So DOMA is no more and Prop 8 has been kicked back to the lower court's ruling by the Supreme Court, meaning that it's pretty much left-for-dead as well. It practically goes without saying that this isn't the end of the fight for marriage equality in this country, but it's unquestionably a giant leap forward in its evolution. I've always maintained that it was only a matter of time before same-sex marriage as a matter of policy was a reality nationwide, for no other reason than the nature of freedom -- which is that it expands. The genie was out of the bottle after the first few major rulings and decisions making gay marriage legal and after that it should have been obvious that it was going to be impossible to put it back inside. There will come a time in this nation when we'll look back on the current fight for marriage equality with shame that we ever resisted it for as long as we did, that we deemed certain citizens to be second-class in terms of who and how they could love one another.
But make no mistake: The prevailing force against gay marriage is, has always been, and will continue to be the belief by some that homosexuality is a violation of the law set down by the supposed ruler of the universe. The open hostility and quiet discrimination gay people have experienced in this country stems certainly from a barely suppressible fear of the unknown, but at the center of the biggest organized push-backs against the advancement of gay rights issues you'll invariably find a bunch of people who want to make sure they do right by God and that the rest of us are forced to as well. Now personally, having read the Bible from start to finish, I have no doubt that despite one or two passages that are desperately clung to by the faithful, the God pitched within the pages of it -- and certainly the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament -- wouldn't in any way have a problem with gay people. But there are always going to be those whose interpretation essentially translates into "Everybody's Bad But Us and What We Say Goes" and their attempts to both co-opt and legally enforce "holy scripture" will continue to be a blight upon humanity.
And maybe that's what leads me to this: I want you to imagine for a minute that it's the year 2213 and we haven't completely decimated all life on earth. Let's say, just for argument's sake also, that the United States still exists in some form of another. With me? Okay, now let's say that within those United States are several sociopolitical factions, one of which holds with absolute intransigence to the belief that no law should be made that violates the ways of "The Force," as was taught by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the holy word of the prophet George Lucas and passed down by J.J. Abrams and eventually adopted as an article of faith by the masses (or at least a certain portion of them). Sounds crazy, right? But really who's to say what of our literature or pop culture of today can't and won't eventually be taken as religion tomorrow? Sure, we have access to infinitely more media these days than we ever have before and if the trend continues it'll be possible to stay better informed than the relatively ignorant barbarians of centuries ago, but how can you know for sure that 2,000-years from now people will be able to understand that Star Wars was just a bunch of movies, books, action figures, and basically anything else Lucas could license and not, well, the word of almighty God? History is written by the winners. 1,700 years ago, Emperor Constantine decided that Christianity was the law, thus setting in motion the nightmare we've all had to live with since. Who's to say that a thousand years from now President George W. Obama-Nixon IX won't decide that the Jedi are a real order whose beliefs must be followed and that rules must be made to codify those beliefs? What if the Force becomes faith?
I mentioned this in passing in a larger column I wrote on religion here a while back but it's probably worth expounding on: The rights of a gay person to get married -- or of a woman to have an abortion, and so on -- should at no point be considered equal to the “rights” of the faithful to adhere to the regulations supposedly imposed by Jesus or any other deity who happens to be the star of a centuries-old book. Yes, you’re allowed to believe what you want, but when that belief collides with reality, reality shouldn’t be the one forced to submit. In the game of chicken between what’s proven and what can’t be, it should be obvious who has to veer off. The needs, desires, even whims of living, breathing human beings trump the decrees of an ancient text that rose to prominence during an era when people almost literally knew nothing about anything.
In other words, when Michele Bachmann, or Mike Huckabee, or Bryan Fischer, or batshit crazy pastor Fred Phelps, or anyone else who stands against gay marriage for religious reasons -- when that person shrieks about how he or she sees gay people as being an abomination against, or merely sinners in the eyes of, God, the correct answer is: Who gives a shit? It's as meaningless as saying that Santa Claus or Mickey Mouse -- or Yoda -- has a problem with gay people and should dictate how they're treated in modern society.
Sorry, but your imaginary friend doesn't get to overrule my rights or anyone else's.
Adding: Apparently Pelosi reads me -- or at least gets it.