Today, people are celebrating breaking free of repression and finally enjoying the liberty denied because of unfair prejudice against a specific group of people. Some of my friends are trying to wrap their heads around the fact that 'm not celebrating this. The fact is, if unjust prejudice on the part of the government were ending, I'd be thrilled. If civil liberties were being restored to a heretofore repressed population, I'd be overjoyed. But despite the fact that folks are proclaiming a great victory for equal rights, this SCOTUS case (Obergefell vs. Hodges) is about something very different.

In the Opinion of the Court, Justice Kennedy cites several cases as precedent. The most well-known, of course, is Loving vs. Virginia which struck down bans on interracial marriage. In Loving, a marriage license was refused because of the unjust idea that blacks are intrinsically inferior. In Zablocki vs. Redhail, the court stated that denying marriage to fathers behind on child support was "deliberate discrimination against the poor." Turner vs. Safley ruled that prisoners could not be denied marriage simply because of their status as prisoners. In each of these cases, the issue at stake was equality and civil rights. These people had marriage licenses unjustly withheld because of the fact that they were black, poor, or incarcerated.
the message of the Court's opinion is that Wisconsin may not use its control over marriage to achieve the objectives of the state statute - See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/434/374.html#sthash.NsmaWhc9.dpuf
the message of the Court's opinion is that Wisconsin may not use its control over marriage to achieve the objectives of the state statute - See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/434/374.html#sthash.NsmaWhc9.dpuf

However, in Obergefell vs. Hodges the plaintiffs had been denied because they weren't even applying for something considered "marriage." They were NOT denied licenses because of the unjust belief that their sexual orientation makes them lesser humans, or undeserving of marriage at all. 
"Respondent declined to issue the license on the sole ground that the petitioners were of the same sex, it being undisputed that there were otherwise no statutory impediments to heterosexual marriage by either petitioner." - Baker vs. Nelson
This is what makes this case different than any of the cases cited as precedent. The plaintiffs had the same liberty to marry as any other person. No screening of their sexual tastes preceded their application, no box checked "gay" disqualified them from receiving a marriage license. They were petitioning the state for something not in legal existence. The question of whether or not homosexual marriage should be in legal existence is another matter (and whether it should be defined and implemented by the judiciary is another). My point is that this case is about a legal redefinition of marriage, not about civil rights or equality of persons.

The instances where wedding services were refused gay couples are also not about equality. The business owners who refused to bake a cake or rent out a venue did so because they disagreed with the definition of marriage, not because they considered gay people to have less dignity. Many have publicly said that they would gladly bake a birthday cake for a lesbian woman, or rent out a venue for the family reunion of a gay man. Indeed, if they refused those services because they somehow thought that homosexuals were inferior, I would protest against them too.

Discrimination of ideas, not of people, is the heart of this case, and we would be better served if SCOTUS could discriminate between the two.

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