By Matthew Breen
Originally published on Advocate.com March 12 2012 1:00 AM ET
An editor, upon joining the staff, once remarked to me his surprise that gay news never stops — but the week we went to press was one for the record books. Maryland advanced marriage equality legislation in the House. A marriage bill in the New Jersey legislature passed in the Senate, and in Washington State on Monday, February 13, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed marriage equality into law, making it the seventh state to do so. It was a good way to start the week.
Civil unions were recently legalized in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, and Rhode Island, and the Ninth Circuit upheld Judge Vaughn Walker's decision that California's Proposition 8 defies the U.S. Constitution.
This momentum is stunning, and our collective reaction to these events serves to draw a bright line between supporters of equality and those who view some of their fellow humans as inherently inferior. People who never gave the matter much thought are now far less likely to view the question as inconsequential. And those who were silently complicit in our oppression are now forced to voice their animus or change their minds. The woodwork has been emptied out.
Now that our rights are a regular part of the news cycle, presidential candidates, required to express their antigay positions, are themselves exposed: Romney as a weathervane who would rather not commit any convictions to paper lest he reverse them in the future; Gingrich as a serial adulterer whose rantings about the immorality of gay unions are pure comic genius; and Santorum as a retrograde zealot straight out of the 19th century who views LGBT equality, racial parity, and women's reproductive rights as subject to the whims of straight white Christian men. And that's just in one electoral season.
These people are out to get us, or are willing to trample us to gain power. In the course of campaigning they've said so. We must all voice our beliefs too. In matters of equality, no one is a bystander any longer, and if any of us once imagined we could be silent and let others speak out, then we're part of the problem.