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Expansion of Same-sex marriage in the U.S.

Part 4: Predictions by Future Timeline.net,
the New York Times, and The Hill.

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This topic is continued from a previous essay

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wedding ringsFutureTimeline.net predicted that same-sex marriage will be available across all 50 states in 2024:

Future Timeline is a fascinating web site by author Will Fox. He attempts to predict medical, social, computer, environmental, transportation, and other changes, achievements, and developments during the rest of the 21st century! His essay that describes activities in 2024 contains a prediction that "Gay marriage is legal in every US state." 1 He predicted that by 2015, most Americans would support same-sex marriage for the first time. This prophecy is slightly inaccurate, because parity was apparently reached in 2011/2012. He prediced that Mississippi would be the last state to legalize SSM, and that it would do so in 2024.

This prediction about Mississippi might well prove to be accurate if one option does not pan out. The author apparently assumed that the practice of state-by-state SSM battles in legislatures, courts and/or citizen initiatives would continue until 2024. We suspect that universal access to marriage by same-sex couples will happen much earlier -- say about 2019 -- when we expect that:

  • Most of the states in the Northeast, West, and many states in the Midwest would have already legalized SSM.

  • Only about a dozen states -- mainly in the deep South -- would still ban SSMs, mostly by amendments to their constitutions.

  • One or more lawsuits launched in one of the states where SSM was still forbidden would be accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court will would issue a ruling like it did in Loving v. Virginia during 1967 when it legalized interracial marriages across the entire country. At that time, the ruling declared marriage laws banning interracial marriage in 16 contiguous states in the Southeast to be unconstitutional.

Note to Webmaster: Try to remember to check back here periodically to see how the predictions pan out. 2019 is still within your life expectancy. So is 2024, but only barely.

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LGBT symbol New York Times article predicts a gradual increase in states with SSM leading to a major decision by the U.S. Supreme Court:

Shortly after the culture altering decision on 2013-JUN-26 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Windsor v. United States which declared a major part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, Erik Eckholm, writing in the Politics section of the New York Times 2 described activities by pro and anti SSM groups:

  • Pro-SSM groups: Their main effort is to continue the state-by-state battles in state Legislatures to legalize SSM. They are expecting victory in the Legislatures of Illinois and perhaps New Jersey and Hawaii by early 2014. In the 2014-NOV elections, state constitutional amendments banning SSM might be repealed in Ohio and Oregon, eventually leading to marriage equality in those states. Also the ambiguous status in New Mexico towards SSM might be resolved in the courts. They expect that if national public support for SSM continues to increase, and if a sufficient number of states attain marriage equality, then the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually make SSM a civil right for all same-sex couples across the country, as it did in 1967 in the case Loving v. Virginia over interracial marriage.

    Eckholm quoted Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, who said:

    "Building a critical mass of states and a critical mass of public support — that’s how social movements succeed. We’ll pursue this strategy until we finish the job. ... I think it will be a matter of years, not decades."

    Fred Sainz, a vice president of the Human Rights Campaign said that the 2013-JUN-26 rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court will shine a light on the:

    "two Americas: one in which legally married gay couples live and the other in which unmarried gay families live."

Among the latter group, basic protections for same-sex couples and their families do not exist.

[Webmaster's comment: They do seem to have history on their side. Without exception, past civil rights conflicts that ended slavery, allowed deaf couples to marry, allowed women to vote, gave women equal employment opportunities, allowed interracial couples to marry, started the process of ending racial segregation, decriminalized same-gender sexual behavior, etc. have all eventually been at least partly resolved in favor of increased civil rights.]

  • Anti-SSM groups: They note that their major recent defeats between 2012-NOV and 2013-MAY in Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Washington State were largely caused by the massive funding spent by pro-SSM groups. Frank Schubert, vice president of the National Organization for Marriage suggests that:

    "These court decisions could be a real boon to our fund-raising. People tend to react when the wolf is at the door."

    Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-gay hate group, 3 said:

    "The lines are being drawn between states that stand with natural, traditional marriage and states that redefined it."

