Texas conservatives are so reasonable. After Judge Walker’s landmark holding in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, they’re willing to meet the pro-equality lobby halfway: civil unions! But no marriage, because that means churches would be forced to marry gay couples.
This editorial demonstrates two things: first, that Judge Walker’s detractors haven’t bothered to read the opinion. See:
- “Proposition 8 does not affect the First Amendment rights of those opposed to marriage for same-sex couples. Prior to Proposition 8, [despite the legality of gay marriage] no religious group was required to recognize marriage for same-sex couples.” (page 89)
- “Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage, and marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the United States. [. . . .] The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships. [. . .] The children of same-sex couples benefit when their parents can marry.” (pages 81-83)
Each finding is backed by extensive explanation. I wonder, as David Boies does, whether anyone bothering to read the opinion could point to a flaw in it, apart from abstracted distaste in its ultimate conclusion.
And second, that Proposition 8 truly did stand, as Judge Walker concluded, on a set of fallacies, and arguments premised on fear rather than logic (pages 105-109). Whether or not the opinion is permitted to stand on appeal, this could be a productive moment, where, prompted by the federal judiciary, we are finally forced to debate marriage on the merits, divorced from nasty stereotypes and misbegotten assumptions. The right’s vital interest, in the wake of the decision, is to avoid that debate, because they know they’ll lose it, and return us to the same divisive, fallacious cultural warfare that brought us to this point. So far so good.