Equality Before the Law

Why Do We Need Marriage Equality?

Below is the text of the remarks I delivered on the steps of the Supreme Court this morning in favor of full marriage equality before the law:

I speak here today as one of the more than 130 Republicans and conservatives who signed Ken Mehlman's brief in favor of equal marriage rights.

Republicans and Democrats have enough to disagree about - no shortage. Yet there are some issues that are the property of no one party. The freedom of every American to pursue happiness under the law - that promise signed in the Declaration of Independence so many years ago is the promise that is coming true in our time.

For a conservative, the remarkable thing about the movement for same-sex marriage is that it is a civil rights movement that is less about claiming rights than it is about accepting responsibilities.

Marriage is a source of great joy. But - and I speak as one who'll celebrate a 25th anniversary this summer - it's also a solemn undertaking: an undertaking to care for another person, to nurse that person when ill, to sustain her or him in time of trouble, to raise children together, to provide for those children, to mourn when it comes time to mourn.

No agency of government can ever begin to do for anyone what loving spouses do for each other. The stronger our families are, of every kind of family, the less government we’ll need.

Today your families gather before this house of the law to claim the right to live as others do, without shame and without fear.

The mind of a nation is changing. It's an awesome thing to see - and to be part of. Your words - your actions -and your example have power. And will overcome.