Last updateFri, 27 May 2016 1pm

New novel asks, ‘Could culture war over same-sex marriage evolve into civil war?’

Ajijic resident Tom Nussbaum says he watched the November 6, 2012 election results on television with disbelief and joy. 

“A dream come true,” he thought. He, then, heard a stunned, teary-eyed interviewee utter the same words. Nussbaum’s novel, “The Dark Blue Heart,” was born that night.

The surprising election results that inspired Nussbaum’s book revealed that voters in four states, through a variety of methods, approved same-sex marriage. Voters in Maine and Maryland had approved ballot measures allowing same-sex marriage. In Washington State, after the legislature had passed and the governor had signed a law enacting same-sex marriage, opponents challenged it by placing the controversial issue on the ballot and subjecting it to a public vote. The challenge was defeated. In Minnesota, voters rejected a measure that would have banned same-sex marriage. This occurred more than two and a half years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell vs. Hodges that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The electorate in those four diverse states was ready to make the strongest pro-gay rights statement to date that November. But what would have happened, Nussbaum thought, if the controversial issue of same-sex marriage had been placed on a statewide ballot just one year earlier? Would voters have been ready then? They, after all, had soundly rejected the concept in eleven states in 2004.

“The Dark Blue Heart” asks that question. It also explores what might have happened if the decades-long culture war centered on gay rights and same-sex marriage evolved into a civil war led not by the military, but by individuals including radicals from the 1960s-1970s anti-Vietnam War movement? 

Set in the fictitious state of Columbiana in 2011, “The Dark Blue Heart” follows a heated statewide political campaign over same-sex marriage. But, ultimately, the novel is not about the campaign, per se, or the result of the election; it is about violence, friendship, and love.

Nussbaum’s novel “carries the reader into the heart of political conflicts with ever-intensifying emotion. A page turner for the lover of intrigue,” says writer Allen McGill, who has been in a same-sex relationship for more than 50 years.  

The author has written two other novels, “Completing the Course” and “The Boy in the Book,” and a memoir, “An ‘H’ of a Life.” Born and raised in Seattle, Nussbaum was a high school special education teacher. He is retired and a member of the Ajijic Writers Group.

The Dark Blue Heart, as well as Nussbaum’s other books, are available on Amazon.com.

Book launch set for May 21

“The Dark Blue Heart,” the new novel by local writer Tom Nussbaum, will be launched at a book-signing event on Saturday, May 21, 2-4 p.m. at Galeana 14 in Ajijic. 

Galeana 14 is located behind the San Andres, next to the Wilkes Education Center.

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