I promised to explain why the death of DOMA - and all other laws that discriminate against marginalized classes of people – is good for negotiators and good for the economy.
First, A Very Short Personal History
I was born two years before the Supreme Court handed down its 9-0 Brown v. Board of Education opinion holding that legalized “separate but equal” education in the American South was not only unequal, but unlawful. Famously, the Court instructed the States to desegregate their schools “with all deliberate speed.” What we got instead of speed was a series of uprisings, sometimes peaceful, sometimes violent, to implement the Court’s ruling.
In at least one instance, it took the presence of federal troops to move a governor away from the door of a state university where he was physically blocking the entry of two African-American teenagers who were attempting to enroll at a previously all-white institution.
Northern States were not without their own de facto restrictions as violence broke out in Boston in response to the busing of students from all-Black to formerly all-White schools.
It was not a pretty sight – angry adults shouting insults at children and it caused an entire generation of young people to rise up against quite legal discriminatory laws against women, the disabled, the marginalized religious, unassimilated nationalities and, finally, “the gays,” now known by the moniker LGBT.
Federal and State legislatures passed anti-discrimination laws in the interim and the Courts performed their duty to interpret and enforce those laws. When the people of the state or the representatives of the nation passed discriminatory laws like DOMA, courageous men and women, often without compensation and in the face of death threats, went to Court to strike down these pernicious laws and to protect those enacted to benefit citizens previously excluded from full participation in America’s civil life.
We are coming to the end of that great revolution in the rights of Americans, with yesterday’s decision by a federal appellate court applying the protections of the 14th Amendment to our LGBT brothers and sisters under a heightened level of scrutiny that no anti-gay legislation has ever before been subject to.
by Victoria Pynchon