The state's fight against gay marriage puts Idaho on the wrong side of history. The momentum is simply too strong to stop.
Ten years ago, two thirds of Americans opposed gay marriage. Today, two thirds approve of it. They've come to realize that gay people are human beings like everyone else and deserve the same protections under law and the same right to the "pursuit of happiness" as anyone else.
The state of Idaho has spent a lot of tax dollars fighting what was, from the very beginning, a losing battle. The world will not end because gay people want to enjoy the comforts and joys and legal protections of the formal union we call marriage.
But now, they also have to put up with all the obligations that come with such a formal, legal union, and sometimes, the pains as well, including divorce. When you buy into the big game, you have to take it with both its wonders and its warts.
Oddly enough, marriage among heterosexual couples appears to be on the decline, nationally, with more and more couples simply not getting around to doing it, or seeing it as all that important. The strange thing is, it's in the gay community that you find the strongest support for marriage these days. Go figure. The very people accused by some of destroying marriage (the state of Idaho argued that point, as well as strangely contending it would increase out-of-wedlock births), are actually the ones who may reinvigorate the institution.
Because in the same way that the courts struck down in the 1960s the miscegenation laws that prohibited people of different races from the marrying, the latest rulings have again made marriage more inclusive, broadened the base of people who can embrace the institution.
The old reasons for marriage (besides the important one, love) included mutual support, which could lead to financial improvement for the pair, a better ability to raise children (two parents are usually better than one) and clear lines on inheritance. Those are very old reasons, but they still have validity today.
Despite the turmoil of today, the next generation of Americans probably won't even notice. They'll wonder what all the fuss was about. But sometimes, the path you take to reach a certain point is as important as the final destination, because the rigors of the path make everyone along it stronger in the end.
The long path to equality for all is not over. There are still a lot of people struggling along it. But one of the strengths of the United States is the fact there is always hope it can be achieved and the court rulings and some legislatures over the last few years have now proven the validity of that belief for one of the groups on that path. We remain a beacon of light to the world, demonstrating that freedom and equality are alive and well in America and still at the core of the American dream.
-- Kelly Everitt