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Before going national, take care of your home state


Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013

Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2013 00:04

Ten years ago, Barry Bonds was the best player in baseball, SpongeBob SquarePants was still funny and same-sex marriage was illegal everywhere in the United States.

On an eve when Rhode Island is setting up to become the tenth state to fully recognize same-sex marriage, we are not only reminded that times have changed, but how they have changed. While the federal government has floundered with universal legalization of gay marriage, it has become a states initiative to liberate love within its own borders.

While the federal government is almost certain to recognize same-sex marriage within our lifetime, it will even more assuredly begin with a mountain of individual states legalizing it first.

Activists should bring the fight to their state legislatures instead of taking a home run swing at the federal government. It is easier for local politicians, who rely more on our individual votes, to fight individual battles in populations in which an individual voice carries more weight. Marching to state capitols hit home closer than Washington.

This country has seen how horrifically stagnant the federal legislature can seem. Even as same-sex marriage becomes less controversial and more common sense, we are dealing with a beast that cannot even balance its budget without blood.

Take West Virginia, for example. Honestly, the Mountain State would probably be on the back end of legalizing gay marriage on a state-by-state basis. Nothing is hopeless, and West Virginia has the potential to legalize same-sex marriage before the federal government gets around to a blanket conclusion. The voices of the individual are heard much more easily in a state of under two million than in a nation of over 315 million, and as 10 states and counting concede to same-sex marriage, it is another stack of pressure forcing the federal government to take action. Over 50 percent of the population supports gay marriage, but fewer than 15 percent live in a state legalizing it.

If individual states accept same-sex unions, the United States will be quick to follow.


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