Thursday, December 3, 2009

NY, Maine, Prop 8, And The Long Arc of Justice....

In the midst of these not too happy days I think its worth remembering how far the issue of gay rights has come in the span of relatively little time. My personal flashpoint on this entire issue was in 1986 when the Supreme Court released its decision in Bower v. Hardwick which concerned an anti sodomy statute in Georgia that two men had been imprisoned under.

Not only did the Supreme Court uphold the law but I really think you should read this bit of the opinion and wrap your mind around the fact that within our lifetimes this was a perfectly acceptable intellectual position...

In the majority opinion Justice White wrote." a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy...to claim that right to engage in such conduct is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty... is FACETIOUS AT BEST" Fuckin' what? Couldn't believe it then and I still can't now.

That wasn't written in 1874, though it could've been. A scant 23 years ago society was perfectly comfortable with a sitting justice spouting the notion that it was facetious AT BEST for gays to assert that what they chose to do in the privacy of their homes was in fact private. Roughly 17 years later the Supreme Court explicitly overturned Bower in the Lawrence v. Summer which involved an anti sodomy statute in Texas.... why are all of these cases from the south... in which even Clarence Thomas called the Texas statute silly.

It may be cold comfort but that is undeniable progress. In a little over a generation we've gone from the notion that gays have no legal right to their sexuality to losing votes over gay marriage by competitive margins. Don't pretend like you saw that coming 23 years ago because you didn't. I had hoped we were further along. We aren't and its frustrating, but there is no denying the direction this thing is running in and I suspect that 23 years hence our children will have no idea why this was an issue in the first place.

2 comments:

  1. I totally agree. Thanks for posting this.

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    ReplyDelete