Monday, December 10, 2012

Scary and Exciting Times for Marriage Equality

A judicial bombshell Friday afternoon, as the Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments on two marriage equality case: California's Proposition 8, which narrowly passed in 2008 and which lower courts have found unconstitutional, and the 1996 Defense of Marriage (sic) Act (DOMA), passed by a Republican Congress and shamefully signed by a Democratic president, who now like so many people seems to have changed his mind on the subject.

Arguments will be heard in the spring, ans in a perfect storm of timing the ruling is expected in late June, right at the end of what's sure to be the biggest Pride Month ever.

Marriage equality opponents were remarkably silent Friday. It took Bob Vander Plaats nearly 72 hours before emerging from his cave with the other Neanderthals over at the famIly leader to pronounce:
We do not think that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn its own precedent from Baker v. Nelson in 1972 which upheld the statute in Minnesota  prohibiting same-s*x couples from marrying.  Baker v. Nelson concluded that “marriage is the union of man and woman” and as an institution, “is as old as the book of Genesis”.
The self-censorship is just precious, Bob.

Smart Republicans are staying quiet, too. They're still too chicken-(self censorship again) to confront the BVP base, which is too small to control a nation bat large enough to dominate their party. But they can read the demographics as well as Democrats can and, as George Will said this weekend, “Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying.”

Supporters of marriage equality, in contrast, were loud... but not celebrating yet.

See, the finality of the Supreme Court is scary. And seven months is a very. long. time. to. wait. The New York Times (via Towleroad):
The fact that the Supreme Court is hearing the cases hardly means it is about to ratify same-sex marriage. As supporters and opponents said in interviews, the court might well use these cases to find that there is no constitutional protection for same-sex marriage.
“There is no question that it is a risk,” said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California. “If they nationalize it and reject it, that’s going to take decades to come back to the court.”

Jubilation was tempered with apprehension as the implications of the decision were discussed across the country.
“That the Supreme Court is taking this up is truly exhilarating, but I’m very nervous and unnerved by the possibilities of what could come out of this,” said Don Romesburg, 42, an associate professor of women and gender studies at Sonoma State University.
“It is frightening to have our basic rights as citizens in the hands of just nine people, when four or five of them are deeply ambivalent, at best, about our very existence..."
Anthony Kennedy is unpredictable. Liberals got lucky with John Roberts once on the health care ruling, and that may not happen again.

But the worst that can happen is an unnecessary delay in the inevitable. "This is high risk and high reward," Iowa City's Zach Wahls wrote Friday. "And fortune favors the bold."

No comments: