You tell ’em,!

You tell ’em,!
: Who would think that we’d see a rousing speech in favor of gay marriage from a columnist in Salt Lake City. But give Salt Lake Tribune columnist Holly Mullin credit for speaking the truth to an audience that won’t like it. It’s a great big of columnizing:

…The same-sex marriage movement is rolling. It will not be stopped….

We have a blazing civil rights movement here, friends, the first of this budding century. It is strikingly similar to the fight for equality waged by blacks from Reconstruction, through an era of Jim Crow laws and straight on to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It mirrors the efforts by suffragists, who rallied for women’s right to vote at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention but did not gain the franchise for another 72 years, with ratification of the 19th Amendment….

It will happen again. It will happen because recognizing gays and lesbians as full human beings, with a right to equal protection under the Constitution, is just and fair and decent. When a whole class of people is systematically denied the perks of marriage — inheritance rights and Social Security and military survivors benefits to name a few — simply because the majority finds its lifestyle abhorrent or something to fear, it’s high time for a makeover.

Makeovers are what this society does. This is a country strong enough to absorb change and to promote justice. If not, blacks would still be picking cotton. Wives would still be their husbands’ property.

On Wednesday, the Utah Legislature passed a bill re-enforcing the ban on same-sex marriage, and any day it will pass a resolution asking voters to amend the state constitution by defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman only.

A few lawmakers and lobbyists have done a beautiful job at bundling their bigotry in a blanket of religious piety and blathering on about what Jefferson and Madison were thinking 200-plus years ago. This resolution will sail right through. You won’t have time to blink.

In the end, it won’t matter. Utah can take its petty little stand. It may as well put up a picket fence to stop an avalanche.

Same-sex marriage is way beyond one state’s grasp. This is a national movement, a social upheaval. Put your ear to the ground and hear it.


: UPDATE: Even the staid Chicago Tribune is not chocking too hard on the notion that same-sex marriage is a movement. Says its ombudsman, responding in print to a guy who called complaining that a picture of two men kissing revealed the Tribune’s “moral problem:”

Al’s use of the term “moral problem” implies a much more serious judgment than the word “taste” suggests. He sees those of us who make decisions in the Tribune newsroom as having enlisted in a culture war on the side of the forces of darkness and immorality. By running that picture of those two men kissing, we have given the country, the society, a push along a road that ends in moral rack and ruin.

There is an opposite view that sees that picture as a harbinger of the future, a sign of progress toward equal treatment under the law of all people and their personal choices. By these lights, we at the Tribune–and in the newspaper industry generally–have been laggards, too slow in accepting same-sex wedding or commitment announcements, too slow in editorializing in favor of same-sex marriage, child care and other such arrangements.

But the publication of that photo on Monday implies no commitment by the newspaper to either of those views. The fact is that there was–and is–a news story in San Francisco about people involved in what, for better or worse, will be a revolutionary social change. The picture of those two men kissing was news, and its presence in the paper reflected our commitment to clear and responsible communication of that news.