I support marriage equality. What’s not to support. Two people fall in love and they want to get married, so let them. Just 50 years ago, people objected to interracial marriages, made them a crime, and, even broke into the house of a married interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, and jailed them for violating Virginia’s miscegenation laws. The upshot was Loving v. Virginia, the landmark civil rights decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
Now the high court has to wrestle with two cases related to same-sex marriage—a California referendum that bars same-sex unions and a federal law, The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), that bans government recognition of gay marriage.
Polls of the nation split fairly evenly on support for same-sex marriage with a slight edge in favor. But if the support of interracial marriage trend holds true for same-sex marriage, then the latter will increasingly be accepted by the majority of Americans.
Not all Americans, but most. Afterall, interracial marriage, which 86 percent of Americans support according to a 2007 Gallup poll, still leaves 14 percent—42 million people– who don’t. And that’s a lot of people.
Nonetheless, interracial married couples now have equal protection under the law—with all the benefits of every other couple — which is all that gay couples are asking for.
Obama administration has refused to defend DOMA. And former President Bill Clinton said he regrets signing it into law.
The Supreme Court seems to date to be timid about the issue. Justice Alito suggested a go-slow approach with the bewildering comparison of gay marriage to cell phones and the Internet.
“Traditional marriage has been around for thousands of years,” he said during the hearings. “Same-sex marriage is very new. You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones or the Internet? I mean we — we are not — we do not have the ability to see the future.”
How do you compare new technologies to human beings who have lived, loved and co-habited in various configurations for centuries.
Marriage itself has changed over time and in different cultures. Women were once the property of their husbands. Partners of different religions were discouraged and/or forbidden from marrying. Interracial marriages were forbidden and illegal.
If you don’t like gay marriage, or interracial marriage for that matter, don’t do it. But don’t keep anyone else from doing it. The greatest threat to American marriage isn’t gay marriage but our 50 percent divorce rate, with less-educated, lower income couples more likely to split up than college educated
If we’re going to restrict marriage for some, let’s restrict it for everyone and just make it to get married unless you’re a well-educated, high income earner. Let’s see what the percentage of Americans are who would support that.
Karen DeWitt has a long distinguished career as a journalist, covering politics, but also has worked on political campaigns. She compares the later to the labor of a Hebrew working for the Pharaoh. She’s covered the White House and the national politics for The New York Times; foreign affairs and the White House for USA TODAY before joining that newspaper’s management as an assistant managing editor. She switched to television as a senior producer for ABC’s Nightline, where she wrote and produced the award-winning, Found Voices about the digitization of 1930s and 1940s interviews with former slaves. She returned to newspapers, as Washington editor for the Examiner newspaper and eventually left to help on local political campaigns. She has several blogs, but contributes mostly to a food blog called “I don’t speak cuisine” at peacecorpsworldwide.org and theroot.com.