The United States just got a little friendlier yesterday. After years of right-wing onslaughts against the rights of certain groups of people, those people finally prevailed and won their rights. The most obvious group is our gay brothers and sisters, who won the right to marry just like everyone else. California's Prop 8 was rejected (more accurately - the appeal to reverse the decision to revoke got dismissed), and DOMA was repealed. It was a historic day, and couples celebrated around the country
. On a personal note, we have a friend whose partner recently died, and she will now be able to claim survivor's benefits.
Naturally, the right-wing is unhappy about this. I have heard several Republican congresspeople say that preventing gay marriage was all about "protecting the children", but I have yet to hear any explanation as to what that means. It makes no sense to me.
Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) was one of those unhappy Republicans. She stated that marriage was “created by the hand of God” and “not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.” When asked to comment on Michell Bachmann's statements, Nancy Pelosi replied with the best possible answer: "Who cares?"
Since the Supreme Court has declared that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional, the Republicans are attempting to change the Constitution. House Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) is putting together a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage
. How often do we get amendments that deny rights? Prohibition is the only one I can think of, and it was overturned. This will never make it out of the Senate, and will certainly never make it past the President's desk. The sad thing, though, is that if one ever did (with Republicans holding the House, Senate, and Presidency), there are probably enough red states to gain a 2/3 majority. Hopefully, people will realize that letting other people live their lives does not negatively affect them in any way. This tweet says it quite succinctly:
The other big story of good triumphing over oppression is the denial of a draconian anti-abortion bill in Texas. State Senator Wendy Davis had filibustered the bill for hours, abiding by some of the most restrictive filibuster regulations in the country, and fell short by 3 hours because she supposedly went tangentially off-message one too many times. The Democrats kept the bill from a vote by invoking procedural questions for nearly 3 hours until State Senator Leticia Van De Putte asked: “Mr. President, parliamentary inquiry... At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?”
The gallery erupted in wild applause, and the noise from the gallery and the rotunda continued unabated for 15 minutes until the clock ran out. The Republicans still tried to sneak it through by changing the date/time stamps of the vote, but they were called on it, and the bill was called dead.
The vote on the bill was a special session called by Governor Rick "I want to control your uterus" Perry. He has vowed to call for another special session
. If he thinks the Dems won't be prepared, he is wrong. This time was the practice run - next time, the people will filibuster again. Expect Perry to have extra security in place.
There is one other small story about America becoming a little nicer. As people have come to realize that they have friends and family who are gay and deserve the same happiness as everyone else, so to have they realized that America's dark history (no pun intended) with slavery has shaped our race relations. Younger generations see mixed race couples and children and think nothing of it. They see other people as people, not as races. That's why when a celebrity like Paula Deen makes comments about plantation weddings and lamenting her grandfather's loss of property (slaves), they are rightfully repulsed. This is an old south Jim Crowe era mindset that is thankfully dying away. The revelation that Paula Deen still secretly harbors that mindset has created a backlash that shows we really don't want that in our lives anymore. Even Wal-Mart has cut their ties with her
Changes to American law and the zeitgeist of the American culture come in sudden spurts, after years of malaise. This is one of those times. We should enjoy and rejoice and continue our push for a country where everyone is treated equally and fairly, and given the same opportunities. Wouldn't that