(Still) Going to the Chapel?

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The conventional wisdom is that gay marriage is dead—extinct, expired, an ex-issue. But two states' decisions this fall are going to have an impact on the course of the debate. In Colorado, four alternately draconian measures are on there way to qualifying for the ballot.

Come November, Coloradans may have to decide whether the same is true of the current Perkins measure, which gay-rights advocates have dubbed "Son of Amendment 2." They may also evaluate Initiative 83, which reiterates Colorado's statutory definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. On the other side, there's Referendum H, which authorizes the creation of same-sex domestic partnerships, and Initiative 139, which counters Perkins' measure.

Referendum H? Couldn't they agree to skip that letter, like hotels skip the 13th floor? In any case, there's a possibility that the multiple anti-gay measures confuse voters and that an actual gay marriage ban gets lost in the shuffle with the "no domestic partnership" measure.

There's a more clear-cut showdown in Wisconsin, the home of razor's edge battles in presidential elections. A ballot measure that would ban gay marriage and "a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals" is not leading in the polls—its fate is too close to call. In the latest poll, 48.5 percent of voters favor the ban while 47.8 percent oppose it.

Is gay marriage becoming more acceptable through attrition? Is the lack of gay weddings in the headlines a la 2004's San Francisco frenzy cooling off the momentum of gay marriage opponents?

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  1. But a final judgment on the way that issue’s going will be informed two states’ experiences this fall.

    Huh?

  2. This fall will be far from the “final judgement” about gay marriage.

    Opponents know that the general public loses its hositility towards gay people and the families they form once they actually get to know them (sort of like the anti-immigrant base coming from counties will virtually no immigrants).

    They are frantic to stop this now, because just two years from now could well be too late.

  3. If my state adopts a gay-marriage or civil-unions proposal, then my boyfriend’s company might stop offering “domestic partner” benefits to its unmarried employees, which means I’d have to get married in order to to keep my health and dental insurance.

    That’s the problem with gay marriage: it threatens the sanctity of heterosexual fornicating cohabitation.

  4. I wonder sometimes if the only way to put an end to the anti-SSM amendments’ success is to have the more draconian ones pass, the ones like Jennifer mentions that eliminate *all* such benefits for couples, gay and straight. It might kick in the “anti-abortion but pro-choice” effect: where some people like to describe themselves as “pro-life” because they are uncomfortable with or opposed to abortion in theory but don’t want anything to take away their actual rights to choose something. I say this because when people start to know (or become!) couples who have lost benefits or protections, and they learn its because of anti-SSM amendments such as these, that knee-jerk “I totally support traditional marriage and not teh gay marriage” support for these referenda will start to fall.

  5. Sorry, I should say not “will fall.” but “will fall, I really really hope.” I’ve lost faith in people right now to remotely vote in their own best freedom or liberty interests.

  6. “Opponents know that the general public loses its hositility towards gay people and the families they form once they actually get to know them (sort of like the anti-immigrant base coming from counties will virtually no immigrants).”

    Joe that is so untrue. Who doens’t know a gay person? It is 2006, not 1906, moreover, even in 1906 there were gay people in every community, they just were not as famboyant. At any time every community in America had some people who everyone knew were in the words of Slingblade “funny, not haha funny, just funny”.

    It is a myth that people don’t like each other because they don’t know each other. If only it were true. The reality is that most hatreds come from close proximity. The most racist people I know live in very integrated settings. The most anti-immigrant people I know live in small towns in the midwest that have been overrun with illegal immigrants there to work in the packing plants. The most polyanish people I know about both racial issues and immigration live in rich, lilly white suburbs and inner city neighborhoods where the only immigrants or black people one ever sees are there to cut the lawns. It is sad but true.

  7. just because someone is in close proximity to the groups they hate, doesn’t mean they actually know them in any way. their hatred is based on some stereotypes or generalizations that they think define the groups they hate. same with those who are nowhere near the groups they hate. they just don’t them and are not near them.

  8. If you must have a gay referendum you can’t leave out possibilities for speed bump jokes.

  9. “The most polyanish people I know about both racial issues and immigration live in rich, lilly white suburbs and inner city neighborhoods where the only immigrants or black people one ever sees are there to cut the lawns. It is sad but true.”

    i’m pretty pollyannaish and i live in nyc, baby. so it works all ways.

    though i have to say i don’t entirely trust italians.

    joe is essentially right on this one, however: familiarity breeds disinterest, or at least a differently-abled interest.

  10. Don’t underestimate the powerful incentive that there is lots of money to be made from legalizing gay marriage. If Northern California were independent of the Southerners, our wedding-related businesses would still be enjoying a boom.

  11. I hope your right dhex, but my experience is that familiarity is just as likely to breed contempt as it is to breed anything else.

  12. But don’t ya want to, Lassy?

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