News & Politics

Titanic as Marriage Equality Metaphor

If I were a political cartoonist, the metaphor I would use to illustrate the current status of the epic same-sex marriage battle would be the sinking of the Titanic.

The Titanic representing outright opposition to marriage equality;

The iceberg breaching the Titanic’s hull represents SCOTUS’s 2013 Windsor decision declaring pivotal portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional;

Photo Credit: pixgood.com

Photo Credit: pixgood.com

The front half of the Titanic represents the 35 states (and Washington, DC) whose laws barring same-sex marriage were struck down after the iceberg hit. It sank when SCOTUS refused to review any cases granting marriage equality in those states.

Several marriage equality opponents, like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, managed to escape to life rafts, staring back at the scene with horror but respecting gravity’s “rule of law” and its pull on the sinking bow.

500px-Titanic_lifeboat

Titanic Lifeboat (Photo Credit: wikipedia)

The rear half of the ship that stayed afloat represents the Sixth Circuit, the first and only federal appellate court to uphold same-sex marriage bans after the iceberg hit.

With SCOTUS finally accepting certification of the Sixth Circuit decision, the Titanic’s stern, slowly tilting skyward, has now risen in the air at a ninety degree angle, with arguably only one place left to go.

titanic_stern

Photo Credit: pixgood.com

The National Organization for Marriage is hanging on for dear life, staring straight down into the ocean.

The suspense is palpable, as is the sense of inevitability at what comes next.

The source of that feeling of inevitability is twofold:

(1) Would SCOTUS have rejected the first batch of same-sex marriage cases to come its way if the court’s majority wanted to uphold same-sex marriage bans? Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts—SCOTUS’s conservative bulwark—could have taken up the issue even before there was a split among the appellate courts if they had truly wanted to. In the interim, thousands of same-sex couples have married, and over 70% of the country’s population now lives in a state allowing same-sex marriage.

(2)  With justices Ginsberg, Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor—SCOTUS’s liberal bulwark—certain to affirm marriage equality, all eyes are on Justice Kennedy, the supposed swing vote. But does Kennedy really swing? After all, he wrote the majority’s 2013 opinion in Windsor (i.e., the “iceberg”) and also wrote SCOTUS’s majority opinion ten years earlier declaring sodomy laws unconstitutional.

SCOTUS Justice Kennedy (Photo Credit: wikipedia)

Justice Kennedy (Photo Credit: wikipedia)

I could be wrong. SCOTUS knows how to throw us for a loop every now and then. Yet I predict that just in time for Pride Month—when SCOTUS is likely to rule—we’ll have something truly momentous to celebrate.

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: Slippery slope arguments against same-sex marriage

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