Gay marriage is fast becoming a reality. The level of public support for same-sex marriage continues to rise, and just last month voters in three states legalized it, bringing the number to nine plus the District of Columbia as of Jan. 1. In politics and culture, support of same-sex marriage is becoming commonplace. Thankfully, there is little the Supreme Court can or should do about this.Michelangelo Signorile at The Huffington Post echoes some of those concerns but argues that no matter what happens, equality will march forward:
What’s more, the court’s intervention on major social and political issues is not always helpful. One of the leading critiques of Roe v. Wade is that it was a legal short circuit of the political process; you can believe, as we do, in a woman’s right to an abortion and also think that the court’s 1973 decision inflamed an already divisive issue. Some proponents of same-sex marriage made this argument in recommending against the court’s review of the California case.
In the law as in politics, there is an honorable tradition of dodging the question. It wouldn’t necessarily be horrible if the court didn’t pronounce next year that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. It needn’t even rule on the constitutionality of DOMA, although the law infringes on what is traditionally a state right. Whatever the court does, however, it should be careful not to impede the expansion of rights and the cause of fairness that help to define America.
Is it quite possible that the court will hand down a sweeping decision upholding marriage bans in over 30 other states, ruling that marriage is not a fundamental right for gays? Absolutely, and if that's what you're afraid of, then be very afraid. Such a ruling could have a broad and enduring impact.The USA Today editorial board nutshells what we do know from all this uncertainty:
From everything I've read, it seems more likely that the Supreme Court would hand down a sweeping decision in that direction than in the other direction: throwing out marriage bans across the country. Many experts seem to think that the court will do something more restrained: affirming the Ninth Circuit's ruling, which would make it apply only to California, a state that had granted marriage rights to gays and lesbians and then took them away at the ballot. Alternatively, there's the issue of standing, which the Supreme Court is taking up again. Do the Prop 8 proponents even have legal standing to challenge Judge Walker's ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, given that the attorney general and the governor didn't file a challenge? If the Supreme Court thinks not, then the case goes back to Walker's ruling and would not apply beyond California. [...]
But I'm not afraid of the Supreme Court, and I am completely prepared for the worst possible outcome while hoping for the best. The court can't hold us back, nor can it stop a movement, even if it becomes an ugly impediment. Public opinion is shifting rapidly, and the movement for LGBT equality has come very far in such a short period of time. Few imagined it would happen so fast, and if there's a chance it may take longer by taking some risks that could bring full equality, I'm all ready for that. The alternative is to do nothing and continue without rights, perhaps indefinitely. Our current president supports full equality, and a previous great president, FDR, once wisely told Americans that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." That and the latest polling showing that Americans are with us should be enough for us to boldly move forward.
[T]he cases are so laden with quirks that the only safe prediction is what the court's ruling won't change:This New York Times profile of the plaintiff in the SCOTUS case is remarkably touching:
Same-sex marriage will continue. Nine states and Washington, D.C., marry gays, and their right to do so is not being challenged. More are expected to follow.
Churches in every state will continue to prohibit gay marriage if they wish. The First Amendment bars the government from meddling in church affairs, and that premise is not under challenge either.
People move to New York for many complicated reasons — personal, professional, spiritual, gravitational — some quite clear, some unknowable. Edith Windsor came 60 years ago for a very simple one.Meanwhile, on the fiscal cliff front, Republicans are wringing their hands and chastising their party. Jennifer Rubin:
“I came to New York to let myself be gay,” said Ms. Windsor, 83 and regal in a pink silk blouse, black slacks, flowing blond hair and the pearls she wore on her wedding day in Canada five years ago.
First, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is right: Republicans should stop flapping their gums.Marc Theissen:
Republican leaders have only two options: 1) Surrender. 2) Stand and fight.With GOP pundits fretting and playing armchair consultants, it's not a great time to be negotiating on behalf of the GOP.
Right now, it seems as if they are seeking the least painful way to surrender. It’s time to stand and fight instead. Republicans can still shoot their way out of their current predicament. It won’t be pretty and they will have to fight ugly — but they can still win.
DeWayne Wickham at USA Today rgues that we're seeing a resurrection of liberalism:
While recent polls show that conservatives significantly outnumber liberals, liberal ideals and causes have not had a better year since Lyndon Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law.
Proof of this can be found in the approval last month of same-sex marriage laws in Maryland, Maine and Washington, the first states to legalize gay unions by popular vote. And it was evident in the success Democrats had at the polls this year. Liberals revel in the re-election victory President Obama, a moderate Democrat, achieved over Mitt Romney, the GOP candidate whose campaign was a genuflection to the demands of this nation's most misguided conservatives.
Evidence of the banner year for liberals also can be seen in the gains Democrats made in the U.S. Senate, which pushed their majority to 55 seats (including two Independents who are expected to join their caucus). These victories came in a year in which political pundits widely believed Republicans would seize control of the Senate. Among the right-wing Republican Senate candidates who went down to defeat were Tea Party favorites Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana. Both suffered fatal self-inflicted political wounds.