If Vito Spatafore Had Only Waited a Few Months…

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New Hampshire is about to join the New England gay union bloc:

New Hampshire lawmakers voted Thursday to authorize civil unions and sent the measure to Gov. John Lynch, who announced last week that he would sign it.

… the success of civil unions was an about-face from two years earlier, when a study panel recommended New Hampshire give no meaningful consideration to extending legal recognition to gay couples.

That panel had concluded that homosexuality was a choice, and it endorsed a constitutional amendment to limit marriage to unions between a man and a woman. State lawmakers have defeated proposed constitutional bans on same-sex marriage two years in a row.

Thursday's legislation, passed 14-10 along party lines in the Senate—Democrats in favor, Republicans opposed—will allow civil unions in New Hampshire starting Jan. 1.

That's the backstory—Democrats opened a ACME novelty-sized brand of whup-ass on the New Hampshire GOP last year. The state Republicans haven't budged on the issue, but they've become irrelevant.

NEXT: St. Anselm Move Over—Here Come Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron!

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  1. Johnnycakes for everybody

  2. It’s stunning to me how quickly the country is flipping on this question.

    If there are any old people reading this, is this what happened when segregration was toppled?

  3. The state Republicans haven’t budged on the issue, but they’ve become irrelevant.

    They dug their own grave, because they hitched their wagons to the national GOP. They even sent out a pre-election “Democrats = Terrorists” mailing. Dumb dumb dumb.

    It’s unfortunate, because the Democrats are now rushing to do everything they can to put in place all of their pet nanny-state items, including adult seatbelt laws and smoking bans and even fines for balloon releasing.

    At the same time, they are also making every effort to shift as much school spending from the local to the state level, while claiming they can do this without implementing a broad based tax.

    Looks like the Free Staters should’ve picked Wyoming.

  4. MP:
    Thanks for the link with a poem fit for H&R.

    To Democrat reps we are buffoons, who are not careful with our balloons.

    Now there will be a criminal fine, when balloons come loose from the twine.

    So no longer will babes alone cry, when their helium balloons untie.

    Their parents also will shed some tears, at the loss of freedoms once so dear.

    It sounds like the NH Dems are getting all their ideas from the Maine Dems. We’ve got seat belt laws, 55% of school funding coming from the state, and a smoking ban in bars. No balloon bans yet, but I’m sure that will be next.

  5. That’s a good question, joe.

    Knee jerk reaction to this: “WOO HOO! One level of systematic, government-supported bigotry/bullying crap eliminated!”

    (thinking this is moving towards getting gov’t out of the business altogether)

    When two people are in a loving, mutually-supportive relationship, but because of some government rule they may not enjoy certain privileges…. That make for angry moose. Don’t make moose get all Lenny on you, what with moose’s laser antlers and all!

  6. “If there are any old people reading this, is this what happened when segregration was toppled?”

    i asked someone that the other day, though in slightly nicer terms. answer: sort of!

  7. I demand the licensing of same sex HETEROSEXUAL marriages. I want the benefits of marriage but I don’t want to marry a chick and I’m not gay.

  8. Let’s head off the “gay marriage = big government” argument right now.

    Imagine that Jews were not allowed to own businesses. The New Hampshire legislature then passed a bill allowing them to own businesses.

    Think about the expansion of government that would require – all of those additional corporations would now have rights, file paperwork, take corporate tax breaks, and maybe even apply for loans from the Small Business Adiminstration.

  9. releasing balloons is littering which is the most flippant disregard for property rights that i can imagine.

    not that there needs to be a special anti-balloon release law.

  10. Let’s head off the “gay marriage = big government” argument right now.

    No fair! M. Montag hasn’t shown up yet.

  11. I demand the licensing of same sex HETEROSEXUAL marriages

    I don’t think so, b i. The voters won’t understand it, Bill O’Reilly will release his posse on your ass and the gays will accuse you of me-tooism.

  12. If there are any old people reading this, is this what happened when segregration was toppled?

    Does being 10 and watching the race riots on TV count as being old enough?

