Wednesday, October 23, 2002

O'Brien's righteous flip-flop. (Originally posted 10/16/02 at 9:24 a.m.) Shannon O'Brien couldn't have handled her sort-of endorsement of same-sex marriage much worse. In response to a question at a rally organized by gay and lesbian supporters, she said that if she's elected governor she'd sign a marriage bill if it crossed her desk. Then she said she'd really prefer to stick to her support for Vermont-style civil unions. Then she said to hell with it, yeah, she supports same-sex marriage, it's nothing new, so will you please get off her back? Sheesh. No wonder that the Globe's Rick Klein goes to some lengths this morning to refute her campaign's claim that she hasn't changed her position (She has! She has!), and the Herald story, by Elizabeth Beardsley and Karen Crummy, carries the headline O'BRIEN FLIP-FLOPS IN FAVOR OF GAY MARRIAGE LEGISLATION (She does! She does!).

Whatever. Inartful though her handling of it may have been, O'Brien's new-found support for same-sex marriage is a huge step along the road to full equality for lesbians and gay men. During the Democratic primary campaign, Robert Reich was the only gubernatorial hopeful to voice support for same-sex marriage. No one has attributed his worse-than-expected showing to that stand, but neither did Reich manage to give the cause much of a boost. That makes O'Brien's announcement all the more important.

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