How did gay marriage go from one of the most hotly contested issues in history to a fait accompli that is in no danger of being repealed?
What happened is that virtually everyone conceded the point that people are being denied a basic civil right by not being allowed to marry someone of the same gender. Proponents of gay marriage insisted, righteously, that a majority of people do not have the power or authority to deny people their basic rights. Opponents argued that, yes, we’re denying you a basic right, but we’ve got darn good reasons for doing so, and majority rules, so there.
Since that’s the ground on which this battle was fought, there was no other way it could have gone.
Too many gay marriage opponents were against gay marriage for what were ultimately silly and frivolous reasons that mentioned “Adam and Steve” and appealed to the worst aspects of human nature. For my part, I have never met an individual who has made a conscious decision about what gender to find attractive. It’s also true that gay marriage will not increase or decrease homosexuality, and it will not lure our children into forbidden realms of perversion. If your disagreement with any of the above facts was why you opposed gay marriage, they’re also the reasons why you lost.
For those of you worried that gay marriage may once again become illegal under the new Trumpified Supreme Court, understand that the Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized gay marriage in all fifty states only overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act. The other part – the section that states can ignore same-sex marriages performed in other states – is blatantly unconstitutional, since it violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause, which reads as follows:
“Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.”
So if one state makes gay marriage legal, every state has to recognize those marriages.
Congress knew this part of DOMA was illegal when they passed it, and President Clinton knew it when he signed it. It was a cynical, craven pandering to an electorate which, at the time, was solidly opposed to gay marriage. (Yes, times have changed.) Clinton even publicly stated that he looked forward to the day when the High Court overturned the unconstitutional law he had signed.
So that’s out there like a Sword of Damocles waiting to fall on anyone who tries to overturn Obergefell. But even if it weren’t, the Court would now be in a position of not just preventing new same-sex marriages, but of nullifying thousands of existing marriages, something even the most conservative members of the Court would be reluctant to do. In addition, a case would have to be brought before the Court with the potential to overturn Obergefell, and no such cases are in the pipeline.
Like it or not, gay marriage is here to stay.
Do you like it? Do you not? Join a camp and let your voice be heard.