    So to give a weasel-like answer. Many things changed very quickly between ’65 and ’75. However, many things still are with us. Laws can be written and signed in a matter of months. Changing hearts and souls takes generations.

  13. It’s stunning to me how quickly the country is flipping on this question.

    I’m yet to see ‘the country’ flip on this yet. Get back to me when you see those areas flip where people voted 70%+ amend their state constitution.

    is this what happened when segregration was toppled?

    This shit is so laughable.

  14. SAM – quick! somebody just called! they’re looking for you back at the group home. And they said to stop trying to “do UFC” moves in the bathroom.

  15. is this what happened when segregration was toppled?

    This shit is so laughable.

    Segregation ended when a substantial portion of church-going white folks decided it was flat out immoral to treat blacks as sub-humans.

    So far, many of those same church-going white folks are dead set against gay marriage on “moral grounds”.

    So yes, the comparison is of little validity.

  16. “I’m yet to see ‘the country’ flip on this yet.”

    Hence the use of the present-tense “is flipping” verb.

    “Get back to me when you see those areas flip where people voted 70%+ amend their state constitution.”

    Mmmm. Because that would be the only indication of any movement whatsoever. But, ok. See in 8-10 years.

    Within our lifetimes, S.A.M., people like you are going to be formulating Thurmondesque explainations about how much you always liked gay people.

  17. carrick,

    The Episcopalian, Reform Jewish, and Methodist churches marry gay couples already. An openly gay Espiscopal biship was named head of the church in the U.S.A.

    It’s a deep drive to Left…going…going…

  18. The Episcopalian, Reform Jewish, and Methodist churches marry gay couples already.

    And as a libertarian, I applaud their positions on this matter. However, there are still many deeply religious people that accept equality for all races, but can’t wrap their minds around equality for gay people. Appealing to their religious beliefs is not having as much effect as it did way back when regarding black people.

    Today, only a few, out-there religious types think their religion supports segregation. Unfortunately, I am afraid discrimination against gays is going to stay in the mainstream for much longer than it took to overcome segregation.

  19. people like you are going to be formulating Thurmondesque explainations about how much you always liked gay people

    You are quite incorrect. This has nothing do do with “liking gay people.” Consenting adults can do whatever they want to do.

    This is about turning the institution of family and marriage on its head. This is an argument that I am sure will get little support around here, but it is correct none the less.

    I think it is more likely that people like you, Joe, will have to explain how this was a priority when we see what happens to marriage.

    An openly gay Espiscopal biship was named head of the church in the U.S.A.

    You mean the same Episcopal church that is loosing members in droves and is about to split over this very issue? Yeah, sure looks like it is gaining momentum to me.

  20. *sound of bubbles from Formula 409 drowns out the fake tough guy*

  21. This is about turning the institution of family and marriage on its head.

    No, this is about the government deciding to grant privileges to certain people while denying the same privileges to certain other people. Now, finally, people are beginning to consider the idea “if government’s going to pass out privileges, it should do so equally.”

    I still think churches should be entirely free to refuse to perform religious marriage ceremonies that offend their sensibilities, of course. And they are.

  22. If there are any old people reading this, is this what happened when segregration was toppled?

    Old?

    And, no, the Episcopal Church does not (yet) marry gay couples, although a blessing of same sex unions, not the same thing, is conducted in some Episcopal churches.

  23. I hear that this bill legalizes line marriages as members in a “civil union” can still marry a person of the oppostite sex, and then that marriage partner may enter a “civil union”, etc. ad infiniti

  24. Yes SAM, you’re spot on. Heterosexual marriage has declined so much here in MA since being gay was legalized that florists are out of work and no one is having babies. Every 30 something dude I know gave up chicks and started waxing his back. It’s truly the decline of western civilization. Thank god we have the catholic church to keep us straight.

  25. I think it is more likely that people like you, Joe, will have to explain how this was a priority when we see what happens to marriage.

