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Shawn Vestal: It’s not right time to legalize gay marriage, it’s about time

Sat., Jan. 21, 2012

The governor says it’s time to legalize gay marriage.

The increasingly shrinking opposition says it’s not time to legalize gay marriage.

Somehow, they’re both wrong. It’s not time, and it’s not not time.

It’s past time.

Or, rather, it has nothing to do with time. It’s either right – as it is to treat all citizens the same under the law – or it’s wrong. All assertions regarding timeliness are just cover for people who don’t want to say what they think or don’t want to do what they believe or just want to kick that rainbow-colored can down the road.

But as the gay marriage bill heads toward a vote in Olympia, its success or failure will not be proof that this is the right time or the wrong time or the almost-right-time or the never-will-be- time-time. As the governor and a few other former objectors change their minds, and as the possibility of full marriage equality seems more likely than it ever has, it’s not because the time has suddenly bloomed like a flower in rightness.

It’s because their minds were wrong.

That time? It’s here. It’s been here. We’re in it.

If we don’t hurry, Idaho’s going to beat us to this.

Just kidding! But the question of timeliness over gay marriage is starting to feel a little untimely. A little worn out. A little … stupid. This is a fundamental civil right. The state doesn’t get to tell me whom I can marry. Period. Just because no man would have me doesn’t change that.

In every important category – liberty, human rights, equality, fairness, decency, mind-your-own- business-ness – this is a no-brainer, and it’s inevitable. Some people will always object. They will continue to complain gratingly that they’re being unfairly maligned as bigots when, heavens, all they want to do is guarantee second-class status for a whole group of citizens. The churches, some of them, will proclaim; the homophobes will inflame. The time, for them, will always be wrong. But these attitudes are disappearing as surely as glacial ice, and being replaced by wiser, kinder, freer young people with every generation.

If Washington can get this done, we’ll be seventh in the nation to grant gay people the same rights as everyone else.

Were those other states just early?

“The time isn’t right.” This is possibly the most used and abused phrase in the English language. It’s a great way to slink around your true point. If you don’t want to marry your girlfriend, it’s not the right time. If you don’t want to quit drinking just yet, it’s not the right time. If you don’t want to help unemployed people by extending their benefits, the time is not right. Just not quite right.

I Googled it. You would not believe all the things it is not the right time for.

It’s not the right time: to quit your day job and start a business; to increase taxes on the middle class; to kiss a girl for the first time if she leans away from you when you lean toward her; to sell state-owned banks; to buy gadgets; to get back into the stock market; to engage Hezbollah.

It’s not the right time: for Sen. John Thune to run for president; for Albuquerque to publicly fund political campaigns; for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to build an expensive wheelchair ramp to its chambers; for labor strikes in Egypt; for your band to play at Amoeba Music; for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to run for president; for Iran to be toying with the nuclear option.

It’s not the right time: to have a baby, to go back to school, to enter a career in nursing if you’re only doing it for the money; to have sex; to kiss a guy if he refuses to meet your gaze and acts uncomfortable; to seek the love cures in feng shui; to rekindle a relationship with an ex; to unite with your twin flame because you don’t understand the divine purpose of the cycle.

It’s not the right time: for the R-rated superstar the Edge to become the youngest wrestler ever inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame; for Wayne Gretzky to get back into the NHL; for that cad Cedric Martinez to turn up at a party thrown by “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Lisa VanderPump; for Kourtney Kardashian to marry Scott Disick; for Usher to launch his own fashion label; for infants to wear high heels because they’re not the right age.

It’s not the right time: to show your hand, to make a move, to go 3-D, to see where your limits are, to get your money-game in order, to go with the flow, to rock the boat.

Is it the right time for anything? If lawmakers pass this bill, it won’t be the timing that was right.

Shawn Vestal can be reached at (509) 459-5431 or Follow him on Twitter at @vestal13.

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