We all recognize that a decade ago, the notion that Connecticut, or anyplace, would vote to recognize gay marriages would have seemed impossible. And now we’re on the verge of doing it. If nothing else, it shows how a committed group with a powerful cause can sway public opinion dramatically, and quickly.
One reason for the success of the effort is that stories like Beth Bye’s overwhelm the efforts of critics to stoke the fires of fear. I mean, let’s face it, she’s not a terrifying woman.
But her story helped convince the Judiciary Committee to vote 27-15 to send a gay marriage bill on to the floor of the legislature, where it will pass, if not this year, then soon.
Here’s how The New Haven Register described Bye’s moment in the spotlight this week:
“As tears rolled down her cheeks, Bye told members of the committee how her deeply religious father has come to accept and support her gay lifestyle and her partner.
“My father, a devout Catholic, … has moved on this issue because he loves his daughter.
“He thinks of me as married,” said Bye. “The broader world does not see me as married.” Her voice shaking, Bye explained how, on her partner’s pension documents, she has been listed as “Other” because she didn’t fit into any of the traditional legal categories.
“I don’t want to be ‘Other,’” insisted Bye, “I want to be married.”
Personally, I have no doubt the West Hartford Democrat is married already, in her own heart and in the eyes of God. That the state of Connecticut hasn’t seen fit to recognize it, too, is a shame.
But thanks to Bye and thousands of others who are speaking out every day, people are coming around. Fear is never, in the long run, going to trump love. Hope triumphs over doubt. And liberty can’t abide our keeping anyone down.