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The Real Lesson of North Carolina

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Everyone is outraged that North Carolina denied marriage equality last night. And you should be. However, what I thought was most important last night was that 39% of North Carolina voters support marriage between gay people. And not just hot lesbians either, but men with their icky anal sex or whatever. I say that last sentence because so much of the animus toward gay people comes from men (usually) with their over the top revulsion toward two men having sex. Homophobia has been such a dominant part of American culture for centuries (although there have been times and places that have accepted LGBT people more than the standard narrative of oppression allows) that I am absolutely amazed, flabbergasted in fact, that 39% of the people in a conservative southern state would vote to support gay people getting married.

Moreover, it is getting better every day. The widespread acceptance of LGBT people among those under 40 means that the day of equality is coming. We can be angry about the majority of people from North Carolina but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And when you decide that elections will determine civil rights, it’s going to bring out the worst elements in the racist and homophobic. But it also brings the debate to the table. We are going to start winning these elections and overturning these laws, and soon.

Also, I don’t think the anti-Southern stuff coming out last night and this morning helps. Just as people say they wish the South wasn’t part of the country, well, what about the 39% who voted for equality? Should we not want them? Because of the winner-take-all nature of our political system, we totalize our views of states, but even in Idaho and Utah and Mississippi, there are lots of good people. We should take note of that and not laugh at the dumb states from our liberal palaces on the coasts and in the cities.

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