You’ve undoubtedly heard the the Supreme Court ruled today to make marriage equality the law of the land. Anyone anywhere near a computer today probably felt a little like this:
I worked late last night and my wife let me sleep in. This morning, she woke me up and said, “I’m going to need you to look at Facebook.” I did, and most of the people in my virtual world were pretty jubilant. They were filled with hope. And they were celebrating with their friends who have been treated like second-class citizens for far too long. If you know anything about me, it probably comes as no surprise to you that this came as really good news to me. I don’t want to get all “hipstery” here, but I’ve been on board with this for a while now. This feeling of hope is such a stark contrast to last week…. A contrast that is summed up perfectly here:
But even though there is room for celebration when a battle is won, the victory is far from over. The fight for equal rights for ALL PEOPLE continues and continues. And continues…
And even though it would be easy to focus people who are using this decision as a reason to stir up division and fear and hatred (like this person below)…. We can’t.
A bunch of republican presidential candidates weighed in too–guys who welcomed the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision (defining corporate money as “free speech”) as the rightfully decided law of the land, but hail this SCOTUS decision as an affront to “state’s right” (that sounds familiar, right? This age old belief that states should have the right to discriminate against whoever they want to discriminate against–That if the majority of the people of a state want to keep certain groups of people with less rights than the majority, it should be their “right”), an affront to natural law, and indeed, an affront even to God’s law. Candidates like Rick Santorum, who actually compared today’s decision to the Dred Scott case:
“Today, five unelected justices decided to redefine the foundational unit that binds together our society without public debate or input. Now is the people’s opportunity respond because the future of the institution of marriage is too important to not have a public debate. The Court is one of three co-equal branches of government and, just as they have in cases from Dred Scott to Plessy, the Court has an imperfect track record. The stakes are too high and the issue too important to simply cede the will of the people to five unaccountable justices.”
~ Rick Santorum
He was not the only one to focus on the fact that these Justices were “unelected.” Scott Walker also weighed in, referring to this decision as “judicial activism….”
“I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges “has been with us for millennia.” In 2006 I, like millions of Americans, voted to amend our state constitution to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism. The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made, and as we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas.”
~ Scott Walker
Ahh yes, “state’s rights.” A familiar refrain when people are upset that our government makes it illegal to discriminate. Louisiana’s governor, Bobby Jindal said,
“The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states’ rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.”
~ Bobby Jindal
And then, we’ve got good old Mike Huckabee, making a comment that is filled to the brim with military language, while making allusions to the kind of “tyranny” that resulted in the American revolution. Hold your nose for this one….
“The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do–redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.
“This ruling is not about marriage equality, it’s about marriage redefinition. This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court’s most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny.”
“The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the law of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment.”
~ Mike Huckabee
So yeah, this is a reminder that your vote matters…. Especially when considering that one of these bozos could be appointing a new SCOTUS Justice or two over the next few years. But none of these presidential wannabes’ comments hold a candle to the comments of the ACTUAL president. President Obama spoke to the nation today about the ruling…. Here is one segment which I found particularly moving:
“We are people who believe that every single child is entitled to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There is so much more work to be done to extend the full promise of America to EVERY American, but today we can say, in no uncertain terms, that we made our union a little more perfect.
That’s the consequence of a decision by the Supreme Court, but more importantly it is a consequence of the countless small acts of courage of millions by people across the decades who stood up, who came out, who talked to parents…. Parents who loved their children no matter what…. Folks who were willing to endure bullying, and taunts, and stay strong, and came to believe in themselves and who they were…. And slowly made an entire country realize that LOVE IS LOVE.
What an extraordinary achievement, but what a vindication of the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. What a reminder of what Bobby Kennedy once said about how small actions can be like pebbles been thrown into a still lake–“ripples of hope” that cascade outwards…. and change the world. Those countless–often anonymous heroes–they deserve our thanks. They should be very proud. America should be very proud.”
You can watch the video of his whole extraordinary speech below.
So yeah, I am thankful. I am thankful for the millions of LGBT heroes who have endured so much pain and hatred and discrimination over the years…. And even though there is so much work to be done while we continue to love the people who don’t get it yet, I’m happy to celebrate with my LGBT brothers and sisters–as well as straight allies like myself–because today is something worth celebrating. And I am hopeful. I am hopeful that those “ripples of hope” continue to change people’s hearts…. And by doing that, changing the world. Like MLK said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” But maybe if we keep pulling on one end on that arc, it will bend a little faster. Keep bending, moral arc…. Keep bending!