Friday, April 18, 2014

Close To Home

Charles Cooper, the attorney who defended California’s Prop 8 before the Supreme Court, is coming around on the issue of marriage equality.

Cooper learned that his stepdaughter Ashley was gay as the Proposition 8 case wound its way through appellate court, according to a forthcoming book about the lengthy legal battle. And with the Supreme Court ruling now behind him, Cooper cast his personal opinion on gay marriage as an evolving process.

“My views evolve on issues of this kind the same way as other people’s do, and how I view this down the road may not be the way I view it now, or how I viewed it ten years ago,” Cooper said in journalist Jo Becker’s book “Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality.”


In June, Cooper’s daughter plans to marry her partner in Massachusetts, one of 17 states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex marriage is legal. In a statement to The Associated Press, Cooper said his family “is typical of families all across America.”

“My daughter Ashley’s path in life has led her to happiness with a lovely young woman named Casey, and our family and Casey’s family are looking forward to celebrating their marriage in just a few weeks,” he said.

Mr. Cooper isn’t the only one who is finding out that being against something like marriage equality in the abstract changes when they find out that it touches someone they care about.  It’s one reason — of many — why polls have shown such a rapid acceptance of same-sex marriage over such a short period of time: people who were opposed to it are finding out that there are gay people next door, at the next desk, or across the table at a family gathering.  For most of them, it makes it hard to demonize someone you know.

There are exceptions, of course; Phyllis Schlafly, the perpetual right-wing scold, has a gay son but that hasn’t stopped her from being cruel and unusual about her hatred for the LGBT community.  I’ll bet she doesn’t believe in any form of evolution.

At any rate, I’m glad to see Mr. Cooper figure out that marriage equality is a good thing.  It’s too bad that it took having it be through a personal epiphany rather than a sense of fairness for all of us.

2 barks and woofs on “Close To Home

  1. While I’m pleased Mr. Cooper (and any others like him) has come around, persuasion through direct exposure has little to recommend it. It takes but a little imagination and empathy to place oneself in the position of someone being negatively affected by a particular policy or doctrine – and encountering a relative immediately affected should not be necessary to that. I’d have a lot more respect for Cooper if he’d figured all this out without needing a family member’s experience to force him to revisit his preconceptions.

    Shalfly is Shafly. She wouldn’t change her public stance if somebody found out about a lesbian lover she had in high school and published an interview with the woman on the NYT front page.

  2. What Boatboy said.

    If we have to wait for each Republican/Right Winger to have his fingers pinched in the door we can forget about voting rights, labor law, finance law and regulation, etc.

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