in my defense, i had a lot on my mind in 1996…
…that year clinton was elected to his second term, six weeks before he was voted in he signed DOMA into law, basically cementing a little known provision of the fifth amendment (who knew it did more than just help you not rat yourself out in court?) that helped define marriage as “one man, one woman” and deny gay couples federal benefits.
problem was this was the same year my mom lost her battle with cancer, six weeks later i lost my dream career, and took a schleppy retail gig “just to get me through the summer” that ended up lasting about four years. so needless to say being a straight male who’s life was in the shitter, the news about gay rights in this pre-internet era was not at the front, or any other part, of my mind.
in other words, i had no idea.
on top of that i don’t have any gay friends that work for the feds. i have friends that work for the feds, and i have gay friends, but not that particular combo; and texas, one of the states i believe the cnn reporter was thinking of when he wrote in the bit i read earlier “…some states have not, or will not any time in the foreseeable future, legalize gay marriage”. hell, we were even referenced in homer simpsons’ gay marriage vows “…man and man in california and massachusetts, STAY OUT OF TEXAS, for as long as you both shall…”); but in austin we’re a little rainbow bubble, where the city, state, and even big private employers (dell, for one) have “domestic partner” clauses in their benefits packages, which is designed for gays but i used it to get alex on my health insurance when we were together but not married.
in other words around here it’s not really “a thing”. we’re cool if you’re gay and want health insurance as a couple…as long as you don’t wanna get married or have an abortion, you’re okay by us!
(we’ll get into that abortion thing another time as i feel i need to weigh on there, although the fundamental problem with the whole issue is too many men (who will never have abortions) feel the need to weigh in so maybe i won’t do that bit after all…)
so DOMA was struck down, which is semi-awesome. i say “semi” because it basically just allows benefits for gay couples where federal stuff is concerned, but does NOTHING for states regulating the whole marriage thing. sure, they pulled a “no comment” on the prop eight cali case, but keeping your mouth shut doesn’t mean you win the argument…gay or straight, any married individual could tell you that!
so i see this as a hollow victory, all be it a victory. the right will argue that the true definition of “marriage” is in the constitution (see prior 5th amendment reference) but said document CAN be altered…if not women couldn’t vote and michael jackson would still be alive and black and working in the fields. but such is not the case, ’cause most conservatives don’t realize the constitution is meant to be a liquid document, to be adapted to modern times. if you love somebody, and they’re of consenting age, and of the same species, and you can both sanely say, “yes, i love you and we should be married” than who the fuck are you to deny that? so it’s two guys, or two girls – if they’re happy, they’re fucking happy. it’s not a “disease” or a “mental condition” or, for that matter, a fucking choice. a gay man didn’t “decide” to love men any more than you “decided” to love women if you’re a straight guy; it’s just who they are.
the sooner this is realized the better off the country will be and the sooner we can go after shit we NEED to fix like crappy schools and our shitty economy and the three decades of war profiteering we’ve done in the middle east that has done nothing but control the population of the lower 10% of our nation and made bajillions of dollars for the people that sell the idiotic idea that we’re defending freedom over there. these are the real issues. gays are not.
and for all you “it’s sinful” folks – we in the south LOVE to combine shit. we have gas stations that double as mcdonald’s. we have bait shops that double as hardware stores. you know what even backwards southern rednecks DON’T have? churches that are also capitals. you know why? because what you do on your sunday morning off has FUCKING ZERO to do with the way laws should be written. and the sooner everybody realizes that, then this country can actually be free.