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Ups and Downs of Gay Marriage in USA
Sunday, July 10, 2011

Soon after New York became the sixth and largest American state to legalise gay marriage, same-sex splicing came under attack from Presidential hopeful and latest darling of the American right, Michele “Barking” Bachmann.

On 24 June, four Republicans joined all but one of the Democrats in the New York state senate to pass the legislation by a tight margin, after what the New York Times pronounced was “an intense and emotional campaign”. Just two years ago, a similar measure had been trounced in the same chamber. Now it is expected that gay men and lesbians will begin getting lawfully hitched in New York by the end of this month.

Jubilation in New York contrasts sharply with the picture in many other parts of the Land of the Selectively Free, where same-sex marriage has been clobbered by legislative action, constitutional amendments and referenda. Despite Lady Gaga’s staunch and very public support for gay marriage, it is currently allowed in just five states: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.

On Saturday, it was reported that Bachmann had signed a controversial “pledge”, known as The Marriage Vow and promoted by a conservative Christian group from Iowa [state motto: "Our liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain."] The pledge knocked homosexuality - “a public health hazard” - not to mention adultery, pornography, polygamy and Sharia Law. [Ned says: They’d probably have included the kitchen sink if space had permitted.]

Bachmann’s spokesperson said the Congresswoman had not hesitated to sign the pledge. Soon, though, blogger Alexandra Petri and others were asking if Bachmann had actually read it. And today, the Washington Post reported that the group behind the pledge, Family Leader, had been forced to retract its bizarre claim that a black person born into slavery was “more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American president.”

Apart from causing widespread offence, this assertion overlooked such inconvenient historical realities as the fact that US slaves were debarred from marrying. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, though, to see racial insensitivity, anti-gay sentiment and shoddy scholarship going hand in hand. Ned always enjoys his trips to the States, but isn’t it a strange land where the moral views of La Bachmann hold more sway than those of the divine Lady Gaga?

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