As the Supreme Court deliberates marriage equality, it’s clear that we are living in historic times.
In 2008, we elected the first African-American president and in 2016, if Hillary Clinton runs, we could elect the first female president. And if Sen. Rand Paul runs we could elect the first toupée-wearing president. (Assuming you don’t count the founding fathers’ powdered wigs as toupées.)
Ironically, in 2004, were it not for gay marriage, George W. Bush likely wouldn’t have won a second term. Karl Rove, “Bush’s brain” or “Bush’s butt,” depending on who’s doing the describing, cleverly put same sex marriage on the ballot in 11 states.
The evil genius Rove knew that this would be feeding red meat to the right wing base. And it worked. All 11 initiatives to ban same sex marriage passed. As the saying goes, that was then and this is now. Once the right’s darling, Rove was recently fired by Fox News.
Whichever way the Supreme Court rules (we won’t know until June) it seems obvious that sooner rather than later same sex marriage will be the law of the land. While changes like these, to me, are long overdue, for hate groups like the Aryan Brotherhood or the Westboro Baptist Church, this trend of tolerance is no barrel of laughs. (Assuming laughs ever came in barrels, an odd expression indeed.)
Located in Topeka, Kan., the Westboro Baptist Church has been harassing gays and lesbians since 1991. They may be most famous (or infamous) for conducting anti-gay protests at military funerals because, in their warped minds, the government and the military condone homosexuality. (Reportedly Westboro spends $250,000 a year on such protests. What a country. They even took time out of their lives to harass the kids at Santa Monica High School recently.)
Imagine the plight of a family who has lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan and these hate-filled freaks show up to picket the funeral. Believe it or not, legally, there’s not much the mourners can do. (I’m strongly against assault rifles, but in the case of Westboro I might be willing to make an exception.)
This brings us to the Aryan Nations, a white supremacist so-called religious organization that hates Jews, blacks and basically all minorities. In essence, they are equal opportunity haters.
Isn’t it amazing that the Aryans and Westboro claim to be Christians? This reminds me of a Woody Allen line from “Hannah and Her Sisters:” “If Jesus ever came back and saw what was being done in his name he’d never stop throwing up.”
Anti-same sex marriage advocates like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich argue that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. They must believe in it because Limbaugh has been married four times and Gingrich three.
But what nobody on the right, especially the religious right, has established is how allowing same sex marriage harms heterosexuals in the slightest. Their arguments before the Supreme Court are shockingly shallow. It isn’t like a heterosexual man would suddenly say, “I was going to marry a woman but now that same sex marriage is legal I’m going to consider all my options.” My advice is, if you’re against gay marriage, just make sure you don’t marry someone who’s the same sex as you are.
In addition to the sea change in the country’s views on same sex marriage there has also been one on immigration reform. Only a few years ago, when groups of Latinos protested on behalf of undocumented workers, the images viewed by the right wing were like waving a red flag in front of a bull. (For those keeping score, “sea change” came from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and it isn’t the color red that the bull charges, but the waving of the flag itself.)
After the Latino vote made such a huge difference in President Obama’s 2012 stunning victory, both parties are climbing over each other to be “Latino friendly.” I suppose it’d be a double whammy with what they’d do to get the “gay Latino” vote.
The sad truth is haters have been around since the beginning of time. But thankfully it appears that they are dying off faster than they are procreating. Young people, bless their souls, don’t seem to care whether someone is gay or lesbian, black, Asian or Eskimo for that matter. This tolerance drives haters crazy, but to me it’s a shining ray of hope in a not-so-hopeful world.
The Supreme Court may pass the buck on marriage equality this go-round, but it’s only a matter of time. For his sake, I hope Rand Paul adopts the “coming out” trend. It could be so liberating. Reportedly, in addition to a toupée that looks like a squirrel’s nest, Paul wears shoe lifts. Wouldn’t it be great if, at the 2016 Republican Convention, Sen. Paul came out on stage bald and barefoot? OK, maybe it wouldn’t be so great.
Jack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.