This is a momentous weekend ahead for the institution of marriage in this country. First, my friend Ron is marrying his soulmate Sunday (on Saturday--have I confused anyone yet? Good). Both have experienced life and love (found, lost, found again) and against all odds found each other...hopefully, forever after. Looking forward to raising a toast to them this weekend. (Jam before toast, tomorrow night in the hotel lobby).
Second, this will be the first weekend in our history since a Federal Court for the first time found (as a matter of fact and law) that a state is precluded by the Constitution from limiting marriage to heterosexuals. Judge Vaughn courageously declared, after hearing "evidence" presented by the only two witnesses offered by those defending CA's Proposition 8, that gender roles in marriage mirrored gender roles in society...and those latter gender roles have changed irrevocably over the years. He dismissed the argument that marriage was devised in order to procreate: if that is so, why can the elderly marry or remain married long after the childbearing boat has sailed. For that matter, why doesn't the state revoke the marriage licenses of the infertile?
What disturbs me is all this twaddle about "Defending" or "Preserving the Integrity of" marriage. I have been happily married 39+ years. Even if I were a newlywed, how does letting two same-sex persons marry threaten my marriage? All it threatens is the smugness and false sense of superiority and exclusivity of those married heterosexual couples who feel that their own marriages render them "special" and superior to those who can only obtain "civil unions," if even that. I'm sorry, but my nice long heterosexual marriage does not render me superior to gay couples nor to those of whatever sexual orientation whose marriages failed or never even occurred. All it makes me is happily married. What does extending that status to homosexual complish do? It makes THEM happily married. Any time two people want to officially declare their lifelong devotion and commitment to each other, that strikes a blow for compassion, fidelity and--most of all--the power of love. How best to defend marriage? Spread it around!
Now, about defending our country: if it is true that there are no atheists (nor time for agnosticism) in foxholes, then it goes without saying that there is also no romance or lust: just the motivation to mow down the enemy before it can return the favor. At a time when we have a severe shortage of qualified troops--especially those with the language and cultural skills to aid in the fight against religious-extremist terrorism in Arabic, Pashto, Urdu and Farsi-speaking parts of the world, it makes no sense to fire decorated individuals with these vital skills merely because they came out or were outed. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was better than "Ask and Reject," but ideally the policy should be "Ask all you want, but to no avail." We have to recruit from the smallest of towns, the poorest of neighborhoods, even in high schools, in order to keep two wars going, but at the same time we end the careers of brilliant military leaders, fighters and intelligence experts simply because they no longer wanted to lie about whom they loved. Never mind compassion--where's the common sense?
Third, we now have three people who can claim the title "Hon. Madame Justice." 1/3 of the Supreme Court being female still is not yet proportionate to the distribution of women in our population (heck, demographic accuracy won't occur until five Justices are women). And in this day and age where a Republican-majority court that used to claim reverence for precedent and disdain "judicial activism" is taking a machete to stare decisis and twisting the Constitution to further its reactionary agenda, how refreshing to add a Justice who used to clerk for the Justice (Marshall) who wrote perhaps the most important decision of the last century (Brown v. Bd. of Education) and may devote herself to preserving that legacy--thereby walking the walk of honoring precedent. Thurgood Marshall believed in a Court that would listen when the other branches of government turned a deaf ear, and serve as a true check and balance as originally envisioned. Welcome, Mme. Justice Kagan. (Now, if only one of the conservative minority would just decide to hang up his robe!)