The 1973 Roe decision — which the justices hoped would settle the legal question on abortion once and for all — instead spawned a political and cultural clash that is still raging. Many traditional-values advocates are predicting a similar divisive scenario if the high court overrides laws approved by legislatures and voters in dozens of states defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
If the Supreme Court “mandates genderless marriage, the resulting social divisions and political contentions will probably equal — and may surpass — those resulting from Roe v. Wade,” Nevada lawyer Monte Stewart and the Coalition for Marriage said in a friend-of-the-court brief in support of California’s voter-approved Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), both of which take a stand against same-sex marriage.
Stewart is just flat out wrong. A Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality will be a political non-issue in less than a year after it comes down. Why? J.F. Orlando over at the Economist blog gets it right:
It is a vote for gay people to have the same defining, challenging, fulfilling, frustrating, enriching, beautiful and complete marital relationships that the rest of us have. And that is a fundamental difference between same-sex marriage and abortion. Everybody loves a wedding; nobody likes an abortion. Supporters of abortion rights simply believe that safe, legal and rare is better than unsafe, illegal and rare. The better analogy for same-sex marriage is, of course, interracial marriage. Some people still don't like it. Fine. They can marry within their own race and grumble impotently at the TV. But what they can't do is tell anyone else who to love and who to marry. Same-sex marriage supporters frame the case as a vote for gay people to be happy because that is precisely what it is.
Yesterday, a new Pew Poll reported that Americans favor same-sex marriage 49 percent to 44 percent. I predict a year after the Supreme Court strikes down Prop 8 and DOMA that the polls will show that at least 60 percent of Americans are in favor of marriage equality. Wide public acceptance of gay marriage will be even faster than it was for inter-marriage between blacks and whites, which now stands at 86 percent.
Disclosure: Forgot to put this in - My wife and I have been supporters of Equality Virginia for a number of years now. I apologize if anyone momentarily thought I was objective on this issue.