Last week, a state judge in Florida overturned that state’s ban on same-sex marriage and the reaction from the Christian right was exactly what you would expect. The judge’s jurisdiction includes the Florida Keys, which seems entirely appropriate.
Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia said same-sex couples could get marriage licenses as early as Tuesday in Monroe County, but Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi said the voters’ will must be respected. An overwhelming majority approved a constitutional amendment in 2008 that defines marriage as a union solely between one man and one woman. Her notice of appeal creates an automatic stay that prevents any same-sex marriage licenses from being issued, her office said.
Garcia, appointed by Republican Gov. Jeb Bush in 2000 and re-elected twice since then, invoked other moments in American history when the courts had to guarantee the civil rights of minorities. He said Florida’s ban violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law.
“The court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage, but it is our country’s proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority,” Garcia wrote.
“When Nazi supremacists won the right to march in Skokie, Illinois, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood; or when a black woman wanted to marry a white man in Virginia; or when black children wanted to go to an all-white school, the Constitution guarantees and protects ALL of its citizens from government interference with those rights,” he added.
The reaction from John Stemberger, a particularly extreme anti-gay bigot even by Christian right standards, is precious:
John Stemberger, who led that 2008 campaign, said he would keep fighting.
“This is an issue worth dying for,” said Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council in Orlando. “Every domestic partnership, every single civil union, every couple that cohabitates, these arrangements dilute and devalue marriage.”
An issue worth dying for? Well, a priest in France killed himself on the altar of a cathedral a couple years ago over this same issue. And a couple weeks ago, a pastor set himself on fire to protest the treatment of child refugees at the border. There’s nothing stopping you from following their examples. You won’t, of course, nor should you. You’ll just keep screaming non-sequiturs about how we “can’t have civilization without natural marriage,” as though someone was doing away with “natural marriage.” And in another few years, same-sex marriage will be legal and normalized nationwide. And a few years after that, everyone will be used to it and you’ll either shut up about it or become so marginalized that no one pays attention to you.