The Inevitability of Same-Sex Marriage

“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.

I have written before on the lack of logical or rational arguments against Gay Marriage.

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?

10 thoughts on “The Inevitability of Same-Sex Marriage

    • There hasn’t been a state that has passed Gay Marriage by vote. I’d imagine that it’ll be some time before we see that (that would involve getting people actively involved, and the anti-gay movement still has a greater ability to mobilize its constituents), but until that time, legislation will have to do.

      • As far as I know, no country that has legal same-sex marriage has passed it by a vote of the people. The UK and Germany do not currently allow it. The countries that do are Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Iceland, Israel (recognize them from other countries but don’t permit them), Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and, of course, parts of the US.

        I’m not sure if it’s relevant that laws be passed by a ‘vote’. Most of the laws we have in this country aren’t. I’d be interested if interracial-marriage was legalized by a vote in any state, because it was nationally legalized by a Supreme Court decision (in ’67, which is kind of mindblowing that it was that recent).

  1. Do you think if it went to vote in WA that it would pass? Again, these are just informational questions. Obviously majority rule is right sometimes and wrong often. Just look at the past three presidential elections…..
    I wonder sometimes if slavery would have been outlawed by vote had it come to that, and it’s weird that interracial marriage is that recent. I do wonder what the state gains by participating in definition of marriage questions, but also what they gain by incentivizing relationships at all.

    • I have no idea. Seattle is pretty liberal, it would pass cleanly here in the city. But I’ve never been to any other part of the state, and I’ve only been in the state 5 months, so I can’t speak for the general mood throughout. My guess is if it went to vote now, it would be close and might not pass. If it went to vote in 10 years, it would pass easily.

      So, just for ‘informational’ reasons, why does it matter? What is your preoccupation on whether or not it passes by vote?

  2. It doesn’t really. But I am interested in how different groups view the issue. I understand why conservative Christians are against it, for example, but they are less than 50% of the voting bloc pretty much anywhere except here. So what motivations does one have to vote against it other than religious ones? They must exist, or else someone would have passed it by now.

    That’s a bit reductionistic, as I know that it didn’t go to a ballot everywhere.
    Perhaps if it had in, say, Sweden, it would have been voted through.

    I’m a Christian, as you know, and a conservative one at that. But I’m not sure that Christians expecting the state to uphold their vision of morality is really going to get anywhere. I mean, Christianity teaches that it is wrong to have sex before you’re married, but that’s still legal and I think not on any ballot.

    These are just a few of the issues I’m thinking about when I ask those sorts of questions.

    • There are actually plenty of reasons that people put forth for why same-sex marriage shouldn’t be legal, and a great deal of them are ‘secular.’ I’ve discussed them here: (where half of them aren’t faith-based reasons) and here:
      The second link there is a more thorough argument that I’m responding to and it’s an argument that has nothing to do with faith.

      While you are a Conservative Christian, you really only represent one faction of that segment. In California, Prop 8 was passed largely because of an appeal to the Hispanic Catholic and the black community. Both communities are historically conservative on social issues, even though they don’t generally get lumped under the “Conservative” header because they don’t necessarily vote Republican (as that party doesn’t really support their general interests).

      As long as the religious outnumber the irreligious, gay marriage will likely not pass a vote in any country (though, I know a considerable amount of devout Christians who are quite liberal and pro-gay marriage, so that won’t always be the case).

      As far as I know, you’re right, a vote could have passed in Sweden. But maybe that’s just not how the country works. I don’t know. It’s not really how our country has worked historically, so I think it’s an irrelevant expectation that gay marriage be based on a public vote.

      I remember learning about representative democracy and the electoral college in high school and thinking we should change the system for direct representation by vote. It seemed logical at the time. How naive I was. It’s clear to me how wise the forefathers were on this point. Even in an age where most Americans have easy access to the internet, and thus, near unlimited knowledge, we are still a very uneducated people who tend to know very little about the things we vote on (or talk about). Theoretically, we are much better off sending forth educated and informed people to Washington in order to represent our interests. Of course, as the SOPA near-debacle proved, even our representatives can be frighteningly uninformed. But I would still rather leave matters like civil rights and personal freedoms to the discretion of learned public servants than in the hands of the uneducated, ignorant and bigoted masses (if those are my only two options; and they are).

      • Thanks for your thoughtful replies. I’ll try to stop derailing your post now.

        I do appreciate how you’ve thought through these issues and don’t just rely on your presuppositions–even though nobody is ever free of them.

      • And I appreciate your questions. I don’t see it as derailing the conversations, I like to hear people’s thoughts on the issue, especially if they’re coming from a different angle. Of course, I’m always going to try to dig deeper to figure out what’s the person’s underlying interest. Once that’s established, I think it opens up the topic nicely.

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