By Gary Villani
USW Local 959 Member; Former Editor, The Local Express
As the Supreme Court began considering two cases that might well determine the fate of same-sex marriage nationwide, a skeptical friend who anticipates 5-4 party line rulings in favor of doing nothing asked me which justice I would expect to break ranks.
I replied that I wouldn’t even hazard a guess, having read so many differing bits of analysis. There are wildly differing opinions on how the high court may approach the two cases before them. They may vote to uphold Proposition 8 in California, which prohibits same-sex marriages, even as they strike down DOMA, in what could be a realistic outcome reflecting federalism. However, if “The Supremes” rule that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, then North Carolina can say goodbye to Amendment One.
In this age of sequestration due to congressional gridlock—where business as usual is “do nothing”—the Supreme Court could simply choose to march in ideological lock-step and go 5-4 in favor of the status quo. Nothing changes. The so-called “nine state tactic,” whereby the justices would test the prevailing winds of progress using as a windsock the states [Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington] where same-sex marriage is already legal, seems more plausible. The cultural climate is just right for a paradigm shift of epic proportions. Nationally, polls reflect rising numbers—both in terms of general gay rights awareness, and specifically in support of marriage equality. President Obama has been the most high profile leader demonstrating individual evolution. Meanwhile, a growing number of Republicans have also publically changed their long-held stances due to the influence of personal family members with a vested interest in the pending judicial outcome—such as with U.S. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who has a gay son, or former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter is a lesbian.
In a letter recently sent to the judicial branch of the United States Government, I spoke personally about why my feelings run so high on this issue.
“I am not being treated like an equal,” I wrote, “even though I am a service-connected, disabled veteran. As an Army soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division, I fought for our country in Iraq, later broke my back while parachuting into a training operation, and served nearly 11 years in the military before being honorably discharged earlier than planned. (more…)