Sen. Cruz says that states should simply defy the Supreme Court on gay marriage. I don't see how that could possibly work out well, as it didn't even work in cases (such as segregation) in which there was intense and unified opposition to the Supreme Court's ruling among the polities of many states. The American population has responded to years of all their favorite Hollywood entertainers endorsing this, combined with years of Federal court rulings all pointing in the same direction, by shifting its opinion to support for the practice. There are probably no states that can put together the unity against gay marriage that characterized the Southern Democrats' rejection of anti-segregation rulings.

On the other hand, segregation was immoral. If this set of arguments is even close to plausible, public opinion may well shift again in the coming years. In that case, the defiant will be remembered kindly by history rather than as the bigots they are portrayed as being in the contemporary press.

Much depends on what comes next. For the moment, Sen. Cruz is taking the lead boldly down a dark road. Whether that road ends in darkness, or whether joy comes with the morning, is far from clear.


douglas said...

Well, that certainly tends to give one the impression that he actually believes what he's saying. Pretty rare in the political world.

Texan99 said...

I've been trying to sort out my thoughts on this one. Since I don't object to gay marriage, I try to imagine how I'd feel about it if the Supreme Court had required the state to stop interfering in some practice I genuinely opposed. My first reaction was that someone who works for the government probably ought to resign if he feels he no longer can implement government policy; it's quite different from the position of a private baker or church. If I were a doctor employed by the government and were asked to perform an abortion, should I have to resign my government post? I'm inclined to say "yes," but I can't quite work it out yet. It doesn't help that I'm convinced that far too many of us work for the government.

Grim said...

I don't think Cruz conceives of the situation as a limitation on state power, as you have written that you do. He conceives of it as an expansion of state power, one that is contrary to basic moral principles.

Should you resign under those circumstances? Quite possibly. Of course, that leaves the whole government in the hands of those whose moral principles differ from yours -- quite a surrender, given that right now even SCOTUS was 5-4, and at the state level there might be even a majority in some states on your side of the question. If every Republican governor, attorney general, clerk of courts, etc., were to resign if they disagreed with implementing this ruling -- well, we'd have a pretty different government pretty fast.

Strategically, then, that's probably not the smart move if you're serious about finding ways to resist this ruling. I'm not, myself: I think this is just a mistake America has to make, which will work itself out in due time. In fact, I think it's likely that gay as well as straight Americans will want out of this soon enough. What Paint Your Wagon called "all the tyrannies of marriage" were designed to address a particular set of concerns, those that arise between men and women building a life together with intimate relations. It's not at all clear that unions of two men, or two women, will need or want all and only the same rules.

Someday, then, we'll probably revisit the question with an eye towards re-establishing a distinction. Gay civil unions will continue to exist, but they won't be conflated with marriages -- and that's what really we should have done in the first place.

Texan99 said...

The particular issue he raised was county clerks who were asked to issue licenses.

Texan99 said...

Actually, I think it was Tx. Att. Gen. Paxton who framed it that way, not Cruz.

Ymar Sakar said...

The war continues, irregardless of what the Southern Democrats want.