Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Could California’s vote for a ban on same-sex marriage help the gay marriage movement?

Despite the passage of Proposition 8 in California on Nov. 4, or possibly because of it, gay marriage has become a hot-button issue across the nation, and the discussion seems to be gaining momentum.

Not two weeks after the vote a newly established movement called Join the Impact coordinated protests in cities across the nation. Columbia’s own protest garnered a crowd of more than 100 in freezing weather including young and old, gay and straight, some new to the movement, some veteran advocates for gay rights.

Since then the issue has received a lot of attention, much of it from the mainstream media. Newsweek’s most recent cover story, by Lisa Miller, contested conservative interpretations of scripture that condemn homosexuality, suggesting that the condemnation comes from “custom and tradition,” not directly from the Bible. Reactions to this article elicited attention from Politico and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, further spreading the discussion.

Meanwhile, the gay marriage movement continues to plug ahead. Some members have called for a ban on the Sundance Film Festival, which is held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Supporters of Proposition 8 own some of the theaters where the films are played. The Iowa Supreme Court today will hear a case brought by gay couples suing for the right to marry. Join the Impact is calling tomorrow “Day Without a Gay,” and pushing for a “nationwide strike and economic boycott.” Marc Shaiman’s mini-musical “Prop 8: the Musical,” staring well-known actors such as John C. Reilly and Jack Black, has been on the Funny or Die website for about a week and has been watched nearly 3 million times.

I don’t know whether or not the gay marriage movement has garnered more support since the vote for Proposition 8, but they have to be pleased by the attention they are receiving. The passage of Proposition 8 may have given them the publicity they needed to assert the issue on a national platform.

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