Dear Supreme Court Justices,
Last week, you agreed to hear two landmark
cases about gay marriage. In the broader of the two cases, which comes
out of California, you could establish same-sex marriage nationwide as a
matter of constitutional right. This is a ruling that most gay
Americans would celebrate as a historic victory for civil rights. But I
want to suggest that you make history, and advance the cause of gay
equality, in a different way: by butting out.
I bow to no one in my support for marriage
equality. I have been fighting for it since 1996, when the cause seemed
crazy and only the courts offered any hope at all. As part of that
fight, the hardest thing I have done is to counsel my gay friends and
allies that litigation was necessary, but that real civil
rights—durable, deeply rooted civil rights, as opposed to what James
Madison called “parchment barriers”—come from consensus, not from
That was true in the African-American civil rights battle.
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