Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Patience, Little Brother

I think you'll find this NY Daily News article interesting. Basically the author points out how the Vermont law legalizing gay marriage is better at protecting religious freedom because it went through the legislature than if it had simply gone through the State Supreme Court.

For me, this provides a new approach that we could take with those who oppose gay marriage because of concerns over loosing their religious freedoms (despite the fact that freedom of religion is pretty much irrevocably enshrined in the Constitution). We could approach those with those kinds of concerns by explaining that legalizing gay marriage through the legislature will actually help them.

I think it is evident that when State Supreme Courts legalize gay marriage, there is a lot of fear and backlash, and essentially no control over how gay marriage is implemented. I think the same would be true if DOMA was reversed and the Supreme Court permitted gay marriage because of the full faith and credit clause. I also think that it is evident that over time, the former, if not the latter, is almost inevitable at some point in the future.

If the religious right, then, wants control over when and how gay marriage is implemented in their state, then their best bet is to work across the aisle with gay marriage advocates to pass compromises in the legislature. For some states, this means Civil Union laws need to be passed. For others, it means that social conservatives could promise to back a gay marriage bill if that bill includes clauses addressing their concerns. It is possible for both sides to reach a solution, but it means we have to address fears and concerns instead of freaking out about them.

Now if only I could get people to listen to me.

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