Marriage Equality Is the Next Roe v. Wade… And That’s Okay

The Washington Post reports on the growing realization among gay rights groups that a Supreme Court victory on the issue of same-sex marriage might not be “the end of the marriage fight,” with some advocates settling in for a protracted battle over religious freedom laws.

Conservative leaders are predicting that “a court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage will mobilize conservative activists as did Roe v. Wade,” however, according to the Post:

Gay rights groups contend that comparisons to Roe v. Wade are exaggerated, citing the enormous jump in recent years in public support for same-sex marriage as evidence that the country is ready.

bug_00It’s an article of faith on both the left and the right that much of the backlash over Roe was engendered because the country wasn’t “ready” for the decision to legalize abortion and, by inference, the political quagmire that resulted from Roe could have been avoided had the Supreme Court not gotten too far ahead of public opinion on same-sex marriage. Even Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a liberal icon, has voiced the opinion that Roe went “too far, too fast” and that by contrast same-sex marriage won’t be a “large adjustment” because in recent years, “The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous.”

But the idea that the public didn’t support the legalization of abortion pre-Roe doesn’t square with reality. In fact, a widely circulated Gallup Poll done in June of 1972, more than six months before the Roe decision, found that 64 percent of Americans “favor a law which would permit a woman to go to a doctor to end a pregnancy at any time during the first three months.”

And the growth in support for legal abortion in the few years prior was nothing short of astounding. Only 40 percent of Americans agreed that first trimester abortion should be legal in December of 1969, but that number increased to 50 percent in May of 1971 and to 57 percent in January of 1972.

By contrast, the Post reports that the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC Poll found that 59 percent of Americans support same sex marriage, up from 30 percent in 2004.

If a lack of popular support for abortion doesn’t explain the backlash against Roe, what does and what does this portend for same-sex marriage? Back in 2011, Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel argued in the Yale Law Journal that what caused the polarized conflict against Roe wasn’t the lack of popular support for abortion legalization. In fact, it was precisely the opposite. It was the growing public interest in and acceptance of abortion rights that caused the leadership of the Catholic Church to organize a top-down effort to quash the movement.

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ strident anti-abortion advocacy, and the robust pro-life network they created with the church’s resources, caught the attention of strategists for the Republican Party, who theorized that abortion could be used as a wedge issue to break Catholics away from the Democratic Party. In fact, during the 1972 election campaign, well before Roe, President Nixon used the abortion issue to attract Catholic voters.

Greenhouse and Siegel assert that issue of abortion exploded because it had “become entangled in party politics.” On the one hand it was fueled by the involvement of the Catholic Church, which had the clout to create “a large, well-financed, and nationally networked group that voted on a single-issue basis,” while on the other hand, the increasing identification of a pro-choice position with a progressive, feminist worldview had become associated with the Democratic Party.

If Greenhouse and Siegel are correct that it was “ordinary politics” that produced the long-running conflict over abortion, and the concomitant political polarization, there’s no reason to believe that same-sex marriage won’t become similarly entangled. That’s because even though the contours of the battle may be different, it’s the same fight over the meaning of family, the authority of traditional (usually religious) leaders, the meaning and limits of sexual expression and autonomy.

That’s why the argument over religious freedom laws got so heated so fast and why it’s disingenuous for supporters of such laws to suggest that they’re just minor, limited concessions to social conservatives who have lost the bigger war. These laws aren’t really about making a space for a baker to refuse to provide a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. They’re a beachhead in a battle that will continue to play out for years to come.

  • fiona64

    If Greenhouse and Siegel are correct that it was “ordinary politics”
    that produced the long-running conflict over abortion, and the
    concomitant political polarization, there’s no reason to believe that
    same-sex marriage won’t become similarly entangled.

    I tend to concur. One need only see how much money that self-proclaimed “Christians” threw at the Memories Pizza people to support their blatant bigotry to know that the Talibangelicals will throw a fit of epic proportions (and will be accompanied by Catholics and Mormons).

