Dare we hope? That is the question on my mind when I think about finally gaining our full freedom and liberty as gay people in America. Every week seems to bring more good news on the marriage equality front. But how long will it last before a court rules against us?
In 1996 when Bill Clinton signed DOMA it was a stab in the heart that I will never forgive him for. And ten years ago when state after state was enshrining our inequality into their Constitutions I despaired that we would ever see true freedom in my lifetime.
But then things started to change ever so slowly. Then last June the dam burst with the two Supreme Court rulings.
I know the big push is to get marriage equality up to the Supreme Court, but I'm not so sure. The SC is conservative and unpredictable. They issue rulings that defy all logic (Citizens United, for example). A "no" from the Supreme Court would be a huge setback and would galvanize the anti-gay movement big time. States like MS and LA would never approve marriage equality.
With the supreme Court, we need to remember that they only take about 85 cases a year out of thousands. They usually won't take a case until there are differing rulings from different Appeals Courts. And they like to let things play out for awhile in the states.
The hardest thing to do when you see the "promised land" is to be patient and wait. Yet I think that's what we have to do. I want case after case won, with a record built up that is undeniable if (or when) it does reach the Supreme Court. An argument is going to have to be presented to them that they can go for that doesn't do damage to their conservative jurisprudence. We need to get the best case we can before them.
We should remember the words of Justice Ginsburg on the Roe v Wade ruling. While she is a supporter of the right to abortion (and I believe marriage equality) she said the Court went too fast and got ahead of America. So I think it would be a mistake to expect the current Court to issue a "yes" to marriage equality while it's still a controversial issue in many parts of America.
So patience and full speed ahead in the states is my opinion. I despise having to go state by state, but I see little option with the current conservative bent of the Supreme Court.
I'm wondering what Ted Olson and David Boies think we should do? They are the two smartest guys (on our side) who have argued before the Supreme Court. And they would be the two I would want on a marriage equality case that does go to the Supreme Court.
It's easy to get caught up in the exuberance of all the rulings in our favor these days. And it's easy to think that we've got it won. I'm just not that confident yet. I've seen too many disappointments and too any setbacks. We've won only won in 20 states to date, and we're running up against state Constitutions going forward
I will tell you this, when we do win marriage equality nationwide I'm gonna bawl my eyes out for finally seeing freedom in my lifetime. And then we're gonna have the biggest goddamn celebration we've ever had!
But I still ask: Dare we hope? What do you think?