This was the strangest morning. I woke up this morning no longer interested in marrying my fiancee. She seemed so perfect, so attractive just yesterday. But just a few hours ago I rose from my slumber with nothing but desire to marry two dudes and their cocker spaniel instead. It was then that I knew that the SCOTUS had struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and dismissed Prop 8, making gay marriage legal in California and ruining the marriages of straight people everywhere forever.
Tony Perkins is not happy.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins released a statement saying his group was “disappointed” in the DOMA ruling and “disturbed” by the detail of the Proposition 8 decision but that it also took some heart from the Supreme Court’s actions.
“Their refusal to redefine marriage for all states is a major setback for those seeking to redefine natural marriage,” he said. “Time is not on the side of those seeking to create same-sex ‘marriage.’ As the American people are given time to experience the actual consequences of redefining marriage, the public debate and opposition to the redefinition of natural marriage will undoubtedly intensify.”
Yes, we made huge progress, but because equality wasn’t fully realized in one fell stroke it’s a “setback”. If it’s a setback for us, it’s a death sentence for Perkins and his kind. This is like the coach of a football team losing the game 41-3 and talking about how the opposing team has some real problems in the next game because it allowed a field goal.
But it’s true, only Provision 3 of DOMA was struck down. Provision 2, which allows states to not accept same-sex marriages from other states, in clear violation of the “Full Faith and Credit Clause” of the U.S., constitution, still stands. If history has taught us anything it’s that equality is achieved in steps. Give it time.
Which brings me to my next point: Perkins is flat out wrong when he says time is not on our side. As time has progressed the societal rubric has been on a perpetual, slow track toward more liberty and more freedom. It’s the reason slavery is now abhorred, that women can vote, and that interracial couples can marry. And I hate to break it to Tony Perkins, but time is going to keep progressing – limiting the political lives of Perkins and his kind all the while.
And we’ll realize the consequences of gay marriage? You’d think we’d have noticed them in the other countries and states that have allowed marriage equality, but those countries seem to be chugging right along without missing a tick. In fact, here’s a scientific graph detailing the consequences of allowing consenting grown ups who love each other to marry:
The consequence of these rulings is the realization of personal liberty, which is precisely the thing our government exists to protect.
The debate’s not going to intensify on Perkins’ side. Just like when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was struck down, despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, despite the promises of dire consequences like huge drops in military recruiting and the end of unit cohesion, these rulings will be a major non-event in a very short while. Gay people will marry in California, nothing bad will happen, and the haters won’t ever say they were wrong.
But on our side, we’re going to gain all the momentum. These cases lay the groundwork for changing even more minds in the public sphere and for future court decisions. While conservatives will forget this day as the tide continues to turn, it holds tremendous significance to us. I wasn’t there for Loving v. Virgina, so I won’t be able to tell my children what I was doing when that decision was handed down. But one day I will be able to tell them that when DOMA fell I was at home in Arkansas with my bisexual brother and our straight atheist parents, who love both of us for the content of our character, having the time of our lives and knocking back a drink to celebrate the defeat of yet another group of people whose religion has moved them to spread unhappiness.
[Perkins] concluded: “What is inevitable is that the male and female relationship will continue to be uniquely important to the future of society. The reality is that society needs children, and children need a mom and a dad. We will continue to work to restore and promote a healthy marriage culture, which will maximize the chances of a child being raised by a married mother and father.”
He’s actually right: male and female relationships will continue to be important to society. This is a strange departure from the fear-mongering in the previous paragraph about the consequences of allowing gay people to marry. Perkins has often said that marriage equality will threaten straight marriages, so I’m happy to see him relent on that point.
And society does need children, but those children do not need a mom and a dad. Those children need good parents. If that’s two moms or two dads, awesome!
And fuck Perkins for asserting that healthy marriages are ones where a child is raised by a mother and a father. There are plenty of straight marriages that are unhealthy (look no further than the fact that child protective services exists). What makes a healthy marriage and a healthy family is love, devotion, patience, etc. If you think those things are less important than whether or not a person’s naughty bits dangle, hell, you’d probably believe a guy rose from dead.