Scott Payne opines:
... to some degree this dichotomy of the “cultural work” and the “legal work” is just false. The work of legalizing same-sex marriages happens on the legal and cultural fronts simultaneously. And so E.D. is right when he notes that there are some cultural shifts necessary before we might expect to realize a legal victory for marriage equality. But the reason I identify legal victory as “the first step” is that I think its realization marks, in some senses, the beginning of a renewed and focused push for cultural equality. It strikes me that truly uncovering and addressing some of the more buried cultural elements of discrimination against same-sex couples is next to impossible so long as opponents have a legal basis to fall back on.
I don't see why that follows.
An argument that rests on a simple resort to the legal status quo is not a very strong one. It's perfectly possible (and logically necessary) to craft a compelling and winning case for marriage equality in the absence of its legality in any particular state. That's especially true once the principle has been established somewhere in America. I think the progress we've made in such a short space of time leads to the opposite conclusion: that this is an area which can be won culturally before it is won legally. And the victory based on persuasion and democratic voting is deeper and more legitimate than legal fiat. The gay movement should not seek to grasp pyrrhic victory from a real one.
Start working toward the next initiative in California; preserve and protect those civil marriages already in place; move to bolster civil unions elsewhere; keep engaging and explaining. And quit thetantrum. We lost the Prop 8 battle because we deserved to. Now: move on.
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