2012

16 May 2012: Has Colorado evolved from hate-state status?

Has Colorado evolved from hate-state status?

Colorado only six years ago defined marriage—arguably unconstitutionally—as between a man and woman, though it’s not clear not where transgendered people are placed on that continuum in that context.  We were once dubbed the hate state due to Amendment 2 in 1992.  Now we’re on the verge of enacting civil unions into law.

And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men—Republican homophobic legislators—won’t be put that Humpty-Dumpty together again.

While providing more antics than drama, the closing down of the legislative process by small-minded bigots, led by House Speaker Frank McNulty, was a final act of desperation.  McNulty, who gags at the thought of uttering “civil union,” psychologically and politically stripped himself naked, and it’s not a pretty sight.  In short, he and his cronies are an embarrassment to Colorado.

In his comments before calling the legislature back into special session, Gov. Hickenlooper, visibly moved, quoted an old friend who had asked him, “If not now, when?”.

When is now.

The battle over civil unions is far more than a political kerfuffle: It’s the battle for Colorado’s soul.  Are we still the hate state or have we “evolved,” borrowing a term from President Obama, to a more enlightened social order?

Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution “guarantees to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.”  Though enshrouded in the trappings of a republican form of government, the Republicans in the legislature operate instead as if this is a theocracy, mimicking Iranian mullahs rather than Jeffersonian republicans.

Objections to civil unions and same-sex marriage are grounded solely on theocratic constructs: the Will of God as defined by churchmen.  Arguments cloaked in psychological and social guise have been proven to be specious and simply mean-spirited.

Besides being morally repugnant, anti-same-sex marriage arguments lack credibility.  Is marriage a right or privilege?  If it is the latter, such as a driver’s license or teaching certification, then all that should be required is reasonable evidence of proficiency or willingness to subscribe to and abide by a certain code.  Given that, over 50 percent of heterosexual couples are abysmal failures and ought to have their marriage privilege revoked for incompetence or moral turpitude.

If marriage is a right, is it inalienable such as freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion?  If so, then depriving one of it must only happen for the most egregious reasons.

Society once said being African American meant that one could be enslaved.

Society once said women were to be subservient to men, especially to their husbands.

Society once said discrimination in public education, housing, and transportation was acceptable.

The list continues, but as we have matured, we have rejected those beliefs and practices.

And accordingly, we’ve become a far, far better people.

In his comments, Hickenlooper quoted Dr. Martin Luther King: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama said in reference to King’s statement, “It bends towards justice, but here is the thing: it does not bend on its own. It bends because each of us in our own ways put our hand on that arc and we bend it in the direction of justice.”

Justice doesn’t just happen; it requires action to be achieved.

Obama himself has now evolved from the swampy morass and has given his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage.

The arc of history is moving to permanent acceptance of same-sex marriage.  Polls, state- and nationwide, demonstrate that reality.  Civil unions are but a step in that direction: Gays and lesbians are allowed to board the bus, but for now would sit in the rear.

In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriage.  Mitt Romney was governor and opposed it as he still does.  Since then, the firmament above the Bay State and Romney’s marriage and family remain intact.

It has been nine months since the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.  A survey conducted by the Military Times indicates 69 percent have said it has had “no effect.”   My bet is it will have long-term effect: for the better.

By the time you read this, the issue might be settled or delayed.  Regardless, it’s fitting to recognize and thank those individuals who have exhibited profiles in courage in bringing it to pass: from Democratic and a few Republican legislators, nearly all female, to the governor and the president.  It shows moxie, something bullies like McNulty may never get.

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