The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.Friday's decision means that same-sex marriage is in fact constitutional, and that the participants in them are protected the same as are participants in opposite sex marriages. And in marriages between prisoners and their pen pals. And in inter-racial marriages. And in marriages where the new husband is a deadbeat dad. These are among the cases over the years where the Court has chimed in, allowing marriage, 'protecting' marriage, revering the 'traditions and social benefits' that come from marriage.
No longer will someone like, say, Charles Manson be more valued than a gay doctor, lawyer, politician, soldier, musician, actor, teacher, athlete, pastor, accountant, bus driver, stock broker, entrepreneur, lifeguard, writer, janitor...
People are free to express their displeasure at this decision and at the weddings that result, just as they are free to express their displeasure and distaste at marriages between octogenarian men and twenty-something playthings; between rich businessmen and their second, third, or fourth trophy wives, (or their interviewers); or those between The Real Housewives of Anywhere and their poor bastard husbands.
Now, as Patrick and I prepare to mail our own wedding invitations, I'm delighted that all members of our family will have the same opportunity as we have: to embark on the journey of marriage, to make permanent and public and equal their commitment, their enduring love, and their undying faith in their partners, regardless of where they live when they make the decision to say "I do."
And I'm thrilled for friends who have already gotten married in New York and other 'marriage equality states, to know that their marriages are just as legitimate as ours will be when we tie the knot in September, regardless of where they are today or where they end up tomorrow.
I'm not surprised at some of the reactions coming from 'marriage conservatives' as I call the politicians who are looking to make hay out of this decision. I certainly wish there was less hate and a little more compassion, and I hope that people will become more tolerant and less judgmental over time. We've shown we can do this on other issues of equality, whether driven by a SCOTUS decision or by us individually or collectively coming to the realization that people who are different are not demons, nor are they 'less' simply because they are not exactly like us.
I'm going to leave you with thoughts expressed by Sean Kirst, an outstanding columnist we are fortunate to have here in Syracuse, who provided a thoughtful response to a question posed by Chief Justice John Roberts in his dissent Friday. Roberts asked
The Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?Here are excerpts from Kirst's reply:
Who do we think we are, affirming so many times that the greatest contribution of the founders - a group of influential men of celestial courage who didn't always transcend the ugly norms of their time - was to craft an ideal of liberty of such purity, of such inspiring power, that it would shine and ascend and be brought to bear on question seemingly unimaginable more than two centuries ago?
Who do we think we are, bumping forward, debating, shouting, protesting, legislating, procrastinating, telecasting, sniping, griping, always predicting the doom of the republic when someone we disagree with - be it liberal, be it conservative - wins the day, yet waking up the next morning managing to somehow keep going this raucous, boisterous, never boring, often maddening, sometimes transcendent, still unfinished and in-the-end- we're all-in-this-together-dammit experiment of a union?
Who do we think we are?
Just who we were yesterday, and will be tomorrow, when we again put one great collective foot before the next:
Americans.Equally, gay or straight, Americans.