Tuesday, October 07, 2014

If Ennis and Jack can get hitched, what's next?

Golly, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist should be announcing their engagement about now --- had both managed to survive Annie Prouix's short story and Ang Lee's film. I'm sure you-all remember Brokeback Mountain --- thwarted love in the great state of Wyoming, where same-sex marriages most likely will commence sometime soon.

Interesting stuff to think about after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dismissed appeals of lower court rulings in five states where bans on same-sex marriage had been ruled unconstitutional.

That cleared the way for marriages to begin or resume immediately, or thereabouts, in Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana.

These five states were under the jurisdictions of three circuit courts of appeal and Monday's dismissal of appeals will, quite soon, upset bans in other states within those jurisdictions: West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina in the 4th Circuit; Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming, in the 10th. Same-sex marriage now will be the law of the land in 30 states.

This is by no means the last word on the issue --- judges are free to rule as they will in jurisdictions that include states where bans remain in place. And should a federal judge or panel uphold one or more of the remaining bans, the high court might feel obligated to revisit the issue in order to resolve discrepancies. But the judicial trend has been overwhelmingly against the bans.

It certainly appears that the same-sex marriage wars are winding down, and perhaps a time will come when we can move on to other things, including those big ones not related to sexual orientation. Although --- workplace discrimination certainly remains a problem. Too many LGBT people still are the targets of hate crimes. And churches remain not only the most segregated places in American society, but the most homophobic, too.


It was interesting to read an interview yesterday with Brian Brown, a founder and principal of the National Organization for Marriage, a major and once-powerful opponent of same-sex marriage. Brown and others on that side of the issue now are portraying themselves as Davids pitted against a gay Goliath, the victims of demonization.

That's a fascinating development when one considers the small percentage of the U.S. population that is LGBT (estimated optimistically at perhaps 5 percent) and the vile things that Brown, his colleagues and their followers have said about us over the years.

While LGBT groups certainly have been effective organizers, the truth is that a monumental shift in attitude, principally among straight folks, is in large part responsible for the turning of the tide. That represents gay and straight working together.


The future of the church is another interesting thing to think about. Most gay folks my age learned early in life --- from Christians --- that we did not have a friend in Jesus. And for many of us that revelation helped expose the absurdity of the entire construct. So I'm quite happy to be what author Frank Schaeffer describes as an atheist who believes in god --- and in community, architecturally significant church buildings and related music, art and liturgy.

Some, however --- LGBT and otherwise --- still feel called to a more orthodox faith, so I hope work continues to make the church a more welcoming and inclusive place. Diversity enriches; conformity kills.


If all these absurd confrontations about sexual orientation could be laid to rest, there's the environment to care for, the hungry to feed, the poor to lift up, the sorrowing to comfort, wars to resolve, militant Islam to defuse, Ebola to deal with, and on and on and on.

Who'd have thought same-sex marriage would come to Wyoming? Miracles happen. When we work together to become them.

No comments: