I am not surprised by the results of the gay marriage debate. In fact, this is just the kind of wedge issue politics that we have come to expect from the fool-the-people, know-nothing politicians who play to the religious zealots and undereducated, vulnerable folks. These are the same people who would, all too often, deny the people adequate economic and social relief. They take their homophobic, xenophobic, hateful invective to the people in order to cover up their behavior in the State Senate. This leads to and is fed by the type of fiscal chaos that we have been experiencing. The whole approach comes right out of the Nazi propaganda playbook. I am not surprised that, despite being told by Senate leader Dean Skelos they were free to vote their conscience, every single Republican voted to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry and secure the same rights the rest of us have.
In order to maintain power, the clique that is running the State Senate acceded to Sen. Ruben Diaz’s demand that the equality in marriage bill never reach the Senate floor. That type of unprincipled blackmail can only lead to more of the same. When the lust for power overcomes doing what is right, the acquisition of power becomes far more important.
Of course, if it is true that something like one out of every 10 Americans is gay or lesbian, this is risky business for this unprincipled crew. I once worked at a TV station where they polled and decided that only 12 percent of the people wanted sports. They cancelled regular sports in favor of something else and soon learned that the “only 12 percent” were passionate about sports and switched the channel. If all of the gay people were willing to a) turn out for the election and b) vote out the scoundrels who had deprived them of their civil liberties, it could be “bye-bye” for the fear mongers.
To cut to the chase, why would any of us want to deprive anyone else the right to enter into a loving marriage with another person? Hey, you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex, don’t do it. But why take the civil rights of another away? We know that some of these very politicians who voted against the bill have gay relatives who will be terribly hurt by all of this. As always, there will be that moment when they have to look in a mirror and say, “What have I done?”
Alan S. Chartock is president and CEO of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio and an executive publisher at The Legislative Gazette .
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