How Gay Marriage Ruined My Fridays

Comments
Slate Plus
Your all-access pass
May 13 2014 12:43 PM
Comments

How Gay Marriage Ruined My Fridays

The judiciary’s vast conspiracy to destroy my weekends.

140513_PLUS_MarkStern

Illustration by Charlie Powell

When I started covering gay issues for Slate, every new positive development felt like a game-changer. I distinctly remember the thrill of reporting on the first post-DOMA green card given to a gay couple, the military’s sudden endorsement of gay marriage, the revolt of pro-gay marriage clerks in pre-gay marriage New Mexico.

140513_PLUS_ArkansasMarriage
First same sex couple married in Arkansas.

Photo by Grav Weldon/Instagram

Nowadays, I’m a good deal less enthused to see big gay legal news flood my Twitter feed or breaking-news emails on the Outward email list. It’s not that I’ve lost interest in the cause, or that I’m tired of reporting on the LGBTQ beat. It’s just that—and please forgive me for this—the biggest civil rights issue of our time has also been a pain in the neck for my Fridays.

I know, I know; that sounds so shallow, so selfish, so millennial. But please, hear me out. You might not realize it, but some of the biggest gay marriage rulings have arrived on a Friday afternoon. New Jersey got gay marriage on a Friday. So did Utah and Michigan. Marriage equality came to Arkansas just last Friday, late in the afternoon. Virginia’s gay marriage ban was overturned in the later hours of a Thursday night, mandating coverage in the wee hours of Friday morning and throughout the next day. Iowa and Connecticut’s marriage bans both met their deaths on a Friday. David Weigel calls this “the war on Mark Stern’s Fridays.”

140513_PLUS_SternWeigel

Why does this late-week gay marriage news dump keep happening? Fun as it is to imagine a vast, judiciary-wide conspiracy to ruin the start of my weekends, it’s probably because federal judges are just like everybody else: They wait until the last minute to do their most important tasks. There’s nothing in the Constitution that forbids Article III judges from procrastinating—although if it were possible, I wouldn’t mind passing an amendment to that effect. Plus, every judge knows that a gay marriage ruling is going to draw the lunatics from their lairs; if you sneak your opinion into the Friday afternoon news dump, you might manage to avoid the bulk of NOM’s wrath.

I can understand all of that, in theory, and I can sympathize with it. But when you’re just about the leave the office, the anticipatory thrill of a great weekend buoying you—and then a bunch of judges in New Jersey suddenly decides that it’s time for marriage equality in the Garden State, it can get a little frustrating. My response to the New Jersey news, in fact, was a succinct “Goddammit!” (Sorry, Plotz.) Laura Helmuth overheard and rightfully chastised me, but I like to think, deep down, she was a little sympathetic, too. I had dinner plans, and now they were ruined—all thanks to gay marriage.

It’s not lost on me, of course, that I’m incredibly lucky I can be so blasé about gay rights. When California legalized marriage equality (the first time), I wept with joy; when New York passed its gay-marriage bill, my friends and I threw an impromptu party in celebration. The fact that we can yawn (or groan) about the latest pro-gay ruling indicates just how far we’ve come. But it also makes clear that the engine of history is pushing every state down the same path, and there’s no rule that social progress can only occur on Fridays. There are 33 more states yet to legalize gay marriage. If a judge in one of them issues the fateful order on, say, a Monday morning, I’ll marry the guy.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your children is perfectly legal. 

Ken Burns on Why Teddy Roosevelt Would Never Get Elected in 2014

Cops Briefly Detain Django Unchained Actress Because They Thought She Was a Prostitute

Minimalist Cocktail Posters Make Mixing Drinks a Cinch

How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest of jewels.

Books

Rainbow Parties and Sex Bracelets

Where teenage sex rumors come from—and why they’re bad for parents and kids.

Books

You Had to Be There

What we can learn from things that used to be funny.

Legendary Critic Greil Marcus Measures and Maps Rock History Through 10 Unlikely Songs

Catfish Creator Nev Schulman’s Book Is Just Like Him: Self-Deluded and Completely Infectious

Behold
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 14 2014 2:37 PM When Abuse Is Not Abuse Don’t expect Adrian Peterson to go to prison. In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 13 2014 8:38 AM “You’re More Than Just a Number” Goucher College goes transcript-free in admissions.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 14 2014 7:10 PM Watch Michael Winslow Perform Every Part of “Whole Lotta Love” With Just His Voice
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?