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Gay marriage in 2055

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Someday my kids will look back at the current gay marriage debate with the same disbelief I have when looking back at the legal racial segregation from a generation ago. Let me explain:

Growing up, I was under the impression that human history was an inevitable progression toward something better. Toward equality, even. And looking at history as it is taught in public schools, this seems like a natural conclusion. Especially with American history. We learn that hundreds of years ago, Americans enslaved Africans and killed off an entire continent of Native Americans. But we eliminated slavery and went to a system of segregation and oppression, which sucks, but isn’t quite as bad as slavery. Next, we got rid of legal segregation as well. In the 90s there were race riots, but that’s not near as troubling as segregation and slavery. If we stayed on this course, it seemed like racial equality would be just around the corner.

And it wasn’t just racial issues that fit into this worldview of mine. Women’s rights, environmental issues… pretty much everything seemed to be progressing toward something better or maybe away from something worse. Of course, there will always be certain issues – like abortion and the death penalty – that will divide the country. In billions of years, when all life in the galaxy is on the verge of extinction due to the supernova of the sun, conservatives will still be protesting outside abortion clinics and liberals will be protesting outside prisons. And both will be wielding signs that read, “Respect life.”

It wasn’t until I grew up that I actually encountered racism and bigotry firsthand. While this may have distorted my worldview a little, I still maintained the impression that better days lie ahead.

But then along came the issue of gay marriage. President Bush tried to amend the constitution to hinder gay marriages, and the next thing you know we’re living in a world that eerily resembles The Scarlet Letter. Republicans and Democrats are unified in their opposition to all things sexual (particularly homosexual); John Kerry is so scared of the issue, he doesn’t want it to be part of the Democratic platform; lawmakers are trying to ban gay books; Texas is outlawing cheerleading; phone companies are becoming anti-gay; and researchers have people smelling pee and sweat to find out where The Gay comes from.

All of this is eerily similar to Civil Rights issues of the past century. Politicians were reluctant to openly support integration for fear of alienating voters, scientists debated biological versus cultural differences between the races, and companies supported and profited from catering to racist customers.

I still believe our society is progressing forward – I just made the mistake of thinking we were farther along than we really are. If I ask my grandparents what it was like living in a time when such racism and oppression existed, they would probably just say, “Nobody knew better at the time.”

So when it comes down to it, the gay marriage debate and the power-grab by the ultra-conservative religious right is not that big of a deal. It will pass. Someday homosexuals will have the right to marry (or have civil unions) all across the U.S. And someday my grandchildren will ask me what it was like living in a time when the government was so concerned with what two men or two women did in the bedroom. I’ll just laugh and say, “We didn’t know any better at the time.”

More on this and other issues at Ablogistan.

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  • I enjoyed this a lot. Good thoughts.

  • Interesting article, and basically on target. I do take some exception to this statement:

    “President Bush tried to amend the constitution to hinder gay marriages,”

    Although President Bush made a campaign speech suggesting that he supported civil unions instead of gay marriage, he has never actively pursued ANY legislation to forward that idea.

    In fact, the only legislation along those lines to pass the Congress was the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed by Pres. Clinton.


  • Eric Olsen

    very well delivered Elyas and I agree with your perspective

  • So when it comes down to it, the gay marriage debate and the power-grab by the ultra-conservative religious right is not that big of a deal. It will pass.

    I look forward to 2055 then, when my grandchild will be able to drink from your fountain. Till then I’ll just tell my family it’s no big deal.

  • Hmph. I’ll tell my grandchildren, “THEY didn’t know any better at the time.” Clearly, there are many who DO know and HAVE known. Sadly, those now in the know are powerless and have to suffer because of the ignorant and powerful. 2055. Sounds interminable.

  • In 2055 I’ll tell my Grandchildren “damn I’m old, please pull the plug now. Oh, and I wish I’d been gay so that none of you ungrateful little bastards would ever have been born.”


  • I actually do agree with the overall premise of the post, about how things will play out, and I appreciate the tolerant perspective of the poster in regards to the impact of gay marriage. And I apologize if my remark sounded snippant, I had just come off of another thread where I had been trying to explain to ‘moderates’ how and why this is so important to some of us, here and now.

