This week’s cover: #WhatsNext?
This year, the cake mix company Betty Crocker donated custom cakes for the first same-sex marriages in Minnesota. At DC Comics, Batwoman is engaged to marry her longtime girlfriend. Ellen DeGeneres—only 15 years ago jeered as “Ellen Degenerate” for coming out—is the queen of daytime television, where she regularly mentions her wife, Portia de Rossi. She’s also a Cover Girl model—the official public face of the Girl Next Door.
You know you’ve won when the companies that sell to the mass market of middle America are hurrying to show that they’re friendly to your cause. But there are many other signs of victory for lesbians and gay men. Only 17 years ago, in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act was passed to protect the country against “promiscuity, perversion, hedonism, narcissism, depravity, and sin,” as then-congressman Gerry Studds summarized what he’d heard during the hearings. Today, any such language would sink the career of a national politician.
Meanwhile, we are speeding toward full marriage rights for same-sex couples throughout the country. This past June, the Supreme Court declared that the federal government must recognize all state-sanctioned marriages, including same-sex marriages, and in a procedural move, flung open marriage’s doors to California’s same-sex couples as well. Last fall, the citizens of three states passed laws making it possible for same-sex couples to marry, while another two rejected attempts to ban or undo marriage equality. The total number of marriage-equality states is now 13—or 14 if you include New Mexico, where the most populous counties are currently performing such marriages. Realistically, advocates believe they can win another 10 states by 2016.
Increasingly, people will get a chance to see how ordinarily boring we are, reducing the stigma attached to coming out as gay.
The marriage equality fight isn’t over, by any means. The rest of the states, including those most hostile to gay rights, have constitutional or statutory bans on recognizing same-sex pairs. But the momentum is clear to all. Roughly 55 percent of Americans now say they favor legal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry—the national group most involved in winning hearts, minds, legislation, and ballot measures (as opposed to court victories) on marriage equality—recently told me that he believes we will see full national marriage rights within a few years, “if we do the work,” as he always adds.
To understate the case, when we win full marriage rights nationwide, it will be a transformative moment, both practically and symbolically. Once our marriages are legally recognized everywhere in the country, lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men—and children just beginning to realize that they might be heading in our direction—will be socially legible as ordinary human beings with the same hopes and dreams as our neighbors. Increasingly, people will get a chance to see how ordinarily boring we are, reducing the stigma attached to coming out as gay. In short, winning marriage means that, more and more, we will have formal equality.
So then what? Should the coalition of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people—the LGBT movement, for short—declare victory and disband? Once we can marry the person whom we love, are we done agitating for political change under the rainbow flag?
In a word, no. For starters, there are still policy areas beyond marriage to take care of. Among the more urgent: passing ENDA—the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, currently being marked up in the Senate—which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of federally forbidden reasons for firing or refusing to hire or promote, a move supported by 80 percent of the nation; battling back against the problematic idea, promoted under the phrase “religious liberty,” that anyone with a religious reason for not wanting to treat LGBT folks as fully human should be excused from following anti-discrimination laws; warming up the cultural climate in American regions where attitudes toward us lag; and reaching out internationally to ask those still being disenfranchised and brutalized in other countries and cultures how we can best help.
But beyond these projects, there’s a much larger cultural question that deeply deserves our country’s attention. It has to do with gender: the way our culture, our politics, and our legal system treats femininity, masculinity, and everything in between.
As the immigration debate rages in Washington and Congress pushes for a $46.3 billion border-security surge, undocumented immigrants continue to perish in Arizona’s harsh wilderness. In this week’s Newsweek, Terry Greene Sterling tells the story of one mother’s attempt to bring her family to America.
Want to chat immigration and learn a little about the militarization of America’s southern border?
Join your nwktumblr and the author of the piece for a live Q&A at 1pm et tomorrow. You can submit your questions right now by adding a comment w/ reblog, sending us an Ask message, tweeting to @Newsweek with the hashtag #DeathOnTheBorder, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll check ‘em all!
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Two incomplete, sun-whitened human skeletons lie spoon-fashion beneath a drought-stunted Palo Verde tree in the Arizona desert. Animals-most likely pack rats, coyotes, and buzzards-have strewn ribs and vertebrae and other bones along a wide swath of beige sand. Scattered among the remains are a few Mexican coins, an orange comb, a toothbrush, a short-sleeved polo shirt, a zip-up blue jacket, a pair of jeans, a pair of blue panties and bra, a single green sock, a crocheted collar adorned with fake pearls and garnets, a purple and white backpack, and a complete set of upper and lower false teeth with a yellow metal star on the right front tooth.
It’s February 12, 2012, and Border Patrol agents stumble upon the grim scene while on a routine patrol about nine miles north of the Mexican line on the Tohono O’odham Nation reservation, near Sells, Arizona. The agents take a GPS reading and notify Detective Juan Gonzales of the Tohono O’odham Police Department, which has jurisdiction over the investigation of deaths on tribal lands. They then head back out into the unforgiving desert.
Thus begins this week’s enthralling cover story from Terry Greene Sterling, Death on the Border.
We published an extensive Q&A with master-producer Rick Rubin in this week’s issue of Newsweek. It’s pretty much a must-read for any music fans out there, as his influence ranges from the Beastie Boys’ License to Ill to Johnny Cash’s American series to Kanye’s Yeezus. No long read about music is complete, however, without the music itself. So here’s an accompanying Spotify playlist to listen along while you read!
Meryl on the cover of Newsweek
We just posted our July 1970 cover story, “The Assault On Privacy.” It’s pretty timely, as you can probably guess!
How to stop worrying and love the computer - Newsweek, July, 1970
"I love watching animal movies on television, and they always say, don’t run away, and don’t turn your back, and don’t lie down flat. I love it—it’s from my childhood. How do you prevent dying? How do you prevent being eaten, or mauled, by a monster? I still worry about it!” - Maurice Sendak.
In honor of the illustrator and writer’s 85th birthday, Newsweek and Blank on Blank are proud to present this animated short about the beloved, late author, which is based off of audio we had left over from a 2009 interview conducted by Newsweek’s Andrew Romano and Ramin Setoodeh.