Originally Posted by BR
It's over. Welcome to the 21st century. You had up until today to get on the right side of history before same sex marriage was officially recognized. Those who waited too long now just need to come to terms with it. And you know what? You're still welcome to join us on the right side of history by recognizing the beauty of Justice Kennedy's writing below:
Will you accept that society has progressed or will you grow old to be the new version of the embarrassingly racist grandparent, still complaining about desegregation and miscegenation?
OK, BR. You're out of the box. How long you remain out is up to you. I confess, I just had to see what you posted on the SCOTUS decision.
First, let me say this: Screw the false dilemma. There are many people who support same sex marriage, and many who oppose. Most of the latter (at least the ones I've read) don't harbor animus towards gays. They oppose same sex marriage for a variety of reasons, often rooted in their faiths. It's not a question of society "progressing," nor someone's ability to get with the times. For a movement supposedly built on tolerance and acceptance, there seem to be a whole lot of folks like you who cannot accept that some people legitimately disagree.
Secondly, I've consulted with several qualified attorneys whom I know well, and read the majority opinion myself. As a legal layperson (at least compared to the people to whom I'm referring), I was somewhat surprised that after reading the opinion, I came to same conclusion as they did: 1) I see a case to be made for gay marriage. 2) The case laid out was not it. More on that later.
Thirdly, it may surprise you to know I actually think the outcome of this case is the right one (gays getting equal legal rights), and that given a choice between supporting same sex marriage or not, I choose to support it. My view changed on this over the years, as my former opposition was not rooted in any sort of religious view (and certainly not from any ill-will towards gays). I simply decided that in this case, the 14th Amendment (equal protection and due process) had to outweigh the 10th (states' rights, the rights of the people). Put simply, there was no good reason to deny gays equal legal rights of marriage, despite the numerous concerns I have about changing the institution.
So with the notion that I support the decision, I'll wait for you to duct-tape your head back together. Ready to move on? Good...
My support does not mean I lack serious concerns. One of the first issues I see (and have always seen) is the fact that the United States government just redefined a primarily religious institution (at least in its roots) and building block of our society, and did so for everyone. Marriage was a religious institution recognized by the State in order to promote not love, but children, family and overall stability. Marriage is a fundamentally stabilizing influence in society, and, despite all the problems within it, a positive force. Recognizing same sex marriage does not promote child-bearing, there is a key difference. All that said, I don't believe this concern is enough to justify denying equal legal rights to gays.
Another major concern I have, though, is where we go from here. Kennedy's decision is problematic (even if ultimately correct) because he "found" a Constitutional right to same sex marriage--in fact, to marriage itself. By relying on reasoning centered less on 14th vs. 10th Amendment grounds and more on "dignity," he opens to court to future challenges to marriage's definition, and the State's ability to define marriage at all. If #LoveWins (e.g. dignity) is the primary reasoning, then future challenges will ultimately be successful. For example: While the movement is nowhere near critical mass, politically speaking, the argument to allow polygamous marriage is legally identical (and don't start with the standard "that will never happen, SDW. It already is happening as we speak). Some may not care about future changes to the institution, but I think that's misguided. The reason is that allowing future changes will eventually render the term "marriage" meaningless in our society. If you can marry whomever you love because you're biologically programmed to do so, on what grounds can the State prevent you from marrying anyone (or everyone)? Clearly, there will be limits based on current law unrelated to marriage (e.g. prohibitions on incest, laws on the age of majority, etc.). But, can the State tell you how many people you can marry? If so, why? Isn't monogamy pretty well proven at this point to be a social construct, not a biological one? Can the State tell you anything about marriage, other than what is prohibited under certain statutes already? The point is that if we value marriage as a positive force in society, aren't we concerned about the term being rendered meaningless? I think we should be.
Fortunately, the above "fight" seems pretty far off. In fact, it may never hit critical mass, so the point may be moot. What is not moot is how certain "gay rights" groups and others will use this decision to attack people of faith. We've already seen the New Ministry of Thoughtcrime in Oregon not only order a couple to violate their beliefs, but essentially place a gag order on them. There are those calling for churches to lose their tax exempt status completely and universally. How long until a same sex couple sues a church in order to force it to perform a same sex wedding? I'd put the over-under at "it's probably happening as we speak." How long until governments move from assailing closely held, for-profit businesses to assailing churches? Or, until the Feds dangle the prospect of individual churches losing their tax status unless they comply? Not long, I think.
All of the above is why I would have preferred (and still do prefer) to get the government out of marriage entirely. Grant civil unions (for all, gay or straight) between two persons and leave "marriage" to those who want it through their faiths. The justification against further changes could easily be the administrative nightmare multiple spouses (for example) would create. People get equal legal rights, and the government doesn't redefine a millennia-old pillar of society. Problem solved. While we're at it, pass legislation protecting the religious rights of closely held (e.g. sole proprietorship and the like) business owners who, as a result of the nature of their work, must personally participate in services (e.g. weddings).
My hope is you respond intelligently and measuredly to what I've written. We'll see.