Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania, was the site of a battle during the American Civil War. The battle ran from July 1st to July 3rd in 1863, thousands were killed, and later, Abraham Lincoln gave a memorial address there which to this day is memorized by school children across America. Four score and seven years ago, etc. etc.

During that battle, on the 3rd, the Confederate troops were ordered to carry out a major attack on the Union position at Cemetery Ridge. This was to become one of the most well known events during the Civil War. Most of the Confederate troops were unable to cross the 1000 yards of open ground they were ordered to take, but a handful of men reached a point on a stone wall known as The Angle. It is said that the battle flag of a unit of soldiers from Mississippi was later found draped across the stone wall. All of the Confederate soldiers to cross the stone wall at this point were killed or captured, and the rest of the Confederate troops, along the entire line, were turned back. The battle went against the South and many today claim that this event was the turning point in the Battle of Gettysburg, and that the Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War.

Of course, all that is history. But recently, the performer, writer, and blogger Tim Wick wrote an interesting piece linking this and other events at about the same time with the recent, or really, current history unfolding in the anti-same-sex marriage movement. For a few years now, those opposed to same sex marriage…who also therefore disdain and dislike gay people despite the recent trend of adding “We don’t hate gay people, we just want to pass laws against them” to their lame rhetoric…have enjoyed a fair amount of success in getting anti-gay laws passed across the United States. Recently, and rather suddenly, their “luck” has changed and they have just now lost several key skirmishes simultaneously. It is starting to look a lot like the Battle of Gettysburg on the day after July 3rd.

Do go read that blog post for the details.

The High Water Mark of the Confederacy, at Gettysburg.

Tim Wick makes the important point that the North, during the Civil War, was never really going to lose, was never weaker than the south, but that the South took advantage of certain things that let them get to a certain point in the war. When I read his blog post, I was reminded of photographs I’d see of Gettysburg, identifying the concept of “The High Water Mark of the Confederacy.” That water mark is the spot on that stone wall where a handful of Confederate troops representing an army that was ultimately to lose everything crossed briefly, where some left their battle flag lying to be captured. That spot is marked today by an impressive memorial structure at that location in Pennsylvania. For many decades, Civil War vets met there, walked to the line from opposite sides representing the army they fought for, and shook hands across the High Water Mark. But the fighting had all stopped, the Union had been restored, the Civil War was over, because after the high water mark only one thing can happen: the recession of the flood, the draining of the valley, the clearing of the sky, and the drying of the inundated landscape under the bright Sun.

Here in Minnesota we had on the ballot a pernicious anti-same-sex marriage constitutional amendment put up for the vote of the people of the state as a last gasp effort by the Republican Party to make hatred of gay people part of our central document of governance. We know that this was done because the extant law in this state, which makes same sex marriage illegal, is doomed to be abrogated as soon as the legislature is made up of something other than all Republicans. Indeed, during the current election, that happened; the Republicans were thrown out of the State House after two years of absolutely appalling behavior on their part, and I refer here not to the money and sex scandals, but to their harsh and uncompromising partizan behavior every single day they were in Saint Paul. The idea was to make anti-gay part of the State Constitution so it would be harder for our legal system to evolve to the next level.

There was a great effort to fight this amendment. I am especially proud of the work Julia did, spending hundreds of hours on phones, going door to door, and getting out the vote along with thousands of other volunteers working for Minnesotans United for All Families. An in fact, it was on election day when I was shuttling Julia between election related activities and getting myself over to the polls, that I observed a young woman standing in the cold rainy wind holding up a home made “vote no” sign, across the sidewalk from a church’s signboard which, in contrast, directed people to vote yes. Then later, after reading Tim Wick’s post, I realized that I had actually photographed the High Water Mark of the Anti-Gay movement. Here it is:

The High Water Mark of the Anti-Gay and Anti-Same-Sex Marriage Movement, Coon Rapids, MN. Will old, retired activists come here in 25 years to meet and shake hands?

