As a blog that every-once-in-a-while discusses a marriage between two dudes, I suppose it would be slightly irresponsible to our three readers (hi, Mom and Dad! And person from Singapore!) if I didn’t address the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act cases in front of the Supreme Court this week, and what they mean to me and us.
Regardless of whether or not the Supreme Court affirms, overturns or invalidates California’s Proposition 8, the tide is turning. Marriage equality has already won. As the basically infalliable Nate Silver points out, support for marriage equality has increased about 2% every year over the last decade and a half. Neither DOMA nor Proposition 8 nor many of the state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage which passed over the past ten years would’ve even been seriously considered today. To paraphrase analyst (and kinda creep-o) Jeffrey Toobin, the war for marriage equality in the United States is basically over, though the battles (and there are many still) remain.
Like I said, though: we living in amazing, remarkable times, especially from the viewpoint of a young gay man who saw my home state deny my right to marry in
2002 2004; ten years less than ten years later, I legally wed my partner in our nation’s capital.
We have a president who fully supports marriage equality, as does nearly half the Senate. Nine states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages, and just this past election, Maryland and Washington state were the first states to enact same-sex marriages by popular vote. Though leaving civil rights up to the population goes against the 14th Amendment and all that, I’ll let these two states slide, since it demonstrates that, yep, we’re on the cusp of change.
This may all be a bit naive. If the Supreme Court tosses the Proposition 8 case as many are suspecting after oral arguments on Tuesday, no massive change will have occurred; things remain with the status quo, still too slow to curb bullying, too slow to convince LGBTQ youth that there’s something better out there than the quick release of suicide.
But to those youth, I say, yeah, it does get better. Look at the numbers, man–it’s actually getting better before our eyes. It might be slow, but a 30-plus point reversal in public opinion in the last 15 years is massive. You see all those red and pink equality signs on Facebook? Those people have your back. Did I ever think, as I was figuring out who I was in the early 2000s, that I’d be able to be married and generally un-harassed and surrounded by a strong network of people who either fervently support my rights or at least say, “eh, who cares?”
Marriage equality is coming at the federal and state level. Non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation will become more prevalent. State bans will be overturn. Eventually, the Supreme Court will consider same-sex marriage protected by the Equal Rights Amendment–they’ll have to from a practical perspective, since how long can the country go with half of its states recognizing some marriages but not others?
I will be able to actually check off “married” on my tax returns, and I’ll be able to do it soon.