Jeremiah is a staunch supporter of gay rights, but we’re going to have to give the economy top priority this year. The candidates have starkly differing views on the role of government, and this will have far-reaching consequences. If you are gay and you favor a big central government, your choice is easy. Barack Obama is the man for you. On the other hand, if you are a gay entrepreneur, then you have a dilemma.
It’s too bad there is not a third party that features capitalism and civil rights (see Jeremiah’s four quadrants). Fortunately, the Federal government is not actually the venue for rights issues. That venue is the judiciary, with legislative input at the state level. Greybeard activists will recall Brown v. Board of Education.
Here’s how it shakes out. Under the 14th Amendment, states may legislate additional rights but they cannot subtract from your “basic” rights. So, the first line of appeal for gay rights is your state legislature. If gay marriage passes there, you’re done. This is how marijuana is being legalized, one state at a time.
If yours is an intolerant, defense-of-marriage state, then you will have to sue. Note that you must suffer an “injury” first, like being denied health coverage, and then you must sue the relevant state department. As these lawsuits multiply, Federal courts – and ultimately the Supreme Court – will find that marriage, or at least its civil benefits, is a basic right of all Americans.
This is a long process, but it’s the only one. Congress and the President will not settle this matter, any more than they have settled the abortion issue, racism, or women’s rights. We are still waiting for that Equal Rights Amendment. By the way, the Brown verdict was 9-0. It didn’t need a packed bench or judicial activism. The time for justice had come.