Gay Marriage 2013: Opponents Of Same-Sex Marriage Begin Stumbling Out Of the Closet
The Supreme Court's timing is on point. Announcing the highly-anticipated DOMA and Prop 8 decisions while many LGBTQ folks were celebrating Pride was seriously convenient. But LGBTQ folks and allies should not be so quick to celebrate — unless you live in California, which already legalized same-sex marriage in 2008.
The Republican supporters of California's same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8, were found to lack standing to bring the case to court, which opened the door for marriage equality to resume. The lines at the county clerk offices have never been so long. Sponsors of the marriage ban claimed that the Supreme Court had 22 days to reconsider their decision and filed an emergency motion to halt same-sex marriages on Saturday, only to have it denied on Sunday.
The Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as being between a man and woman, was ruled unconstitutional. This takes this discriminatory law off the books, but does nothing for the states with same-sex marriage bans. And if you live in one of the 13 states or D.C. that recognizes same-sex marriages, congrats.
Republicans — who are already scrambling for the support of women and people of color — decided to continue to alienate yet another identity group by making it their job to institutionalize discrimination against LGBTQ folks. Late Friday night, Republican Representative Tim Huelskamp (Kan.) and 28 conservative cosponsors have introduced a federal constitutional amendment in the House of Representatives to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Not to mentio that House Republicans spent $2.3 million dollars of taxpayer money defending DOMA. While Republicans are more than 2x more likely to oppose gay marriage, Republicans are not single-issue voters, and quite a few prominent Republicans have come out in support of gay marriage. Let's not forget the pink elephant in the room: some Republicans are gay.
Support for same-sex marriage has increased steadily over the last year. We saw an increase from 53% to 55% in less than a month before the Supreme Court decisions were announced. More importantly, more people than ever are taking action around LGBTQ rights, even if it is just changing their Facebook icon. With over half of Americans supporting same-sex marriage, the increase in queer visibility in media, and a slew of openly-out elected officials, the LGBT movement is building collective power regardless of how intense the effort is to deny us our rights.
This battle will likely be taken to a state level, where supporters and opponents will battle it out in the state legislatures or through ballot initiatives regardless of the current popular recognition of same-sex marriage. It can be difficult to wait for policy to catch up with popular culture and opinion, but in the case of same-sex marriage, it seems that the two are progressing at the same rate. The American public is ready to get back to work and would appreciate if lawmakers would focus on things that uplift people and the economy rather than creating a second class in society. Same-sex marriage is the first, and honestly not the most important, step for full LGBTQ equality, and attempts to stall progress will be met with fierce opposition.