GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 28, 2012

Letter: Turning the corner on true equality


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the Editor:

What a difference eight years can make, especially in relation to the issue of marriage equality for same-gender couples.

In the summer of 2004, I was living in Provincetown and occasionally co-hosting a call in talk show on WOMR, Provincetown’s community radio station. That was the year the Supreme Court of Massachusetts ruled that denying same gender couples the right to marry violated the state’s constitution, and it was a heady time in P-Town.

CNN and Fox News camera crews swarmed all over Town Hall as same gender couples from across the nation came to gay America’s seaside “hometown” to take out marriage licenses and tie the knot. One morning while on the air, a caller asked me why I seemed so ambivalent about such a historic moment.

I responded by saying, “I am happy for gay couples who want to marry, but I also know Karl Rove is ecstatic that liberal Massachusetts has handed him the best red meat issue with which to fire up the GOP base in November since Roe v. Wade in 1973.”

Well, the phone lines lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree. Callers were outraged that I was raining on Massachusetts’ gay marriage parade.

Back then, I believed gay activists pushing for full “marriage equality” were misguided. I believed most Americans were not hateful homophobes but I also believed they were not ready to redefine the institution of marriage to include same gender couples. That was why I supported civil unions.

I was wrong. I realized that in 2009. That was the year the governor of Hawaii, a Republican woman, vetoed Hawaii’s civil unions bill because it was, according to her, the legalization of gay marriage in every way except for calling it marriage.

Things have changed dramatically in a relatively short amount of time.

It is now clear that public opinion, despite earlier setbacks in many states when the issue of same gender marriage was put to a vote, is rapidly moving in the direction of supporting full marriage equality for same-gender couples.

Nothing exemplifies that reality more than what happened on Election Day in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington state. The issue of same-gender marriage was put to the people in those states, and the people responded by saying they support marriage equality for same-gender couples.

In Minnesota, not even the gay hating Michele Bachman could get an amendment passed that would have written anti-gay bigotry into the state’s constitution by defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

If anyone had told me in 2004 we would be at this point today, I never would have believed them. But, like I said, I was wrong. The United States is a great country and the American people even greater.

Living up to the ideals and principles the Founding Fathers espoused may never be a completed process but, time and again, America and Americans show the world that we keep trying. Increasing support for marriage equality for same gender couples is just the latest example of that reality.

MICHAEL COOK

Gloucester and Vieques, Puerto Rico