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Flyover country

I have friends from the Midwest who get very upset at me for my East Coast snobbery. I tell them that actually it’s New England snobbery, as I consider much of the South to be rather like some quaint second-world country where I enjoy visiting, love the cuisine and culture, but by Gods I’m glad to get home.

I have never actually been to Flyover Country and — after looking at this map — I have to admit, I’m not sure I want to go.

The decision out of California about gay marriage makes me happy and sad all at once. Happy because now lots of gay people in a state besides Massachusetts can get married. Sad because the decision prompts stories that include things like the BBC map (linked above), which show that the vast cultural wasteland at the “heart” of our country insist on passing laws that deny people their basic rights. I hadn’t realized just how many states had banned it.

I’ve always been sort of laissez faire when it came to sexual relationships — as long as everyone is capable of giving consent and has done so, I don’t care what you do. And I’ve never understood why people want to ban gay marriage. But it wasn’t really an issue until I married a man with a gay mother.

Now I’ve got to think about my daughter’s reaction (at some future date) when she finds out that Grandma and Grandma P aren’t legally married just because they live in Connecticut instead of here in Massachusetts. And I’m going to have to deal with this on more than just a philosophical or political basis — it’s going to affect her family. That’s personal, emotional, and intimate.

I really hope that the California decision means that we’re going to see a rapid expansion of rights for gay people. But the “I’m against _____” attitude is so entrenched out in Flyover Country that I doubt it. In fact, I often think we’d be better off as The United States of New England and let the rest of the country go to hell in their own, unforgiving, close-minded handbasket.

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