Obviously I’m disappointed by the California Supreme Court decision yesterday… The decision means that same-sex couples will not be able to get married in the State of California. One small silver lining: remember the 18,000 couples with existing marriages performed during the brief period of legal same-sex marriage in the state? They’re still married.
And here’s another thing that I take some comfort in… the court that made this decision is the same court that decided a year ago that the state constitution guaranteed the “basic civil right” to marry regardless of the genders involved. This tells me that we’re not dealing with some homophobic judges who are gleefully oppressing gays and lesbians, but that there are genuine legal issues being considered. The court is respecting the will of the voters, which I will grudgingly accept, even if I disagree with the slim majority.
There are 28 other states with constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, but times are changing. A recent study showed that 58% of respondents aged 18-to-34 believe that same-sex marriage should be legal. Of those that DON’T support the legalization of same-sex marriage, 60% are in favor of civil unions, and the results show a similar generational divide as that surrounding legalized same-sex marriage.
And the percentage of respondents who have a close friend or a family member that is gay has increased by 8 points since 1998 and 12 points since 1992. When you break it down by age groups, 58% of the 18-to-34 year-old group responded favorably in this question. It drops to less than 34% of people aged 65 or older.
Bottom line: I genuinely believe that we’re dealing with ignorance in the purest sense. These are people who don’t know that they have had a “real live gay” in an important place in their heart. They truly believed that their nephew or niece, or long-time next door neighbor, or even their child or parent, really had a “roommate” for all that time. They’re old-fashioned, they don’t know any better, and many of them aren’t interested in learning that what they were taught for decades is wrong.
And we’re going to outlast them.
This country will become increasingly progressive as more and more people learn about people and things outside of their household, beyond what their parents understood about the world, and in contradiction to what same of their religious leaders have told them. They’ll find a richer, more diverse reality out there, and they’ll grow.
And I’ll undoubtedly invite a few of them to my wedding.