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Marriage equality unlike Roe

Timothy Kincaid

June 10th, 2013

Some anti-gay activists have warned that a broad decision on marriage equality would have the same sort of cultural division and long-term social protest that has been the result of the decision on Roe v. Wade. James Richardson, a GOP “conservative communications strategist”, writes in the Christian Science Monitor on why that is not so.

The evolution of public opinion concerning the right to marry for gays and lesbians, too, follows a divergent track from abortion. Whereas the public sentiment on abortion has remained largely static since the Roe ruling 40 years ago, an uncommonly decisive shift in attitudes in recent years concerning gay marriage has radically reorganized the political landscape.

The support for same-sex marriage recently reached a record high, at 58 percent in a March survey by ABC News and The Washington Post. That number represents a 26-percentage-point growth over the span of just nine years. And in those 12 states where same-sex marriage is already legal, the support trend line is even more pronounced. In the few months since the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on gay marriage, three states changed their laws to afford equal rights and protections for gay marriage.



June 10th, 2013 | LINK

There are 2 more items that make such comparisons absurd:

1. To many abortuon involves the taking of a life, which SSM doesn’t even remotely.

2. Many folks know someone in their family, among friends or work with someone who is gay so look at these bans in light of how it impacts those they care about. Not the same with abortion because even if one believes a fetus is a person, I doubt many could say that they know one personally.

June 10th, 2013 | LINK

The religious aspect is the only similar I can see between the two issues. The very devout seem to be uniformly on the same sides of these issue.

I believe alot of the recent hay about the “Roe v Wade” being like SSM has more to do with a need for new volunteers and fundraising. The pro-life apparatus seems to be pretty large and broadly funded.

Timothy Kincaid
June 11th, 2013 | LINK


I agree that it can seem as though the very devout are uniformly on the same side, because those who oppose both are very vocal and use the language of faith to bolster their politics of exclusion.

However, I think that there are a good many Episcopalians, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and even Baptists who would be offended by your assumption that they are not very devout. While the language of inclusion is not often tied to fire and brimstone, those who champion ‘justice and mercy’ are no less sincere or no less devout than those of the ‘God’s gunna getcha’ variety.

June 11th, 2013 | LINK

There’s an interesting corollary to this:

There have been efforts recently to get women to “come out of the closet” on abortion. There are many who are too afraid to reveal–for an abundance of reasons–that they had an abortion.

I think if such a thing were to happen–and especially the reasons behind these abortions–we’d start seeing some shift (probably not nearly as drastic as has happened for ME) in public opinion in favor of a woman’s right to choose.

June 12th, 2013 | LINK

My earlier statement was poorly worded. I wasn’t trying to under value the devotion of anyone of faith or say that strength of religious devotion tracks with “anti-SSM” and “anti-abortion” . Rather I was trying to express how a person whose faith informs his political choices seems to come down on the same side of both issues. I would bet that the devout pro-SSM Episcopalian would also vote for legalized abortion even if she wasn’t comfortable with the medical procedure.

This isn’t always true of course, I saw a “pro-life” table at a pride fest just that past weekend, but the NARAL booth was a hell of alot bigger.

Mark F.
June 12th, 2013 | LINK

I’m pro-choice on abortion, even though many abortions disturb me greatly.

June 12th, 2013 | LINK

There are two other key reasons why this won’t be the next Roe v. Wade-

Once marriage is legalized, there’s no more rallying cry for its opponents. Prior to enactment, opponents raise the specter of equal marriage causing some vague undefinable “harm” to marriage, which can work to a degree as long as marriage equality is a future theoretical. Once it actually happens, however, this “harm” conspicuously fails to materialize, and they’re left scrambling to come up with something new. Hence the spectacle of NOM trying to hang their case on the “religious freedom” canard that was already used before in this country in opposition to integration, and rejected.

Second, the right’s largely successful strategy of incrementally chipping away at abortion rights won’t translate into the marriage battle. Any attempt at establishing whatever the marriage equivalent of abortion waiting periods or mandatory ultrasounds that only applied to gay couples would be immediately struck down on equal protection grounds, and straight couples wouldn’t stand for them being applied across the board.

So, while I could be wrong, I don’t see how they could even come up with a viable strategy to reverse equality once it happens.

June 13th, 2013 | LINK

I think the court is going to punt on the issue of imposing gay rights on the all the states. They are going to leave it to the individual states and the trend has been very good.

June 13th, 2013 | LINK

One thing that truly irks the heck out me is that some conservatives seem to link abortion and gay marriage, as if you are for one you are certainly for the other. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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