Allies Come Forward in the Fight, While Opponents Preach The Same Tired Story

“Should marriage be redefined in our state, the very foundational nature of marriage for the good and strength of human society would be harmed beyond repair.”  Those are the words of consistently anti-gay Washington Bishop Peter Sartain.  (He was a Chicago-area bishop until 2010 when he moved to Seattle and I’ve posted an interesting link at the bottom of the blog on why this man should not really be casting stones and living in a glass house!)

Washington is one of four states that can make marriage equality a reality for all of its residents in November and this has some pushing the panic button to scare people.

The last time I checked Iowa was still a state and it had not fallen into the Mississippi River.  As a matter of fact, with over three million people, the population has increased 4.6% since the 2000 census.  Since the state legalized same-sex marriages in 2009, people are not leaving Iowa in droves for California and North Carolina, two states that recently voted down marriage equality.

When Americans go to the polls in November, the biggest contest will be to re-elect President Barack Obama or replace him with Mitt Romney.  This race is important to me and so are four other ballot measures that I cannot even vote on because they are in other states.

Voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington will decide if marriage equality is important to them and if every loving couple that live in their state should have the same rights.    Six states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New  Hampshire, and New York) and the District of Columbia already allow same-sex couples to marry.

Those rights were awarded by legislation or court rulings.  When voters in the previously mentioned four states go to the polls and approve marriage equality, history will be made and the tide will turn.

Sarah Warbelow, state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy group, says, “We’re feeling positive. The reality is, we haven’t won a ballot measure on marriage yet.  I think it’s very reasonable and realistic to expect that we’ll win one or more of these ballot measures; certainly the polling suggests that all four are … a possibility.”

And, while polling numbers before an election can be off and misleading, there is definitely reason for optimism.

In Maine, a mid-September poll showed 53% support marriage equality, while 44% are opposed.

Last February, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire pushed forward and made same-sex marriage legal in that state.  However, enough signatures were gathered to force a vote in November.  The good news is that an early September poll shows that 56% are for upholding that law and making marriage equality a reality there, while 38% want it overturned.

The same thing happened in Maryland.  On March 1, 2012, Governor Martin O’Malley made same-sex marriage legal, but opponents got enough signatures to put it on the November ballot.  In a July poll, 54% of those polled are for marriage equality and 40% are against it.

However, in Minnesota, the current home state of conservative whack job Michele Bachmann, the race is much closer with 48% wanting to ban same-sex marriage and 47% for it.  While Bachmann has never been shy with her anti-marriage equality rhetoric during her failed presidential bid, she is facing stiff competition for her congressional seat in Minnesota from Jim Graves.

Graves states, “My stand is, I’ve been for 39 years in a loving and committed relationship.  I’m very fortunate. It’s been the best thing in my life and, by gosh, everybody in America has the same rights under the law and everyone should be able to marry who they want to, when they want to. As far as what churches want to do, or synagogues, again, I believe in separation of church and state. I don’t care what the Catholic Church wants to do. I happen to be born a Catholic. But under the law everybody has the same rights and I believe very strongly in dignity and respect for everybody.”

And, Graves isn’t the only high profile ally we have in Minnesota and in Maryland.

Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, a father of two, is for marriage equality.  He has been fighting for it since 2009.

Once Maryland’s governor signed marriage equality into law this year, Ayanbadejo’s support meant even more.  This provoked Maryland state assembly delegate Emmett Burns enough that he wrote a letter to the owner of the Ravens on official state letterhead demanding that he “take the necessary action … to inhibit such expressions from your employee.”

The Ravens’ owner and president responded with “we support Brendon’s right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment” and Brendon vowed not to remain silent.  And, while football is a tough contact sport, Ayanbadejo got support from another NFL  player halfway across the country in a state where the fight for marriage equality was also being waged — in Minnesota.

Minnesota Vikings’ punter Chris Kluwe, a married father of two, wrote the most eloquent letter defending Brendon and marriage equality and blasting Burns.  And, he added a new phrase to lexicon of gay life! 🙂

Kluwe wrote, “I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful c–kmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population.”

If you are Catholic, please don’t take this the wrong way.  However, I really have issues with people like Bishop Sartain.  Here is more of the quote I posted at the beginning of this blog:

“We urge our Catholic people to uphold our consistent Catholic teaching on marriage for the good of the Church, society, husbands and wives and their children. Therefore, we bishops reject the redefinition of marriage as a ‘civil contract between two persons.’ … Redefining marriage as a means of dealing with important issues of equality and respect for all persons will not achieve the goal of defending the rights of all and would overturn centuries of common law. To suddenly change the God-given and time-honored understanding of marriage would be a very harmful thing for our state and for the world. … Should marriage be redefined in our state the very foundational nature of marriage for the good and strength of human society would be harmed beyond repair.”

Bishop Sartain should not be condemning marriage equality and talking about how “human society would be harmed beyond repair” for two men or two women to get married.  According to this blog, he has other skeletons that he should be working to get out of the closet rather than fighting against same-sex marriage.

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2010/09/j_peter_sartain_new_seattle_ar.php

It’s nice to know we have people like Governor Gregoire, Governor O’Malley, and Governor Andrew Cuomo (New York), Brendon Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe, Jim Graves, and people like you (I know I have many friends that support marriage equality)  on our side, the right side of history, and I wish we had fewer people like Bishop Sartain and his followers that speak out against equality while closing their eyes and ears to indiscretions in their own house.

Anthony

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