‘Modern Family’ shows the high court the way

God bless Cameron and Mitchell.

The goofy, squabbling but totally in love gay couple on the hit show Modern Family is as powerful a political force as any shadowy SuperPac.

Polls now show that a majority of Americans favor making same-sex marriage legal. That’s a big shift from just three years ago, when support ran at 44 percent. Modern Family is the highest rated sitcom among viewers 18-49 years old. Coincidence? I think not.

And what do those viewers see when the camera zeroes in on Cam and Mitchell? They see likeable, flawed human beings who are obviously in love, obviously committed, good parents and good citizens.

Yes, same-sex unions remain deeply contested ground; the idea usually loses in elections even while it wins in opinion polls.

Now the Supreme Court will likely weigh in, thanks to two recent federal court rulings that were favorable to same-sex unions, and overruled democratically approved laws that would block such unions.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, the long arc of history bends towards justice. Before my 20-something kids qualify for AARP, gay marriage will be legal across the Republic. Book it.

Under our marvelous Constitution, gay couples clearly deserve the same opportunity for public status and legal benefit as hetero couples. I have never fathomed how a loving couple wanting to marry could somehow threaten my marriage, or anyone else’s.

In the long run, resistance to gay marriage is doomed. But in the spiky short run, a lot of people can still be hurt, still get denied their rights.

Now, I respect that some have religious objections. And I think their religions have every right to deny spiritual blessing to unions that violate their tenets.

But that has nothing to do with civil law and the civil sphere. We have this deep confusion about the word marriage. To the degree that marriage is a religious act – in Christian parlance, a sacrament – it is up to religions to offer or deny.

Despite the age-old semantic muddle, government clearly should not be in that marriage business. All it can or should offer couples are the status and benefits of civil union, without regard to gender.

How will the Supreme Court reason through this thicket?

As usual, the smart money has the court split 4-4, with Anthony Kennedy in his usual role of Decider.

I hope that, before he opines, one of his clerks suggest he watch a DVD of Modern Family.

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