“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” ~ Atticus Finch
While nothing definitive has been settled, today certainly marks an auspicious day in the fight for equal marital rights.
But, in reality, laws are rarely, if ever, based on logic and rationality. The forefathers such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were greatly inspired by the Enlightenment thinkers in the crafting of our Constitution, but ever since then we’ve been taking giant steps back from our Age of Reason foundations because God doesn’t get His proper due in such elitist thinking.
No, our laws today are far too often bought by moneyed interests groups or voted into law by a majority based on fear, anger or ignorance.
In the case of Prop 8, all of the above is true. 52% of California’s voting populace listened to the fear-mongering messages of the Church of Latter Day Saints and tossed out equal rights. And the message we heard when it happened (I was living in San Francisco that year) was that majority rules, the people’s voice should have greater weight than the state’s Supreme Court.
That’s true, unless of course the majority’s voice rejects liberty for the minority. That’s why we have the Supreme Court.
Prop 8 is not going to stand. Don’t get me wrong, the war ahead is still a long one, and this current battle could be lost if it comes down to a partisan vote by the U.S. Supreme Court (7 of the current justices were appointed by Republican presidents, though 4 of the total 9 lean liberal in their votes).
Even if the Supreme Court upholds Prop 8, it will merely be a bothersome roadblock for the inevitable legality of same-sex marriage.
If you are Conservative and believe you have sound, logical arguments against it, you still have to see the writing on the wall.
Six states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont) and Washington D.C. currently allow same-sex marriage. Washington will almost certainly be the seventh before 2012 is up, and if Prop 8 is struck down as unconstitutional, California will be the eighth. And then the dominoes will just keep falling.
Public opinion is gradually turning to general acceptance of it, in that your average American probably doesn’t care if same-sex marriage becomes legal. They may not vote for it, but they won’t vote against it either, and that’s a huge step.
This is partly because people like Rick Santorum and Pat Robertson spread a message of hate and religious people with moderate views are turned off by it.
I’ve made my arguments for legalizing same-sex marriage in other posts. This is not a continuance of that argument. This is a message of victory (or defeat, if you’re on the losing side of this fight), because it’s going to happen.
Many people have fought long for this point in history, either through marches and protests, sponsoring laws or writing their congressmen, or simply being willing to debate the issue with people who held onto ignorant views.
The war isn’t over, the battles ahead will be many. But those who stood for equality will end up on the right side of history with this fight.
Even those opposed to same-sex marriage have to see that now. The longer and harder they fight, the more they start to resemble the old, sweaty racists from classic movies who always give long speeches about ‘tradition’ and God but ultimately end up losing to the handsome young lawyer.
This is our Atticus Finch moment. Which side of history are you on?