California is the second state to legalize gay marriage. (Massachusetts was first.)
Naturally, there is a hew and cry from our more rural regions. Kern County, home to such cultural hotspots as Bakersfield and Oildale, has bitterly opposed this ruling. In fact, a judge halted the release of ALL marriage licenses. I can imagine her saying “If I have to let gay people get married, I’m not letting ANYONE get married!” I assume there was some awareness of the equal protection clause, which means that gay people aren’t being singled out. The reason given for the judge’s move (“We’re tightening our budget.”) was a chicken-shit answer that only makes me chuckle.
The fact is, the Republicans brought up the issue of Gay Marriage to divert us from the real issues in 2004. In so doing, they will have eventually guaranteed the rights of gay people nationwide. The legal tide is clear: the homophobes are losing.
But maybe this is only “my viewpoint” because of where I live, no? I’ve been encouraged more than once to see how the rest of America thinks. The assumption is that the way we think in California or “big cities” in general is not how the rest of the country thinks, and that the way we see it is “just one viewpoint.”
But America has always taken baby steps toward freedom and open-mindedness. And guess who has always been the flag-bearers? Major metropolitan areas, specifically in the Northeast and the far west. Guess who has typically been opposed to major milestones in freedom? The south, and rural areas.
Abolition of slavery: In the US, it originated in Philadelphia. Early adapters were Rhode Island, Massachussetts, and New York. Late joiners: the south. Georgia was last. Now universally accepted.
Women’s Suffrage: The first women allowed to Vote were in New England town meetings (prior to our nationhood). The Suffrage movement began in New York. UPDATE: The early adapters to Women’s Suffrage were several midwestern and western states. Now universally accepted.
Children’s Rights: Began in Boston, grew in New York City. Now universally accepted.
Racial Integration: Accepted in Northern and Western cities first. Now universally accepted.
Rights for Homosexuals: accepted in Major Northern and Western cities first. Not yet universally accepted, but it will be.
Legalization of marijuana: accepted in Western cities first. Not yet universally accepted, but it will be.
Legalization of assisted suicide: Legal only in Oregon. Not yet universally accepted, but it will be.
Evolution taught in Schools: Early joiners: Northeast and Western states. Still hotly contested in Southern States. Not yet universally accepted, but it will be.
Other issues? I’m sure there are more.
So the people who think that those of us in California should get out and see how the rest of the country thinks should apply this advice to themselves. Because how WE think … is how YOU will eventually think.
I’m open to debate … as I may have been cherry-picking issues in my above list. To off-set my argument, answer this question: What major milestone of human advancement began in the South, the midwest, or a rural area? If you can come up with something, maybe I will give more credence to “how the rest of the country thinks.”
I am not trying to be an elitist. I’m sure there are a lot of bright, forward-thinking people in the mid-west and the South. I am just pointing to historical records, which indicate that the contrary is more the rule.