Saturday, May 09, 2009

In Dubious Battle by Anthony McCarthy

Duty calls to lend my hand to doing what I was certain was going to have to be done when it was put on the legislative agenda. I’ve got to help defend gay marriage in my state from an assault by the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland and the folks I’ve called the Maine Klux Klan more than a few times.

Some of you might know that an irony of this situation is that I think it’s the wrong fight for the wrong time. I’ve stated why here before. It’s not going to be easy, these folks have won a number of times through referendum in my state before. Maine is not anywhere near as liberal as it’s made out to be, We have a sizable and organized religious-fundamentalist presence, now they’re making common cause with a far-right Catholic bishop. That’s one thing we used to be able to count on, Maine used to have a relatively progressive bishop. If you don’t think there’s a difference between having a progressive one and the one we’ve got now, you just don’t know.
I don’t believe the state should be sanctifying anyone’s marriage, that’s up to them. I favor civil unions as the most a state should confer to any two adults and that it deal with all of those of any sexual orientation on an equal footing. I favor that form of union be given to any two adults who want to form a household, regardless of whether or not they have a sexual relationship. Ironically, I also do not favor giving special treatment to couples over single people. But you don’t always get to pick which fight is necessary.

In a year when the economy is in the condition it is, the struggle for national health care is beginning and a myriad of other problems endangering lives and the planet are on the agenda, this is not where I would have chosen to be spending my non-existent free time. A gay man can see that there are other peoples’ lives in danger, this seldom used right, one that he would like to be able to exercise, himself, is not the most pressing at this time. I do think that the healthcare of both children and adults is much more important than this issue, climate change perhaps even more important than that. I’d rather be fighting for those this year. And in the end, I’m not even expecting to get a marriage proposal out of it.

It’s an odd position to be in but you can find yourself in odd positions all the time. If you have the most radical agenda of them all, radical economic justice, that of a democratic leveler, you’ve got to be realistic. You have to realize that incremental steps towards the goal are the most you’ll live to see in your lifetime. That will win you the hatred of the impatient purists. Being opposed to both religious fundamentalism and also to several other fundamentalist faiths that are explicitly anti-religious, you get it on all sides, all the time.

I’m worn out, I’m taking classes so I can get a new job. And now this issue in this recession. I’ve got to cut back on my blog activities. Will that change? Maybe they won’t collect enough signatures to get it on the ballot this time.