By Matthew Rothschild on December 08, 2012

Here are five reasons why:

1. It never would have agreed to hear both the California case against Prop 8 and the New York case against the Defense of Marriage Act unless it was prepared to knock the whole edifice of discrimination down. It could have taken one of the cases only, and settled for a narrow ruling. But instead it seems to be reaching for a broad one.

2. It must know that history is against these bigoted laws, and the American people are against them, as the public opinion polls show and as the voters indicated on Nov. 6 in Washington, Maryland, Maine, and Minnesota.

3. The dream team of Theodore Olson and David Boies, who clashed in Bush v. Gore, are now on the same side, defending the right of same-sex marriage in California. They are sure to make formidable arguments before the court.

4. Justice Kennedy, the traditional swing vote, was the author of the two biggest Supreme Court decision so far upholding gay rights. He wrote the decision in the 1996 Romer v. Evans case, which affirmed the right of gays to bring discrimination suits. The Colorado amendment banning such suits was improper because “homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint,” he wrote. He also noted that the amendment “lacks a rational relationship to legitimate state interests.”

And he wrote the classic 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, outlawing the laws against sodomy. Of homosexuals, he wrote: “The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.” The logic of his two decisions should propel him to grant the right of same-sex marriage.

5. Chief Justice Roberts may conclude that it is better for the credibility of the court to side with the liberals than to put his stamp on bigotry. He broke ranks with his conservative brethren in the health care case. And this is an easier one than that one. It is not all wrapped up in the anti-Obama campaign. And surely Justice Roberts must personally know gay lawyers and lesbian lawyers. Surely he must have a gay or lesbian friend or two. On a personal level, it should be hard for him not to recognize that they deserve the same rights as he does. That, after all, has been the great triumph of the gay rights revolution: the person-to-person persuasion. And it should prevail even on the highest court.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Mazal Tov to Dan Savage and Terry Miller on Their Wedding."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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