I’ve spent a good portion of today reading the opinions of the Supreme Court. I’m probably going to need to re-read it a few times to make sure I have a good understanding of the ruling.
But, the gist of it comes down to this. The majority felt that denying LGBT individuals the right to marry was counter to the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment. The 14th, while it is the most challenged and litigated of our constitutional amendments, is also to my mind one of the most important amendments to our Constitution.
The Due Process clause of the amendment not only speaks of procedural due process (protecting individuals from governmental coercion), but also of substantive due process (protecting an individual from “majority rules” that are enacted with the intent to limit the protected rights of the individual).
The Equal Protection clause essentially says that no state has the right to deny equal protection under the law.
If you read the opinions (both the majority opinion and the dissenting opinions), you will find that these two clauses were the main focus of the Supreme Court’s decision in this matter.
Now, additionally, the majority opinion ALSO discusses the fact that societal opinion changes over time. This too is a process that has a long history behind it. In fact, the Fourteenth Amendment itself developed out of one such change in societal opinion.
In fact, it is this very same amendment that ALSO protected the rights of the individual to choose an abortion in Roe vs. Wade.
What this all comes down to is that the rights of an individual to privacy, and the ability to make their own choices based on their own conscience, is considered protected under this amendment.
Now, I’m well aware that there are a significant number of people, Christian and not, who are concerned that because of this decision religious leaders will be forced to officiate marriages for same-sex individuals, regardless of what their conscience tells them. Isn’t it wonderful that the SAME amendment that protects LGBT people and allows them to marry, ALSO protects those religious leaders and ministers from being forced to act against their conscience.
Note, I specify religious leaders and ministers. Why? Because the very capitalist system that so many conservatives worship will deal quite efficiently with business owners who choose to enforce their beliefs on their customers. I fully support any business owner’s right to refuse to provide their goods or services to anyone they wish. And I fully support their choice to make it publicly known that they run their business according to their conscience.
But…I ALSO fully support the customer’s right to choose to do business elsewhere.
If the business owner cannot support themselves on the niche market they have restricted themselves to, then their business will fail. It isn’t persecution to choose a different business if the customer’s conscience will not allow them to do business with a company such as that.