Marriage equality appropriately came up in all the Sunday AM gab fests this week. The Supreme Court announced Friday they'd be hearing constitutional challenges to both the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 gay marriage ban. Depending on how they rule, there is a chance marriage equality may be universal in the United States as soon as June 2013. And it kind of looked like the GOP talking heads were making peace with that real possibility.
In the wake of opposition's defeat at the ballot box, the usual suspects who are ordinarily happy to carry party water instead punted. Recall the GOP platform for 2012 had this language authored by Christian Right conservative Tony Perkins:
"[W]e believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage."So, the official GOP stance is not at all supportive.
George Will concern trolls, as he's wont to do, about the court getting ahead of public opinion like they supposedly did on abortion. (As though had they waited, we wouldn't still be having this fight about who gets to control women's sexuality.)
But then, George Will delivered a body blow:
“Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying. It's old people.”Which is remarkably fact-based for Will. And every political strategist knows, the GOP has old people locked up best they can, it's the youth vote they're losing by the boatloads.
The panel spends much time talking about the historical context in relation to Roe v. Wade.
They still totally miss any references to an obvious one: Loving vs. Virginia, the last time the court asked to sort out disparate marriage laws among the states. Hmmm ...
[Or as LuvSet points out, Turner v Safley a case involving prisoner's rights to marry (they got 'em, gays don't), a case that is, in part the basis of the Olsen/Boies challenge.]
But if they want to talk about the court rushing public opinion, let's point out gay marriage is way ahead of interracial marriage at the time the court legalized that. The year after that decision, in 1968, Gallup polls showed only 20 percent of Americans approved of interracial marriage, versus well over a dozen polls showing consistent majority support for marriage equality (and now four elections to prove it). So, though marriage equality's opponents love to call it "divisive" and "controversial," it's light years ahead of where interracial marriage was in 1967.
More impressions from Sunday talk after the fold ...
Mary Matalin weighed in on This Week. Stephanopolouos refences a new Politico poll showing a winning 48 percent plurality. American Foundation for Equal Rights has catalogued 13 national polls showing between 51 and 54 percent.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): The lines have crossed. Forty eight percent, approaching going above 50 percent support gay marriage in the country. Forty eight percent now support gay marriage in the country.I would argue that the larger core issue is not that heterosexuals that have children do not go out and get a marriage license. Getting married—though a wonderful and to some spiritual act—in and of itself offers zero guarantees of prosperity. The larger problem emanates from the fact that due to persistent real-world wage stagnation since Reagan took the Oval Office, two incomes—let alone one—are insufficient to cover the skyrocketing cost of housing, health care, child care, education and other ordinary expenses associated with raising a family. So yes, the children of both single parent and two-parent families are doing more poorly than in the past.
MATALIN: Well, because Americans have common sense. There are important constitutional, biological, theological, ontological questions relative to homosexual marriage. People who live in the real world, say, the greater threat to the civil order are the heterosexuals who don’t get married and are making babies. That’s an epidemic in crisis proportions. That is irrefutably more problematic for our culture than homosexuals getting married.
And if the right has sincere desire to see the children thrive, a better tactic than slut-shaming their moms is to work on patching the holes in our social safety net and rebuilding the broken ladder of economic opportunity that was once the pride of a nation.
But at least Matlin declared supporting marriage equality the "common sense" position and appropriately decoupled the real problem of struggling heterosexual families from blaming the gays for it, which is more than can be said for the Religious Right faction of her party, and that's progress of a sort.
Over on Meet The Press, Lawrence O'Donnell made a good case for marriage equality's inevitability. The usually bellicose—and totally ironic—defender of traditional marriage, Newt Gingrich was oddly neutral in his comments.
Newt only opined that it was understandable the Supreme Court would take it up.
"If you're an American citizen and you are legally married in Iowa what happens if you cross the state line, what if you happen to be visiting in another state and you end up in the hospital, do you have any visitation rights?"It's so complicated he says, "the court felt compelled as a national instution," to sort it out and he didn't say much else and neither did anyone else.
But what Newt did say strangely seems like he was making a good argument for national marriage equality. Or is Newt, or anyone, suggesting some couple's marital rights wavering from state to state is an ideal way to run a country?
Meet The Press devoted an entire 120 seconds to the subject, before segueing into the very pressing topic of handicapping potential candidates for the 2016 presidential race. (I wish I were kidding.)
Over at Up With Chris Steve Kornacki did a nice, in-depth contextual look at the quick evolution of the marriage equality movement. It examined in depth, not all the Very Serious Concerns as the other shows did, but rather, the substantial foundation which the movement is being built. It was excellent and Chris Hayes taped interview of Dan Savage who proved himself again, an under-rated spokesperson.
In particular, Dan did a nice job pointing out straights have already redefined marriage. And it's worth noting no one really wants to return to the Leave It To Beaver patriarchal, imaginary paradise that Mary Matalin, the National Organization for Marriage, and the religious conservatives consider both re-obtainable and the ideal.
Of course, come election time, not Will nor Matalin nor any of the conservative pundits have to genuinely concern their beautiful minds with how to get the Republican base out of their fundamentalist churches and into the ballot boxes. So their opinons may not resonate much. But, given a national stage from which to pontificate, they have seemed to have rhetorically left the dead-enders in the wilderness alone.
And not a single person echoed the Religious Right's primary concern that now Maryland, Washington and Maine will soon be compelled to teach kids sodomy in the public schools. Isn't anyone concerned about that?
Taken as a whole, the conservative pundits showed quite a marked departure from parroting the existential crisis to American society that marriage equality was said to present just a few years ago. Maybe they noticed the northeast coast has not yet broken off into the Atlantic? And, that nearly a decade of marriage equality has only served to make Massachusetts the state with the lowest divorce rate in the country?
The crazy dead-enders may have to resign themselves that they're going to be hidden in a closet in not-too-distance the future and be content with dog-whistles, not Constitutional amendments.
The heterosexual Hayes made a slip of the tongue, which was a very telling (and to this viewer, a heart-warming) real-time demonstration of source of the sea change we're seeing. Hayes premised a question on the inevitabilty of marriage equality victory, saying to gay man Savage, "So, when you win ..." Hayes paused for a moment and said, "... when WE win ..."