Not quite the end of the world as we know it

If you are a regular reader, you will know that my family and I just got back from a week long driving tour of New England. My political and social radar though is never wholly turned off, even on vacation. For some Americans, going to New England is daaaangerous. Granted, the reputation of Boston drivers is well deserved, based on our limited encounters. What worry many Americans, particularly from red states, are the dangerous laws up there in New England, particularly the ones that allow gay marriages and civil unions. From all their huffing and puffing, I figured there was a pedophiliac faggot hiding behind every other tree.

It turns out there is not a single state in New England that does not recognize gay unions in some form. The most prudish state in New England is Rhode Island, which may be due to its Puritan heritage. It does not allow gay marriages or civil unions and will not recognize gay unions or marriages from other states. However, it does recognize gay marriages from other countries. So if you are a gay couple that wants to settle in Rhode Island and enjoy the benefits of being married, I’d suggest getting married outside the United States first. Fortunately, Canada is only four or five hours away by car from Rhode Island. We only spent a few hours in Rhode Island but not once did I see an openly gay couple. Doubtless, this is due to their morally correct marriage laws.

Stray into Massachusetts and surely, you must be in extremely dangerous moral territory. Upon driving into the state, I expected to see hellfire and brimstone, but the closest thing I saw were a set of thunderstorms in the distance over Boston. Perhaps God was sending a warning. He could have sent those thunderstorms over relatively moral Providence, Rhode Island but no, they made dead aim for the most populous city in arguably the most morally lapsed state in the country. After all, Massachusetts had the audacity to be the first state to permit actual gay marriage. Not only do they allow gay marriage in the state, but they also recognize gay marriages and civil unions performed in other states. They will even marry gays from other states who are not permitted to do so in their state of residence.

So my eagle eye was on the lookout for moral depravity. I found some, I think, right in the hotel lobby of the Doubletree Bayside in South Boston where we stayed. There is an Au Bon Pain in the hotel that provides a convenient breakfast for many of the hotel’s guests, who eat at tables in the lobby. During our second breakfast at the hotel, I noticed that three men arrived, gave each other hugs and started kissing each other on the lips. Then they started talking without giving each other the sort of body space most Americans expect. I guess I should have been more shocked than I was, but based on the cut of their hair and their clothes it is possible they were from Italy. As shocking as it may seem to Americans, in parts of Europe like Italy heterosexual men openly hug and kiss each other and have no problem getting into each other’s personal space. Nonetheless, they could have been brazenly licentious gay Americans. Such a breathtakingly open display of same sex affection might have gotten them lynched in states sufficiently far south of the Mason-Dixon line.

But that was it. We spent three days and two nights in Massachusetts and that was the extent of the moral depravity that I witnessed. Maybe I was not looking hard enough. I did find some bums on the street, and we all know bums are morally dubious. Nonetheless, there are plenty of bums in the heart of red state American too. Overall, Boston and Massachusetts seemed shockingly normal and mainstream. People there acted just like people everywhere else except that some of them talked funny and liked to skip pronouncing the R’s in the middle of their words.

Off to Maine where the law forbids same sex marriage but offers limited partnership rights for same sex couples. There was no particular sign of moral depravity there either. I thought I detected a stench in Kennebunkport, but that was probably just from passing the Bush family compound. Once again, people in Maine seemed to behave about as normally as everywhere else.

Thence to New Hampshire where same sex marriage is banned but civil unions that offer the legal equivalent of marriage are permitted. Perhaps we spent too much time in the northern part of the state, but most of the locals looked pretty redneck to me. How could these upstanding moral people pass such liberal laws? The answer is unknown, but again I detected zero sign that the fabric of our country, or at least New Hampshire, was about to come apart.

Perhaps we should have held our noses as we crossed the Connecticut River into Vermont. All the moral mischief started there when the Vermont Supreme Court had the audacity to read its constitution and realize that it could not discriminate against gays who want the legal protections of marriage. So they passed civil union legislation, the first in the country. Same sex marriage is still outlawed in Vermont but civil unions are identical in every way but the wordage. In the immortal words of Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley (played by Louis Gossett, Jr.) from the 1983 movie, An Officer and a Gentleman, I expected Vermont to be full of little but “steers and queers”. I didn’t see that many steers, though I did see two pony farms, and I understand “ponying” it popular amount some moral deviants. Vermont felt far more like a Norman Rockwell painting that a den of moral iniquity. The fresh faced teenagers who led us into the parking lot at Ben & Jerry’s for our factory tour seemed almost surreal in their wholesomeness.

We did not actually stop in Connecticut but only drove through it. It too allows civil unions that are the equivalent of marriage, while technically banning gay marriage. There was traffic in Connecticut but nothing I could find in the way of the open looting and gays copulating in the streets.

Perhaps the gay marriage movement is just building up steam and any moment now these states will be overrun with gay related crime. It sounds crazy and just call it just a hunch, but after spending a week in New England my guess is the place will do as well or better than the other states in the country. If the end of civilization is imminent, I doubt it will start in New England. Overall, we found it to be a lovely, pleasant and otherwise perfectly ordinary place.

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