It is substantially less bloody than the Battle of Gettysburg, but far more people were involved. The anti-gay renaissance that emerged in the form of a faux movement to “protect marriage” was never going to win, just like the South was never going to prevail. We have this thing in our country, that people were also fighting over during the Civil War, called Civil Rights, and although our union has been imperfect, in the end we can not tolerate anti-gay-person laws. It is not how we roll as a nation, even if so many among us are mean spirited in this way. Eventually, the battles had to start to go our way, and once that happened, most of them would go our way thereafter. There will be no more meaningful or lasting anti-gay marriage laws passed in the United States, and the existing laws will be removed by legislatures or abrogated by courts when the legislature fails to do its job. And just as The South Will Rise Again (NOT) the anti-gay movement will rise again (NOT).

In truth, I can not declare that strip of sidewalk on Hanson Boulevard in Coon Rapids to be a special place commemorating a turning point in this fight. I cannot do that because Morgan, with her sign, and Julia with her many hours of service, and the organizers of Minnesotans United, and all those who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above my poor power to add or detract. No one will note or remember this blog post, but the world will never forget what those volunteers did here. And so that they will not have labored in vain, we must work to ensure that government of the people gay or straight, by the people no matter what their gender or sexual orientation, for the people no matter whom they love, shall not perish from the earth.


  1. #1 Romeo Vitelli
    November 7, 2012


  2. #2 sailor
    November 7, 2012

    You are right.
    The Caribbean has a ways to go
    but horrifying as events like these are, when they get publicized and the press does not approve them, people start to look at themselves a little more..

  3. #3 Ellen
    November 7, 2012

    This is so gorgeous and true. Thank you for writing it.

  4. #4 Vikki Frederick
    November 7, 2012

    The fight is no where over, but I agree with you and Petsnake that this is truly a turning point.

    [ed: Petsnake is Tim Wick ]

  5. #5 Crusader
    November 7, 2012

    Not sure what all the fuss is over. Christians trying to protect what GOD invented. What is so bad about that?

    As for the civil war, I live in a confederate state. It will always be confederate as far as I am concerned. The south was outnumbered and out gunned many times over. The north had more financial resources, better equipment, more manpower, and more educated military leaders, yet it still took them four years to win? Sounds like the south put up more of a fight than many are willing to admit.

    If we were to have a similar war today, the north would be dead in a week. In places where guns are restricted verses little gun laws? Are you kidding. southern rednecks would make a national sport out of killing the oppositon. It would be like a fancy coon hunt to see which one could kil the most in one night.

    The confederacy made many mistakes. The first mistake they made was not going after Lincoln himself immediately and not targeting army general on the ground for the opposition. The second mistake made was that they openly fought in uniform. If they had ditched the uniforms and hid out and used guerrila warfare and homeade explosive to wipe out the enemy, the north would have run back across their side of the line. The sceond thing the confederacy should have done was to gather as many men as thye could out of uniform and head to New York City and mass explode as many financial institutions as they could find and on the way back cause as much carnage as possible, Go into the woods of the enemy and start as many fires as possible. Burn down as many towns and cities as you can find. Arson makes a good ally in a war. The north would have been so overwhelmed with financial loss and the fear of brutality from the enemy that they eventually would have given in.

    Guerilla soldiers make the best battle plan. Matches cost less than bullets and guns. You can bleed your enemy in manpower and money to the point where they give in.What do you think Al Qeada did in Iraq and Afghanistan? Bleed us dry until we give up and go home. Works every time. The confederacy did not have the brains or the balls to use brutal tactics to win and that is why they lost.

    If your enemy outnumbers you, surrender. Then when the enmy is off their guard take them down. Saddam Hussein did it to Iran.Iraq said they surrendered, then where Iran was off their guard Saddam gassed them. War is cruel and brutal but it is about who wins, not how they won.

    As far as my state goes, we held our own in a number of battles and I congradulate the good old boys for that.

    As for church and the Bible, did God not instruct Joshua to kill every man woman child, dog, oxen, and donkey in the enemy camp? If you don’t get rid of all of they, eventually you will have to deal with them again in the future.

  6. #6 Timothy Weddle
    November 7, 2012

    I agree. it is a turning point. The point where God watches over us to the point where he swallows us up in hurricanes, earthquakes, financial ruin and other judgements for our sins.

