Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What the bigots are afraid of

New England's sudden move for marriage equality has the bigots running scared. So what are they afraid of? This:

Since that day, four other states - Connecticut in 2008, and Iowa, Vermont and Maine this year - have legalized same-sex marriage, and more may follow soon. A measure just approved by New Hampshire's legislature awaits the governor's decision on whether to sign. But Massachusetts was the first, providing a five-year record with which to gauge the consequences.

At the time of those first weddings, the debate was red-hot - protests were frequent, expectations ran high that legislators would allow a referendum on whether to overturn the court ruling ordering same-sex marriage. Now, although Roman Catholic leaders and some conservative activists remain vocally opposed, there is overwhelming political support for same-sex marriage and no prospect for a referendum.

Why? Because the sky hasn't fallen. Contrary to the dire predictions of homophobic bigots, there has not been sodomy in the streets. Nor has there been a move to legalise bestiality or paedophilia. Instead, ordinary people have got married and got on with their ordinary lives - proving in the process just how ordinary homosexuality is. And that, more than anything else, is what they are really afraid of - the mundane evidence which shows their hate and fear and bigotry for what it is.

It will happen here too. It's been nearly five years since we passed the Civil Union Act 2004, and as with Massachusetts, the sky hasn't fallen. Which means that in three to five years time, when we follow in Sweden's footsteps and introduce a bill allowing full same-sex marriage rather than just leaving people in the half-way house of "separate but equal" (which isn't), it will pass without too much controversy.