One of my favorite bloggers is the gay, Catholic, conservative Andrew Sullivan, but I think he’s off base on his hope that the Supreme Court will go small, make a very narrow ruling on the gay marriage ruling. He thinks it should continue to be argued state by state, but I see real problems in that approach for a lot of gay families. So let’s say the court rules that the parties defending Prop 8 had no standing so they couldn’t bring the case. Then the earlier ruling stands, and Prop 8 is overturned and gay marriages resume in California. That gives us, I believe, ten states that recognize same-sex marriage. But what happens if you’re living in a state that supports the rights of you and your spouse and suddenly you get transferred to a state that doesn’t recognize your marriage? Now all the problems that brought this to the fore are again in place. You can’t protect your children, be present with your spouse in the hospital and make medical decisions for them, etc. etc.
Perhaps Sullivan would argue that this couple should just stay in a state where their marriage is recognized, but life isn’t that orderly. In this struggling economy you may desperately need to move for that job or to care for elderly parents. I think not holding that marriage is a fundamental right and should be available to all leaves a lot of gay and lesbian couples still in a legal limbo. Settle it the same way they settled interracial marriage back in 1967 with Loving v. Virginia.