Get On the Right Side Of History and Support Gay Marriage

Here is a simple premise: Gay Marriage is going to happen, nationwide, at some point in the future. Those who oppose it today, for whatever reason, will be looked back on as, at best, wrong and misguided, and at worst, they will be looked back on as bigots. This will happen. It has already happened with so many other civil rights in America. Looking at the broad stroke of history, civil rights have not always prospered. In America’s past, the arc of history is clear. America trends towards more civil freedoms. 

No matter what happens in this Supreme Court case, whether it becomes Plessy v. Ferguson or Brown v. Board, gay people in America will get the right to marry. Every pundit or politician who stands against this institution will back track — they already are. Whatever your reasons for not wanting people of the same sex to marry, be they constitutional or moral, you will regret them at some point in your life. Get on the right side of history. 

This may seem a simple argument. It only obliquely addresses the main issues of gay marriage. There are many technical and philosophical issues at stake that won’t be addressed here. Those opposed are probably so dogged in whatever arguments they have solidified in their head that they will abhor this notion. Those are the same people who in 1967 might have objected to interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia. In 1967, they went on about “state’s rights” or “tradition” or “morality” or “family”, and at the time those statements seemed rational. Those same arguments are being used against gay marriage today. Looking back at them, we cringe and wholly condemn them. If you are using these arguments against gay marriage today, you will join the ranks of opponents of Loving v. Virginia in the history books. Even worse for you, today is not like 1967 where most people just said stuff to each other. Today, it’s all written and saved in some form of media. People will be able to know your views and you will regret them.

Some may believe that gay people aren’t all that immoral; they just shouldn’t marry.  It’s a license issue or it’s a religious issue or they can get the same thing without the loaded term “marriage.” The notion of marriage isn’t in itself a civil rights issue.  It’s only a license, after all. But it has become a touchstone issue for gay rights.  It is the issue. This lifts it squarely into the realm of civil rights. Don’t think you can be cool with homosexuals and not be on the side of gay marriage.  Now take a look at modern TV or ask 100 opinions of people under 30 and you will easily see that homosexuality will be wholly accepted at some point. Eighty-one of those 100 people under 30 will tell you that they support gay marriage. That means in 30 years, when they are making up the bulk of our elected officials on the hill and in state houses, gay marriage will be legal. Those who are opposed now will either “come around” or slip sly anti-gay remarks way past the point where that’s cool. Like some super sweet grandmothers talking about the “blacks” in her neighborhood. Don’t be that grandma. 

Strom Thurmond pled for “states rights” to keep segregation intact. Boy, he regretted that in the end. Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote the majority decision in the Dred Scott case saying Africans-Americans were not citizens. Infamy. Eighty-nine Congressmen and 25 senators voted against the 19th Amendment (women weren’t mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, you know). They look stupid now. But Woodrow Wilson, who thought Universal Suffrage was “at the foundation of every evil in this country,” changed his mind. He had a sense of history or at least smelled the roses enough not to be the President who was opposed to the 19th Amendment. The same is happening now, with most Democratic politicians and even some Republicans coming out in support.

Those still against are letting shortsighted beliefs affect their decisions. They think their traditional way of life should stand or specific constitutional issues should rule the day. They have no sense of historicity. At the time, it didn’t seem obvious that these issues would follow the arc of American history. It took 42 years for the 19th Amendment to pass. At the time, people were making “rational” decisions against civil liberties. Now they are stains on the American story. Get on the right side of history.