Next week, the Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision on the two gay marriage cases in front of it. Either decision could legalize the practice in one quick blow. So a bumper crop of organizations and activists are weighing in now, while there's still a reason to.
After all, if the Supreme Court decides that Prop 8 is a violation of the civil rights of Californians, it's something of a verdict on every other anti-gay marriage initiative — and perhaps a kind of de facto, across-the-board legalization. Would you therefore be overly concerned afterward about what a, say, senator from Georgia thinks about gay marriage legislation? Well, probably. But far less so. So said senator, if he had an opinion might as well strike while the iron is hot.
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Here's who's weighed in over the last 24 hours or so.
Weighing in against gay marriage: Congressional Republicans.
Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia shares his view with Politico:
When asked if his views had changed on gay marriage, the Georgia Republican quipped: “I’m not gay. So I’m not going to marry one.”
Perhaps "quipped" isn't quite the right word. (Substitute "black" for "gay" and see if it reads well as a "quip.") But Chambliss's point is noted — and not unique among his peers. Politico quotes a number of prominent Republicans in opposition to gay marriage — Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, John Thune — and one Democrat, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Yesterday, party chair Reince Priebus echoed the same sentiment.
Prop 8 is one of the two cases the Supreme Court is weighing. The other is a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, for which the White House last year stopped any legal defense. So the House Republicans stepped in, funding solicitors to engage in the fight. Last night, the group filed what is likely its last reply to arguments on the case. Among the points it makes: "Gays and Lesbians Are Hardly Politically Powerless," and "This Court Should Leave The Definition Of Marriage To The Democratic Process."
Weighing in for: Pediatricians.
To which one group responds: Won't someone please think of the children?
The Times reports on findings from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The academy’s new policy statement says same-sex marriage helps guarantee rights, benefits and long-term security for children, while acknowledging that it does not now ensure access to federal benefits. When marriage is not an option, the academy said, children should not be deprived of foster care or adoption by single parents or couples, whatever their sexual orientation.
The decision follows a four-year-long study of relevant scientific research, concluding with a white paper outlining its argument. Unsurprisingly, not everyone is convinced, with one professor noting that the data used in the AAP report isn't nationally representative.
Against: A group of young D.C. conservatives profiled in The Times.
Speaking of (relatively) young people, The Times also spoke with a group of young Washington activists who believe that the tide of public opinion on gay marriage is about to swing back in their direction. One suggests that public support for the practice is due to "music and television and film." Another, argues that opponents of gay marriage are being kept "in the shadows" because "young people think if you come out with traditional marriage views, you’re a bigot."
“In redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, what you’re doing is you’re excluding the norm of sexual complementarity,” said [Ryan] Anderson, the Heritage Foundation fellow. “Once you exclude that norm, the three other norms — which are monogamy, sexual exclusivity and permanency — become optional as well.”
Given the rate of divorce in the United States, it's not clear that permanency is a norm either.
The Times points out that what makes the group of young conservatives unique in their opposition isn't that they're conservative, it's that they're young.
In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last month, 45 percent of Republicans between 18 and 44 years old said they thought same-sex couples should be able to marry — a contrast with Republicans 45 and older, only 20 percent of whom agreed.
That mirrors the poll we reported earlier this week suggesting that support for gay marriage is at an all-time high. Politico spoke with older, conservative politicians, and got a representative response. The Politico story also provides some insight into why deferring to "The Democratic Process" has proven tricky for gay marriage proponents: those who oppose the practice are overrepresented on Capitol Hill.
And, as we've learned clearly over the past few weeks, public support isn't enough to engender policy change anyway. Which is why gay marriage supporters were eager to bring cases to the Supreme Court. By this time next week, the debate over the legality of same-sex marriages may have been resolved — for now.