  • Rmj

    Roe v. Wade is about abortion. The argument about abortion is that it involves taking a life. Rightly or wrongly, that’s the hot button issue.

    Same-sex marriage will be more akin to Loving v. Virginia, if you need a precedent. It will be a question of discrimination, not “religious freedom.” If you can deny to serve a same-sex couple, you can deny service to a mixed race couple on the same grounds. It really isn’t even that difficult to see the legal issue that way. Which is why a ruling on same-sex marriage may well lead to laws recognizing sexual orientation as a protected class (along with race, religion, and national origin).

    Because the courts will have a hard time reconciling a Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage with upholding a right to discriminate that really isn’t written into law (because “religious freedom” does not equate to “I can discriminate in business because my faith tells me to”). That issue was actually litigated under the Civil Rights Act. Sexual orientation isn’t yet protected, but it will take some strange legal reasoning to say same-sex marriage cannot be denied, but discrimination against same-sex marriages can be allowed, especially if that’s the only issue where religion is allowed as grounds for discrimination..

  • Jim Reed

    The nation has evolved quickly on the marriage equality issue. I wonder if this might in part be the swinging of the pendulum away from evangelical Christianity. The nation is not ready to just swing away from Christianity, but this is kind of a warning shot. We are ready to swing rapidly away from what they would want on a sensitive issue. We want to show them they can lose. Of course the national pendulum is hard to predict, and impossible to control.

  • I wonder how long it will take for legalized gay marriages to become devoid, all but nullified in states that make it legal, much like what is happening in most red states with abortion? We have already seen this with the legalizing of gay marriage in CA a while back, that within months became invalid. As RvW became legal, along with the Voting Rights Act, many decades ago, which are now being questioned, (and we must not forget the mention of child labor laws, and others the right-wing have been wanting to erase) will a person married legally, one day, decades later, be told that their marriage has become invalid, in turn losing over a thousand legal rights married couples have, which one is, visiting your spouse in the hospital as they lay dying. If equal rights, protections and privilege are not given across the table, to all American citizens, then those who do have them, have “special rights”. Meaning, religious people have “special rights” that no one else has. Its a wonder how they have always gotten away with saying a minority wants “special rights” when they only want equal rights. I know this is not just an American “tradition”, it is mankind’s, and in my opinion, religion always being the culprit. Seeing as there will always be conservative Christians trying to destroy all others here in the USA and around the globe, I doubt things will be changing. They have this great “Get out of Jail Free Pass”, as I call it, that when Christians of one era supported one thing, like lynching, can say,”Oh but they weren’t real Christians.”, which is a crock of sh_t!. The only thing that can ever be claimed 100% valid and accurate is…It’s always been just ONE group of people that has slowed down the process that would make all people equal, with the same rights, protections and privileges under the law. That group: Conservative Christians! Just to reiterate: Its not ALL Christians, I am well aware that religious people have been some of the most helpful in getting minorities equality, I am NOT anti-Christian, I however am against ALL things conservative, conservative Christians being just one of them.

  • it seems the right-wing is going more fundie; Cruz and Rubio already spew such distain for gays, i can only imagine this will split the country more. One way to keep track is, watch what they say, when they say liberals, gays, Obama have caused the country to split more and have done so purposely, it is them doing so. its an old trick we all know about. though, i have asked a few via in replies like this, to offer me some examples, but they cant or they use their twisted ideology of martyrdom, victim-hood, to try and prove their point. when white heterosexual Christians are not allowed to legally get married, for some reason, (i can only assume they mean when atheists and gays make it illegal) then i will give them some credit to their argument. until then, not so much lol

  • Jim Reed

    I think the split is wide, and unbridgeable. The split can only grow until ultimately the conservative side will have to disappear. I think there are two aspects to the conservative/progressive split, political and religious. At the moment conservative politics is allied to conservative religion. They want the votes. In the long run politics changes. The Republican party won’t disappear because it is the party of the rich, and if it ever becomes too unworkable they can drop conservative Christianity. As conservative Christianity grows more crazy, and continues to slowly shrink, the split will have to some day happen. When the rich decide the conservative Christians can no longer win enough elections, they will cut the cord and look elsewhere. They are not permanently tied to conservative religion in the same way they are permanently tied to keeping conservative money.

