Pretty big numbers. Pretty huge victories. We are becoming part of “We the people.”Â
As Massachusetts celebrates four years of marriage equality,Â 60 million Americans now live in three states where gay marriages are recognized. California’sÂ high court and New York’s governor made it possible for millions more Americans to opt for marriage–and have their marriages recognized and respected.
On the heels of these hard-fought for victories, the USA Today/Gallup Poll announced on June 3 that 63 percent of Americans from every area of the country believe that same-sex marriage is “strictly a private decision” between two people.Â The approval ratings are a tribute to the fair-mindedness and love for equality that are inherently American. Here’s the regional breakdown of the statistics: East (71 percent), West (64 percent), Midwest (63 percent) and South (56 percent). More
Our trailblazing in Massachusetts broke barriers and proved to the country that marriageÂ equality for all is good.
Â Prof. Mark Rozell of George Mason University pointed to the fatuousness of the “overheated rhetoric, about the consequences of gay marriage in Massachusetts.” He says that the poll results show that people didn’t see our marriages “affect their own lives.” He adds, “Now, most people have let loose a collective yawn about the issue.”Â
While the “collective yawn” might be viewed as a good thing, it is in sharp contrast to the excitement that millions of gay men and lesbians feel at having attained another civil right that allows us to protect ourselves and our families.
The “yawn” is also in sharp contrast to the reactionÂ of the far-rightÂ group Save California that is encouraging people to call their county clerks andÂ tell them not to issue same-sex marriage licences. Dan Savage reports that they suggest the followingÂ on their website:
Ask your county clerk if they were a Nazi officer during WWII and had been ordered to gas the Jews, would they? At the Nuremberg trials, they would have been convicted of murder for following this immoral order.
So in the wild stretch that is called right-wing spinning, county clerks who swear to uphold the California Constitution are being likened to Nazis.
The Massachusetts Family Institute tried the same ploy. They encouraged clerks to resign rather than uphold their oath of office and issue same-sex marriage licenses. In the end, one or two clerks did resign, but the big story was about the courageous clerks who went one step further and refused to deny licenses to out-of-state couples and took the governor and the attorney general to court over forcing them to act in this unconscionable manner.
They lost only because the racist inspired 1913 law directed at inter-racial couplesÂ is still on the books in Massachusetts. The law prohibits couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their home states will not recognize their marriages. But now same-sex couples from New York and California can come to Massachusetts and marry. The 1913 law must be wiped off the books. It’s a disgrace to Massachusetts that has led the way in achieving equality for so many.
With the clear vision of 63 per cent of the people in this country there is no more room for bigotry. Soon 60 million will be yawning at the ordinary, yet somehow extraordinary, nature of marriage equality.