Let Me Address the Republicans Who Think They Can Ignore Our Supreme Court on Marriage Equality

mike-huckabee-ted-cruzAs I think most people had expected, the Supreme Court ruled that under the Fourteenth Amendment, bans on same-sex marriages are illegal. For those who are unaware, the Fourteenth Amendment addresses what’s known as the “equal protection clause,” which basically says that no state can deny any citizen equal protection under the law.

Well, almost immediately following the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision, Republicans all around the country (especially at the state level) began trying to delay issuing same-sex marriage licenses, with some officials even declaring that they weren’t going to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Some of the rhetoric has been so asinine that some states are considering not issuing marriage licenses to anyone, leaving marriage entirely up to churches.

Then there are those like Mike Huckabee who clearly have no idea what the Supreme Court actually does, suggesting that the Court cannot “rewrite laws” – even though it did no such thing. On Friday, he referred to the court as “imperial” over the ruling, apparently unaware that our Constitution establishes our three branches of government (the Supreme Court being one of those branches) and their job is to do exactly what they did – interpret the Constitution. They didn’t rewrite a single thing, just interpreted an already established amendment, which is their job.

The bottom line is, these people have no legal leg on which to stand. Outside of a full-blown Constitutional Amendment declaring same-sex marriage legal, this is about as “official” as you get in this country.

We had state-level laws which many felt violated the Constitutional rights of millions of Americans. Those laws were then challenged in lower courts, with many being overturned in almost every state in which they were challenged. This spawned challenges to those rulings, often overturning these same-sex marriage bans which then sent this issue to the Supreme Court to render the final verdict once and for all.

That’s exactly what they did.

They didn’t “rewrite” the law, because we have no Constitutional Amendment that defines marriage. They didn’t “ignore religion” because this case really had nothing to do with the First Amendment. What they did was rule that under the Fourteenth Amendment, these bans on same-sex marriage were discriminatory and denied millions of Americans their Constitutional right to equal protections under our laws.

While that’s simplified a bit, it’s essentially a summary of how it went down. Bans on same-sex marriage violated the Constitution and were therefore overturned – the end. 

Except, sadly, it’s not. What Republicans are going to do now is desperately try anything they think might possibly prevent gay Americans from getting married. But when it’s all said and done, like I said earlier, they don’t have a leg to stand on here. Outside of passing a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage (which is never going to happen), anything they try to do between now and whenever they finally realized they’ve lost will be pointless.

The bottom line is – they lost. 

Not only that, but the argument that marriage is a “religious institution” in this country doesn’t really make any sense. Those who oppose same-sex marriage are basing their definition of marriage on Christianity, right? So, then shouldn’t they oppose the right for anyone who’s not a Christian to get married? After all, when two atheists marry, are they taking a “vow before God” or before the state government? When two Muslims marry, they’re not abiding by the Christian definition of marriage either. A church ceremony is basically just for show as any couple can go down to a Justice of the Peace and get married whenever they want – without any ties to religion whatsoever.

When it comes to the legal definition of marriage in this country, religion essentially plays no part.

But even when you step outside of the political nonsense behind all of this, the truth is the overwhelming majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. The most recent Gallup poll on the issue showed an all-time high of 60 percent in support of marriage equality. But not only that, when broken down between Democrats, Independents and Republicans – all three groups saw a massive uptick in support just since 2008 alone. Heck, among Republicans approval for gay marriage more than doubled from 17 percent to 37 percent in just the last six years.

These Republicans who claim that they’re going to go to extraordinary (and now flat-out illegal) lengths to try to circumvent marriage equality are doing two things:

  1. Still trying to fight a war that they’ve already lost.
  2. Proving just how outdated and out of touch the Republican party is with most of the rest of the country.

So, to those Republicans I say this: You lost, deal with it. Throwing a hissy fit like petulant children isn’t going to change our Constitution, how the Supreme Court ruled or prevent gay Americans from getting married – it’s just going to make you all look like a bunch of jackasses.

But there’s good news! This ruling will have absolutely no impact on any of your lives, unless you let it. Do you know why? Because this wasn’t about you. It was about granting the rights owed to millions of Americans under our laws.

And if you really think marriage equality is going to bring about “God’s wrath,” answer me this question: If that’s true, why is Canada doing just fine considering they legalized same-sex marriage in 2007?

No matter how much if a hissy fit you all might try to throw – much like with slavery, women’s suffrage, segregation, bans on interracial marriage and the opposition to the Civil Rights Act – history is going to reflect back upon all of you as those who were on the wrong side of it. Then again, that’s been the calling card for Southern conservatives and the South in general for 150 years and counting.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Kim Serrahn

    These are the kind of people that would cry fire in a theater just to watch the movie alone and in the best seats.

  • worrierking

    Can’t wait to see Piyush led away in cuffs for a civil rights violation in LA.

  • GenerallyConfused

    The argument of states rights is asinine as well. State’s rights, while good in some areas of governing, are overruled time and again when it comes to equal rights under the law. Everyone has equal rights under the law, and when that doesn’t happen for whatever reason, it’s unconstitutional.. be it marriage, or the color of one’s skin. Everyone has equal rights under the law. When the law hinders a minority from doing something everyone else can do — it’s unconstitutional. Thankfully, we’ve seen it changed for the better.

  • Holly Emerson

    I agree with 99% of what you said, but I wish that people would lay off the South a little. The Southern states do not hold the monopoly on idiocy. Look at Nebraska, as backwards as they come, and they are NOT in the south! The Dakota’s are not the liberal breeding grounds that some seem to think it is. I mean, there are a lot of people in the south, myself included, who are liberal, support equality and believe in the rights of every person. Please don’t make “Southern” the equivalent of ignorant. The south has beautiful scenery, people and traditions. We are known for hospitality, gentility, beauty and grace. Granted, a few very loud mouth people make us look bad, but not

    • noah vail

      “We are known for hospitality, gentility, beauty and grace.”… unless of course you are black, jewish, muslim, gay, catholic or other honorary “yankee de jour”…i’ve been a victim of “southern hospitality”…thanks, but no thanks

      • Holly Emerson

        I am not saying that there are not ignorant people in the South, what I am saying is that it is NOT limited to the south. I have also been harassed in Massachusettes, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and even Iowa (which is usually a very progressive state) I am aware that the south has some really stupid people, but I would say that is true for EVERY state, and to single out the South does a major disservice.

      • noah vail

        but the south seems to embrace and encourage this behavior more than any other region, one might go so far as to say stupidity and hatred of anyone different has become institutionalized there and no amount of logic, reason or facts is going to change it

  • Democrat; I like cats ;
    Republican; I cannot believe you would talk about dogs that way! They ,after all are man’s “best friend” just goes to show you leftist,commie liberals have no real concern for mankind and morals.

  • Jerry Krause

    TAKE NOTICE: Not since the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and before that the American Revolution 1775-76, has there been such a determination to correct a wrong. The U.S. Supreme Court in its recent decision redefining “marriage” will test the will of the people to do just that. As far back as the beginning of time marriage has been between a man and a woman (cf. Genesis 2:21-24). But perhaps the court’s ruling did not necessarily redefined marriage. In the narrow 5-4 vote Justice Kennedy wrote: “The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.” Can that be interpreted as “marry” in the verb sense, and not having to call it a “marriage” in the noun sense? Saying, for example, married into “civil union” would not necessarily redefine marriage. Might the will of the people want to get behind and reinforce that thought? After all, it is very possible these past months leading up to the court decision the LGBT community may have moved too quickly, forcing too much onto the rest of us, to be able to maintain their position as they see it today.