Not a Slam Dunk Yet
Most of us thought – me included – that it would only be a matter of time before same sex marriage would be the law of the land. Either we would win test case after test case, state by state, on the constitutional grounds declared by the Supreme Court, challenges that could take years. Or the Supreme Court next year would finally say: “That’s the way it is – just do it!”
Ah, but a three judge federal panel in Cincinnati dominated by Republicans has taken up cases challenging aspects of same-sex marriage restrictions in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee based on rulings favoring us made by judges. And right now the message out of Cincinnati when it comes to legalizing gay marriage in those states is: Not so fast.
Why? Well, the panel is wondering whether courts, as they have largely up to now, shouldn’t be the decision makers; maybe that decision should either be made by the voters (as it has – not in our favor – in places like Ohio and Florida) or their duly elected representatives in their respective state legislatures.
If the panel decides in that direction, it’s going to be much tougher than if we were fighting religious zealots. Though opinion polls say 55% of Americans today are okay with gay marriage, that’s an average and means shit in Bible Beltin’ states.
Will the Supreme Court ultimately come to our rescue, underscoring the constitutionality issue, much as it did with segregation sixty years ago (it didn’t leave it up to the states to decide); or are we going to have a crazy quilt mess in this country of pro-gay and pro-str8 states. This would be akin to where we were just before the Civil War, when some states were slave and some states were free and the battle was on deciding which way new states entering the Union could go, a decision that was going to be left up to their citizenry.
That is until the bloodiest war in our history decided otherwise.
Hell, we might even see a reversal in states that have made ssm legal based on a judge’s decision.
Stay tuned – and fasten your seat belts. It’s definitely going to be a bumpy ride.