The Silver Lining in Gay Marriage Defeats

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Yesterday’s elections show that Americans may not yet have tired of banning same-sex marriage—despite the fact that only some 8,000 such marriages currently exist, and Massachusetts, the only state where they are legal, has shown slower-than-average growth in its out gay and lesbian population.

Nonetheless, tolerance is beginning to show through the fanaticism (which is fomented by hypocrites like Ted Haggard). Gay marriage bans that passed in five of eight states did so over the objections of more than two-fifths of the electorate. In 2004, only two of eleven states saw similar opposition. The vote on Arizona’s ballot measure is so close that it has yet to be called.

Nor did the anti-gay amendments seem to swing the congressional elections as they were intended to. Minnesota, Colorado and Wisconsin, despite successful amendments, moved slightly to the left across Senate, House and gubernatorial lines. Arizona gave two new House seats to Democrats, and Tennessee and South Carolina showed no change.

Now, for some somewhat related news—good news—New York City is planning to enact legislation that would allow people to change genders on their birth certificates with just a letter from a doctor explaining why and a vow that the change will be permanent. The policy is in stark contrast to old laws that required years of counseling, a clinical diagnosis, and mandatory sex-reassignment surgery before a person could legally change genders. The law will only affect those born in New York. But transgender folks born in the city will now be able to marry a person of the same biological sex—if not the same gender.

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