Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

We’re Going to Hell in a Handbasket!

with 3 comments

… Or at least that’s how social conservatives must feel today. South Dakota’s abortion ban failed, Colorado’s Embryo-American amendment failed, Michigan’s stem-cell research measure passed and Washington state’s assisted suicide measure passed. Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana and Michigan legalized it for medical purposes. Arkansas and Maryland both approved lotto measures.

It’s not just an Obama win, or a Democratic Congress win, but a major culture war win for progressives, too.

And, yes, Florida and Arizona banned gay marriage. California’s ban appears to be winning. And Arkansas’ ban on unmarried couples (read: gays) adopting or being foster parents passed (as Radley Balko lamented via twitter, “9,000 kids in foster care in Arkansas. Last night, 57 percent said they’re better off there than adopted by a gay couple”).


These last few things are disappointing. But they don’t fill me with the kind of despair all the gay marriage bans passing in 2004 did. Easy for me to say, I know; I’m not a gay person desperately wanting to get married, or adopt a child. It might seem cruel of me to even suggest, oh, it’s not so bad you have to wait. But I am absolutely convinced it is just a matter of waiting at this point. Can anyone really doubt that the Florida and Arizona and California anti-gay measures are part of a waning trend?

America just elected its first black president, in an election season that saw women getting closer than ever to the presidency and vice-presidency. A few people have already lamented the nation’s self-congratulatory tone about this, but fuck that. Now is the time for the nation to be self-congratulatory. Even many ardent Republican partisans have admitted to being disappointed and angry and yet also proud right now, and I think that’s great. We are a nation that likes to get on the right side of history. We are a nation that desperately wants to prove that we do, really, at base, believe in equality—and we’re only getting more open to expanding the definition of equality with each generation (I can’t find a link now, but in Cali., the 18-29 voters were against the ban by at least 10 percentage points). We will get on the right side of this, too.

[Update: just read that Prop. 8 did, in fact, pass. The picture with this story makes me … well, not doubt what I said above, but … tampers my optimism a little. ‘Yay! We’re SO PROFOUNDLY EXCITED to deny people equal treatment under the law!’ ….]


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Written by Elizabeth

November 5, 2008 at 12:30 pm

3 Responses

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  1. […] also liked this, from Elizabeth Nolan Brown: America just elected its first black president, in an election season that saw women getting […]

    Congratulations, Senator «

    November 5, 2008 at 1:16 pm

  2. […] a comment » Elizabeth Nolan Brown has a good post on the failure of social conservatives to pass socially conservative ballot initatives in states […]

  3. […] agree. And I think it’s only a matter of time before this issue seems as silly as the idea that a black man could never be president. Freddie has […]


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