    Here that joe?

    When more people start to get married be prepared to explain why it was so important to allow more people to get married!

    Disclosure: I recently got married in Nov. and I doubt the symbolic gay wedding we attended on new Years will be causation for a divorce if the State ever recognizes our friends union.

    …cause Lord knows what that will do too our sex lives if they ever gave the right to….wait for….

    ….stay on target……..FILE UNDER THE SAME TAX RETURN!

    Noooooooo

  26. You mean the same Episcopal church that is loosing members in droves and is about to split over this very issue? Yeah, sure looks like it is gaining momentum to me.

    my wife and I started attending an episcopal church because of their openness. so they lose some and gain some.

  27. Yeah, right on MassHole! If cultural trends don’t show up in a year or two then they never will!

  28. FWIW, Unitarian-Universalists accept openly gay ministers and join same sex couples in marriage and our numbers are growing.

    This guy performed my marriage ceremony, then quit signing any marriage licenses until he could sign anyone’s marriage license. He was in Mass when they began to allow that. He’s a good guy.

  29. If cultural trends don’t show up in a year or two then they never will!

    So how long do you think it will take, then, for large numbers of people to start saying “I love this man, and I want to spend the rest of my life with him and be the mother of this children… wait a minute. Gays can get married too? What the fuck? Did I just say I wanted to get married and have babies? Never mind. Knowing gays can marry just totally ruins it for me.”

  30. High# – our minister also does more commitment ceremonies than actual weddings. cool!

    SAM – sorry. can’t hear you. all of these bubbles drown you out.

    Now, get out of there before your group home’s monitor finds you playing with the computer. And for the last time, I won’t send you pictures of my freshly colored merkin. No way.

  31. Some of these arguments against gay marriage are offensively stupid. I can’t tell if this was sarcastic or not:

    “I demand the licensing of same sex HETEROSEXUAL marriages. I want the benefits of marriage but I don’t want to marry a chick and I’m not gay.”

    …but I’m gonna guess it was.

    Lots of idiots have jumped onto this argument, claiming that marriage becomes invalid just because now anyone can get married to anyone. Guess what, assholes? Straight people who aren’t in love get married all the time, for the benefits of marriage. You don’t want to extend the right to profane marriage that heterosexuals currently use and abuse to homosexuals? Why not? The dynamic that gay marriage would create is already in place in heterosexual marriages, except that the dynamic would just be gay. That’s the point. So this argument doesn’t work.

    As for people claiming that the institution of marriage will crumble, well… even if it does, so what? Do you really think society will collapse if heterocentric marriage ceases to be? What exactly do you mean by a collapse, anyway? That heterosexual marriages will become less unique? Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo

    Try being gay your whole life, and then tell me you’re worried about heterosexual marriages become less unique.

    I don’t care how thoughtful you think you are, or how non-homophobic you pretend to be – your arguments are repulsive and offensive. Come up with something that treats gay people like human beings if you want to argue against gay marriage, and not like people who you think you’re better than.

  32. carrick,

    “Unfortunately, I am afraid discrimination against gays is going to stay in the mainstream for much longer than it took to overcome segregation.”

    The first Africans were brought to the United States, as slaves, about 300 years before the Civil Rights movement. The movement for gay equality pretty much began in 1969.

    S.A.M.,

    “This is about turning the institution of family and marriage on its head.” No moreso than interracial marriages, which were also equated with bestiality back in the good old days.

    “I think it is more likely that people like you, Joe, will have to explain how this was a priority when we see what happens to marriage.”

    We’ve had gay marriage in Massachusetts for about four years now, and support has only grown, both in our state and, as we’re seeing, outside of it. When people see, actually see with their own eyes, married gay couples, two things happen: 1) they realize they’re not scary, and 2) they realize that they are a married couple. Not room-mates, not people sharing the same address, not “consenting adults doing whatever they want,” S.A.M., but a family.

    And that’s the ballgame right there.

