Sunday, May 17, 2009

Is Obama's next Supreme Court appointee likely to face questions about gay marriage?

The Washington Post has an already “most viewed” story this morning (Sunday, May 17), “Gay-Marriage Issue Awaits Court Pick: Same-Sex Unions Supplant Abortion As Social Priority for Conservatives,” link here. Much of the story concerns the expectation that eventually the Supreme Court will have to take up the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (wikipedia), which "Republicrat" President Clinton, not that reluctantly, signed.

The law focuses on exempting states from what normally would become a “Full Faith and Credit” obligation and denying certain federal benefits (such as social security survivorship) to same-sex couples. When it was passed, I did not see it as a threat, as I thought the best that could be expected at the time was incremental progress among the states.

I am not as convinced as others that DOMA would necessarily come up, but it is much more likely to come up before the Court than is the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy for gays in the military.

It would, to me, sound inappropriate for Congress to grill a prospective Obama appointee on specific positions about same-sex marriage. Moderate Democrats have supported state-by-state approaches and civil unions as a whole. Gay activists have emphasized the benefits not available to same-sex couples.

The real problem of “inequality” concerns the tension between those who marry and those who don’t as to making “sacrifices” – especially (not necessarily the same populations) those who have children and those who do not. As the population ages, people who lived productively without marriage and children (gay or not) will find caregiving commitments and sometimes sacrifices demanded of them. To me, all of these issues ultimately tie in.

Picture: At the Apex-DC last night.

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