In Court Victories for Gay Marriage, Signs of the Longer War to Come

While Wednesday's Supreme Court rulings won federal recognition for same-sex couples and will allow them to marry in California, a majority of states still ban the practice

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Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling during a community rally in West Hollywood, Calif., on June 26, 2013.

Gay rights groups treated the news as a historic accomplishment, proof that full marriage equality under the law could be as close as the next case to reach the Supreme Court. Scalia is worried they are right. “How easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status,” he wrote.

But the immediate result of Wednesday’s decision will be more fighting, not a clear-cut path for victory for gay rights supporters. After all, gay marriage is still illegal in a majority of states. Until the Supreme Court decides to rule on a case that clearly tests whether those bans are permitted, the fight will take place in the states, one by one.

Gay marriage advocates have enjoyed a string of important victories in state politics recently, but bans on same-sex unions have a much better electoral track record overall. And despite Scalia’s concerns, the court had a chance, in its second case, to clarify the question of gay marriage for good. It stepped aside instead.

The case came out of California where U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled for the first time that the U.S. Constitution forbade a state from banning gay marriage. Voters in 2008 had approved Proposition 8, which changed the state constitution to ban gay marriage.

(MOREReligious Groups React to Gay Marriage Rulings)

Former George W. Bush Administration solicitor general Theodore Olson and Boies joined together to challenge Prop 8 in federal court, a move that gay rights activists at the time thought was tremendously risky given the conservative makeup of the court and strong public disapproval of gay marriage at the time. But in a brilliant display of lawyering, Boies and Olson presented witness after witness that argued the ban on gay marriage was motivated mainly by animus toward gays and unfounded notions that children do better when raised by straight parents. They won a clear victory at trial. When newly elected Gov. Jerry Brown and other state officials refused to appeal the decision, the group of activists that had successfully launched the Prop 8 ballot initiative sought permission to appeal in their place.

On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for a 5-4 majority, ruling that the Prop 8 proponents lacked standing to sue and dismissed the case on that technicality. That left in tact the lower court’s decision, clearing the way for California couples to marry, probably within a month.

But in a sign of things to come, the proponents vowed Wednesday to fight technicality with technicality, and seek to delay gay marriage in areas where local officials may be willing to risk legal challenge by denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

(MOREObama: Supreme Court Gay Marriage Ruling Righted A Wrong)

Brown and other officials, for their part, vowed to enforce Walker’s decision. And elsewhere, the American Civil Liberties Union announced a new drive to win Republican political support for expanding gay marriage rights in states where it is currently illegal.

A day after the biggest gay rights legal decisions in a decade, all that’s clear is gay marriage supporters won a battle on Wednesday. There will be a lot more fighting, in the courts and in the statehouses, before the war is over. “In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated,” Scalia wrote. “Some will rejoice in today’s decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better.”

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45 comments
chokingkojak
chokingkojak

Overheard an intern at my office say this the other day:  

"Marry?  I ain't getting married.  What, you think I'm gay or something?"  


Channah
Channah

We are now back to what I think should happen--been saying it for years.  Marriage should not be an issue of the church, but of the state.  In many countries, a couple marries in a civil government ceremony and then-IF they want-they go to a church to have the church sanction the marriage.  The church has no say over the conditions of the marriage and who can and cannot be married.  The church ''rules'' too many state legislatures.  It surely does here in Indiana!  They are even talking about changing our State Constitution to say marriage can only be between a man and a woman.  The Constitution is to protect ALL of us and not just some of us.

And, I do want to add-----------the Supreme Court has us heading the right direction.

roknsteve
roknsteve

Why are conservatives such experts on perversion?  Why can they keep getting married and divorced many times?  Why?  Because conservatives are phonies.   

eagle11772
eagle11772

For all of those that are against  EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS for LGBT Americans, such as myself, please explain, in detail, how the marriage of my 2 gay friends, Tom Schmidt, and Billy O'Shaughnessy of Queens Village, N.Y., who are now a married couple, has adversely affected your life.  Please give 3 specific examples of the harm you have suffered because of their marriage.  Thank You.

