Is marriage equality coming to Mississippi?

Posted on 28 Feb 2012 at 5:13pm

The opinion page in one newspaper called February the gayest month in history. Its writer, Patrick Young, a graduate student in public policy and administration, said it best:

Whitney, a Madonna Superbowl, Mardi Gras, the return of “American Idol” and “The Voice.” Don’t forget the addition of another musical TV show, “Smash.” The Oscars, Grammys and about 2,304 other award shows made it to the airwaves.

Throw in any Adele song (What did radio ever play before we had her?) and that Kelly Clarkson car commercial that plays non-stop.

Is it safe to say February 2012 may have been the gayest month ever for the U.S.?

But that’s not why he believes that this month was the gayest month ever. He notes that three states passed marriage equality. He celebrates that his uncle and his partner who live in Maryland and have been together 40 years might soon get married.

What’s surprising about this editorial is that it appeared in the The Reflector — “the official online grind of Mississippi State University.”

He argues, “More people from both sides of the political spectrum are beginning to see marriage between two consenting adults has little effect on anyone but those involved in the nuptials.”

And he asks, “Is traditional marriage becoming queer? Yes. And it’s about damn time, Mississippi.”

Wait. … We really are talking about Mississippi?

Most reasonable people — even my relatives from Mississippi — would say that they expect Mississippi to be the last state to legalize same-sex marriage. They expect their state to adopt marriage equality kicking and screaming as a result of a court ruling. But they do indeed expect it to happen.

And yes, I have relatives in Mississippi — Jewish, college-educated, just-like-you-and-me relatives in Mississippi. Don’t buy into the stereotype about the state. Mississippi is diverse. Mississippi is home to lots of good, fair-minded people.

But Young recognizes where his state stands.

“Even though Mississippi will most likely bring up the rear in recognizing same-sex unions, that does not mean you have to go along with it,” he wrote.

But this editorial shows how far marriage equality has come. Ten years ago, before any state passed marriage equality, an editorial like this would have been considered liberal in Vermont. Now, it’s mainstream in Mississippi. OK, maybe not quite mainstream.

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