Today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is a major victory. In essence, SCOTUS has struck down the remaining anti-gay amendments in states that still prevent same-sex marriage.
It’s a good ruling, and a fair judgment.
It reinforces the truth of "liberty and justice...for all!
And it’s historic, on par with the marriage decision in Loving v. Virginia. (June 12, 1967), where the justices voted unanimously and struck down all restrictions on inter-racial marriage which still existed in 17 states. That decision was not popular then, but today, it’s mostly a non-issue. (For the record, the ruling didn’t "redefine" marriage. Ministers and churches who opposed inter-racial marriage were not/are not compelled to perform those weddings. The decision merely granted the EQUAL RIGHT to those who wanted to marry.)
I cried at today’s announcement. My heart is full with gratitude. I honestly never thought I’d see it in my lifetime. I’m particularly overjoyed for all my friends who can now move forward with national recognition of their marriage, and for all those who want to get married.
It’s what many of us have been working for more than a decade.
So today, I will rejoice.
We should also keep in mind that our struggle is not over.
It might have even heightened.
It will take time for “the law of land,” as defined by the Supreme Court, to actually become the practice of the land. Many states, like the one where I live, have vowed to defy the ruling. (Think George Wallace, standing in the schoolhouse door to prevent de-segregation!) There will be legislation introduced to find loopholes in recognition. There will be court cases designed to delay and drag it out. Religious freedom will become a rally cry to claim exemptions.
Those who oppose Marriage Equality will be enraged, particularly Fundamentalist preachers, right-wing pundits and extreme religio-politicians. They’ve been venting their anger for months, anticipating this outcome. I pray there will not be violence, though too many of these fanatical voices have promised it, even encouraged it. They have declared “war” and vowed to fight to the death, if necessary, rather than surrender. Militant images of combat and revolution have been employed. Divine Favor is being claimed, meaning that resistance and rebellion is “God’s will” for “God’s people.” Opinion, tradition, creed and interpretation are equated with Divine Authority. Enemies are clearly defined (‘them”), then dehumanized and vilified. Threats are bandied and gauntlets thrown down. (One pastor promised to set himself on fire if marriage equality became law.) Hyperbole is presented as reality. (e.g., any and all comparisons using Nazis in the analogy!) Exaggerated outcomes are predicted, in the form of God’s wrath.
This is creating fear, fueling distrust, and little more than working a crowd of people into a frenzied mob. While it may only be intended as hyperbole and religious rhetoric, we’ve all seen that such incendiary content can lead to actual actions of violence.
That kind of language in the name of the One who taught love and peace is inconceivable to me.
Shame on them!!
Attitudes don’t change simply because the country’s highest court issues a ruling. As we’ve seen in civil rights struggles of the past, it could take years for full implementation. Eventually, the active resistance will give way to passive compliance. (Some still haven't embraced racial equality, so we know there will always be those who will not recognize marriage equality either.) And the next generation will look back in dismay at today’s rampant bigotry, much like those of us who lived through initial struggle for racial civil rights feel when we remember.
I’ve already been asked if my partner and I will finally get married, after 16+ years together. The answer is...probably not. At least, not yet. In my state, if we got married this weekend, he could be fired from his job on Monday...just for being gay. So, our new focus must be to push for non-discrimination employment protections.
There is still much work to do.
So, YES. This is a victory. One that should be savored and celebrated.
But NO, this is not equality. Not yet.
Note: I’m still technically on my “break to re-carbonate,” but this news was too important; I wanted to make a few comments and observations.