  • Frank Franklin

    Two people of the same sex can never make a marriage. This social experiment will fail In time. Count on it.

  • Morgana Le Fey

    Family is not definable by the notions of regressive religionists, it is defined by civil law. Same sex relationships have endured for centuries, just without legal protections. Allowing those couples the same marriage rights as their heterosexual counterparts only makes sense. It is no more an experiment than was finally allowing inter-racial marriage.

  • Frank Franklin

    Family is designed and created by God. No changing that.

    Time will prove me right despite your denials.

  • NancyP

    Of course marriage equality will become a perennial dog-whistle to GOTV of evangelicals of a certain age.

  • Morgana Le Fey

    Someone has been feeding you nonsense. The sort of marriage established biblically includes polygamy and adultery. It establishes that woman is little more than the property of her father and then her husband. It also establishes that she must be forced to marry her rapist and if widowed childless must have sex with or marry his brother(s) until a child is produced… male of course. I assume you are campaigning to make divorce illegal except for un-chastity, and illegal for divorced people to remarry? Or has the Bible changed on those issues?

    Facts: Marriage is primarily a legal arrangement ensuring property inheritance rights. It is often a complex mixture of both. No one’s god or religion has anything to do with it outside the religious ritual of one’s choice. Even when it involves a religious ritual, it still has no standing until it has been confirmed and validated by a government office.

    Time and truth have already proved you wrong. Sorry, but no matter how hard you try to get your religious book to agree with your personal hateful prejudices, it’s still going to be unconscionable and wrong.

  • Liya

    Excellent points. Stupid Christians don’t realize GOP will drop them when the size if voting bloc becomes too insignificant

  • Liya

    Fiona, did you see frank , now as “Franklin” a few posts above? Is that our Lil Frankie, did he get married? 🙂

  • Jim Reed

    It’s probably too late for them to change now. They just hope Jesus comes before that happens.

  • Rmj

    That’s funny, because the concept of “family” has changed several times in Western culture alone since Abraham and Sarah used Hagar to have their first child.

    Call him Ishmael. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

    And then Jesus said he’d come to set son against father, and daughter in law against mother in law. Which I still interpret, in a Christian context, as a challenge to the “traditional family” with it’s much more traditional notion of patriarchy.

    Even marriages went from sacrament (in Catholicism) to the business of the state, under Protestantism, which very consciously turned the sanctioning of marriage over to the government. Having done so, it can’t now really complain if the state wants to re-determine who is entitled to regard themselves as “married.” The idea that the Church had sole control of that relationship ended centuries ago.

  • fiona64

    I didn’t; I’m posting from the dashboard. I guess I’ll have to go look. It’s probably his latest new interation after another banning, LOL.

  • fiona64

    Hey, Frankie! Long time no see! How’s your search for a teenaged beard going? Got any takers on that personal ad yet?

  • Craptacular

    “Oh please the histrionic hyperbole is childish.” – Frank6548

  • Craptacular

    “Time will prove me right despite your denials.” – Frank Franklin (or should I say, Frank6548?)

    Like it did with slavery, anti-miscegenation laws, and blasphemy laws, each of which the religious had repeatedly supported because of their sincerely held beliefs?

  • Frank Franklin

    If only these things were remotely comparable. Like abortion the tide will change when the reality of this terrible social experiment is truly seen. Just a matter of time.

  • Frank Franklin

    Certainly humanity has been mucking up Gods will for a long time. Father plus mother plus child. That’s the basic family unit that’s best for everyone.

