Prop. 8 and the Future
Jonathan Capehart makes the case that if California’s Proposition 8 were to be struck down in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, we could expect a significant anti-SSM backlash, possibly including a federal constitutional amendment. Meanwhile, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming Prop. 8 — the more likely outcome — would set back the cause for decades.
I fear he’s right. Opinions are definitely changing, but they aren’t changing all that fast. Among states that have had same-sex marriage for any significant length of time, it’s rare to see a successful repeal effort.
This leads to an interesting hypothesis, so far not yet falsified: Although a future with same-sex marriage is a fearful prospect to many people, when same-sex marriage arrives, people typically stop worrying about it. Demonstrations, in other words, are uniquely successful. Even California itself was almost an example of the trend — with an appallingly inept and disorganized opposition, and a rock-solid, well-organized support base, Prop. 8 still only won by 53%.
Yes, supporters still have a lot of work to do to convince the country that same-sex marriage isn’t going to destroy civilization, or lead to man-on-box-turtle sex, or cause the end of mommies and daddies forever. What they appear to need are more successful, ho-hum state-level experiments, which tend to make same-sex marriage look like common sense. Trying to force the issue on the entire country doesn’t look like common sense. It looks like desperation.