He_Has_Failed
He_Has_Failed

This ruling creates a Mexican standoff between the Church and State.  The next logical activism step for gays is to force the Churches to marry them, most of which won't.  Churches will be sued for some twisted form of 'discrimination', which will then pit them against the State, who is Constitutionally forced to stay the hell out of the Churches, but can't because of the law.  Then what?

Crash69
Crash69

Our appeal to the 5th and 14th amendments was met with somewhat mixed results.  No worries, we'll get another chance soon enough (I'm looking at you, Ohio!)

But I think before that happens, we will appeal to the 'Full Faith and Credit' clause to get Tennessee to recognize marriages performed in Vermont!  Wouldn't that be a hoot!  Tennessee, and states that have codified bigotry into their States' constitutions will face challenges and the court will have to agree - the same way they did in Loving v. Virginia - that marriage is a constitutionally guaranteed right

SamSpade1
SamSpade1

The "bigots' are the GBLTs (3.8% of the population) who use the courts to spit on democracy. Marriage has always been between one man and one woman for the procreation & raising of children for the continuation of society. To change this simply to satisfy the shrill demands of a tiny minority group of self-obsessed narcissists will ultimately lead to the dissolution of marriage as a meaningful institution. Even in those countries where same sex marriage is legal, only a tiny fraction of GBLTs actually tie the knot anyway, so the absurdly named "marriage "equality" is not the burning issue that homosexual activists claim. In Canada, where same sex marriage has been legal since 2005, marriage "equality"' accounts for a mere one-third of one percent of all marriages annually. Nor is it a "civil right" that can be compared to the struggle of black people in the 1960s. Homosexuals were not hunted down, clasped in chains, torn from their families, their homeland, robbed of their culture, sold into slavery and treated worse than livestock. Homosexuals were never denied the right to vote, forced to use separate public toilets, or made to sit at the back of the bus. Black people could not hide the color of their skin, but homosexuals could hide in the closet. At least they had somewhere to hide!

However, given the horrifically high rate of HIV/AIDS among homosexual & bisexual men in the USA as revealed by the CDC (63% and climbing, with another one-third already infected but won't know it until they become chronically ill) , there will be relatively few of them left in another 30 years to tie the knot anyway.  Even in countries where GBLT rights are fully protected by law,  they suffer from a much higher percentage of mental health issues, poorer health and shortened lifespans. In the USA, the CDC can barely track homosexual men over the age of 65. By age 75 they are very few and far between. How many gays over 80 do you know?

As for those awful, hateful, bigoted Christians, they will be the least of your problems in 30 years from now. Islam is growing in the West at a frightening rate.  Gay American author Bruce Bawer has seen this problem up close. Across the continent—in Amsterdam, Oslo, Copenhagen, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Stockholm—he encountered large, rapidly expanding Muslim enclaves in which women were oppressed and abused, homosexuals persecuted and killed, “infidels” threatened and vilified, Jews demonized and attacked, barbaric traditions (such as honor killing and forced marriage) widely practiced, and freedom of speech and religion firmly repudiated by "liberal" governments who have sold out to political correctness and multiculturalism; both which are used by radical Islamists to further their ever-tightening grip on the societies that allow them to thrive.  Even in swinging London, gay bars and clubs have shut down, the east London Pride parade was cancelled in 2010 in order to avoid inflaming tensions with local Muslims, and gay & lesbian residents of certain areas have fled in the face of growing Islamic populations, and Muslim parents in the UK have successfully forced public schools to remove children's books that promote same sex parenting.  Do you really think that American Muslims will tolerate pride parades and same sex couples to live in areas where Muslim populations are growing? Just try to have a Pride parade in Deerborn, Michigan, home to the biggest Arab-Muslim population in the country, and see how far you get.  

