Saturday, June 27, 2015

Equal at last

A few years ago, after gay Californians briefly gained and then lost the right to marry, I added the symbol below to the right column of my blog page.

The symbol represents support for marriage equality. I first adopted the No H8 logo which represented the California fight, but then changed to the marriage equality logo in support of ALL gay Americans. I decided that I wouldn't take it off my page until all Americans had the freedom to marry.

California was only the second state to allow same-sex marriage, but they lost the right and it was a long five years until Federal courts intervened and they regained equality. By that time, seven other states and the District of Columbia had become marriage equality states. Ignited by California, state courts and legislatures started expanding equal rights for all, until my state, Maryland, became the first in the country to grant marriage equality through a popular referendum. Within the past year, more than half the states joined us.

And now, here we are only two years since California was resolved, and the United States is a marriage equality country. No one thought it would happen so fast. But state by state, rights were expanded, until marriage equality seemed inevitable. The only unknown was how long it would take.

Obviously this is a historic day and if you have any sense of history, you know that universal same-sex marriage will quickly normalize with no ill effects. We have years of experience with the early adopter states and there have been zero problems.

Of course, there are those in our country who are less attuned to history, and would rather enforce their own morality on everyone, even if it means denying fundamental rights. In America, we call those people Republicans. Let's hear from some of them.

Normally you expect the wingnuts to own all the crazy talk. But this event was just so special, even some smarter chaps you would hope would be above such nonsense have come out of the closet.

Chief Justice John Roberts (from his dissent):
Supporters of same-sex marriage have achieved considerable success persuading their fellow citizens — through the democratic process — to adopt their view. That ends today. Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law. Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept. […]
Indeed, however heartened the proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever: the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause. And they lose this just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs.
Rats! Why didn't he say that before gays went all out and got equal rights? Sheesh, now they won't have the awesome fun of being discriminated against while they try to convince bigots that they shouldn't be.

Justice Clarence Thomas (our only Black Justice) (from his dissent):
Petitioners cannot claim, under the most plausible definition of “liberty,” that they have been imprisoned or physically restrained by the States for participating in same-sex relationships. To the contrary, they have been able to cohabitate and raise their children in peace. They have been able to hold civil marriage ceremonies in States that recognize same-sex marriages and private religious ceremonies in all States. They have been able to travel freely around the country, making their homes where they please. Far from being incarcerated or physically restrained, petitioners have been left alone to order their lives as they see fit.
Yeah, gays! It's not like we constantly beat you up and call you names. We let you travel and don't throw you directly into jail! You should just be happy about that. Why do you have to be so uppity? (Oops!)

The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity)because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.
Slaves had it great! They had dignity and humanity. Why can't you gays just be like those slaves and take it?

Well enough of those eggheads. (I'm not going to touch Scalia's ravings). Let's hear from some of the most powerful and prominent Republicans, the Presidential candidates!
Ted Cruz: Today is some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation's history.
Sean Hannity: I ... I couldn't say it more eloquently.

Yep, today is some of the darkest hours. Who can argue with eloquent grammar like that?

Hmm, Mike Huckabee seems like a nice guy. Let's hear from him.
The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice...I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.
Oh. Um, okay. 

How about Scott Walker?
"I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage."
But if those unelected judges want to take AWAY your rights, then it's okay. Amiright, women?

Here's the thing. I grew up in the conservative Midwest. I went to college believing that being gay was wrong and that being gay was a choice, a bad choice. I believed that they were responsible for the problems that society was causing them.

I was the one who was wrong.

And I came to that discovery by just thinking through the issues. By considering "Teh Gays" as people.

When you finally grasp that their natural feelings are not a choice; that who they are as people is not wrong, but a part of the human experience, then the idea of punishing people for being born who they are is an injustice. (It also works for people who don't look like you. Try it!) You realize that gays deserve the same rights and privileges that I get without question for being born a white male. That is, basic human rights. Not through an accident of birth, but through the existence of a fundamental set of principles that apply to every single human being on this planet. Extending those rights to everyone makes others happy, makes us all better people, and makes the Earth a better place for us all to live.

I will close with the quote below from Justice Kennedy's great opinion that settled this issue.

This weekend, I'm taking the Marriage Equality logo off my page. Rest in peace, logo. Your task is done.


SJHoneywell said...

And now we can stop talking about gay marriage or same-sex marriage and start talking about marriage. Y'know, 'cause it is.

Sometimes we get things right. This has been a good week.

Ipecac said...

And now we can stop talking about gay marriage or same-sex marriage and start talking about marriage. Y'know, 'cause it is.

One would hope. Unfortunately, one particular element of our society probably won't let this go for some time.

Still, what a week.