As a lawyer, as a supporter of civil rights, as a parent, as a citizen of the United States, I am incredibly proud to be so fortunate as to be alive and paying attention as the Supreme Court yesterday made the United States significantly more inclusive. This morning, at the breakfast table, I was proud to discuss a landmark decision with my children.
Obergefell v Hodges will forever be a symbol of the ongoing fight against exclusion and bigotry, much like Brown v Board of Education continues to stand for the ongoing fight against racism.
Here is the conclusion of the majority opinion issued yesterday:
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilizations’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
No one likes bad press. Sooner or later, pretty much everyone who has been pilloried in the press has blamed the press for the situation, rather than taking a hard look at whether his or her actions warranted such coverage. And it often must seem much easier to “go on the offensive” by attacking the press coverage than it would be to change bad behavior that has come to light. In other words, why not just shoot the messenger?
A few weeks ago, the Internet was filled with links to some photographs taken by a monkey. Photographer David Slater had set up a camera in the cage of some black-crested macaques, and one of the fun-loving creatures used it to take several pictures – including a series of “selfies.” After the selfies were posted on a web site, Mr. Slater claimed ownership of the photos and asked that they be removed from the site. Thus began the debate – who owned the copyright on those photos? Mr. Slater? The macaque? Anyone? No one?
I went to a political fundraiser hosted by a close friend this evening. I was there to support my friend – I wanted to help him deliver a full room to hear the Congressman that was in town. I’d already researched the Congressman and discovered that he and I disagree on a multitude of issues, so I didn’t expect to write him a check. Like I said, I was there to support my friend.
My wife and I have been reviewing our estate planning recently – it has been over a decade since we last paid attention to that subject. We have found that different people have very different reactions to hearing that we are thinking about – planning for – our future deaths.