Monday, September 20, 2004

Kingfishery & Kingcakery: The Anti-Family Marriage Amendment - As one of the 22% of Louisianians (and, by the way, one who is a happily married heterosexual) who voted against this abominable amendment, I must admit that I was absolutely stunned speechless when I saw the election results.

This is not the Louisiana that I know and have known my entire life. Louisiana is a state that has felt poignantly the pangs of discrimination and has made tremendous strides to overcome the barriers to full civil rights for its citizens. I thought that having a woman (Democrat) and an Indian-American man (Republican) as the run-off candidates for governor last fall was a sign that this state had reached some new threshhold with regards to beating back the legacy of racial and gender discrimination that defines the state's past. But this recent vote on the anti-family constitutional amendment regarding marriage gives painful pause.

However, being a proud Louisianian and unwilling to abandon my (naive?) belief in the fairness and humanity of my fellow Louisianians, I still want desperately to believe that the majority of the people in this state don't really want what this amendment signifies. The only explanation that I can think of to rationalize this depressing election result, and still keep up my spirits somewhat, is that the people of Louisiana were purposely confused about the issue. I don't think Louisianians fully understand the implications of this vote. From the people I know (genuinely good people at heart) who expressed some sympathy for this amendment, the feeling is that this vote had nothing to do with civil rights and was simply more like the harmless expression of support for a resolution endorsing traditional marriage. I know for a fact that there was very little education of the electorate about the full discriminatory nature of this amendment and its far-reaching legal ramifications. In fact, what little attention was paid to this amendment here in the local media outlets basically viewed the whole process as a sympathy/non-sympathy vote on the idea of marriage more than a fundamental alteration of the state's foundational guiding charter.

When the impact of this amendment hits heterosexual unions not covered under the definition of marriage as defined by this amendment (and, believe me, there are a lot of "shacking up" situations and non-traditional heterosexual partnerships in this state), then folks are going to wake up. But I know that this is a weak rationalization. And though it makes me feel a little better, a little hopeful, it still can't beat back the depressing funk that I've been in since I read the newspapers Sunday morning.

The only consolation that I have is the certitude that the march towards civil rights for all people is inexorable and will bear fruit in the future. And I remain certain that, one day, gay people will be able to marry in the state of Louisiana.

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