26 June 2015

Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal Everywhere In The US

An old man walks, with some trepidation, into an old house.

It's dark, there's lots of dust and the floors creak with each step he takes.  But he' not really worried (or so he tells himself) until he hears:

Boooo.... I am the spi-rit...of same-sex marriage...Woooo!

The old man screams:  Oh, no!  There goes the threat to our democracy.

Now, of course, neither that house nor that ghost exists---except, of course, in the fantasies of that old man.

And who is that old man?, you ask.

Why, he's none other than our good friend Antonin Scalia.

Yes, that Antonin Scalia.  The one who's been on the Supreme Court for nearly three decades.  

Now, to be fair, he didn't specifically say that same-sex marriage is the threat.  Rather, he blasted the Supreme Court--or, more specifically, five members of it. In calling them the threat to democracy, he probably came as close as he could to saying that he's against same-sex marriage without saying it.  He's like all of those people who say "states' rights" as a code phrase for their opposition to laws protecting racial equality.

Those five judges--Anthony Kennedy (who wrote the opinion), Stephen Beyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan--marriage is a right of all same-sex couples, regardless of where in the United States they live.  The other four judges--Scalia, John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas--each wrote their own dissenting opinions.

From the tone of this, you can tell that I'm pleased with the ruling. However, I still don't believe that granting same-sex marriage rights is the best solution.  I believe that, ideally, governments should have nothing at all to do with marriage other than to set a minimum age.  I also don't believe that religious institutions should be vested with the power of marriage.  If people want to have ceremonies in their houses of worship or prayer or whatever, that is fine.  But such a ceremony shouldn't legalize a person's union.  I'm no Constitutional lawyer or scholar, but it seems to me that the situation I've described--i.e., the one we have--conflicts with the Constitutional separation of church and state. Today's ruling does nothing to change that.

Still, though, today's decision is better than second-class citizenship, which is what too many same-sex couples now have.

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