In the his first podcast recorded after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, Dan Savage explained how he no longer felt any urge to argue with the haters. No matter what messages they sent, no matter what outrageous thing he’d read them saying about marriage, his reaction was no longer to get irritated and start arguing. And he admitted it was a bit of a surprise. “I realized that I’m just over it. They have lost.” And listening to him, I recognized that I was feeling much the same way. I’m still annoyed that so many state and local officials are fighting it, and the BS religious liberty laws still get my dander up, but I know what he means. The court based its ruling on the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. They’re done. The haters can’t win.
The Fourteenth Amendment was passed in the wake of the Civil War, and it is specifically about rights of the citizens which can never be denied by states. The entire point was to try to prevent individual states from denying fundamental rights to citizens under states’ rights claim. No matter what argument they put forward, eventually a Federal Court is going to look at their case, will point to Justice Kennedy’s ruling, and will order the county or the state or the judge to comply. They’re done. It’s over. I find I don’t feel the slightest urge to click on headlines about some clerk or some judge or whoever refusing to issue licenses. I was reading them during the first week or so after the ruling, but my righteous indignation has moved on in regards to that specific issue.
Not everyone has. I get reminded of that every time I stray onto Facebook and accidentally see anything posted by most of my relatives. And some of the people who haven’t moved on are being complete dicks about it, angrily going off on people who have done nothing more than use the rainbow filter on their user picture on social media. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who feel the other way: Restaurant Owner Overwhelmed By New Business After Standing Up To An Anti-Gay Bully My favorite line: “food does not judge and everyone is welcome under a roof of love here!”
Meanwhile, because the Supreme Court ruling casts the right to marry as a fundamental right under the Fourteenth Amendment, Same-Sex Couples Are Securing Retroactive Recognition Of Their Marriages. Again, it’s a matter of fundamental rights that belong to everyone under the law, which means that they always ought to have been available.
Of course, a lot of people understand that the battle is over. Some of them have understood for a while, and have stopped supporting the organizations whose only mission is to take away marriage rights from queers (and before that they opposed civil unions), as well as take any other rights they can think of. As their fundraising has dropped off, they’re becoming more transparently desperate for cash: And now NOM is literally pleading with its (theoretical) supporters. Their fall has been predicted for a while now. I have had no doubt myself once the tide turned.
One of my favorite bits from the 2014 Slate article:
At every turn, NOM has played dirty, illegally keeping its donor lists secret and actively hiding its fundraising reports from ethics commissions. Its unprecedented campaigns against equality-minded judges represent a shocking encroachment upon judicial independence. And its constant barrage of ad hominem attacks against LGBTQ Americans turned a political campaign into a vicious assault on gay people’s dignity.
—Mark Joseph Stern, writing for Slate
There is an important detail that they have left out of the article: that 2.5 million dollar debt? It’s actually part of an even larger “loan” that their non-political “charity” made to the political arm a couple of years ago. The “charity” other money was raised under IRS rules that say it cannot be used for political purposes. So it’s a teensy bit unethical to loan it for political activity, though technically not illegal. Unless they don’t pay it back. Which, at the rate their fundraising has fallen off a cliff, I suspect they won’t.
It’s so bad, that when as part of his campaign finance statements made after the 2012 election ended (so after 2012), even Mitt Romney’s people felt the need to distance themselves from the donations the Romneys had made to NOM earlier. He’s not running for any office, any longer, and he’s probably the most famous living Mormon right now, so most everyone assumes he’s opposed to marriage equality, yet even he felt the need to minimize his involvement in the fight against marriage equality.
At least some people can read the writing on the wall…