We’ve had some big marriage wins lately in the conservative camp. First that pro-equality Supreme Court brief from a long list of prominent Republicans, then a sitting Republican senator, and now an endorsement from conservative pillar Charles Murray — given at the CPAC conference, no less! That’s just a sampling. The list is long and getting longer. But why? And more to the point, why now?
I think it’s because they know it could be their last chance.
For many of them,it might work like this:
- They think same-sex marriage, whether they like it or not, is inevitable.
- They know the Supreme Court might settle the question in a few months.
- They fear this is their last chance to be on the right side of history.
I have no respect for that. Believe what you believe, regardless of the political wind. Realizing your conviction is unpopular is no reason to change it.
But I think something else is going on, too. Imagine you’re a conservative. And you support marriage equality. And you’ve been silent. But now you realize this may be your last chance to say you supported same-sex marriage before it becomes the law of the land.
How mortifying must it be to know you sided with the angels in the great civil rights struggle of our day, but no one will ever believe you?
To know you’re on the right side of moral history, but might be seen for the rest of your life as one of its opponents?
To know you believe in the American ideals of freedom and human dignity, but sat out this historic struggle to turn America into a more perfect union?
How mortifying must it be to know that you are right, but your silence now could brand you forever as having been deeply and morally wrong?
We don’t know what the Supreme Court will do. Things could go entirely for us, against us, or any one of a myriad ways in between. But no matter what the decision, we’re ramping up to an historical landmark. And this time, because of the Internet, no one will ever doubt twenty years from now where you stood today. So this may be everyone’s last chance. The message is growing loud and it’s frightening — to Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and the whole gamut of the political spectrum:
There is no more safety in silence. Declare yourself. Declare yourself now, before it’s too late.