Well, I'm a bit discouraged today.
It immediately hit me once I heard about the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling yesterday on the gay marriage issue. Obviously, I think the court is correct that we as a society cannot continue to treat gays and lesbians as second class citizens in respect of the way that a government, whether it be local, state or federal, parcels out benefits. When Blonde Liz was down visiting me last weekend, we had a good discussion about the "marriage vs. civil union" debate. From my perspective, the debate is one of semantics: the government does not "sanctify" marriage, as the KKKristian talking points would have the public believe. Rather, the government endorses a civil "contract" between the participants, pursuant to which the participants take on certain responsibilities in exchange for the government granting certain state-sponsored benefits. Churches are the venue in which a union (i.e., marriage) is "sanctified", and nothing would change in that regard if a government chooses to grant same-sex couples their "civil" rights. That is to say, thanks to the First Amendment, the government could not "require" any church to "marry" a gay or lesbian couple. Conversely, those religious institutes that find gay relationships acceptable would be free to "sanctify" such relationships if their own catechisms permit. But I digress.
The reason I am so discouraged today is purely political. I believe the decision will make Felix Macacawitz's re-election to the US Senate a virtual certainty. The Old Dominion has one of those hateful gay bashing amendments to the state Constitution on the ballot next month. And this is not one of your simple garden variety "a marriage is between a man and a woman" amendments. This is one of those gratuitously hateful "not only can you queers not marry but you also can't contract for things like inheriting property and making medical decisions for your loved one" amendments.
Predictably, Felix has already issued a statement railing against the "activist judges" (uh oh, there's that phrase making a comeback) in New Jersey and pointing to the decision as a reason why the Hate Amendment is necessary. Oh, and Jim Webb, his Dem challenger, has publicly stated he opposes the amendment, so here's a great "he would coddle the queeers and life as we know it on Earth would end" argument that Felix can use against Webb in the final days of the campaign. This is, of course, red meat for the Republican base in Virginia as elsewhere. I don't doubt that the good fundies of the state will consider it their godly duty to get out and vote, if for no other reason than to thwart the gay agenda to take over the world. And as long as those people are at the polls, those votes go to Allen.
Jim Webb has fought the good fight. Although I had some doubts about him, I'm really starting to like the guy. He's a terrible "politician", he's not good at sound bites, and he's remarkably candid and blunt in his rhetoric. He has managed to excite a lot of Dems in this red-but-turning-purple state. But my sense, with the timing being what it is with the New Jersey ruling, is that Mr. Macaca-mouth wins. He may win ugly, but he wins.
Like I say, I'm a bit discouraged today.