Another Stripe in New England’s Rainbow

Yesterday, Maine joined Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont in establishing equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Maine Gov. John Baldacci (D) became the first governor to sign a marriage equality bill. Kudos to Equality Maine and MassEquality volunteers who helped ensure passage of this important civil rights legislation.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire’s marriage equality bill has passed the House and Senate, and awaits a decision by Gov. John Lynch, who has previously said that he favors civil unions but would restrict “marriage” to heterosexual couples. If you’re a NH voter, contact Gov. Lynch now to let him know that you support full equality. Follow this issue on the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry website and find out how you can help. MassEquality is also organizing a door-to-door canvass in NH this Saturday; sign up here.

And in Washington, D.C., the city council approved legislation to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, in a 12-1 vote, with Marion Barry as the dissenter. (With respect to Barry’s claim to “stand on the moral compass of God,” I’ll let his Wikipedia entry speak for itself.) It’s tragic that this is becoming a blacks-versus-gays issue, at least according to the rhetoric of the African-American ministers who vowed to fight the measure. I understand that African-American families have much to lose in a culture of sexual libertinism, but this seems to me like a classic instance of a dominant group (wealthy white heterosexual elites) playing two oppressed groups off against each other so that neither one makes progress. Mass-marketed obscenity, poverty, sexism, a failed drug war, and the legacy of slavery are far more responsible for family instability. But the folks who profit from all of the above would rather we blamed the gays.

This 2007 article from the Contra Costa Times offers some interesting facts about the silencing of black gay Christians:

Fourteen percent of the same-sex couples in the United States are black, and gay and
lesbian black families are more likely to include children than other races, according to a
2005 analysis of Census data by the National Black Justice Coalition and the National Gay
& Lesbian Task Force.

The year before, a Pew Forum survey found 64 percent of black respondents opposed same-sex

Some other good links on the issue: