This is progress.
The lesson is: Legislate and pass Constitutional laws the public supports, and don’t depend on courts to do your job for you.
The House of Representatives, with Democrats being joined by 47 Republicans, voted yesterday to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, 267-157. The bill would codify same-sex marriage into federal law.
Good. That’s the way it’s supposed to be done, and that’s what should have been done with abortion as well, had not the activist Supreme Court of 1973 unethically contrived an abortion right that didn’t exist. Democrats frequently had the votes and White House support to codify abortion in the years between 1973 and 2022, but preferred to use “choice” as a wedge issue to hold on to the feminist vote. Good plan!
Of course, the vote yesterday is being framed in such a way that the public may never comprehend the good reasons to pass laws the old fashioned way rather than wait for a deliberately undemocratic and non-partisan referee—SCOTUS—to rule by edict. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi blamed her Democrats having to step up and legislate on a single Justice’s outlying concurrence in Dobbs. “Make no mistake, while his legal reasoning is twisted, and unsound, it is crucial that we take Justice Thomas and the extremist movement behind him at their word. This is what they intend to do,”she said.
I don’t think there is a chance in the world that same-sex marriage will be overturned. One thing about reversing Roe: it didn’t magically undo millions of abortions so there were suddenly all of these unaborted kids running around. Only Thomas (and maybe Justice Alito) are so doctrinaire that they would advocate a ruling that would either undo existing same sex marriages or create the unstable situation where some gay Americans are married with all the advantages of marriage while others are blocked from marriage. Furthermore, the argument for same sex marriages does not rely on the unenumerated right of privacy alone, but also Equal Protection, which was the basis on which several state courts ruled that restrictions on same sex marriages were impermissible.
The speculation is that the new bill will fail in the Senate because of a filibuster by Republicans. Republicans would be wise (and ethical) not to use the filibuster on this issue, but any sentence that begins with “Republicans would be wise” is flirting with fantasy.