My family has twice vacationed in Maine. Two of my favorite childhood vacations, in fact. I have friends who are from Maine, who are some of the loveliest people I know. I drink Poland Spring water. Ok, that’s neither here nor there, but it’s true all the same.
My point is that, in my mind, Maine is good. Maine is a place I have warm, positive feelings about.
But Tuesday night I came home from class and found that a lot of people in Maine had set my warm, positive feelings alight, razed them to the ground with their bigotry.
Why do we think it makes sense to put issues involving people’s rights to a popular vote? We used to think that was ok, but then we saw how it never quite worked out that the majority would willingly vote for the rights of the minority, so we threw that foolish plan out the window and turned to our legislators, the ones who should have been doing the voting in the first place. (Not that they have always handled these matters skillfully, but they’ve done far better than the so-called common man at the ballot box.) How have we gone back to the decision that it’s ok for one group of people to decide how another group of people should be allowed to live?
These kinds of decisions are exactly the kind we have to leave to legislation. We really do know this already. We’ve learned this. If, forty-five years ago, civil rights had been put to a popular, state-by-state vote, would those laws have passed? Please. There would be maybe five states where I’d have a reasonable number of the rights I currently enjoy … and I question whether ‘five’ is an overly generous estimate. And, while we’re at it, can you say ERA? Yeah, the popular vote just isn’t the place where human rights should be decided.
But this is where we are with same-sex marriage. We have decided that it’s ok to let a whole lot of people who are small and ignorant enough to be terrified of homosexuality be the ones to decide whether or not gay people should get to have the same rights as people who aren’t gay. Because that would never be a bad plan, right? People would always set aside their personal biases and think about what’s right … right?
I am painfully disappointed in the people who voted to repeal the same-sex marriage law in Maine on Tuesday. How dare they think they have the right to deny anyone even a single of our inalienable rights? How dare they? The only thing endangered by legal same-sex marriage is fear. Oh, and homophobia. Come on, people. We need to do this. We need to do this. It’s two-thousand-fucking-nine already. What are we waiting for?