Saturday, November 07, 2009

It's not about fairness. It's about doing what's right.

Do you feel a headache coming on? A massive blinding frustration-induced migraine?

In a lot of ways, the recent defeat of gay marriage rights in Maine is just plain boring. Same shit, different state. Mainers were snowed by the same "protect the children!" rhetoric that worked so well in California. That bewildering "it's not about fairness" tagline is an ACTUAL SLOGAN used by the irony-impaired PR department of the Christian-backed Maine Marriage Initiative.

The National Organization for Marriage apparently had $1.6 million left over from the Prop 8 campaign, and they kicked it Maine's way. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland collected an additional half million dollars from church coffers across the country. All of this money went to Stand For Marriage Maine, which produced a series of ads where adorable blonde children sit in class looking horrified, nonwhite heterosexual families stand in front of trees looking wholesome, and various sad couples from Massachusetts imply that their kids are coming home from kindergarten with "I Love Gay Marriage" craft projects and instruction booklets on anal sex.

In an excruciatingly polite debate at the University of Maine, marriage rights activist and Stereotypical Nonthreatening Partnered Lesbian Mary Bonauto valiantly pointed out that Maine schools don't teach about marriage of any kind and that Proposition One law wouldn't alter that fact. (The Maine Attorney General has publicly seconded this.) Her opponent beat the drum for biological parenthood as the chief justification for the existence of marriage, the sanctity of Maine's civil marriage paperwork (Party A and Party B? Oh noes!) and the tragic example of Catholic Charities of Boston, which closed down its publicly-funded adoption program rather than adopt any of their hard-to-place special needs clients out to those evil queers.

Maine is 82% Christian, 37% Catholic. In a sad and twisted way, the fact that Proposition One was accepted by only a 53% margin is GOOD news. In the next go-round, gay marriage might pass - a lot of Mainers hate ideological carpetbaggers nearly as much as they hate homosexuality. If the pro-marriage contingent can do a better job next time of getting out the message that the ad campaign is being paid for by people "from away," it might tip the balance. Mainers like to be left alone.

But as long as we outsiders are weighing in on the moral implications of Maine affairs, perhaps we'd better boycott Maine lobster out of respect for the same Old Testament scruples that carried the day in the Proposition One campaign.

They say it's not about religion. I don't understand how they can justify the lie. Even within Christianity, you'd think that adhering to the Ten Commandments in your personal conduct would be more important than making sure that a random passage from Leviticus is enshrined into the laws of your allegedly secular state. Pass the Advil, please...


Anonymous Carisa Cunningham said...

It's a shame that you dismissively labeled Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) as "Stereotypical Nonthreatening Partnered Lesbian". Mary Bonauto is recognized as one of the country's leading civil rights attorneys and an architect of marriage movement nationally. She strategized and argued Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health in Massachusetts, resulting in the first marriage equality state in the country. She co-counseled Baker v State in Vermont, resulting in the first civil union state back in the day. She's been called the Thurgood Marshall of the marriage movement by the New York Times, and is a formidable opponent - not in the least "nonthreatening".

12:52 PM  
Blogger Smithie said...

Dude. I KNOW that. But one of the things she brings to the table in addition to her glittering resume is a look and lifestyle that can resonate with relatively conservative married-and-parenting hets.

I didn't mean to dismiss Mary Bonauto. Sorry if I gave that impression.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response. I'm glad you know more about Mary, but my concern was that your readers might not, and think that the sole reason she was in the debate is because she is a "stereotypical non-threatening partnered lesbian" - that is all your readers may know about her. Th

2:46 AM  

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