Ironic Coincidence, or a Deliberate Reminder

Today marks the first day gay and lesbian couples can legally marry in Massachusetts. Today’s date seemed arbitrary to all but a few when on February 4th, 2004, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was in fact allowed by the Massachusetts constitution stating that:

Quote from rulingBarred access to the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage, a person who enters into an intimate, exclusive union with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community’s most rewarding and cherished institutions. That exclusion is incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under law.

The astute observer realized then, as has just dawned on me today, that today’s date had to be intentional. Judges at the state and Federal level are students of history, their job requires it. The Supreme Court Justices in Massachusetts choose today as the day that same-sex marriages had to be recognized because today marks the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. Today, another great step forward in equality for all has been taken.

Separate but equal is legal fiction.

Those words, spoken today by President Bush apply specifically to the issue of same-sex marriage versus same-sex unions. But those words were not those of President Bush; he was quoting Thurgood Marshall’s brief to the United States Supreme Court when Marshall made his case that segregation was not equality. Words, spoken more than fifty years ago, but they still describe the fallacy of bigotry. A bigotry that has just changed its focus over the last fifty years.