|Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)|
Missouri is famous for quite a few things: Truman, weather that changes at the drop of a hat, and politics so polarized you can almost see the age-old Mason-Dixon line. In particular, politics in Missouri lean to the fringe (and that fringe is more often than not right-leaning). Some of the more notable wingnut personalities you may recognize that hail from the Show Me state are "legitimate rape" Todd Akin and whack-a-doodle Dana Loesch. On the flip side of that coin, however, are personalities like Sen. Claire McCaskill (who has traditionally been a champion of fairness and equality). In the days leading up to the two most important LGBT Supreme Court hearings in years, Sen. McCaskill has secured her place on the right side of history once again by coming out in favor of marriage equality.
Over the weekend, Sen. McCaskill released an online endorsement for full marriage equality, stating in part:
I have come to the conclusion that our government should not limit the right to marry based on who you love. While churches should never be required to conduct marriages outside of their religious beliefs, neither should the government tell people who they have a right to marry.
My views on this subject have changed over time, but as many of my gay and lesbian friends, colleagues and staff embrace long term committed relationships, I find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality. Supporting marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is simply the right thing to do for our country, a country founded on the principals of liberty and equality.
Good people disagree with me. On the other hand, my children have a hard time understanding why this is even controversial. I think history will agree with my children. [emphasis mine]
Sen. McCaskill joins Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) in recent Congressional marriage equality endorsements (a list that seems to be continually growing the closer the nation comes to making marriage equality a reality). Like most public figures who have had evolving views on LGBT rights (marriage in particular), exposure to honest-to-goodness LGBT persons in her everyday life helped McCaskill come to the conclusion that denying basic civil rights to LGBT persons isn't just Unconstitutional - it's fundamentally wrong.
And if the polls are any indication, the rest of the nation seems to be coming around to this notion as well. According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, "58% of Americans now say it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to wed." That's a higher percentage than the average approval rating for the President.
We're in the eye of the storm folks, and the time to fence-sit is over. Either you'll be on the right side of history, or you'll be remembered in history books like segregationists are today - holding signs with discriminatory slogans that school children don't quite get since they can't wrap their heads around someone being so backwards-thinking. Don't believe me? The current school-age generation now overwhelmingly thinks LGBT status isn't a big deal. In a couple of decades these children will be running the country - and looking back at the fight we're waging today wondering how we ever lived in a world where people couldn't marry the ones they love.