    Legislation has passed this year in Minneapolis that allows emergency medical personnel to refuse to treat gays and lesbians if it conflicts with their religious belief. Gays and lesbians are being denied belonging to the church (and for those following along, I’m not referring to the Baptist church in Texas, but again in Minnesota where the clergy say they have direct orders from the new pope). Hate crimes, according to the FBI, are on the rise against my community. This and so much more has been blogged on another thread, I hate to rehash it all here.

    I agree with moderates that someday we will get there. I have to disagree that it is no big deal in the here and now. It is our rights, our freedoms, our liberties and even our health that is being eroded as we speak.

    Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that I won’t be able to convince moderates of it, until it affects moderates personally. Witness how the other thread (titled ‘Even Baptists Have Common Sense) shows that even the conservative Baptists will stand up and say there is too much intolerance done in our name, but ONLY when it is THEY, THEMSELVES who get faced with it and risk losing their church in the process. Only then do ‘moderates’ speak out. Until then it’s always ‘relax Steve, it’s not as bad as it seems’.

    Sorry to come down so harsh, it’s exasperating. I do appreciate the fact that the poster realizes that ultimately gay marriage really is no big deal.

  • >>Minneapolis that allows emergency medical personnel to refuse to treat gays and lesbians if it conflicts with their religious belief.<< What religion has a prohibition against providing medical treatment to gays and lesbians? Satanism? Dave

  • I don’t think it’s so much a requirement of any religion, as much as it is a law allowing bigotry to be put into medical treatment. I don’t think one religion as a whole would implement the act but on an individual basis here and there is where the problem will arise.

    Here is the story. Law passed April 22nd of this year.

  • Bennett

    A sad commentary on the heartlessness of bigots. I live in Vermont, and the passage of Civil Unions clearly defined two camps. Those of us who feel it is “just fine, thank you” and the religious folks that couldn’t help themselves from trying to push their beliefs on other people. Love and relationship and commitment. Nothing wrong there.

    Keep fighting this nonsense Steve. Lots of hetro folks will back you up.

  • From your fingers to God’s ear. I sure would love to see ’em, as my faith in their existence is becoming depleted rapidly. We’ve been asking for backup for a long, long time and the answer given consistently is that the masses aren’t ready, be patient, blah blah blah, settle for civil unions and be happy, gag me. I could not be more pessimistic thanks in part to my disappointment in the alleged “lots of hetero folks” just itching to stand up and do the right thing for the sake of justice. If they exist in numbers greater than a smattering throughout the nation, I sure wish they would stand up and let the country and its leaders know how they feel about the issue of basic equality and justice for every citizen.

  • Bennett

    Yeah, you’re right. I’m just one guy who votes, writes letters to my Congressman and Senators and Governor, making it clear that I support your right to enjoy the same diminishing freedoms that I enjoy.

  • Thank you for being part of the smattering.

  • Snozburger

    >>Minneapolis that allows emergency medical personnel to refuse to treat gays and lesbians if it conflicts with their religious belief.<< The bill does not apply to emergency personnel. It does seem to be way over the top. As for the Catholic church, get over it. You can't be pope and I can't be president of the NAACP. That's life. Organizations should have the right to choose who they will allow as members.

  • Snoz, the bill does apply to emergency personnel. What the bill does not allow is bigotry in life-threatening situations. However sometimes preventative medicines/treatment can be life saving over a long term.

    Whether you want to get hung up on the gay/lesbian aspect is your choice. The legislation of medical treatment contingent upon religious belief should alarm us all. I put this on the same level as legislation allowing pharmacists to help society based on religious belief.

    As far as organizations getting to choose their members, yes that is true. Churches (and we have blogged about more than one instance) that allow membership based on political affiliation/ideology should be alarming to all.

  • I was afraid when I wrote this post that people who feel passionate about this issue might feel offended, like I was dismissing their fight for equality as pointless.

