Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

After Action Report: How Marriage Equality Finally Triumphed

And just like that, America becomes the 21st country in the world to recognize gay marriage.

And the opponents of it are wondering, "...whah hoppen?"

Well, there's an old Polish proverb that says, "When we plot the destruction of others, we often destroy ourselves."  The anti-marriage equality movement could have easily had another five to ten years (attitudes are shifting faster than anyone, even us veteran poll watchers, anticipated).  But they pushed.  They overplayed their hand.  And they brought about their own downfall.  Let's take a look at the map....

The key thing here is to understand what marriage is in the eyes of the law.  The detractors have been saying marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman.  But the law is unromantic.  Legally, marriage is about property, not love.  It's a shorthand to establish who has power of attorney, who inherits, who does what.  JFK and Jackie O married to unite two political families.  People marry for money.  They marry to make sure their kids have a parent.  They marry for tax breaks.  Marriage is only about love if that is your intent.  Otherwise, it's just another transaction.

And this was the crux of the argument.  In 25 states, it's all right to marry your cousin...well, not all right, just not illegal, and because of the Constitution, those marriages are legal in all 50 states.  People who get drunk in Vegas and wake up hitched get all the benefits of marriage without anyone saying it was a sham.  And yet, gays didn't have that.  For example, gays have found themselves barred from their loved ones in hospitals while the families that villified and tried to force their partners to change not only could visit, but make medical decisions for them.

(A quick moment to address people saying that, by my logic, people marrying underage kids or poly relationships should be legal.  No to kids, because they are not adults and capable of making up their own minds.  As for poly?  I don't understand poly, but any guy that wants to have two wives and risk disappointing both of them instead of just one wife?  Hey, go nuts, buddy.)

In many ways, Justice Anthony Kennedy is a road map for people who may not accept gays and gay rights to navigate the world.  Kennedy is a conservative and has mentioned he has, at the very least, reservations about expanding gay rights.  But it's based on uncertainty, not any personal views that gays are icky, and that formed the basis of his opinion.  He mentioned that gays who got married could be denied the rights of the people who get drunk and get hitched, or the people who are just driven by hormones, or whatever.  His views on gay marriage didn't matter, what mattered was that it was here and they weren't extended the same rights.  And so he made the only proper conclusion, and threw his support to marriage equality.

Another angle to this is that the anti-marriage equality laws actually undermined traditional marriage.  Say you're bi.  And you marry someone of the same gender.  But your state wouldn't recognize it as a legal marriage.  And then you marry someone of the opposite gender.  Under the anti-gay marriage laws, that would have been perfectly legal.  Those laws would have legalized bigamy.  Another example of reactionary laws not thinking things through.

And this is why I say the anti-marriage equality movement brought this on themselves.  Had they not amended constitutions and passed laws, there wouldn't have been a challenge, because there was nothing to challenge.  By doing what they did, they set up a duel that, as established above, they were sure to lose just because of all the precidents and history behind other marriages.  (I remember when Nevada voted to not recognize gay marriage all those years ago.  Nevada of all places.  I imagined the explanation went like this -- "Whores, gambling, alcohol, the mob...we gotta draw the line SOMEWHERE....")

The tide has been turning, and there is no way to stop it.  And they know it.  I'm waiting very patiently for the fundamentalists to start wringing their hands over this.  I already get a lot of grief because I am a Christian but I support gay rights.  Their outrage doesn't bother me.  Just look at the Westboro Baptist Church, which printed Irish flags wrong and apparently didn't realize Gandalff and Dumbledore were fictional characters.  Them telling me I'm a bad Christian carries as much weight with me as your average caller to the Art Bell show.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend reading Justice Kennedy's opinion.  It really is a masterpiece of legal writing.

But for now?

The battle's won.

And the opposition only has themselves to blame.
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