Wednesday, November 01, 2017

A gay marriage tale told inaccurately

Armistead Maupin has visited the Coachella Valley often,
Armistead Maupin

People like to cite this pseudo-profundity from William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” Yes, it is past. It's just that people keep digging it up and misinterpreting it.

Like Armistead Maupin yesterday in the Chronicle on Gavin Newsom's 2004 gay marriage initiative:

"The equivocation of certain liberals has driven me crazy for years," said Maupin, recalling Dianne Feinstein's "too much too soon" response to then-Mayor Newsom's 2004 same-sex marriage action and President Clinton's "atrociously named 'don't ask, don't tell'" policy (Maupin delves into untold tales of life).

Maupin's memory is faulty. The issue was only about the timing of Newsom's initiative. All Feinstein and other Democrats were saying: instead of doing it in February, 2004, why not wait until after the national elections later that year? John Kerry lost a close election to George W. Bush that November:

One openly gay member of Congress, Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts...was opposed to the San Francisco weddings from the start and told Mr. Newsom as much before the ceremonies began. He urged the mayor to follow the Massachusetts path, which involved winning approval for the marriages in court before issuing licenses.

In a telephone interview on Thursday, Mr. Frank said he felt vindicated by the election results. In Massachusetts, every state legislator on the ballot who supported gay rights won another term. By contrast, constitutional amendments against gay marriage won handily in 11 states---including Ohio, an important battleground---in large part, Mr. Frank said, because of the "spectacle weddings" in San Francisco...(Some Democrats Blame One of Their Own)

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