Excellent editorial in today’s Times, wherein the editorial board muses broadly on the importance of broadening marriage equality throughout the country.
In a surprise announcement on the first Monday in October, the day the new term for the Supreme Court begins, the justices, without comment, refused to hear any of the cases striking down same-sex marriage bans thus allowing the appellate decisions to stand. As such, LGBT people in Virginia, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah — yes, Utah! — and Indiana can now be legally married.
The Times also challenged the court. In a speech last month, Justice Ginsburg said that the court is keeping an eye on lower courts but that, at the moment, there is “no need for us to rush.” The Times asks why not? Certainly the moral argument is why not, as well.
But, the Supreme Court weighs in on moral grounds at its own peril, oftentimes. I despise the old “justice is blind” argument — because blind justice cannot see the subtle shades of grey inherent in the language — but, the thinking goes, there has not been enough of a division in the appellate courts to warrant a SCOTUS incursion. If the other circuits weigh in as the previous ones have, the court will likely have to merely rubber stamp the decisions in a year or so, when only Alabama, Mississippi and Alaska are the last defiant anti-gay states.
It has the makings of a societal schism, this does. I never, ever thought — even a few short years ago — that my own ability to get married — and to stay married as I travel across the country (think about that, straight people) — would ever be the next front in the culture wars. Politically, I see the need for the court to continue to exercise caution. As a gay man and as what I consider a rational, moral human being, I agree with the Times‘ editorial board: stop waiting, it hurts people.