  33. My wife and I were married by a gay gentleman who was a pastor in her parents Unitarian church. He also made a cool cheat sheet for me to use with my vows. That dude rocked!

  34. D.A.R.,

    Thank you for correcting my terminology.

  35. “Come up with something that treats gay people like human beings if you want to argue against gay marriage, and not like people who you think you’re better than.”

    sadly there are many arguments that fly around, “I’m against, cuz the gov’t should be out of marriage altogether” type of stuff.

    Two people engaging in a supportive, loving, committed relationship shouldn’t have to fight state-induced bigotry. It’s even more sickening and disheartening when it’s clad in some faux limited gov’t bullshit.

    When people see, actually see with their own eyes, married gay couples, two things happen: 1) they realize they’re not scary, and 2) they realize that they are a married couple. Not room-mates, not people sharing the same address, not “consenting adults doing whatever they want,” S.A.M., but a family.

    QUOTED FOR TRUTH!!!! Well spake! A family. Supportive, loving, caring.

    Yeaaaaaa!

  36. Wow, I haven’t been here in a bit; I didn’t know H&R had picked up a back-up hitter for M Montag.

    SAM: “This is about turning the institution of family and marriage on its head. This is an argument…”. That’s not an argument; it’s a conclusion wrapped in a metaphor, but I’m sure it’s a strong argument to you.

    Marriage (and family) have not changed, but who qualifies for it has. Years ago, different races couldn’t marry, now they can. Gays can’t marry; now in a few places they can.

    And my favorite “doom doom doooooom” line: “how this was a priority when we see what happens to marriage.” You mean when straight white Christians stop marrying, divorcing, and having abortions at the high rates they are now? And for people who don’t really exist (since many claim being gay is a choice), you sure are afraid of what we’ll do to the other 95-odd% of the country aren’t you? If marriage is failing, then why on earth is a group of people saying, “We would like to partake in that great institution you have,” possibly a bad thing? We don’t want to tear anything down; we want in. Quite simply, you just want us kept out.

  37. I’m a married man, S.A.M., with a wife and a daughter. My parents were married till death did them part. My sisters got married, my neighors, my aunts and uncles. I know what marriage is, and I know the difference between marriage, having a sexual relationship, and shacking up.

    Once upon a time, I was agaisnt gay marriage – though always for equal rights under the law – because I felt that the same sex aspect prevented such a union from being an actual marriage. Then I started seeing married gay couples. I know what married means, S.A.M. I know what married people act like, and look like, and live like, and how they’re different from non-married couples.

    And I changed my mind, because those people were just sooooooo totally married. They just are, S.A.M., even if you’d prefer they’d not be.

    The general public’s belief that gay couples can’t really be in a marriage isn’t based on the rational (though wrong) public policy concerns you read in National Review, but on the same emotional incomprehension that my own opposition was based on, and I gotta tell you – it doesn’t stand a chance when it comes up against the lived experience of seeing an actual gay marriage.

  38. joe I can never understand what point you are trying to make, and I don’t really feel like arguing with you today. This is my last post on the subject.

    So, slavery goes back three hundred years in US history. It was ended a century and a half ago. The civil rights movement picked up steam in the 60’s and pretty much overturned legal segregation in the 10 years after that. Many Jewish and Christian organization played a big part in this effort.

    Gay marriage has been banned by the Catholic Church for a couple of thousand years. The gay rights movement has been going for a couple of decades. Organized religion seems to be split along deep lines on this issue, and the issue is causing deep division within some denominations.

    Other than the fact there was a tipping point in the segregation era, and there will likely be a tipping point in the gay rights era, I don’t see the two movements as being all that similar from a religious point of view.

  39. You brought up religion, carrick. I just followed up, poiting out that even in the allegedly strongest bastion of anti-gay ideology, change was happening, and all of it in my direction.

  40. You mean the same Episcopal church that is loosing members in droves and is about to split over this very issue? Yeah, sure looks like it is gaining momentum to me.

