Anticipating an end to marriage discrimination
Dan Savage coined the usage of “free state/slave state” to illustrate the battle over same-gender marriage. It’s become more and more clear how relevant that comparison it is. It’s not just that we have some states where glbt people have equal rights, and some states where they don’t. It’s also that we have some states where the culture is entirely different, and that difference is striking. While the march toward civil rights for glbt people is stampeding at an even faster pace than I could imagine – Minnesota, Delaware, Rhode Island all within the last month, to bring our total to twelve – it’s also getting increasingly hostile in some other states. In Texas a judge ordered a woman to move out of the house or her girlfriend would lose custody of her kids. In Florida an eighteen year old girl is expelled and faces criminal charges for having sex with her fifteen year old girlfriend.
I think it is entirely likely that the Supreme Court will strike down DOMA and same-gender marriage in June. And while slavery didn’t end until the South was forced to end it after a long and bloody war, this will be a more peaceful end to injustice. But that doesn’t mean there will not be a negative impact of having civil liberties having to be imposed on one state on behalf of some of that state’s citizens, but against the will of the state’s leadership. We are still seeing the legacy of that blowback in many of the original Confederate states today. They resent Black people and resent being forced to end their way of life. They have worked hard to systematically disenfranchise Black people in other ways in those states, and racial tension has at times been worse in those states – Trayvon Martin, anyone? I would expect that if and when glbt people obtain full marriage equality in this country, there will be some similar blowback for glbt people.