So go right ahead  have your pride parade and make fools of yourselves. Enjoy it while you can. Because 30 years from now, you'll be praying to find a Christian church open where you can take sanctuary, as the mosques continue to pop up all over a nation where the word "freedom" will one day become a quaint memory. Your enemies are closer than you think,  and the gays and lesbians of Europe and the UK have already discovered this to their horror.

The worst part of it is, there is absolutely nothing  you can to do about it.  

FrankBlank
FrankBlank

Court blew it and the case serves as an illustration of the hypocrisy of the right wing dullards who are always whining about the constitution.  There are dozens of laws, state and federal, tightly bound up with marriage.  The constitution guarantees all people in all states, even the stupid states, equal protection under the law.  To deny marriage to a group of people is to deny them access to, benefit from, and protection by those laws.  It's unconstitutional on its face.   

jrp77sen
jrp77sen

Challenge accepted. Bring it on bigots. I will always remain intolerant towards those who seek to deny rights to others.

Karl
Karl

The media and public are celebrating this as a victory for gay rights - which it is. But the Supreme court decided the case as one limiting the power of the federal government to interfere with how a state (there are exactly fifty of them) defines marriage So if a state says two people are married in Idaho Congress can't constitutionally pass a law refusing to legally recognize Idaho marriages, ie in the area of immigration, taxation, green cards, whatever rights traditional married couples have Congress can't pass a law refusing those rights to a class of married couples in states that allow gay marriage To the Supreme Court, the same court which on similar grounds, basically, tossed the voting rights act because it infringes on the rights of states to decide who is a legal voter in say, Idaho, Results that had vastly different  reactions from the same public ironically were decided on the same  interpretation of the Constitution. It would be of help to the public to know the constitutional interpretation that lies behind these opinions. But in the USA there may not be that level of traditional constitutional education among publishers, editors and journalists and there certainly isn't among the public. This is a federal union not a unitary state like France  It would be helpful if the public were given more than a slick, uneducated look at what's going on in the Supreme Court but I think the press, maybe more here than in other European settled countries behaves more and more like the press in the days of the Robber barons when rich men like Randolph Hearst (Citizen Kane) ruled the press. The USA has not only gotten more crowded, internationally diverse and less White since the 50's it has lost the notion that there are educated opinions on subjects that need to be relayed to the public or which at least the elites, such as the better press, strive to understand.  In that sense we've become more like say a big banana republic that is in the process of changing from what it was into something new. Change is the only thing that can be counted on.

DavidPettinicchio
DavidPettinicchio

The intersection of cultural and institutional environments (whether supportive or obstructive) shapes social movement mobilization around marriage equality. This includes the extent to which movements have access to political elites, the extent to which LGBT groups mobilize resources, whether they have helped shift public opinion in favor of marriage equality or whether they are up against unfavorable public preferences (as might be the case in France). Another important contextual characteristic is countermovement mobilization. That is, how do pro-gay marriage activists contend with often powerful and resource-rich forces against gay marriage (as has been the case in the U.S., and, given anti-gay marriage protests beginning last year, France)?

Read More: http://mobilizingideas.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/cross-national-gay-marriage-politics-and-the-context-of-activism/

wrp136
wrp136

Yet another group of Americans trying to achieve full citizenship.......how DARE they?????

maberlin01
maberlin01

Any extended battle over Marriage Equality will be fought in red states as there is no way opponents will be able muster any political clout in the states where the laws have changed, or in the Federal Government.  There has not been nor is there likely to ever be, any negative social impact (or negative impact on heterosexual marriage) from marriage equality, so there is no basis for any popular backlash or rollback of laws.  On the contrary; wherever marriage equality has been legalized, acceptance and approval has grown.

