Wednesday, November 08, 2006


While I was in line to vote, I overheard a conversation behind me. It was a black couple, probably in their fifties, talking about their love of jazz and their disappointment over the fact that the woman was going to miss a birthday party this weekend. I wasn't evesdropping, but they were right behind me, and over the course of the 45 minute wait to vote, I came to the conclusion that they were lovely people.

We got to the machines, and the worker asked the man if he needed help and he said, "I just want to make sure I get the marriage thing right. I hope they didn't word it like a trick question. It's not a trick question, is it?"

Considering the results of the election, I'm pretty sure I know which way he voted.


I guess I'm not surprised by the result. This is what I am surprised about. The pure venom that is coming from some of the other 20%. There are some powerful words being thrown around about the people who voted yes. "Apalling." "Bigotry." "Hatred." "Self-Righteousness" and, most puzzling, "Embarrassing."

I don't think the man behind me was full of "hatred, ignorance, spitefulness, or self-righteousness." The amendment set to define the word marriage as it pertains to the state. Define it as being between a man and a woman. And the people of the state want it to be that way. It has been that way for centuries, and the people want it to stay that way.


And as far as the people who are "embarrassed." Who are you embarrassed to? Sweeden? New Hampshire? The people of San Fransisco? The only state that had it where it didn't pass was Arizona. Are you ashamed to tell an Arizonian you're from Tennessee now because of this amendment?

This is a democracy, and if there were ever a mandate by the people, this one is it. 80%. That isn't the work of a couple of inbred, mullet-sporting wife-smacking rednecks with three kids all named Peyton. That is 80% of registered voters who actually went out to vote. That is definitely a majority. That is what the people of this state want.

Before you jump on me, I voted against it. I thought it was stupid. Either way,I don't know why gays want to get married anyway. Listn up, gay folks. I've been married. Twice. It ain't all it's cracked up to be. Try this, instead of going through the whole marriage thing, just cut to the end. Find somebody you hate and buy him a house.


At 10:27 AM , Anonymous Kate O' said...

Believe me, I'm not jumping on you; I do hear what you're saying. But I think it was a trick question, of sorts.

I don't think Amendment 1 passed here with the percentages it got because of bigotry; I think it was because of a lack of education on the meaning of the amendment. I think it was worded in such a way that the casual voter could walk in, not having paid much attention to the debate leading up to Election Day, and see something that basically says: "Marriage is between a man and a woman. Yes or No." We already know the bigots are going to say yes, and the GLBT crowd and sympathizers are going to say No. But what's a not-necessarily-bigoted heterosexual person who hasn't given much thought to the issue going to say? "Yes," of course. And I suspect this latter category constitutes the majority of voters.

Moreover, what about the casual Christian voter who wanders in and reads that wording, and isn't sure if a No vote means they'll be legalizing same-sex marriage? Maybe the voter isn't bigoted per se, but isn't sure they're ready to go as far as broadening marriage to include same-sex couples. The safest thing to do is vote Yes, right?

Within Nashville, I saw a lot of "No On 1" yard signs and bumper stickers, which is a good reminder if you already know what Amendment 1 basically entails and what your stance is, but no radio or TV ads -- nothing to provide reassurance to non-GLBT/GLBT-sympathizer voters that a No vote would only mean leaving things as they already were, where marriage was already between a man and a woman, and gay couples already couldn't marry.

That's why I think it passed so overwhelmingly. Not because people needed so much to have "bigotry written into the state constitution," as some folks have been saying, but because the amendment's writers very skillfully made it seem a "duh" question when it wasn't.

At 10:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great last sentence. Reminds me of the line, "Gay people want to get married? Haven't they suffered enough?"

On some level, I think it's just a problem of semantics. If we could all just get past calling it "marriage," then maybe the important parts (as I see it) of it all can be addressed.

My wife gets the benefit of my health insurance, can make medical decisions for me in the event of an emergency, etc. It just seems to me that the same rights need to be extended to other committed couples.

At 10:52 AM , Blogger Slartibartfast said...

My theory on this matter is pretty close to Head's, and my thinking mirrors Chez's somewhat.

Looking at all the little old ladies in line at my polling place, I pictured them wincing everytime a story about gay marriage came on the news, complete with video of same-sex couples holding hands and kissing.

I am firmly convinced a good number of folks voted for Amendment One so they wouldn;t have to see that video again.

At 11:08 AM , Anonymous sista smiff said...

I still echo what Kinky says...gays have the right to be just as miserable as the rest of us.

At 11:24 AM , Blogger Michael said...

Man, the last line reminds me of one of my favorite Ray Stevens songs, People's Court.

It's the divorce of two rednecks and at the end, on the way out, Arlo is asked about his feelings on the whole thing in which his ex-wife gets everything but his ant colony and stryofoam minnow bucket.

"Yeah, I'm still pretty dadburned disillusioned to tell you that much. My marriage to Merna Louise was my fourth and I ain't come out of a one of 'em. I tell you I ain't gonna get married again, no sir. Just gonna go out every three or four years, find a woman I hate and buy her a house..."

At 8:56 AM , Anonymous Roctavious McGhee said...

My real problem with these marriage amendments is republicans using it to get the vote out. They can't win elections based on their record or a platform so they just scare the bejesus out of people so they'll vote the grand 'ol way.

Seems to me that gay people are too focused on the "need" for straight people approval of their relationship. Just be happy that you have someone to love and to build a life with.

Marriage should be saved for financial, social, and sexual reasons. Love just complicates things.

At 9:30 AM , Blogger Short and Fat said...

I must admit. The whole thing hit me like the bucket of Gatorade they dumped on Kentucky's coach just before his team lost to LSU on the last play of the game.

It wasn't refreshing.

Why? Because this whole time I thought I was a moderate. Not too far left, not too far right. Now, I one of those extreme wack-a-doos I like to make fun of.

I don't wanna be a nut.

At 10:32 AM , Blogger ceeelcee said...

I very much dig the new mondo KnuckElvis, by the way.


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