    That’s not true. I know change isn’t guaranteed. Progress doesn’t roll in on the wheels of inevitablity, it’s carried on the backs of those who work for it (or something like that).

    I realize that in the short-term, the fight for equality (whether for homosexuals or minorities) is bloody and fierce and painful. In the article, I described the “progress is inevitable” outlook as originating from my naive childhood. I still maintain that view, but it is now weighed down with a heavy, realistic cynicism.

    In a similar discussion occuring at my blog (where I also posted the article), the idea has been compared to biological evolution: In the short term, survival of the fittest is a painful, brutal process, where the weak die and the strong survive. But true evolutionary success is measured in the long-term.

  • Elyas, I wasn’t offended. And I probably would have had a totally different response if I hadn’t just come off a thread addressing the very topic of here and now vs. later.

    I do agree with the evolutionary aspect of it. What’s disheartening though is that in this short-term survival-of-the-fittest aspect, it’s the gay community who is weak and the intolerant fundies who are strong, controlling the Republican party, the White House, Congress, and more and more of the media, just to name some starting points. Yeah, it’s the short term that’s worrisome, but in the long run we will win.

  • Matthew T. Sussman

    For some reason I just thought of this while reading the post, although it doesn’t really have to do with it, I like sharing irrelevant stuff.

    If the gay community is a small percentage in society, and everybody is talking about their right to marry or not marry, and a gay person has no intention of getting married, then if/when gay marriage is legal to some extent, how much pressure will a gay man or woman feel to get married when they really don’t want to? Many heterosexual people have no intention of getting married in their lifetime for all kinds of reasons.

    Just thinking out loud.

  • td

    I wish all men were gay.

    Except me.

    hubba hubba!

    The way I see it. The world is at war with population control. And Gays are on the front line. They have chosen not only to not procreate, but many also choose to adopt some of the millions of available orphans created mostly by heterosexual misfits.

  • Breaking news:

    There isn’t any other ‘current’ thread devoted to gay marriage so I’d like to add this here:

    Breaking news: Federal Judge in Nebraska rules that a constitutional amendment defining marriage is unconstitutional.

  • The roots of racism

    Program on the emergence of civilization.

    “14 species of large animals capable of domesitcation in the history of mankind.
    13 from Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
    None from the sub-Saharan African continent. ”
    And disfavor.

    They point out Africans’ failed attempts to domesticate the elephant and zebra, the latter being an animal they illustrate that had utmost importance for it’s applicability in transformation from a hunting/gathering to agrarian-based civilization.

    The roots of racism are not of this earth.

    Austrailia, aboriginals:::No domesticable animals.

    The North American continent had none. Now 99% of that population is gone.

    AIDS in Africa.

    Organizational Heirarchy
    Heirarchical order, from top to bottom:

    1. MUCK – perhaps have experienced multiple universal contractions (have seen multiple big bangs), creator of the artificial intelligence humans ignorantly refer to as “god”
    2. Perhaps some mid-level alien management
    3. Mafia (evil) aliens – runs day-to-day operations here and perhaps elsewhere (“On planets where they approved evil.”)

    Terrestrial management:

    4. Chinese/egyptians – this may be separated into the eastern and western worlds
    5. Romans – they answer to the egyptians
    6. Mafia – the real-world interface that constantly turns over generationally so as to reinforce the widely-held notion of mortality
    7. Jews, corporation, women, politician – Evidence exisits to suggest mafia management over all these groups.

    Survival of the favored.

    Movies foreshadowing catastrophy
    1986 James Bond View to a Kill 1989 San Fransisco Loma Prieta earthquake.

    They can affect the weather and Hurricane Katrina was accomplished for many reasons and involves many interests, as anything this historical is::
    1. Take heat off Sheenhan/Iraq, protecting profitable war machine/private war contracts
    2. Gentrification. New Orleans median home price of $84k is among the lowest in major American cities, certainly among desirable cities.

    Journal: 10 composition books + 39 megs of text files

  • Joe W.

    I would consider myself conservative and not supportive of gay marriage. But this article was very well written and offers a perspective I did not take before, and it seems that this may be the progression mankind is moving towards.