Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Can anyone justify a vote based on marriage this November?

That's what John Fite Rebrovick is asking the readers of the Tennessean to do.

You can bet that now with the California decision, advocates of homosexual marriage will push harder for acceptance in other states that have rejected the notion through referenda like Tennessee. It's not time for proponents of traditional marriage to sit idly by. If we do not feel that our government should be telling children that homosexuality and polygamy are acceptable practices, then we can sit on our logic and let overreaching courts and California set the trend on this issue for the rest of the nation. Or, in the next elections, we can make sure we know where our candidates at every level of government stand on this issue and vote accordingly.

If he means the presidential election, then I think there are some problems with his proposal. John McCain has not been a supporter of the federal marriage amendment, but he was in favor of his home state of Arizona adopting one. That's not exactly what most social conservatives want to hear. Barack Obama has supported giving most of the same rights of marriage to same-sex couples, but he continues to resist using the word marriage. He recently reiterated his view that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's not exactly what the GLBT community wants to hear.

As for the "every level of government" part, I'm not aware of one candidate of a major party running for office in Tennessee who has come out publicly in favor of full marriage equality. Candidates for the legislature wouldn't have any reason to do so. No matter what side of the issue they come down on, they won't be voting on it in the next two or even four years. Perhaps he means the Senate race or the House races, but I haven't seen much talk about it there either. Maybe there will be a vote on a federal marriage amendment, but House and Senate aren't likely to allow much movement on that issue soon.

To be sure, all kinds of GLBT/equality/family issues will come up in the next two to four years, but I don't think it makes sense for Tennesseans of any political stripe to be single-issue voters on marriage in November.

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