Sunday, June 28, 2015

Why Would Anyone Care About the Right to Marry?

Mr. Douthat raises the question of why the gay community would press so hard to join what seems to be a dying, antiquated institution. The answer is that the matter before the Supreme Court had nothing to do with marriage, but everything to do with the right to marry.

It was a ruling which served as a proclamation of independence, of freedom from tyranny and oppression, from years of hiding in fear should one's secret be revealed. It was, notwithstanding the eloquent words of Justice Kennedy, in essence an emancipation proclamation.

It was a statement of recognition, an apology for damage inflicted and wrongs committed in the name of hatred and intolerance. It was a moment to reflect upon our transgressions and a promise that we will try to do better, to be better than we have been.

This was not about "marriage's retreat". This was not about "the more relaxed view of marriage's importance and the fact that this makes room for our gay friends and neighbors". This was about making equal room in our society for those we have for far too long mistreated and abused. This was about recognizing not the right to love but the right to live free from the constraints wrongly imposed. This was not about the choices of gay men and women but their dignity. This was not about their "I do" but our "no you don't".

This was not about "gay conservatism and straight liberation" but about our human failings which the Supreme Court recognized could not continue with their sanction. This was not at all about marriage, even as it purported to be all that was considered.

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