On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will begin deliberations on two cases that could have a material impact on gay marriage in the United States. One involves two gay and lesbian couples seeking to marry in California, and in another, a lesbian widow is seeking federal benefits in New York. Ironically, the state of California and the federal government are defendants in these cases. Yet, both entities have publicly stated that they are not supportive of existing laws.
In California, Proposition 8 is the target. Prop 8 is a 2008 referendum banning gay marriage. The state government led by Governor Jerry Brown “has refused to defend the statute, leaving its proponents to mount a defense [with the Supreme Court].”
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a “1996 law that denies benefits to married same-sex spouses,” is under attack by a lesbian widow who is seeking the return of $363,000 of estate taxes paid when her spouse past away in 2009. Both President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have taken the plaintiff's side.
In a USA Today article titled “The Voices Against Gay Marriage,” I sought out the reasons why several individuals mentioned in the story are actively fighting against the tidal wave of public support for same-sex marriages. In the interest of full disclosure, I have written a number of essays supporting gay marriage on this site and in other venues.
The issues and other factors that are supportive of more tolerance relating to gay marriages are plentiful, in my opinion. Gays should have a right to pick whoever they wish to love. Yet achieving marital happiness is a liberty that is currently not available to millions of gay couples throughout the U.S. To date, I have not been able to find any compelling reasons why gays should not be permitted to marry. When I saw this article I thought maybe I could ascertain substantive arguments of those against gay marriage.
Several people were interviewed in the article, including a Catholic Archbishop, the head of the Family Research Council, the president of Concerned Women for America, a conservative black pastor, and an evangelical New York State Senator.
I extracted comments made by these people in opposition of same-sex marriage. Here are some of them:
- “The effort [to deny same-sex marriages] combines a respect or ancient civilizations and an understanding of modern families.”
- “A society that is careless about getting fathers and mothers together to raise their children in one loving family is causing enormous heartache.”
- “I go from a biblical standpoint and a social standpoint, knowing the damage that has already been done to the black family . . . the threat of same-sex marriage represents another nail in the coffin for black families.”
- “We just don’t know where it’s [same-sex marriage] going.”
- “There will be collateral damage to other freedoms if gay marriage proliferates.”
- “And to say that children do not need a mother and a father is simply a lie.”
You may be puzzled by these quotes which represent the sum and substance of arguments made by very strong opponents of same-sex marriages. For one thing they are oblique and do not address the controversy straight on. References to heterosexual families, to the Bible, to unrelated discrimination, and predictions of dire societal problems do not prove anything.
Opponents of gay marriage would be wise to organize their efforts and present a leader, who can make compelling statements that prove non-traditional marriage is harmful to our society. Frankly, I am skeptical there is such a person and that there are significant reasons to object to same-sex marriage. So the beat will go on, and all gays in this country will soon have the freedom of choice they deserve and equal rights with all other Americans. Hopefully, Supreme Court deliberations will be the beginning of the end of discrimination against gays.