The Latest To 'Evolve' About Gay Marriage? The Lawyer That Argued For Prop 8
Having family in the game makes it a whole new game. The latest prominent anti-gay marriage figure to have a new, "evolved" opinion on the issue is none other than the lawyer who argued for Proposition 8, California's ban on gay marriage. Charles Cooper, who defended Proposition 8 in front of the Supreme Court, recently announced that his stepdaughter, Ashley Lininger, is to be married to her fiancée in June.
According to journalist Jo Becker's upcoming book, Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, Cooper learned of his daughter's engagement shortly after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the Prop 8 case in December of 2012. Which, unfortunately, means that Cooper was well aware of his daughter's orientation and plans for marriage while he argued the case in March 2013.
A one time “Republican lawyer of the year,” Cooper is certainly not the first of his party to break with the traditional platform of opposing gay marriage. Dick Cheney was famously at odds with the Bush administration regarding the issue, as Cheney's daughter married her longtime partner in 2012. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) also revised his opinions on gay marriage following his son's announcement that he is gay.
With a multitude of polls now showing that the majority of Americans support legalizing same-sex unions, it seems that the Republican party's continued opposition is being increasingly outdated and out-of-touch with constituents. In fact, nearly 60 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, and only a third of Americans remain opposed.
While Cooper's change of heart about gay marriage is certainly laudable, there needs to be a wider acceptance of sexuality, regardless of one's own personal investment in the issue.
In a 2012 op-ed featured in the New York Times by David Blakenhorn, who testified against gay marriage in the same Prop 8 trial that Cooper defended, Blakenhorn explains his own decision to backtrack on his previous anti-gay marriage position. For Blakenhorn, "the most important is the equal dignity of homosexual love." He goes onto say,
Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.
This is the key message that should be taken from the movement for gay marriage. Having a gay child should not be the sole motivator to recognize the need for fundamental marriage equality, though it can be a catalyst in the process. Charles Cooper is the newest Republican to join the ranks of those who support gay marriage, and we hope more will follow suit.