Finally, a civil rights measure on which I hope everyone can agree:
Last Tuesday, as the Nebraska legislature considered a bill making it easier for military spouses to carry concealed handguns, an unlikely issue arose: gay marriage. As written, the bill covered only spouses of military members whose marriages were recognized under state law—that is, opposite-sex partners. But Republican Sen. Paul Schumacher challenged that language, proposing an amendment that would define “spouse,” for the purposes of the legislation, using federal law—that is, including same-sex partners.
“Is not the Second Amendment sex-blind? Color-blind?” Schumacher asked during the debate. “What great evil would come from saying a partner of somebody in the military … is entitled to exercise their Second Amendment rights to carry a concealed weapon in this state?”
Schumacher’s amendment was adopted by a vote of 38-0.
Certainly, everyone in the Nebraska Senate agreed.
Further down there’s an interview with Schumacher where you get a good look at his thinking, and why he didn’t let his district’s opposition to gay marriage* get in the way of Second Amendment protections:
The amendment doesn’t [recognize gay military members’ spouses as their legal spouses], because our constitution prohibits saying that they are spouses. But we can create exceptions in which we say: Someone who receives a benefit of a spouse of a military person under federal law will [be covered] by this legislation. And that’s what everyone was satisfied was a good and fair thing to do.
Basically, the amendment grants benefits using [the federal government’s definition] of who gets benefits. If the federal government came out with a ruling that we confer upon a general’s grandmother the same rights and benefits of a general’s spouse—this would cover a pistol-packing grandma.
More guns, less crime.
(*When asked he if supports same-sex marriage, Schumacher deflected a bit with, “The people in my district do not support it.” And as a popularly-elected lawmaker trying to stick to the issue at hand with a Slate writer, that’s a fair answer.)