Today, while completing layout, I turned on Yahoo to discover that the Minnesota House had approved a bill to legalize gay marriage in the state of Minnesota. This is quite the turnaround, considering that about six months ago, an amendment to ban gay marriage completely was at the ballot box. While I think this is a wonderful change, and I completely support the gay marriage, I can’t help but wonder why Minnesota hasn’t approved the issue earlier. As my friend Naeh’s facebook status read “This doesn’t make me proud to be a Minnesotan; rather, it makes me not disappointed to be one. It doesn’t feel right to praise the House for finally accomplishing something long overdue. There are still 59 legislators in my state who failed to defend civil rights by continuing to perpetuate their dogmatic and irrational views. The legislature made something good happen today, but let’s not glorify them.”
I agree. We shouldn’t be heralding legislators simply because they did not uphold a policy of bigotry. My home state, Connecticut (what’s up, Ridgefield), approved gay marriage almost five years ago, in 2008. I remember it being a huge deal then, but now, it’s a lot more nonchalant. There was palpable relief and celebration when the amendment to ban gay marriage did not pass earlier this year, but I feel like the actual excitement over the law’s potential approval is less significant, because we are more accustomed to the idea by now.
This is a good thing: I like that we are so used to the issue that it seems obvious that marriage should be a right that anyone, straight or gay, can enjoy, and I hope that in a few years it will be legal everywhere. But while I think we should still celebrate when gay marriage is approved, we shouldn’t be championing of the legislators themselves for not supporting prejudice. We should be holding them to that standard already.