    [Webmaster's comment] Anti-SSM groups believe that many Americans will become opposed to SSM when they realize that their children are being taught that same-sex couples can now marry, or when they learn that Christian owners of businesses occasionally run afoul of state human rights legislation. These state laws often prohibit them from discriminating against customers on the basis of the latter's skin color, race, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation etc. Some wedding cake bakers, wedding photographers, wedding organizers, wedding gown outlets, etc. who are in business to serve the general public have refused to provide their product(s) to same-sex couples who are planning to marry. Anti-SSM groups are spreading informaton about such occurrances and classifying prosecution of suppliers of wedding goods and services as violations of religious freedom and liberty. In the past religious freedom has meant freedom to hold various religious beleifs, to assemble with other believers, to proselytize freely, etc. It is rapidly changing its meaning to meen the religious freedom of believers to oppress. denigrate, discriminate against minorities -- often the LGBT community.

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An article in The Hill suggests that the Supreme Court could legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states very soon:

Sam Baker, writing for "The Hill" shortly after the Windsor v. United States decision said:

"Legal experts say the Supreme Court's rulings this week on same-sex marriage send the clear signal the justices are likely to strike down state marriage laws that reach the High Court. Justice Antonin Scalia drew the same conclusion in his dissent to the court’s 5-4 decision rejecting the part of the Defense of Marriage Act that prohibited same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said his decision applied only to the federal government, leaving it to the states to set their own definitions of marriage.

But Scalia dismissed Kennedy’s assertion, saying the court clearly indicated that it would strike down state marriage laws soon enough. And legal experts say Scalia was probably right.

'It’s hard to read Kennedy’s opinion and not see that quoted word-for-word in every appellate brief challenging a state ban on gay marriage in the future,' said Ilya Shapiro, a senior legal fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute." 4

Justice Kennedy wrote that the intent of the DOMA law was to provide:

"... interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages ... The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects, and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples."

If we assume a population of the U.S. of 314 million, and that 5% of the population is gay or lesbian and that 75% of the population are adults, then there about 12 million adult gay and lesbians. If we assume that 30% will live together and have an average of 0.5 children each, and that 70% live in states that do not allow SSM, then there is the potential for over a million children to be humiliated and denigrated by othres because the lack of a married status of their parents. The number is probably larger, since this calculation is based on conservative numbers. Justice Kennedy's estimate of "tens of thousands of children" being raised by same-sex parents seems to be very low by perhaps two orders of magnitude.

In Windsor v. United States. Justice Kennedy wrote the above words against the DOMA law. Four other Justices agreed with his ruling. Inevitably, one or more lawsuits will be accepted for appeal by the Supreme Court that deals with one or more states' refusals to allow marriage by its same-sex couples. To be consistent, it would seem that Justice Kennedy -- and the four other Justices who formed the majority opinion in Windsor v. United States -- would have to use essentially the same words to find the state(s)' law(s) unconstitutional. Also, if one state marriage law and/or state constitution was found to conflict with the U.S. Constitution, it would seem that all the other 31 states that deny marriage equality would similarly violate the U.S. Constitution. Thus, a single Supreme Court ruling may implement marriage equality in all 50 states in the near future, as the court did in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia over interracial marriage.

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More predictions are expected

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Will Fox, "Gay marriage is legal in every US state," undated, at: http://www.futuretimeline.net/ [A prediction]
  2. Erik Eckholm, "Both Sides on Same-Sex Marriage Issue Focus on the Next State Battlegrounds," New York Times / Politics, 2013-JUN-27, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  3. From the Winter 2010 issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) Intelligence Report. The SPLC monitors racist, homophobic, nativist, and other hate groups in the U.S.
  4. Sam Baker, "Both sides say Kennedy opinion on gay marriage could doom state laws," The Hill, 2013-JUN-30, at: http://thehill.com/

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Copyright © 2013 & 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance 
Originally written: 2013-JUL-15
Latest update: 2014-JUN-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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