To get into the mood, here‘s Frank Sinatra.

And now:

LOVE . . .

Keith Olbermann has some thoughts.

. . . AND MARRIAGE

Betsy Uprichard: ‘Forty-five years ago I picketed and went to jail for civil rights. Last week I was very proud to see that my efforts were not in vain. But now I find that my fellow citizens have voted against my right to marry a person of my own choosing. Discrimination and bigotry in another guise, in another time. Can you ask our incoming President to please try to find a way to give me the rights that all our other citizens enjoy by allowing me to marry my partner of 27 years for the third, and hopefully final, time?’

(Being from San Francisco, Betsy was first able to marry in February, 2004, when Mayor Newsome ordered the city and county to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Six months later the California Supreme Court voided those marriages, saying the mayor had no authority to do so. In 2005 and then again in 2007, the legislature voted to allow marriage, only to be vetoed by the governor. This May, the Court overturned the ban. For a second time, Betsy could marry her partner. Last week, by a narrow majority, California voters annulled that right – eliciting the aforelinked Keith Olbermann comment.)

Here are things I think people on both sides of this issue might agree on:

1. The government should never, ever be allowed to tell churches whom they must or may not marry.

2. We all deserve equal rights under the law.*

3. Unless and until the Supreme Court makes a national ruling, the good people of Massachusetts (and their judges) may come down differently on this issue from the good people of Mississippi (and theirs).

4. In the meantime, if two people are legally married in a state (or country) that does recognize their right to do so, Uncle Sam should treat that married couple the same way it treats any other couple (even if Mississippi doesn’t).

As for the President elect, I assume his primary focus will be the economy, energy, health care, education, and national security – not gay marriage.

But there are three things I think he will do:

  • First, he will keep the Supreme Court, where all this is likely to be decided eventually, from tilting even further right if and when progressive Justices Stevens (88) and/or Ginsberg (75) retire.He may even get the opportunity to tilt it back a click if one of the (younger) conservatives should go.
  • Second, he will use the bully pulpit to bring folks along on this issue – especially in the black churches.Indeed, he has already done some of this.**
  • Finally, I think he would sign a bill, if Congress passed one, requiring the federal government to recognize marriages performed in states where they are legal.

* The government can set speed limits – but it can’t set a lower limit based on your gender or your skin color, your nationality or your political affiliation, your religious affiliation or your sexual orientation.  That same reasoning should apply liquor licenses, hunting licenses, drivers’ licenses, peddlers’ licenses, concealed weapons permits, unemployment benefits, Medicare benefits, Social Security survivor’s benefits, college loans, pilots’ licenses, plumbers’ licenses . . . so maybe also marriage licenses?

** During the campaign, he went to Ebenezer Baptist Church and said that we need to get over homophobia in the African-American community — that “if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll embrace our gay brothers and sisters instead of scorning them.”  Or so recalled Michelle Obama this summer, saying, “Barack’s got the courage to talk to skeptical audiences.  That’s why he told a crowd at a rally in Texas that gays and lesbians deserve equality.  Now, the crowd got pretty quiet.  But Barack said ‘now, I’m a Christian, and I praise Jesus every Sunday.’  And the crowd started cheering. Then he said, ‘I hear people saying things that I don’t think are very Christian with respect to people who are gay and lesbian.’  And you know what?  The crowd KEPT cheering.”

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