Kick back with a bucket of popcorn and savor the spectacle of anti-gay bigots fuming in helpless rage as their marriage inequality crusade circles the drain. Who says there’s no good news these days?
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court gave gay people one of their biggest wins ever. The court essentially legalized gay marriage in Virginia, Wisconsin, Utah, Indiana, and Oklahoma – by simply refusing to review the appellate-court rulings that have favored equality. As a result, gay marriage is also newly legal in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina , Wyoming, and West Virginia – because those states are covered by the same appellate courts. In other words, by choosing to do nothing, the Supremes have hiked the tally of gay marriage states from 19 to 30.
Georgetown law professor David Cole has a shrewd appraisal: “The longer the court waits to decide the matter, the more likely it will ultimately rule in favor of marriage equality. On evolving questions like this, the court rarely issues decisions that contradict historical developments. And the more same-sex couples who marry, the weaker the arguments of those who insisted that the sky will fall if such marriages take place….The Constitution is designed to evolve slowly, and compared to other constitutional developments, progress on the freedom to marry has been unusually swift….The court’s surprising decision not to interfere with this steady evolution means that progress will continue….Sometimes the wisest course when one sees progress is simply to keep out of the way.”
So what a kick it was yesterday to hear the right-wing losers – history’s roadkill – sputter and scream and plumb their dictionaries for the most condemnatory adjectives. Best of all, some of them actually want to keep their losing issue alive and make marriage inequality a litmus test for the 2016 Republican presidential candidates.
Please. Do. It.
Here’s the National Organization for (straight) Marriage: “We urge voters to hold politicians accountable and demand to know if they will accept the illegitimate act of attempting to redefine marriage or whether they will stand with the American people to resist. In particular, we urge Republicans to hold their party leaders to account, and to demand that they remain true to their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman which was a pillar of the party’s founding in 1856 and remains essential to society’s well-being today.”
Here’s Ralph Reed, ex-Christian Coalition leader who now heads the Faith and Freedom Coalition: “(The high court’s non-ruling) is likely to act as a motivator of socially conservative voters in the next 29 days…For candidates running in 2014 and those who run for president in 2016, there will be no avoiding this issue.”
Best of all – more popcorn, anyone? – here’s potential 2016 candidate Ted Cruz: “This is judicial activism at its worst….Unelected judges should not be imposing their policy preferences to subvert the considered judgments of democratically elected legislatures.”
Cruz, reputedly one of the GOP’s legal brains, apparently equates a judicial refusal to act with “judicial activism.” And you have to love the standard whine about “unelected judges.” I don’t recall hearing a peep from Cruz when the unelected judges opened the campaign spending floodgates in Citizens United. Or when the unelected judges knocked out key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. And I don’t recall hearing a peep from conservatives in general, back in December 2000, when the unelected judges cut off the Florida recount and dragged George W. Bush across the finish line.
Anyway, all we need in the ’16 primaries, for sheer entertainment value, is Ted Cruz on the debate stage, putting the gay marriage issue in play, demanding to know whether his rivals are pro or con. Maybe a moderator would ask for a show of hands: Who thinks the party should stay rooted in 1856 (as the National Organization for Marriage insists it should)? Who thinks the party should join the 21st century?
If the religious right, and characters like Cruz, insist on spotlighting this issue – advertising the party at its worst – then, hey, it’s their funeral.
Aging Republicans, who vote heavily in the early presidential primaries, continue to hate gay marriage (22 percent support, according to the Pew Research Center), but the American mainstream feels quite the opposite (54 percent support, rising to 69 percent support among all voters under 30). If the GOP aspires to lose the national popular vote for the sixth time in seven presidential elections, it need only cede the floor to its fuming reactionaries.
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