Court hearings about more than marriage

Edgar Walters

The U. S. Supreme Court hears arguments in two major gay marriage cases this week, and the timing has never been better. Fifty-eight percent of Americans now believe it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Fellow proponents of the homosexual agenda, rejoice! The American public, after a long and difficult fight, is suddenly — explosively — coming out for gay marriage.

Capitalizing on that popularity, the Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group and lobbying organization — launched its United for Marriage initiative, which encourages those sympathetic to the cause of marriage equality to make public demonstrations of support.

In Austin, 1500 miles away from the oral arguments being heard in Washington, D.C., that support has primarily taken the form of a Facebook profile picture featuring a red equals sign. The mathematical symbol is an allusion to the HRC’s logo. You’re forgiven if you missed the memo; when I checked my Facebook page Tuesday morning, I mistakenly equated the red banners with communism. But once I understood the symbolism, I was touched. The equals signs were everywhere.

Not all recent demonstrations have been so positive, of course. Because this is Texas, some of our most powerful politicians count among the voices in diametric opposition to marriage equality. Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst spoke to that hateful tone at the Texas Faith and Family Day rally at the Capitol on Tuesday.

Perry did not appear to have confused the cyber-inundation of red with a communist uprising as I did, but his comments were nevertheless reminiscent of the Joseph McCarthy era. “The underlying problem is that there’s a very vocal and very litigious minority of Americans willing to legally attack anybody who dares utter a phrase, or even a name, they don’t agree with,” Perry said. “We are also a culture built upon the concept that the original law is God’s law outlined in the Ten Commandments.”

Fortunately, Perry’s views are increasingly out of touch with reality, and I look forward to the day they become obsolete. Marriage equality is on the horizon. But issues beyond gay marriage demand further action by the queer community and its allies, most notably workplace discrimination and issues faced by the transgender community. The Supreme Court isn’t expected to reach a decision until late June, which leaves pro-equality Facebook users three months to find a new, flattering picture of themselves. They might additionally consider promoting any other of the equally valid causes that have received less attention.

Decades from now, when my children ask me what this time of history felt like, I will proudly recall the demonstrations my friends — gay and straight — made in support of marriage equality. I just hope their enthusiasm won’t have stopped there.

Walters is a Plan II junior from Houston.