March 26th, 2013

Me 2012

Marriage and Culture

I read a rather mediocre opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, on the subject of gay marriage. The author favored the Supreme Court staying quiet on the question and letting states decide one-by-one instead. The one interesting argument in the essay was 'legislation resolves issues: judicial rulings bury them'.

The main thing that makes this interesting is Roe vs Wade, which protected the right to abortion forty years ago -- but the country remains split even now, and a surprisingly even split at that, over whether or not abortion should be forbidden/restricted.

It feels to me like, one way or another, gay marriage is going to be accepted and legal in most if not all of the US within the next 10-20 years. Despite some early legislative opposition, the tide seems to have turned now, and I think that turn is permanent, just like the turn in favor of mixed-race marriages in an earlier era. This is the right side of history, however people may feel about it now. I am very happy about it, myself.

That Roe vs Wade analogy does make me wonder if the method by which it becomes legal will make a difference in the long run. Probably not -- I don't think it made a difference with anti-miscegenation laws, which were also overturned by courts. But it's an odd idea to contemplate, that letting a question be settled at the ballot box might promote a more lasting transformation in civil society. Or that judicial rulings might prevent the same. It has a certain resonance as an idea, a feeling of truth, though I don't know that there's any evidence it is.