Marriage equality is a civil rights issue, not subject to majority rule
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So Charles Lane thinks the move toward marriage equality is "going too far too fast" ("Same-Sex Marriage," Dec. 12 Perspectives). He warns of a possible backlash in the country, if the Supreme Court accepts the advocates' arguments, that might be worse than when the court tried to outlaw capital punishment. Funny that I don't remember the country going crazy in 1972 from the "pro-death" groups. Since when is a possible public backlash a barometer for a Supreme Court's decision?
Mr. Lane kind of sneaks around the fact that marriage equality is a civil right and that civil rights should never be on a bargaining table that requires majority approval. He goes on to say that the "democratic process" might have resulted in a different outcome in the Roe v. Wade case. He's right. ... and the Loving v. Virginia case might well have resulted in black-and-white marriages being prohibited if the majority of Americans were to have been allowed to vote on it.
The hair on my neck went up with Mr. Lane's comment that gay marriage might be "routine" in Massachusetts, but "unthinkable" in Oklahoma. The signs I saw as a kid down South that said "whites only" were unthinkable in Pennsylvania, but slowing down the civil rights movement because of the "democratic process" would have been ludicrous.
The overall flavor of Mr. Lane's column bumped into some very personal issues for me. His suggestion that we gay folks and those who love us ought to just be patient ... and a little quieter ... and keep the closet door partially closed until the whole country is ready to grant us every right that we are entitled to as equal citizens is disgusting. His words of caution hide an outdated suggestion that somehow we just keep "flaunting it," that gay people should play by a handbook written especially for them -- but those days are over. Don't block the road, Mr. Lane. It is definitely our turn to speak.
First Published December 16, 2012 12:00 am