Saturday, February 21, 2004

okay, at first this looks like good news: victoria dunlap, county clerk in sandoval country new mexico, began offering same-sex marriage licenses on friday until the state came in & tried to declare their licenses invalid.

"They can say they're invalid and they're not going to recognize them, but when people go to try to enforce the rights and privileges that go along with being married, it'll just turn into a lawsuit," Albright [one of the gay newlyweds -ed] said. "This is far from over. ...We're still very happy with what happened today."

& then In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley indicated he would "have no problem" with allowing same-sex partners to marry.

so you read something like that & you think, wow, san francisco has started this chain reaction of gay weddings. maybe, just maybe, this thing will get so big on its own that the federal govt will be forced to legalize.

but then you notice a passage like this:

Dunlap, a Republican, was not available for comment, but advocates suggested that her motivation may have been to gain sympathy for a possible ballot initiative seeking to overturn a 2003 act prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

whoa, what? so the theory is that she allowed some gay marriages in order to piss off the local bigots enough that they could start discriminating against gays again? a cynical attempt to reinstate discrimination by galvanizing the hate crowd? definitely an odd twist. but if true, could this approach really work?

i can see how this could get the ballot initiative passed. but like newlywed albright mentions, this thing is already a guaranteed lawsuit. new mexico courts will already have to address this issue. so even if voters pass the initiative, it could still be struck down by the courts before it ever takes effect.

so this thing could backfire. even better, the blowback could snowball into that chain reaction i mentioned. regardless how cynical the motivation, this is still a symbolic precedent. now two areas in the u.s. have issued same-sex marriage licenses. this could embolden other mayors or court clerks in other regions. the more places try it, the more could be inspired. i don't see my mayor, bart peterson, making that kind of move but it would definitely change my opinion of him. he might be a corporate sellout, but if he were also a strong civil rights activist in the middle of the bible belt... that would be pretty swell.

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