  • Craptacular

    “If only these things were remotely comparable.” – fRank fRanklin

    You mean, the way I compared them as sincerely held beliefs? Are you denying that there were religious movements supporting each of those activities? Your denial of reality seems to be growing with each new profile you create,

  • Frank Franklin

    Sigh. It’s amazing how these unsupported arguments not based on scholarship still are trotted out.

    God created marriage as one man plus one woman. No changing that ever.

  • Frank Franklin

    People have supported all kinds of foolishness. Just like those thinking two people of the same sex could ever make a marriage.

  • Frank Franklin

    Amazing how much control I have of some of you.

  • Betty Clermont

    The Bishops’ strident anti-abortion advocacy, and the robust pro-life network they created with the church’s resources, caught the attention of strategists for the Republican Party.” Wrong. As I document in my book, “The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America,” the bishops “strident anti-abortion advocacy” came after the artificial construction of the Religious Right by Paul Weyrich (with the help of Weigel, Novak, Neuhaus et al) in the late 1970s and appointment of bishops by John Paul II who would carry water for the GOP. At the beginning of the 1980s, the U.S. episcopate were pro-civil rights and anti-nuke. Abortion was only a minor piece of Cardinal Bernardin’s “whole cloth” of a “consistent ethic for life.” It took almost two decades for JPII to turn the majority of the U.S. episcopate into culture warriors hitting their stride by the 2000 presidential year.

  • Craptacular

    “People have supported all kinds of foolishness.” – fRank fRanklin

    Your inability to apply the same logic and reasoning to your own ideas as you do others’ implies ignorance, dishonesty, or a bit of both.

  • Frank Franklin

    Still trying and failing eh? Keep up the good work.

  • JayJay

    Oh, it’s up there with murder.

  • JayJay

    You spew things with no proof in hopes to anger people with emotional wanton barrage of ignornace.

  • JayJay

    You want to kill off people who don’t agree with you. Roe vs Wade.

  • Craptacular

    “It’s amazing how these unsupported arguments not based on scholarship still are trotted out.” – fRank fRanklin

    As the undisputed master of unsupported arguments, fRank is probably a good judge of which ones should be trotted out, so I would defer to him, Morgana.

  • Frank Franklin

    As usual nothing of substance added. Well done.

  • Jim Reed

    No, I don’t. It is good enough just to watch them get more crazy, and then a few people fall away and they get a little smaller. It is a time consuming process, but is still probably the best way for us to go.

    The ironic part is when those few wake up and fall away, the ones who are left skew a little more to the right on the average, and that makes their group even more self assured they are right, and that makes them even more crazy, and the cycle continues.

  • Morgana Le Fey

    I don’t know your level of study, but I studied at a conservative seminary and at one time was an ordained preacher, liturgist, adult Bible instructor, and am quite versed in this topic.

    Nothing can change the fact that your deity had nothing to do with the establishment of marriage or family. Why not take a close look at the family of God… Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Notice anything missing? That’s right, your god’s family is entirely bereft of a mother. Look also at the examples in your holy book… Man, woman, concubine, servant
    (Abraham); man, woman, woman (Jacob and David); man, daughter, daughter (Lot).

    It’s time to rise above your Pharisaical views. Families come in many sizes and shapes, and what matters is not the gender of its members, but the love and respect that rules within. Please do yourself a favor and read your bible, preferably looking for truth rather than an excerpt you can pull out of context and twist to fit your prejudice and hate.

    “Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”

  • JayJay

    Oh, based on nothing but your hatred. Thought so.

  • Frank Franklin

    I suggest you got robbed if this is the conclusions you come to based on your education or lack thereof. Try again.

  • Jim Reed

    On the evangelical side, by 2000 80% voted for Bush, and about that number has voted Republican in every election since. I think we basically knew the Catholic bishops also sold out to the Republican party. What about the rest of Catholics, priests, nuns, the people? They seemed not to be just lockstep following the conservatives the way the evangelicals are. Are they really a majority Republican culture warriors now? Hopefully it is more like a war within the church.

  • Jim Reed

    I think the modern consensus is best is when there is love, and often the traditional systems were based on control.

