Way to go, Minnesota! I spent some time on Tuesday listening to the State Senate arguments and speeches, and also listening to the roar of the crowd outside chambers as they learned the bill had passed. I’m a little sorry that I’m not currently living there, but I’m celebrating in a sort of expatriate way. In any case, I’m very proud of my home state right now. I’m proud that they did it through the legislative system, and despite the continued argument of Gay Marriage is Wrong But Don’t You Call Me a Bigot!, I think it was handled with a reasonable amount of respect.
Before the vote, my folks sent me this video of Representative Joe Radinovich speaking in support of the bill:
Excellent words, and a well-reasoned argument. (Although I have to say, I prefer listening to it rather than watching it, since the guy with the snazzy bow tie distracts me every time.) I was upset but also amused to see the following related article on MPR:
(Warning: article contains the old round-’em-up-and-shoot-’em line from an unnamed constituent. Delightful, humane, with just the right suggestion of cowardice and self-loathing. Yuck.)
“They don’t want two men or two women to be married. They’re for one man and for one woman,” Gross said [as he trims a customer’s hair using an electric clipper]. “And in democracy you should be representing the majority and that’s what the majority wants. That’s what he should be representing.” The customer, an older gentleman, said same-sex marriage is a “slap in the face” to those couples in traditional marriages. He makes it clear he wants the conversation to end.
Heh. I wanted to note this particular article because I’m from the same region as these two gents. Reading their opinions and of their certainty that Rep. Radinovich will not be re-elected next year, I have to wonder if they ever voted for Radinovich at all. Of course I can’t know for sure, but I’m betting not. I’m also curious about the “solid majority” against gay marriage, whether or not that will change in subsequent years, and what the young regional voters think. With articles like this there’s almost always a chatty older voter, but what does the upcoming generation think? Where does their support lie? Are they even interested, or are they so bamboozled by Teh Evil homosexual agenda that they don’t care who marries who/m?
Maybe I shouldn’t discriminate based on age. Maybe everyone in Radinovich’s district is solidly in support of heterosexual marriage only, regardless of generation. It’s been a long time since I lived in that area, and while my husband and I want to move back to Minnesota some day, we don’t plan to settle in the towns where we grew up. (Nor in Michele Bachmann’s district, but that is another story.) Attitudes like these are a large part of the reason. That illustrates the problem, I suppose. People with attitudes like mine move out of the area. The old guard settles in deeper, attracts like-minded folks to move into the area, who expect their opinions to be represented faithfully since they’re in the majority. And maybe they’re right to want that. Democracy, right?
But I say that they’re wrong. That just because the majority of a group is for (or against) something does not make it unassailable, right, humane or fair. It may simply mean the deck is stacked. Would the Civil Rights Act have passed if we waited for the majority of the country to be in favor, especially with the lack of equal voting rights? Oh, I know people who are anti-gay marriage don’t like to compare the arguments against racial equality to those against marriage equality, since it’s too damn easy. No one wants to be bigoted. No one thinks they’re being bigoted, only that they’re right. And it’s too easy to think that your way is right and true and the only way, simply because you’ve surrounded yourself with people who also go your way. It’s extremely hard to take an unbiased, critical look at what you believe and why. Especially when it goes against the majority, or the mob.
N.B. Gee, it sure seems hilarious to be arguing against majority rule when the majority of Minnesotan reps and senators voted for gay marriage. But I guess that what I’m advocating overall is critical thinking, and an avoidance of knee-jerk majority rule.
But in short, bravo, Minnesota. And bravo, Joe Radinovich. I hope that despite the backlash, you do get reelected, and continue your support of everyone in the district, not just the majority.