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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

From 1956 until 2010, CBS television’s daytime lineup included America’s longest-running soap opera: As the World Turns. But times change, and now a real-life human drama of profound importance has debuted in America: As the Generations Turn.

It’s the inspiring story of our society’s continuing struggle to evolve toward dignity and mutual respect … as well as love. The moment came on June 26, 2015, when Justice Anthony Kennedy proclaimed from the ornate chamber of the Supreme Court: “The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment couples of the same sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty.”

Kennedy and Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor voted to make this higher level of inclusiveness the law of the land, but they are not the producers of it. Indeed, while the court’s ruling debuts a new day, it is the culmination of generations of painful struggle by brave gay and lesbian activists and advocates. And it is particularly the product of a defiant and determined LGBTQ movement for equality that arose from the brutal police riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York on June 28, 1969.

This democratic evolution from rank inequality literally came out of America’s closet, rising through only a few neighborhoods at first, but then entering the consciousness of today’s youth. Rejecting the shibboleths, ignorance, fears, and bigotry that previously permitted such intolerable discrimination, young people have, in a remarkably short amount of time, created a generational shift in the nation’s consciousness.

The true Supremes are the people themselves, and it’s their awakening enlightenment that has transformed marriage equality from taboo to simple justice.

It is unfortunately true, however, that not everyone has evolved on the issue of equality in our Land of the Free. The Supreme Court’s ruling that states can no longer ban same-sex marriage has set off a cacophony of howling hyperbole by the GOP’s far-out presidential wannabes.

“I will not acquiesce to an imperial court,” blustered Fox News’ political huckster, Mike Huckabee. “Resist and reject judicial tyranny,” he bellowed. Huck even couched his cry for continued discrimination against gay people by likening it to Abe Lincoln’s principled refusal to honor the court’s 1857 ruling that African-Americans could not be citizens. Sure, Mike, you’re a modern-day Lincoln — except that he was opposing discrimination, while you’re demanding that government enforce it!

Then came the wild hair of the GOP’s presidential menagerie, Donnie Trump, trumpeting his keen insight that the court’s gay marriage decision is Jeb Bush’s fault. Really. The Donald explained that Jeb’s brother George appointed Chief Justice John Roberts to the court, so … there you have it. Shhhh — let’s not spoil Trump’s hallucination by telling him that Roberts actually voted against letting gays marry.

Now on to Scott Walker, widely touted by the GOP’s billionaires as the “serious” contender. Yet, he is seriously pushing a constitutional amendment to allow states to keep prohibiting same-sex marriages. “No one wants to live in a country where the government coerces people to act in opposition to their conscience,” said Walker, apparently oblivious to the fact that state governments have long been coercing LGBTQ people to do exactly that. And now Walker is promising, if elected, to coerce them right back into a life of unconscionable injustice.

Every one of the 13* Republican presidential candidates is marching backward into the bigoted past, piously thumbing their noses not only at millions of gays and lesbians and their families, but also at the ever-growing majority of Americans — especially young people — who support marriage equality.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at 

*Editor’s note: The 14th GOP presidential candidate — New Jersey governor Chris Christie — announced his run on Tuesday morning. Christie vetoed a bill that would have legalized gay marriage in his state in 2012, although he supported civil unions for gays and lesbians. In 2014, he said the Supreme Court should not get to decide the issue of same-sex marriage for the states.

Photo: Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr

  • FireBaron

    Yep, yep and yep. And just think, Jim. In your home state of Texas, your AG has vowed to take the fight to the courts to allow any Wedding License Issuing official the right to deny issuing a wedding license to any but a heterosexual couple.

    • Wayneo

      I know of several one man and one women marriages where one of them or both are not heterosexual. They just have affairs on the side as many of the GOP big wigs do.

  • rednekokie

    Actually, when you think about it, this is just about the only thing left the Republican party has to bloviate about. They have completely lost the ability to govern, and totally ignore any of the needs of the American people.
    It is sad, but also disgusting.

  • The lucky one

    You now I get that same-sex marriage is disagreeable to some for whatever reason. Fine, they have the right to not participate in any such ritual and not to associate with such couples. Since they are not being forced or even asked to do so how do their feeble minds come to the idea that they are in any way being persecuted. Stupidity is a bigger problem than evil.
    I am happy though that this provides the opportunity for D Trump to bloviate. Some people think he is a viable candidate because he has attained enormous wealth through his business dealings and that verifies his intelligence. It should now become increasingly apparent that apart from the investment world where things are skewed heavily in favor of people like Trump (lots of money, no scruples, access to inside information, ability to dodge consequences of mistakes through bankruptcy) that he is just not very smart.

    • Carolyn1520

      Trump is the perfect candidate for the new GOP. He represents from the top to the bottom, greedy and hateful.
      BTW, just heard Macy’s dropped their partnership with him too. I always wondered why anyone would want to look like like him in any way. Now they can, at greatly discounted prices. He’s been reduced to clearance inventory 🙂
      I think the republican party wishes they could dump Trump as easily. As crazy as the other contestants are, they are embarrassed by him, simply because he said, what the majority of them think.
      What a circus!

  • Dominick Vila

    What moved marriage equality from taboo to lawful unions? How about a sense of humanity, the need for social equality, and plain common sense?