CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Opinion

March 27, 2013

EDITORIAL: Gay Marriage Will Survive Whatever the Supreme Court Says

(Continued)

That would certainly be anticlimactic. Would it also be timid? As we have said, the courts have an honorable tradition of dodging sticky questions, and in this case the consequences wouldn't be catastrophic. Dismissing the case — or ruling that the challengers lack standing — would leave same-sex marriage legal in California, as it would be in nine other states and the District of Columbia. If it were to let the lower-court decision stand, the court could signal support of same-sex marriage while still allowing time for public opinion to settle the matter.

Which brings us back to Richard Feynman's question. The cavalcade of opinion in support of same-sex marriage has surely affected the court. About half the public supports it, with the figure rising to 70 percent among Americans younger than 30, indicating the way forward. Few justices can doubt that the freedom to marry will expand nationwide — and soon.

How much deference do the justices owe the public? Getting too far ahead of popular opinion can undermine the court's legitimacy. So can trailing too far behind it. The reason proceedings like these are public is that the court is as interested in forging consensus as following it. It's also why, even more so than other public institutions, its reasoning matters. It's all well and good for a politician to change his mind on same-sex marriage because he has a gay relative. That's not reason enough for a Supreme Court justice.

With each passing day, an increasing number of Americans views the right to marry, for gays and straights alike, as among "the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy."

That's not wording from the latest poll. It comes, only slightly out of context, from a 10-year-old Supreme Court decision on gay rights.

Text Only
Opinion
  • EDITORIAL: Primary shows maturity, will of voters

    With the local Republican Primary wrapped up, the outcome of three races may have seemed surprising to some observers.

    July 22, 2014

  • COMMENTARY: A break from the campaign rhetoric

    The collective sigh of relief felt throughout Cullman Wednesday morning signaled the end of another primary political season the previous night. As Wednesday’s Times headline told us, it was a clean sweep.

    July 21, 2014

  • Harris Coleman COMMENTARY: Billy Coleman, a true statesman

    King Solomon said, “Pride will ruin people, but those who are humble will be honored.” He also said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Billy Coleman, the past elected superintendent of Cullman County Schools, is the living example of these wise statements of truth.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • COMMENTARY: Twisty road back to Cullman

    The young journalist who was somewhat listening to the elder newspaperman on the other side of the desk didn’t have a clue.

    July 19, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Judge makes the right decision

    Many people are closely following the case of Jay Maynor, the man charged with murdering a man convicted of molesting his daughter 12 years ago.

    July 7, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Truth and independence

    Somewhere along a colonial road between Lexington and Concord, Americans found their courage and resolve to become independent.

    July 4, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Taking charge with a vote

    The Democratic and Republican primaries arrive Tuesday morning across the state, with many election officials and candidates fearing a low turnout could be in store for what otherwise should be cause for a great gathering of citizens.

    June 3, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: A state dying from drug use

    Alabama coroners, with the power to order and log results of  toxicology reports, hold the key to important information for families and law enforcement officials.

    May 20, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Looking beyond the standard

    Cullman County schools superintendent Billy Coleman opened a wide door of opportunity when he supported a transition to an appointed executive to lead the local education system.

    May 20, 2014

  • Editorial: Meal money violates trust

    As various local political candidates dash toward the June 3 primary, a troublesome issue remains unattended on the table.

    May 11, 2014