “evolving”—and in this context, as in few others, “evolving” doesn’t by itself carry a political cost.

Alex Pareene:

If anything, this victory makes action in Washington even more urgent. Some massive number of gay and lesbian couples will now have their relationships recognized by one state, but DOMA is still allowing other states to ignore them. State recognition of same-sex marriages is wonderful, but without federal recognition, many of the rights and privileges afforded heterosexual couples are still denied to gays. Even New York's new law figures to be tied up in the courts for years, with various parties suing over its language and religious exemptions.

I do not believe that other states should be forced to recognize the legal validity of these marriages and do not believe that DOMA made that possible. It was not possible before DOMA. The full faith and credit clause does not apply to civil marriages or any other civil licenses, like a law license. Different states can have different rules. But why the federal government should insist on recognizing some but not all marriages legal in a given state remains an anti-federalist outrage. Ta-Nehisi Coates:

People who seek to ostracize gays, must always countenance the potential for disappearing their very  family members. It's not like red-lining black people into ghettos. Homophobes must always face the prospect of condemning their own flesh and blood.

Surely there are those, who, with depressing regularity,  rise to the occasion. But democracy in America is fundamentally optimistic in that holds that a critical mass of the electorate is persuadable. I've long been skeptical of this implicit assumption. But as I've aged, I have come to see it as quite brilliant. In the present case, I don't know of a more powerful tool of democratic persuasion than the prospect of losing family.

Doctor Science:

I can't find the link to a conservative Catholic blog I came across during our last marriage go-round where the guy was arguing that marriage equality was bad because equality makes people be unnaturally uniform and boring, but I think he couldn't have been more wrong. Equality is the life-partner of Diversity, not sameness.

Amy Davidson:

Minutes after the New York State Senate passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, local television reporters for NY1 went out looking for love. “How long have you two been together?” NY1 reporters asked couples in Greenwich Village and Jackson Heights. … Two men had been together eight years; one had grown up on the Lower East Side, the other in Venezuela, and there had been immigration issues marriage would have helped with. Both of them were smiling, and the legal questions that had cost them years of worry and thousands of dollars seemed like the least of it, as crucial as they had been and remain; this was about love. “Wedding rings, wedding rings!” one of the men said.

Juliet Lapidos criticizes Senator Ruben Diaz, the sole Democrat who voted against the law:

I find it rather shocking that a family-values type would attack U.S. law so brazenly by advocating the Bible’s take on marriage, which after all includes polygamy. Lamech had two wives and so did Jacob, Esau had three, David had lots more, Solomon had hundreds. Or was Diaz thinking of that charming bit from Deuteronomy, which specifies that if a man rapes a virgin not yet spoken for, and he’s discovered, he must marry his victim and pay her father fifty silver shekels?

(Image via The Daily What, which asks of the morning-after front pages, "Can you spot the subtle differences?")