COMMENTARY | After the recent First Circuit Court ruling that called provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, it's almost a certainty that the matter will reach the Supreme Court. If so the best thing the Court could do for America would be to render the entire deceptively-name Act unconstitutional.
DOMA doesn't defend marriage against anything. It can't because marriage isn't under attack. The only thing under attack is religiously motivated bigotry. All objections to gay marriage can be traced back to dogmatic prejudice, and if that gets attacked and destroyed it would be good for the nation.
Objectors to gay marriage will probably flip out if the issue reaches the nation's highest court. They'll act like the sky is falling and raise a stink that would make Chicken Little cringe.
That's to be expected. People who are frightened of change always react badly to it. Like children afraid of the syringe they may kick and scream but wiser heads know the shot is for their own good.
When the Supreme Court hears a civil rights case it has an important opportunity to directly improve the lives of the citizenry, particularly that of an oppressed minority. Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia, and Romer v. Evans are examples in which minorities by skin color or sexual identity had their lives improved dramatically by the Court (descriptions at FindLaw.com).
The fact that these cases had to be argued before the Supreme Court means there were objections to fair treatment for the minority in each situation. With the hindsight of history we now know, for example, that it's morally wrong to exclude black people from schools or from marrying whom they will. Anyone suggesting black and white people should not marry would be considered a racist today.
History will likewise honor those who fought for equal treatment under the law for the gay community. It will see anti-gay objectors as bigots. The question isn't if we will eventually grow past this prejudice, but when. That step toward mature acceptance of gay rights should start with the Supreme Court striking down DOMA.
- Society & Culture
- Politics & Government
- gay marriage