- - Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Gay marriage is upon us because 37 states and the District of Colombia are saying, yes, let’s recognize the fact that gay people have the same right to be married as heterosexuals.

In an indication of how swiftly public opinion is moving, a new Washington Post poll indicates 61 percent of Americans support gay marriage, and 61 percent of young Republicans support it as well.

The trend is obvious, and despite genuine concern among many conservatives and people of faith, Americans are ready to reject the notion that some people are more equal than others. A large part of the change comes from the public discussion that can only happen at the state level. This is due to the importance of the voter having a direct say in the debate, not leaving it exclusively to politicians and judges.

One of the problems with Obamacare, as an example, is the fact that politicians and courts jammed it down our throats. There was no bipartisan support in Congress because the American people were never truly on board. No major social change will be successful unless the citizens agree with and participate in that change.

Leaving the gay marriage fight to the states was and is the only way for one side or the other to truly win over their fellow Americans. We’ve never been fans of being dictated to by the courts or politicians. We are the sovereign and we expect, we demand, to have our voices heard.

It is my conservatism that informs my belief that every American deserves the rights of every other American; I see the 14th Amendment of the Constitution confirming that belief. As a gay woman, I do deserve to be treated as an equal partner in the American society that I love so much, but I also respect the heartfelt concern of many others who see this as an unraveling of a fundamental tradition. All of us deserve a robust and respectful public debate about the issue, and the most effective way to have that conversation is at the local and state level.

Now, however, the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing in. After avoiding the core issue for years, the justices were finally compelled to address it this week after various decisions created a split among federal appeals courts.

I contend, though, that the other reason the justices were amenable to taking the cases was due to the majority of states already having accepted marriage equality.

The two issues facing the court are whether the Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to two people of the same sex and whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Court-watchers and journalists have been trying to divine the position of each justice based on their questions, with the majority of the coverage indicating they seemed divided on the issue.

David Boies and Ted Olson, two attorneys who faced off against each other in Bush v. Gore during the 2000 election, have been famously working together for marriage equality, which they contend is a human rights issue. They believe the court will find in favor of marriage equality advocates.

“This has to do with equal rights,” said Mr. Boies, The Hill newspaper reported. “As long as you don’t discriminate against anyone based on race, gender, religion, etc. Everyone is equal under the law,” WorldNetDaily.com reported.

Ted Olson agreed. “We don’t take away the rights of the individuals, put them in a box and say that they’re less equal,” he said. “We don’t do that in this country. The overwhelming evidence of the case we tried is that sexual orientation is an immutable part of a person’s characteristics,” the website reported.

In a unique addition to the proceedings, a protester had to be removed from the high court at one point. One spectator said, “He was yelling and screaming about God, fire and brimstone were going to rain down on this country if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage.”

Well, maybe not fire and brimstone. More likely a bunch of massive parties with disco balls and margaritas.

One thing we do know: Some fascist gay activists are using the civil rights success as a hammer against Christian-owned businesses. We can have equality, and as same-sex marriage likely becomes the law of the land, we have a duty to make sure states protect people of faith, their houses of worship and places of business.

Ultimately, the next step in this journey is rejecting the obscene demand by some that marriage equality translate into a mandate that people of faith somehow must betray their closely held beliefs.

A majority of Americans now generously accepts same-sex marriage as the right and fair thing to allow, and the Supreme Court is likely going to agree — albeit perhaps with some compromise.

Now gays and lesbians have an opportunity to demonstrate their generosity by accepting the fact that people of good will disagreeing about the issue isn’t “homophobia.” Because even with an issue like this, it’s not always about us.

Tammy Bruce is a radio talk show host, author and Fox News contributor.

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