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The year of marriage

By |2006-05-01T09:00:00-04:00May 1st, 2006|Uncategorized|

When looking over our coverage of the past year, we didn’t have to look very far before we saw the emergence of a theme. Without a doubt, 2004 was the year of marriage. The first half of the year was replete with its landmark victories, the latter will live in gay infamy for its devastation. But that’s often how change goes. It’s a lot like a lightning bolt. The path toward progress zigzags. You take one step up, then two steps back. And while with the heartbreaking result of this year’s presidential election so close in the rearview mirror it might be hard to remember, we took a lot of powerful, progressive steps this year.
President Bush may have set this year’s theme in motion on a sour note when he called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but the Senate ultimately chose the responsible course of action and failed to answer his call. Then at 9:15 on the morning of May 17, Tanya McCloskey and Marcia Kadish became the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in Massachusetts and, just minutes later, were legally married in that great state’s capital.
But even before Massachusetts, gay and lesbian couples were granted marriage licenses is progressive pockets all across the country. In San Francisco, for instance, Mayor Gavin Newsom oversaw the issuance of thousands of licenses over the period of a month before the California Supreme Court ordered a halt to the practice.
Officials in Portland, Ore. also offered gays the chance to unite in civil bliss until, of course, Nov. 2 changed everything. Voters in Oregon and 10 other states, including our beloved Michigan, approved amendments to their state constitutions outlawing marriage for same-sex couples.
Still, the fact remains. There are legally married gay and lesbian couples in this country and contrary to the pledges and predictions from the far right, Hell has not frozen over. Time passes. Life moves on, and it will even in those 11 states that decided to shun us in November. But remember, not only did Bush’s push for a Constitutional amendment fail (though it’s not dead yet), but 10 months after his plea to Congress, he actually came out in favor of civil unions. Why? Well, our bet is because he knows the tide is turning. What our opponents failed to realize is that by villainizing us – as they had to do to pass these measures – they actually victimized us. They attacked us, and honest, fair-minded Americans don’t like to see people suffer. By launching a vile, nasty campaign against us, the far right did better job of promoting our cause than we ever could. More Americans than ever now realize how much like them we really are. They realize we’re trying to protect our families, trying to care for our children, trying to honor our partners.
This year did not see marriage for gays become the law of the nation, but it saw a crack emerge in the floodgates of popular opinion and our freedom is beginning to trickle through. It might not happen tomorrow. We might not be able to report in 2005’s year in review that we’ve achieved across the board equality. But marriage for gays will indeed be a reality in all 50 of these so-called United States one day. Just watch and see. And until then, keep loving one another.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.