January 06, 2010

Would a Supreme Court Ruling In Favor of Same-Sex Marriage Be a Bad Thing For LGBT People?

That's the interesting take from Gay Patriot, a gay conservitive blog (hat tip to CommonComrades on Twitter).  We think they raise some interesting points, but we believe that ultimately the pros still strongly outweigh the cons.

...take heed to the results of a little 1973 Supreme Court decisions, Roe v. Wade. There, the court removed the issue of abortion from elected legislatures and overturned their bans on the practice. And as a result, for the past thirty-six years, abortion has become a divisive social issue.

And back then, some states were already moving to legalize the practice (just as some are moving today to recognize gay marriage). If federal courts mandate state recognition of gay marriage, gay marriage will become a political football like abortion, forever dividing us. Mr. Frum should recall that gay marriage first became a political football in the 1990s shortly after the Hawai’i Supreme Court ruled that its state “statute limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is presumed to be unconstitutional“, remanding the case to lower courts to see if there were compelling “state interests” which justified the ban. Three years later, a trial court found that there were none.

The same year, Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Two years after that, Hawai’i voters amended their state’s constitution to limit marriage to opposite sex couples. A raft of state referenda with goals similar to the Aloha State initiative followed. In this century, the Goodridge decision in Massachusetts mandating that the Bay State legislature recognize same-sex marriages led to a similar flood of state initiatives limiting state recognized marriage to its traditional definition.

In short, court-mandated recognition of same-sex marriage only serves to further social divisions. To avoid such divisions, gay marriage advocates should first convince the people of the merits of expanding the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. That is why it is better to move this issue through legislatures. And given last month’s election returns, it would be better to move incrementally, first pushing civil unions for which there seems to be significant support (at least in the nation’s coastal regions).
Click here to read the rest of the post and join in what you can imagine is a very spirited discussion.

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