Marriage equality: is the opposition stupid?

Posted in Gay rights at 11:26 am by ducky

The people opposing marriage equality have asked the courts to delay allowing same-sex marriages, on the grounds that there will be a proposition on the ballot in November to write marriage discrimination into the state constitution.

Um, is our loyal opposition stupid?

If there is no delay, then yes, thousands of same-sex couples will get married between June 16 and Nov 4. I can see how my loyal opposition might not like that. It is my interpretation that even if the amendment passes, they will still be married — that the amendment doesn’t have the right magic wording to retroactively dissolve the marriages.

But if marriages are suspended, my loyal opposition will anger off thousands of same-sex couples who were planning on getting married. Their only shot at getting married, then, would be to make sure that the amendment goes down to a screaming defeat. They would donate money and time and talk to all their friends.

You, dear reader, might reflect on Proposition 22, and how it (with very similar language to the proposed amendment) passed with 61% of the vote. However, I will tell you, dear reader, that I worked on the fight against Proposition 22, and the support from the gay and lesbian community was tepid at best. They didn’t see why they should donate money to a lost cause where the worst that would happen is that they would lose the possibility of getting a right that they don’t currently have. There was also a significant undercurrent of sour grapes: “we don’t want your heterosexist institutions anyway!”

The sentiment in the gay and lesbian community is completely different now. They totally understand the importance of civil marriage now. And, if the delay comes through, they will be upset. REALLY upset. They will fight the amendment tooth and nail. If there is no delay, they might get somewhat complacent: “well, too bad for everyone else if the amendment passes, but we managed to get married on 17 June, so we are okay.”

So while a delay would be a short-term defeat for my side, I think it would lead to a huge, enormous victory long-term.

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