As Gary Wills documented back in his Confessions of a Conservative-though it's over 30 years now, it stands the test of time and his work remains a seminal moment in political philosophy; his subsequent work if also very worth reading-during the legislative battle that finally led to the signing of the 1964 Voting Rights Act, an old southern opponent of desegregation finally folded and declared, "There's nothing like an idea whose time has come."
I couldn't help think of that phrase today when I read the Yahoo News headline "North Carolina House approved same-sex marriage..." I did a double take. If the North Carolina of all places has approved of same-sex marriage, it truly is an idea whose time has come.
As it happens this headline was misleading. The front-page Yahoo headline had cut off the full sentence which read "North Carolina House approves same-sex marriage ballot." The ballot of course is meant to further codify in the state constitution opposition to gay marriage.
"North Carolina already has a statute that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman but is the only state in the South that has yet to make a ban on same-sex marriage part of the state constitution."
For a minute though they had me going. I mean it's one thing when my state of NY approves gay marriage and even gets some Republican support. But there's quite a wide difference between a NY Republican and a Republican from North Carolina. I imagine many who came across this headline had my initial reaction.
To make it a little personal I will admit that while I always considered myself as a staunch supporter of gay rights, prior to the recent vote in NY I had thought civil unions were certainly in order but wasn't sure about gay marriage. I never argued against it to anyone. I never supported anything like DOMA and was glad when Obama and Eric Holder stopped supporting it. But I did somehow feel that marriage was for a man and a woman though I didn't support any attempts to impose a constitutional amendment. I wasn't sure I liked the insistence by gay rights activists that there had to be gay marriage but I found myself always more opposed to the anti-gay marriage activists. Curious position yet I think that many liberals felt this way. While many scorn Obama for saying he's "still evolving" that didn't seem like such an outrageous thing to say to me; it's probably how many Americans felt-indeed many still feel this way.
What changed my mind then? To tell the truth when NY Republicans started supporting it I realized that I couldn't not support it. For that was my position prior to NY: I didn't support gay marriage but I didn't oppose it either. So yeah if NY Republicans could support it, if Mike Bloomberg could actually preside over a gay wedding, clearly I had to support it for to not do so would show that I was on the wrong side of history which is something I don't intend to ever be on.
I still remember that night when they voted it through in the NY Senate. I watched it with suspense. I didn't even know exactly what I wanted. I still wasn't sure I wanted it to pass, but I was certain I didn't want it to not pass.
There is still a lot of oppostition to gay marriage. Even in Weiner's old district, the politics of opposing gay marriage is raising its specter. The vote is today, but according to a poll before the weekend the Republican Bob Turner was leading David Weprin by about 6 points in one poll that had a margin of error of 3 points. One issue Turner is pushing is Weprin's support for gay marriage.
Again this is Weiner's old district, which is fairly liberal and yet the politics of opposition to gay marriage still have a foothold. What does that suggest for the rest of the country especially parts like North Carolina?
Some important victories but still more to go.
As for that race, in retrospect weren't the Democrats wise in forcing out Weiner who was such an embarrassment. Look how great things look now!
And yet again I must say on basic principle Andrew Bretibart is a social criminal who deserves to be indicted! If you haven't yet please sign our petition to do just that! http://www.change.org/petitions/mike-l-sax-indict-andrew-breitbart