Senator Sherrod Brown and Jim Obergefell held a conference call with reporters this afternoon to discuss the historic, game changing U.S. Supreme Court decision extending same-sex marriage to all 50 states. Brown and Obergefell, the Cincinnatian whose loving relationship with his late husband John Arthur led to the decision, told reporters that opponents of today’s ruling can no longer stand in the way of committed partners who want to enjoy the benefits and privileges of marriage.
Republican candidates for president and other Republicans who hold high office did not embrace the court’s decision today. Gov. Kasich and others like him running to be president, clearly embrace the notion that it should be left to state voters to decide whether to approve or disapprove of same-sex marriage. They appear to not understand the principle that says a guaranteed right cannot be voted away, not even by a majority of voters.
Obergefell v Boehner
As contrasts between Republican candidates and Democrat candidates for president become clearer, as they did again yesterday when the court again championed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, keeping it strong and the law of the land, I asked Mr. Obergefell to respond to a statement by Mr. Boehner today on the decision.
“All human beings are created equal by God and thus deserve to be treated with love, dignity and respect. I am, however, disappointed that the Supreme Court disregarded the democratically-enacted will of millions of Americans by forcing states to redefine the institution of marriage. My views are based on my upbringing and my faith. I believe that marriage is a sacred vow between one man and one woman, and I believe Americans should be able to live and work according to their beliefs,” Speaker Boehner said in prepared remarks.
“He [Boehner] doesn’t go to church to get a marriage license. Those laws apply to all citizens. I respectfully disagree, he can believe that, that’s his right, but his religious beliefs have no business in my rights,” he said.
Mr. Obergefell said he started crying when he heard the decision being read. “It’s a moment I’ve been hoping for and wishing for,” he said, adding, “I felt more of an equal American than I have in a very long time. We are valid and important and respected. I thank my husband John for making me a better person and giving me something worthwhile to fight for. It’s very surreal. I find it difficult to see my face and hear my voice all over the place.”
Brown Puts Boehner In ‘Dust Bin Of History’
Sen. Brown, who hosted his weekly on-the-record call with dozens of mostly Ohio reporters, said statements like the one issued today by the speaker should be consigned “to the dust bin of history.” Brown said the decision is of the magnitude of Dred Scott, which ruled African Americans cannot be citizens, or Brown v Board of Education, which reversed the notion of separate but equality as fair treatment, or even Roe v Wade, which established abortion as a right under the constitution.
Asked what today’s decision does to the status of Ohio’s Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 2004, Sen. Brown said it’s now just so much history. “DOMA is now overturned. Marriage equality is the law of land, period. The court has spoken, it should be the last word. If voters of Ohio had to do it over again, 11 or 12 years later, Ohioans would say yes, they can get married,” he said.
Mr. Obergefell, at the center of the historic case ruled on today in a 5-4 decision, said he and his late husband John were never activists. “Our activity was writing a check.” He recalled their evolution as happening “purely organically … We stood up, and said, ‘no more.'”
Sen. Brown said the “arch of history is bending a little further towards justice today.”
Showing himself to be on the wrong side of the arch of history again, which might also show why his national polling numbers are so low, Ohio’s outspoken governor, whose cranky disposition is explained as being blunt and candid, said he didn’t like the courts decision for same-sex marriage.
The governor running for president said very little on the court’s decision. What he did say is in line with Speaker Boehner: He’s “very disappointed” with the ruling … but he will abide by its decision. “I do believe in the traditional sense of marriage — that marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said, according to reports.
Sound familiar, it should, that’s pretty much what he said when voters slammed his prized legislative push to gut collective bargaining rights for public union workers in 2011. Voter rebuked him then by a landslide margin of 2-1 against SB 5. Kasich pursed his lips, said he heard the voters, but what he heard was his one-punch knock didn’t work, so he’ll need another strategy to dispense his bitter medicine to unions and the workers they represent.