Marriage Equality Opponents Left With Nothing But Tradition

2013 was not a good year for opponents of marriage equality. Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, Illinois, New Mexico, California, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Minnesota were added to the list of states allowing same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the Supreme Court. And if anything, 2014 is shaping up to move even faster. Earlier this week, a judge in Kentucky ruled that the state must honor same-sex marriages performed in other states. And last night, a federal judge in Virginia struck down the ban on same-sex marriage the state passed in 2006.

The judge stayed her decision until a higher court can rule on the inevitable appeal. But with these cases piling up, it seems obvious that the Supreme Court is going to rule sooner rather than later on the legality of same-sex marriage bans, something they've been trying to avoid until now. And with the continued evolution of American culture and public opinion in favor of equality, the chance that those bans will be declared unconstitutional seems to grow every day.

At this point, advocates of marriage equality can afford to spare a moment of sympathy for their opponents, to say: look, we understand that change can be unsettling. You're worried about the demise of the traditions you accepted as absolute. But as the judge in the Virginia case wrote, "Tradition is revered in the Commonwealth, and often rightly so. However, tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia's ban on interracial marriage."

Same-sex marriage opponents refer to themselves as advocates of "traditional marriage," but they backed themselves into a corner by assuming we'd all agree that because something is "traditional," it has an inherently superior moral value. "Traditional" means nothing more than "we've been doing it this way for a while." As soon as our values change and a tradition gets discarded, we tend to decide it wasn't traditional in the first place. Polygamy is traditional; it goes back thousands of years, is Bible-approved, and is still practiced in many places. But that doesn't tell us whether it's good or bad for individuals or for society.

So yes, the tradition is changing around you, because the society's values have evolved even when yours haven't, and we get that this makes you upset. But you'll get over it, just as people did every one of the many times that we changed the definition of marriage just in the past hundred years or so. If you don't, this is going to be a difficult year.

Comments

Another judge overrules the will of the people.

Perhaps what you meant to say is that the courts are once again nullifying the will of the people as expressed in lawful elections.

You forgot the end of that sentence: ". . . lawful elections that establish laws in violation of the Constitution."

We all know that gay marriage is going to the Supreme Court. No one ever knows how the court will rule. Obamacare surprised the conservatives and gay marriage may surprise the liberals. In Utah a Federal Judge refused a stay on a decision to allow gay marriage and an appeals court agreed. Justice Sotomayor overruled those courts and granted the stay. Justice Ginsburg has voiced her opinion that Roe vs Wade was the wrong decision by the Supreme Court. She implied that such a contentious subject like "abortion similar to gay marriage" should have been sent to the states to decide. It should not have been done on a national basis. All of you gay rights activists, don't count on anything yet.

This article also implied that "polygamy may be traditional "? It appears that a federal judge in Utah is going to issue a ruling, if their ban on polygamy is constitutional. Mormons were persecuted over polygamy and Utah "was not admitted to the Union of the United States" until they disavowed polygamy and stopped the practice. Just think, we could have a gay marriage between THREE guys, that would be legal, with what the liberals have been pointing to. We are on the road to a WACHO Slippery Slope!!!!

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Here in Kentucky, we're going to let the federal judge who made the ruling enforce his own decision. We, the people, still run our own state and to hell with federal judges.

tpaine (and others), you lost that battle 200-some years ago when the Supreme Court established the principle of judicial review in its decision on Marbury v. Madison. And state nullification of federal laws and federal courts is still batting .000 in this republic's history. Those, my friends, are traditions that endure.

And think about it this way -- in some states like my own Maryland, we could possibly vote in a complete ban on the private possession of firearms. Should the courts then say, hey, Maryland, if that's the popular will, then fine, do whatever you want, or should they say, hey, the U.S. Constitution and the 2nd Amendment is the highest law of the land and thus forbids your state law.

In spite of what you may have heard from the likes of Brian Brown and Tony Perkins, the will of the people has never been the final authority in this country, except in particular circumstances, such as the election of representatives to the various legislatures. The final authority is the Constitution, as interpreted by the courts. The people have limited sovereignty, which means, among other things, that you don't get to vote away people's rights because you don't approve of them.

I'm surprised by the number of people who consider themselves "Americans" and who really don't like the way we do things here.

Absolutely. If you don't like what goes on here, go somewhere else . It has worked for 200+ years. Soon as we start making changes for every special interest and minority it will fail. Stay tuned you'll see

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