Monday, March 25, 2013

Debate Over on Gay Marriage? Daily Press: Strike Down DOMA and Gay Marriage Bans

The quality of the Daily Press - the newspaper that serves the Virginia Peninsula area - has become so bad that I typically don't even read it, although we get the paper three days a week.  And if the quality of the news coverage is bad, the editorial positions of the paper are generally even worse and not a far cry from an echo chamber Rush Limbaugh and right wing pundits.  

Thus, imagine my utter shock when I happened to see the subscription pay walled main editorial yesterday that in a well reasoned manner urged the United States Supreme Court to not only strike down DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, but also all bans on gay marriage.  I literally nearly needed smelling salts.  I can only imagine the reactions from knuckle dragging readers in York County and in ultra-conservative pockets in the area.    Among other things the editorial cites the 14th Amendment of equal protection and equality for all citizens under the law, positions espoused in the Cato Foundation briefs in Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics and recent polls showing majority support for gay marriages.  The outraged letters to the editor should make for some fun reading!

All this raises the point of whether the debate on gay marriage is over outside of right wing media outlets and Christofascist organizations that use the dissemination of anti-gay animus as a main fundraising hook.  A column in the Washington Post looks at this question.  Here are excerpts:

[N]o matter how the high court rules later this year on California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, one thing is already clear: The political debate over gay marriage is over.   “There’s no putting this genie back in the bottle,” Florida-based Republican strategist Ana Navarro said Sunday on CNN. “This is now undeniable. The shift is here. We’re not going back.”

A look inside the numbers makes the case even more strongly. It’s no secret that the issue divides strongly along generational lines, with 80 percent of those ages 18 to 29 supportive of gay marriage, compared with 44 percent of those older than 65. But what’s remarkable is that the generational divide on the question is stronger than the partisan one. In the Post-ABC survey, a slim majority of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents younger than 50 now support gay marriage.  

It’s not just national surveys where the shift is evident. In a Columbus Dispatch poll released Sunday, 54 percent of Ohioans favor repealing a 2004 ballot initiative that established marriage as between a man and a woman in the state’s constitution. (The measure passed with 62 percent of the vote nine years ago.)

But, the trajectory of the data suggests that ambitious Republicans who want to win statewide in swing states or get elected president in 2016 and beyond simply won’t proactively talk about the issue. Outside of Republican primary fights, gay marriage will disappear from the national political dialogue as an issue.  

And what of those Republicans who continue to support gay marriage bans and/or urge the Supreme Court to "go slowly" such as Peggy Noonan?  They increasingly sound like the pro-slavery and segregationist of years gone by and seriously need to listen to what they are saying and take step back in time and realize who history is going to remember them:

Noonan said on ABC’s This Week that Americans “don’t take it well” when the Supreme Court makes decisions that affect the entire country — such as declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional or repealing the Defense of Marriage Act . . . .

Noonan’s appeal to let the issue take time to “settle itself out” ignores the fact that activists have been fighting for marriage equality for nearly 40 years. And her insinuation that Americans won’t like it if the Court declares a ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional ignores that support for marriage equality is at an all time high: a Washington Post-ABC News poll found 58 percent of Americans support gay marriage rights, up from 37 percent in 2003. That 58 percent includes 81 percent of youth . . . 

Does Noonan really want to be seen by future generations as an equivalent to George Wallace standing in the school room door?   With even the Daily Press on record for marriage equality, Noonan needs to pack up and surrender on this issue.

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