DOMA and Prop 8 are history. Tony Perkins is a sad panda.

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.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Zinc Avenger

    We thought there would be no disastrous consequences. We were wrong. So wrong.

    Sixteen people have been washed away and are presumed drowned in the tears of bigots this morning alone.

    • Park James

      Damnation! I made a (bad) bigot tear joke before I saw yours, which is better. You win the day!

  • Jasper

    “redefine natural marriage”

    What the heck is natural marriage? Is there some Natural Government with Natural Marriage Licenses that are typed up on Natural Typewriters or Natural Computers?

    • Keane Sanders

      It’s like marriage, only “organic”, with out preservatives or harmful chemicals.

      • Zinc Avenger

        Curse you Keane Sanders, that was my low-hanging fruit!

    • Zinc Avenger

      “Natural marriage”, like “organic food”, is derived from a source rich in manure.

    • Glodson

      Natural marriage is marriage that doesn’t make baby Jesus cry.

      Source: Mike Huckabee. May he forgive us all.

      • Jasper

        Uh. It shouldn’t be a surprise to Huckabee that the Constitution comes before Majority Rule. This isn’t exactly a recent concept.

        • Glodson

          I think that part of his brain exists in a strange parallel universe where these thoughts would make sense.

      • islandbrewer

        Wow. The responses to Mike Huckabee are awesome!

        Ahhh, the sweet sweet flavor of shadenfreude.

        • Glodson

          Those reactions were like the reverse of comments on Yahoo News and Youtube. Those comments, mostly, made me feel a bit more confident in mankind.

      • JTEberhard

        Of course it made baby Jesus cry. Crying is what babies do when they don’t get their way.

        • Glodson

          That’s not fair! Jesus isn’t really like that!
          He’s entirely fictional, so any depiction of Jesus is valid. My religious beliefs hold that Jesus likes the high five Brahma every time gay people have gay sex.

    • Savoy47

      After the religious bigots had their asses handed to them every time they tried to champion “Biblical Marriage” they retreated to Natural Marriage as the next ditch for them to defend. The “word of god” couldn’t get the job done for them so now they think Mother Nature will. It’s a big victory for the non-religious side whenever the “word of god” is laughed out of the debate.

    • islandbrewer

      Oh yes, “natural marriage” like the kind found in nature:

  • TCC

    I agree with you on the overblown predictions. Case in point for me: I had a student two years ago who did a persuasive speech on why gays should not serve openly in the military (which amusingly coincided almost perfectly with the repeal of DADT), and she decided to revisit the topic for her senior research paper. Despite starting out thinking that repeal would be disastrous, she found very quickly that all of the research went the opposite way and ended up writing a paper that was drastically different than her earlier speech. More and more, even among the conservative rural kids I teach, attitudes are shifting. You’ve lost the culture war, Perkins. Move on already.

  • invivoMark

    I was wondering what happened to my innate sense of morality. Now all I want to do is have hot sweaty sex with lots of men and eat babies all day.

  • Glodson

    The best thing about this is that it is a solid step towards equality.

    The second best thing, and admittedly a distance second, is seeing bigots lose their minds.

    • Park James

      For me it’s second, but not quite as distant. I have a rare disease that can only be treated by the tears of bigots, and this ruling provided enough tears to fill the 500 gallon tank in my back yard.

      • Zinc Avenger

        How do you separate the tears from the exploded head brain splatter?

        • Drakk

          What brain splatter?

          • Zinc Avenger

            It is what I’m charitably calling the fatty grey substance that they use to stop their skulls from collapsing under the weight of their ignorance.

  • islandbrewer

    The fight for marriage equality isn’t over.

    As a Californian, I like the Prop 8 ruling. I have a few pedantic nit-picky legal concerns, but if I voice them, there will be a collective eye roll at me

    While the DOMA ruling is great and all, keep in mind that there are two big portions of DOMA, and only one got overturned.

    Federal benefits must now be conferred to same sex spouses. That’s Section 3 of DOMA getting overturned.

