Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Thanks, New Hampshire!

New Hampshire today became the sixth US state to recognize gay marriage (not counting California) and third to do so by legislative action rather than court order. Bills are also working their way through the state legislatures of New York and New Jersey, and it is possible those states may add their recognition in the next year or so.

It occurs to me that this state-by-state battle for civil rights may be shaping up to be similar to the struggle for women's suffrage a century ago. By the time the nineteenth amendment finally granted women the right to vote everywhere in the U.S. in 1920, nearly a third of the states had already recognized full voting equality while another third had granted women some degree of suffrage.


Pombat said...

Awesome! Yay New Hampshire!!!

And yes, it does seem to be shaping up similarly, doesn't it? Makes me wonder if the parallel is because this is also an issue which has no benefits for Real Men TM, i.e. straight, white, already got the vote etc.

NOTE: there are plenty of men who are straight, white, got the vote, but are NOT Real Men TM, the disqualifying factors being their intelligence, tolerance and so on.

The Law Talking Guy said...

The better parallel would be the married women's property acts of the 19th century that ended coverture (the legal extinction of the woman's person upon marriage). That is because suffrage expansions are very political in a way that these are not. For example, a major reason for enfranchising women in the West was to increase the total number of voters in order to justify statehood. In Eastern cities, women's suffrage for local elections was promoted by those who hoped thereby to secure women's votes. It is worth noting that non-citizen immigrants were also given the vote in local elections in many Eastern cities at the end of the 19th century for the same reasons.

What is also curious, as a digression, is that for the first sixty years of national women's suffrage, there is no detectable difference between male and female voting patterns. That did not begin to diverge until the 1980s. Contrast this with the enfranchisement of blacks in 1871 that was intended to - and did - help create temporary Republican majorities in certain southern states.

So, the timing may seem similar, but the overt politics of enfranchisement make any real parallel hard to show. Sadly, I don't know much about the timing of the married women's property acts, although I do know it took some 30+ years, and as late as the 1870s a woman business owner was thrown out of court in Illinois (I think) on the grounds that she had no standing to bring suit; only her husband did.

Pombat said...

Sad thing is, there are plenty of places in the world today, some of which we would even consider 'civilised' (Japan...), where rights that women such as myself take for granted don't exist. And non-heterosexuals (to include everyone) don't even exist, not as far as open society is concerned.

And it seems that there's always the same order to these things: male/female equality (or something closer to it than the old model at any rate) has to exist before sexuality equality can do.