A boon for gay rights…

Hail to the U.S. Supreme Court for doing the obviously right thing—tossing out the onerous Texas law that forbade gay sex. The court’s decision, which effectively invalidates similar laws in 12 other states, is one more step in the nation’s long, grinding and, in the end, hallowed process of ensuring civil rights for all.

In this case, the court has seen fit to bar government from nosing into the most private of human activities, the sexual conduct of two consenting adults behind closed doors.

Like other minorities before them, homosexuals have had to endure humiliation, bias, hatred and violence while trying to gain acceptance by the majority in a culture slow to accept a social paradigm that is no longer dominated by white male heterosexuals.

And, as could have been expected, those shouting the loudest in protest of the court’s decision to include and legitimize homosexuals as part of our society are, for the most part, white male heterosexuals. These critics say the decision opens the door for gay marriage, which threatens the sanctity of that social contract, in turn endangering the “traditional” family unit.

But marriage means two things in this country—the religious union of a couple standing before their god and a state-sanctioned legal contract between two people. These are clearly different.

If a religious group wants to discriminate against a class of people, that is up to the folks who practice that religion. But the government of a truly democratic nation does not have that latitude. Or at least it should not have it, as this country will eventually come to realize. Until then, we can only cheer the hard-won victories needed to get to that inevitable reality.