    The funny thing is that a lot of christian churches are losing members in the US. I see that as a good thing – just means that freedom is on the march and they aren’t being forced to attend. Church attendance is gradually declining in the US and most of the new converts are happening outside the US.

    The Episcopal church isn’t exactly bleeding folks any more than the Catholics or the Baptists. However they are all in panic mode that their coffers are slowly drying up.

  41. are you the same S.A.M. who comments at chicagoist?

  42. if so, one wonders what neighborhood you live in.

  43. Indeed, Mr. Crane. Indeed.

  44. “Democrats opened a ACME novelty-sized brand of whup-ass on the New Hampshire GOP last year. The state Republicans haven’t budged on the issue, but they’ve become irrelevant.”

    The Democrat Party: Freedom and socialism, together at last!

  45. *sound of bubbles from Formula 409 drowns out the fake tough guy*

    are you the same S.A.M. who comments at chicagoist?

    if so, one wonders what neighborhood you live in.

    Indeed, Mr. Crane. Indeed.

    Funny. S.A.M. sounds like a conservative dipshit, but he isn’t publicly wondering where someone lives. Who’s the real internet tough-guy?

  46. The Episcopal church isn’t exactly bleeding folks any more than the Catholics or the Baptists. However they are all in panic mode that their coffers are slowly drying up.

    Not so. The Episcopal Church has been “bleeding folks,” both as a percentage of the church attending population and in absolute numbers since the late 1960s. It’s well on its way in terms of membership from once being denomination to a sect on its way to becoming a cult. The same demographic trend cannot be said about either Roman Catholics or Baptists.

  47. fractional bee:

    this isn’t tough-guy ism, it’s a legitimate wonder. much of the north side of chicago is remarkably gay; it’s surprising that someone who (presumably; the commentors at chicagoist are overwhelmingly north siders) is exposed to gay/lesbian people living in quiet domestic bliss would have such opinions on gay marriage.

  48. Aaaaaarrrgghhhhh!!!!!
    Ur Troll will crush you all!!!!

  49. I can think of a number of good reasons to expect civil equality for gays to move quite a bit faster than it did for blacks:

    1) Since gayness isn’t (usually) immediately apparent, straight people will frequently form friendly acquaintanceships with openly gay people before finding out that they’re gay. Combine this with an at least nominal opposition to “bigotry” (which most of us have), and it becomes a lot harder to self-justify cutting off a budding friendship than it would be to simply never associate with someone of an obviously different ethnic group.

    2) Increased acceptance of gays poses almost no economic threat to the current “in-group”, at least not relative to the huge threat to whites of increased opportunity for blacks in skilled labor, small business, and the like.

    3) Gay people are naturally distributed throughout families, making it impossible to maintain the kind of natural segregation into racial communities that is still very common.

    4) Assuming that homosexuality is genetically hard-wired or at least almost always a fixed trait prior to adolescence, then “coming out” serves as a filter, in a way that seems like it would help the movement. Whereas dysfunctional members of racial minorities cannot help but be identified as such in the news, the gay people garnering the most attention are and will continue to be well above the median in intelligence and virtue.

    Maybe some of these are misguided. Just throwing them out there for the more enlightened to evaluate…

  50. Plenty of North Side neighborhoods are not “remarkably gay.” Polish neighborhoods, the neighborhood around Harlem & Foster where all the cops and city workers live – remarkably not gay.

    (btw, I love that: “remarkably gay.” My buddy Thurston is remarkably gay. We affectionately refer to him as “flaming.” From now on, I will use “remarkably gay” so as not to offend more sensitive types, of which Thurston is NOT one.)

  51. this isn’t tough-guy ism, it’s a legitimate wonder. much of the north side of chicago is remarkably gay; it’s surprising that someone who (presumably; the commentors at chicagoist are overwhelmingly north siders) is exposed to gay/lesbian people living in quiet domestic bliss would have such opinions on gay marriage.

    My mistake – not knowing that, I took an entirely different meaning from your exchange. I’m sorry.

