A protest sign at a 2008 anti-Prop 8 rally in Charlotte, N.C. Photo Credit: James Willamor, via Flickr. Licensed CC.

Reactions, positive and negative, were swift following Monday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court declining several marriage appeals and, thereby, legalizing marriage in five states and bringing soon bringing legal marriage six others, including North Carolina. As each district courts in each of those states rule — North Carolina is expected within 10 days — the number of legal marriage states will rise to 30 and the District of Columbia.

What’s next?

From my morning editorial:

To those on the wrong side of history, I say it’s time for you to hang it up. Move on. Find happiness in your life and quit creating havoc in others.

To those on the right side history, I ask, what’s next? Where will this movement go? How will we address so many issues left on the sidelines as the bulk of our movement’s dollars and resources were mobilized for marriage?

‘Inexorable march toward equality’

The Charlotte Observer‘s editorial board weighed in quickly, calling it another step in an “inexorable march toward equality”

It’s a day to celebrate, not because some special interest group won some new handout at the expense of someone else but because those states will stop denying fellow human beings fair treatment. It’s the ending of state-sponsored discrimination, more than the accruing of new benefits, that gays and straights alike could celebrate Monday.

That should provide some feeling of relief. It’s tiring keeping people down, treating them as second-class just because they’re different. One becomes weary trying to maintain inequality for so long.

For bonus points, the Charlotte paper also got in a dig at anti-LGBT hate group leader Tony Perkins, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council and a close ally of anti-LGBT amendment backers Charlotte First Baptist Pastor Mark Harris and N.C. Values Coalition’s Tami Fitzgerald:

Think about the mayhem the U.S. Supreme Court unleashed on Monday. Couples marrying with no intention of procreating! Partners being legally wed after decades together! Heterosexuals having gay marriage forced upon them!

That’s what Tony Perkins says.

“This judicially led effort to force same-sex marriage on people will have negative consequences for our republic,” the president of the Family Research Council said Monday after the high court declined to hear cases involving gay-marriage bans. “Not only as it relates to natural marriage but also undermining the rule of and respect for law.”

All that’s missing is Bill Murray in the movie “Ghostbusters” predicting “a disaster of biblical proportions … human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together … mass hysteria!”

Act of cowardice

Qcitymetro.com editor and publisher Glenn Burkins chastised the Supreme Court for not taking a bolder stand. One could assume, he said, that the “court’s conservative majority simply wanted to do what was constitutionally inevitable without having to affix their signatures to a ruling they politically despise.” More from Burkins below:

In Brown vs Board, a unanimous court affirmed that our Constitution could no longer abide the ridiculous notion of “separate but equal.” The Lawrence ruling struck down the last of our nation’s anti-sodomy laws. And Loving affirmed the rights of heterosexual Americans to marry whomever they choose, race notwithstanding.
Which is why Monday’s Supreme Court inaction regarding same-sex marriage should be disappointing to all of us.

Rather than affirm (or deny) the constitutional rights of homosexual couples to marry, the justices who sit on our nation’s highest court took the easy way out — a move that will go down in history as a supreme act of judicial cowardice.

Was it worth it?

Indy Week‘s Lisa Sorg runs down the embarrassing amount of cash — $4 million of it — wasted in the Amendment One campaign and ends with this:

The goal of Amendment One was to punish gays and lesbians and their allies; toss red meat to GOP constituencies and to lord religious dogma over the entire state of North Carolina. On that point, the bigots succeeded.

Perhaps the pro-gay marriage groups enlightened a few people, but ultimately the Amendment One damaged North Carolina, its people, its reputation. Now that Amendment One is coming undone, the pro-gay marriage groups have been vindicated. So, I asked the conservatives: the effort, the animosity, the divisions, the $1.5 million: Was it worth it?

‘Black cloud of religion-derived discrimination’

North Carolina-based Faith in America founder Mitchell Gold minced no words, laying the blame of anti-LGBT marriage discrimination squarely at the feet of religion-based bigotry and prejudice:

“I cannot express the sense of joy and complete overwhelming optimism that this decision produces for the future of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and families,” said Mitchell Gold, founder of Faith In America.

“The black cloud of religion-derived discrimination, clearly the motivational force behind these terribly misguided and constitutionally flawed anti-gay amendments, has been lifted today.

“No longer will LGBT youth and families in North Carolina and 10 other states be subjected to the unique harm and derogation that these anti-gay marriage bans placed on their lives. The U.S. Supreme Court decision today means these anti-gay marriage amendments cannot stand and neither can the religion-based bigotry that attempted to justify them. Thank God for our democracy in America that has a court system to protect minorities.”

Go back to law school…

Amendment backer Tami Fitzgerald (who holds a law degree recipient, no kidding) issued a frantic email to her supporters Monday afternoon, again proving she lacks a basic understanding of the First Amendment’s separation of church and state and the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection and due process clauses:

It is outrageous that Courts believe they can overturn the Biblical meaning of marriage, the will of the people, and the definition that marriage has had throughout history in every culture.

We are extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to let stand bad decisions from a handful of Circuit Courts, including our own 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

We continue to believe that the people of each individual state have the right to recognize marriage as the union of a man and a woman by popular vote, just like the people of NC did by 61% vote on the ballot.

Fitzgerald reacted later with a campaign message for U.S. Senate candidate and North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis second email to supporters, following legislative leaders’ (why even bother at this point?) decision to continue defending the ban:

Today’s announcement by Speaker Tillis and President Berger is very good news for the 61% of North Carolina voters who voted to put the Marriage Amendment in our Constitution.

We should all remember this act of courage and conviction when we go to the polls in November to vote for our next US Senator.

It is the Senate that confirms the appointment of federal judges like those who have made poor decisions on marriage. Who do we want making those important decisions on federal judges? Kay Hagan, who publicly supports same-sex “marriage”? Or Thom Tillis, who has stood for marriage repeatedly?

White House: No ‘specific reaction’

Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson fills us in from the White House:

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday he had no “specific reaction” to the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in five lawsuits seeking marriage equality.

In response to a question from the Associated Press, Earnest instead pointed to President Obama’s previously articulated personal support for same-sex marriage and the growth in public support.

“We’ve seen those reports,” Earnest said. “I don’t have a specific reaction to their decision to not to take — not to grant review in these cases. The president himself has previously expressed his own personal view that it is wrong to prevent same-sex couples who are in loving and committed relationships and want to marry from doing so. A growing majority of Americans recognize that marriage equality embodies our American values of fairness under the law, and certainly that’s the president’s view here, too.”

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

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