My Take on Today’s SCOTUS Marriage Decisions

First off, this title is a wonderful illustration of the narcissistic nature of the blogosphere. Any chuckle-head with a modem and at least two fingers can post any ill-informed opinion out there for all to see. I just described me. But this is big news today and I work in this area of expertise, so I thought I would give my two-cents:

marriage coupleThe two decisions today turned out like the general consensus on both sides thought it would. It’s where I was placing my bet. Curiously, you could see Team Reiner lowering their expectations of the Court’s action just after oral arguments this summer.

The big news from today’s decision is this:

1) The Court struck a strong blow to the “marriage equality” rhetoric. They were not persuaded by the “fundamental civil right” / “we’re just asking for full citizenship” talking-points of the marriage redefinition folks. That is profoundly significant. It is precisely the argument that the two lawyers arguing the pro-homosexual marriage case consistently and routinely made. It did not prevail. This Court, the ultimate voice in our nation for guaranteeing the basic civil rights of all our citizens, didn’t buy it, supported in its opinion by key moderate and liberal justices. It’s not the obvious self-evident conclusion that so many cultural elites, including our President, say it is.

2) Also, the Washington Post’s vainly opined numerous times (here and here for instance) this summer that the “political fight over gay marriage is over.” That line of thinking got a cold slap on the cheek today. It continues at its current high-pitched rate, if not more so.

Today’s outcome dramatically sobers the “it’s inevitable” trope. Homosexual marriage is only inevitable had the Court “Roe v. Wade’d” it today. They did not. And that inevitability would not have been permanent, necessarily. Did Roe put the abortion question to bed in our nation, settling it once and for all? Neither would such a broad and ambitiously similar decision on marriage.

For now, each state will continue to fight this out case-by-case, and passionately so. Marriage redefinition is indeed inevitable in some states like Massachusetts and New York because it already exists. It is not inevitable in states like Wyoming, North Dakota, Georgia and many others. Far from it. Every state that does not have it today is an open question and our democracy will be utilized to fight it out with great vigor.

So both the “marriage equality” and the “it’s inevitable” assumptions should be seen for what they are: political rhetoric, not obvious or undeniable facts. The Supreme Court of the United States revealed precisely that today and did so across the Court’s ideological differences.

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