Whatever happens today, please stay calm

Posted by Mike Merritt in Constitution on

Today the Supreme Court will hand out their decision on California’s Prop 8 and section 3 of DOMA (or theoretically the entire law, I suppose).

The Court has shown recently that it’s willing to rule narrowly on many of the landmark cases. The affirmative action and Voting Rights Act were ruled as such in the last few days, and unless we see a liberal majority (perhaps joined by Kennedy and maybe the Chief Justice), I expect that will remain the trend.

I think it is at least somewhat unlikely that anyone is going to come out of tomorrow completely satisfied. There is the very real chance Prop 8 is upheld. There is also the chance is ruled unconstitutional, but narrowly limited to California, meaning no other anti-gay marriage laws are struck down). I don’t really see how section 3 of DOMA stands, given the implications in states that have legalized marriage, but the Court could potentially punt it back to Congress.

At the same time, the Court could go completely wide on their ruling and stuck down all the laws banning same-sex marriage as well as the entirety of DOMA. Highly unlikely, I think, but it is possible.

Once all is said and done, we may disagree with the ruling, but we should not question that integrity of the Court. The fact is, even if everything is upheld (the worst option) today, it’s not the end of the story. There are still legislative options to pursue. Legalization will take longer, but history is now fairly firmly on the side of same-sex marriage, and I think even the social conservatives know it.

I don’t think either side will help their case by engaging in a character assassination of the justices that rule in opposition to their preference. Don’t be that person. Take the ruling, indicate your acceptance or disapproval of it, and continue working to get your desired result some other way.

See you later today!

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