Maine moved a step closer to being the fifth state to allow gay marriage when its Senate passed a bill on April 30. The lower chamber and governor have yet to approve it. The vote in the State House of Representatives is due just before this issue hits the stands.
The legislation seeks to redefine marriage as the legal union of two people, rather than only between a man and a woman. Once an opponent of gay marriage, Maine Governor John Baldacci said earlier in April he is keeping an open mind on the issue.
In the same week, Iowa and Vermont both legalized same-sex marriage, and New Hampshire’s Senate has approved a gay marriage bill, already approved by its House. The bill lacks only New Hampshire Governor John Lynch’s signature to become law.
Minnesotan gay and lesbian couples already are availing themselves of the ability to marry next door in Iowa, the newly minted fourth state to offer marriage to same-sex couples. One happy couple can be seen in our “Queer as Folks” (page 14), while an entire busload of couples will board a bus chartered by All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church in Minneapolis to head for Iowa and marriage.
Channel 5 Eyewitness News online on April 28 quoted Tom Pritchard of the Minnesota Family Council as declaring, “Clearly, I think, it’s a media stunt”—this although many Minnesota couples already have traveled to Iowa to marry on their own initiative.
The report noted Prichard went on to say that he believes it will backfire, and build support for a Minnesota voter-approved constitutional ban on gay marriage.
“I think there’s a great concern here among many that the legislature, or our courts, are going to have same-sex marriage imposed upon us, so I think this will galvanize people,” Prichard explained.
By having “same-sex marriage imposed upon us,” does Pritchard mean that he believes anyone will be coerced into marrying someone of his—or her—own sex? Or that gay people would travel out of state to marry on a lark, knowing their marriage will not be acknowledged as valid? Does he feel that the ability to marry one’s intended in a state where it is legal will whip Minnesotans into a frenzy of homophobia against gay fellow citizens?
If so, that’s a sad indictment of our citizenry: “You’ve found some happiness together? Well, not here in Minnesota! Never!”
I would prefer to believe that Minnesotans—including State Senator Paul Koering—would see having married gay neighbors less Wes Craven or George Romero than Frank Capra.
The Married Move Among Us. That scenario—and it is being written now—will it bring out the villagers with torches or a welcoming embrace?