Tuesday, March 26, 2013

More on Gay Marriage

I have posted a few pieces on gay marriage on this site and including one before the election on the parade of horribles that a fair number of social conservatives raise when it comes to the issue.  If you are looking for one guy's thoughts on the matter, check that out there.  My thoughts on the legal and moral underpinnings of the "gay marriage debate" have not changed, indeed they have probably become firmer if anything.

But today and tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases regarding the gay marriage debate.  Today's case deals with Proposition 8 in California.  Tomorrow's case deals with the Defense of Marriage Act, that rather poorly thought out piece of legislation (the norm for most legislation in the past 20 years out of Congress).  the Prop 8 case is not going to satisfy very many people, other than us geeky Supreme Court watchers because its resolution is likely to turn on procedural matters, such as whether the petitioners have the right to actually bring the case.  Check out this summary from noted Supreme Court practitioner and watcher Tom Goldstein.

The DOMA case maybe different, but even there, I could see the Supreme Court looking for an easy way out, some procedural quirk or some substantive matter that would allow them to dispose of the case without reaching the merits or a ruling on whether gay marriage is constitutionally protected or not.

The fact of the matter is, I don't think that many gays in this country are going to be particularly happy with the rulings on these cases when the opinions come out in June (most likely June).  The fundamental truth is that we are still having a debate in this country.  While my opinions are pretty clear, let me restate them,

I do not believe that the government of any level should have a role in defining marriage other than certain proscriptions--i.e. you have to be at least 18 and matters of consanguinity.  Outside of that, government should get out of the business of saying who can be married and who can't.

But do I expect the Supreme Court to say that this year?  Nope.

And to my dear friends who are hoping for such a ruling, I say this, it must be nice to live in that rosy place.

We should be honest, while I believe the gay/lesbian community is making great strides in making a solid moral and legal case for themselves, I do not believe that these two cases are going to provide any sort of "home run" ruling.  But what must be made clear is my admonition from many years ago.  Whining like a six year old who is denied their favorite ice cream is not going to win any friends.  Take the opinions and then continue your work, because it is not over.

For opponents of gay marriage out there, you too have much to examine.  You too cannot whine about the "decay" of our society if you think two people getting married is worse than two people living together.  If you have a moral and legal foundation, you need to explain it in those terms, do NOT talk about homosexuality as some sort of abomination before God since that comes across as hyocritical--perhaps not to the extent of Christians who kill abortion doctors, but in the same ballpark.

The fact is, I just don't see any sort of "victory" for either side.  In the end, the Supreme Court is a poor arena for this fight.  It needs to be fought in the legislatures, in the neighborhoods and in our own minds and hearts.

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