Back in another life I had a consulting company, and this was something my former business partner used to say in a segment we did on negotiation.
Often, what’s right and what works are not aligned, as with people who are so sure they are right they can’t see anything else but their own rightness. They stand their ground, as they might say in Florida, can’t get along with anybody and, worse, can’t get what they want. (We’d get quite a few people like that in our workshops.)
Pennsylvania’s liberation from marriage discrimination is bringing some of these people out of the woodwork. Like, for example, a local columnist who also somehow got to be a lawyer, who is so distasteful I won’t link to her latest screed – but this is a good example:
I have to congratulate the other side. They were masterful with their sleight of hand, using emotion and emotional blackmail in place of solid legal reasoning for their very real, historic victories. It’s not an easy thing to convince people, judges especially, that while polygamy and incest are still verboten and harmful to society, same-sex nuptials are absolutely different.
We still cringe at the thought of Donny and Marie getting it on together (or, worse yet, Donny, Marie and Jimmy) and we rush to distinguish how toxic such unions are when there is no significant legal difference between what the LGBT community argues in its favor (that marriage is a fundamental right that should be available to all) and letting anyone who wants to get married get hitched.
This is where I get annoyed, as a lawyer and as someone who likes her T’s crossed and her I’s dotted.
It’s one thing to say we want to treat gays, lesbians and the rest with fairness and dignity and quite another to twist the Constitution around to give us cover for cultural sympathy.
She’s just wrong. There have been 14 Supreme Court cases since 1888 that assert the constitutional right of marriage. To quote just the latest (Lawrence v. Texas, in 2003 – this is the one where Scalia famously foresaw the future):
“[O]ur laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, and education. … Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.”
To get George W. re-elected, Karl Rove decided to do something that, at the time, worked – putting anti-gay marriage amendments on state ballots to turn out the conservative vote, most notably in Ohio. He, like Scalia, now sees the writing on the wall – as he said on Fox News last year:
“I think Republicans on both sides of this issue have a healthy respect for those who may not agree with them inside the party. At least, that’s been my experience thus far.”
Rove has no problem getting what he wants. And now, state by state, what’s right and what works have come together.