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What must drive the anti-gay activists crazy

by Jeremy Hooper

prop8-protestAfter the Proposition 8 injustice of 2008, the right-side-of-history rose up instantly and organically in protest of the discriminatory move. By the next day, Californians were in the streets in mass numbers vowing to overturn this wrong. By week's end, voters in major American cities had joined in. By month's end, folks rom coast to coast were standing up and drawing more (and ultimately game-changing) attention to the wrongheadedness of overturning minority rights through the tyranny of a popular vote.

Sure, some groups got somewhat involved. But not many and not really. For the most part, community activists and bloggers and everyday Americans coordinated the efforts. Getting people out in the streets wasn't that hard of a task because the cruel injustice was so stark and against all that we should be working toward. Folks were charged up because their nerves were sore from the raw deal that Golden State voters had just chosen to serve to its citizenry.

But what has happened in the days since the Supreme Court's historic and definitive decision in favor of marriage equality in all fifty states? Nothing. Nada. Not even one protest in even one American city. Not one crowd of citizens has chosen to put foot to pavement, at least not in a way that has grabbed any kind of attention.

Same thing after the 2013 SCOTUS decisions that overturned both the aforementioned Proposition 8 and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Even though those were landmark decisions that set the ball in motion for all that has followed, the anti-equality side couldn't force everyday Americans to care enough to get off their booties and grab some headlines.

Even though there are surely some Americans who are upset about these marriages that they do not favor, the anti-equality movement has has no success at turning grumps and gripes into anything resembling protest. And why not? Well, easy: Because most Americans realize they simply aren't hurt in any way by marriage equality. Unlike the actual same-sex couples who are denied of something tangible, as well as the friends and families that love them, the folks who oppose same-sex marriage very quickly realize that their loss, even if they fought hard to make it go the other way, really isn't something that affects them all that much. And since it doesn't really affect them, they are not going to waste the energy fighting for a different outcome. They're not going to waste even one night showing their fellow Americans than they are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore.

Without this sort of anger, those groups and individuals who'd like to keep litigating this now-decided battle have nothing they can use to buoy their claims about how this ruling supposedly annoys and affects the average Jane and Joe. Groups like the National Organization For Marriage can pretend that there is a groundswell of outrage among our fruited plain, but without the pictures and clips of actual humans expressing actual outrage, their claims fall flat. We all know that same-sex couples are marrying in every state without any real outcry. If the NOMs and Family Research Councils of the world do have a sizable team lingering to help them fight this fight, then it's not a team that wants it badly enough. It's not a team that cares even a tiny fraction as much as we cared about the marriage fight when we felt we had been wronged.

Here just a week-and-a-half out from the Obergefell decision, the politicians who continue to attack the decision are starting to attract far more groans and eye rolls than they are attracting politically useful (and usable) traction. I suspect that by summer's end, there will be virtually no political will left among any Republican who even wants to dip a toe in mainstream pools. The only hope the other side had once this ruling was issued was with the American public. Had the public risen up in the way that we did after Prop 8, then there at least would've been media attention and an ongoing conversation about how we move forward with such deep divides. While the ruling itself would have remained and same-sex marriage would still be law, the other side would at least have achieved a bit of a cultural, emotional, and psychological win off which they could''ve built some sort of Phase Two.

But that didn't happen. Love Won. More Same-sex Couples Married. The Anti-equality movement yawned.

I guess we just wanted it more. Oh, and you know—that whole thing about our side in the fight being both legally sound and the only humane way forward.

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