  • Frank Franklin

    We all know how well control works.

    Sadly many don’t understand what love really is.

  • fiona64

    Frank’s level of study consists in “what some bloke down the pub told me.”

  • fiona64

    How’s your search for a teenaged beard going, Closet-case Frankie?

  • NancyP

    Catholic laity do not pay attention to the political commands of the hierarchy. Most vote on pocketbook issues. The percentage of Catholics voting Republican is related to the percentage of Catholics in the top few percent of income category.

  • Fired, Aren’t I

    oh jeez, somebody IP-ban him already. And I doubt he’s found that beard he’s looking for. For one thing, she’d be wondering why he keeps obsessively posting the same comments day after day on the same website every time an article about gays is posted.

  • Fired, Aren’t I

    LOLOL!!! He’s so sad

  • Fired, Aren’t I

    God’s plan is father plus wives plus children. Read Genesis.

  • Fired, Aren’t I

    “You really aren’t that smart are you? So sad.”

    – Frank6548, October 2014

  • Fired, Aren’t I

    “Aww how cute. Trying to play a grown up.”

    – Frank6548, Oct. 2014

  • Betty Clermont

    Following their 2012 defeat, the Republican Nat’l Committee issued an “autopsy report.” The gist was that GOP national candidates and those in blue and purple states would talk like “populists.” (See the Jeb Bush campaign) Voila! We have a pope and US bishops who now sound “pastoral.” But the US hierarchy continues to pay for legal/court impediments to Obamacare and talk about “religious liberty” as a dog whistle for homophobia. Non-Latino Catholics remain predominantly Republican. Even if they weren’t, it’s the bishops that hold and direct the “dark money” to candidates and causes favoring the 1%.
    Americans should watch the Big Money/Establishment candidates and their US Catholic partners (i.e. the leadership) instead of the Tea Party and evangelical loonies. The wacko far-right does not control national and big state politics.

  • Jim Reed

    Catholics need an organization to warn them about what the bishops are doing. I suppose the nuns are the only ones who could handle this job. Will they sell us out to the Republicans, or provide the needed leadership? If they are willing to step up, I know it would be a difficult job, but it is greatly needed.

  • Betty Clermont

    Since all religious organizations have a 501(c)(3) tax code, bishops are not required to disclose their sources of income and their expenditures. So no, there’s no one in the world who is going to tell us what the bishops are doing. All we have is the evidence that official Catholic agencies are filing court challenges to Obamacare and supporting “religious liberty” state laws.
    The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) which represents the U.S. sisters just promised the Vatican that:
    “LCWR’s publications would “address spiritual matters rather than engage in formal theological inquiry” and be based on “sound doctrinal foundations” … and avoid statements that are ambiguous with regard to Church doctrine or could be read as contrary to it,”
    The group, which had also been criticized for hosting speakers with views that were not fully in line with Church teachings on sexual morality, would see to it that in future they “have due regard for the Church’s faith”.
    So the sisters have abandoned their independence to the pope.http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/16/us-vatican-nuns-idUSKBN0N71PZ20150416

    The best thing the U.S. public can do is stop being naive as to where the $$$ comes from to pay for those U.S. bishops’ campaigns in alliance with the GOP.

  • webgiant

    Don’t feed the troll. Anything which is true in the real world, but which he considers not true “under his bridge”, will never be true for him.

  • Frank Franklin

    You should study Genesis so you understand it before you fallaciously use it as an argument.

  • pennyroyal

    Catholics for Choice. Also, the media is not about to tell the truth about religious incursions and the need for separation of church and state. There’s a taboo about covering religion in other than positive terms, other than scandals, of course.

  • pennyroyal

    96% use birth control compared to 98% of all Americans. It’s far more than pocketbook issues.