The war may not be over, but the end is near, and opponents of marriage equality should focus on living their own lives rather than interfering with the lives of others.

smehgol
smehgol

As a group, in comparison with normal men, male homosexuals are more promiscuous, spread more disease, and are convicted of more sexual offenses. In recruiting adolescents, they represent gender as a choice. As teachers or other authority figures they are skilled recruiters. They prevent children and grandchildren. To most men, flaunted male homosexuality is repulsive. Strait is normal and good for the species. No regrets. No apologies.

czsommers
czsommers

Justice "Argle-Bargle" Scalia is cementing his place in history as one of the worst Supreme Court Justices ever to don the robe. He is a judicial world-renowned, complete laughingstock. He cites little case law to support his decisions. He instead rants like a five year old who didn't get a nap. An embarrassment to judges everywhere.

LMills259
LMills259

Scalia is the most embarrassingly un-self-knowing public figure I can think of.  When he loses, he rails against the galling presumptions of the people who beat him.  When he wins, he never sees that smug, gloating self-satisfied behavior in himself.  And I really don't think he sees how delighted we are to see him lose his cool when he's thwarted.  Too bad, Justice S.  How many times have you shown your delight in pressing  people's hot buttons?  Well, my friend, if you dish it out, you'd better learn to take it.

vgupta123
vgupta123

@eagle11772 Are you ok with a man marrying two women or a women marrying two men? Or two men marrying two women (group marriage)?

If not, please give some examples of harm you might suffer from such a marriage.

PaulHanson
PaulHanson

@He_Has_Failed Churches have the right to deny marriage to whomever they want; they aren't beholden to civil laws.

roknsteve
roknsteve

@He_Has_Failed Real people don't want to get married in hate-filled churches.  Real people don't live by stories written 3,000 years ago.  Are you going to live in 2013 or 1,000 B.C.?

Channah
Channah

@Crash69 They are talking about changing our State Constitution to say marriage can be between only a man and a woman.  This is here in holier than thou bigoted Indiana.  Then, the State Legislature has pushed and pushed for their ''holy'' laws-----Jesus prayers in their meetings, anti evolution supporters in the schools, pushing so many rights against women and their bodies as far as reproduction goes, etc.,.  I hate to say I am from Indiana--embarrassing!

eagle11772
eagle11772

@Crash69 I've been saying for YEARS (and getting ridiculed constantly by others for it, although we're on the same side), that the U.S. Constitution's "Full Faith and Credit" clause OBVIOUSLY applies here, making ANY marriage in ANY state legal in ALL jurisdictions in the U.S.

demej00
demej00

@SamSpade1 I'm mostly with you Sam - I'm from Dearborn. I think a Christian does have a responsibility to legally stand against homosexuality, Islam and abortion where they may. Yet, our timeline, though insensible to unbelievers, stretches far into the future - whereas atheists just have the now. (I know they simmer at our faith in God - oh well.)

Ahu
Ahu

@SamSpade1  The three people who responded to you have said nothing about your argument. They just made assumptions about where your facts came from and attacked you personally. Heaven forbid what you said is your personal option. 

Also, anyone else stop and think about how a homosexual gene is completely counter to the evolutionary process? Preventing reproduction is the worst possible outcome in the development of a species. So, of all the non-advantage things to be eliminated from our DNA, wouldn't the homosexual gene be the first to go?

rococo
rococo

@SamSpade1 It must hurt to be both as wrong and as dense as you are. And to be so flamboyant about it. Almost unbelievable, but here you are.

jeffrey.davis728
jeffrey.davis728

@SamSpade1 Sam, you show how hateful and ignorant religionists are. One of the most satisfying aspects of the same-sex marriage debate is to witness how transparently malicious "people of faith" really are, when they struggle to impose their fairy tale beliefs on normal people. You know, you get to live in a country that has carved out a safe space so you can believe in talking snakes and floods and Caspar, the holy ghost. Yet you don't have the decency to afford such tolerance to others. Quite a pity.

maberlin01
maberlin01

@SamSpade1 Pretty much every fact you state in your hysterical rant is false.  You need to stop tuning in to World Net Daily.  That crap that Joseph Farah spouts will melt your brain.