    Section 2 of DOMA allows states to violate the Full Faith and Credit Clause and not recognize SSM from other states. Keep in mind that states are required by the constitution to recognize (nearly) all heterosexual marriages, even if they violate their own state laws (based on age, being first cousins, being Yankees fans or whatever). Changing the gender of one of the spouses allows the states to carve out an exception to this requirement.

    (Section 1 of DOMA is a lot of definitions and legislative introductions and mumbo jumbo, if you’re wondering.)

    So, we’re not entirely there yet, but it’s only a matter of time, and I’m a firm believer that social justice only increases over time, despite conservative resistance and doomsaying and setbacks once in a while.

    • baal

      I’m not exactly happy about the prop 8 use of ‘standing’. A better legal rule would have been to say that prop8 was unconstitutional (i.e. the people via plebocite may not pass violations of equal protection (and that prop 8 was a violation of equal protection)).

      • invivoMark

        It isn’t the best possible outcome, to be sure. But I don’t think anyone realistically expected them to rule in the best way possible. If they did, then they haven’t been paying attention to this Supreme Court.

        I think we should be happy with the ruling we got. It helps a lot of people right now, and the way is clear for other states to follow suit (as they will continue to do).

        • baal

          I don’t mean to be overly down, I’m very happy with the outcome and the likely utility of even this State specific ruling to the rest of the country. I happen to have legal training and wish courts (especially SCT) would use the merits of a case more often.

      • islandbrewer

        Because of my legal brainwashing, I actually think that the ruling on standing is entirely appropriate, but I am disappointed that the SC didn’t actually get to make any statements on the merits. Also, consider the fact that the standing issue basically states that the appellant (the anti-SSM crowd) are not at all affected by same sex marriage, and therefore can’t whine about it in a legal sense, because it has nothing to do with them.

        Even though the ruling only affects California, it can be cited as a “persuasive precedent” in other Federal cases, although it’s not controlling. If another District Court, either inside or outside the 9th, rules in a contradictory manner than Judge Vaughn Walker, then there are grounds to appeal the case to “cure the discrepancy.”

        The original district court case is worth a read, even for non-lawyers. My favorite part is the judges Findings of Fact (in other words, things that the court takes as fact that the parties can’t argue against):

        Warning: big file.

  • Feminerd
  • Stev84

    The Full Faith and Credit Clause actually does not apply to laws. Mostly to court judgments. There is already a public policy exemption that allows states to ignore any law from another state they really don’t like.

    It’s an outdated, highly absurd, and completely impractical situation for a modern country, but it’s the mess created by history.

    • Glodson

      It does apply to things like marriage licenses. If my wife moved from our state to another, we wouldn’t have to get remarried or anything else. They will honor our marriage from the original state. We still get the benefits from our marriage.
      DOMA still allows states to ignore the marriages from outside the state, provided it is a marriage between two people of the same sex. This still flies in the face of the Full Faith and Credit Clause, as well as the Equal Protection clause, as gay people are denied the same treatment as straight people when moving from state to state.

  • Robin Gregory-Stewart

    I have wondered about the “Full Faith and Credit” clause as it pertains to this for years, but this is the first time I have seen it addressed anywhere in print. I have long thought that someone should challenge laws against same-sex marriage on that basis. And yes, I agree that it is only a step in the right direction, but what a fine step it is!

  • Rebecca Hensler

    The consequences are disastrous for those who continue to attempt to teach children to hate or pity. Every day a larger percentage of American youth of all cultures, ethnicities, religions and classes come to know happy, healthy, ethical and supportive lesbian, gay, bi, trans and otherwise queer people. Often they learn of our LGB identities by asking about or meeting our partners. For the youth I work with, “Ms. Hensler has a wife,” is simply an ordinary fact. And therein lies the danger for those who would keep those children ignorant.

  • Booya Bible

    Marriage is between one woman and her gay husband. – Michelle Bachman

  • Rain

    “Their refusal to redefine marriage for all states is a major setback for those seeking to redefine natural marriage,”

    For a guy who is a panda, he sure doesn’t observe “nature” very well.

  • Alan Gilfoy

    The second part of the Full Faith And Credit Clause (Article 4 Section 1) says “And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such
    acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.” As much as I disagree with DOMA Section 2, it can be considered Constitutional within that caveat.