Moose encountered and shared the vid below on Facebook the other day. It's of our Maryland state delegate (and pal!) Heather Mizeur, speaking on the floor of the General Assembly during last March's debate on a bill that would have brought marriage equality to the Free State. The bill passed in the Senate but was pulled in the House when it was clear there weren't enough votes to pass it. Gov. Martin O'Malley introduced a similar bill this week, so the whole battle is about to play out again. (Oh, goody -- Reruns!) The hope is that the bill will fare better this time around with O'Malley taking on more of a leadership role and in the wake of the passage of marriage equality in the New York state legislature. We shall see, kids. Y'all know we've been skeptical of O'Malley, pretty as he is, and now his equally lovely wife, Judge Catherine O'Malley, has ruffled feathers by speaking the truth, publicly declaring that the bill failed last year because "some cowards . . . prevented it from passing." Judge O'Malley quickly and predictably announced that she regretted her choice of words, though we happen to think she was right. Some delegates who had signed on as cosponsors of the bill ended up voting against it once churches in more conservative districts whipped up opposition. Because, you know, God Hates Fags.
In any case, watch the vid:
We like the rhetorical moves Mizeur makes in this brief clip, the calm yet righteous eloquence of her assertion that the bill's opponents cannot stop LGBT people from establishing marriages and families, from loving each other and declaring their love before the divine entity referred to around here as Dog. The repeated "you can't stop us from . . . " serves as a powerful anaphora that reminds listeners of how dramatically social and legal conditions for same-sex relationships have changed in the decades since Stonewall. It taunts those who would vote against the bill by suggesting that the war is in some sense already over and queers have won -- but then it pivots back to the painful reality of what the lack of full legal equality can mean for same-sex couples: "You can't stop us from loving each other," Mizeur intones. "You can't stop us from getting married. You can't stop us from pledging to forever to our God and to each other and to support each other in the toughest of times. You can't stop that. All you can do is make it really, really, really difficult for us in the worst, most challenging times."
Goose has long maintained that what fuels the right-wing hysteria about marriage equality is the recognition that teh Gayz Agenda has already captured the hearts and minds of the vast majority of Americans. As a generation of kids raised in and around and on Modern Family comes of age, the idea that civil marriage has to be protected from the assaults of creepy scary queers is losing whatever power it has left as a wedge issue. A November, 2011 Pew poll found that support for marriage equality was strongest among Millennial generation voters (born from 1981 to 1993), at an impressive 59%. Of course, Millennials seem far less invested in marriage than previous generations have been. The same poll shows that they are far less likely than earlier generations to marry when young. Currently, just 23% of 18- to-30-year-olds are married. By contrast, 49% of the Baby Boomers were married at that age. There is considerable irony in gays clamoring for access to marriage in a period when its power as a social institution seems to be declining precipitously. If conservatives had a lick of sense or objectivity, they'd realize that modernizing marriage and expanding access to it will do more good than harm. David Brooks, who has such sense, has been making that case since 2003.
the 1038 rights and benefits currently available only through marriage, but until that day comes, a lot of us want and need marriage. You can't stop us, but you can hurt us and slow us down and make the darkest days of our lives darker still by setting up legal obstacles that make us vulnerable at moments of illness, injury, or death. You can't stop us, because the genie is out of the
Oh, we know you are on the side of love, my pretties, and we reckon some of you might also be interested in the drama unfolding in Annapolis. Want to help? We've got some ideas.
- Make a donation to Equality Maryland, the state's largest LGBT civil rights organization, which is working hard under new leadership to pass the marriage bill and a gender-identity protection bill during this session. Full disclosure: Moose is on the Board of Directors of the Equality Maryland Foundation, but if you contribute there your donation is tax-deductible. Do it -- and tell 'em Moose sent you!
- Get on the phone. Marylanders for Marriage Equality (a coalition, which includes Equality Maryland, set up to work for passage of the marriage bill) is holding weekly phone banks throughout the state to rally support. Find one near you, and start practicing your very best phone manners.
- Sign up for Lobby Day in Annapolis. It's Feb. 13. Go march around in the cold, then head indoors to give your representative an earful or a pat on the back. The Moms can't be there, because Moose is hosting a shindig on campus that day (which you should totally attend if you are not able to go to Annapolis).