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The Progressive

State Fairness: Whac-a-Mole and Marriage Equality

Kate Clinton

When I was growing up in Syracuse, New York I was not a big fan of our annual State Fair. The mid-way was too freaky, sticky and crowded but I loved bumper cars and Whac-a-mole. As a budding butch from a very mannered family, I had a lot of pent-up anger. In bumper cars my goal was to cause whiplash.

I was a vicious Whac-a-moliere. You had to hit a mole hard and fast or it would sink back into its hole. The game started slowly with one maybe two moles visible but accelerated quickly with more moles above the holes. Winning was based on how many moles were struck within a designated time.

To the average conservative, the almost daily statewide gay marriage news items must seem to pop up like in some devilish national Whac-a-mole game. This is actually round two. The first national Whac-a-round happened in 2004 when San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, endorsed gay marriage. Then Jason West, the mayor of New Paltz, New York certified gay marriage. Next a town in New Mexico began, then Montnomah County in Oregon. West, east, south, north, talk about causing whiplash.

This second round is faster and end-gamers are spinning like Linda Blair off her meds. Iowa? Say what? The Cornhuskers? Blam. DC! Hey they're not even a state. Blam. Of course not every American citizen hears a taunting nah-nah-nah-nah-nah and wields a clown sized mallet to whack down pop up marriage equality states. Hey, behind you! Vermont! Nah nah. Missed me! But plenty do. They were taking a breather after November's Prop Hates, but are back flailing their mallets, trying to beat back marriage equality.

When you play the State Fair midway version, the moles seem to pop up at random, yet within the five-holed waist high cabinet a simple system of electronic sequencing moves the machinery that makes moles go up and down. To the ordinary conservative, equal rights news blasts from state legislature, executive and judicial branches must seem like maddening, capricious outbursts. Truth be told, it is often news to the average LGBT person as well.

But beneath the surface of our national marriage equality state map, the collaborative effort of national LGBT and legal organizations, donors and state organizations has engineered a strategic sequencing. Some state equality strategies are calibrated to a one or three year plan with contingencies for the inevitable, tiresome backlash when that mole pops up again. Other state plans are based on ordering internal incremental steps of safe schools legislation, human rights ordinances, and election of LGBT or straight allies. The state strategies are part of a sequenced LGBT movement and point toward the goal of winning federal marriage equality. The big stuffed teddy bear prize is of course full LGBT equality.

In their new nifty video with the I'm Not a Zombie Homophobe, I Just Play One on You Tube Actors, the National Organization for Marriage predicts a Category Ten Storm is a-comin' with ominous skies, crackling lightning and high winds. Those winds are caused by all that frantic mallet windmilling.

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Kate Clinton is a faith-based, tax-paying, America-loving political humorist and family entertainer. With a career spanning over 25 years, Kate Clinton has worked through economic booms and busts, Disneyfication and Walmartization, gay movements and gay markets, lesbian chic and queer eyes, and ten presidential inaugurals.

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