I’m very pleased that the Supreme Court narrowly found a Constitutional right to marry. But I’m also with Jonathan Chait in thinking, “The Supreme Court’s decision affirming marriage equality hastens what was already a fait accompli.” It is a great day, but the only thing that makes it notable is that the Supreme Court isn’t decades behind public opinion. What I do think is kind of stupendous is that the decision came today, the day before San Francisco Pride. What a great coincidence that is! But not all people are celebrating.
Yesterday evening, the Associated Press reported, Gay Couples Wed on Historic Day as Conservatives Resist. Apparently, when the decision came down, a lot of LGBT couples across the country rushed to courthouses to get married. It’s sweet really. As a typically straight guy who never had to think of marriage as anything special, it’s nice to see people running towards it even as I have run screaming from it twice. And in many cases, these eager LGBT couples were treated with the openness and joy that the occasion deserves. For example, the article mentioned one couple in Louisville, Kentucky who were greeted by the mayor with a bottle of champagne. We have a word for that here in the Bay Area: class.
But in Pike County, Alabama, Probate Judge Wes Allen has decided that he’s just not going to issue any marriage licenses at all. Think about the irony of this. For decades, conservatives have been telling us that if LGBT couples get the right to marry, it will destroy the institution of marriage. I never imagined that same sex marriage opponents meant that destruction would come in this form: that there would be no more opposite sex marriages because the opponents would stop allowing them out of pure spite.
There does seem to be something wrong with conservatives. They just can’t let things go. When it came to Jim Crow, it was going to destroy “white culture.” But it didn’t. And this is going to destroy “straight marriage” and “the family.” It’s all so ridiculous! But I do understand where it comes from. I remember when I was younger, I would get mad about something. And I was right about it — it was a righteous anger. And so I wanted to hang onto it. But it took so much energy! Eventually, I just learned to let things go. I also learned that often when I thought I was righteous, I actually wasn’t.
Look at Judge Pike above. That picture was taken a few years ago. He’s 39 years old right now: too young to be that bigoted and too old to act so childishly. I really don’t get it. Even if you feel that same sex marriage is wrong, don’t you have a duty to, you know, do your job? There are parts of every job that aren’t pleasant. The loophole that Pike has found is certainly not one that his God is going to approve of. So what is he really doing but putting off the day when he will have to go along, and in the mean time looking like a real jerk. And he’s not alone.