The Floodgates Are Open
BY Tricia Romano
August 08 2008 12:00 AM ET
Right: Deval Patrick
It seems that same-sex marriage has already become so blasé that the incremental removal of barriers no longer calls for front-page headlines. Americans met the news of another breakthrough for gay marriage -- Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick’s signing of a bill revoking a law that had barred out-of-state same-sex couples from getting married -- with a yawn. Then they rolled over and went to sleep when L.A. police chief William Bratton declared that Lindsay Lohan had “gone gay."
Yep, it’s just another Week in Gay.
Though the Massachusetts story got good coverage nationally, with major papers such as The Boston Globe and The New York Times and wire services picking it up, the response seemed less urgent than May's coverage of California’s breakthrough court decision and New York governor David Paterson’s subsequent order that state agencies must recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states. (As expected, there’s a footnote to Paterson’s actions: According to The New York Sun, the state supreme court is considering whether it will hear a case brought by the Arizona-based Christian group the Alliance Defense Fund, which is suing Paterson based on the dictionary definition of the word marriage and claiming that Paterson’s order was an illegal breach of separation of power.)
The Massachusetts bill that Patrick signed revokes a 1913 law originally intended to keep interracial couples from marrying, a law then-governor Mitt Romney defiantly revived in 2004 after same-sex marriage was made legal in the state.
In a Fox News story, Governor Patrick noted wryly: "In five years now, … the sky has not fallen, the earth has not opened to swallow us all up, and more to the point, thousands and thousands of good people -- contributing members of our society -- are able to make free decisions about their personal future, and we ought to seek to affirm that every chance we can."
More proof that the personal is political: Gay couples tying the knot are using their nuptials as a way to get the word out about the upcoming California ballot initiative in November. An AP wire story notes that couples are using inventive ploys such as putting “Vote No on 8” on cake toppers, or accepting donations toward the No on 8 campaign in lieu of gifts.
Which may be needed, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported that California gay marriage opponents have thus far raised more funds than gay rights organizers.
“Proponents of Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage, raised about $3.7 million from January 1 through June 30, according to state filings," the article stated. "In contrast, gay rights activists who oppose the measure raised about $2.5 million through June 30.”
However, according to a story by Julie Bolcer for Advocate.com, published the same day as the WSJ article, gay rights groups had raised $4.1 million compared to the proponents' $3.7 million -- a figure confirmed with the secretary of state. This puts opponents of the measure squarely in the lead in fund-raising, and -- as only 41% of Californians said they are planning to vote for the initiative, according to a July Field poll -- in popular opinion as well.
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