One Beautiful “Cuomover!”
It took New York governor Andrew Cuomo to pull Maryland governor Martin O’Malley over the civil rights divide that discriminates against millions forbidden to marry.
And that’s one Cuomover we can all love. O’Malley, the lead turtle in Maryland has finally put the pedal to the metal on our behalf.
Kevin Naff of the Washington Blade, himself a Marylander, has expertly covered this issue in his column from his home perch in Baltimore. And, finally, we homos may have won one, hon.
Reached at home, here’s Kevin’s take:
“I appreciate Governor O’Malley’s announcement that he will introduce a marriage equality bill in 2012. He has chosen to sit on the sidelines for far too long while Marylanders in committed same-sex relationships suffered. It appears that the visible support of Governor Cuomo is helping to inspire fellow Democratic governors to support our equality under the law.”
In other words, EMBOLDEN THE TURTLE! We’re not quite ready to say “fear the turtle”…time will tell how much backbone he has, but the Maryland governor has crossed over and finally, excuse the expression, is engaged. Can our tortoise eek out the homophobic hare? Will O’Malley borrow something old from Cuomo and bring home a blue-state victory?
Let’s recap Governor Cuomo’s one singular sensation. For my money, the best sign ever spotted at a marriage equality rally read “Well, we can’t all marry Liza!” That’s freaking funny. It stepped around the heart of it. New York. New York. The governor kept his promise and he began spreading the news. Equality is equality. Period. He had the support of New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, who had been stockpiling rice in his office.
Their gay and lesbian friends were all prepared to say “I do” in less than a New York minute. The polls were on his side, and then he mixed in the endorsements of a few homo hedge fund managers and we, as they say, were in business.
So Cuomo, the good cafeteria Catholic, went through the cafeteria line and ordered up a heaping portion of civil rights to share with all of us. Surely it chapped a few of the pious. The conservative bishop tried to close the cafeteria, but the wind was at the same back we can now joyously pat. The empire state wasted no time. So, if we can make it there, we can make it anywhere, right? But, Maryland?
In Annapolis, where the midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy were reading their “Gay 101” manuals and getting used to (yawn) serving with openly gay sailors, Governor O’Malley no doubt noticed the bill had sailed through Albany.
This legislative session in Annapolis was gnarly with a capital G. The thrill of victory became the agony of defeat and it’s the governor’s weight on the scale that can help tip justice our way this time. When black preachers, white evangelicals, and crazed Catholics come at you, you need a hard shell. Channel your inner turtle. And remember your beautiful Cuomover.
We need leadership. So thanks, Governor O’Malley! Please have your New York peer escort you through the cafeteria.
As usual, Kevin of The Blade is right. Cuomo’s showstopper has emboldened some other governors to follow suit. The red states, not so much. In Texas, the super-sexed super sect leader Warren Jeffs was found guilty (and sentenced to life in prison) on charges that he had over 74—yes 74—illegal marriages to young girls he raped. Not far away, Gov. Rick Perry tied himself into a pretzel—first being for “states rights” in New York, then lurching way back to endorsing a constitutional amendment of a one man-one woman stain on the treasured document. (Does this mean Newt, Rudy, and Rush each get three constitutional amendments each?)
This past weekend, the far right and true believers joined Gov. Perry in his Prayer-a-Palozza, which, even though he hosts as a sitting governor, somehow doesn’t mingle church with state. Gotta look that one up. It drew a crowd as humongous as a Lady GaGa concert— only this crowd is gaga over guns, God, and gay-bashing. Only ex-gays need apply. (Real gays apply cologne. In layers. And get the hell out of Texas!)
From the showstopper of marriage equality in New York to an absolute non-starter in Texas, this excruciatingly slow state-by-state process will hit severe snags —proof positive that a federal policy is the only answer. We may be closer with O’Malley, but the Perry-Cuomo divide couldn’t be wider.
Brent Mundt resides in Washington, DC, but lives in Rehoboth Beach.