A Word in Edgewise: There’s (Still) a Long, Long Trail
This won’t be fresh news when this issue hits the stands, but it’s still Big News. Tuesday, May 14, Minnesota became the twelfth state to legalize same-sex marriage as Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill to become the law on August 1.
“What a day for Minnesota!” he exulted from the capitol steps, cheered by a crowd some six thousand strong while rainbow flags flew from the temporarily renamed Wabasha Street Freedom to Marry Bridge.
I’ve yet to see announcements of divorce by straight couples whose marriages have been ruined by the passing of the law. Perhaps seeing their gay neighbors marry and continue to go to jobs, raise families and generally act like regular folks will ease their fears, perhaps not, but nevertheless, the law will be in effect.
There is still, in many quarters, the misconception that GLBT people want more or different rights. It is difficult as one who already has full rights and privileges to understand what it’s like to be denied them. A friend (not local) reacting to some of my own recent writings about gender e-mailed that same day, “You do realize how easy such a notion makes talking about a homosexual agenda believable to many?”
I replied, “But there is a homosexual agenda: to enjoy equal rights under the law, including marriage. (Not to be confused with the hysterical right wing “homosexual agenda” specter of gays turning their children into abominations)” I offer myself as a control “group” of one. I do not have a significant other, nor do I desire to be married, but the passage of the bill found me truly goose-bump elated. I now have the right, should events take that turn, to be married. Those already so privileged can have no concept what it is like for a young boy or girl to realize from childhood that they will never be allowed to legally marry the one they love. That is no longer true in Minnesota!
As thrilling as this victory is, it will not be complete until DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) is overturned. Same-sex married couples in Minnesota will have the 515 state rights and protections already granted to their straight counterparts, but not yet the 1,100-plus federal rights. Remember, and keep working.