Ross: Politicians now have one less thing to fight about

Nov 17, 2022, 7:10 AM | Updated: 10:54 am
Same-sex marriage...
In 2015, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. Congress passed The Respect for Marriage Act in 2022, which says that all states and the federal government must accept the legitimacy of a marriage no matter in what state that marriage took place. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Last night, the United States Senate actually voted to break a filibuster and move on to final passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. Which has already passed in the House.

The Respect for Marriage Act says that all states AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT must accept the legitimacy of a marriage no matter in what state that marriage took place.

Some Democrats have criticized it for not going far enough: because it does NOT require every state to LICENSE same-sex marriages, and so it stops short of codifying the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision.

But it goes pretty far. And it’s at moments like this that I can see something positive in the visceral bitterness between the political parties.

The same-sex marriage debate has been ugly, but it’s that tension that makes a compromise like this stand out. When two parties that hate each other finally agree on something – it’s much more likely to stick. Because everybody got a hearing, and got at least a piece of what they wanted.

Liberals got a bill that protects same-sex marriage from being overturned by a conservative Supreme Court, and conservatives got the exemption they wanted so that non-profit churches cannot be forced to perform marriages that violate their faith.

Yes, there is a cost to gay couples: if they live in a state that does not license same-sex marriages, they may have to arrange a destination wedding in a state that does. That’s not fair. But after the wedding, they’re as married as anyone else in all 50 states.

And in any case, I think the holdout states may not hold out much longer.

Because states love money.

And if you’ve ever found yourself bankrolling a wedding – as I have – you know that weddings are a gusher of money.

Wedding services in the US will bring in about $62 billion this year. That’s more than twice the size of the divorce industry, and three times the size of the funeral industry – how’s that for a positive factoid? Anyway, it’s a lot of money.

And states love money.

I think that over time, the moral objections will give in to the market. As somebody once said – actually, I think it was me – “Religion whispers, but money talks.”

I realize that’s not always a good thing, but in this case, I think it will be – as more states realize that when you’re talking about a piece of $62 billion, fussing over who wears the tuxedo makes no sense.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
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Ross: Politicians now have one less thing to fight about