Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Gay marriage ‘brawl’ is on, but will it merely provoke a 2nd high court case?

The oral arguments by lawyers in the Supreme Court case related to whether gay marriage will become a legitimate concept across the United States took place Tuesday, with many legal experts expecting a ruling some time in June.

Yet this is going to be an issue that will remain with us for some time, and I found it amusing to read a Washington Post account of how this could merely trigger another legal battle that will have to be resolved by the nation’s high court.

MANY ACTIVIST TYPES whom I have encountered seem to be going on the belief that gay marriage’s time has arrived. A majority of the court will wind up deciding that this is not an issue that should be settled state-by-state.

There ought to be a single national policy, and the idea of a patchwork network with some states going absolutely out of their way to say “No!!!” to the idea of gay couples being married just isn’t workable.

However, I also know from experience that anybody who tries to predict what a court will do is a fool. This is a court with conservative leanings, and I noticed the Post reporting that Justice Antonin Scalia said during Tuesday’s questioning that he is reluctant to support anything that would be “unpalatable” to religious-motivated people. I doubt he's alone.

There may well be people who will “go down with the ship,” so to speak, on the issue of preventing gay couples from being able to wed (and get all the legal benefits that heterosexual married couples receive).

IF WE GET a patchwork of laws on this issue, it would seem that Illinois would remain a sympathetic place. Illinois may have been far from the first Midwestern state to take on the issue, but it ultimately had a Legislature and governor sign changes into law.

That may well wind up being the biggest part of former Gov. Pat Quinn’s legacy – although I’m sure there also are those individuals in Illinois who would want to demonize him for that very fact.

But those states who wound up having gay marriage imposed on them by courts striking down their laws against it (which Illinois used to have, the two mid-1990s years of Republican domination of state government included passage of a law prohibiting marriage for gay couples) may wind up engaging in a mad dash to see how quickly they could reinstate such conditions.

That could well include Indiana, where certain political people are peeved that their laws were taken down and that their attempt to make a symbolic gesture to the conservative ideologues (in the form of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act) drew so much hostile attention that they had to back off.

STATE LINE ROAD could well become a barrier for certain people – a place where they will have to make sure they don’t venture too far east for fear of getting caught on the “wrong” side of the Chicago area after dark. Although some Hoosier municipalities are trying to sway their Legislature to the “proper” side of this issue.

As for those couples who already have married, would they find themselves invalidated. The Post reported that it could well turn into another legal battle as to whether those marriages would be undone, or if we’d have certain gay couples who got married on a technicality and others who can’t because of timing.

It seems like the easiest thing to do would be to just accept the reality of our society these days. It’s here, and going nowhere – except perhaps in the minds of the ideologues who think everybody else ought to live in their world in a subservient position.

Although I suspect that regardless of how the high court ultimately rules, it won’t change the sentiments of some people with regards to marriage.

THEY’LL BE THE ones who will grimace every time they see a gay couple together – probably the same way they are bothered by the sight of an inter-racial couple.

The essence of human nature won’t change.

But what can change, and what should change, is the idea that those individuals’ hang-ups ought to have the protection of the letter of the law.

That is what our Supreme Court will have to resolve in coming weeks.


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