Being a Judge
Imagine what it would be like to be a chief justice. You are elderly, conservative, Christian, a part of the establishment. You are being asked to rule on gay marriage an issue that deeply divides the country. No matter how you rule, there will be people calling for your head. Whatever you decide, you will need iron-clad legal reasons for it. I imagine you might rule like this:
~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:70)
- DOMA (Defence Of Marriage Act) goes because the constitution says that marriage is a state issue. The feds have no business meddling. The same conservative Christians who want DOMA will also find this argument convincing. You then don’t have to rule one way or the other on the legitimacy of gay marriage.
- Even Christian bigots may think it is wrong to cheat someone out of money, e.g. being forced to pay into a pension then not being allowed to get benefits, or being forced to pay estate taxes others do not have to pay. So insist that gay people have the same legal rights as married straights. Leave it up to states what to call these relationships civil unions, common law marriages, gay marriages, gay unions, legal marriages, civil marriages etc. Ideally, states will choose the same term for a non-church marriage for both same sex and mixed sex marriages. You sidestep the emotional-charged issue of status and official terminology. Christians primarily are opposed to gays terming their unions marriage because that implies equality and because they see gays marrying as some sort of ritual pollution. Gays want their unions to be officially called marriage to ensure full equality. They are very wary of the notion of separate but equal. In practice, people will call themselves and each other whatever they please. It not so much a matter of marriage, but that gay people must be held equal before the law, in all matters, including pair bonding, a stance oddly more palatable to Christians than permitting gay marriage. Your arguments would echo those of the black civil rights rulings, citing the 14th Amendment. You would point out that equal protection applies to everyone, even unpopular or sinful people. Who can argue against that? Christians strongly don’t want to give up hating gays. Don’t imply by your ruling that they have to. So long as they can continue to feel superior, they will be happy.