He_Has_Failed
He_Has_Failed

@FrankBlank Marriage is not 'denied' to gays.  Of course they can marry...they just can't marry someone of the same sex.

gneissguy
gneissguy

@Karl The reason that people are so upset about the Voting Rights Act is that those states covered under preclearance have a history of pervasive discriminatory practices and continue to attempt to implement them.  Justice Scalia thinks the right to vote is a racial entitlement.

Channah
Channah

@smehgol 

You are an absolute idiot.  No one is turned gay.  They are born that way.  Their feelings and genetic makeup is made that way.

And, oh!  it is ''straight'' and not ''strait''.  They mean two different things.  Look them up in the dictionary.

JeffJankowiak
JeffJankowiak

@smehgol People like you never seem to amaze me.  You make broad statements condemning another person with no facts to back it up.  You are just a evil person which has access to a keyboard.

betsys2003
betsys2003

@smehgol I'm unaware of any studies suggesting that gay men are convicted of more sexual offenses than straight men. More promiscuous - this may be true, but unless you want to date one of them monogamously, I don't see how it's any of your business. Also, that may be partly due to a cultural history where there monogamous relationships were not respected. I will be interested to see what happens in a few decades with men who have grown up with the right to marriage. Nobody recruits adolescents. Not teachers. Not any gay men. Gay men, like most people, want partners who are willing and want them back. I don't know what "gender as a choice" means - do you mean that most gay people also support transgender rights? Or do you mean that some gay men are more feminine than you'd rather they be, despite identifying as men? Again, not sure why that affects you at all. Plenty of gay men have kids, now, too. In fact, I think allowing legal marriage is increasing this - so if that's one of your problems with gay men, you should be supporting legal marriage as increasing their procreation. Straight may be the norm, but so is right-handedness and we don't legislate that away.

Also, gay men are only half of the gay population. If you're worried about promiscuity and disease, gay women are LESS likely to be promiscuous or spread STDs than straight people. And it's even easier for them to have children related to at least one of them biologically. You can't deny marriage rights to gay men and grant them to gay women. And it's absurd to deny marriage rights to gay women based on stereotypes about gay men. I imagine you're okay with gay women because of some porn fantasy. People should only be together if you find the thought of it sexually appealing? Sorry, but that's not how we base rights. "I think it's icky and repulsive" is not an acceptable reason to deny rights.

czsommers
czsommers

@smehgol Your silly and inaccurate homophobic rantings are a complete joke. It's 2013, not 1913. Gays, lesbians, bi-sexual and trans-gendered people make up about 15% (probably more) of the world's population. Deal with it. There is no such thing as a completely straight (correct spelling) species anywhere in nature, including humans. And BTW, multiple psychological studies have shown that people who hate homosexuality the most are fighting their own homosexual tendencies. Come out of the closet, you'll feel happier.

gpaucek
gpaucek

Real people know what a vagina is for,ACE!!!!

roknsteve
roknsteve

@demej00 @SamSpade1 Let's see, you believe in talking snakes, invisible devils, virgin birth.  And you think you are the normal person and everybody else isn't.  Your mind is so narrow I can see right thru your head.

Karl
Karl

@gneissguy @Karl I'm from Mississippi County Arkansas and went to a White only public school for a while and rode the train to Chicago in a White only car. I'm 63. I repeat;  Change is the only thing that can be counted on. When and where I come from the difference between a Black President and a homosexual President would have been negligable. So fasten your seat belt. The ride will be bumpy and take us places we may or may not want to go.

Shogdoggydoo
Shogdoggydoo

@czsommersNot to be a party pooper, but you didn't refute anything he said.  All you did was pander to emotion and call him gay.

Karl
Karl

@gpaucek you funny. Real people know what other things can be used for too. Sexy things.  Even feet and that's yucky.

khamsin64
khamsin64

@BRwoman @ColemanAbbott @smehgol Never say never. Maybe not in your lifetime but it will happen, barring some terrible catastrophe that wipes your state off the map, The world has moved on, and the only alternative to forward progress is eventual extinction.