News & Politics

The Vulnerability of Marriage Equality

These days, there seems to be an overabundance of cynicism, misinformation, and apathy when it comes to American politics. I often hear people—gays and gay allies included—claim that there’s no difference between the Democrats and Republicans, and I frequently see Facebook posts or comments suggesting the same.

And they make me want to scream.

The recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage easily illustrates my point—and my frustration. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that there was an almost party line split between the justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage and those who did not. Does anything demonstrate more clearly where Republicans stand when it comes to gay marriage—and gays?

The Supreme Court decision demonstrates very clearly the difference made by elections. After all, it is the president who appoints justices. So when an American says there’s no sense in voting and that both parties are the same, do they really believe when they look at the near party line vote of the Supreme Court on gay marriage that this could be even remotely true?

In these heady days after the Supreme Court gay marriage decision, it’s easy to believe the battle’s been won and that we can rest easy. Certainly, a right that has been recognized by the highest court in the country couldn’t be reversed.

Or could it?

While I rejoiced (and drank a celebratory cocktail) upon hearing the SCOTUS ruling, I also remembered an interview I heard with an anti-abortion activist about a dozen years ago. After multiple defeats and the Roe v. Wade decision, anti-abortion groups turned to state legislatures and well-funded grass roots campaigns to pursue their agenda.

As a result, the movement has been successful in increasing abortion restrictions in many states. In addition, a recent evaluation of annual surveys conducted by Gallup concluded that, “Whereas Republicans and Democrats had similar outlooks on abortion in the 1970s and 1980s, that started changing in 1990; and by 2009, more Republicans believed abortion should be illegal than broadly legal (by a 21-point margin), while the reverse was true among Democrats (by 19 points).”

So, the Right didn’t give up the fight but merely shifted the field of battle. And they’ve made some gains.

Let’s celebrate the court decision, but let’s not grow complacent and allow the Religious Right to ultimately prevail in its quest to marginalize and disenfranchise gays. And pretty please, let’s not believe that voting doesn’t matter and that the two parties are the same. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And we’ve got gay marriage to show for it.

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