Photo of the attorneys of Costello, Mains and Silverman, LLC

Advocates for NJ and PA
Workers & Their Families

Partners and Counsel of Costello, Mains & Silverman, LLC
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Civil Rights
  4.  » New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses Supreme Court’s decision to take on the ultimate “gay marriage” question

New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses Supreme Court’s decision to take on the ultimate “gay marriage” question

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2015 | Civil Rights |

Or… At Last!

I love that on Friday, just before Martin Luther King day, a day which hallows civil rights, The United States Supreme Court announced that it will at last, presumably (and hopefully) once and for all, resolve the “gay marriage” issue which has vexed, divided (and, internationally, I contend, embarrassed) this country for far too long.

How long a way we’ve come on LGBT rights, as I’ve observed in other blogs. Long after we were “mostly beyond” gender and racial discrimination – though of course it still happens – we were still way behind on the issue of LGBT rights. Even into the 1990’s, when non-stereotypical black characters were ubiquitous in TV and non-stereotypical women were many, LGBT characters were still, for the most part, caricatures of gay people. Their dialog and plot devices were about them being gay people. I’m thinking of Will and Grace. In one way, the characters were groundbreaking, but on another level, it was sort of silly that they had to break any ground.

Homosexuality has been biologically with us since mammalian evolution began, many millions of years before humanity’s earliest ancestors walked upright. It will be with us mammals as long as mammals exist on the planet, even long after human beings are gone. It’s a biological fact. It’s irrefutable. We should be quite beyond caring whether someone is gay or straight or bisexual. Whom people love is not nearly as important as that people love, and that people start families, strengthen communities, and be good citizens to one another and to the people of the world. 

And yet, America has its head far up its own ass on the question of sexual orientation, thanks to the small (but very loud, ignorant, hateful, hypocritical and dishonest) religious right. Thanks to those people spewing hate and misinformation for years, there’s been a “debate” about the question of same sex marriage where no “debate” is actually legally necessary or intellectually proper.

“Marriage” is not, as those people contend, holy or biological imperative. No other animal on the planet – and there are many smart animals besides humans – get “married.” Oh, many species are monogamous or serially so, mostly, but none of them have “debates” about the artificial concept of marriage. Marriage is an invented social institution designed to allow state and religious control of human relationships (which means human conduct and the transfer rights of human property). It’s nothing more than that. In fact, at its core, “marriage” is simply a financial exchange that was originated to control the way in which property was distributed. In the modern day, it doesn’t only accomplish that purpose, but also generates quite a bit of change for the institution that license marriages. Once, it was the local lord who got the “fee” to allow marriage, and who fined people who lived monogamously without being married,

But yeah, I hear all the religious people yelling about how “marriage” is also a biblical thing, or a Quran thing, or a whatever thing. I’m not really interested in that right now. We’re talking about secular government and civil rights.

As long as “marriage” is an invention of the state, then it must be administrated equally, or it can’t be administrated at all.

There cannot be any honest “debate” about this point. Any “debate” about this point is invariably infected with religious attributions cleverly disguised as “tradition” or other nonsense. Any “debate” entirely free of any religious overtones is no debate at all.

And yet, here we are, still talking about it instead of simply doing the right thing. Well, we might be about to.

At long last, the Supreme Court appears poised to take on the question of whether or not states must allow, under the Fourteenth Amendment, same sex couples to marry. Obviously, we’ll hear the usual tripe from the religious right and the right wing generally about “states’ rights.” Of course, we won’t hear from those same people the admission that any argument about “state’s rights” is extraordinarily disingenuous to say the least – and outright bullshit at worst – coming from a group that routinely argues that state’s rights ought to be preempted to require federal mandates for their agenda items. To say that they’re hypocrites would insult hypocrites.

At the end of the day, however, the Supreme Court is poised to do something, but will it be the right thing? I “feel” that it will be, and here’s why. It doesn’t emerge from any Pollyanna-view of our Supreme Court. I’ve said in many blogs before and I’ll continue to say that the “conservative arm” of the Supreme Court always seems to do its level best to assist corporate America and the right wing’s agenda, manifestly evident from horrendous decisions like Citizens United (which pretends that corporations are people so they can spend billions of dollars to crush the spirt and the rights of every person in this country).

So I don’t think the Grinch’s heart needs to grow three sizes here. I think that Court’s going to “ok” equal marriage across the United States and at last end this nonsensical “debate” because it will help the right wing if they do so. Yup, I said that.

Here’s why.

One of the things that has held back certain GOP candidates from being elected is that they’ve had to trumpet the general GOP “plank” that marriage is “between a man and a woman,” blah blah blah. They have to say this in order to get the crazy right wing religious vote. They also say this in order to get the medium-to-right wing vote from people who are “uncomfortable” with same sex marriage (though they can’t really articulate why) and would just as soon rather not have it happen.

Now, many of the candidates who had to say these things don’t actually believe these things. I’m fair enough to admit that there are many GOP people out there who have run for office, both who have won and who have lost, who wouldn’t like to embrace certain of the more extreme planks of the GOP platform, this plank being one of them. There are a lot of GOP people out there who prefer, as the GOP originally did prior to their “Reagan revolution” which incorporated the religious right, to keep things out of religious circles and focus on their GOP politics as being about conservative fiscal policy and nothing more. Those GOP people used to do pretty well before they were hampered by some of these crazy pseudo-religious planks they’ve had to embrace, attacking women, LGBT people, etc.

Just imagine it. There are probably hundreds of GOP candidates for local, state and national office who have either decided not to run or who have run unsuccessfully because they’ve either chosen not to embrace this plank or have chosen not to give it as much lip service as their more extreme supporters would have preferred.

Well, I think that speed bump is about to be removed by the Supreme Court. And I think it’s going to mean that more GOP candidates get elected at local, state and national levels than ever before. I think that there are GOP candidates who either didn’t choose to run or who didn’t run successfully that now won’t have to deal with this issue as being in conflict with their own principles. It’s going to remove one of the arrows that the democrats and progressives have always had against the extreme right, and I think the Supreme Court knows that.

So I’m conflicted. I want the right thing done as a civil rights lawyer, and I’ll see it done come hell or high water, but I’m telling you, this isn’t gonna bode well for progressive causes in the United States in the near future. I think once the Supreme Court removes this last barrier, it’s gonna be ok for more gay and lesbian people to become republicans, and it’s gonna embolden more republican wins.

On the other hand, if the right republicans win and work sanely and rationally with progressive democrats, I don’t really have a problem.

One of the things I’m looking forward to before I draw my last breath is seeing the religious right finally shut down. I might drink a few whiskeys that day; the good stuff.

It might come ugly, but it’ll come. So long, religious right. Maybe you can head to Russia; Putin sounds like your kind of people.