quarta-feira, 26 de junho de 2013
Corte Suprema, casamento gay e opinião pública
A Tide of Public Opinion That Swept Past the Court
By ADAM NAGOURNEY
Published: June 26, 2013
LOS ANGELES — When proponents of same-sex marriage decided nearly five years ago to bring their legal battle before the Supreme Court, the decision set off a spasm of anxiety among many gay leaders worried that an adverse ruling would be a setback in a fight that many of them had never really wanted.
Same-Sex Marriage: Landmark Decisions and Precedents
Defense of Marriage Act Overturned
As Rulings Are Announced, Cheers and Tears Among Waiting Crowd (June 27, 2013)
Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage With Two Major Rulings (June 27, 2013)
But as the Supreme Court issued its last-day-of-court rulings on Wednesday, nullifying the federal law that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman and effectively permitting same-sex marriage in California, what was also clear was just how rapidly much of the country had moved beyond the court. Rulings that just three years ago would have loomed as polarizing and even stunning instead served to underscore and ratify vast political changes that have taken place across much of the country.
“Things are dramatically different today,” said Chad H. Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign and the founder of the gay rights group that brought the case against the California ban. “When we filed this case, there were three states that had marriage equality, there was one Republican official who supported marriage equality, Vice President Cheney, and public support of marriage equality was in the high 30 or low 40s.”
Sentiments against gay marriage remain high in many quarters of the country. It is explicitly outlawed in 37 states, which may set the stage for more legislative battles in the years ahead. Opposition to same-sex marriage remains high among social conservatives, and protests of the court’s decisions voiced across the country were a reminder how visceral an issue it remains for some.
Still, in the years since these cases began winding their way through the courts, President Obama and his vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., explicitly endorsed gay marriage — in the midst of a re-election campaign, no less. Bill Clinton, the president who signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, apologized for what he said he had come to see as a major mistake. A steady stream of senators and members of Congress from both parties voiced their support for gay couples joining in marriage. And same-sex marriage is now legal in 13 states. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in questioning lawyers during the argument in these cases, noted just how much political support there was for gay marriage.
Gay characters and celebrities have become ever-present in popular culture, on television and, over the past year, in sports and rap music. The news that a popular celebrity wants to get married to a member of the same sex, whether Neil Patrick Harris or Ellen DeGeneres, is treated as celebratory news in People magazine rather than a scandal in the National Enquirer. And as the court surely noted in its deliberations, public sentiment on the issue of gay marriage has flipped. It is difficult to imagine a Democratic candidate for president winning the nomination in 2016 without supporting gay marriage.
And the 5-to-4 decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, was sweeping and hardly technical, an affirmation of same-sex marriage written in broad constitutional terms that produced cheers and even some surprise among same-sex marriage supporters standing in front of the Supreme Court. And though the court declined to hear the California case on procedural grounds, the effect was to let stand a lower-court decision that threw out a voter-initiative banning gay marriage in this state.
What that means is that as of now, 30 percent of the nation’s population live in states that allow same-sex marriage.
Since the day the modern gay rights movement began on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village nearly 44 years ago to the day of the court’s decision, with an impromptu street uprising after New York police raided the Stonewall Inn bar, the campaign for gay rights has repeatedly been marked by advances and setbacks.
The court may be following rather than leading public opinion, but that is often the case. This will surely be remembered as landmark day in the evolution of the gay rights movement, along with the passage of the first gay rights legislation in cities like New York, and Mr. Obama’s proclamation of support for same-sex marriage.
Within moments of the decisions being announced, gay leaders were looking forward, hopeful that the imprimatur of a Supreme Court rally would push the movement to new victories. Mr. Griffin said that the next goal was to make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states within five years. Five states – Illinois, Hawaii, New Jersey, Nevada and Oregon — are viewed by same-sex marriage proponents as top-tier legislative targets