Jubilant supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court today. (The huge red flag in front of them is marked with a pink equality sign.) In a landmark decision (Obergefell vs. Hodges), the nation’s highest court ruled 5-4 today that no state may outlaw same-sex marriage.
It was only in 2004 that former “President” George W. Bush – whose campaign manager at that time is a gay man – used same-sex marriage as a wedge issue to help him “win” “re”-election. And it was only in 2008 that while the nation historically elected its first non-white president on November 4, the anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition H8 passed, 52 percent to 48 percent, here in California, the most populous state and one of the bluest states in the nation.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a long-overdue landmark decision, ruled that all 50 states must allow same-sex couples to marry. The decision isn’t exactly a shocker, as only 14 backasswards states before today’s decision had been holdouts on same-sex marriage. Indeed, apparently the nation’s highest court, which almost always is behind the curve, with 36 states already ahead of it on the legalization of same-sex marriage, had found it politically safe to rule, correctly, that the U.S. Constitution (specifically, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [and also the amendment’s Due Process Clause]) forbids any of the states from forbidding any two adults (who are consenting and who aren’t closely related to each other, of course…) from marrying each other.
I wish that today’s landmark decision had been greater than 5-4, but, of course, the wingnutty haters would argue that any decision by the U.S. Supreme Court affirming the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, even a unanimous one, somehow is tyrannical or undemocratic or oppressive or blah blah blah. (Just as elections are valid only when they go the wingnuts’ way, judges are “activist” only when they rule in a way that displeases the wingnuts, you see.)
However, recent nationwide polls unanimously show that a solid majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, with support anywhere from the upper 50s to low 60s.
I have no doubt that were the issue of same-sex marriage put up to a national vote – but let me emphasize that no one’s constitutionally guaranteed equal human and civil rights ever should be put up for a vote – a solid majority of Americans would vote “yes.” The U.S. Supreme Court today has not violated the will of the American people; it has only pissed off a minority of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging fucktards.
My same-sex partner of more than seven years and I have yet to marry, even though legalized same-sex marriage was restored in California in late June 2013. I’d like to say that we have been waiting for same-sex marriage to be the law of the land before we get married, that we haven’t wanted to wed until everyone in the United States may wed, but it’s probably closer to the truth that we can be slow to act on things on which we don’t absolutely have to act immediately.
That said, today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a milestone, right up there with Loving vs. Virginia, the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made it illegal for any of the states to outlaw mixed-race marriage.
And today’s Supreme Court decision probably will speed up my marriage to my partner. So maybe we more or less were waiting for this day after all.
P.S. While we’ve had a big victory today, the fight for equal human and civil rights for everyone continues, of course; there are no federal protections for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals in the the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for instance, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals from being fired for being who they (we) are, repeatedly has been introduced in Congress since the 1990s but has yet to be passed.
But we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
P.P.S. Chief “Justice” John Roberts, in his dissent in Obergefell vs. Hodges, remarked, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. … Just who do we think we are? It can be tempting for judges to confuse our own preferences with the requirements of the law. …”
Funny. Roberts wasn’t on the court at the time, but his remarks (especially “Just who do we [U.S. Supreme Court justices/“justices”] think we are?”) make me think of Bush vs. Gore, the 5-4 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision that put George W. Bush into the White House instead of the vote of the people.
(Al Gore won the popular vote by more than a half-million votes, and I’m confident that he won the pivotal state of Florida, where George W. Bush had a lot of help from his brother, then-Gov. Jeb Bush, and the state’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who wrongfully had purged likely Democratic voters from the state’s voter rolls.)
So legally flawed was Bush vs. Gore that the right-wing “justices” who elected George W. Bush to the White House explicitly stated in the ruling that the ruling applied only to the 2000 presidential election.
Again: A justice or judge is only “activist” if one disagrees with his or her ruling. Otherwise, the ruling was quite legally sound. Not that this is sore-loserism or anything.
And I find it awfully interesting that to the right wing it’s perfectly OK for the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court to do such things as pick a Repugnican as president, allow corporations and plutocrats to buy elections, and gut the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Yet should the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court actually do good instead of evil — such as by expanding freedom and civil rights to include everyone, which is in perfect line with such founding sentiments and declarations that “all men* are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (from the U.S. Declaration of Independence) and that we should “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” (from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution**) — the treasonous right wing cries bloody fucking murder.
P.P.P.S. Roberts also hatefully scribbled in his dissent that “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.”
Wow. What a colossal asshole. First of all, Roberts parrots the fascistic belief that we non-heterosexuals (and, to a greater extent, non-gender-conforming individuals) must beg and supplicate heterosexuals for our equal human and civil rights (which is our “cause” of which he speaks). Equal human and civil rights aren’t our birthright, you see; no, we are to be at the mercy of the heterosexual majority to deem us worthy or not.
This is sick, evil shit. Roberts is not fit to practice law as an ambulance chaser, much more sit as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Moreover, as I noted, before today’s ruling, 36 states already had legalized same-sex marriage (without the nation subsequently imploding!), and nationwide polls consistently have shown solid-majority support for same-sex marriage.
Yet in Robert’s sick and fucking twisted, right-wing universe, we non-heterosexuals can’t win. Even when we actually are winning — actually, we already have won in the court of public opinion — he declares, against mountain ranges of reality, that we are losing public support just when we were on the cusp of winning it!
And when would Roberts ever have declared that we’d finally won this precious critical mass of support from the heterosexual majority? Never. It would have been a dream indefinitely deferred, of course.
It’s not the American public that is behind; it’s Roberts and his evil, fascistic ilk who are far, far behind.
*If the founders didn’t include women in their use of the word “men,” we include women now. That’s called progress, which, of course, is anathema to the retrogrades who comprise the right wing.
**Roberts concluded his mean-spirited dissent with this:
… If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.
I respectfully dissent. [What a fucking lie — his entire dissent is incredibly disrespectful.]
Again, not only does the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibit outlawing same-sex marriage because one finds it to be against the crap that is in the Bible (we’re not actually a fucking theocracy) or icky or whatever — rights can be denied only if actual harm can be demonstrated by the exercise of those rights (in which case they’re no longer actually rights, really), and the haters repeatedly have been unable in the courts of law to demonstrate any actual harm caused by same-sex marriage — but the preamble to the Constitution sets the tone and the intent of the entire document, methinks. And again, the preamble is this:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Key words there include “establish Justice,” “promote the general Welfare,” and “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and Posterity.” (Mention of concern for “Posterity” seems to indicate that the authors of the Constitution did have an eye to the future, that they didn’t intend for the Constitution to be Frozen In Time.) And, of course, “a more perfect Union” means that you continue to improve — not that you advocate that the U.S. remain stuck where it was at its founding.
The wingnuts on the U.S. Supreme Court and those who love them claim that the U.S. Constitution says nothing about expanding freedom and justice for all, yet isn’t it there in the opening of the Constitution? Doesn’t the idea and the ideal of continual progress actually foreshadow the entire fucking document? And where does the Constitution say that only heterosexual, white, conservative, “Christian” men are to have equal human and civil rights, while the rest of us are to grovel at their feet for our equal human and civil rights, as Roberts very apparently believes?