Why the GOP should hope the Supreme Court legalizes equal marriage
You know that there isn’t one argument against same-sex marriage that isn’t ridiculous, based on someone’s interpretation of the Bible, or both.
Even Republicans — at least the ones with openly gay kids – admit this.
Hoping to avoid the demographic tidal wave of young people who support equal marriage, some in the GOP have decided that the solution is to let the states decide if gay people should be able to marry.
This will not work for the same reason that letting the states decide if interracial couples should be able to marry didn’t work — it’s unconstitutional to use old prejudices to deny citizens rights. And the fact that the prejudices are based on the Bible — just as they were against interracial marriage — makes the argument even weaker. You know the Constitution doesn’t just give you the freedom of your religion, it gives you freedom from my religion.
There are 1,138 rights married couples have that same-sex couples are being denied just because someone wants to enforce what they perceive as the Biblical definition of marriage — and ignore, for instance, Jesus’ strenuous objection to divorce.
Rand Paul knows this argument won’t work. So he wants to “get the government out of marriage,” which is basically another version of letting the states decide.
And if the states can decide who gets married, why should members of the party of Newt Gingrich be able to enjoy that right?
If Rand’s plan really is to treat gay and straight couples the same in the tax code and allow the couples in the states that have same-sex marriage to enjoy those 1,138 rights, Paul is going to spark a civil war in the GOP. Rick Santorum and social conservatives believe the job of government isn’t to enforce Jesus’ direction to “love thy neighbor” but instead to punish sin.
What people need to know is that the next few months will decide this argument in this country for the next few decades. The Supreme Court is going to decide on the Constitutionality of DOMA, the law that denies those 1,138 rights to gay couples, and California’s Prop 8, in which the voters of the state overturned the right to equal marriage the state Supreme Court found in the state Constitution. The Court could do anything from upholding DOMA to finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
Honestly, the best thing that could happen for the GOP is a complete legalization of gay marriage. That would get them out of this hypocritical, divisive argument that will have them arguing state-by-state that our friends and family should be denied the chance to be happily married.
The idea of gay marriage is already more popular in the United States than interracial marriage was when the Supreme Court decided banning them was unconstitutional. Settling this issue now would save us all a lot of unnecessary conflict.
So bless Will Portman for coming out. Now is the time for anyone who is in the closet to come out — especially those who are close to powerful people.
I predict that any closeted child or family member of a Republican politician who doesn’t come out in the next few weeks will regret it for the rest of their lives. While it’s sad that it takes personal experience to give most of us empathy for the struggles of others, gay people coming out to the people they love has changed America. Being born to straight families is “our superpower,” says Dan Savage.
The Supreme Court is swayed by public opinion. And powerful men acting their own self-interest have always played a role in getting people to redefine marriage.
Just ask Henry VIII.
[Photo credit: joseanavas via Flickr]