Today the Supreme Court begins to hear arguments for and against California’s, gay marriage ban, Prop 8. Supporters and opposers have begun swarming the courthouse awaiting the critical decision. Best case, we get a federal decision on same-sex marriage, worst case, we get a horrendous precedent, medium bad (medium bad?), we get a dismissal. A recent study showed that over 50% of Americans now support same-sex marriage. The times are changing. Regardless of what decision gets made in the courts let’s take a look at some major changes in our culture over just the past few years.
Hip hop for a long time has been associated with homophobia. Most rappers don’t shy away from the F-word and while some have had no problem revealing their homophobia, others, like Eminem, Tyler The Creator and Azealia Banks, defended the use of the word as merely an insult but suggested that they weren’t actually homophobic at all. Hip hop heavyweights like, ironically, Azealia Banks and Frank Ocean who identify as LGBT have begun combating homophobia in hip hop by coming out. Other rappers have begun to speak out against small-mindedness like Nicki Minaj, Russell Simmons, and Jay-Z, and have declared their acceptance of all.
In a recent interview rap new comer and critics darling, A$AP Rocky explicitly stated his pro-gay stance, “One big issue in hip-hop is the gay thing. It’s 2013, and it’s a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It’s crazy. And it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip-hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip-hop is small-minded or stupid – and that’s not the case. We’ve got people like Jay-Z. We’ve got people like Kanye. We’ve got people like me. We’re all prime examples of people who don’t think like that. I treat everybody equal, and so I want to be sure that my listeners and my followers do the same if they’re gonna represent me. And if I’m gonna represent them, then I also want to do it in a good way.”
It may not be everyone but as long as it’s almost everyone things are going to work out for the better.
Republicans And Most Politicians
Republicans get the rep for being homophobic but Democrats historically haven’t done much better. Many Republican pundits and politicians do a great job of explicitly alienating the LGBT community but Dems have avoided creating controversy by just keeping their mouths shut. Not saying you’re opposed to same-sex marriage isn’t the same as declaring you are for it. Only in the last few years Democrats have openly taken a stance in support of same-sex marriage. It was just last year that Obama and Biden extended their support and only in recent weeks has Hillary Clinton made her opinion known saying, “I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law, embedded in a broader effort to advance equality and opportunity for LGBT Americans and all Americans.” Now Republicans are beginning to realize that insulting, degrading and dehumanizing many Americans who would otherwise be on their side, isn’t such a good political strategy.
When Ellen Degeneres’ character, on her hit sitcom “Ellen,” came out it basically marked the death of her series. Today not only is Ellen more famous, a 2012 study shows that LGBT television characters are at an all-time high. “GLAAD found that 4.4 percent of actors appearing regularly on prime-time network drama and comedy series during the 2012-13 season will portray lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters. This is up from 2.9 percent in 2011, which saw a dip in what had been a growing annual trend.” While less than 5% is not the epitome of progress it’s much better than a decade ago or just five years ago. Television is so important because it’s how we first encounter representations of people from groups that are not our own. America is getting more and more comfortable with seeing LGBT members as regular ole people.
The military has notoriously been homophobic enforcing a strict “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy amongst it’s LGBT soldiers. That’s a pretty big way to insult thousands of people who fight or have died to defend a country that treats them like second class citizens. Fortunately, things are different. In 2011, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” was repealed and this year partners of LGBT members who are in service are beginning to receive benefits similar to the spouses of those in opposite-sex marriages.
Churches of Every Faith
It used to seem as though religion and same-sex marriage were mutually exclusive. It’s been a struggle but there are many, many churches of all faiths. Today as the Supreme Court twiddles its thumbs about whether are not laws against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional (which they are, duh) and it isn’t just members of the LGBT community and Democrats protesting outside of the Supreme Court in support of a more progressive nation.
HuffPo reports, “Hours before the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Tuesday over California’s ban on gay marriage, hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters will gather a block away from the courthouse at an interfaith church service to ask for God’s “love and justice” and to pray for “the dignity of all souls as a religious value,” according to organizers. Afterwards, the coalition of Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Mormons and Buddhists, among other religious and secular representatives, will march to the courthouse steps to rally in support of gay marriage, with thousands of attendees expected.”
Sounds like a party.