North Carolina and Amendment One
I’m not particularly pleased with the outcome of the North Carolina Amendment One vote last night, but neither am I particularly surprised. And as I noted on Twitter last night, my impulse to tut-tut North Carolina voters is well tempered by the fact Ohio’s voters put their own rather odiously bigoted marriage amendment into their constitution a couple of years ago. People living in glass houses need to pull the beams from their own eyes, as they say. Of course, I did vote against Ohio’s marriage amendment when I had the chance, so in that respect my conscience is clear. My point, however, is that people who want to snark off about North Carolina as just another redneck southern state should note it’s not just the south where this is all still in play; remember that four years ago voters in California, where non-Californians often assume sodomy is high school elective, voted anti-same sex marriage bigotry into their own Constitution.
As Ana Marie Cox notes in the Guardian, all of this is a rear-guard action on the part of bigots and the oft-unwitting and well-meaning accomplices of bigots, many of whom who would be appalled and offended at the idea their vote for encoding bigotry into their state constitution constitutes an actual act of bigotry on their own part, because they don’t hate anyone (sorry, guys. It does). But I think pro-same sex marriage folks underestimate how long it will take to tear down all this constitutional nonsense short of a pro-same sex marriage (or at least pro-equal protection under the law) Supreme Court ruling that will affect the entire nation, which I don’t think anyone should count on any time soon, hopeful projections in the direction of Anthony Kennedy notwithstanding. Yes, nationally half of the US now supports same-sex marriage, but remember that half is not evenly distributed and that the majority of the older people who are against same-sex marriage will not die off as quickly as you hope.
Five years from now the majority of Americans will support same-sex marriage; ten years from now the large majority will. But ten years from now it will still be against the Constitution of North Carolina for same sex couples to get married (and Ohio’s, too). I’d like to be wrong, but I doubt I will be. It’s harder to repeal a constitutional amendment than a law. The bigots know this. This is why the bigots do what they do.
It sucks for gays and lesbians that in places like North Carolina, and Ohio, and even California, all that can done at the moment is to assure those of them who would like to marry those they love is to tell them that it will get better. I shouldn’t have to get better. It should be better. But you work with what you have in the real world, and in the real world, what gays and lesbians in places like North Carolina and Ohio and even California have is the future. Let’s get working toward it.