I had some time over the holidays and was thinking of writing a response to this editorial about Illinois's recent gay marriage bill in the News Gazette where the Editors basically say "Let's put the rights of minorities up to a vote!" I even started, but didn't get very far in it. Blogging, like math, is hard.
Oh, but then they had to go and publish, "Brace yourself for more changes to accommodate others' lifestyles" written by local yokel Ray Elliott. I've never really been sure what that word, "lifestyles" actually means, but judging by the context in which it gets thrown around, it sort of boils down to "homos having the buttsex."
Illinois has civil unions, but two lawmakers tried to introduce a bill for marriage equality just a few weeks ago. It made it out of committee, but didn't get a floor vote. It's not clear if it will get introduced this session or not.
Mr. Elliott says it's the job of legislators to put citizen's rights up to a vote:
Times and attitudes do change, no question about that. So brace yourself, as we must, for more change and more demands to fit others' desired lifestyles.
"Lifestyles." Anyway. Poor Mr. Elliott. He's got all these scary homosexual activists demanding he make all these changes to accommodate such frivolous things like inheritance and hospital visitation. The demands placed on him are so outrageous that I've compiled a comprehensive list of the changes Mr. Elliott will have to make if marriage equality comes to Illinois:
Next, Elliott waxes nostalgic about The Good Ol' Days:
I grew up in a small village in southern Illinois...
Well, there's your problem right there.
... where people never locked their doors, left their keys in their cars, stayed married to one another for life but were ostracized if they divorced or dared to live together, unmarried.
Judging by what I've found online, Mr. Elliot is a white man who came of age in (I'm guessing) the 1950s. So he's talking about a time when men could beat their wives with impunity, women were second class citizens, and the colored folk knew their place. All in all, a lot of the 1950s and even 1960s wasn't so great if you weren't a white, heterosexual man.
Then he goes on this truly bizarre anecdote about this guy that rolled into town that had a lot of wives and told him and his buddies all about it while they were drinking RC Cola and put peanuts in their drink and I lost track and don't know what the fuck he's talking about at this point.
So brace yourself, as I said earlier: what about those people who want to marry up with more than one wife or one husband or a combination of both? Will they legally be allowed to follow the lifestyle of their choice, if everybody agrees?
It's sort of sad that the fact that he pulled out the "First queers, then polygamy!" trope seems restrained to me. After all, he could have gone full-on "If we let a man marry a man, then there's nothing stopping a man from marrying a duck!"
Somehow, I think we'll be OK. We managed to legalize interracial marriages without things deteriorating into man-marrying-female-goat territory. A number of other states have instituted marriage equality without becoming a post-apocalyptic wasteland.