One of the more predictable reactions to the SCOTUS decisions on marriage equality came from the National Organization of Marriage. After five years of saying how sure they were of victory in the Supreme Court, they were handed a defeat. They didn’t take it well. One of the images used in their plea for money I found rather haunting. It was a graphic of an American flag flying from the left and a rainbow flag flying from the right with the bold question, “Which Banner will you choose?” 

American, California and Rainbow flags flying at Twin Peaks commemoration of the pink triangles worn in Nazi concentration camps on June 29, 2013.  

 It was the genius of those that wrote the Constitution that I will never have to make that choice. My allegiance doesn’t have to be solely one or the other, it can be both. It is a principle that goes a long way back in my family because of my Quaker heritage. Americans have this image of people coming from Europe to the New World for religious freedom, but what we are not taught is that they didn’t find it everywhere. Puritans went to Massachusetts, the Catholics to Maryland and Quakers went to Pennsylvania. I was rather surprised to learn that some of my Quaker ancestors were hung on the Boston Commons because they were Quakers. Actually they were banished from the Massachusetts colony for being Quakers and hung for coming back.

On October 27, 1659  Marmaduke Stephenson, William Robinson  and Mary Dryer were scheduled to be executed by hanging on the Boston Commons. However, Mary Dryer was given a reprieve at the last moment and only the two men where hung that day. Mary was again banished from the colony. She returned again and on June 1, 1660 she was hung on the Boston Commons. William Ledda, the last person to be put to death for being a Quaker, was hung March 14, 1661.

We don’t swear or affirm (because Quaker’s don’t swear) allegiance to any one dogma, creed or religion. The checks and balances are all there to make sure that equal protection is given everyone. As it says on the Supreme Court building itself, “Equal Justice Under Law”.  While NOM may fuss and fume over the latest ruling by the Court, they are not harmed by it. If they were honest they would accept the defeat and move on.


 Celebrating the SCOTUS Prop 8 decision in the Castro.

Unfortunately I don’t expect that NOM will go away. What I do expect is that they will become a smaller and smaller minority. That is not to marginalize them or give legitimacy to any of their claims of victimhood, it is simply to acknowledge that I believe the country will follow the same path it did after interracial marriage was approved by a ruling of the Supreme Court. Although I have no doubt there are those who believe that races shouldn’t mix, what national organization makes racially pure marriages a centerpiece of their mission or fundraising activities?  I can’t think of any.

While I am disappointed that the Supreme Court didn’t rule on the merits of the Prop 8 case and find that there is a fundamental right to marriage, it is only a matter of time before the Court does. That won’t be a case of judicial tyranny or because of activist judges it will be because that is the way the system is supposed to work. The founding fathers knew to well the results of religious extremism.


Adam Umhoefer, American Foundation for Equal Rights (left) and Chad Griffin Human Rights Campaign marching in the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 30. 


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