Off-Topic But On Point: This Was A Huge Week For LGBT Americans

Supreme Court of the United States (2010)

Lots of blogs cover LGBT issues, including this one. But since our staff is small and our focus is narrow — limited to cars, travel, insurance, and such — we usually let other sites report on general news affecting our community.

Not today.

This was huge week for LGBT Americans because, as you undoubtedly know, the U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases involving our fundamental rights: our ability to marry our loved ones.

The oral arguments around both Proposition 8 and DOMA began with lots of dull, technical, legalese — questions about standing to sue and such. When things got down to brass tacks, though, most of the bigots on the court made their voices heard, led by blowhard/class clown/professional pot-stirrer Antonin Scalia. (As usual, ultra-conservative Clarence Thomas kept his mouth shut, but it’s pretty clear where he stands — even though his own marriage was made possible by a similar lawsuit in 1967.)

But none of those arguments seemed to have any real resonance, and none were made with conviction. There’s no video of the proceedings, but it sounded almost as if Scalia & Co. were wincing with every bitter word falling out of their mouths.

To me*, the brightest, most rational voices of the day came from the liberal wing of the court, who seemed predisposed to take our side. Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were especially articulate.

One of my favorite moments came on Tuesday, during the arguments around Prop 8. Here’s a clip of defense attorney Charles Cooper attempting to justify Prop 8 to Justices Sotomayor, Anthony Kennedy, Kagan, and apparently, himself. At the end of the excerpt, tone-deaf Scalia tries to get a rise out of the liberal justices (and every woman on Planet Earth) by making a wisecrack about Strom Thurmond, but the only person who chuckles much is Scalia himself. Kagan gets far more laughs a few minutes earlier when she ridicules Cooper’s “marriage is about fertility” argument.

Though the judges won’t announce their decisions until June, folks on both the left and the right seem to think LGBT Americans have already won. That feeling is summarized on this week’s twin covers for Time Magazine, which feature two couples — one male, one female — kissing behind the headline, “Gay Marriage Already Won: The Supreme Court hasn’t made up its mind, but America has.”

No matter which way the court goes, its decision will have an impact on your ability to share property, insurance, and the like — car-related things. We’ll get to all that when the time comes, but for now, we’re just hopeful. You should be, too.

*NOTE: (a) I’m not a lawyer, and (b) as a gay man with a marriage license that’s not recognized in my home state, I have strong feelings about these two cases. Those facts might predispose my assessments. In fact, let’s assume they do.

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