Friday, May 30, 2014

This Culture War Is Over

My home state of Oregon became the 18th state to usher in marriage equality. Behind Arkansas and Uruguay, but honey we got there! 
As it becomes clearer to everyone that this is a civil rights issue (and not one of "privilege" - privilege is your church not paying taxes), federal judges are falling over themselves to leave history with the most memorable quotable. In his decision striking down Oregon's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional, Oregon federal judge Michael McShane's is the most eloquent I've read:

"Where will this all lead? I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other...and rise."

And then Michael Sam gets drafted by the St Louis Rams to become the first openly gay football player in NFL history. When he gets the news he's been drafted, he kisses his boyfriend. ESPN airs the kiss and the internet explodes. What was he supposed to do? Shake his hand?

And with the culture war over in the USA, the haters have fled to spread their ministry of maleficence to places that are listening: Russia, Nigeria, Uganda. Meanwhile, closer to home, the fallout is something less obvious. As the gays blend more seamlessly into society, we're losing queer culture as the ghetto becomes redundant. The oldest gay bookstore in the nation (I had a reading there, once), Giovanni's Room closed this month after 41 years serving the Philadelphia community. It was also one of, if not the, last.

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