Big Picture, Bigger Picture

Wow. Oregon & Pennsylvania!

With all the decisions and stays, and everything coming so quickly, I couldn’t tell you right now where exactly a gay couple can walk down to the courthouse and obtain a marriage license. Not without a map.

But for a larger perspective on where we stand, here are some things to keep in mind:

-An entire coast now has marriage equality (h/t Jeremy Hooper)

-So does the entire Northeast.

-Legal gay weddings have been performed in the Mountain West, in multiple midwestern states, and in a state in the former Confederacy (Arkansas). Court decisions in three more Southern states (Texas, Kentucky, Virginia) have recognized the unconstitutionality of gay marriage bans.

-The judicial rulings in favor of marriage equality have come from both Democrats and Republicans, including yesterday’s Pennsylvania ruling, which came from a judge appointed by George W. Bush and endorsed by Rick Santorum.

All of this is more evidence for the big-picture takeaway that marriage equality can’t lose in the courts post-Windsor. Where a ban is challenged, it will fall. Or, to be more precise, at this point a ruling against marriage equality would be pretty idiosyncratic.

[Note: Jay Michaelson questions whether this will be true at the Supreme Court level. But, then, the Supreme Court’s behavior is nothing if not idiosyncratic.]

But, for the even bigger picture, look to the rulings themselves. Because, facing these facts, these judges could just throw up their hands. They could blame Windsor, or Anthony Kennedy, and say, “Yeah, well, this is just the consequence of the Court’s thinking.” But that’s not what they’re doing, not even the Republicans, not even the judges in places where their rulings are likely to be unpopular. Instead, they’re making forceful, energetic, and most of all, moral arguments, like the one written yesterday by Judge John Jones, who nailed it when he concluded “We are a better people than these laws represent.”

The scales are falling away.


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