  • pennyroyal

    abortion politics is about keeping women as second class citizens. Women are seen as morally and mentally inferior. It’s a form of slavery. Women, of course, are fully capable of making moral decisions about their own autonomy as a person. It’s not that a fetus is a person, or a fertilized egg. It’s that a woman is fully a person. If she has not choice, then she might as well be a brood mare to any male that impregnates her, rape and incest included. If there is ANYTHING more immortal than taking a woman’s rights away, in 2015, I don’t know what is.

  • pennyroyal

    We had several republican state representatives in my area (southeastern MA) who wrote and spoke repeatedly against gay marriage. Since equal marriage became law in 2015, not only have these people had to shut up, they have become dinosaurs. They will die out because it’s settled law and no one would listen to them. And young people don’t care. The accept their gay and lesbian friends, family members, and neighbors getting married.
    Personally, I’ve seen so many kids of gay couples, now married, growing up secure, accepted at school, and not signaled out as different. The puritans should just get over themselves.

  • pennyroyal

    I’ll dance on your grave if you tell me where you live. There is no mention of gays by Jesus in the New Testament, and very few, minor passages in the Old. Stop talking for god. Stop making god your mouthpiece.

  • pennyroyal

    how idiotic, women have always found ways to control their fertility… FF, your ignorance is showing.

  • pennyroyal

    it’s like a monomania with FF.

  • pennyroyal

    wisdom was seen as female, but Paul deliberately chose ‘pneuma’, a greek word, for the Holy Spirit. Ever the arch -misogynist. Paul was an usurper and not a real direct disciple of Jesus. I call Christianity “Paulianity” because Paul made it a religion using neo-platonic philosophy.
    If FF wants pure Christianity, he needs to go back to the Jesus movement and Prisca and Aquilla. Two women deacons who helps the early church survive during the time where churches were in people’s homes, mainly homes opened to people by wealthy widows.

  • pennyroyal

    yep, all those biblical potentates, must really get under FF’s skin. Maybe he wants to return to those days, like the renegade Mormon sects where girls are married off at age 13 to a man 3 times their age.

  • pennyroyal

    Love means women are docile and subservient in all things. That’s not love. That’s patriarchy.

  • Jim Reed

    That seems to be the RD approach too. Everything is positive except the scandals.

  • Frank Franklin

    As I said most people don’t understand love. Thanks for not only confirming that but confirming you can’t stay on topic.

  • Frank Franklin

    As I said nothing you or anyone can say or do to change the truth that marriage, family and sexuality was created to be between a man and woman. Everything else is sinful.

  • George M Melby

    Where does hatred enter in on Mr. Reed’s comments? Are you looking to be the ‘victim’ here? Total fail if that’s your target!

  • George M Melby

    Frank, or Franklin getting married?? Oh Lord, that IS scary! More zombies we don’t need! Be sure and support your neuter/spay program.

  • George M Melby

    Frank, Franklin, Hooper, et al is rather brain dead and thinks we don’t catch on! He’s been dumped from blogs more times than he changes his Depends.

  • George M Melby

    The Catholic hierarchy also sold out to Nazi Germany with much fervor, only to save their backsides. They’ll sell their souls cheaply to any snake oil salesperson.

  • George M Melby

    They are not Christians! They’re simply wolves in Christian clothing. They ARE the true christian Taliban.

  • George M Melby

    I’m presuming you mean, “If there is anything more ‘immoral’….” You are spot on the mark!

  • George M Melby

    And more than a ‘little’ sick! Po’ ‘lil Frankie, et al.

  • George M Melby

    YOU are still the Master of Fail, Frankie, et al. You defeat your own purposes.

  • George M Melby

    EXTREMELY well said! But it will fly over Franko’s head with ease… the man has no shame or brain.

  • George M Melby

    Heh heh heh… A Master of Divinity in Pub Crawling! Thank you!

  • George M Melby

    I always love to read your comments… and watch them fly over Frankie’s incompetent head!

  • JayJay

    “Crazy” isn’t an endearing term. Nor is it without emotion or without attacking the very people that disagree with him.

    Yeah it’s hateful. How is it not?

  • pennyroyal

    thanks, correction made.