Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dammit, Janet!

Headline in the national news section of the Daily Star this morning: N. J. Ruling for Gay Marriage Energizes GOP Base. It is time to stop using the term "base" and start calling them what they are. The revised headline, of course, should read "N. J. Ruling for Gay Marriage Energizes GOP Bigots." Or perhaps "N. J. Ruling for Gay Marriage Gets Fundie Knickers in a Twist."

Proposition 107, the ballot measure in Arizona seeking to amend the constitution to outlaw gay marriage and civil unions, is polling increasingly poorly. This is good. Governor Janet Napolitano is opposed to it. This also is good. Curiously, though, Napolitano is also opposed to gay marriage:
Napolitano has said on several occasions, including this week, that she does not support gay marriage despite opposing Prop. 107. The governor said Wednesday she believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.

This is fascinating, given that I've always assumed she was a big ol' dyke herself. Other people seem to have assumed the same thing.

A reporter from the liberal New Times newspaper questioned Napolitano on Prop. 107 and her gay marriage stance at a Wednesday press conference. The questions quickly turned more aggressive, including bringing up rumors the governor is gay.

Napolitano has said on several occasions that she is not gay and said she was offended by the New Times question.

Whatever, Janet. Napolitano has been vital to moderate and liberal interests in Arizona since she's been in office, vetoing haybales of inane legislation delivered by the Republican legislature. She's stood up for gay rights in the workplace and supported domestic partner registries. Hearing the "one man, one woman" line coming out of her mouth is disheartening, unless she meant it as a veiled threat to the child-raping polygamists in Colorado City.

Not likely. Please, woman, do not put me in the position of having to vote against you for being a hypocrite. There are no other champions of reason bobbing anywhere in sight in the gubernatorial pool.

Equally puzzling ("puzzling" here meaning "spurring me to bang my head on the table") was the Daily Star's Prop 107 summary, published Saturday:

Real-World Impact: The amendment would block "activist judges" or the Legislature from changing the law to redefine marriage, which backers say must be preserved as a traditional institution. Critics say same-sex marriage already is illegal in Arizona, and the move mostly punishes straight couples by denying them domestic-partner benefits. Gay and lesbian activists also say it would be a blow to them.

Just love it that gay folk--you know, the people the measure was written specifically to hurt--are mentioned as an afterthought, as a footnote. Granted, if demographics are the sole basis of the argument, then the move does indeed "mostly punish straight couples," simply because unmarried straight couples outnumber gay couples by about 10 to 1 in Arizona (taken with the obligatory grain of salt required by self-reported census numbers). This argument is mitigated, however, by the fact that unmarried straight couples truly are in a voluntary situation. I recognize that some of those couples are senior citizens attempting to preserve Social Security and pension benefits from deceased spouses, or non-seniors attempting to shield their new partner's income and assets from a vindictive alimony-seeking ex-spouse, but these exceptional circumstances certainly do not apply to all 115,700 straight couples in the state.

And--regardless of the reasons these people have for not marrying--if a civil union ban is passed and the unmarried couple relies on domestic partner benefits for health coverage, they do still have the option of traipsing to the courthouse, plunking down fifty bucks, and bingo, having their relationship recognized by the state, no questions asked. In that regard, the bulk of the punishment falls squarely as intended: on the backs of gay and lesbian couples who will have no recourse when their partner benefits are taken away.

Given that, the recent No on 107 flyer that landed in my mailbox last week was more than a little disingenuous. Pictures of two straight couples, one 30-ish, one 80-ish, were prominently featured. No pictures of same-sex couples, no mention of us at all save for the statement that gay marriage is already prohibited by statute. The focus was on straight couples.

I wish the people fighting for us were actually fighting for us on principle, not just because they had the potential to be hurt themselves. You know, that old thing about injustice anywhere meaning injustice everywhere, or whatsoever you do to the least of these? That thing? Yeah, it would be nice.

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