Tennessee Isn't Getting Marriage Equality Anytime Soon



Over at The Advocate, they're talking about which states will implement gay marriage next. They list all the states who don't yet have gay marriage in order of the likelihood they will get it.

The Advocate thinks it's more likely Mississippi will get gay marriage than Tennessee. It ranks Mississippi sixth from the bottom. The only places less likely than us to allow gay marriage are Louisiana and Arkansas. Seriously, today Mississippi looks down its nose at us!

The main reason is that we amended our constitution to forbid gay marriage, so we'd have to re-amend it to un-forbid gay marriage, then draft some legislation that would allow it. These are pretty substantial hurdles — it's hard to amend the state constitution (as it should be), and we're not likely to suddenly get a legislature full of people who are pro-gay marriage in the near future.

It's more likely there will be some action on the federal level, and we'll just have this anachronistic bit in our state constitution that has no political power, similar to the part that bans ministers, atheists, and duelists from serving in the state legislature.

So, I find this moment in our state really strange. The whole purpose of that constitutional amendment was just to put off the moment gay marriage was legal in Tennessee. Even then, folks had to know that it was going to happen. White evangelical support for gay marriage is growing. A majority of Tennesseans now support some legal recognition for gay relationships.

Do opponents of gay marriage spend their time right now gloating? That's what I wonder. Was all that effort to put off the inevitable satisfying in the end? All the people they're hurting, the families they're leaving unprotected, the disconnect between how Tennesseans see themselves and what our state constitution says we value — is it worth it to them for the few years of banning gay marriage? I know this is going to sound weird, but I kind of hope so.

Because otherwise, we did this terrible thing and everyone ended up miserable — the people who can't legally marry who they love and the opponents of gay marriage who are watching our culture leave them behind.

Comments (75)

Showing 1-25 of 75

Add a comment

Add a comment