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Jun 18 / Elizabeth DiNovella

Eminem Wants Everyone to Have the Right to Be Miserable

The U.S. District Court just concluded the case on Prop 8, the California initiative passed by voters in November 2008 that banned gay marriage. Now we’re all waiting for the verdict.

Some say a ruling in favor of gay marriage would mark a huge cultural shift. But pop culture shows the shift is already happening. As with many other social issues, we’re just waiting for the courts to catch up.

For starters, Elton John sang at Rush Limbaugh’s fourth wedding. The gay marriage ceremony in this summer’s worst blockbuster, Sex and the City 2, was over the top in a way that seemed both dated and defensive. So 2007.

But The New York Times Magazine Q&A with Eminem confirmed the cultural shift for me. (It’ll be  published in this Sunday’s issue but is available online here.)

Eminem was known for his gay bashing and macho swagger, often channeled through his alter ego Slim Shady. But in his soon to be released album, Recovery, the rapper says consciously went in a different direction. “It’s the new tolerant me!,” he told The New York Times. I can’t wait to hear it.

The mellowed out 37-year-old Eminem is now in favor of gay marriage.

NYT: You’ve been accused of writing gay-bashing lyrics in the past. Would you like to see gay marriage approved in Michigan, where you live?

Eminem: I think if two people love each other, then what the hell? I think that everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable, if they want.

Despite the swans and Liza Minnelli cameo performance, SATC2 is not the gay marriage movie of the summer. 8: The Mormon Proposition, which opened in the 15 cities nationwide yesterday, is.

The film looks at the Church of Latter Day Saints moral and financial bankrolling of the Prop 8 effort.

“This is not a gay film,” says director Reed Cowan. “This film is an examination of faith, obedience and incursions into politics by religion.”

In a review of the documentary, Ankita Rao of the Religion News Service wrote, “Televised advertisements endorsed by the church urged the public to preserve traditional families. Church leaders warned that same-sex marriages ruin society and endanger souls and mobilized their congregations accordingly.”

So while we wait for the courts to catch up, we also have to wait for the voters, too. The Haas Jr.Foundation released a report this week by NYU political scientist Patrick J. Egan. Egan examined more than ten years’ worth of pre-election polling data from the 33 states that passed anti-gay marriage initiatives.

Egan found that pre-election polling numbers on gay marriage bans woefully underestimate the bans’ popularity.

In the five states that have legalized gay marriage–Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont–it was accomplished through the state legislatures, not through direct voter sentiment.

District Judge Vaughn R. Walker hasn’t given a timeline for his verdict but it’s likely to be issued this summer.

The whole trial itself–with its bizarre pairing of Ted Olson and Davis Boies, who faced off in Bush v. Gore, the specious arguments arguing marriage is all about procreation, and the possible of huge change–would make a great 2011 summer blockbuster.

Dustin Lance Black, who won as Oscar for his screenplay for Milk, has been involved in the California case. Black gave a moving Oscar speech that discussed the challenges of growing up gay in the Mormon Church. Variety reports that Black says a screenplay about the Prop 8 case is “not out of the question.”

Here’s hoping this story has a happy ending where, as Eminem says, everyone gets the “chance to be equally miserable.”

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