Friday, May 16, 2008

Marriage Equality: No Big Deal

Watching Keith Olbermann last night, I was excited to hear what he had to say about the move toward equality in California. It's the nation's largest state, with a full 10% of the entire US population. Surely, it's a harbinger of what's to come, right? Countdown's story ticker kept counting down and down, without a single mention of California's big story. Finally, halfway through the show, I got bored and moved on. It's clear that California's decision to become the second state across the country to welcome marriage equality isn't huge news.

The news wasn't much different across the networks. CNN's Anderson Cooper led off with the story, but it was a quick 10 minutes. PBS's Judy Woodruff tackled the subject as the second lead on the NewsHour, smooched in between China's 20,000 and Myanmar's 100,000-300,000 toll disasters. Perhaps in this day and age marriage equality's story was too prominent, even if it wasn't the lead - clearly, the media gets it: this is no big deal.

The Governor of California, Mr. Terminator, gets it too. He quickly issued a statement saying he'll oppose any attempt to write marriage equality off the books in California - which means suddenly the legislature and the Republican Governor is opposed to marriage bigotry, while the state's Supreme Court just ruled in favor of ending it. It would have been nice to have a Governor there who wasn't afraid to make the decision himself, by signing the marriage equality bill he was sent twice during his tenure - but that's all sour grapes now.

What's more important, and quite clear, is that same-sex marriage is just as insignificant to the majority of citizens in California as it was the citizens of Massachusetts, after all was said and done. The only before and after difference is the photos of happy couples, now legally wed, sharing in the same benefits and responsibilities that everyone else has access to across America. For the vast majority of the citizens across the both states, nothing has changed or will change - including for Team Homophobia. Those who are opposed to same-sex marriage will have the same right as ever, not to enter in one. Those who want to enter into one, glbt couples, will finally be given the equal right to do so, making the world a better place. It's a win/win, even if it's not a particularly loud one.

Of course, California's bigots are attempting to repeal the freedom to marry by creating a constitutional amendment question, which will almost certainly appear on November's ballot. It's not going to pass, just like it didn't pass in Massachusetts. The move from fear of the unknown to No Big Deal is rapid. Many states will follow California's lead, but as each state begins to welcome real equality, it won't even make Anderson Cooper's lead.


joe said...

Ryan, were you aware that 6 of the 7 justices on the california supreme court are Republicans?

Ryan Adams said...

Indeed, I was...

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