It’s a different world…

Just shy of five years ago, a new era of equality for gay Americans was ushered in as Vermonters trekked to their town clerk to get civilly unioned. The court-forced action was heralded as a triumph for gay rights; men and women flew in from all across the nation to marry… well, men and women (respectively).

Just last year, the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts handed down and edict to the Legislature: legalize gay marriage. The legislature did, but not before considering a constitutional amendment to ban it. The measure still requires further legislative action before it can move forward, but gay marriages have moved forward for nearly a year.

Flash forward to the present and once again to gay-friendly New England. In the legislature of the State of Connecticut, two bills were being considered. One would grant same-sex couples the right to marry; the other would grant them the right to a civil union. Only this time, no one said they had to. Voluntary legislative action, it’s a wonderful thing.

Or is it? Gay activists should be hailing this as a milestone. The argument (though I consider it to be disingenuous) from gay marriage opponents has been rooted in the fact that these “activist judges” must be stopped and that gay marriage should not be decided by unelected leaders. (If Connecticut’s leaders decide to allow it, that tune will change.) But for now, voila, here we go.

Of course, it wouldn’t be progress if there weren’t a few hurdles in the way. Hurdle number one to marriage and/or civil unions? Gay activists.

The Connecticut rights group Love Makes a Family decided that they would support marriage, as opposed to civil unions. Fine. That should be the ultimate goal of any gay rights group, right? They’ve taken their preference to the next level, however – and as the Connecticut Legislature’s Judiciary Committee voted out a civil unions bill on an impressive 25-13 vote, Love Makes a Family decried their actions as a “step backward for Connecticut,” according to LMAF President Anne Stanback. Huh?

I certainly see where they’re going – civil unions are separate but equal. But this is a state-level legislative body voting without a mandate to grant marriage rights to gay citizens – and the top gay rights group in the state responds as if it’s an insult.

What a difference five years makes.

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