When Should The Supreme Court Hear The Gay Marriage Case?
There is a time to sow, and a time to reap. Everything in politics and law is about timing.
Over the past 20 years I have had countless discussions with a wide array of friends and colleagues who pondered with me the timing for full civil rights for gay people in America. Many of us were talking about this issue decades ago in the same emotional way it is now being discussed. Gay marriage is not a new idea, and it is not one that will be denied to those in this nation who understand it is a right for all those who desire it.
I will always recall that it was my buddy Brad who told me while waiting to get coffee in the basement area of the Wisconsin Capitol in the early 1990′s that it would be the courts that would provide this equality for gay people. I agreed with that argument then, and still do today.
As such, I have followed each case that has advanced in the various states over the years. Now there is a major reason to have all eyes on the Supreme Court, and ponder again when it is best to sow seeds, and when to pick the harvest.
I am of the mind that any delay in justice is one day too long without the full rights that must come from living in this nation. One more day of bigotry that is enshrined in law is one more day to be ashamed of the chains that hold people down, and those who keep them shackled.
The New Yorker has a must read on the legal aspect to gay marriage which will make all ponder the future course for this most pressing civil right.
If the Perry case succeeds before the Supreme Court, it could mean that gay marriage would be permitted not only in California but in every state. And, if the Court recognized homosexuals as indistinguishable from heterosexuals for the purposes of marriage law, it would be hard, if not impossible, to uphold any other laws that discriminated against people on the basis of sexual orientation. However, a loss for Olson and Boies could be a major setback to the movement for marriage equality. Soon after Olson and Boies filed the case, last May, some leading gay-rights organizations—among them the A.C.L.U., Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights—issued a statement condemning such efforts. The odds of success for a suit weren’t good, the groups said, because the “Supreme Court typically does not get too far ahead of either public opinion or the law in the majority of states.” The legal precedent that these groups were focussed on wasn’t Loving v. Virginia but, rather, Bowers v. Hardwick, the 1986 Supreme Court decision that stunned gay-rights advocates by upholding Georgia’s antiquated law against sodomy. It was seventeen years before the Court was willing to revisit the issue, in Lawrence v. Texas, though by then only thirteen states still had anti-sodomy statutes; this time, the Court overturned the laws, with a 6–3 vote and an acerbic dissent from Justice Antonin Scalia, who declared that the Court had aligned itself with the “homosexual agenda,” adding, “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”