By Jeff Hara
Even though the ruling went for a close 5-4, the victory felt decisive. Everyone from A-list celebrities to President Obama threw their generous support (that is, tweets) for the Supreme Court, and it’s hard to comprehend what everything would be like had Kennedy swung for the right.
The most intriguing aspect of today’s debate over gay marriage is the lack of it. Seriously, Google all of the problems with gay marriage. You might find reports that there won’t be any backlash. Oh, and you might notice Google’s “rainbow-powered” search bar.
Have people truly become as tolerant as they say? DOMA and I were born two days apart, and over the course of a mere 16 years, America did a complete one-eighty and took down the act. Growing up in an age when Ellen DeGeneres both lost her job and jump-started her career, Modern Family portrayed a gay couple, and Chris Colfer appeared as a main character on Glee, it’s possible to build a strong case.
The alternative is that people have become superficially tolerant. Maybe people define tolerance as “having gay friends.” Maybe people define tolerance as mundanely “supporting” a cause by making an obligatory status update because everyone’s doing it. Maybe people define tolerance as changing their profile picture to an equal sign for a day. This feigned sense of solidarity is really as ephemeral and elusive as a rainbow.
Call me a pessimist, but I don’t believe that there won’t be any backlash. Not for a minute.
And if people were legitimately tolerant, why does homosexuality follow people like an extension of their name? Sexual orientations are publicized by dressing, talking, and acting stereotypically, as if displaying flamboyance will show that they’re comfortable with themselves. Orientation doesn’t dictate the pitch of your voice; biology does. If anything, these people are forced to be someone that they aren’t.
What does all of this mean for gay marriage? The fight just got a lot harder. DOMA and Prop 8 were definitive enemies of the Human Rights Campaign, the Harvey Milk Foundation, etc., etc. But now, the enemies are hidden. The new adversaries are bound by a code of secrecy that they would never give themselves up, and when gay rights activists silently lose their supporters even as the worst is yet to come, they won’t even know what hit them.
It will seem as if the fight for gay rights was easier when DOMA and Prop 8 were still on the table because they at least knew who to demonize.
It’s a story we’ve all heard before, and it’s one that we’ve tried to forget. Consider the celebrity shout-outs for Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in 2011. Remember the music albums for the Haitian earthquake victims in 2010? People will come through but not because they care. In fact, the trend is that people care so little that they’ll support anything in the world, now that “supporting” takes a second of their time.
Is DOMA and Prop 8 a landmark case? Or is it a landmark hype?