Gay rights take center stage as the civil rights issue of our time.
This week's Supreme Court hearings, based on two separate cases, evoked a wide swath of views from the justices and attending attorneys.
It is fascinating to peer inside the deep-thinking brains of our Supreme Court justices and listen to their analyses of a myriad of intricacies of the law.
On this particular issue, same-sex marriage, it wasn't clear where the majority of the Court was leaning after Tuesday's presentation of California's Prop 8 Law, which bans same-sex marriage. There were certainly the age-old "Bible violation," "family values defamation" arguments that back Prop 8. Four of the justices seemed to lean in that direction. Three seemed to be going toward the new wave of public acceptance of same-sex marriage. Justice Thomas was silent. And Justice Kennedy, per usual, was left as the swing vote.
That was Tuesday. Liberals were somewhat discouraged.
Wednesday, the presentation of the Edie Windsor case, a charming, articulate woman who lost her female love of 40 years and, even though they were legally married in Canada, had to pay some $300,000 in estate taxes -- which she wouldn't have owed, had they been a heterosexual couple -- seemed to prompt justice comments that indicated a clear road to axing the Defense of Marriage Act in the near future.
The Court won't make any formal rulings until early summer.
But it is abundantly evident that the train toward same-sex equality in all aspects of marriage (inheritance, taxes, all of it) is moving not steadily but rapidly down the tracks of America. Some 70 percent of the Millennials (ages 18 to 32) support gay marriage. Is there any doubt, with the quick progress, from the first gay marriage anywhere in the world only 13 years ago to the wide-sweeping acceptance in this country today, that we are not too far from 100 percent, full-blown normalcy of same-sex marriage?
Even more than the justices' statements, it's the Republicans' voices this week that most significantly signal the progressive status of the issue:
Republican Strategist Ana Navarro: "There is no putting this genie back in the bottle. It is undeniable. The shift is here and we're not going back."
Rush Limbaugh: "I don't care what the Supreme Court does. This is now inevitable."
RNC Chair Reince Priebus: "I don't believe we need to act like Old Testament heretics. Republicans have to strike a balance between principle and grace and respect."
As a human rights issue, same-sex marriage is an emblem of crucial, individual entitlement to the pursuit of happiness.
(BTW, did you see the brilliant short film written by genius Jane Anderson for the series "If These Walls Could Talk?" Vanessa Redgrave played the part of an elderly woman who, like Edie Windsor, made a loving home her entire adult life with a woman. When her partner died, she automatically lost that home to the deceased's family, with no legal rights or claims to honor her lifelong marriage. Compelling, artistic rendering of the soul of the issue at hand.)
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