— Sarah A. Newman (@westenismydog) May 20, 2014
In their decisions striking down same-sex marriage bans, judges have been trying to outdo each other with definitive statements calling the injustice that has been done LGBT couples, and America’s sense of decency.
“We are better people than these laws represent, and it’s time to discard them into the ash-heap of history,” Judge John Jones III — who had be appointed by George W. Bush after being recommend by Rick Santorum — wrote, in his decision to throw out Pennsylvania’s ban immediately.
“I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families,” Judge Michael McShan wrote, throwing out Oregon’s ban. “Families who we would expect our Constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure.”
“Tradition is revered in the Commonwealth, and often rightly so,” Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen wrote, in her decision throwing out Virginia’s ban. “However tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.”
As bans fall nearly daily and the public’s embrace of marriage equality grows, reality is a bit more sober.
Legal precedents have made the process of legalizing same-sex marriage unnecessarily long and painful. The Supreme Court knew it would be forced to rule on same-sex marriage bans when it stuck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act — delaying a final Loving v. Virginia ruling what now looks more and more inevitable.
As our Emma White wrote, LGBT couples in many states may end up with the right to marry and still be able to fired from their job for enjoying that right.
However, we can’t ignore that judges are seeing what people have seen: the only argument against same-sex marriage is one rooted in a traditional religious bigotry.
It’s a bigotry that many religions have abandoned but one that persists in others. But the beauty of America is that it doesn’t matter.
Opponents of equality’s arguments based on child-rearing being an essential part of marriage fail simple logic. The slurs against same-sex parents don’t hold up to any scientific standard. And the willingness to defend a tradition that requires accepting someone’s understanding of God feels wrong to anyone who embraces a separation of church and state.
In the name of religion, a right has been denied to thousands. In the name of religious freedom, that right is now inevitable.
Conservatives will now pretend that the greater threat to liberty is that businesses won’t be able to select their customers based on their prejudices, an argument that has failed others who tried to stop the march of history.
Liberty is about expanding acceptance and recognizing a distinction between what you know is holy and what you expect others to believe. And I thank the Creator, whatever I happen to believe it is today, for that liberty.
Like most Americans, I came to recognize that same-sex marriage should be a right too late. So I understand that it may take a moment to adapt. But now is the time to stop wasting time and and money. Even greater than the freedom of religion is the freedom from whatever other people happen to believe their religion says.