Witnessing this country growing up around the issue of marriage equality has been one of the most remarkable cultural shifts in my lifetime. It seems that every day brings another pleasant surprise for our community. Case in point: Charles Cooper, the attorney who defended upholding California's ban on marriage equality during the Supreme Court's hearing of the Prop 8 case, has seen his position "evolve" on the issue. The reason for his evolution? His own stepdaughter has fallen in love with and is planning to marry another woman.
The revelation is an unexpected footnote in the years-long debate over Proposition 8, the California measure struck down by the Supreme Court last year. It is also offers a glimpse, through the eyes of one family, of the country's rapidly shifting opinions of gay marriage, with most public polls now showing majorities in favour of allowing the unions. Cooper learned that his stepdaughter Ashley was gay as the Proposition 8 case wound its way through appellate court, according to a forthcoming book about the lengthy legal battle.I have long said that marriage equality would be a non-issue if people were to get to know us and witness our love firsthand rather than rely on the spoon-fed bigoted nonsense our adversaries feed them on a daily basis. I'm sure that Mr. Cooper loves his stepdaughter very much and now finds it difficult to reconcile that love with the injustice of denying her the happiness of her own marriage.
And with the Supreme Court ruling now behind him, Cooper cast his personal opinion on gay marriage as an evolving process. "My views evolve on issues of this kind the same way as other people's do, and how I view this down the road may not be the way I view it now, or how I viewed it ten years ago," Cooper said in journalist Jo Becker's book "Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality." Cooper's words are reminiscent of the language President Barack Obama used throughout his first term to describe his "evolving" views on gay marriage. In 2012, Obama announced publicly that he did, in fact, support the rights of same-sex couples to marry.
"My daughter Ashley's path in life has led her to happiness with a lovely young woman named Casey, and our family and Casey's family are looking forward to celebrating their marriage in just a few weeks," he said.We could hold on to our righteous anger towards a man who defended treating us like second class citizens in front of our nation's highest court, or we could welcome him with understanding and open arms. I choose to do the latter. Congratulations, Mr. Cooper and I wish your stepdaughter and your new daughter-in-law all the happiness to which they are so deserving.