Friday, June 21, 2013

Not a strike

So how would this strike work exactly? As I said almost a decade ago, the whole gay marriage debate is not over whether gay marriages will occur. Gay people were holding marriage ceremonies and throwing parties before any jurisdiction in the nation viewed them as a legal marriage. The gay marriage social phenomenon exists independently of the political issue, and that phenomenon will continue to exist even if conservatives somehow reverse the tide of history and outlaw gay marriage everywhere. The gay marriage political issue is about whether the unions are legally recognized. That is, how the government will treat people after the ceremony is over.

And that's what is at stake in both Supreme Court cases. The DOMA case is over whether the federal government can deny the benefits of marriage to people who are legally married in the state they live. The Proposition 8 case is over whether a state violates the equal protection clause of the constitution when it denies legal recognition to same sex marriage when it recognizes opposite sex marriage. Both are about government recognition of same sex unions. If both cases come down "against gay marriage" they won't stop people from having same-sex commitment ceremonies, throwing parties, and calling them marriages.

A strike is when a group of people withhold something (usually their labor) in an attempt to change a policy or practice. So how will conservative activists go on strike if they don't like the Supreme Court ruling? What will they withhold for their strike. They would be able to withhold government recognition, because they are not the government. They can ignore the ruling if they want, but that won't have any practical consequence and thus is not what is normally known as a strike.

Most Americans ignored last month's "defalcation" ruling, but I wouldn't call them on strike over it. And even if it were, it has had zero effect on challenging the validity of that ruling.