Unintended consequences — the heart of comedy and drama alike, and the fruit of single-minded obsession. Like Wile E. Coyote running off a cliff while pursuing the Roadrunner, or Elmer Fudd blowing himself up while chasing wabbits, conservatives and their cartoonish fixations can make for some pretty amazing comedy. And the best moment of all in that comedy is always that brief moment of recognition — the “click” before the backfire, the hang time off the cliff’s edge — when the Coyote realizes something just went horribly wrong.
This cartoon opens in the home of america’s greatest looney tunes — the Bible belt. Specifically, Lincoln, Nebraska, where state legislators met on the 4th to debate an amendment to the state’s laws on firearm possession.
Previously, state law allowed non-resident military members to apply for a concealed carry permit without having to live in Nebraska for the minimum six months required of non-military members. It’s a courtesy extended to the state’s approximately 10,000 non-resident military members, particularly those stationed at Offut Air Force Base in Bellevue. Offut is proud home to the Strategic Air command’s 55th Wing, and a massive revenue generator for the state. It also made an appearance in Dr. Strangelove as the fictional “Burpleton AFB.”
And indeed, Burpleton has once again found itself at the center of another strange love — with PRE-verts, no less.
Hoping to double gun sales (sorry, “gun rights”) in the area, state lawmakers just passed an amendment that would extend that same military exemption on waiting times to military spouses. But, unfortunately, Nebraska and the military disagree on what constitutes a “spouse.”
Nebraska is one of many states that have prohibited gay marriage; but the U.S. military recognizes it as legitimate. After the vote, Republican Senator John Murante (who abstained from voting) gave us perhaps the greatest verbal Coyote-Hanging-Off-the-Cliff line ever delivered:
“I think we just recognized gay marriage. We are now using the federal government’s standard for who receives marriage benefits.”
And make no mistake, fellow Roadrunners — this is of no small consequence. In lighting the fuse on this particular stick of Acme dynamite, the state has created legal precedent that may very well end up challenging Nebraska’s definition of marriage. Senator Dave Bloomfield, who sponsored the bill, doesn’t think it will though. He maintains that because the application doesn’t ask about the spouse’s gender, the new amendment and the state’s anti-gay policies can coexist. Others, however, disagree — and considering the fact that Nebraska is already under a legal challenge to its ban from the Supreme Court, many see this as all the leverage marriage equality advocates need to set precedent in the state. Paperwork technicalities notwithstanding.
What a b*tch.