Just as arch-conservative Arizona Governor Jan Brewer crumbled to public and political pressure and vetoed Arizona's so-called "anti-gay legislation," a Texas federal court judge (Hon. Orlando Garcia) in San Antonio struck down Texas's ban on same-sex marriage because it violated the equal protection clause -- i.e., all citizens must be treated equally by the government -- and due process clause of the 14th Amendment.
This should not be surprising to those who have been paying attention. Federal judges in Utah and Oklahoma -- Republican-dominated states -- have done the same. A judge in Virginia also struck down that state's prohibition on gay marriage.
So, here's the landscape of LGBT rights as we survey the field today.
1. It's Just a Matter of Time (Part I)
One of these cases from Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, etc. are going to make it to the Supreme Court (or the Court may consolidate them), as the appeals process makes its way up the federal court food chain. (N.b., Judge Garcia, realizing the inevitability of an appeal of his ruling by Attorney General (soon to be Governor) Greg Abbott, immediately "stayed" his ruling so that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals could take a crack at it).
And when it does get to the Supreme Court, the Court will agree with these lower court rulings that there is a constitutional violation via these bans. Unless you're a Court Watcher, you probably don't rememberRomer v. Evans, a 1996 SCOTUS case where the Court ruled that a Colorado constitutional amendment prohibiting any "special treatment" for gays was struck down. Who wrote that opinion? Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy is also the author of Lawerence v. Texas and has shown solicitude for LGBT rights. And Anthony Kennedy will likely write the opinion striking down these current bans when they get before SCOTUS.
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2. It's Just a Matter of Time (Part II)
And take a step back from the court rulings and survey the wider landscape. It was only in 2004 when the Democrats -- incorrectly, it turns out -- were bemoaning Bush's re-election because of "values voters" and how Rove got the Christian Conservatives out to the polls. Well, what a difference a decade makes. And a major part of this difference is the Millenials. Many Millenials simply do not see what there is to get too worked up about vis-a-vis gay marriage:
"Millennials report a nearly 20-point gap between the views of their families and the views of their friends. Nearly half (49%) of Millennials say most of their family members oppose same-sex marriage, compared to 41% who say most of their family members support it. In contrast, only 30% of Millennials say most of their friends oppose same-sex marriage, while nearly twice as many (59%) say most of their friends favor same-sex marriage. Americans from the Silent Generation are equally likely to say that most of their friends (57%) and family members (56%) oppose same-sex marriage."
As Millenials inevitably age, and those who believe LGBT rights are wrong inevitably die or shrink in numbers because of changing social mores, gay marriage will be seen as "NBD." It's just a matter of time.