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Gay New Jersey couples seek marriage rights

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Yawning Majority?

Here’s the deal: There’s a bill before the state legislature that would allow gay couples to marry. Lame duck governor Jon Corzine has pledged to sign the bill, should the legislature pass it. Governor-to-be Chris Christie opposes gay marriage. And as a result of this bit of political timing, the loud and obnoxious anti-gay-marriage lobby is getting ready to descend on the Garden State to campaign against it.

This is going to get loud and obnoxious. As for me? Well, as you might infer from my writing thus far, I am for same-sex marriage. Well, “for” might be a little strong. I’m more in the “couldn’t care less” category. You’re gay? You want to get married? Go for it. What do I care?

In fact, I’m about to coin a term, so get your term-coining apparatus ready. Remember Nixon’s “silent majority”? Well, there’s a new majority in town, a majority that’s probably about five or 10 years away from dominating the public discourse, and I’m calling them the “yawning majority.”

It’s basically Generation X, which all of a sudden is hitting middle age, and we don’t get too revved up on social issues. Basically, we are a giant “don’t ask, don’t tell” majority. Same-sex marriage? Yeah, sure. Marijuana for personal use? Knock yourselves out. We really don’t care.

That said, the “yawning majority” hasn’t yet taken over the country, so in the meantime, we’ve got to deal with people like Maggie Gallagher, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, who is a Yale graduate, newspaper columnist, and true blowhard. On their Web site, they say marriage between a man and a women is “common sense” and call the idea of same-sex marriage a “radical social experiment.”

Well, we could argue “common sense” until the cows come home (and that’s not a slam on Ms. Gallagher, despite her cattle-like visage), but to call it a “radical social experiment” is just plain wrong.

Same-sex marriage has been recognized throughout history by the ancient Chinese and by the Roman Empire, and in more recent times by such “radical” countries as Canada, Spain, Belgium, South Africa, Norway, Sweden and Nepal. (Thank you very much, Wikipedia.)

People like Gallagher just don’t get it. The gay cat is out of the fabulous bag. Civil unions between gay couples are already recognized by New Jersey and other states. Gay couples can adopt children. Gay couples are living next door to you, and probably taking better care of their flower beds. (I’m not above the occasional stereotype. Deal with it.)

The next, obvious step is simply allowing gay couples the same rights as non-gay couples. Let them get married. What’s the big deal? (And don’t even, not for one second, bring religion into it. Church and state, my friends, church and state. If you want to live in a theocracy, I’ll buy you the one-way ticket to Tehran. So just zip it, because I promise you, you will lose this argument.)

Hopefully, the state legislature will get it together to pass the bill, and Corzine, in what might be his last stand, signs it. All that happens, I have a great idea for all gay couples thinking of getting married: How about having a mass ceremony on the steps of the Statehouse while Christie is getting inaugurated? Heck, I’d even go mail away for one of those $20 Internet reverend licenses and officiate the ceremony myself.

Read Jeff Edelstein every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at