  52. there’s a clear difference between north side and northwest side, high#. technically, some would argue that any address west of the river is actually on the west side. i’m not sure i find this valid (see ravenswood/albany park) – but harlem/foster is certainly more west than north.

  53. Good point. There are some blue collar and/or ethnic neighborhoods up north, though. Overall, I agree with you – if you live on the North Side, you are not far from a gay enclave, so to speak.
    Oak Park – totally gay & West Siii-iiide!

  54. Good Call Mr. Crane.

    and Mr. Highnumber recommends Hemmingway’s Cafe. (with 2 “M”s, not one, of course).

    🙂

    Our old neighborhood – Lincoln Square (hier) was exactly that – different couples from different walks of life in yuppie bliss. Was lots of fun, except for Maifest and Oktoberfest.

    Mr. Crane’s point definitely works in that neighborhood.

    cheers!

  55. Bistro, dude.
    Hemmingway’s Bistro

    I loved getting drunk at Oktoberfest in your old neighborhood.
    Some friends lived there 3 years ago, give or take, and they had serious problems with crime. Their apartment was broken into repeatedly. Irreplaceable objects stolen, sad story. They had a few months to go before the big move out to Hollywood to become movie stars, and they refused to stay in Lincoln Square. They put everything into storage and slept on someone’s floor rather than remain in their apartment.
    Never jibed with the impression I had of Lincoln Square as a quiet, nice neighborhood. We even considered looking at places there before their troubles. Did you have problems there?

  56. ohnoes!

    no we didn’t have troubles there, at all. Do you know where they lived? “Lincoln Square” is similar to “Lincoln Park”, a neighborhood whose name extends far beyond its boundaries 🙂

    We were in the area three years ago (01 to 06) (right off the square) – and had nary a problem. Our street was a family-friendly, tree-lined one that was very pleasant. The only downside was in winter (with the “barricades” around poorly-cleaned parking places.

    Too bad about your friends.

    /kicks pebble

  57. I certainly know the difference between Lincoln Square and Lincoln Park. Sheesh!

    When we were planning our wedding in 2000, I did not, however, know that the Old Town School had moved to Lincoln Square. I got off the el down around Old Town/Lincoln Park to meet with someone about musicians for our ceremony. I was about 4 miles from where I needed to be. A lesson about double checking addresses was learned.

  58. “the barricades”?

    surely you mean “people creating property rights on public spaces” or however it was that one of the ReasonWriters put it, no?

    it’s okay dood. i know nobody respected your “reserved for BATIN” sign, but now you live in the viagra triangle where things are different.

  59. Getting married is so gay.

  60. It was said that laws change quickly but hearts and minds change slowly. I tend to think in this case that hearths and minds have changed far more than the laws have. If you add up the percentages willing to grant either gay marriage or civil unions (but not marriage) against those who want neither the progay side is a majority in the country and a substantial minority in the Theorcratic Republic of the Confederacy. If the laws proportionately reflected the values of the public then a majority of states would have such laws especially the two coasts and parts of the West maybe even a few state sin the midwest. I believe that this is a case where social attitutdes changed far faster than laws did.

    The Theopublicans know this is happening hence their desire to push through Constitutional amendments banning equality before the law for gay couples. Constitutional amendments, as opposed to regulations, are harder to change. The amendment campaign is a concession that society is changing on this matter and an attempt to delay the inevitable as long as possible.

  61. hrumph.

    High# –

    Ohnoez again! Wasn’t trying to say, suggest, or imply that! ohnoes (bites self on taint)

    I was trying to say that people claim to live there, even when they don’t. A cow-orker (sic) of mine lived in Lakeview (for non chicagoians – basically near Wrigley Field), and she always claimed that she lived in “Lincoln Park”

    hey crane – viagra triangle? nice! Here we have privately-reserved BATIN stalls.

    But gay marriage should be legal. Period.

    cls – even though hearts and minds change slowly, I thought that a combination of shock and awe wins hearts and minds… hmmmm.

    *brays happily. ambles back into wooded grove

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