Sunday, March 31, 2013

WATCH: New TV Ad Promoting Marriage Equality

This new television ad from the Respect for Marriage coalition was aired during today's edition of Meet The Press guest-hosted by NBC political Director Chuck Todd. There was a very interesting debate between National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown and MSNBC television host and civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton on the question(s) the Supreme Court is wrestling with in deciding the gay marriage cases before it (DOMA and Proposition 8).

It was pretty shocking to see and hear Brown claiming that he understands what civil rights are and claiming that the right to marry for same-sex couples is not a civil right but is about the "redefinition of marriage." I thought Sharpton took exactly the right tack by pointing out that what is similar about the fights to legalize same-sex marriage and interracial marriage is that in both cases it was a battle against people who thought it is their right to define what rights other people should have. Sharpton also made the point that (obviously) the fight for same-sex marriage and the right to end anti-miscegenation laws are NOT identical fights, but that one can make analogies based on race and sex. Brown parroted his typical talking points about "marriage being an institution bringing together the two distinct halves of humanity together in a union in which children are a possibility." I think it is astonishing how often heterosexual supremacists talk about gender and sex when discussing marriage but yet want to claim that bans on marriage equality are not classifications based on gender.

Even Justice Anthony Kennedy wondered about that very thing this week in the Hollingsworth v. Perry oral arguments:
JUSTICE KENNEDY: Do you believe this can be treated as a gender-based classification?
MR. COOPER: Your Honor, I --
JUSTICE KENNEDY: It's a difficult question that I've been trying to wrestle with it.
Note that Mr. Cooper then said:
MR. COOPER: We do not think it is properly viewed as a gender-based classification. Virtually every appellate court, State and Federal, with one exception, Hawaii, in a superseded opinion, has agreed that it is not a gender-based classification, but I guess it is gender-based in the sense that marriage itself is a gendered institution, a gendered term, and so in the same way that fatherhood is gendered more motherhood is gendered, it's gendered in that sense.  
When even the heterosexual supremacists are admitting marriage is gender-based how long will it be before Courts do? We are all waiting with bated breath to see whether Justice Kennedy and the High Court will agree.

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