    The only problem with God sending catastrophes as judgement on us is that liberls will blame it on global warming instead of teir own actions.

    You are right. The fight is not over. Liberals think becuase they elected a far left president whose ideals resemble that of karl marx or fidel castro that we on the right are just going to go away and be quiet. Nothing could be the farthest from the truth. We will do everything in our power to make the next four years (or forty if Obama changes the constitution and stays permanently) the worse living hell you have ever seen for getting anything done that you want done.

    This morning the Dow dropped nearly 300 points. The only good markets this morning rested on the fact that Smith and Wesson and Ruger’s stock surged 10 percent after last night. I have to admit that Obama is by far the best gun salesman that ever lived. Ruger alone has over 2 million orders to fill. I can’t wait to show my support to Ruger. American made and jobs to be had. Ruger has hired a number of people and now have three shifts going seen days a week. They recieved so many gun orders that they actually asked dealers to not place any new order becuase it will take the two years to fill the ones they have now.

    Perhaps Obama is bad for other jobs, but guns and ammo jobs are soaring and sales have never been stronger. The gun industry in secret was hoping Obama would win. Thye always sell more guns during a democrat administration becuase people fear government taking away their human rights to own a gun.

    So, thank you liberals. You destroyed most of the country, but improved ammo and gun sales. Now, if we could just find out why our Libya ambassador was denied helped even though an air base was thirty minutes away and help was aksed for three times. I truly hope the SEALs take it upon themselves to seek revenge in this case and kill some ambassaor from their country now. if only a horrific radioacive “accident” were to happen in Yemen.

  7. #7 Ken
    Cannon Falls
    November 7, 2012

    Exactly what I was thinking. I felt like I was at the wall. 50 hours in front of our local Catholic Church:

  8. #8 Dbp
    November 8, 2012

    God sends storms to punish us. We tolerate Timothy Weddle and god finds that abominable.
    God hates Tim Weddle

  9. #9 F
    November 8, 2012

    The Confederacy’s first mistake was forcing being completely horrible and inhuman. God’s mistake is that he doesn’t exist.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    November 8, 2012

    Crusader, your comment is obnoxious. I’m only leaving it here as an exemplar of obnoxiousness.

  11. #11 Crusader
    November 8, 2012

    Greg, Thank you sir. Is there anything else I can do for you today? No. Ok sire, have a nice day.

    F, To win a war, you have to become a monster that the enemy fears. If the enemy does not fear you, then you will be defeated. If it were not for the big bombs Japan would not have feared us or surrendered and the war would have lasted years more. The fact that we scared them into submission allowed us to win. Cetainly poeple died and the whole thing was horrible, but do not forget that THEY attack US first. They provoked a fight and we responded accordingly. That’s how it is in the real world. Maybe that’s not how you do it in your classroom, but in the real world that is how winning is done – any way you can. No rules.

  12. #12 CherryBombSim
    November 9, 2012

    Yes, In 60 or so years, I have noticed an increased acceptance of homosexual behavior. Paralleled by the increase in shrieking hysteria over pedophilia and sex-slavery. Society seems to need some out-group of sexual deviants to demonize. Possibly for the vicarious thrill of reading about their lurid sexual depravity and their righteous punishment.

  13. #13 Thomas J. Christ
    November 16, 2012

    Anyone else out here find it HYPOCRITICAL and self-serving, that those who SAY they follow Jesus/God/Allah – hate abortion, but don’t mind killing adults; love to make wars and guns, but rarely help their neighbors; want freedom to practice their bloody religions – but don’t want others practicing their own; utilize any excuse to kill in the name of their ‘tin-god’, whether it’s Caiaphas, Nephi, Moroni, Abraham, Joshua or Mohammed or Ronald(Reagan)!

    Try living your precepts, dumb-ass!

  14. #14 Andy Schroeder
    Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
    December 4, 2012

    I’d pretty much give an eye tooth for the chance someday to watch the first Newlywed Game episode featuring a gay couple. Think of the questions! Think of the delicious fun watching the other contestants acting all cool and everything. I believe, silly as it sounds, that’d be a good contender for a high water mark.